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                                          TWO OR THREE WITNESSES

1 Jn.5:9: "If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son’.

Bernard claims of Jn.8:13 that there were two witnesses to his being the Son of God. "These two witnesses were the Father (the divine spirit) and the man Jesus. Both of these could testify that the Father was manifested in the flesh."(Oneness of God P.189-190) Let’s go to Scripture to see if he is reading it right. 1 John 3:8 should settle the issue, "For this purpose the Son of God was manifested." Tim.3:16 "God was manifested in the flesh." That makes the Son God! The truth is that the word manifest is only used in reference to the person of the Son, you will not find the Holy Spirit or the Father said to be manifest in the flesh.

In Jn.8:13 the Pharisee's contested who Jesus claimed to be, saying you bear witness of yourself. Jesus answers them "Even if I bear witness, my witness is true for I know where "I" came from and where "I" am going."

V.16-18 "And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent me. It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me." God the Father testifies who the Son is, and from where he was sent. In v.13 Jesus says he was sent from heaven and that he is bearing witness of himself again in v.18 he repeats it and then adds his Father also bears witness of him. If he is the Father who came from heaven he could not say this. Then his testimony is not of two persons and is untrue. Jesus' whole argument is that He and the Father are two in person, The Father is a witness to his deity as the Son of God. While in other passages he claimed they are one in nature, he is proving this by their testimony. According to the Old Testament legal law (Numbers 35:30, Duet. 17:6, 19:15) one must have another to bear witness so that a testimony is verified. Jesus needs to refer to the Father and himself as two distinct persons to be witnesses of his person, word’s, his works, and judgment. Jn.5:31-32 Jesus says, "if I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true, there is another (allos) who bears witness of me, and I know that the witness which he witnesses of me is true." Thus he refers to John the baptizer as a witness to the truth as the next passage explains. Jesus defines this as the testimony of two individual men, John and himself. Why would this refer to two individual’s, and Jesus’ reference to the Father and himself not also refer to two persons? The Gr. Word 'allos' (another) is used here to mean someone different from the subject that is speaking. In.v.34 he states, that he does not receive testimony from man, but used this illustration for them to be saved. Jesus appeals to others at times to testify who he is. Moses writings are used as a witness in of himself in Jn.5:46-47.

These and the other passages concerning witnesses would make absolutely no sense if the Father is actually Jesus, making them both one person, then there is only one witness. One cannot legitimately say, I am two witnesses to a crime, my body will testify and my soul or spirit will testify. Can a person honestly testify under different titles. Could someone in a court of law come and testify as construction worker, then be called as another witness as a husband and then as a third witness as a father? These are not three witnesses, but one person playing different roles.

This is exactly what is presented by Oneness as the alternative to the Trinity. Natures or roles do not witness but people do. The matter that needs to be settled is who he is? The Father is bearing witness of his Deity not of his humanity. If there is not another who is deity then he bears witness to himself. The Jewish system of law required two or more individual persons to bear witness. If he is only one person, both as, the Father and the Son he would be deceiving us and lying, thereby breaking the law and sinning. If Oneness theology is true this would be an intentional misrepresentation of the facts. If he is the Father, then there is only one witness of deity. What he is communicating is that he is one individual and the Father is another, making two witnesses. The very opposite argument he made in Jn.10:30 of them being one in nature. One shows the distinctions in persons, the other shows the unity of essence.

Jesus could have called on his mother and her husband Joseph to testify he was virgin born and was truthfully the Son of God, they were two qualified witnesses. They knew him to be this from the angel Gabriel who announced his birth and name to them. However, God chose the only persons who knew him as being the Son from all eternity, bearing witness of his Sonship. The Father and the Holy Spirit at his baptism, and both bearing witness throughout his life ministry. At the transfiguration he called him his Son and had him unveil the glory that was his all along.

But according to their Oneness view he is only one witness, since two cannot co-exist. Jn.8:54 "Jesus answered, If I honor myself, my honor is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; Here Jesus clearly states his honor comes from another person, If Jesus is the Father then he honors himself. Only personal witnesses are accepted by Jewish law, natures are not admissible. Jn.5:23 "All must honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him." Both deserve the same reverence, obedience, and worship. If the Son is only the humanity this is not Biblically possible. To honor a human as one honors the Father would be idolatry.

 

Introduction to the Oneness Movement  Oneness Theology The Word One     Mt.28 Baptism 
  The Word Persons   God Does not change Are Tongues and Baptism Necessary ?
  Proofs of the Trinity    Preexistence of the Son Who died on the Cross ? 
  The Trinity in the Resurrection The Grace of God Jn.1:1   The Son being Sent 
History of Heresies   The Right Hand of God  Today I have Begotten Thee
From the mouth of Two or three Witnesses  Oneness Pentecostals and Trinitarians Unite
Modern beginnings of Oneness The Early Church on Oneness Who was manifested in the flesh?

 

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These are excerpts from the book Who is Jesus ? Answering Oneness Pentecostals attacks on the Trinity. spiral book by Mike Oppenheimer of Let Us Reason ministries Wahiawa HI 96786

 

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