Roman, Aztec and other rites still influencing us today

Days shortening and darkness coming over us

When we look at the weather we would not have the impression we are coming to the coldest season of the year. We can not ignore the shorter days, which remind us that we are coming closer to the longest darkness of the year.

That darkness has always frightened people and therefore they looked for ways to get more light again.

Saturnalia, a Roman feast celebrated in mid-December, provided the model for many of the merry-making customs we know now as ‘The time of the Year‘ or ‘Christmas‘. From this celebration, for example, were derived the elaborate feasting, the giving of gifts, and the burning of candles.

Seasons, storms, thunder, darkness and light

In other cultures we also find that many centuries before Jesus was born they celebrated the ‘birth of light‘. The Roman Catholic Church was not shy to take over many traditions from heathen people who celebrated such elements as the ‘turn’ of the position of moon and sun and the change of season. Even the Israelites came to feast such natural elements as the four teḳufot (Teḳufat Nisan, Teḳufat Tammuz, Teḳufat Tishri and the Teḳufat Ṭebet) by which also superstition became connected with the teḳufot. Hai Gaon, in the tenth century, in reply to a question as to the prevalence of the custom in the “West” (i.e., west of Babylon) that all water that may be in the house or stored away in vessels in the first hour of the teḳufah had to be thrown away in the belief that the water is then poisoned, and if drunk would cause swelling of the body, sickness, and sometimes death, said it was followed only in order that the new season might be begun with a supply of fresh, sweet water.

Jupiter Smyrna Louvre Ma13.jpg

Zeus, god of the sky, lightning, thunder, law, order, justice – The Jupiter de Smyrne, discovered in Smyrna in 1680

When the sun enters Capricornus; this is the beginning of winter, or “‘et ha-ḥoref”(stripping-time), when the night is the longest during the year.For several people it was the time something had to be stripped down or some things that happened in the past had to be done with. The bad things had to be forgotten or to ‘be over with’ and new paths could be taken again. It was the time of a ‘turn over’ or a rebirth. People looked forward to the rebirth of the sun and hoped that everything would go well. For that reason they offered the rest of their food to the gods of nature which had to bear them fruits and good weather, not making the god of thunder (sky and thunder god Zeus) angry by forgetting him or to have bad spirits around, lots of noise was made to get them away from the own house.

Also in Latin America we can find such very noisy parties. For many people the darker nights were there for getting the ‘good’ and ‘goods’ together. All badness had to be down away. On the 24th of December it was the big moment to look for the next day when the goddess of light would return in case they all showed the goodness and willingness to her.

From December 16 through December 23 in Latin America eight posada parties are held and on the 24th, Nochebuena (The Good Night)(Christmas Eve) is celebrated, and families make an effort to be together for a special dinner. Also in West Europe this custom of a Christmas meal has been long a favourite moment.

Roman influences

Statue of three figures, seated side by side

Capitoline Triad – the three godheads side by side transposed in the Roman catholic church and shims of that church to the Trinity, being a God the Father, god the son, and a god the holy spirit.

Constantine the Great had managed to got the church leaders to agree to many of his demands so that the Christians would not any more be persecuted. For that reason they had to agree to the three-headed Roman god and Jeshua could become the ‘counterpart’ or ‘alias’ for Zeus with his name calling ‘hail Zeus‘ or ‘Issou‘ ‘Jesus‘. And they had to keep to the Roman festivals and as such should place their Christian Zeus (Jesus) his birth on the same major feast for the ‘light’ in the Roman world. As such rabbi Jeshua became Jesus , and his birth day became the 25th of December instead of October 17. Constantine insisted that the mighty king of the gods (Jupiter) or the Roman god of the sky, thunderstorms, lightning, weather and air got honoured on his day (December 25).

But it were not only Roman customs which entered Christendom.

