We continue, with this third installment, the serial publication of Herbert W. Armstrong's latest book Mystery of the Ages.
I WAS RETURNING to my hotel in New Delhi some years ago from a private conference with the late Indira Gandhi, prime minister of India. Ever since arriving in India I had noticed cows and oxen wandering through the streets. I had never seen such animals straying loosely through city streets in any other country. "Don't these cattle stray quite a distance from home?" I asked of the car driver. "Oh, yes," he answered. "But when," I asked, "they wander all over the streets so far away, how do their owners find them, to drive them back home for the night?" The car driver smiled. "The owners don't. But the cattle and oxen know their owners and where they live. They find their own way home in the evening." Immediately I thought of the scripture in the first chapter of Isaiah, which I had never understood so perfectly before this living explanation. "Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord … they are gone away backward" (Isa. 1:2-4). And this was spoken of ancient Israel, a nation to which God had revealed himself by many evidences and miracles. How much less do other nations know about God—about WHO and WHAT God is! Nevertheless, other nations are human beings just like the nation Israel. It is important at the very outset of this chapter that you notice God calls these humans his own children. Many people say, "God just doesn't seem real to me." God is a great mystery to them. Their own human fathers don't seem like a mystery. They seem real.
Why Does God Seem Unreal?
In this chapter I hope we will help make God as real to you as your own human father. God does reveal himself to us in the Bible, if we will just understand it, so that he will seem real to us. Of the peoples of the Roman Empire, God inspired the apostle Paul to write: "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity [spiritual], has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made [physical]. So they are without excuse; for although they knew [about] God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools" (Rom. 1:18-22, Revised Standard Version). The billions now living on earth not only are ignorant of the most important knowledge—WHO and WHAT God is—they seem not to want to know! They are willingly in ignorance of this most important knowledge and relationship possible in human life! Astonishing—but TRUE! And why have humans been willingly ignorant of man's most important relationship? One explanation, only, is possible! All nations have been deceived! (Rev. 12:9.) And the fact of this universal deception makes certain the fact of a super DECEIVER! More of this, later. Now back to the problem of why God seems unreal.
God UNREAL to the Ancients
The scholarly of the world in the first century were the Athenian intellectuals. Some of them encountered the apostle Paul in Athens. "Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus [atop Mars Hill], saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? … "Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions [objects of worship—Revised Standard Version], I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth … he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on … the earth … for in him we live, and move, and have our being …" (Acts 17:18-19, 22-26, 28). And now what of the scholarly of our Western world today? First of all, one would think, the most highly educated ought to know WHO and WHAT God is! Suppose you ask at random 100 university deans, "Do you believe in God?" Perhaps three or four would answer, "Oh, I believe in the existence of God—as a 'first cause.' " But they cannot tell you WHO or WHAT God is! They cannot tell you what God is like! God is not real to them. In other words, he is a mystery. Perhaps another six or eight of the hundred will admit they are agnostics—they do not know "for sure" whether God exists. I have said that education has become a matter of memory instillation. From elementary grades to higher graduate levels of study, our educational systems inject ready-made concepts, ideologies and a mixture of facts and fables into the unsuspecting minds of children, youths and young adults. Students in our school systems are graded according to how well they accept, memorize and can recite or write in tests what has been taught—whether true or false. Modern education has given universal acceptance to the fable of evolution. Evolution is the attempt to explain the existence of a creation without the preexistence of the Creator. It removes God from the picture. It blinds itself to the mystery by attempting to remove God altogether.
