Here I am going to respond to selections from some of Kel’s articles on the book of Hebrews. The selections I have chosen are the ones I regard as embodying Kel’s main arguments; I have left out what I regard as repetitious or off the point. If I have missed or misunderstood Kel’s arguments, anyone who reads this – including Kel – is welcome to bring that to my attention.
. . .
The articles on the Trinity Delusion Website I am dealing with in this response have the following titles: Hebrews 1:2, Hebrews 1:3, Hebrews 1:5, Hebrews 1:6, Hebrews 1:7, Hebrews 1:8, and Hebrews 1:10. I will deal with them in one response article because they are all connected.
The passage covered in this section is Hebrews 1:1-13:
1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.
5 For to which of the angels did He ever say, “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You”?And again, “I will be a Father to Him And He shall be a Son to Me”? 6 And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, “And let all the angels of God worship Him.” 7 And of the angels He says, “Who makes His angels winds, And His ministers a flame of fire.”
8 But of the Son He says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, And the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom. 9 “You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your companions.” 10 And, “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the works of Your hands;
11 They will perish, but You remain; And they all will become old like a garment, 12 And like a mantle You will roll them up; Like a garment they will also be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end.” 13 But to which of the angels has He ever said, “Sit at My right hand, Until I make Your enemies A footstool for Your feet”? – NASB
Kel argues that the context of Hebrews 1 is the new creation and not the Genesis creation, meaning that to Kel the “worlds” or “ages” created through the Son do not mean the Genesis act of creation but the new creation only.
He also argues that although most of our Bible translations have God as the speaker throughout most of these verses, it really isn’t God speaking. Either the Scripture is speaking, or the writer of the prophecy being quoted in Hebrews is speaking. Kels says
“It is not necessary to translate legei as “He says.” Translators have routinely translated this word as “it says” when the Bible is referring to what Scripture says or the Law says. At the very least Trinitarians need to stop misleading people into believing that God is the speaker at Hebrews 1:7 and Hebrews 1:8-9 and Hebrews 1:10-12 because He isn’t.” (for my response his argument on “legei see the end of this article).
What that means is that in Kel’s view God is not calling the Son “God” in Hebrews 1:8. He also believes that the Scripture is not calling the Son God here, but that the correct translation is something along the lines of “of the Son it says, your throne is from God.”
New Testament Greek Analysis
Because these points are primarily based on Greek interpretation, and because Kel argues that Trinitarians are misleading people, I decided to consult a seminary professor who I know I can trust not to mislead anyone, and who knows more about New Testament Greek than Kel does. I asked him specifically about the argument that in places where the words are “but of the Son He says” as if God the Father was speaking, it really means “but of the Son it says,” “it” being either the Scripture itself or one of the Bible writers, but not God. He said:
“This argument has no merit. Beginning with verse 1, and stated again in verse 2, God is referenced as the subject who “has spoken” with an Aorist active participle for the verb laleo, 3rd person singular in verse 1, followed by the same verb (Aorist active indicative) in verse 2. From these two verses, it is clear that God (o theos) is the subject, i.e. the One who has spoken.
This continues in verses 5, 6, and 7 where God remains the subject who has spoken. In vv. 6 & 7 the verb is lego (meaning “to speak, or say”) 3rd singular with no indicated change in subject.
Continuing on this theme—the God who speaks—verse 8 begins as follows:
Pros de ton uion, which, translated literally, reads “but of the Son.” While the verb “speak, say” is not explicitly stated (which would also indicate the subject of who is speaking), this is hardly a problem for the Greek. It reflects, rather, a normal style of omitting a verb (and subject) when the line of thought and the subject remain unchanged. In other words, the Greek language does not require a pedantic inclusion of the same verb throughout a sentence sequence. Thus, the many English translations which render this phrase as “But of the Son he says,” are perfectly legitimate idiomatic representations of the Greek.
In fact, if the author were deliberately trying to change the subject—i.e. change the speaker from “God” to “it,” is would be highly unusual—and very poor Greek—for this to occur in the Greek without a new subject being explicitly stated. To argue that in verse 8 we are moving from “God” speaking to “It” speaking, meaning Scripture, is an argument from silence that invites serious questions. Given the fact that God clearly has been the speaking subject throughout the first seven verses makes it crystal clear that God is still speaking in verse. That is precisely why the cumbersome verb is not used—because it’s poor stylistically, and the meaning is clear.
If the writer were going for the subtlety of shifting from God speaking to Scripture speaking, omitting the subject of the sentence (and the verb) in the opening clause of verse eight would about to disingenuous trickery.
For these reasons, this argument fails entirely. Biblical scholars rightly reject this ‘interpretation’ (to use that term generously, in this case).”
. . .
Next I asked him about Kel’s take on Hebrews 1:10, which says ““You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the works of Your hands;” and which Kel says is not the Father speaking to the Son but instead the beginning of a new argument in which God the Father is being described.
The professor said,
“The same goes here. There is nothing in the Greek to substantiate his arguments.
Verse 10 continues with a mundane kai (and) to keep the flow of thought going. Moreover, given that the original texts had no verses, this makes his claim that the writer is taking up a new thought all the more odd.
There is simply nothing in the Greek to substantiate this claim.”
Now that we have laid that foundation, let’s take a look at a selection of Kel’s arguments.
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in a son. – Hebrews 1:1
“These words would be meaningless if God has spoken to Israel in a son in the Old Testament times. Hence, it is clear that the Trinitarian claims of Jesus speaking to Moses and the Israelites are most certainly false.
Additionally, we are told in verse 5, that God’s promise to David was fulfilled, “I will be a Father to him and he will be a son to Me.” These words are future tense and tell us Jesus was not yet a son to God nor was God a Father to him.”
The first point is a false dichotomy. The text quoted does not say that either God speaks through prophets or God speaks through his Son. This fact can be proven by observing that God continued to speak through prophets in New Testament times:
“And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues” – 1 Corinthians 12:28.
“In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets” – Ephesians 3:4-5.
Prophets are more prominent in the Old Testament and in the New Testament they take a back seat to the Son. But the fact that prophets and prophecy did not cease in “these last days” suggests that Hebrews 1:1 is not an either or statement.
The second point is mistaken in a similar way. In verse 5 we have a reference to an Old Testament statement that God will be a Father to him and he will be a Son to the Father. The original statement was future tense. Logically that does not convert into a statement that God was not already a Father to him before. It could simply be emphasizing that God’s Fatherhood to the Son, which already existed, would become more prominent in the future.
Consider the following passage about Israel:
“I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people” – Ezekiel 37:26-27.
Does that mean that God was not already their God? No, He was already their God. Ezekiel puts a comforting future emphasis on something that was already true at the time he made the prophecy. Why can’t the same kind of thing be true of Hebrews 1:5?
It is also true that Jesus’ human nature was not yet born into the world when the Old Testament was written, but that does not prove that the divine Son did not already exist at that time.
