Book: A Harmony of the Gospels - In Modern English

A Harmony of the Gospels in Modern English—The Life of Jesus Christ offers an entirely new perspective and depth of understanding of the life of Jesus Christ. The arrangement of this harmony is based on the Biblical holy days as determined by the Hebrew Calendar. These are the keys that help unlock the proper chronology of all the events recorded in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The events that the Gospel writers were inspired to record make it very clear that the prophecies of Jesus Christ’s first coming were fulfilled on the holy days of God.

Jesus Christ’s life, death and resurrection fulfilled scores of prophecies in the Old Testament. One of the most profound prophecies that He fulfilled is found in the book of Isaiah: “...He will magnify the law, and make it honorable” (Isa. 42:21). Jesus fulfilled this prophecy by revealing the full spirit and intent of God’s laws in the Sermon on the Mount. The Scriptural records of His teachings in the Gospels clearly show that Christians are to keep the commandments of God not only in the letter but also in the spirit of the law. The commandments of God include observing His annual holy days and participating in the New Covenant Passover on Nisan 14. Partaking of the New Covenant Passover is done in remembrance of Jesus Christ’s death for the forgiveness of sins. The epistle of Paul to the church in Corinth shows that Gentile believers as well as Jewish believers are commanded to keep the holy days and the Passover each year. Notice Paul’s command to the Gentile believers at Corinth: “Therefore, purge out the old leaven, so that you may become a new lump, even as you are unleavened. For Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us. For this reason, let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (I Cor. 5:7-8).

Jesus Christ, Who was God manifest in the flesh, sacrificed His life on the Passover day, Nisan 14, as the true Passover Lamb to establish the New Covenant of eternal life. On the night of His last Passover, Jesus gave His apostles the instructions for the New Covenant Passover, which consists of the footwashing, partaking of the unleavened bread, and partaking of the wine. The footwashing symbolizes the true believer’s attitude of love and humility toward Jesus Christ and toward other believers who are brethren. The broken unleavened bread and the wine symbolize the broken body and the blood of Jesus Christ, which sealed the New Covenant. By partaking of these symbols as Jesus commanded, the believer renews his or her commitment to live by Jesus Christ, Who dwells within each true believer and imparts the power to overcome sin and receive the gift of eternal life. Notice: “I am the living bread, which came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is even My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world....Truly, truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you do not have life in yourselves. The one who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up in the last day; for My flesh is truly food, and My blood is truly drink. The one who eats My flesh and drinks My blood is dwelling in Me, and I in him. As the living Father has sent Me, and I live by the Father; so also the one who eats Me shall live by Me” (John 6:51-57).

Anyone who desires to live by Jesus Christ must do as Jesus taught: “The first of all the commandments is, ‘Hear, O Israel [Substitute your name and ask yourself, “Am I doing as Jesus commanded?”] Our one God is the Lord, the Lord. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second is like this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31).

How does one love God as Jesus said? The apostle John, whom Jesus loved, was inspired to show true believers how to love God: “By this standard we know that we love the children of God: when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God: that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome” (I John 5:2-3 ). True believers express their love for God by keeping His commandments. Jesus further clarified which commandments of God Christians are to obey: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4).

During His ministry, Jesus proclaimed that those who live by His words are building on a firm and lasting foundation. Notice Jesus’ admonition: “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and practices them, I will compare him to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock; and the rain came down, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; but it did not fall, for it was founded upon the rock” (Matt. 7:24-25). Jesus Christ is the Rock upon which all true Christians are being built up in the faith (I Cor. 10:4).

It is to this end and purpose that this book was written: to help you, the reader, to come into a close, intimate, personal relationship with your Creator and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Son of God; and to help you to grow in knowledge, understanding and faith in Him; so that you may ultimately be born of the resurrection into the Family of God, and thus fulfill the purpose of your existence. Jesus Christ, the Author of the New Covenant, offers you the gift of eternal life with Him as a glorified son or daughter of God. Through faith in Jesus Christ, repentance from sin, and baptism by immersion, you can receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and learn to live as Jesus taught, partaking of the Father’s mercy, forgiveness, grace and love (Acts 2:38-39, Rom. 8:1-11). When the Spirit that empowered Jesus to live a sinless life is dwelling in you, you also will learn to overcome sin in the flesh. At the resurrection, that same Spirit, which raised Him from the dead to eternal power and glory, will also transform your body to immortal spirit. This is the promise to all who live by the teachings of Jesus Christ: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave authority to become the children of God, even to those who believe in His name; who were not begotten by bloodlines, nor by the will of the flesh, nor by the will of man; but by the will of God” (John 1:12-13).

Please direct any questions, comments or suggestions you may have to the author at the publisher’s address: York Publishing Company; P.O. Box 1038; Hollister, CA 95024-1038.

