- John 1:1
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Before we take a closer look at this passage, If you haven't read the article "I said you are gods" John 10:34, it would be helpful for you to do so now, before reading this article. Some things I'll be mentioning here are assumed to have been understood since they've been talked about previously in the other article. But I'll state again here briefly the "fact" that there are many in the bible that are referred to as "gods", such as Moses, Samuel the prophet, angels, the judges of Israel and of course the Messiah Yahoshua. These aren't 'false' gods, these individuals are referred to as 'gods' but the Heavenly Father Himself, who the Messiah tells us is the Only True God (John 17:3). Please read on.
Allow me to begin by explaining, again briefly, the Hebrew word 'elohim,' which is #430 in the Strong's Concordance, and is translated into the English as 'God,' 'god,' 'gods,' 'judges,' and 'angels.' And it is used to describe, as I've mentioned, the Messiah, Yahoshua, Is 9:6; Heb 1:9, 'angels' in Ps 8:5, Moses, in Ex 7:1, Samuel, the prophet, in 1 Sam 28:13, and the 'judges' of Israel, Ps 82:6, Jn 10:34. (all of which is talked about in detail in the article "I said you are god's" John 10:34)
This word 'elohim' can and is used in a singular or a plural sense, depending on the verb tense and context in which it's used. It's similar to our English words fish, sheep, etc, which could be referring to one or many.
The word 'elohim' is used a total of 2605 times in the Tanak, the so-called Old Testament. 2,366 of those times it's used in the 'singular' sense, primarily used to refer to Yahuweh (erroneously substituted with the phrase 'the LORD'), the Messiah Yahoshua (Psa 45:7; Heb 1:9), Samual the Prophet (1 Sam 28:13, the KJV erroneously translates it as 'gods'), angels (Psa 8:5 translated as 'angels'), and of course all the pagan gods, usch as Ashtoreth, Milcom, Chemosh, etc (1 Kings 11:5,7). Which are all referring to 'one' individual or being.
216 of those 2,605 times it's used in a plural sense, describing the judges of Israel as 'gods' (Psa 82:6, referred to by Yahoshua in John 10:34, etc), angels (Psa 8:5, etc...) and other pagan gods (Deut 31:20, etc...)
As for whether it is translated into English with a capital, 'G' or a small case, 'g' is entirely up to the discretion of the one translating it, for there IS NO SUCH THING as upper and lower case letters in the Hebrew alphabet, nor was there in the Koine Greek of the 'New' Testament.
The definition of the word, elohim, is 'mighty one' or 'mighty ones', again depending on the verb tense used in the sentence. So in the case of Yahoshua, the Judges, angels, and Moses, and Samuel, all of these individuals being 'representatives' of the Most High God, Yahuweh, they were referred to as 'gods' or 'mighty ones'. Which is the reason the Savior, classified His Father as the 'Only True' God' or the Only True Mighty One, in John 17:3. Because ultimately, it is the Heavenly Father, Yahuweh, that designates this authority or power to these other individuals, where by they are referred to as 'gods' or 'mighty ones'.
In Psa 82, because these 'judges' where sitting in the place of Yahuweh, when judging the people of Israel in matters of life and death situations, the Almighty Himself called them elohim or gods in Psalm 82
Psalm 82:6 "I said you are gods (Heb: elohim)," and all of you are my children."
In a like manner the Messiah Yahoshua will sit and judge on behalf of the Almighty, in the final judgment. Notice how the Apostle Paul describes it in Act 17:30-31
Act 17:30-31 Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God (Yahuweh) is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He (Yahuweh) will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He (Yahuweh) has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.
So we see that Yahuweh, the Almighty, the Only True God (John 17:3) , will judge the world, How will He do it? Through a man, and of course the man that Paul is referring to is Yahoshua, the Messiah. Keep in mind that Paul and all the writers of the 'New' Testament wrote thier epistles decades, 10,20,30... years after the death and resurrection and they continue to call the Messiah Yahoshua "a Man"(Act 2:22; 13:38; 17:31; Rom 5:15; 1 Cor 15:21; 1 Tim 2:5; Heb 10:12).
So the Messiah, because He will be acting on behalf of Yahuweh in judging the world, rightly deserves the title as god or 'mighty One'. 'NOT' because He is part of a 3 in 1 god, known as a Trinity, but because he has been given all power and authority in heaven and earth by the Only True God, His Father and ours, Yahuweh (John 20:17). With that understood let's read John 1:1.