In these last days He has spoken to us in a Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the universe.
“Trinitarians claim this passage means that Jesus was involved with the Genesis act of creation as either (1) the Creator or (2) the agent through which God created.
The facts show that the Hebrews writer is not referring to the Genesis act of creation but to God creating all things anew in the risen Christ.
The Problems with the Claim
- The Creator does not inherit his own belongings
The passage says that the Son was appointed heir of all things. In verse 4, we are also told he inherited a better name than the angels. To claim this verse indicates Jesus is the Creator when it says he was appointed heir of all created things is to claim that the Creator needed to inherit his own belongings. It is absurd.”
Jesus as the Creator did not have to inherit his own belongings, for they are already his: Jesus said “All that the Father has is mine” before he sat down at the right hand of the Father. However, Jesus as a man had to work his way up to the top, so to speak; as it says in Philippians 2:8-9, “And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name.” In his human nature, Jesus did not inherit all things until after (or upon) his resurrection. Kel is assuming in advance that Jesus is not God as well as man.
That being said, it turns out that God does have an inheritance, one that he gives to himself. In the Old Testament God we find that Israel his inheritance. There are many examples, here I will provide one:
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.” – Psalm 33:12
That means that God can inherit that which already belongs to him. Apparently the word inheritance has a greater range of meaning than the one Kel assigns to it in making his argument.
“2. God made the AIONS through him.
The Greek word sometimes translated as ‘world’ does not mean this earth or this globe or the universe. It is the plural form of the Greek word aion which roughly means ‘age.’ The Greek word is slightly more elastic than our English word ‘age’ (which only denotes time) and can implies a time-space ‘reality.’”
This argument is irrelevant since it does not even allege that the ages don’t include the one that began in the Genesis creation. It also contains a mistake because the word “aion” can mean the world or the universe. Why Kel would state otherwise when the fact can be so easily discovered by looking in a Greek-English Lexicon is a mystery to me.
“3. The Passage is about “these Last Days.”
The writer has just informed his audience that he is referring to these last days in which God has spoken to us in a Son in contrast to the past days when God spoke to the Hebrews through the prophets.
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in a Son.”
The argument that the passage is “about” these last days is at least relevant, but it doesn’t work, because what Hebrews 1 says is “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world(s).” In saying “He spoke long ago to the fathers” the passage has already referenced other times than “these last days,” meaning that the passage can include references to earlier times.
This means that the writer is only necessarily referring to “these last days” regarding when he has spoken to us clearly through his Son. That does not mean that everything said about his Son (such as that the worlds were made through him) must have occured in “these last days.” Kel’s argument is shown to be fallacious by the fact that Hebrews 1:10 says You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the works of Your hands. This proves that the context does indeed include references to the Genesis creation, and this is true whether you agree with me that the “Lord” in verse 10 is Jesus, or with Kel that it is the Father.
“4. The Passage is about WHEN the Son inherited all things
The writer then tells us that God appointed the Son to be the heir of all things. We can also be sure that he has Jesus’ resurrection in mind because in verse 4 we are told Jesus became superior to the angels having “inherited a better name than them.” Hence, Jesus was appointed heir of all things when he rose from the dead and sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High. And this is precisely what the writer is affirming in chapter 2 where he explains that although Jesus was once lower than the angels, God has now crowned Jesus with glory and honor and placed him over all the works of His hands subjecting everything, including the angels, to Jesus.
‘in these last days has spoken to us in a Son whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world….. having made purification of sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to the angels, as he has inherited a better name than them.’”
That this passage is only about when the Son inherited all things is proven false by my previous argument.
In addition, the fact that that the Son (as a man) inherited all things when he rose from the dead does not prove that what was said about the Son (that the worlds were made through him) must refer to WHEN he inherited all things. Further, though Jesus as a man was a little lower than the angels before his resurrection does not mean that he wasn’t already above the angels as God. And again, if Jesus were not already the heir of all things before his resurrection, he could not have said “all that the Father has is mine” before his resurrection.
Another witness to this point is (as I pointed out elsewhere) the fact that the Father would have sent him more than 12 legions of angels to rescue him from the cross, which requires that Jesus had the right to refuse to go to the cross, a right which as a mere man he could not have had, since the Father had sent him precisely to go to the cross. If a mere man rejected the purpose God had for his life, his only “right” would be to go to hell. Only if Jesus was already equal with the Father before his resurrection could he have asked for and received such a favor.
In the first paragraph of his “Analysis of the Facts” in his article on Hebrews 1:2, Kel says some true things that are however not relevant to his mistaken theory that Hebrews 1:2 refers only to how God makes the new aions through the risen Christ.
“The Bible tells us that God will reign through Christ to the aions of the aions. So when we are told that God made the aions through the Son, this is what the Hebrew’s writer has in mind” (emphasis mine).
It simply does not follow that because God said the former, the writer of Hebrews meant the latter. That God made the aions through the Son could very well refer to what God had done in the past, and as such it might well include the Genesis creation (see my previous two responses). It is hard to understand why the writer of Hebrews would say that God made “the ages” through his Son, if he had meant to say that God only made the new ages through his Son. If he meant only the new ages, why didn’t he say the new ages?
“When God seated Jesus at His right hand and placed all things under his feet, a new reality was established. And this is what the Greek word aion implies. With the ages of time, new realities come and go. So when the writer says God made the aions through the risen Son, he is referring to the new reality that will exist in the coming aions, the new creation in Christ Jesus our Lord.
For it is not to angels God has subjected the world to come of which we are speaking. Hebrews 2:2.”
“For it is not to angels God has subjected the world to come of which we are speaking” is from Hebrews 2:5, not 2:2. “The world to come of which we are speaking” in Hebrews 2:5 refers back to Hebrews 2:3 and 4, which speak of our great salvation “which at first began to be spoken by the Lord” (at the beginning of Christ’s ministry) and then God bearing witness with signs and wonders and miracles, all characteristics of the world to come. It is obvious when reading Hebrews 2:3 and following that the new creation has now become the subject, even if it wasn’t before.
However, the fact that Hebrews 2:5 is now speaking of the world to come doesn’t mean the writer of Hebrews was speaking of the world to come in chapter 1. You cannot import that context backward into Hebrews 1 without a much better justification than any Kel has presented. This is especially true since a closer context to Hebrews 1 is found in Hebrews 1:10, which specifies in the beginning when the Lord laid the foundation of the earth. Hebrews 2:2, which Kel mistakenly referenced, also refers back to a time before Jesus was born, to the giving of the Law through the ministration of angels: “For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” – Hebrews 2:2-3, NASB
How can you logically take a context from Hebrews 2:5, jump over the context of the giving of the Law in Hebrews 2:2 and the context of the Genesis creation found in Hebrews 1:10, and insist that the context of Hebrews 2:5 determines the meaning everything in chapter 1 before verse 10? It is Kel who is illogical here.