Appendix A

A SYNCHRONIZED CHART OF HISTORICAL AND SCRIPTURAL RECORDS THAT ESTABLISH THE YEAR OF CHRIST’S BIRTH

The primary references that enable us to determine when Jesus Christ was born are those of Roman historians and of the Jewish historian Josephus, who lived from about 37 AD to 100 AD. These secular records can be used to establish the reign of Herod the Great, who attempted to kill the infant Jesus. Josephus records the names of the consuls who ruled in Rome at the time that Herod began his reign. Lists of all the consuls who ruled during the years from 509 BC to 337 AD have been preserved by Roman historians, giving us an exact time frame for dating the reign of Herod, which is essential to identifying the year of Christ’s birth.

Josephus states that Herod received the kingdom in Rome in the 184th olympiad (Antiquities, 14:14:5). Each olympiad was four years in length, with the years being reckoned from July 1 through June 30. The 184th olympiad was from July 1, 44 BC, to June 30, 40 BC. Josephus also records that Herod began his reign when Calvinus and Pollio were consuls of Rome. Calvinus and Pollio were consuls from January 1, 40 BC, to December 31, 40 BC. Since the 184th olympiad ended on June 30, 40 BC, it is evident that the reign of Herod as king in Rome began sometime between January 1, 40 BC, and June 30, 40 BC.

According to Josephus, Herod reigned thirty-seven years from the time that he had been coronated in Rome (Antiquities of the Jews, 17:8:1; Wars of the Jews, 1:33:8). Consequently, the end of his reign occurred sometime between January 1, 4 BC, and June 30, 4 BC. Since Jesus was born during the final months of Herod’s reign, all the historical facts limit the time of His birth to the period from June 30, 5 BC, to June 30, 4 BC. Because the Gospels place His birth during the fall festival season, the time is further limited to the year 5 BC. The historical and Scriptural records are presented in chart form on the following pages.

 

Appendix B

JESUS CHRIST WAS TAUGHT DIRECTLY BY GOD THE FATHER


JESUS DID NOT OBSERVE JEWISH TRADITION

The Gospels of Matthew and Luke record Jesus’ physical genealogy and show that He was of the line of David, of the tribe of Judah. Although He was born of the virgin Mary and was human in every respect, nevertheless, He was the Savior of mankind, the Messiah of the world. Because He was divinely begotten by God the Father, Jesus was the Son of God. His education was different from that of other Jewish boys of the first century. We find no evidence in the Gospels that Jesus was educated by the rabbis in Jewish schools or synagogues, or that He was taught to observe the religion of Judaism and practice Jewish traditions. As the Son of God, there can be no doubt that His education was special.

In order to understand how and from whom Jesus received His education, one needs to examine His words and teachings, as well as what He did. First, Jesus Christ always kept the commandments of God. Second, He did not observe the commandments and traditions of Judaism, which are the commandments of men. Although Judaism claims that these traditional practices are based on the commandments of God, the truth is that they originated in the minds of men, not in the words of God. Third, as the Lord God of the Old Testament, Jesus was the One Who had delivered the Ten Commandments. He came to dwell on earth as the only begotten Son of God the Father, born of the virgin Mary. Since He was God in the flesh, Jesus kept the commands that came from God the Father. He did not keep the traditions that men had added to the commandments of God.

Some have assumed that Jesus was trained and brought up according to Jewish tradition. Those who have swallowed this false assumption believe that Jesus practiced the religion of Judaism and conformed to the traditions of the Jews. They claim that Jesus was thoroughly Jewish in habit, custom, tradition, religion and outlook. Some even claim that Jesus was a Pharisee, perhaps a Pharisaical rabbi, and therefore Jesus would certainly have kept the traditions of Judaism. NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH! Throughout the four Gospels, we find that Jesus strongly denounced the traditions of the Jews—ALL OF THEM! On many occasions, Jesus condemned the scribes and Pharisees for rejecting the commandments of God in order to keep their own traditions. He said, “... Why do you also transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? ... ‘These people have drawn near to Me with their mouths, and with their lips they honor Me; but their hearts are far away from Me.’ For they worship Me in vain, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men” (Matt. 15:3, 8-9).

A closer look at these words reveals that Jesus emphatically declared to the leaders of Judaism that in keeping their own traditions, they were transgressing the commandments of God. In short, such behavior is SIN. Worship that is based on the traditions of men is vain, empty and useless—sanctimonious pretense. Yes, with their mouths and lips they professed to serve God, but their hearts were far from Him!