John 1:1, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (remember there was no such thing as big "G" or little "g" in the Greek of the "New" Testament or the Hebrew of the "Old" Testament. Whether it's a big 'G' or little 'g' was totally up to the personal bias' of the one doing the translating. If the translator happened to believe in a Trinity then almost definitely he or she would use a big G, if the translator did not believe in a Trinity he/she would most likely use a small 'g'. So it's irrelevant as to whether the word "god" is used with a big or little 'g'. But as for me, I'll use a big 'G' in describing the Messiah, Yahoshua, not because he's the Almighty or part of a Trinity, but because he's my Savior, my Lord, and soon coming King, One who I would gladly lay my life down for.)
The word 'elohim' translated 'god', is not a name, as many people today falsely believe it to be, but rather it's a title, meaning 'mighty one' or 'mighty ones', and as as we've seen it's applied to many individuals. And the fact the Messiah is referred to as 'elohim' or god is not something that should be hard to understand seeing as how He was 'given' all authority in haven and earth. Making him the most powerful being in the Universe, second only to the One who gave him that power and authority, that being Yahuweh, the Only True Mighty One. But in this passage, John 1:1, I believe the confusion comes in when those that believes the "Word" being talked about in this passage was not only "with God" but was actually the very God he is said to be with. And that my friend is truly a "mystery", but it's not a mystery that is ever talked about in the Bible, nor are are ever told to believe in.
It's not an easy thing to understand how someone could be with someone and at the same time actually be the someone with whom He is said to be with. Confusing to say the least. Unless of course you believe in a '3 in 1 god' known as the Trinity, then it's said, "oh no, this makes perfect sense." Really!
One way to explain this confusing situation, on how the Word was 'not only,' "with God" but He was actually "the very God that He was said to be with," is to say it is a 'mystery,' something we can't understand or explain.
But there is an easy explanation for this passage, that when realized, will cause this 'Mystery' to cease to be a 'mystery' any longer.
Before we examine John 1:1 more closely lets take a look at some of the more clear statements the apostle John made concerning the Messiah, Yahoshua. For what better source to go to for an explanation of this passage than the author himself, John. Let's allow John to give us his understanding on who the 'God' here is and who the Logos, or Word, is.
John tells us that according to the Savior Himself the Father, who's name is Yahuweh, is the 'Only True God'.
Joh 17:1 Yahoshua spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You,
Joh 17:2 even as YOU GAVE HIM AUTHORITY over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life.
Joh 17:3 "This is Eternal Life, that they may know You, the Only True God, and Yahoshua Messiah whom You have sent.
John also tells us, recording the words of the Savior, that the Only True God, Yahuweh, is not only our God and Father, but He is also the God and Father of our Messiah, Yahoshua.
John 20:17 Yahoshua said to her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended unto the Father: but go unto my brethren, and say to them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and my God and your God.
The Savior tells us that His Father and God is not only greater then all of mankind but that the Father is Greater then the Messiah Yahoshua Himself.
John 10:29 My Father, who has given them unto me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.
John 14:28 You heard how I said to you, I go away, and I come unto you. If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I go unto the Father: for the Father is greater than I.
And John ends his gospel; by telling us the reason for his writing it in the first place was so that we might believe that Yahoshua is part of a "mystery god" made up of 2 or 3 different beings?" NO, of course not. But rather the reason he wrote his gospel was to prove to us that Yahoshua is the Messiah (Christ). Never does anyone in the Bible ever tell us to believe in a "god/man" or "god the son" or a "Trinity". Such terms are NEVER found in the Bible. Notice what it is that John wanted us to believe about Yahoshua.
John 20:30 Many other signs therefore did Yahoshua in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book:
John 20:31 but these are written, that you may believe that Yahoshua is the Messiah, the Son "of God" and that believing you may have life in his name
John also tells us that no one has ever seen God at any time.
1 John 4:12 "No one has ever seen God at anytime...."
Could Yahoshua, who John had seen before and after his resurrection, be the God that John is referring to? Of course not. He is referring to the Only True God, Yahuweh.
Later in his first epistle John describes for us "a liar and an anti-messiah (anti-christ)". Does he say that the person who refuses to believe in a 3 in 1 god, or Trinity is the anti-messiah! Of course not. Never does anyone in the Bible ever ask us to believe such a thing. John says that a liar and anti-messiah is the person who refuses to believe that "Yahoshua is the Messiah".
1 John 2:22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Yahoshua is the Messiah? This is the antimessiah (antichrist), the one who denies the Father and the Son. Proving that Yahoshua "is the Messiah" is exactly what all the apostles, and Yahoshua himself, did.