Material Creation Seems Real
The creation is material, visible, and therefore seems real. The system of modern education has become entirely materialistic. The modern scientific concept denies the invisible and the spiritual as having existence. Yet all our seemingly unsolvable problems and the evils in this world are spiritual in nature. I quoted above from, the first chapter of the book of Romans. The 28th verse says, "… they did not like to retain God in their knowledge." Little or nothing is taught about God, but even in the elementary grades the basic concept—the APPROACH to knowledge—is evolution. Is it any wonder, then, that the scholarly do not know WHO or WHAT God is? They believe what they have been taught. As I write I recently returned from my second four-day visit in Beijing (Peking), as the first religious leader from the world of Christianity to be invited to speak before large groups at the Chinese capital. I have met in private conference with the vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, Tan Zhen-lin, and now, on this second visit, with Deng Xiaoping, the unquestioned leader of China. In speaking with China's leader, I was speaking to the top official now molding the minds and beliefs of more than ONE BILLION people—almost a fourth of all the people on earth. China, in population, is the world's largest nation. In very ancient times the religion in China was ancestor worship. Then came Confucianism, rivaled by Taoism. Later Buddhism was introduced from India. Today the nation is communist—atheist. I found China's leaders to be a very cordial, friendly and courteous people—but knowing WHO and WHAT God is most certainly is not what they are now concerned about. I did not try to tell them WHO and WHAT God is, but I did tell two large and important audiences of leaders what God is very soon going to do—and I announced this forthcoming book, which I am writing now. India is the second largest nation. What have they known about WHO and WHAT God is? Russia is third largest in population. They did have Russian Orthodox Christianity, and now atheism. I am not condemning or judging these people—and I presume they are as well-meaning as any people. God is not judging them NOW—as I shall explain later. Neither is he condemning them. He loves them and will call them all to eternal salvation in his own time. But they DO NOT know WHO or WHAT God is. In ancient Egypt they worshiped the gods Isis and Osiris. The Greeks and Romans anciently had mythological gods such as Jupiter, Hermes, Dionysus, Apollo, Diana and many others. But they did not know, and their peoples do not know today, WHO and WHAT God is. But WHY?
Why Willingly Ignorant
Already, in the quotation from the first chapter of Romans, I have given you a reason—they were willingly ignorant of the things of the true GOD. But WHY? Why willingly ignorant? In Romans 8:7 it is stated plainly that the natural mind of humans is hostile against God. This does not necessarily mean that all unconverted human minds are actively, intentionally, maliciously hostile. Most humans are passively hostile against God. They simply do not normally think about God. If God is mentioned they become embarrassed and often try to change the subject. They probably do not realize, in their own minds, that they have a hostile attitude toward God. Yet that is the very reason, psychologically, why they want to avoid the subject. In other words, the average person has an unrealized passive hostility against God. Without realizing it actively, they want God to "keep his nose out of their business"—except at a time when they are in deep trouble and they cry out for God's help. Spiritual things—invisible things—are a mystery to them. They do not understand those things, real though they are, because they cannot see them. They remain a deep mystery so they deny their existence. There was a cause for this willing ignorance. And the Bible clearly tells us that cause, which is dual: 1) what occurred prehistorically; and 2) what God himself instituted following the original sin of Adam. All this (to be explained in the next two chapters), and the CAUSE of all the escalating evils of today's world, are clearly revealed by God Almighty in his Word the Holy Bible. This will be made plain as we progress. But first, what does the Bible reveal about WHO and WHAT is God? It is only in this inspired book that God reveals himself. But mankind in general has never believed God—that is, what God says! God spoke face to face, personally, to Adam and Eve, the first created humans. Then he allowed Satan to approach them. Satan got to Adam through his wife. Our original parents believed Satan when he said, "Ye shall not surely die," after God had said, "Thou shalt surely die" upon stealing the forbidden fruit. When Jesus Christ spoke on earth 4,000 years later, only 120 people believed what he said (Acts 1:15), though he preached his message from God to multiple thousands. No wonder, then, not one of these religions, sects and denominations, except the small and persecuted Church founded by Jesus Christ (A.D. 31), starting with that 120, believe God, which means these others do not believe what God says in his Word. God's Word plainly reveals who and what God is! But there is a reason for their ignorance. This will be made clear as we proceed. Just WHO and WHAT, then, is God? How does he reveal himself? Already I have quoted the apostle Paul saying to the Athenian intellectuals that God is the Creator, who designed, formed, shaped and created MAN. The prophet Isaiah quotes God himself, saying: "To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? … Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth" (Isa. 40:25-26). Read this in the James Moffatt translation in modern English: " 'To whom will you compare me, then, and equal me?' asks the Majestic One. Lift high your eyes, look up; who made these stars? he who marshals them in order, summoning each one by name. For fear of him, so mighty and so strong, not one fails to appear." Further, God himself says to the skeptics: "Now, the Eternal cries, bring your case forward, now, Jacob's King cries, state your proofs. Let us hear what happened in the past, that we may ponder it, or show me what is yet to be, that we may watch how it turns out; yes, let us hear what is coming, that we may be sure you are gods; come, do something or other that we may marvel at the sight!—why," taunts God to the doubter, "you are things of naught, you can do nothing at all!" (Isa. 41:21-24, Moffatt.) These scriptures reveal God's power, but not what God is, in a manner to make him real to the reader. Other scriptures must do that.