Think for a moment! Knowing that the traditions of Judaism transgress the commandments of God, would Jesus ever have observed those traditions? ABSOLUTELY NOT! What did Jesus do? The Scriptures tell us that He kept the Father’s commandments: “If you keep My commandments, you shall live in My love; just as I have kept My Fathers commandments and live in His love” (John 15:10). Jesus went far beyond keeping only the letter of the law. Rather, He always kept the full spiritual intent of the law and did those things that pleased the Father: “And He Who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone because I ALWAYS do the things that please Him” (John 8:29).

If Jesus had observed the traditional laws and commandments of Judaism, He would have been placing the traditions of men above the commandments of God. Instead, Jesus taught that to accept the traditions of men as the rule of law in place of obedience to the commandments of God, was sin. During a confrontation with the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus challenged them, “And because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. Which one of you can convict Me of sin? But if I speak the truth, why don’t you believe Me? ” (John 8:45-46)

The Scriptures reveal that Jesus did not sin at any time. In II Corinthians 5:21, Paul expressly states, “For He made Him Who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” The apostle Peter also records that Jesus “COMMITTED NO SIN” (I Pet. 2:22).


JESUS’ EDUCATION WAS NOT PHARISAIC

Jesus was twelve years old when He observed the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread with His parents in Jerusalem, as recorded in Luke 2:41-42. When the Feast ended, Joseph and Mary departed to go back to Nazareth, but Jesus remained. Having discovered that He was missing, they returned to find Jesus “... in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both hearing them and questioning them. And all those who were listening to Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers” (Luke 2:46-47).

How was it possible for Jesus to have such an extraordinary understanding of God’s Word at such a young age? First, the Scriptures tell us that Jesus had the Holy Spirit of God without measure. John was inspired to say this about Jesus when he was questioned by the scribes and Pharisees: “He Who comes from above is above all. The one who is of the earth is earthy, and speaks of the earth. He Who comes from heaven is above all; and what He has seen and heard, this is what He testifies; but no one receives His testimony. The one who has received His testimony has set his seal that God is true; for He Whom God has sent [Jesus Christ] speaks the words of God; and God gives not the Spirit by measure unto Him. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand” (John 3:31-35).

Second, the Scriptures show that Jesus was taught directly by God the Father. Jesus was not taught by men, nor did He ever follow the traditions of men. Here is what the Scriptures reveal about Jesus’ education: “But then, about the middle of the feast, Jesus went up into the temple and was teaching. And the Jews were amazed, saying, ‘How does this Man know letters, having never been schooled?’ ” (John 7:14-15) The phrase “having never been schooled” means that He was not taught in their schools. He did not attend the rabbinical school of Hillel, as some have claimed. Jesus Himself tells us where He was educated: “Jesus answered them and said, ‘My doctrine is not Mine, but His Who sent Me’ ” (verse 16). Jesus’ teachings were directly from God the Father, Who had personally taught Him. Jesus told the scribes and Pharisees, “I have many things to say and to judge concerning you; but He Who sent Me is true, and what I have heard from Him, these things I speak to the world....I do nothing of Myself [or of any man]. But AS THE FATHER TAUGHT ME, these things I speak” (John 8:26, 28).

Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would be educated directly by God the Father: “The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of the learned, to know to help the weary with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens my ear to hear as one being taught. The Lord GOD has opened My ear, and I was not rebellious, nor turned away backwards” (Isa. 50:4-5). As Isaiah foretold, Jesus was awakened early in the morning by His Father’s voice and was personally taught by Him. With daily instruction directly from God the Father, Jesus did not need to be taught by men.

Jesus’ education involved not only hearing the Father, but also seeing Him. So personal was His education from God the Father that Jesus actually saw the Father and what the Father did: “... Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, the Son has no power to do anything of Himself [of His own will or the will of any man], but only what He sees the Father do. For whatever He does, these things the Son also does in the same manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him everything that He Himself is doing. And He will show Him greater works than these, so that you may be filled with wonder....I have no power to do anything of Myself; but as I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father, Who sent Me’ ” (John 5:19-20, 30). No one but Jesus could see the Father and what He was doing. This was a unique and special relationship between Jesus and God the Father.

Jesus’ words in the Gospel of John confirm that He was not taught by rabbis or any other men who practiced the traditions of Judaism. Concerning their traditional education and schooling, the Jews distinctly said that He was unlettered—“having never been schooled,” as recorded in John 7:15. As Jesus Himself testified, He was personally taught by God the Father.

Jesus had direct, instant communication with God the Father at all times. The Gospels record that this special relationship with the Father existed when Jesus was twelve years old, and it had undoubtedly existed from His birth. This is affirmed by Jesus’ answer to Joseph and Mary when they found Him teaching the religious leaders at the temple: “And He said to them, ‘Why is it that you were looking for Me? Don’t you realize that I must be about My Father’s business?’ But they did not understand the words that He spoke to them” (Luke 2:49-50).