“(2 Corinthians 4:4 / Colossians 1:15 / Hebrews 1:3)
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being sustaining all things by his powerful word. NIV.
The Trinitarian Claim: Jesus is the exact image of God, therefore Jesus is God.”
The fact that Jesus is the exact image of God is consistent with the idea that Jesus is God, but perhaps not the strongest proof that he is; however, the heart of the Trinitarian argument is not based on this particular passage. Although I have chosen not to use this verse as proof that Jesus is God, Kel makes some logical errors regarding it, which I will now analyse.
“The Problems with the Claim
- Image OF God means you are NOT God
By definition, if you are in the image of God, it necessarily means you are not God. It means you are in the image of someone else and that someone else is God. For example, we read at Genesis 1:26 that man was made in the image of God. We know this means that man is not God but someone made in the image of God.”
This might be true if it had said that Jesus is only an image of God. But if Jesus had God’s nature to start with and then assumed a human nature, he is now both God and in the image of God because he has both natures. Hebrews 1:3 does NOT say that Jesus is only an image of God. Although Genesis 1:26 also does not specify that Adam was only an image of God, the point that Adam was only an image of God abundantly clear from the context and from other explicit statements that Adam was not God. The same is not true of Jesus, contrary to what Kel says. Since neither this passage nor any other Scripture says that Jesus is only an image of God, Hebrews 1:3 cannot be compared to Genesis 1:26 and Kel’s argument is fallacious.
“Shall we suppose Christians are Christ because they are conformed to the image of Christ? Shall we then suppose Christians are God because they are conformed to Christ who is the image of God?”
The same response applies here: if Christ is both God and man, he is both the image of God and God. Christians, however, are men only; therefore we can at best only be conformed more and more closely to his image, but we can never be the one we were made in the image of.
Kel’s next arguments in his “Analysis of the Facts” points 1 and 2 (“1. Jesus Christ’s Resurrection Glory” and “2. Jesus Christ’s Resurrection Body”) is basically that the risen Christ is the Holy Spirit. Since I have already dealt with that notion in my response to has article on 2 Corinthians 3:17, I will pass over it here.
“3. Bearing all things by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:3)”
Kel’s basic argument here is that “The “word of his power” refers to the authority of the Son given to him when God seated him at His right hand.”
Since Kel’s purpose here is to state that Jesus did not uphold all things by the word of his power before God seated him at his right hand, I must disagree. The passage does not specify that. The “bearing all things by the word of his power” could refer to a condition that already existed and continued to exist before Jesus rose from the dead.
Hebrews 1:5 (2 Samuel 7:22)
“’You are great, O Yahweh God for there is none like You, and there is no God besides You.’
Proof of the Trinity Error
The evidence demonstrates with absolute certainty that David is speaking to the Father when he declares there is none like the Him and there is no God besides Him. David thereby excludes everyone but the Father alone as the one true God of Israel.”
Kel starts his evidence for this with these points: “Yahweh God makes a promise to David to raise up his seed to sit on his throne . . . . This Promise is Quoted at Hebrews 1:5 . . . . The Hebrews writer identifies David’s descendant in this promise as son Jesus of Nazareth.”
He then argues that 2 Samuel 7:14-15 says “I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me. When he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men,” and that the first sentence of this, “I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me,” is taken as a prophetic reference to Jesus at Hebrews 1:5. Since both Kel and I agree that Jesus was without sin, we therefore both agree that the rest of the passage, that starts with “When he commits iniquity,” does not apply to Jesus.
Kel also makes the point that many Old Testament statements were “intended to refer to the contemporary figure in question. But that does not mean they do not ultimately refer to Jesus,” a statement that I agree with. So far I find little to disagree with in this section besides the conclusion Kel states at the outset. However, he goes on to say:
“5. Solomon or Jesus: Same Result Anyway
Additionally, if one wanted to argue this verse, 2 Samuel 7:14 quoted at Hebrews 1:5, only applies to Solomon, the person in question will be a father to Solomon and Solomon will be a son to him. Who could that be but God the Father? It is absurd to claim a Triune being will be Solomon’s Father. In the same way, Christians regard God the Father to be their Father when the Bible says they are “sons of God” and that he is their Father. Hence, no matter how you slice it and dice it, the one God making this promise to David here is God the Father and only God the Father.”
I think this argument is in error because even though it is true that God the Father is a Father to both Solomon and to the Son Jesus, it does not follow that the Son cannot be a part of that God who is also the Father. The Word of God is a part of Yahweh God; Yahweh God made a promise to David by means of his Word. There is nothing is this statement that proves that God’s Word is not a person who is also God along with the Father who is making the promise.
“6. David then responds to the Father of Jesus
. . . . Then David responds to the Father and we are explicitly told this response is concerning what he had just heard from Him. Since this promise to David could have only come from God the Father, we can see quite clearly in verse 22 [of 2 Samuel] that David identifies the Father alone as the only God and that there is none like God the Father and there is no God besides Him. This testimony of David is certain proof that only the Father is the God of Israel since David has excluded everyone but He who made this promise to him, that is, the Father only.”
This is sort of a restatement of what he has already said. I think he is wrong that David identifies the Father alone as the only God simply because the Father is the one making the promise. If the Son is the Word the Father used to make is promise, the Father alone could be making the promise without that meaning that the Father alone is God to the exclusion of the Son.
And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”
“The Trinitarian Claim
Trinitarians claim this passage means that all God’s angels were to worship the incarnated infant Jesus and this worship indicates he is God.
The Claim vs. The Facts
The facts show that the verse refers to the risen Jesus, the firstborn out of the dead, and the angels must bow down to him because he became positionally superior to them when he sat down at the right hand of God.”
I find it rather strange that Kel would insist that when it says “Let all God’s angels worship him” it refers to the risen Jesus, but then imply that in Revelation 22:9, Jesus rejects the worship of John the apostle with the words, “you must not do that! Worship God.”
I also reject Kel’s claim that because in Hebrews 2:5 the oikoumene being discussed is the world to come, that therefore the oikoumene being discussed in Hebrews 1:6 must be the world to come rather than the earth, since the word can mean either and the context of Hebrews 1 is different than that of Hebrews 2. One online lexicon gives these definitions for Oikoumene:
- The inhabited earth
- The portion of the earth inhabited by the Greeks, in distinction from the lands of the barbarians
- The Roman empire, all the subjects of the empire
- The whole inhabited earth, the world
- The inhabitants of the earth, men
- The universe, the world
“Firstborn” can mean the pre-eminent one and not necessarily the first one born, therefore the words “when he brings the firstborn into the world” do not necessarily refer to the resurrection; indeed, the language of this passage implies to me that he already existed before he was brought into the world.