God, Creator of Universe
God is Creator of ALL—of everything in the vast universe—the stars, the galaxies in endless space, this earth, man and everything in the earth. That is WHAT God is—what he does! He CREATES! He designs, forms and shapes. He gives LIFE! He is the great GIVER! And his law—his way of life—is the way of GIVING, not GETTING, which is the way of this world. But what is God like? WHO is God? There have been many conceptions. Some believe God is merely the good or good intentions, within each human—merely some part of each human individual. Some have imagined God was some kind of idol composed of gold or silver, or carved out of wood, stone or other material. The Israelites thought, while Moses was communing with God on Mount Sinai, that God was, or looked like, a golden calf. Many think God is a single individual supreme Personage. Some think he is a spirit. But the generally accepted teaching of traditional Christianity is that God is a "Trinity"—God in three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, which they call a "Ghost." The word trinity is not found in the Bible, nor does the Bible teach this doctrine. But more about that later.
God in Prehistory
Now let's go back to the very beginning, in prehistory. If you were asked where in the Bible to find the very earliest description of God in point of the time of his existence, you probably would say, "Why, in the very first verse in the Bible, Genesis 1:1, of course." Right? Wrong! In time-order the earliest revelation of WHO and WHAT God is is found in the New Testament: John 1:1. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men" (John 1:1-4). "The WORD" in this passage is translated from the Greek logos, which means "spokesman," "word," or "revelatory thought." It is the name there used for an individual Personage. But who or what is this Logos? Notice the explanation in verse 14: "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." When he was born as Jesus Christ, he was flesh and blood, materialistic and could be seen, touched and felt. But what was he? As God—as the Logos? That is answered in John 4:24, "God is a Spirit," and spirit is invisible. We know what was his form and shape as the human Jesus. But of what form and shape was he as the Word? We will explain that later. The Word, then, is a Personage who was made flesh—begotten by God, who through this later begettal became his Father. Yet at that prehistoric time of the first verse of John 1, the Word was not (yet) the Son of God. He divested himself of his glory as a Spirit divinity to be begotten as a human person. He was made God's Son, through being begotten or sired by GOD and born of the virgin Mary. So here we find revealed originally two Personages. One is God. And with God in that prehistoric time was another Personage who also was God—one who later was begotten and born as Jesus Christ. But these two Personages were spirit, which is invisible to human eyes unless supernaturally manifested. Yet at the time described in verse one Jesus was not the Son of God and God was not his Father.
Who Was Melchisedec?