As the Son of God, sent to be the Savior of mankind, Jesus had to have a perfect and complete understanding of the Father’s will. If He had failed even once to do the will of the Father, this sin would have brought Him under the death penalty, and we would have no Savior. In order to know the Father’s will in everything, Jesus had to be taught directly by God the Father. No man—no scribe, no Pharisee, no learned sage or rabbi—could have imparted this divine knowledge to Jesus. It is critical for us to understand this fact so that we will not be deceived into believing that Jesus was taught by men and kept the traditions of the Jews.

Appendix C

EXEGESIS OF THE TRANSLATION OF “THE HOLY SPIRIT” AND ITS ANTECEDENTS IN JOHN 14, 15 AND 16

In this translation, the true scriptural understanding of the Holy Spirit is presented. The Greek New Testament reveals that the Holy Spirit is not a person. Rather, it is the power of God, which is imparted as the gift of God to everyone who repents of sin and accepts the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin. Upon true repentance, baptism and the laying on of hands, God the Father puts the power of the Holy Spirit within each true Christian, thereby making him or her His begotten child. This process is called conversion. However, it is not until the resurrection, when Jesus Christ returns to the earth, that all those who have died in the faith, together with those truly converted Christians who are still alive, will be born again. They will be transformed from fleshly human beings to glorified children of God and will reign with Jesus Christ as kings and priests in the Kingdom of God.

In his account of the begettal and birth of Jesus Christ, Luke clearly describes the function of the Holy Spirit as the power of God. Note the angel Gabriel’s message to the virgin Mary: “ ‘And behold, you shall conceive in your womb and give birth to a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give Him the throne of David, His forefather; and He shall reign over the house of Jacob into the ages, and of His kingdom there shall be no end.’ But Mary said to the angel, ‘How shall this be, since I have not had sexual relations with a man?’ And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit [Greek pneuma agion] shall come upon you, and the power [Greek dunamis] of the Highest shall overshadow you; and for this reason, the Holy One being begotten in you shall be called the Son of God’ ” (Luke 1:31-35).

Just before Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, He told His disciples that they would receive power from the Father: “And while they were assembled with Him, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem but to ‘await the promise of the Father, which,’ He said, ‘you have heard of Me. For John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit [Greek pneumati agioo] after not many days … But you yourselves shall receive power [Greek dunamis] when the Holy Spirit [Greek tou hagiou pneumatos, neuter gender] has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses, both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and unto the ends of the earth’ ” (Acts 1:4-5, 8).

In the New Testament, the Greek noun pneuma, which is translated “spirit,” is in the neuter gender. Likewise, the Greek noun phrases that are translated “the Spirit,” “the Holy Spirit,” and “the Holy Ghost” are always and only in the neuter gender. No masculine gender noun is used anywhere in the New Testament to designate the Holy Spirit, but only the Father and the Son. The use of the neuter gender in every scripture reveals that the Holy Spirit is not a person but the power that emanates from both the Father and the Son. The forms of the noun pneuma that are found in the Greek text of the New Testament are as follows:

1) pneuma spirit

2) to pneuma the spirit

3) to pneumatos the spirit

4) pneuma hagion spirit holy

5) to hagion pneuma the holy spirit

6) to hagion pneumatos the holy spirit

7) to pneuma to hagion the spirit the holy

Exegesis For the Translation of “The Holy Spirit”

The Greek noun pneuma, in all its various forms, is always and only neuter in gender. Likewise, all pronouns that refer to pneuma are always and only neuter in gender. If the Holy Spirit were a person, the nouns and pronouns in the Greek text would have to be written in the masculine gender, as are all the nouns and pronouns that refer to God the Father and Jesus Christ. However, nowhere in the Greek text of the New Testament is the Holy Spirit ever designated by a noun or pronoun in the masculine gender.

It is absolutely incorrect to translate any form or pronoun of pneuma in the masculine gender. Unfortunately, because most translators believe in the doctrine of the trinity, they have mistakenly used the masculine gender when translating the neuter gender nouns and pronouns pertaining to the Holy Spirit. The following five key verses in the Gospel of John that have been incorrectly translated in the King James Version:

1) “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” (John 14:17, KJV).

The Spirit of truth” is translated from the Greek phrase to pneuma tees aleetheias—literally, “the Spirit of the truth.” This noun phrase is in the neuter gender. The pronoun “whom” is translated from the neuter relative pronoun , and should accordingly be translated “which.” If the Greek text were expressing the masculine gender, the masculine relative pronoun would have been used instead of the neuter relative pronoun .