Aztec influences

Latin Americans should come to see that American Christmas customs are nothing but Aztec rites. El Universal, a newspaper in Mexico City, commented:

“Friars from different orders took advantage of the fact that festivities of the Indian ritual calendar coincided with the Catholic liturgical calendar, so they used this to support their evangelizing and missionary work. They replaced the commemorations to the pre-Hispanic divinities with festivities to Christian divinities, introduced European festivities and activities, and also took advantage of the Indian festivities, which resulted in a cultural syncretism from which authentically Mexican expressions have arisen.”

The Encyclopedia Americana explains:

Nativity plays early became a part of the Christmas celebration . . . The representation in church of the crèche [the manger scene] is said to have been begun by Saint Francis.”

These plays featuring the birth of Christ were performed in the churches during the beginning of the colonization of Mexico. They were organized by Franciscan monks in order to teach the Indians about the Nativity. Later the posadas became more popular. Whatever the original intention behind them, the way the posadas are held today speaks for itself. If you are in Mexico during this season, you can see or sense something that a writer for El Universal highlighted in his comment:

“The posadas, which were a way to remind us of the pilgrimage of Jesus’ parents looking for a shelter where the Child God could be born, are today only days of drunkenness, excesses, gluttony, vanities, and more and more crime.”

Traditional Nativity scenes

The idea of the nacimiento emerged during Colonial times from the original live representations in churches. While some find it attractive, does it correctly represent what the Bible says?
That is a valid question.

When the so-called three wise men — who in fact were astrologers — visited, Jesus and his family were no longer living in a stable. Time had passed, and the family was living in a house. You will find it interesting to note this detail in the inspired record at Matthew 2:1, 11. You can also note that the Bible does not say how many astrologers there were.

After Jesus had been born in Bethʹle·hem+ of Ju·deʹa in the days of Herod*+ the king, look! astrologers* from the East came to Jerusalem, saying: “Where is the one born king of the Jews?+ For we saw his star when we were in the East, and we have come to do obeisance* to him.” …  10 On seeing the star, they rejoiced with great joy. 11 And when they went into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and falling down, they did obeisance* to him. They also opened their treasures and presented him with gifts—gold and frankincense and myrrh. (Matthew 2:1-2,10-11)

Another detail should not be ignored: In the Mexican nacimiento, the baby is referred to as “the Child God” with the idea that it was God himself who came to earth as a baby. However, the Bible presents Jesus as being the Son of God who was born on earth; he was not the same as or equal to Jehovah, the Almighty God. Consider the truth about this, presented at Luke 1:35; John 3:16; 5:37; 14:1, 6, 9, 28; 17:1, 3; 20:17.

35 In answer the angel said to her: “Holy spirit will come upon you,+ and power of the Most High will overshadow you. And for that reason the one who is born will be called holy,+ God’s Son.+ (Luke 1:35)

16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son,+ so that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.+ 17 For God did not send his Son into the world for him to judge the world, but for the world to be saved through him.+ 18 Whoever exercises faith in him is not to be judged.+ Whoever does not exercise faith has been judged already, because he has not exercised faith in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.+ (John 3:16-18)

Three wise men, Santa and birthday celebrations

In Latin America, the three wise men replace the idea of Santa Claus. Still, as is done in other lands, many parents hide toys in the home. Then on the morning of January 6, the children look for them, as if the three wise men brought them. This is a money-making time for toy sellers, and some have made a fortune on what many honesthearted people recognize is just a fantasy. The myth of the three wise men is losing credibility among a goodly number, even among little children. Though some are displeased that this myth is losing believers, what can anyone expect of a fantasy maintained only for the sake of tradition and for commercial convenience?

Christmas, or the Nativity, was not celebrated by early Christians. One encyclopedia says about this:

“The celebration was not observed in the first centuries of the Christian church, since the Christian usage in general was to celebrate the death of remarkable persons rather than their birth.”

The Bible links the celebration of birthdays with pagans, not with God’s true worshippers.

But when Herod’s birthday+ was being celebrated, the daughter of He·roʹdi·as danced for the occasion and pleased Herod so much+ that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. Then she, at her mother’s prompting, said: “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”+ Grieved though he was, the king, out of regard for his oaths and for those dining* with him, commanded it to be given. 10 So he sent and had John beheaded in the prison. (Matthew 14:6-10).