If there was biblical proof that the Son wasn’t superior to the angels until he rose from the dead and that the Son did not exist until he was born as Jesus, perhaps it would then be necessary to force Jesus’ resurrection into the words “when he brings the firstborn into the world.” But since there is plenty of evidence that the Son did pre-exist his birth as the man Jesus (John 17:5 comes to mind) and that he already had superiority to angels before his resurrection (Matthew 26:53 comes to mind), the most natural interpretation of the verse is that God brought the firstborn into the world from outside of the world. Indeed, when Jesus was born he was already the Lord, as it say in Luke 2:11: “today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who IS Christ the Lord” (emphasis mine).
“2. Firstborn: Jesus is the Firstborn out of the Dead
. . . The entire chapter is about Jesus’ and his exalted resurrection glory. He is the firstborn out of the dead and that is what is meant by ‘firstborn’ in verse 6, ‘when He brings His firstborn into the world.’”
One of Kel’s consistently repeated mistakes is to argue that since Jesus did things only a created being can do (such as to be born, to grow, to be promoted to a high position by God) he therefore does not have a divine nature, which was never born, does not grow, and cannot be promoted to a higher position since he is already as high as he can get. But the Bible says both about Jesus.
For reasons stated in my last response, I disagree with Kel’s notion that the biblical statement that Jesus is the firstborn out of the dead requires that when Hebrews 1:6 says “And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, ‘And let all the angels of God worship Him,’” “firstborn” must refer to Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.
“3. ‘Jesus is worshiped therefore Jesus is God’
Trinitarians commonly claim this would not occur to Jesus unless he is God. This is simply an outright lie. It is not true that proskyneo “worship” of Jesus therefore means he is God. There are all kinds of examples in the New Testament, and the Greek translation of the Old Testament, which prove that proskyneo “worship” was not something which was appropriately only given to God.”
Trinitarians generally do not hold that simply becaused Jesus was worshipped somewhere that therefore he is God, since sometimes men are also worshipped. But the degree of worship Jesus receives over and over again, both by himself and alongside the Father, is what convinces them. No one else in the Bible receives the degree of worship Jesus does except God. However, this is not the most conclusive proof of Jesus’ divinity so I won’t spend more time on it, even though I regard it as almost certain proof that Jesus is indeed the same God as his Father.
“Analysis of the Facts
- When He brings His firstborn into the world
Jesus is the “firstfruit” of those who have risen from the dead (1 Cor 15:23). The facts show that the words “when He brings His firstborn into the world” refer to God bringing His risen son into the heavenly economy of heaven with God and His angels. Jesus is the firstborn out of the dead and the writer also tells us explicitly that he is talking about the “world to come.” Therefore, his words obviously mean that he is referring the second Psalm, “Today I have begotten you,” to the risen Jesus who sat down at God’s right hand. God brought his firstborn, the risen Jesus, into the world to come, the heavenly economy of God and His angels.”
To me there is nothing in the words “when He brings His firstborn into the world” that remotely resembles the idea that those words refer to God bringing his firstborn, the risen Jesus, into the world to come, the heavenly economy of God and His angels. As we have seen “the world to come” is a context illicitly imported from Hebrews 2:5 into Hebrews 1.
“2. When Jesus became superior to the angels . . . . he was not always superior to the angels. Before his resurrection he was lower than the angels.”
If Jesus was lower than the angels before his resurrection, how come the Father would have honored Jesus’ choice and sent more than 12 legions of angels if Jesus had decided not to even be crucified in the first place (Matthew 26:53)? Jesus’ divine nature was already superior to the angels before his resurrection; only the position of his human nature was lower than the angels before his resurrection. Kel consistently fails to see that this is possible. But even on our level analogous things occur. If I as an adult enroll in a martial arts class, even the kids in the class outrank me as students because they have been studying longer. But I outranked them as an adult before I even enrolled in the class and still do, even though I voluntarily submit myself to the discipline of the class and take a position under them in that sense.
“And about the angels He says, “Who makes His angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire.”
The Trinitarian Claim
Trinitarians claim God the Father is the speaker in this passage. This claim is then carried into verse 8 and verse 10 where Trinitarians claim God the Father is still the speaker and He is addressing the Son. Some translations, such as the NIV, even go as far as inserting “He says” or “God says” into the text at verse 8 and verse 10. The Trinitarian claim at verse 10 rests completely upon this false claim.”
“The Scriptural facts show God the Father is not the speaker in verse 6 or verse 7.”
I refer the reader back to what the Greek scholar said at the beginning of this article. Kel’s claim is without merit; the Greek text here portrays God as the speaker even though in the passage being quoted (Psalms 104:4) the Psalmist was the speaker. There is nothing hard to believe about the fact that God can inspire a Bible writer to write, and then in a later Scripture reveal that He himself is the origin of those words.
For example, in Psalms 95:7 the only speaker is the Psalmist. He says in part,
“for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if only you would hear his voice, (verse 7) ‘Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness,where your ancestors tested me;’”
Clearly, as far as we can tell from Psalms 95, “Today, if only you would hear his voice . . .” are the words of the Psalmist. But in Hebrews 3:7-9 we find these words:
“So, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness, where your ancestors tested and tried me . . .’”
Clearly Hebrews 3 reveals that the origin of the words “Today, if only you would hear his voice . . .” is the Holy Spirit, even though this was not obvious from the original text. If in the New Testament, God is quoted as the speaker in an Old Testament text in which he was not obviously the speaker, you can be sure that in fact God was the speaker. The grammar of Hebrews 1:1-2 introduces God as the speaker, and God continues to be the speaker throughout the passage up until verse 10-12. That God is the speaker in Hebrews 1:5-12 is just as clear as the explicit statement that God was the speaker in Hebrews 3:5.
“Our first clue that something might be terribly wrong, is that Trinitarians interpret God the Father to be the speaker in verses 6 and 7 but in both verses God would be speaking about Himself in the third person:
And again when He brings the firstborn into the world, Hesays, “Let all God’s angels bow down to him.”
And about the angels He says, “Who makes Hisangels/messengers spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire.”
But if God is the speaker, we would expect the following:
And again when He brings the firstborn into the world, Hesays, “Let all MY angels bow down to him.”
And about the angels He says, “Who makes MYangels/messengers spirits, and MY ministers a flame of fire.”
While God does refer to Himself in third person in Scripture, the reader should realize that it would be a very unusual coincidence to be quoting two separate verses where He is doing such a thing.”
This argument is based on the twin assumptions that self-reference in Scripture is rare and that the appearance of the two quotations concerning angels in Hebrews 1:6 and 7 is a coincidence. However, the inclusion of two such quotations might not be coincidence at all. The writer may have put these quotations next to each other because they were stylistically similar. Also, self-referring statements by God in Scripture are not really rare. Consider the following, where third-person self-references are put in bold text:
Exodus 3:12: “Certainly I will be with you, and this shall be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God at this mountain.”
Exodus 9:5 The Lord set a definite time, saying, “Tomorrow the Lord will do this thing in the land.”
