And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.
(Acts 18:5 KJV)
Paul as he travelled reached Corinth. Every Sabbath, Paul went to the Jewish meeting place. He spoke to Jews and Gentiles and tried to win them over.
The Acts of the apostles is a record of early preaching efforts by genuine teachers. While there is a focus on their travels and their lives we can glean from their recorded messages and arguments what their emphasis was. Trinity was definitely not an emphasis! In this short record we will consider Paul’s message in a nutshell to the Jews.
Nicaea Christian enthusiasts are keen to explain the rings of trinity, but Paul we find emphasized to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. Let us explore this topic.
Jesus’ second name as most people think of it is ‘Christ’. But Christ is not a name but a title. Christ (ancient Greek: Christós, meaning ‘anointed’) is a translation of the Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ (Māšîaḥ).
Jesus is THE Messiah but there were many Messiah’s before him. It was a title given to special people such as priests and kings!
Unfortunately the English translation on many occasions is an interpretation so it shields the reader from the obvious. Example: If you search for ‘Messiah’ in KJV you will get only two occurrences (Dan 9:25,26) leading to the conclusion that this word appears only twice in the OT scriptures.
But, searching on the Hebrew word using a tool such as E-sword will reveal the word occurs 39 times. Here are some examples:
If the priest that is “anointed” ((I,e, Messiah/Christ)) do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the LORD for a sin offering. (Leviticus 4:3 KJV)
The word ‘Anointed’ is Hebrew ‘Messiah’. Here we see an example of anointing:
He also poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head and anointed him to set him apart for his holy duties. (Leviticus 8:12 GW)
Here the word ‘anointed’ is not Messiah but is maw-shakh’ ‘A primitive root; to rub with oil, that is, to anoint; by implication to consecrate;’ – Strong’s
Under the Law the title of Anointed or Messiah was given to the Priest.
As we come to the time of the Judges and the life of Samuel his mother prayed thus:
The adversaries of the LORD (YHWH) shall be broken to pieces; against them he will thunder in heaven. The LORD (YHWH) will judge the ends of the earth; he will give strength to his king and exalt the power of his anointed (I,e, Messiah/Christ).” (1 Samuel 2:10 ESV)
This a prophecy! Hannah said this prayer at the time when Israel had no kings. So it referred to someone in the future. The physical Jesus was a future concept. He will receive power from YHWH who will exalt him. If we can establish from ‘scriptures’ (this is what NT writers referred to the OT as), that Jesus was future prophecy the mystery of Trinity can be solved.
Subsequently God himself prophesied about a ‘future’ time to Eli when he spoke about the end of Eli’s line as priests:
And this that shall come upon your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, shall be the sign to you: both of them shall die on the same day. And I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in my heart and in my mind. And I will build him a sure house, and he shall go in and out before my anointed forever. And everyone who is left in your house shall come to implore him for a piece of silver or a loaf of bread and shall say, “Please put me in one of the priests’ places, that I may eat a morsel of bread.”‘”
(1 Samuel 2:34-36 ESV)
This seems to have been spoken of Zadok, who was anointed high priest in the room of Abiathar, the last descendant of the house of Eli; The High Priesthood continued in the direct descendants of Zadok as long as the monarchy lasted. He shall minister before Solomon (I,e, Messiah/Christ), and the kings which shall reign in the land.
References: Clarke/Gill commentaries. While these commentators are trinitarians they could see how the word Messiah/Christ/Anointed could be applied to Kings and Priests.
If Aaron was the first high priest to become Messiah/Christ/Anointed then Saul was the first King to take on the title of Christ:
Here I am; testify against me before the LORD and before his anointed (I.e Messiah/Christ). Whose ox have I taken? Or whose donkey have I taken? Or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed? Or from whose hand have I taken a bribe to blind my eyes with it? Testify against me and I will restore it to you.” (1 Samuel 12:3 ESV)
After Saul is rejected, David is ‘anointed’ as the Christ or Messiah:
When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed ((I.e Messiah/Christ)) is before him.” But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.” Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.” And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen these.” Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.” And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the LORD said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.”
(1 Samuel 16:6-12 ESV)
Samuel mistook Eliab as ‘YHWH’s CHRIST’.
Later David does not mess with Saul as he reveres him as “‘YHWH’s CHRIST’”
4 He came to the sheepfolds along the route, where there was a cave, and went in to cover his feet. Now David and his men were sitting in the recesses of the cave;
5 David’s men said to him, ‘Today is the day of which Yahweh said to you, “I shall deliver your enemy into your power; do what you like with him.” ‘ David got up and, unobserved, cut off the border of Saul’s cloak.
6 Afterwards David reproached himself for having cut off the border of Saul’s cloak.
7 He said to his men, ‘Yahweh preserve me from doing such a thing to my lord as to raise my hand against him, since he is Yahweh’s anointed ((I.e Messiah/Christ)).’