This does not, of course, mean that it is not beneficial to learn and remember the actual events involved in the birth of the Son of God. The factual Bible account provides important insights and lessons for all those who want to do God’s will.

Birth of Jesus According to the Bible

You will find reliable information about Jesus’ birth in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. They show that the angel Gabriel visited a young unmarried woman by the name of Mary in the Galilean town of Nazareth. What message did he deliver?

“Look! you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and you are to call his name Jesus. This one will be great and will be called Son of the Most High; and Jehovah God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule as king over the house of Jacob forever, and there will be no end of his kingdom.” (Luke 1:31-33.)

Mary was very surprised by this message. Not being married, she said:

“How is this to be, since I am having no intercourse with a man?” The angel answered: “Holy spirit will come upon you, and power of the Most High will overshadow you. For that reason also what is born will be called holy, God’s Son.” Mary, recognizing that this was the will of God, said: “Look! Jehovah’s slave girl! May it take place with me according to your declaration.” (Luke 1:34-38).

An angel told Joseph about the miraculous birth so that he would not divorce Mary, which he was planning to do after he learned of her pregnancy. He was then willing to assume the responsibility of taking care of the Son of God. (Matthew 1:18-25).

Then a decree from Caesar Augustus forced Joseph and Mary to travel from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem in Judea, the city of their forefathers, to be registered.

“While they were there, the days came to the full for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her son, the firstborn, and she bound him with cloth bands and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the lodging room.” (Luke 2:1-7).

Luke 2:8-14 describes what followed:

“There were also in that same country shepherds living out of doors and keeping watches in the night over their flocks. And suddenly Jehovah’s angel stood by them, and Jehovah’s glory gleamed around them, and they became very fearful. But the angel said to them: ‘Have no fear, for, look! I am declaring to you good news of a great joy that all the people will have, because there was born to you today a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in David’s city. And this is a sign for you: you will find an infant bound in cloth bands and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there came to be with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God and saying: ‘Glory in the heights above to God, and upon earth peace among men of goodwill.’”

The Astrologers

Matthew’s account mentions that astrologers from the East came to Jerusalem looking for the place where the King of the Jews was born. King Herod was very interested in this — but not with good intentions.

“Sending them to Bethlehem,

he said:

‘Go make a careful search for the young child, and when you have found it report back to me, that I too may go and do it obeisance.’”

The astrologers found the young child and

“opened their treasures and presented it with gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.”

But they did not go back to Herod.

“They were given divine warning in a dream not to return to Herod.”

God used an angel to warn Joseph of Herod’s intentions. Joseph and Mary then fled to Egypt with their son. Next, in an effort to eliminate the new King, cruel King Herod ordered the killing of boys in the Bethlehem area. Which boys? Those two years of age and under. (Matthew 2:1-16).

What Can We Learn From the Account?

The visiting astrologers — however many of them there were — did not worship the true God. The Bible version La Nueva Biblia Latinoamérica (1989 Edition) states in a footnote:

“The Magi were not kings, but fortune-tellers and priests of a pagan religion.”

They came in line with their knowledge of the stars to which they were devoted. Had God wanted to guide them to the young child, they would have been led to the exact place without needing to go first to Jerusalem and to Herod’s palace. Later on, God did intervene to alter their course to protect the child.

At Christmastime this account is often surrounded by a mythical and romantic atmosphere that obscures the most important thing: that this baby was born to be a magnificent King, as was announced to Mary and to the shepherds. No, Jesus Christ is not a baby anymore, or even a child. He is the ruling King of God’s Kingdom, which very soon will eliminate all rulerships opposed to God’s will, and he will solve all problems of mankind. That is the Kingdom we ask for in the Lord’s Prayer.

44 “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom+ that will never be destroyed.+ And this kingdom will not be passed on to any other people.+ It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms,+ and it alone will stand forever,+ (Daniel 2:44)

“You must pray, then, this way:+

“‘Our Father in the heavens, let your name+ be sanctified.*+ 10 Let your Kingdom+ come. Let your will+ take place, as in heaven, also on earth.+ (Matthew 6:9, 10).