Exodus 24:1-2: Then He [God] said to Moses, “Come up to the LORD, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu and seventy of the elders of Israel, and you shall worship at a distance. Moses alone, however, shall come near to the LORD, but they shall not come near, nor shall the people come up with him.”
2 Kings 9:6-7: “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘I have anointed you king over the people of the LORD, even over Israel. You shall strike the house of Ahab your master, that I may avenge the blood of My servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the LORD.”
2 Samuel 7:11 “Even from the day that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. The LORD also declares to you that the LORD will make a house for you.”
Jeremiah 6:27, 30: “I have made you a tester and a refiner among my people so that you may know and test their ways. . . . They are called ‘rejected silver,’ for the LORD has rejected them.”
Hosea 2:20 “And I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. Then you will know the Lord.”
Amos 4:11 “I overthrew you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, And you were like a firebrand snatched from a blaze; Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the LORD.”
Jeremiah 11:17: “The LORD of hosts, who planted you, has pronounced evil against you because of the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah, which they have done to provoke Me by offering up sacrifices to Baal.”
Matthew 13:41: “The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks . . .” – Jesus, speaking of himself in the third person.
More examples could be provided. Clearly, the assertion that it is rare in the Old Testament for God to speak of himself in the third person is without foundation.
“The first problem with the Trinitarian claim involves the Greek word legei, a form of the verb legō. The Greek word which is commonly translated as “HE says” in verses 6 and 7 is legei. But legei is used in the New Testament Scriptures to refer to what “He says,” or “She says,” or “It says,” that is, what the “the Scripture says,” or “the Law says.” However, Trinitarians disregard these facts.”
Since Kel admits here that the word legei can mean “he says” I don’t see how he can find a problem here with translating it as “he says” since God is the only speaker mentioned in the context. Later he makes the claim that “The NT writers would use the word legei when they wanted to refer to what Scripture or the Law says, what IT says.” That is a far more radical claim that is contrary to what he said in the paragraph quoted above. It is also easily proven false, as we will see when we get there.
At the beginning of this article I quoted from someone who knows more New Testament Greek than Kel does to demonstrate that the argument quoted above is without merit. Kel is also guilty of poisoning the well with his continual personal attacks on the motives of Trinitarians. The fact is that a majority of koine Greek scholars who – whether Trinitarian or not – agree that God is made the speaker by the writer of Hebrews in verses 6-10, even if this wasn’t apparent in all the Old Testament texts quoted.
“Hebrews 1:7 is a quotation of Psalm 104:4. The problem with the Trinitarian interpretation of Hebrews 1:7 is that God the Father is not the speaker in Psalm 104. The Psalmist is the speaker and he is speaking about God and to God . . . . Clearly, God the Father is not the speaker in this passage. The Psalmist is the speaker. The Psalmist is the speaker throughout the entire 104th Psalm.”
This is not a problem at all. There are other Old Testament passages in which a prophet or scribe wrote something that the New Testament attributes to God himself. My prime example was given above, namely that the Psalmist says in chapter 95 “Today if you will hear his voice . . .” and yet in Hebrews 3 it is revealed that even though God was not identified as the speaker in that Psalm, He was the speaker after all.
Amazingly, Kel says that “God is the speaker at Psalm 95:9-11 through his prophet David (see Hebrews 3:7-11; 4:7)” and yet misses the fact that Hebrews 3:5 identifies God as the speaker in Psalm 95:7-8 even though the context of Psalms 95:7-8 only shows that the Psalmist is the speaker. Thus Kel’s assumption that if God is not identified as the speaker in an Old Testament passage then God must not have been the speaker in that passage stands solidly refuted by the very book of Hebrews he is commenting on.
As we have seen at the beginning of this article (in the section entitled A New Testament Greek Perspective), God is referenced as the subject who has spoken in verse 1 and verse 2 and continues to be the speaker all the way up to verse 10. Thus Kel’s “conclusion” to this section is diametrically opposed to what actually is the case.
But concerning the Son, “Your throne O God is forever and ever.”
“Trinitarians claim God the Father addresses Jesus as “God” in this verse . . . . The facts show that the Trinitarian interpretation and translation is impossible and the writer is rather describing how the exalted Jesus now has the authority of God’s throne.
The Problems with the Trinitarian Claim
Hebrews 1:8 is a quotation of Psalm 45:6. The above translation of Hebrews 1:8 is another example of Trinitarian translation bias. Here they outrageously try to claim that God the Father is addressing Jesus as “O God.” This translation crudely violates the context for the sake of Trinitarian tradition.
- The Greek Grammar and Intentional Translation Bias
Concerning Hebrews 1:8, Trinitarian apologists are somewhat pretentious and would have you believe their “O God” translation is the only possible translation. So they always cherry pick the vocative “O God” translation for their apologetic agenda. However, Trinitarian Greek translation scholars openly admit the Greek grammar does indeed allow for a different translation. Trinitarian scholars admit that “God is your throne (or Your throne is God) is grammatically correct (see Robertson or Westcott for example). Some of these scholars also concede that it makes theological sense. This is also evidenced by a review of various major translations. The RSV translates Psalm 45:6 as “Your divine throne endures forever and ever.” The NRSV footnote for Psalm 45:6 reads, “Your throne is a throne of God” and the Hebrews 1:8 footnote reads, “God is your throne.””
“Thy throne, O God” is not the only possible translation, but it is the most likely. To say of the Son “Your throne is of God” does not show that the Son has any superiority to the angels, which the context of Hebrews 1:4-5 indicates it should; “. . . having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels did He ever say . . . . Thy throne, O God” – Hebrews 1:4-5, 8.
Kel mentions a footnote in the NRSV that says “your throne is a throne of God” but he forgets to mention that the footnote to the RSV translation reads, “Footnotes: Psalm 45:6 Or Your throne is a throne of God, or Thy throne, O God,” and in the NRSV Psalm 45:6 (not the footnote) reads, “Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever,” and Hebrews 1:8 in the NRSV reads, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.”
Kel also neglects to mention that almost all translations other than the old RSV read “Your throne, O God.” For instance, take a look at these examples from http://biblehub.com/psalms/45-6.htm:
New International Version – Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.
New Living Translation – Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. You rule with a scepter of justice.
English Standard Version – Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness;
New American Standard Bible – Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
King James Bible – Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.
Holman Christian Standard Bible – Your throne, God, is forever and ever; the scepter of Your kingdom is a scepter of justice.
International Standard Version – Your throne, God, exists forever and ever, and the scepter of your kingdom is a righteous scepter.
NET Bible – Your throne, O God, is permanent. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of justice.
New Heart English Bible – Your throne, God, is forever and ever. A scepter of equity is the scepter of your kingdom.
Aramaic Bible in Plain English – Your throne, oh God, is to the eternity of eternities. A straight scepter is the scepter of your kingdom.