The three personal pronouns translated “him” are incorrectly translated into the masculine gender from the Greek neuter personal pronoun auto, which is properly translated “it.” If “the Spirit” were a person rather than the power of God, the verse would read rather than the neuter However, there is no such masculine noun anywhere in the Greek New Testament. If there were such a masculine gender noun, the masculine pronoun autos would be used instead of the neuter pronoun auto. Translators who know and understand the rules of Greek grammar do not mistake the neuter pronoun auto for the masculine pronoun . Thus the translation of the neuter pronoun in John 14:17 into the masculine personal pronoun “him” is completely incorrect. The neuter pronoun is used twice in this verse: “because it [the world] perceives it [auto] not, nor knows it [auto].”

The KJV translation of John 14:17 also violates another rule of Greek grammar. In the Greek text, a noun that serves as the subject of a verse often governs a number of verbs. In John 14:17, the noun phrase to pneuma tees aleetheias, meaning “the Spirit of the truth,” is the subject. Since the noun pneuma is neuter in gender, the subjects of all verbs that it governs should be translated in the neuter gender. In John 14:17, two third person verbs are governed by this noun. In the first instance, the translators have incorrectly translated the third person verb memei as “he dwelleth,” rather than “it dwelleth.” In the second instance, the subject of the verb estai, “[it] shall be,” was not translated, making it appear that “he” is the subject of both Greek verbs.

A correct translation of John 14:17 should read: “Even the Spirit of the truth, which [] the world cannot receive because it perceives it [auto] not, nor knows it [auto]; but you know it [auto] because it dwells [verb memei] with you, and shall be [verb estai] within you.”

2) “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me” (John 15:26, KJV).

The word “which,” referring to “the Spirit of truth,” is correctly translated from the neuter pronoun . In John 14:17, the translators of the KJV had incorrectly rendered this neuter pronoun as “whom.” However, in this verse, they have correctly rendered the pronoun as “which.”

The descriptive noun “the Comforter” is correctly translated from the masculine Greek noun ho parakleetos. While this masculine noun is used to describe a vital function of the Holy Spirit, it does not designate the Holy Spirit, or “the Spirit of the truth,” as a person. A descriptive noun never changes the gender of the principal noun. For example: Jesus said that He is “the true vine” (John 15:1). The Greek word translated “vine” is the feminine noun he ampilos. The use of this feminine noun to describe Jesus Christ does not make His gender feminine. In exactly the same way, the use of the masculine noun ho parakleetos to describe a function of the Holy Spirit does not alter the fact that the Holy Spirit is neuter. Because the Holy Spirit is neuter in gender—not masculine—there is no basis in the Greek text for interpreting the Holy Spirit as a person.

Although the Holy Spirit is not a person, it is in accord with Greek grammar to translate the pronoun on as “whom” because its antecedent is the masculine descriptive noun ho parakleetos, “the Comforter.” However, it is misleading to translate the personal pronoun on as “whom” when the principal noun is to pneuma tees aleetheias, which is neuter in gender.

The last part of this verse has been translated: “… he shall testify of me.” The use of the personal pronoun “he” once again gives the impression that the Holy Spirit is a person. However, that is not the meaning of the Greek text. The word “he” is translated from the Greek word ekeinos, which means “that” or “that one.” As with the pronoun on, the antecedent of ekeinos is ho parakleetos, “the Comforter,” which is a descriptive noun. Although it is masculine in gender, the principal noun is to pneuma tees aleetheias, which is neuter. The gender of the principal noun always takes precedence over the gender of the descriptive noun. Therefore, ekeinos has been translated “… that one shall bear witness of Me” in order to reflect the true meaning of the Greek text.

The translation of John 15:26 should read: “But when the Comforter has come, which I will send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of the truth, which proceeds from the Father, that one shall bear witness of Me.”

3) “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26, KJV).

As in John 15:26, the descriptive noun ho parakleetos, “the Comforter,” is used with the principal noun to pneuma, “the Spirit.” In the Greek text, the verse begins with these words: ... ho de parakleetos, to pneuma to hagion, o ... The noun phrase to pneuma to hagion, “the Holy Spirit,” is the antecedent of the neuter pronoun , which has been incorrectly translated “whom” in the KJV. Since is a neuter pronoun, it should be translated “which.” If the Greek text contained the masculine pronoun , it would be proper to translate it as “whom” to reflect the masculine gender. However, the Greek text uses the neuter form of the pronoun, not the masculine form.

The pronoun “he” in this verse is translated from the Greek ekeinos and should be translated “that one.”