We find regarding the beginning of his existence, something further described in Hebrews chapter 7. Speaking of Melchisedec, who was king of Jerusalem in the days of Abraham, it says also that he was the Priest of God Most High. This Melchisedec had existed from eternity—"without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually" (Heb. 7:3). Since Melchisedec was "like unto the Son of God," and abides as High Priest forever continually, and Jesus Christ is now High Priest, Melchisedec and Jesus Christ are one and the same Person. Therefore Christ was "without father, without mother, without descent [in Abraham's time], having neither beginning of days, nor end of life." God also had existed eternally with the Word. Jesus, when he was the Word, was an immortal being who had existed ALWAYS—there never was a time when he did not exist—without beginning of days. He was, then, "like" the Son of God—but he was not yet the Son of God. He also was God, along with God. These passages show that the Word, in the beginning—before ANYTHING had been created—was with God, and he, also, was God. Now how could that be? Well, the son of a man named Smith might be with Smith (his father), and he also is Smith, because he takes his father's name—yet he is a separate person, with Smith (his father), and he also is Smith. The only point of difference in that analogy is that the Word, at the time of John 1:1, was not, yet, the Son of God. But he was with God, and he also was God. They were not yet Father and Son—but they were the foundation of what was to become the GOD FAMILY! That family is composed, now, of God the Father, and Jesus Christ his Son, and many begotten humans who already, NOW, are begotten SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF GOD (Rom. 8:14, 16; I John 3:2; II Cor. 6:18), forming the Church of God. That FAMILY aspect—the GOD FAMILY—is vitally important, and this will be thoroughly explained later. But now, where are we? Long before anything else existed, there did exist two Supreme Beings, immortal, who ALWAYS had existed. Your mind can't quite conceive that "always," but neither can it quite conceive of what is electricity! Yet you know electricity exists and is real!
How Christ Was Creator
So back to our question, "WHO and WHAT is God?" Before anything else came into existence there was God and the Word, composed of spirit, not of matter, but nevertheless very real. TWO Persons—not three. And, verse 3 of John 1, all things (the universe) were made by the Word. Now understand this, by adding Ephesians 3:9: "… God, who created all things by Jesus Christ." Let me explain. In the first week in January, 1914, I was sent by a national magazine to Detroit, Michigan, to interview Henry Ford to obtain material for an article on his sensational new $5-a-day wage policy. I saw Henry Ford in the administration building, wearing a business suit with white collar and necktie. Then I looked across the breezeway into the giant factory (then the Highland Park factory) and I saw perhaps thousands of men in overalls, working at machines powered with electrical energy. Mr. Ford was called the maker of the Ford car. But he made the cars by these workmen, who used the power of electricity and machines. In the same manner, God the Father is Creator. But he "created all things by Jesus Christ." Jesus is the Word. It is written, "He spake, and it was done" (Ps. 33:9). God tells Christ what to do (John 8:28-29). Jesus then speaks, as the workman, and the Holy Spirit is the POWER that responds and does what Jesus commands. Thus, as we read further, in Colossians 1, beginning verse 12, "Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath … translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son … who is the image of the invisible God [same appearance, form and shape and character] … for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist" (verses 12-13, 15-17). Therefore God's Word reveals that God and the Word—two supreme Personages—coexisted ALWAYS—and before ANYTHING had been created—including this earth and the entire universe. In the quotation above, Christ was in the same image—form and shape—as God. Perhaps it will make God more real to you when you realize he is in the same form and shape as a human being. More proof of this will be given later. There was a time, therefore, when those two Personages coexisted and NOTHING ELSE did. No third Person is mentioned—no "Ghost." Is God, then, limited to only two Persons? The false Trinity teaching does limit God to three Persons. But God is not limited. As God repeatedly reveals, his purpose is to reproduce himself into what well may become billions of God persons. It is the false Trinity teaching that limits God, denies God's purpose and has palpably deceived the whole Christian world. Both God and the Word themselves are SPIRIT, and project their Spirit. How long must they have thought, and planned, and designed, before even beginning to create anything whatsoever! But matter—this earth, the stars, nebulae, galaxies—was not the first thing they created. They created angels before the creation of matter. God speaks of the creation of the earth in the 38th chapter of Job. He says that, at the creation of the earth, all the angels shouted for joy (verse 7). Therefore all the angels already were in existence when the earth was first created. In Genesis 1:1 it speaks of God creating the earth and the heavens. In the Authorized Version the word heaven—singular—is used. But the original Hebrew as Moses wrote, and as other translations render it, is in the plural—heavens—implying that the whole material universe was created simultaneously with the earth. This is plainly stated in Genesis 2:4: "These are the generations [beginnings] of the heavens [plural] and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens." However, the word day in this context is not necessarily a twenty-four-hour day, but a general period of time. That might have been multiple thousands or millions of years ago. Angels were placed on earth before the creation of man. Since angels are immortal spirit beings, they might have dwelt here thousands or millions of years before the creation of man. How many God does not reveal. The earth, at first, was the abode of angels. But, Jude 6, "And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation [the earth]… ."