GOD’S WORD® Translation – Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter in your kingdom is a scepter for justice.
JPS Tanakh 1917 – Thy throne given of God is for ever and ever; A sceptre of equity is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
New American Standard 1977 – Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Thy kingdom.
Jubilee Bible 2000 – Thy throne, O God, is eternal and for ever, the rod of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
King James 2000 Bible – Your throne, O God, is forever and ever: the scepter of your kingdom is a righteous scepter.
American King James Version – Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the scepter of your kingdom is a right scepter.
American Standard Version – Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: A sceptre of equity is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
Douay-Rheims Bible – Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a sceptre of uprightness.
Darby Bible Translation – Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; a sceptre of uprightness is the sceptre of thy kingdom:
English Revised Version – Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of equity is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
Webster’s Bible Translation – Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the scepter of thy kingdom is a scepter of justice.
World English Bible – Your throne, God, is forever and ever. A scepter of equity is the scepter of your kingdom.
Young’s Literal Translation – Thy throne, O God, is age-during, and for ever, A sceptre of uprightness Is the sceptre of Thy kingdom.
In the Section “The word “throne” in Scripture,” Kel spends some useless time arguing that if Trinitarians have a problem with the translation “God is your throne” it is because they don’t understand the use of the word “throne” in Scripture, and that such a phrase would merely mean that God is the seat of the Son’s authority, not that the Son would be “sitting on God.”
Kel is off base with this criticism because many Trinitarians understand very well the use of the word throne in Scripture. Trinitarians object that the interpretation “God is your throne” or “your throne is of God” isn’t found in ancient sources or commentaries, who all seemed to understand this phrase as “Thy throne, O God.” Also, the idea that God is the seat of the Son’s authority does not demonstrate any superiority to angels, since God is also the seat of the angel’s authority, and in fact God sets up every king, even those inferior to angels. Since the argument being raised in Hebrews 1:8 is supposed to show the Son’s superiority to angels, the translation “your throne is of God” can be ruled out on that basis alone.
Kel’s next argument is that since Hebrews 1:8-9 is a quotation of the Septuagint translation of Psalm 45:6-7, and the 45th Psalm celebrates an ancient Davidic king’s marriage to a foreign princess, that if Hebrews 1:8 is calling Jesus God, then Psalms 45:6 would be calling Solomon (or another merely human Davidic king) God.
Kel’s argument here doesn’t work because of the fact that prophetic utterances initially addressed to one person will sometimes interject references to another person without prior warning. A good example of this is found in Ezekiel 28:11-19, which says in part
“Again the word of the Lord came to me saying, Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre and say to him, Thus says the Lord God,
You had the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God;” (verses 11-13) And “You were the anointed cherub who covers, And I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.” (verse 14).
At the end of Ezekiel 28:11-19, the destruction of the king of Tyre is prophesied. This passage is addressed to the king of Tyre and yet it immediately interjects things that were not true of the king of Tyre, that he was in Eden, and that he was the anointed cherub on the mountain of God. These other things were true, however, of Satan. At least two individuals are being prophesied about even though only one is addressed by name. The same thing happens in some New Testament quotations of the Old Testament: an added meaning is revealed in the New Testament that was not evident in the Old Testament original (see Matthew 2:18’s quotation of Jeremiah 31:15).
This fact alone demolishes Kel’s assertion that if a prophetic Psalm is addressed to someone like Solomon but then in the midst of the Psalm says, “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever,” that would have to mean that Solomon is the one being called God. Another individual could be referred to by that Psalm even if Solomon or some other merely human king was the only one specifically referred to in the Psalm itself.
Psalm 45:6 makes perfect sense being addressed to Solomon; Solomon’s Davidic throne indeed will last forever, and Solomon himself was one to whom the word of God came, making him an “elohim” or “god” in the sense of being God’s representative. But Hebrews 1:8 reveals that the same words spoken to Solomon echo words spoken by the God the Father to his Son. Since in the context of Hebrews 1 these words must prove the Son is superior to the angels, what the Father said to the Son cannot mean that the Son is merely God’s human representative. The Son must therefore be God above the angels.
“3. God’s God . . . . if we follow the “O God” translation to it’s logical conclusion, we have even more preposterous consequences. Consider verses such as Psalm 43:4, “I shall praise You, O God, my God.” In Scripture, when anyone addresses the God of Israel as “O God” it means they are acknowledging He is their God. For this reason, it is absurd to suggest God the Father would address anyone as “O God.”
It is not absurd that God the Father would address someone as “O God” unless that would mean He is addressing someone superior to himself, which all agree is impossible. If the Son is God and the Father is God, why wouldn’t they address each other as God? Such a situation would not mean that either is superior in his divinity to the other.
“The Trinitarian translation results in a situation where God addressed someone else as God and then says that God’s God anoints God so that God will be above God’s peers. Let the reader appreciate the utter implausibility of such a claim.”
Kel’s confusion is partly because he does not acknowledge that Christ is both God and man. If God the Father anoints the Son’s human nature to be above his human peers, that doesn’t mean that the Son’s divine nature is not already above them. This “Trinitarian translation” – as Kel calls it – would not mean “God’s God anoints God so that God will be above God’s peers.” The Trinitarian way of looking at this passage is that one person who is God (the Father) anoints the human nature assumed by another person who is God (the Son), which officially ordains that the Son’s humanity is now above all other humans (who are called “his peers”).
“Another problem with the Trinitarian claim is translation inconsistency. At Hebrews 1:8-9, the Greek term ho theos (“the god”) occurs three times. The term ho theos is the usual Greek way of referring to God in the Bible and our English word “God” is the normal way to translate this Greek term. Trinitarians inconsistently translate ho theos as “O God” in verse 8 but as “God” in verse 9. More technically, they are inconsistently interpreting hotheos as “O God” in verse 8 but as “the God” in verse 9 . . . . The Greek term ho theos normally means “the God” but Trinitarians would have it that here it means “O God.” But there is no reason to translate this Greek term in this manner except to promote a man-made tradition, that is, the doctrine of the Trinity.”
Response from the Seminary Professor:
“There is no inconsistency here. Because v. 8 is a “quotation” of Psalm 45:6, which reflects a direct address to God, hence, the vocative case, it is not uncommon to include the article with God (o theos) followed by a word in the nominative case, which is going on here. In short, this is the proper Greek construction for a direct address (a vocative) which in English is commonly rendered as “Oh.” Thus, even though the Greek noun for God in vv. 8 & 9 are both identical (i.e. in the nominative case with the definite article), the rest of the construction must be taken into account.
The first clause of v. 8 in the Greek is as follows:
O thronos sou o theos eis ton aiona
(your throne) (Oh God) (is everlasting)
(nominative) (nominative) (accusative)
As Joseph Smith S. J. notes in Biblical Greek (Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico, Rome, 1994):
‘The nominative with the article is thus found for the vocative [direct address] even in classical use; but where it occurs in the NT it is rather to be referred to the Semitic influence, for in Hebrew the vocative is expressed exclusively by the nominative with the article, to which in Aramaic there corresponds the emphatic state, . . . e.g. Mk 14:36.” (p.11).’”