This translation of John 14:26 conveys the precise meaning of the Greek text: “But when the Comforter comes, even the Holy Spirit, which the Father will send in My name, that one shall teach you all things, and shall bring to your remembrance everything that I have told you.” The translators of the KJV have also used the masculine pronoun “he” in Verse 16 of this same chapter: “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever” (John 14:16, KJV). As Verse 17 shows, “the Comforter” is describing the Holy Spirit, or “the Spirit of truth,” which is translated from to pneuma tees aleetheias, the same noun phrase that is used in John 15:26. Since pneuma is the principal noun, the meaning of the pronoun is governed by its neuter gender, not by the masculine gender of parakleetos, or “Comforter,” which is a descriptive noun. This translation of John 14:16 accurately conveys the meaning of the Greek text: “And I will ask the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that it may be with you throughout the age.”

4) “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come” (John 16:13, KJV).

All six occurrences of the pronoun “he” in this verse refer to “the Spirit of truth,” which is translated from to pneuma tees aleetheias. Since pneuma is neuter in gender, all six pronouns should accordingly be translated in the neuter gender. The first “he” is an incorrect rendering of the Greek ekeinos and should be translated “that one.” The remaining five occurrences of “he” are all subjects of verbs that are governed by the neuter noun pneuma and should be translated “it.”

The correct meaning of John 16:13 is reflected in this translation: “However, when that one has come, even the Spirit of the truth, it will lead [verb odeegeesei] you into all truth because it shall not speak [verb laleesei] from itself, but whatever it shall hear [verb akousee] it shall speak [verb laleesei]. And it shall disclose [verb anaggelei] to you the things to come.”

5) “He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you” (John 16:14, KJV).

As in John 16:13, the first “he” is translated from the Greek ekeinos, meaning “that one.” Since the antecedent of ekeinos is “the Spirit of truth” in Verse 13, both the noun and its pronoun are neuter in gender. The second “he,” which is the subject of the verb “shall receive,” is governed by “the Spirit of truth,” or to pneuma tees aleetheias, and should also be translated in the neuter gender. The verb “shall show,” which the translators of the KJV have rendered as a compound verb with “shall receive,” is also governed by “the Spirit of truth,” and should accordingly be translated in the neuter gender.

This translation of John 16:14 correctly follows the Greek text: “That one shall glorify Me because it shall disclose [verb anaggelei] to you the things that it receives [verb leepsetai] from Me.”

As the New Testament reveals, the Holy Spirit is not a person; rather it is the power of God. All references to the Holy Spirit in the Greek text are in the neuter gender. The use of the descriptive noun “the Comforter,” which is masculine in gender, does not alter the neuter gender of the Holy Spirit. There is no basis in the New Testament for the claim that the Holy Spirit is a third person in a trinity.

Eminent Greek Scholar Refutes Personality of the Holy Spirit

The use of the pronoun ekeinos, “that one,” does not affirm that the Holy Spirit has personality or is a person. The arguments concerning ekeinos, attempting to make the Holy Spirit a third person in the Godhead, are only unsubstantiated theological theories that are not based on the true meaning of the Greek. In fact, there is no place in the New Testament where the Holy Spirit is designated as a third person of a trinity. These fallacious arguments begin with the premise that the Godhead is a so-called “trinity”—a word found nowhere in the New Testament. Rather than seeking the truth of the Scriptures, the proponents of this theory must resort to twisted interpretations of Scripture in order to give a plausible, but false, explanation. However, the Greek New Testament does not teach that the Holy Spirit is a person, nor a third member of a triune Godhead. Rather, it teaches that the Holy Spirit is the power of God that He uses to accomplish His will.

The advocates of attributing personality to the Holy Spirit use several key scriptures to attempt to prove their theory. One verse in question is John 15:26, which reads: “But when the Comforter has come, which I will send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of the truth, which proceeds from the Father, that one shall bear witness of Me.”

In a detailed refutation of their claims, the eminent New Testament Greek scholar and syntax expert, Daniel B. Wallace wrote of this verse: “The use of [a masculine pronoun, that one] here [in John 15:26] is frequently regarded by students of the NT to be an affirmation of the personality of the Spirit. Such an approach is based on the assumption that the antecedent of [that one] is [spirit a neuter noun]: [It is claimed], ‘the masculine pronoun [that one] is [also] used in John 14:26 and 16:13-14 to refer to the neuter noun [spirit] to emphasize the personality of the Holy Spirit’ ” (Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, p. 331). In Footnote 42, Wallace noted: “The view is especially popular among theologians, not infrequently becoming the mainstay [the only basis] in their argument for the personality of the Spirit” (Ibid., p. 331).