Through the angels’ declaration to the shepherds, we learn that the opportunity for salvation is open to all who are willing to hear the message of the good news. Those who gain the favour of God become “men of goodwill.”
There are marvellous prospects for peace in all the world under the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, but people must be willing to do God’s will. Is the Christmas season conducive to this, and does it reflect that desire?
Many sincere people who want to follow the Bible feel that the answer is obvious.

10 But the angel said to them: “Do not be afraid, for look! I am declaring to you good news of a great joy that all the people will have. 11 For today there was born to you in David’s city+ a savior,+ who is Christ the Lord.+ 12 And this is a sign for you: You will find an infant wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army,+ praising God and saying: 14 “Glory in the heights above to God, and on earth peace among men of goodwill.”* (Luke 2:10, 11, 14).

+

Preceding articles:

Irminsul, dies natalis solis invicti, birthday of light, Christmas and Saturnalia

Winter Solstice 2015: Shortest Day Of The Year Celebrated As Pagan Yule

Holidays, holy days and traditions

Focus on outward appearances

Autumn traditions for 2014 – 1: Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet

Traditionalists Vow to Fight Charges of Racism in Netherlands

The imaginational war against Christmas

++

Additional reading

  1. Altered to fit a Trinity
  2. Americans really thinking the Messiah Christ had an English name
  3. Spelling Yahshuah (יהשע) vs Hebrew using Yehoshuah (יהושע)
  4. First month of the year and predictions
  5. Hosea Say What?
  6. Matthew 1:18-25 – Genesis of Jesus Christ
  7. Matthew 2:1-6 – Astrologers and Priests in a Satanic Plot
  8. Matthew 2:7-12 – Pawns of Herod, the Magi Find the ‘Child’
  9. Matthew 2:13-15 – Escaping the Slaughter by a Flight to Egypt
  10. Matthew 2:16-18 – Slaughter of the Innocents
  11. Matthew 2:19-23 – Out of Egypt to Nazareth
  12. Nazarene Commentary Luke 1:26-38 – Gabriel’s Appearance to Mary
  13. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:39-40 – The Young Child Grows
  14. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:41-50 – Twelve Year Old Jesus in the Temple
  15. Truth, doubt or blindness
  16. Getting out of the dark corners of this world
  17. The place where Jesus was brought up
  18. A Living Faith #7 Prayer

+++

Further reading

  1. Is Santa Real, Or Is He Really You, Dad?
  2. “Islam may have bad stuff. But …” – What of the other Bronze Age Invented Gods?
  3. Did Electricity kill Religion?
  4. Should we forgo happiness here for the sake of happiness hereafter?
  5. Life Comes in Threes
  6. The three gifts
  7. Wassail Ancient holiday tradition that involves drinking, singing, and making introverts nervous.
  8. A Christmas Wish
  9. America’s First “War on Christmas”
  10. A Breath of Fresh Air
  11. Lapland baby #blogmas day 19
  12. Snowflake Tea Light Cozy
  13. Christmas: The Giver’s Feast
  14. O Christmas Tree!
  15. Christmas Music Matters: I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
  16. Preparing for Christmas
  17. Living in the Moment
  18. Jesus is the True and Better David (6/12)
  19. Last Minute Gift Idea
  20. Christmas Tree Farm
  21. A Christmas round up
  22. Mr. Santa’s Boogie
  23. 7 Events Which Turned Our Christmas Upside Down
  24. Jane Austen and old friends to the rescue
  25. 7th and 6th day of Christmas! !
  26. Once Upon a Holiday

+++

The gods or mighty ones

How often we are confronted by people wanting to convince us that John, the evangelist, is speaking about Jesus being God.

English: Ancient Greek: Definite Article

Ancient Greek: Definite Article (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A few trinitarians will even deny the significance of the article (“the”) in Scripture phrases like John 1:1,and say that theos (θεὸς) is usually translated as “God” whether it has the article or not, and, therefore, even though there is no article with theos (θεὸς) at John 1:1, the probability (they say) is very high that “theos” in John 1:1 means “God” and not “god” (or “a god”).