What Is God's Appearance?
Now more detail on WHO and WHAT God is. God is Spirit (John 4:24, Revised Standard Version). Why is God not real to so many people? Because God and the Word were composed of SPIRIT, not matter, not flesh and blood, like humans. God is invisible to human eyes (Col. 1:15). He does not seem real. To seem real, the mind naturally wants to visualize a definite form and shape. But even though God is composed of spirit and not of visible matter, God nevertheless does have definite form and shape. What is God's form and shape? In Genesis 1:26, "God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." We know the form and shape of man. That is the image, likeness, form and shape of God. In various parts of the Bible, it is revealed that God has a face, eyes, a nose, mouth and ears. He has hair on his head. It is revealed God has arms and legs. And God has hands and fingers. No animal, fowl, bird, fish, insect or any other kind of life we know of has hands like human hands. Even if any other living being of which we know had a mind to think with, without hands and fingers he could not design and make things as a man does. God has feet and toes and a body. God has a mind. Animals have brains, but no mind power like man's. If you know what a man looks like, you know what is the form and shape of GOD, for he made man in his image, after his very likeness! One of Jesus' disciples asked him what God the Father looks like. Jesus replied: "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father …" (John 14:9). Jesus looked like the Father. Jesus was, actually, "God with us" (Matt. 1:23). Jesus was the begotten and born Son of God. And what was Jesus' appearance? It was that of a human man, for he also was the Son of man. He looked so much like other Jewish men of his day that his enemies bribed Judas to point him out and identify who, in a crowd at night, was Jesus. So now we know God has the same form and shape as a man. We also know he is composed of spirit, not of matter as is man. Spirit is invisible to human eyes, unless manifested by some special process. And if so manifested we would see both God the Father and Christ now glorified in heaven with faces, though formed and shaped like human faces, as bright as the sun full strength! Their eyes flames of fire, feet like burnished brass and hair white as snow (Rev. 1:14-16).
God's Nature and Character
Most important of all however is what is God's nature—his CHARACTER—like? One cannot know what God is unless he knows what his CHARACTER is! THE CHARACTER OF both God the Father and Christ the Son is that of spiritual holiness, righteousness and absolute perfection. That character might be summed up in the one word LOVE, defined as an outflowing, loving concern. It is the way of giving, serving, helping, sharing, not the "GET" way. It is the way devoid of coveting, lust and greed, vanity and selfishness, competition, strife, violence and destruction, envy and jealousy, resentment and bitterness. God's inherent nature is the way of PEACE, of JUSTICE, MERCY, HAPPINESS and JOY radiating outward toward those he has created! The Word and God LIVED. What did they do? They created. How did they live—what was their "lifestyle"? They lived the way of their perfect character—the way of outflowing LOVE. When Jesus was baptized, God the Father said, "You are my be LOVED Son." God LOVED the Word. And the Word LOVED God—obeyed him completely. Two can't walk together except they be agreed. They were in total agreement and cooperation. Also two can't walk together in continuous peace except one be the head, or leader, in control. God was leader. Their way of life produced perfect peace, cooperation, happiness, accomplishment. This WAY of life became a LAW. Law is a code of conduct, or relationship, between two or more. One might call the rules of a sports contest the "law" of the game. The presence of law requires a penalty for infraction. There can be no law without a penalty for its violation.