(1 Samuel 24:4-6 NJB)
Having seen how Yahweh’s anointed are Priests and Kings we also see in the song of praise that David gave to YHWH that his prophets (Abraham for example) are also called Anointed:
…saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan, as your portion for an inheritance.” When you were few in number, and of little account, and sojourners in it, wandering from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people, he allowed no one to oppress them; he rebuked kings on their account, saying, “Touch not my anointed ones ((I.e Messiah/Christ)), do my prophets no harm!”
(1 Chronicles 16:18-22 ESV)
As you can see the title of Christ was given to David and Saul the good and bad!
Maybe we can conclude that the title Christ is an exalted position a human takes and is specifically ordained for the task by God.
Here is another example of how broad the term and office is:
Thus says the LORD to his anointed (((I.e Messiah/Christ)), to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped, to subdue nations before him and to loose the belts of kings, to open doors before him that gates may not be closed: “I will go before you and level the exalted places, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron,
(Isaiah 45:1-2 ESV)
‘To Cyrus, my Christ,’ i. e, my anointed.
Finally we do have prophecies of Jesus himself as the Anointed or Messiah or Christ:
Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time. And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. (Daniel 9:25-26 ESV)
But these are only direct references to the word Christ in the Old Testament scriptures. Having understood that this is a title of kings in Israel we can substitute other prophecies to understand the coming king/Priest!
Example: Messiah/Christ == King
When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.'”
(Matthew 2:3-6 ESV)
There are more prophecies of the RULERSHIP of the coming ANOINTED:
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’
(Jeremiah 23:5-6 ESV)
“I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.
(Daniel 7:13-14 ESV)
Having read passages such as the above and studied the scriptures (O.T) for 100s of years, the expectation of the Messiah is:
• A ruler or THE RULER
• He will be in the LINE of David
• He is Anointed By God (Can we stick to the original and not get muddled up in this tangle: Jesus the God anointed Jesus the man by Jesus the Spirit when John baptized the ‘fully man fully god Jesus’)
The ‘anointed’ prophecy had a lot to do with kingship. Enter Jesus and he is not born in a palace and does not sit on a throne nor rules. He is poor and dies a brutal death. A big disappointment for the Jews who expected him to be like Samson!
As Jesus himself explained about these prophecies:
And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
(Luke 24:25-27 ESV)
How I wish the Nicaea Christians would accept Moses and the prophets as scriptures as Jesus and his disciples did!
ISSUE: Since the reading of Nicaea Christians starts from the Gospel of John and then work backwards too many facts are lost. TRUTH is LOST. As Jesus did, START from MOSES and the prophets then work your way to the Gospels and the apostles. Jesus was a PROPHECY in the Scriptures as Jesus put it. He became a reality at his birth. He is THE Messiah.
We will now follow Peter’s argument on the prophecy of the Messiah or his CORE message of preaching to the Jews:
Act 3:1 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.
And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk? The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. And his name–by faith in his name–has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all. “And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’ And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.”
(Acts 3:12-26 ESV)
If you can accept the words of Peter as he preached to the Jews after the resurrection of Jesus it is best! You will NOT get tangled into an un explainable Trinity!
Accept Peter’s Sound Doctrine as your statement of faith:
1. YHWH is your GOD. His reference is: “The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”
2. YHWH glorified his ‘SERVANT’ Jesus
3. Jesus was chosen because he proved himself to be “Holy and Righteous One”
4. God raised from the dead: This changes everything: If God would decide to raise Jesus a future date then Jesus would still be in his grave like any other human!
5. “by faith in his name” – I.e. believe Jesus is the Anointed one of God i.e. Follow the way of Jesus! [This was the biggest issue – Jews could not accept Jesus could possibly be the Messiah]
6. Prophecy fulfilled: Word becomes flesh – But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled
7. Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out
8. HOPE of the anointed to be King – Jesus went to heaven to return to rule: Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive
until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago
9. Jesus is a greater prophet than Moses as Moses said: ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you.
10. God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness
Peter did not start drawing triangles or Circles to explain the most important doctrine that Christians authorized at Nicaea.
Churches can adopt the above as a statement of faith of the Apostle Peter & John and scratch out the Nicaea creed.
Finally we turn to the prayer of the Apostles (Peter and John included):
And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit, “‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed’– for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
(Acts 4:24-30 ESV)
David wrote this prophecy by inspiration:
Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying,
(Psalms 2:1-2 ESV)
NOTE how the apostles understood the fulfilment of this psalm of David in Jesus the Servant/Christ of God.
We started with the quote:
And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.
(Acts 18:5 KJV)
Paul, Peter, John all had one emphasis from the verses examined in the context of the preaching emphasis in Acts to the Jews – Jesus is the Christ – Yahweh’s Anointed! They did not teach Jesus as the second person of a trinity.
The word CHRIST Appears 569 times in the New testament teachings. It is worthwhile exploring Jesus as Christ in all of the bible and learn about the Messiah rather than hit a dead end with unexplainable mysteries of the trinity. We have not explored every preaching in Acts but I hope we will explore more of the sound doctrines in the preaching of genuine teachers in this journey of 100 reasons why the word Trinity does not occur in the Bible.