Most trinitarian scholars, however, will admit the importance of the article when distinguishing between “the only true God” and “a god” (“a mighty one”). However, some of them will attempt to prove that the article is properly understood to be there by producing some “grammatical rule” for the “peculiar” Greek grammar (or syntax) used at John 1:1c. Therefore, they will tell you, since the article is “understood” to be with theos at John 1:1c, then the Word is the God (the “understood” article showing that the only true God was meant)!

Is it true that the use of the article with theos (in the nominative case, θεὸς, as used at John 1:1c) makes little or no difference in distinguishing between “god” and “God”? – (See THEON study on John 10:33-36 for significance of the article usage in the accusative case – theon [θεόν] – and lack of significance of the article usage in the genitive case – theou [θεοῦ].)

The truth is that theos (“God” or “god”) when used as it is in John 1:1c (in nominative case – θεὸς – and without modifying phrases such as “God of him,” “God to them,” etc.) always has the definite article with it in the Gospels (including John, of course) when it is applied to the only true God!

Here’s what Professor J.G. Machen says in his New Testament Greek for Beginners, p.35:

“The use of the article in Greek corresponds roughly to the use of the definite article in English. Thus [logos] means ‘a word’; [ho logos] means ‘the word’.”

So, basically, the word “the” (the definite article, “ho” in NT Greek when used with the masculine nominative case) shows that the noun it is used with is one certain special thing. “The boss” is one certain individual whereas “a boss” is indefinite and could be any one of millions of individuals.

To illustrate the importance of the article for the meaning of “theos” in the great majority of instances, let’s look at all the uses of “theos” (in its nominative form) in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke as found in the Westcott and Hort (W&H) text.—If the definite article (“the”) is used with “theos” in the original manuscripts, “art.” has been written after the verse number. If the definite article is not there, “an.” (for “anarthrous”) has been written before the verse number:

Matthew 1:23 — art.

Mt 3:9 — art.

Mt 6:8 — art. (W&H)

Mt 6:30 — art.

Mt 15:4 — art.

Mt 19:6 — art.

Mt 22:32 — art. (4 occurrences) “the God of….” (W&H)

Mark 2:7 — art.

Mk 10:9 — art.

Mk 10:18 — art.

Mk 12:26 — art. (2 occurrences)

an. Mk 12:26 —- (2 occurrences) “God of….”

an. Mk 12:27 —- “a God of…”

Mk 12:29 — art. “the God of…”

Mk 13:19 — art.

Mk 15:34 — art. “the God of me” (2 occurrences)

Luke 1:32 — art.

Lk 1:68 — art. “The God of…”

Lk 3:8 — art.

Lk 5:21 — art.

Lk 7:16 — art.

Lk 8:39 — art.

Lk 12:20 — art.

Lk 12:24 — art.

Lk 12:28 — art.

Lk 16:15 — art.

Lk 18:7 — art.

Lk 18:11 — art.

Lk 18:13 — art.

Lk 18:19 — art. (W&H, UBS – anarth. in Nestle) – Appositive

an. Lk 20:38 —- “a God of…”

We can see that of 37 usages of “theos” (in nominative form as found at John 1:1c) for the only true God by these 3 Bible writers 33 of them have the definite article! That’s 90% of the time! But let’s examine the 4 “exceptions”.

Nouns used as subjects or predicate nouns (i.e. the nominative case), if they are part of a prepositional (usually possessive) phrase (e.g. “the God of me,” “the God to him,” etc.—meaning “my God,” “his God,” etc.), may or may not take the article. The use of the article under those conditions appears to be purely arbitrary and is used at random with little or no significance. A good example of this is found at 2 Cor. 4:4 – “the god of this age [or system]…”.

As trinitarian New Testament Greek scholars Dana and Mantey tell us,

“The use of prepositions, possessive … pronouns, and the genitive case also tend to make a word definite. At such times, even if the article is not used, the object is already distinctly indicated.” – p. 137, D&M Grammar.