God—Author of Government
The very fact of law presupposes GOVERNMENT. Government is the administration and enforcement of law by one in authority. This necessitates authoritative leadership—one in command. When the only conscious Life-Beings existed, God was leader—in authoritative command. Thus, even when the only conscious Life-Beings were God and the Word, there was GOVERNMENT, with God in supreme command. The government of God is of necessity government from the top down. It cannot be "government by the consent of the governed." Its laws originate and are handed down from God—never legislated by the people—never dictated by the governed how the government over them shall rule them. Since they created other conscious, thinking life-beings, this very fact of necessity put the GOVERNMENT of God over all creation, with God supreme ruler. Our human civilization has assumed the prerogative of lawmaking. Human governments, whether city, county, state or national, have lawmaking bodies—city councils, state legislatures, national congress, parliament, reichstag, diet, or knesset. But 6,000 years of human experience have demonstrated the utter incapability of humans to decide right from wrong, or to formulate laws for human conduct and relationships. Human lawmaking bodies have made so many laws, that the average policeman in a city could not possibly keep in his mind 1/6 of the laws whose violations he is supposed to act upon. Some may remember a comic strip in American newspapers, "There ought to be a law." The comic strip was poking fun at the very idea that human lawmakers have made so many laws, and yet fail to cover every possible infraction. God's law is spiritual and can be summed up in one simple but all-inclusive word—love. His law for the guidance of human conduct is subdivided into the two great commandments, love toward God and love toward neighbor. These, in turn, are subdivided into the 10 Commandments. Jesus magnified this law by showing how its principle expands to cover virtually every possible human infraction. The third chapter of II Corinthians shows that God's law is to be applied in principle. It is summed up in one single word, love. Nevertheless, it is so perfect that, by applying its principle, it is a complete law. There is only one perfect lawmaker, and that is God. Bear in mind the government of God is based on the LAW of God, which is the way of life of outflowing LOVE, cooperation, concern for the good of the governed. And this law of God produces peace, happiness, cooperation through obedience.
God Is a Family
Now once again to Genesis 1:1: "In the beginning God… ." This originally was written by Moses as God inspired him. Moses wrote in Hebrew. The Hebrew word translated "God" is Elohim—a noun or name, plural in form, but normally singular in grammatical usage. It is the same sort of word as family, church, group—one family consisting of two or more members—one church composed of many members—one group of several persons. It is referring to precisely the same "Persons," making up or composing the one God, as we found in John 1:1—the Word and God—and each of those TWO Persons is GOD. IN OTHER WORDS, GOD IS NOW A FAMILY of Persons, composed so far of only the TWO—God the Father and Christ the Son. But IF the Holy Spirit of God dwells in an individual, and he is being led by God's Spirit, then (Rom. 8:14) he is a begotten son of God. But, at the time of Christ's return to earth in supreme power and glory to set up the KINGDOM OF GOD, restoring the GOVERNMENT OF GOD abolished by Lucifer, then all being filled and led by God's Spirit shall become BORN sons of God. The GOD FAMILY will then RULE ALL NATIONS with the GOVERNMENT OF GOD RESTORED! The Trinity doctrine limits God to a supposed three Persons. It DESTROYS the very gospel of Jesus Christ! His gospel is the good news of the now soon-coming KINGDOM OF GOD—the only hope of this world and its mixed-up mankind! The Trinity doctrine, by contrast, is the doctrine of the great false religion called in Revelation 17:5: "Mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth." By that doctrine, along with others, Satan has DECEIVED all traditional Christianity.
