Matthew 18:20; 28:20 – Jesus’ Presence With Us

Matthew 18:20 – For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them. — World English Bible translation

Matthew 28:20 – “Teaching them to observe all things which I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. — World English Bible translation

The scriptures above are often presented as proof that Jesus is omnipresent, that he is everywhere present. Many trinitarians assume that Yahweh is absolutely everywhere present at once at all times in all places, and then assume that this is attribute that only belongs to God Almighty, and then assume further that Jesus also shares the alleged incommunicable attribute of God, and thus by these three assumptions claim these assumptions as proof that Jesus is God Almighty.

Neither of the above scriptures actually say anything to the effect that Jesus is present everywhere. That Jesus has been given by his God the power to be present in more than one place, however, is plausible, and we do not have any reason to deny such possibility. (Matthew 28:18; Luke 10:22; John 3:35; 5:22-27; 1 Corinthians 15:27) As the one appointed by God as “Lord” over the church (Acts 2:36; 10:42; Ephesians 1:22; Hebrews 1:9; 3:2), Jesus would of necessity need to be present in some way with his followers.

And yet the scriptures also say:

Acts 3:19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord [evidently the Holy Name has been changed here to “the Lord”],
Acts 3:20 and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you–even Jesus.
Acts 3:21 He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. — New International Version.

“God” in Acts 3:19 designates only person as “God”, not three. Peter distinguishes this unipersonal “God” from Jesus. In the context, this unipersonal God is identified as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that is, Yahweh. — Exodus 3:14,15.

Nevertheless, Acts 3:19-21 reveals that in some way Jesus remains in heaven until the times of restoration of all things. How is it that Jesus has been present with his followers since he ascended? The scriptures indicate that he is present by means of the holy spirit, which spirit was given to Jesus by God. — 1 John 3:24; 4:13; Acts 1:4; 2:33; John 15:26; See also: John 14:17,26; Acts 1:5,8; 9:31; Romans 8:1,9-17; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19; 2 Corinthians 1:22; 3:3; 12:18; Philippians 2:1; 2 Timothy 1:14.

The Bible, however, never presents Jesus as possessing the incommunicable attribute of being the Most High. Jesus is the Son of the Most High; he is not the Most High of whom he is the Son.

Related:

Jesus: Soul, Body and Spirit

         
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