And highly respected trinitarian NT Greek scholar A. T. Robertson tells us about such “prepositional” examples:

“in examples like this … only the context can decide [whether ‘the’ should be understood or not]. Sometimes the matter is wholly doubtful.” – p.781, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament, 1934.

Of all the 37 uses of “theos” (nominative case) by Matthew, Mark, and Luke can you guess which ones are used with possessive (or prepositional) constructions? That’s right! The 4 “exceptions” are all used with possessive (or prepositional) constructions!

Mark 12:26 says literally:

the God said, ‘I [am] the God OF Abraham and God OF Isaac and God OF Jacob.’”

But the parallel account at Matthew 22:32 says literally:

“I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.”

Even though Mark didn’t use the definite article with “theos” in the last half of this verse, it made no difference to the meaning because of the uncertainty of meaning inherent in such prepositional/possessive usages. Matthew did use the article in the parallel account, but its use under those circumstances was unnecessary. (It was Matthew’s writing style to always use the article with “theos” when referring to the true God regardless of grammatical options, but, obviously, Mark and Luke sometimes took advantage of the “prepositional/possessive” article uncertainty to ignore the normally-required article for “God”.)

This is further shown at the continuation of these parallel accounts. Matt. 22:32 says literally:

“not he is the God of dead.”

But the parallel account at Mark 12:27 says literally:

“not he is God of dead.”

And the parallel account at Luke 20:38 says literally:

“God not he is of dead.”

Notice that Both Mark and Luke do NOT use the definite article, but most trinitarian Bible translators consider them just as definite as the parallel verse in Matthew which does use the definite article – NIV, TEV, ASV, NAB, NASB, CBW, Beck, The Amplified Bible. (But due to the article inconsistency with prepositional/possessive constructions, we can also find INDEFINITE translations of these verses: “a God” – KJV, Mo, NWT; and “He is not God of the dead” – NEB, JB, RSV, Phillips.)

You can also see that “God” in Mark 12:27 is a predicate noun which comes after its verb, whereas “God” in Luke 20:38 is a predicate noun which comes before its verb. But since BOTH are frequently translated “the God,” we can easily see that it is not because of word position, but because of the “possessive” (prepositional) constructions, which these verses have in common, that they are so translated.

So we see that if we exclude all the nouns used with prepositional (usually “possessive”) constructions (in which there is little or no significance for the definite article – see the appendix of the “Definite John 1:1c” study paper for a detailed examination of this characteristic of “prepositional”-influenced nouns), we then find that Matthew, Mark, and Luke always (in all 25 instances) use the definite article with the nominative form for “theos” when they mean the only true God!

And if we include all the writings of Gospel writer Luke (Acts was also written by Luke), we find the definite article is still always used with the nominative case theos (in all 74 instances) when the only true God (the Father) is the subject! Yes, Acts always uses the article with its 59 uses of the nominative theos for God – even in the 9 “prepositional” instances!

But it doesn’t matter what language rules may be used by OTHERS. What really matters is: What rules are being used by THIS writer (JOHN)? For example, one of the many rules of standard English tells that one must use the SUBJECT form pronoun (similar to the Greek NOMINATIVE case) as a predicate noun. I.e., one should say, “It is I”; “It is he”; etc. And yet many Americans say (and write), “It’s me”; “It’s him”; etc. Therefore, we must always be careful to examine the rules that the writer in question uses in order to understand what meaning he really intended! So, to find the importance of the article for the precise meaning of “theos” in the writings of John, let’s look at all the places in his writings where John used the nominative case “theos” (the same form, or case, used at John 1:1c – θεὸς).

There are 50 such uses of “theos” by John (17 in the Gospel of John). Here is the list of every “theos” (nominative case) used by John. If it has the definite article, “art.” has been written after the verse number. If it does not have the definite article, “an.” (for “anarthrous”) has been written before the verse number. If it appears to be applied to Jesus, “Jesus” has been written after the verse number.