Again the apostle John tells us that if we believe that Yahoshua “is the Messiah” we are born of God.
1Jn 5:1 Whoever believes that Yahoshua is the Messiah is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him.
Mat 16:16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."
There is a difference between being the "living God" and being the Son of the Living God. Yahuweh tells us in Hosea 1:10, quoted by Paul again in Romans 9:26, that we shall all be called "sons of the Living God."
Mat 26:63 But Yahoshua kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, "I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Messiah, the Son of God."
Later as he hung on the stake they accused Yahoshua of “trusting in God”, not being God
Mat 27:41 In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him and saying,
Mat 27:43 "He trusted in God, let God rescue Him now, if He delights in Him, for He said, 'I am the Son of God.'"
Martha, a very close personal friend of Yahoshua's, did she think or believe him to be 'god the Son' or part of a 3 in 1 god known as the 'Trinity'. Of course not!
Joh 11:22 "Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You."
Peter told the thousands of Jews on the Day of Pentacost that it was God, that is the Only True God Yahuweh, that made Yahoshua both Lord and Messiah.
Act 2:36 "Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Messiah—this Yahoshua whom you crucified."
All of the apostles were preaching and teaching that Yahoshua “is the Messiah”. No one ever preached or taught anyone in the entire Bible that Yahoshua was a god/man, god the Son or nor part of a Trinity.
Act 5:42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they (that is all of the apostles) kept right on teaching and preaching Yahoshua is the Messiah.
Paul immediately after his conversion confounded the Jews by proving that Yahoshua is equal to God. NO! But rather that Yahoshua is the Messiah.
Act 9:22 But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Yahoshua is the Messiah.
Let me ask again, can you imagine the apostles believing Yahoshua to be a god/man equal with the Father and "NEVER MENTIONING IT"! Or can you believe that anyone in the Bible believed in a Trinity and again "NEVER MENTIONED IT"!
Paul continued to preach Yahoshua 'as the Messiah'.
Act 17:3 (Paul was) explaining and giving evidence that the Messiah had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, "This Yahoshua whom I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah."
Of course I can go on with verse after verse demonstrating that what the apostles were preaching and teaching was the fact that “Yahoshua is the Messiah”. Now if you would point out one passage in the 31,100 passages in the Bible that mentions 'a Trinity', or a god/man, or god the son or the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd person of anything let alone a Trinity. It doesn't exist.
John who wrote the Book of Revelation begins by telling us that the Father, Yahuweh, "revealed" to the Messiah the entire book of Revelation, and in turn the Messiah communicated it to John through his angels (Rev 1:1).
Rev 1:1 The Revelation of Yahoshua Messiah, WHICH GOD GAVE TO HIM....
Most scholars believe the Book of Revelation was written over 60 years after the death and resurrection. Meaning after Yahoshua rose from the dead and took his seat at the right hand of the Majesty on High (Heb 1:3; 8:1) the Father, Yahuweh, turned to him and said "Son let me reveal to you all that is about to come upon the world".
Can anything be revealed to God Almighty that He doesn't already know. That's not a question, of course not. and yet the book of Revelation had to be 'revealed' to Yahoshua. Why? Because he is not God Almighty or part of a Trinity. Remember the apostle John wrote this. He know exactly who Yahoshua was and was not. In Rev 3:12 Yahoshua tells us oever and over again that the Father Yahuweh is "His God".
Rev 3:12 'He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.
Well, with all that being said let's take a closer look at
John 1:1, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
That's the translation from the King James Version, needless to say that is not the only way scholars, well renoun Christian scholars, translated John 1:1
The names I'm about to mention, Edgar Goodspeed, William Barclay, James Moffatt, and so on, are all highly regarded translators. If you were to ask your minister about any of these men I'm very confident they would feel the same way concerning these men. Don't take my word for it "ask them". I might add that as you read what they have to say keep in mind that most of them, I'm not sure about a couple of them, all believe in a trinity, and yet they do not look at John 1:1 as a 'mystery')
Edgar J. Goodspeed in his translation of "The New Testament" An American Translation (1968) John 1:1 "In the beginning the Word existed, the Word was with God ,and the Word was divine."
William Barclay, the Christian Bible scholar, in his translation of "The New Testament" (1968) John 1:1 When the world began, the Word was already there. The Word was with God, and the nature of the Word was the same as the nature of God.
