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The Trinity and John 2:19-22

HAROLD L. FLEMINGS
July 1992
 

From time to time, the argument is advanced that John 2:19-22 proves that Jesus and Jehovah are one and the same being. For convenience, let us place these verses before us:

"Jesus answered them, 'Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.' The. Jews then said, 'It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?' But he spoke of the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken." (Revised Standard Version)

Jesus' words: "I will raise it up" are set side by side with verses like these:

"...Be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by him this man is standing before you well." (Acts 4:10) (Revised Standard Version)

"This Jesus God raised up, and of that we are all witnesses." (Acts 2:32) (Revised Standard Version)

Now, if Jesus raised himself and also God raised Jesus, then it appears Jesus must be the God that raised him. At first glance, this seems to be the case. Nevertheless, it turns out that the scriptures frequently append the direct cause of an action to a source prior to the direct cause. Let us explore this more.

At Matthew 10:8, Jesus instructed his twelve disciples:

"Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without pay, give without pay." (Revised Standard Version)

Probably every Bible believer would agree that the disciples, themselves, could not possibly do these things. It required God working through them to accomplish these noble but difficult tasks. If the disciples made themselves available and went forth as Jesus Christ commanded, then it was certain that the dead would be raised, lepers cleansed and the sick healed. The first action (obedience to Christ) guaranteed the second action (God's healing) and the desired result. In that sense the disciples healed and raised the dead.

Turning to James 5:19, 20, we discover another example:

"My bretheren, if any one among you wanders from the truth and some one brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins." (Revised Standard Version)

Now is it literally possible that the rescuing Christian can 'save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins' or is that something only God can do? Isn't it true that if Christian "A" rescues the wandering Christian "B" and steers him in the right direction, he is thus in position now for God to save his soul from death and cover a multitude of sins? The first action (Christian "A" redirecting Christian "B") guaranteed the second action (God's deliverance and forgiveness). In that sense, Christian "A" saves the soul of Christian "B" and covers a multitude of sins.

There is example after example of the principle enunciated above.  The reader may wish to consider these, just to cite a few more:  1 Corinthians 9:22; 1 Timothy 4:16; Jude 22, 23. These are all illustrations of the following written formula: If action "A" guarantees that action "B" will occur, resulting in "C", then "A" is indirectly the cause of "C" and may in common conversation be said to be the cause of "C".

If Jesus was faithful to God unto death, his resurrection was guaranteed and thus, in this sense, he could say he resurrected himself. Because of this fact, it cannot be argued that Jesus is God.

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