The Trinity Doctrine
The generally accepted teaching of traditional Christianity is that God is a Trinity—God in three Persons—Father, Son and Holy Spirit (which is called a "Ghost"). How did this Trinity doctrine enter traditional Christianity? It most emphatically did not come from the Bible. I have quoted Revelation 12:9 saying that all nations have been deceived by Satan the devil. How, then, did the wily Satan introduce this doctrine into "Christianity"? The history of this question is interesting. It seems incredible that a being like Satan not only could have deceived the whole world, but also "Christianity"—the very religion bearing Christ's name and supposed to be his true religion. Yet, paradoxically, Satan did! He did it through his great false church, started A.D. 33 by Simon the Sorcerer, described in the 8th chapter of the book of Acts as the leader of the Babylonian mystery religion in Samaria. It is recorded in II Kings 17:23-24 that Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, who had invaded and conquered the northern kingdom—the kingdom of Israel—moved the people out of their land of Samaria, north of Jerusalem, and moved into that land people of the Babylonish mystery religion from the provinces of Babylon. They were, of course, gentiles. They inhabited this area of northern Palestine in the time of Christ. The Jews of Judea in Christ's time would have nothing to do with them, calling them contemptuously "dogs." They still adhered to this pagan Babylonish mystery religion in the first century. In A.D. 33, two years after Jesus Christ from heaven founded the Church of God on that day of Pentecost, the deacon Philip, who later became an evangelist, went down to Samaria and preached Christ's gospel. This Simon the Sorcerer came with the crowd to hear him. Simon had bewitched the people of that country, and they followed him as their leader in the Babylonian mystery religion "from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God" (Acts 8:10). When the people believed Philip, preaching the kingdom of God, they were baptized, and this Simon managed to be baptized with them. Then Simon came to the apostles Peter and John, offering money as a bribe, asking them to give him the Holy Spirit. Peter rebuked him strongly. But Simon proclaimed himself a Christian apostle, nevertheless, and called the pagan Babylonian mystery religion "Christianity." He accepted the doctrine of "grace" for the forgiveness of sin (which the pagan religions had never had), but turned grace into license to disobey God (Jude 4). He aspired to turn his pagan religion, under the name "Christianity," into a universal religion, to gain thereby the political rule of the world. Simon, the "Pater" (Peter) of his counterfeit religion, did not accomplish this in his lifetime. But succeeding leaders, with the headquarters moved to Rome, did, later, gain political control over the Roman Empire and its medieval successor, called "The Holy Roman Empire." This empire is in process of again being resurrected in Europe now!
By the 6th decade of the first century, much of the Middle East had turned from the true gospel to a counterfeit (Gal. 1:6-7). As late as the 90s A.D. the apostle John was still living. He wrote the book of Revelation on the Isle of Patmos. A little later the church started by Simon in A.D. 33 was trying to turn the true Christian Passover (Christ had changed its form from that of sacrificial lambs to unleavened bread and wine) into Babylonian ceremony, now called, in English, "Easter"—named after the goddess Astarte or Ishtar (pronounced Easter). After the death of the apostle John, a disciple of his, Polycarp, waged a controversy over the Passover-Easter question with the bishop of Rome, by then leader of the church started by Simon. Still later, another disciple of Christ's true Christianity, Polycrates, waged a still hotter controversy over the same Passover-Easter question with another bishop of Rome. This theological battle was called the Quartodeciman Controversy. Polycrates contended, as Jesus and the original apostles taught, that the Passover should be observed in the new Christian form introduced by Jesus and by the apostle Paul (I Corinthians 11), using unleavened bread and wine instead of sacrificing a lamb, on the eve of the 14th Nisan (first month in the sacred calendar, occurring in the spring). But the Rome church insisted that it be observed on a Sunday. About the same time another controversy was raging, between a Dr. Arius, of Alexandria, a Christian leader who died A.D. 336, and other bishops, over calling God a Trinity. Dr. Arius stoutly opposed the Trinity doctrine and had many followers. In A.D. 325, the Emperor Constantine called the Nicene Council to settle these controversies. Constantine was not then yet a "Christian," but as political ruler he assumed control. The Council approved both the Easter-Sunday doctrine and the Trinity. Constantine, then civil ruler, made it a LAW. But he was not able to make it TRUTH! Satan has deceived the entire world in regard to the very nature of WHO and WHAT God is—as well as of Christ and the Holy Spirit. Also of the GOVERNMENT OF GOD, based on the spiritual LAW OF GOD, and further, of WHAT and WHY man is, what salvation is, how it is received, what is the true gospel, what and why the Church is and what of the future!
What Is God Like?