Kel’s final argument on Hebrews 1:8, which quotes Psalms 45:6, seems to me to be summed up by the following two sentences:
- “Trinitarians admit that “Your throne is God” is a grammatically viable translation.”
- “By definition, God cannot have someone else as his God when there is only one God.”
Response to Point 1:
Whether or not “your throne is God” is grammatically viable in the Greek of Hebrews 1:8 is not the only question, as I already pointed out when I mentioned the fact that of the two possibilities, only “Your throne, O God” demonstrates that Jesus is superior to the angels.
We must also ask ourselves how translators view the original that is being quoted in Psalms 45:6. Even many Jewish translators, who certainly do not hold that the one being addressed is God, do not translate the Psalms quotation as “your throne is God (or is of God), a scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom,” but as “Your throne, O judge, [will exist] forever and ever; the scepter of equity is the scepter of your kingdom” (The Complete Jewish Bible edited by Rabbi A.J. Rosenberg, http://www.chabad.org). This shows that these translators felt it was more faithful to the Hebrew to translate this section as “Your throne, O Elohim,” than to render it “Your throne is from Elohim.” They avoided identifying the one whose throne it is as God by translating “Elohim” as “Judge” rather than “God.” Further, almost every Christian Bible translation renders this passage this way instead of your throne is of God or some such.
Also, ancient sources such as Irenaeus (lived about 130-200 AD) which pre-exist Kel’s chosen dates for the appearance of the Trinity doctrine (4th century) also interpret this passage as “Your throne, O God.”
“The Holy Ghost, throughout the Old Testament Scriptures, made mention of no other God or Lord, save him who is the true God.
- Therefore neither would the Lord, nor the Holy Spirit, nor the apostles, have ever named as God, definitely and absolutely, him who was not God, unless he were truly God; nor would they have named any one in his own person Lord, except God the Father ruling over all, and His Son who has received dominion from His Father over all creation, as this passage has it: The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool. Here the [Scripture] represents to us the Father addressing the Son; He who gave Him the inheritance of the heathen, and subjected to Him all His enemies. Since, therefore, the Father is truly Lord, and the Son truly Lord, the Holy Spirit has fitly designated them by the title of Lord. And again, referring to the destruction of the Sodomites, the Scripture says, Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrha fire and brimstone from the Lord out of heaven. For it here points out that the Son, who had also been talking with Abraham, had received power to judge the Sodomites for their wickedness. And this [text following] does declare the same truth: Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever; the sceptre of Your kingdom is a right sceptre. You have loved righteousness, and hated iniquity: therefore God, Your God, has anointed You (Emphasis mine). For the Spirit designates both [of them] by the name, of God — both Him who is anointed as Son, and Him who does anoint, that is, the Father. And again: God stood in the congregation of the gods, He judges among the gods. He [here] refers to the Father and the Son, and those who have received the adoption; but these are the Church.” – Irenaeus Against Heresies, Book 3, Chapter 6.
In light of that quotation of Irenaeus, I wonder how Kel can say “And why do they [that is, Trinitarians] suggest Irenaeus was a Trinitarian, just as they are, when Irenaeus repeatedly insisted the Father alone was the only true God?” as he does in his article The Consistently Suspicious Nature of Trinitarian Claims. Perhaps the answer is that although Irenaeus was by no means a modern Trinitarian, neither was he a Unitarian like Kel is.
Response to Point 2:
Kel merely assumes that God is only one person, which if true would mean that God cannot have someone else as God. But as I think I have shown in my responses to other articles, the Bible indicates that there is indeed more than one person who is God. “God” or “Yahweh” is not just analogous to a person’s first name, but also to a person’s last name or surname. I can say this because the persons of the Trinity are in some ways like one person and in others like a family, though neither analogy captures the fullness of the matter.
“The Trinitarian Claim
Trinitarians claim God the Father is the speaker at Hebrews 1:10 and referring to the Son as the Creator. Trinitarians begin by presuming God is the speaker in verse 7, and then this claim is then carried into verse 8 and verse 10 where Trinitarians claim God the Father is still the speaker and He is addressing the Son. Some translations, such as the NIV, even go as far as inserting “He says” or “God says” into the text at verse 8 and verse 10. The Trinitarian claim at verse 10 rests completely upon this false claim.
The Claim vs. The Facts
The Scriptural facts show God the Father is not the speaker at Hebrews 1:10 but the writer is referring to God the Father as the Creator.
The Problems with the Claim
- An Assumption By Design
The Trinitarian must assume that God the Father is speaking to the Son and referring to him as the Lord Creator. Without substantiating this presumption this is the practice of eisegesis – reading a notion into the text which is not expressed by the text itself.”
The idea that God is speaking to the Son here is not an assumption but a conclusion substantiated by the grammar of the original Greek. More will be said about this at the end of this article.
“Hebrews 1:10-12 is a quotation from Psalm 102:25-27. The Trinitarian claim is shown to be obviously false when it is realized they are interpreting the speaker in verse 10 as God the Father. However, if we just go back and actually read Psalm 102, it is clearly evident that God is not the speaker of these words.
‘1Hear my prayer, O LORD! And let my cry for help come to You… 12 You, O Lord, abide forever, And Your name to all generations. You will arise and have compassion on Zion; For it is time to be gracious to her, For the appointed time has come. Surely Your servants find pleasure in her stones And feel pity for her dust.
So the nations will fear the name of the LORD And all the kings of the earth Your glory. For the LORD has built up Zion; He has appeared in His glory. He has regarded the prayer of the destitute And has not despised their prayer. This will be written for the generation to come, That a people yet to be created may praise the LORD.
For He looked down from His holy height; From heaven the Lord gazed upon the earth, To hear the groaning of the prisoner, To set free those who were doomed to death, That men may tell of the name of the LORD in Zion And His praise in Jerusalem, When the peoples are gathered together, And the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.
He has weakened my strength in the way; He has shortened my days. I say, “O my God, do not take me away in the midst of my days, Your years are throughout all generations. Of old You founded the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. Even they will perish, but You endure; And all of them will wear out like a garment;
Like clothing You will change them and they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end. The children of Your servants will continue, And their descendants will be established before You.’
So is the Father saying to the son, “O my God” too? The Psalmist is the speaker, not God, and he is saying these words to God and about God . . . . The speaker is not God but a human being. The point here is that Psalm 102 shows us that God is not the speaker of these words but the Psalmist is the speaker, while the Trinitarian interpretation of Hebrews 1:10 necessarily claims God is the speaker of these words in direct contradiction to Psalm 102 itself.”
