Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Titles of Jesus: Archegon of Life and Holy One

The best exchange in the second debate between Paul Bilal Williams and Chris Green, in my opinion, happened around two hours, nine minutes, into the debate. It was during the audience question portion, which surprised me, because generally the audience interaction is the least helpful part of debates, sad to say.

The audience member first asked about the resurrection and particularly about Peter's message in Acts 2, in which he refers to the resurrection.

Paul Bilal Williams (PBW) responded by asking whether Peter in Acts says that Jesus is God, since that (rather than the resurrection) was the topic of the debate, and by asserting that Peter does not do so.

Chris Green (CG) followed up on PBW's challenge by reading a translation of Acts 3. The Authorized Version of the relevant passage is below:
Acts 3:12-15
And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.
The term the AV translates "prince" is archegon - the specific title is "ἀρχηγὸν τῆς ζωῆς." Other translations render it "author."

In the course of CG reading and explaining the text, PBW first interrupts to dispute the fact that "Holy One and Just" is a reference to God. But there is no reason for Chris to debate with him, because Christ can just go on to the title "Author of Life" (ἀρχηγὸν τῆς ζωῆς).

Incredibly, at this point, PBW again interrupts to say "that's not evidence that he's God."

(you can listen to the exchange by starting from the time provided at this link)

Sadly, I think that exchange is illustrative of PBW's inability to handle the text fairly. Several of the audience members actually provided some excellent instruction to PBW, which he tried to debate rather than be instructed. Nevertheless, the exchange above was illustrative of the fact that for PBW, even calling Jesus the Archegon of Life is somehow insufficient to call Jesus God.

But who but God is the Archegon of Life? Whether you translate that author of life or prince of life, how could a mere creature properly have such a title?

On top of that, "Holy One" is quite frequently a title of God. Here is a fairly comprehensive set of examples:
2 Kings 19:22
Whom hast thou reproached and blasphemed? and against whom hast thou exalted thy voice, and lifted up thine eyes on high? even against the Holy One of Israel.

Job 6:10
Then should I yet have comfort; yea, I would harden myself in sorrow: let him not spare; for I have not concealed the words of the Holy One.

Psalm 71:22
I will also praise thee with the psaltery, even thy truth, O my God: unto thee will I sing with the harp, O thou Holy One of Israel.

Psalm 78:41
Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.

Psalm 89:18
For the LORD is our defence; and the Holy One of Israel is our king.

Isaiah 1:4
Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.

Isaiah 5:19
That say, Let him make speed, and hasten his work, that we may see it: and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it!

Isaiah 5:24
Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 10:17
And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day;

Isaiah 10:20
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.

Isaiah 12:6
Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.

Isaiah 17:7
At that day shall a man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 29:19
The meek also shall increase their joy in the LORD, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 29:23
But when he seeth his children, the work of mine hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel.

Isaiah 30:11-12
Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us. Wherefore thus saith the Holy One of Israel, Because ye despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon:

Isaiah 30:15
For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.

Isaiah 30:29
Ye shall have a song, as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe to come into the mountain of the LORD, to the mighty One of Israel.

Isaiah 31:1
Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!

Isaiah 37:23
Whom hast thou reproached and blasphemed? and against whom hast thou exalted thy voice, and lifted up thine eyes on high? even against the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 40:25
To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.

Isaiah 41:14
Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 41:16
Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: and thou shalt rejoice in the LORD, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 41:20
That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the LORD hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.

Isaiah 43:3
For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.

Isaiah 43:14-15
Thus saith the LORD, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and have brought down all their nobles, and the Chaldeans, whose cry is in the ships. I am the LORD, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King.

Isaiah 45:11
Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.

Isaiah 47:4
As for our redeemer, the LORD of hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 48:17
Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.

Isaiah 49:7
Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.

Isaiah 54:5
For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.

Isaiah 55:5
Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the LORD thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee.

Isaiah 60:9
Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the LORD thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee.

Isaiah 60:14
The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee; The city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.

Jeremiah 50:29
Call together the archers against Babylon: all ye that bend the bow, camp against it round about; let none thereof escape: recompense her according to her work; according to all that she hath done, do unto her: for she hath been proud against the LORD, against the Holy One of Israel.

Jeremiah 51:5
For Israel hath not been forsaken, nor Judah of his God, of the LORD of hosts; though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.

Ezekiel 39:7
So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.

Hosea 11:9
I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city.

Habakkuk 1:12
Art thou not from everlasting, O LORD my God, mine Holy One? we shall not die. O LORD, thou hast ordained them for judgment; and, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction.

Habakkuk 3:3
God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise.
In fact, this title is an Old Testament title applied to Christ as incarnate even in the Old Testment:
Psalm 16:10
For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

Psalm 89:19
Then thou spakest in vision to thy holy one, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people.
And Acts records Paul applying this Old Testament passage to Jesus Christ:
Acts 13:35
Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

With respect, Peter (like Paul) did affirm the divinity of Jesus in Acts, as Chris Green aptly pointed out.


Tuesday, December 04, 2012

You're Treating me like a Slave!

In a previous post, I rejected the idea that women, and especially wives, are at the same level with slaves (link to discussion). As I said there, they are not.

In fact, the difference between the two is partially illustrated by Abraham's treatment of Hagar and Sarah. Recall:
Galatians 4:30-31
Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.
The difference between bondwoman (Hagar) and freewoman (Sarah) could hardly be more stark.

Our wives (in Western societies) are not slaves. We don't even have wives who are also slaves as did some of the Israelites. The may grumble about their domestic duties being some form of slavery, but truly they are not slaves or equivalent to slaves.

What about our children? They may also grumble about being "slaves," but there is more merit to that particular grumble. Recall that Scripture says (in close proximity to the discussion above):
Galatians 4:1-2
Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; but is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.
Of course, there are some important differences between slaves and children. Nevertheless, there is a comparison that can be legitimately made there.

I don't say that to encourage you to permit your children to grumble that you treat them like slaves. Rather, when they do, here's your chance to redirect the conversation to Scripture.