“But this [conclusion] is erroneous. In all these Johannine passages, [spirit] is appositional to a masculine noun. The gender of [that one] thus has nothing to do with the natural [neuter] gender of [spirit]. The antecedent of , [that one] in each case, is [comforter, a masculine noun], not [spirit, a neuter noun]. John 14:26 reads: (‘the Comforter, the Holy Spirit whom [which] the Father sends in my name, that one will teach you all things’). [spirit] not only is appositional to [comforter] but the relative pronoun that follows it [(spirit)] is neuter! This hardly assists the grammatical argument for the Spirit's personality. In John 16:13-14 the immediate context is deceptive: (‘whenever that one comes—the Spirit of truth—he [it] will guide you in all truth….he [that one] will glorify me …’). The [that one] [in these verses] reaches back to v 7, where [comforter] is mentioned. Thus, since [comforter] is masculine, so is the pronoun [“that one” is masculine]. Although one might argue that the Spirit’s personality is in view in these passages, the view must be based on the nature of a [comforter] and the things said about the Comforter, not on any supposed grammatical subtleties [concerning “the Spirit of the truth,” which is neuter gender]. Indeed, it is difficult to find any text [in the New Testament] in which [spirit] is grammatically referred to with the masculine gender [because there are not any]” (Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, pp. 331-332, some bold emphasis and all bracketed comments added).

Wallace added further comments in related footnotes. Concerning John 16:13, he wrote: “Although translations of v. 13 such as that of the NRSV may be misleading as to what the subject of the sentence is (‘When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you…’), their objective is not to be a handbook for Greek students” (Ibid., Footnote 43, p. 332). To paraphrase, Wallace is saying that John 16:13 in the NRSV is an incorrect translation that does not follow the Greek text.

A correct translation of John 16:13-14 reads: “However, when that one has come, even the Spirit of the truth, it will lead you into all truth because it shall not speak from itself, but whatever it shall hear it shall speak. And it shall disclose to you the things to come. That one shall glorify Me because it shall disclose to you the things that it receives from Me.”

Wallace further refuted the notion that personality of the Holy Spirit can be found in the Greek New Testament. In another extended footnote he wrote: “Besides the Johannine texts, three other passages are occasionally used for this: Eph 1:14; 2 Thess 2:6-7; and 1 John 5:7. All of these have problems. In Eph 1:14 [which is the earnest] refers back to [the spirit] (v 13), but the masculine relative pronoun [he/which] (v.l.) is easily explained without resorting to seeing the theological motifs [of attempting to prove personality of the Spirit] … In 2 Thess 2:6-7 [spirit] is nowhere mentioned; [holding back/one Who is restraining] are often assumed to both refer to the Holy Spirit. But in spite of the fact that there is much to commend this view, it certainly cannot use clear natural-gender passages in support [of personality for the Holy Spirit], nor can such a known crux interpretum [critical interpretation] become the basis for such a syntactical point. [In other words, such an interpretation is contrary to the Greek.] First John 5:7 is perhaps the most plausible of the passages enlisted. The masculine participle in [three that bear witness] refers to the Spirit and the water and the blood] (v 8), all neuter nouns. Some see this as an oblique reference to the Spirit’s personality … but the fact that the author [John] has personified water and blood, turning them into witnesses along with the Spirit, may be enough to account for [the use of] the masculine gender [plural participle bear witness]. This interpretation also has in its behalf the allusion to Deut. 19:15 (the necessity of ‘two or three witnesses’), for in the OT the testimony only of males was acceptable. Thus, the elder [the apostle John] may be subtly indicating (via the masculine participle) that the Spirit, water and blood are all valid witnesses” (Ibid., Footnote 44, p. 332, bracketed comments and some bold emphasis added).

When the context of I John 5:6-9 is included, it is clear that Wallace is quite correct: “This is He Who came by water and blood—Jesus the Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that bears witness [neuter singular participle] because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that bear witness [masculine plural participle] on the earth: the Spirit, and the water, and the blood [all neuter nouns]; and these three witness unto the one truth [that Jesus was God manifested in the flesh and died for the sins of the world]. If we accept the witness of men, the witness of God is superior. For this is the witness of God, which He has witnessed [through the Spirit, the water and the blood] concerning His Son.”

In verse 6 “the Spirit that bears witness” is translated from the neuter singular participle, marturoun. If John had intended to attribute personality to the Holy Spirit, he would have used a masculine participle, but he did not. Therefore, the shift to the mascu- line plural participle marturountes in verse 7 does not by any means constitute attributing personality to the Spirit. Moreover, if the use of the masculine plural participle in verse 7 did, in fact, attribute personality to the Holy Spirit, then it would also have attributed personality to the water and the blood. However, no such argument has ever been made. Wallace’s analysis of the three witnesses in verse 7 with John’s use of the masculine participle is correct.

Proper analysis and exegesis of these critical verses clearly reveals that the Holy Spirit does not have personality. Therefore, the Holy Spirit cannot be a third person in a triune Godhead. The doctrine that the Godhead is a trinity of three persons is found nowhere in the Old or New Testaments.