The word trinity is not used anywhere in the Bible. I am going to make completely clear, as we proceed, God has not limited himself to a "Trinity." The surprising truth, once understood, is the most wonderful revelation the human mind could receive or contain! The very first idea or teaching about God being a Trinity began in the latter half of the second century—a hundred years after most of the New Testament had been written. The counterfeit Christianity spawned by Simon the Sorcerer was promoting it vigorously along with the pagan Easter. But the true Church of God vigorously resisted it. The controversy became so violent it threatened the peace of the world. The then-pagan Emperor Constantine called this Nicene Council to settle it. The Roman Emperor's supporters greatly outnumbered the persecuted true Church of God. You will find a prophecy of these two churches in the book of Revelation. In the 12th chapter is the prophecy of the true Church of God, greatly persecuted. Jesus called it "the little flock." In the 17th chapter you will find the prophecy of the counterfeit church—a very great church, named by God "Mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots" (verse 5). She lined up with and sat astride the political governments. The whole world will gasp in WONDER (verse 8) when this religio-political medieval "Holy Roman Empire" is brought back to life! It is now in the preliminary stages of forming, starting from the Common Market!
False Scripture Added
There is only one small passage in the Authorized Version of the Bible that is generally used by Trinity adherents to support the Trinity doctrine. This passage is found in I John 5:7-8, and is bracketed in the following quotation: "For there are three that bear record [in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth], the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one." Those bracketed words were added by editors to the Latin Vulgate translation probably in the early 4th century. They do not appear in any of the older Greek manuscripts nor in other English translations. They were added to the Latin Vulgate during the heat of the controversy between Rome and Dr. Arius and God's people. Bible commentaries explain that these words were never written in the apostle John's manuscript or any existing early or later copies of it. The apostle John in his three epistles and the Revelation speaks of "the Father, and … Son" (I John 1:3), but never of "the Father and the Word," except in this uninspired part of I John 5:7-8. There was a real reason why the archdeceiver Satan wanted that spurious verse added in the Latin Vulgate from which it crept into the Authorized Version. The Trinity doctrine completely does away with the gospel of Jesus Christ. His gospel is the MESSAGE he brought mankind from God the Father, the good news of the coming KINGDOM OF GOD! That is the ONE thing above all Satan wants to defeat. This will become plain as we proceed. One world-famous evangelist said; "When I first began to study the Bible years ago, the doctrine of the Trinity was one of the most complex problems I had to encounter. I have never fully resolved it, for it contains an aspect of mystery. Though I do not totally understand it to this day, I accept it as a revelation of God… . To explain and illustrate the Trinity is one of the most difficult assignments to a Christian."
Holy Spirit Poured Out
Much is also made of the fact that in a number of places in modern translations the masculine pronoun he is carelessly used in connection with the Holy Spirit. But not always—sometimes the Holy Spirit is referred to as it in these very same translations. For example, in the passage describing the first coming of the Holy Spirit for the founding of the Church of God on that memorable day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit came from heaven, audibly, sounding like a mighty wind, "and it [the Holy Spirit] filled all the house where they were sitting." Next, the Holy Spirit appeared—WAS VISIBLY SEEN—manifested—"And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it [the Holy Spirit in the form of divided tongues] sat upon each of them" (Acts 2:2-3). In verse 18, Peter is quoting from the prophet Joel: "I will pour out… of my Spirit… ." The Holy Spirit, like water or a fluid, can be "POURED OUT." Can you pour out a person from one into another—as from God into those assembled there? John 7:37-39: "In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy [Spirit] was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)" Again in Acts 10:45, "… on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy [Spirit]."
Finally, in briefest summary: God is a FAMILY composed at present of the TWO Persons of John 1:1-4, but with many thousands, already begotten by God's Spirit, in God's true Church, soon to be born into that divine family at Christ's return to earth. Jesus Christ, by his resurrection, was BORN a divine Son of God (Rom. 1:4)—the first so born into the God family (Rom. 8:29). Both God and Christ are composed of spirit, formed and shaped as a human person, but with eyes like flames of fire and faces bright as the sun full strength! God is Creator of all that exists. Both God and the Word (who became Christ) have existed eternally and before all else. From them emanates the Spirit of God, by which God is omnipresent and omniscient. God the Father is the divine Father of the God family, into which truly converted Christians shall be born.