The fact that the Psalmist is the speaker in most of Psalm 102 does not mean that some of the words in that Psalm cannot echo something God the Father said to the Son. God cannot be the speaker in the sentence “O my God, do not take me away in the midst of my days,” because the speaker said, “do not take me away in the midst of my days.” However, there is nothing the next sentence – “Of old You founded the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands” – that explicates that God cannot be the speaker. And we know for certain that the New Testament sometimes reveals meanings in Old Testament passages that were not at all obvious to the writers of the Old Testament (compare Hebrews 3 with the Psalm it is quoting, for example).
God does not have to be the direct speaker in order for him to be the source of what was said. If all Scripture is inspired by God, you can be sure that the Holy Spirit prompted the Psalmist to write the words of God in places where The New Testament quotes them as the words of God.
“Moreover, when God IS indeed the speaker at verses 5 and 13, the writer uses a different verb, the Greek verb eipon, and not legei.”
If the use of a different verb in Hebrews 1 intends a distinction, perhaps it is the very distinction I refer to above, namely, between quotations where God speaks directly and quotations where God speaks through the inspired writer. However, I must admit I don’t trust Kel’s analysis of the Greek.
“It is quite clear that the translation “HE says” at verse 7 is a translation blunder since makes it appear God is the speaker when a cursory examination of each the three Psalms quoted plainly shows that God is not the speaker. And so Trinitarians are basing their entire interpretation of verse 10 on an obvious mistranslation of verse 6 and 7 resulting in a mistaken interpretation.”
What Kel considers an “obvious” mistranslation was apparently not obvious to most Bible translators, whether Trinitarian or not, because “He says” or “God says” is found in most if not all translations of Hebrews 1:6 and 7. Also, as I said above, the difference between what God spoke himself and what He inspired a writer of Scripture to say is infinitesimal at best, and perhaps even nonexistent.
“The NT writers would use the word legei when they wanted to refer to what Scripture or the Law says, what IT says.”
As I stated earlier, this assertion is easily proven false.
2 Corinthians 6:1-2 says, “As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says (legei), ‘In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.;’”
2 Corinthians 6:18 (quoting from 2 Sam 7:14) says, “’And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,’ Says (legei) the Lord Almighty.”
Further, why do the gospels use the word legei over and over again when Jesus says “truly truly I say to you” if the word legei normally refers to what IT says?
Given Kel’s attention to detail, it is hard for me to believe that he is unaware of this kind of evidence. And yet he remains stunningly silent concerning it. Could it be that it is Kel (rather than the Trinitarians) who is blind to this evidence because he is seeing Scripture only through the lens of his own doctrine?
Kel then argues that the “most natural” antecedent for the pronoun “He” in verse 13 is “the Lord” of verse 10. Why? Because it is close? If that is the case, then the most natural antecedent for “the Lord” of verse 10 would be “the Son” who is referred to in verse 9 in this way, “God has anointed You With the oil of gladness above Your companions,” since the Son is therefore the closest mentioned person immediately preceding verse 10. But this would lead to the opposite conclusion from the one Kel wants you to arrive at. Actually the Greek of Hebrews 1:1-13 leads to only one conclusion; that God is the speaker throughout, and that the Son is the one being called God in verse 8 and the Lord in verse 10. If the Son is the Lord in verse 10 the premise of Kel’s entire website is annihilated, because that would mean both that the Son is the Lord who founded the earth in the beginning, and that the Son is being called Yahweh, either of which is fatal to Kel’s position. Then Kel proposes the following:
“Trinitarians read Hebrews 1:10 as if the Father is speaking to the Son. They do this by first presuming the Father is speaking to the Son in verse 7 then read verses 8 through 12 as if the Father is still speaking. But as we have seen God is not the speaker of any of the Psalms quoted between Hebrews 1:7 and Hebrews 1:1.”
It is not presumption but the fact that the Greek text itself identifies the God [the Father] as the one speaking to the Son in verses 7 and 8-12. This is true regardless of the fact that in the original Psalms quoted, the immediate speaker was the Psalmist. What Kel is trying to do is to ignore the later revelation in Hebrews that the Father was the origin of the Psalmist’s words in those particular quotes on the grounds that it wasn’t clearly revealed in the Psalms. But this method of interpretation would invalidate a whole host of New Testament revelations on the meanings of Old Testament prophecies that were not clear when they were written.
In Matthew 2:16-18, we read
When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”
The words in quotation marks are taken from Jeremiah 31:15, which in Jeremiah was being applied to the Babylonian captivity, but Matthew applies to Herod’s slaughter of Bethlehem’s babies in a vain effort to kill Jesus. I think even Kel might recognize that this is the ultimate meaning of this passage, but in my opinion that is only because it’s correct interpretation does not in this case interfere with his doctrine.
We have already looked at Hebrews 3:5, in which words clearly attributed to the Psalmist in Psalm 95:7-8 are revealed as having actually been spoken by God himself. Kel apparently accepts the explicit statement of Hebrews 3:5, and yet ignores the almost as explicit meaning of the Greek text in Hebrews 1:1-13, perhaps because he does not understand that language as well as he thinks he does. He tries one more argument, insisting that “Verses 7 through 9 are to be read as a single argument and then verses 10 through 13 are to be read as another argument.”
“Carefully observe how the writer uses the word kai to introduce another argument and uses the word de to make the contrast between Jesus and the angels for each particular argument:
Writer’s First Contrast Argument
For to which of the angels did He ever say,….. v. 5
The word “BUT” makes the contrast.
BUT (de) when He again brings the firstborn into the world……” v.6
Writer’s Second Contrast Argument
The word “AND” introduces a NEW argument
AND (kai) of the angels it says (legei… v. 7
The word “BUT” makes the contrast.
BUT (de) of the Son, “Your throne ho theos to the age of the age. v.8
Writer’s Third Contrast Argument
And again, the word “AND” introduces a NEW argument
AND (kai), “You Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation….. v.10
The word “BUT” makes the contrast.
BUT (de) to which of the angels did He ever say v.13
When the writer’s argument structure is honestly appreciated, it is also clear that the Greek conjunction kai is being used to introduce a new argument and the Greek word de is being used to mark the contrast.”
Response from the Seminary Professor:
“This is another grasping at straws–the exceedingly common conjunctions “kai” and “de” simply can’t support the weight he wants to place on them. While “and” and “but” are appropriate designations for the Greek, the determination of which is used is highly variable. In some cases the choice between “kai” or “de” may be mere stylistic preference, while in others (as here) the choice of “de” is meant to point out a contrast. Yet, the usage here in Hebrews hardly supports his claim. The main point of the chapter is clearly stated in verse 3, with examples and contrasts to follow. It is far too convenient to appeal to Greek conjunctions to make such a strong claim as he makes; this simply demonstrates again that the author has no functional knowledge of Koine Greek.” [emphasis mine].
It seems to me that when the evidence is carefully weighed in the balance, the way that most Bible Translations render the words of Hebrews 1 turns out to be the best after all.
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