James Moffatt, a well respected bible scholar of the Hebrew and Greek, translated John 1:1 in his translation "The Bible" (1954)
John 1:1 "the Logos existed in the very beginning, the Logos was with God, the Logos was divine"
"The Authentic New Testament" by Hugh J. Schonfield (1955) "In the beginning was the Word the Word was with God; so the Word was divine" (Hugh J. Schonfield 'use' to believe in a Trinity, not to long ago he decided it wasn't biblical)
"The Four Gospel," A New Translation by Prof. Charles Cutler Torrey (1947)
"...the Word was god" (small 'g')
"The Bible," An American Translation by J.M.P. Smith and E.J. Goodspeed
"...and the Word was divine"
The Gospel History, according to the Four Evangelist, by John S. Thompson (1829)
"...and the Logos was a god"
I could go on with other translations of this passage but as you can see in the translations that are noted, by prominent Bible scholars, that Logos or Word in John 1:1 is defined as 'God,' 'divine,' 'a god,' 'god,' 'the nature of God.'
Why did these translators choose to use words such as 'god,' 'a god,' 'divine? Well, I believe the Christian Bible Scholar William Barclay explains it best.
Quote: "Now normally, except for special reasons, Greek nouns always have the definite article in front of them, and we can see at once that the 'theos' the noun for God (used in John 1:1, that is "was god") has not the definite article in front on it, it becomes rather a description than an identification, and has the character of an adjective rather than of a noun...If John had said 'ho theos en ho logos,' using a definite article in front of both nouns, then he would definitely have identified the logos with God, but because he has no definite article in front of 'theos' it becomes a description, and more of an adjective then a noun. The translation then becomes, to put it rather clumsily, "The Word was in the same class as God, belonging to the same order of being as God'... John is not here identifying the Word with God. To put it very simply, he does not say Jesus was God," --Many Witnesses, One Lord (Grand Rapids, Mich.; 1973 reprint), pp. 23, 24.
You see when a noun in the Greek does not have the definite article in front of it, it becomes more of an adjective then a noun, as Mr. Barclay, who is a Trinitarian, just pointed out.
Which explains why such Biblical scholars such as James Moffatt, Edgar J. Goodspeed, Prof. Charles Cutler Torrey and others defined the 'Logos' as 'divine' meaning 'heavenly' or 'of God.' Or as 'a god,' recognizing the Logos as a 'mighty one' which is how the word god is defined but also recognizing this 'god' as subordinate or inferior to "The" God. Which is a fact brought out by all the passages above and all through the Scriptures.
We have dozens of examples of nouns in the Greek without the definite article in front of them. A couple of examples which I believe will help in explaining John 1:1 are found in Act 12:22 and Act 28:6.
Act 12:22 "...and the people shouted saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man"
Notice the 'a' in front of the word 'theos', the Greek word translated "god" here, this is of course because there is not a definite article in front of the noun 'theos' (or god), just as there isn't a definite article in front of the word "theos" in John 1:1. So the translators of the King James Version, and I would imagine all other Christian translators, chose to translate the word "theos" used here as 'a god.'
Question: why didn't the KJV translators put an "a" in front of the word 'theos' in John 1:1, since in the Greek it's structured exactly the same way? The simply truth is, because King James and all the Christians of his day believed in a Trinity.
Another example: Act 28:6 Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.
Again we see the word 'theos,' without the definite article, and the King James translators once again chose to translate this word 'theos', without the definite article, as 'a god'.
Just as Act 12:22 this passage in the Greek is structured the same way as John 1:1 is. Only in John 1:1 although there is no definite article in front of the world 'theos' as there is not in the two examples above, the KJV translators left out the "a" in front of 'theos'.
Why the inconsistency among the translators of the King James Bible and other Trinitarian translations? Why translate this word 'theos' (without the definite article) as 'a god' in every case, except John 1:1, in which the word 'theos' is also without the definite article. Could it be the preconceived idea of the Trinity that the translators believed in that led them to alter their thinking in John 1:1, and call the 'logos' (Word) 'God' rather then 'a god?'
So you can see that when we believe the words of the Savior and realize that His Father is the 'Only True God' (Jn 17:3; John 20:17) this "mystery" of the Word or Logos being with God and yet being the same God he is said to be with, clears up. Yahoshua, who was with the Father in the beginning, is 'a god' or 'divine' not part of a Trinity.
It's my prayer that this article will help the honest and sincere heart to come understand why it is that the Messiah tells us his Father, who's name is Yahuweh, is the Only True Elohim or God. (John 17:3l John 20:12)