  1. an. John 1:1c – – – Jesus
  2. an. Jn 1:18 – – – Jesus

Jn 3:2 art.

Jn 3:16 art.

Jn 3:17 art.

Jn 3:33 art.

Jn 3:34 art.

Jn 4:24 art.

Jn 6:27 art.

Jn 8:42 art.

  1. an. Jn 8:54 – – -“God of you”

Jn 9:29 art.

Jn 9:31 art.

Jn 11:22 art.

Jn 13:31 art.

Jn 13:32 art.

Jn 20:28 art. Jesus (?) “God of me” (See MYGOD study paper)

1 John 1:5 art.

1 Jn 3:20 art.

1 Jn 4:8 art.

1 Jn 4:9 art.

1 Jn 4:11 art.

1 Jn 4:12 art.

1 Jn 4:15 art.

1 Jn 4:16 art. (3 occurrences)

1 Jn 5:10 art.

1 Jn 5:11 art.

1 Jn 5:20 art.

Revelation

Rev. 1:1 art.

Rev. 1:8 art.

Rev. 4:8 art.

Rev. 4:11 art. “the God of us”

Rev. 7:17 art.

Rev. 11:17 art.

Rev. 15:3 art.

Rev. 16:7 art.

Rev. 17:17 art.

Rev. 18:5 art.

Rev. 18:8 art.

Rev. 18:20 art.

Rev. 19:6 art. “the God of us”

Rev. 21:3 art.

  1. an. Rev. 21:7 —- “God to him”

Rev. 21:22 art.

Rev. 22:5 art.

Rev. 22:6 art. “the God of the spirits”

Rev. 22:18 art.

Rev. 22:19 art.

We can see that out of at least 47 uses of “theos” for the only true God (all those apparently not applied to Jesus), 45 of them have the definite article.

We can also see that of the 3 uses of “theos” that appear to be applied to Jesus (obviously Jn 1:1c and Jn 1:18 are applied to him; Jn 20:28 is not so certain – see study of John 20:28 – MY GOD), two of them (Jn 1:1c and 1:18) do not have the article. But if the article before “theos” indicates that the only true God is being spoken of, and if the absence of the article before “theos” indicates “god” or “a god” is being spoken of, how do we explain John 8:54 (absence of article even though applied to God), John 20:28 (article present even though, possibly, applied to Jesus), and Rev. 21:7 (article absent even though applied to God)?

Again we need to examine these “exceptions” as we did those of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Remember that nouns in the nominative case, if they are used in a possessive (or any prepositional) construction (such as “God of me,” “God to him,” etc.—meaning “my God,” “his God,” etc.), may or may not use the article with little or no effect on the actual meaning.

Of all the 50 uses of “theos” (in the nominative case) by John can you guess which ones are with prepositional constructions? That’s right! John 8:54 says literally: “you are saying that God of you is.” John 20:28 says literally: “the Lord of me and the God [or ‘god’] of me.” Revelation 21:7 says literally: “I shall be to him God and he will be to me son.”

That the last scripture (Rev. 21:7) should be considered in the same way as “of him” (i.e., the use of the article is basically without meaning in this case) is shown not only by its “possessive” meaning (“his God” and “my son” – see most Bibles) but by the actual usage in this very scripture. (Remember, too, that in reality it is nouns with prepositional constructions that have the article ambiguity, and we have a prepositional construction here: “God to him.”)

There are only 3 other places in John’s writings where “theos” is part of a prepositional construction: Rev. 4:11, Rev. 19:6, and Rev. 22:6. These, however, do take the definite article. So sometimes John uses the article with a prepositional construction and sometimes he doesn’t. Which is exactly what we would expect when the use of the article is purely arbitrary in such circumstances!

So we find that if we exclude all the prepositional constructions (only 6 for “theos” in all of John’s writings) as we should, then all of the remaining 44 instances of “theos” follow the rule (“theos” with article = “God,” and “theos” without article = “god” or “a god”).