Finally, the New Testament reveals that there are only two Persons in the Godhead— God the Father and Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is revealed to be the power by which God accomplishes His will. There is no basis in the New Testament for the claim that the Holy Spirit is the third person in a trinity.

Appendix D

BINDING AND LOOSING IN THE NEW TESTAMENT


Matthew 16:19 and 18:18

The Roman Catholic Church claims that Jesus gave to the apostle Peter and his future successors the powers of binding and loosing so that whatever they would bind or loose on earth, would be bound or loosed in heaven. They further contend that this authority grants an infallible pope the power to bind and loose contrary to the Word of God—thus making the Word of God void—and that this authority was given to Peter by Jesus Christ as recorded in Matthew 16:19 and 18:18. However, an exegetical study of the Greek does not support such claims.

In Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar, William D. Mounce gives a clear and insightful explanation of the underlying Greek text showing that what Jesus taught is entirely different from what many religious authorities assume, teach and practice. He writes, “In some translations of Matthew [16:19 and] 18:18, it sounds like Jesus promised his disciples that whatever they bound on earth would be bound in heaven, and whatever they loosed on earth would be loosed in heaven. In other words, they had the power to bind and loose, and Heaven (i.e. God) would simply back up their decrees. But the matter is not quite so simple; the actions described in heaven are future perfect passives—which could be translated ‘will have already been bound in heaven … will have already been loosed in heaven.’ In other words, the heavenly decree confirming the earthly one is based on a prior verdict [God had already made—“Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in the heavens” (Psa. 119:89).]

“This is the language of the law court. Jewish legal issues were normally decided in Jesus’ day by elders in the synagogue community (later by rabbis). Many Jewish people believed that the authority of Heaven stood behind the earthly judges when they decided cases based on a correct understanding of God’s law. (This process came to be called ‘binding and loosing.’) Jesus’ contemporaries often envisioned God’s justice in terms of a heavenly court; by obeying God’s laws, the earthly court simply ratified the decrees of the heavenly court” (p. 121, bracketed comments added).

Jesus did not give His apostles and disciples the authority to make binding decisions regarding anything on earth that had not already been decreed in heaven. Jesus specifically taught that He did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets (Matt. 5:17). Therefore, whatever is bound or loosed cannot be contrary to the laws and commandments of God, the revelation of the prophets or the teachings of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ did not give His apostles the authority to loose any of the Ten Commandments or any of God’s laws that are not connected with the priesthood and temple ritual. However, Jesus did give His apostles the authority to loose the religious traditions of the Jews (Mark 7:1-13; Acts 10:28) as well as pagan religious traditions (I Pet. 1:18; Acts 14:8-18). New Testament teachings that were foreshadowed and prophesied in the Old Testament and “bound” or decreed in heaven before Jesus Christ came in the flesh are as follows: to love the Lord God with all one’s heart, soul and might (Deut. 6:4 -6; Matt. 22:37-40); for Jesus to magnify the law and make it honorable (Isa. 52:14; Matt. 5-7); for Christ to die for the sins of the world (Psa. 22; Isa. 53; John 1:36; Rev. 13:8); forgiveness of sin, upon repentance, without temple animal sacrifices (Psa. 32:1-2; 51:1-17; Rom. 3:20-24; Heb. 10:1-17); circumcision of the heart (Deut.10:16; Rom. 2:28-29; Col. 2:2-13); Sabbath and holy day keeping for uncircumcised Gentiles (Isa. 56:1-6), taught by Paul (Acts 13:42-44; Heb. 4:9; I Cor. 5:8); and many others.

Any Christian-professing ministry or church that promotes sin—the transgression of the law—in its binding or loosing decisions is operating contrary to the Word and will of God. Its decisions are simply inventions of men and do not have the authority of heaven behind them. Examples of these are: adding to or taking away from the Word of God (Deut. 12:30- 32; Rev. 22:18-19); worshiping other gods or goddesses (Ex. 20:2-3; I Cor. 10:20-21); endorsing the making and worshiping of idols (Ex. 20:4-6; Isa. 42:8, 17; 44:9-20; I Cor. 10:14; 12:2; Rev. 9:20-21; 21:8); worshiping the dead “saints” (Isa. 8:19-20); exchanging the Sabbath and holy days of God for the pagan holidays of apostate Christendom such as Halloween, Christmas, New Years, Lent, Easter, etc., or any other so-called holy days of the religions of the world.

All binding and loosing decisions made by the ministry and brethren of Jesus Christ must be in complete accord with the Word of God and the teachings of Jesus Christ. These decisions are authoritative because they have “already been bound or loosed in heaven.” As Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me” (Matt. 28:18). All binding and loosing must be based on the authority of Jesus Christ and the Word of God.

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