Yes, there is a total of 117 places in ALL of the writings of the 4 Gospel writers where the nominative “theos” in non-prepositional form is applied to the only true God. Every one of them has the definite article! The only 2 places in all of these inspired scriptures where “theos” in non-prepositional phrases is clearly not applied to the only true God (John 1:1c and John 1:18) also just “happens” to be the only 2 places that do not have the definite article! So, in all 119 of the non-prepositional uses of “theos” by the Gospel writers the presence of the definite article always determines the only true God!

As for the 21 “exceptions” to the rule (p. MARTIN 2) that “theos” (nominative case only) must have the article (“the”) with it when it is referring to God, Martin has listed 17 genitive case nouns (“theou,” θεοῦ) which are already, by definition, prepositional (“of God”) and 2 Dative case nouns (“theo,θε) which are also already, by definition, prepositional (“to God”). All such examples use the definite article inconsistently because of the influence of the understood prepositional modifiers. These are worthless as examples which are supposed to test the significance of definite article usage, and Martin surely knows that. He has listed only 2 nominatives (“theos,” θεὸς, the proper form in question) and one accusative (“theon,” θεόν).

One of the 2 nominatives Martin lists may actually be a proper exception to the rule. It is found at Philippians 2:13 as written by Paul. So we may say that Paul (but not Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John) may have apparently made an exception to the “theos” with article rule for “God.” (See section at end of this study paper for Paul’s use of the nominative theos.)

But what about the 2 remaining “exceptions” listed by Martin? They are both found at John 1:18. One of them is an accusative (“theon” – θεόν). Accusatives normally use the definite article with “God” in the same way as nominatives. There is one other known exception (in addition to “prepositional” constructions) which applies to accusatives, however, and this is discussed in my John 10:33 study (THEON). John 1:18 is one of these infrequent exceptions for the accusative “theon,” but since it is not the nominative “theos” form as used in John 1:1c, it is still not a proper example.

This leaves only one proper example for Martin’s “exceptions”: “Theoswithout the article at John 1:18 in some NT texts. This is one of the two uses of the non-prepositional “theos” which are applied to Jesus! This “exception” actually proves (like John 1:1c itself) that Jesus is not God, but “a god”!

Yes, John calls Jesus “a god” in a similar sense to what Jehovah (and Jesus himself – in the writing of John only) calls certain men: John 10:34, 35 (quotes Psalm 82:6 which was addressed to Israelite judges). Most trinitarian scholars will admit that the Bible, on occasion, calls angels and certain men who represented God (Israelite leaders, judges, etc.) “gods”! Obviously, these persons were not to be considered equal to God. They were either “mighty ones” in their own right or were to be considered as carrying out God’s will … His rightful representatives. – See pp.4-9 of “The Definite John 1:1c” (DEF).

So we can safely say that in the Gospel writers’ accounts, at least, the definite article truly was used with the nominative “theos” whenever the only true God was intended. If this were not so, it would be senseless for so many trinitarians (including Martin himself) to expend so much time and effort in attempting to prove that the article really should be understood to be at John 1:1c because of some relatively recently produced “grammatical rule.” If the nominative “theos” didn’t really require the article to be applied to “God,” Colwell’s Rule (and others designed for Jn 1:1c) would not even have been invented by modern trinitarian scholars!

*

For those who accept only the KJV (or NKJV and KJIIV) and the Received Text (Textus Receptus) it’s based upon (or the “Majority Text”), please note that the definite article definitely is present with theos at Phil. 2:13 in the Received Text: ‘the god for is the working in you’ – see The Interlinear Bible, Baker Book House, 1982.

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Read more:

  1. Walter Martin and John 1:1c
  2. People Seeking for God 7 The Lord and lords
  3. Corruption in our translations !
  4. A voice cries out: context
  5. Pure Words and Testimonies full of Breath of the Most High

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    I documented a striking 20th-century decrease in the frequency of the definite article the (“Decreasing definiteness“, 1/8/2015) — from about 6.6% to about 5.4% in the Corpus of Historical American English; from about 6.4% to 5.2% in the Google Books ngram indices; and from about 9.3% to about 4.7% in U.S. presidents’ State of the Union messages.
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