John 10:30 – In What Sense Are Jesus and the Father One? Part 2: One in Power?

Unless otherwise stated, the World English Bible translation is quoted throughout this study.This is a continuation of the study In What Sense are Jesus and the Father One? Click Here for the first part. This study is in response to a trinitarian article of this using the same topic. The scripture under discussion is primarily John 10:30.

John 10:7 Jesus therefore said to them again, “Most assuredly, I tell you, I am the sheep’s door.
John 10:8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn’t listen to them.
John 10:9 I am the door. If anyone enters in by me, he will be saved, and will go in and go out, and will find pasture. John 10:10 The thief only comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.
John 10:11 I am the good [geniune, approved] shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. John 10:28 I give eternal life to them. They will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
John 10:29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand.

Ezekiel 34:17 As for you, O my flock, thus says the Lord Yahweh: Behold, I judge between sheep and sheep, the rams and the male goats.
Ezekiel 34:18 Seems it a small thing to you to have fed on the good pasture, but you must tread down with your feet the residue of your pasture? and to have drunk of the clear waters, but you must foul the residue with your feet?
Ezekiel 34:19 As for my sheep, they eat that which you have trodden with your feet, and they drink that which you have fouled with your feet.
Ezekiel 34:20 Therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh to them: Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep.
Ezekiel 34:21 Because you thrust with side and with shoulder, and push all the diseased with your horns, until you have scattered them abroad;
Ezekiel 34:22 therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep.
Ezekiel 34:23 I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.
Ezekiel 34:24 I, Yahweh, will be their God, and my servant David prince among them; I, Yahweh, have spoken it.

In context, Jesus had just claimed to do his works in the name of his God and Father. (John 10:25; see Ephesians 1:3) In Deuteronomy 18:15-19, we find that it was prophesied that Jesus would do his works in the name of Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (Exodus 3:14,15) Peter confirmed that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is not Jesus, but actually the Father of Jesus. (Acts 2:32,33; 3:13-26) Rather than claiming to be Yahweh, Jesus, in fact, denies that he is Yahweh, but rather he is claiming to be the one promised who would work and speak in the name of Yahweh (Jehovah). Jesus claimed to be the genuine or approved [Greek, kalos, Strong’s #2570] shepherd” of the sheep, as opposed to other false shepherds who had come to take advantage of the sheep. (John 10:8,10) He did not claim that these sheep originated from himself, but in harmony with what was prophesied in Ezekiel 34:23, he claimed to be the one pictured by David, the one that Yahweh ‘set up’ as the “one shepherd,” the approved shepherd of Yahweh’s sheep. Again, rather than claiming to be Yahweh, he was showing that he was not Yahweh, but rather the shepherd whom Yahweh had set up over the sheep. This is further confirmed when he says that his Father, Yahweh of Ezekiel 34:17, has given the sheep to him. — John 10:29.

Neither in these scriptures, nor any place in the entire Bible, do we find any thought that Jesus is a person of Yahweh. Neither in these scriptures, nor any place in the entire Bible, do we find any thought that Jesus is the Most High, of whom the scriptures declare him to be the son. (Luke 1:35) No where in the scriptures do we find any thought of dualism or hypostatic union, the idea that Jesus had, and still has to this day, two levels of life at the same time, one as God-being, and the other as human being. Such thoughts have to reasoned “beyond the things which are written” (1 Corinthians 4:6, World English), and then added to and read into all the scriptures presented. Since there is nothing in the scriptures about Yahweh existing as three persons, the trinitarian tries to find scriptures that can be made to appear to support the added-on dogma, evidently expecting people to not examine the scriptures too closely (and most people don’t).

A connection is claimed with Jesus’ words that he gives life to the sheep with the words of Yahweh in Deuteronomy 32:39,40. By taking Yahweh’s words out of context, and placing them alongside Jesus’ words, it is made to appear that Jesus was claiming to be Yahweh, the only Most High. Moses wrote:

Deuteronomy 32:15 But Jeshurun [a name for Israel] grew fat, and kicked: You have grown fat, you are grown thick, you are become sleek; Then he forsook God who made him, Lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.
Deuteronomy 32:16 They moved him to jealousy with strange [gods]; With abominations provoked they him to anger.
Deuteronomy 32:17 They sacrificed to demons, [which were] no God, To gods that they didn’t know, To new [gods] that came up of late, Which your fathers didn’t dread.
Deuteronomy 32:18 Of the Rock that became your father, you are unmindful, Have forgotten God who gave you birth. Moses a little after this quoted Yahweh as saying:
Deuteronomy 32:39 See now that I, even I, am he, There is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal; There is none who can deliver out of my hand.
Deuteronomy 32:40 For I lift up my hand to heaven, And say, As I live forever.
Deuteronomy 32:41 If I whet my glittering sword, My hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to my adversaries, Will recompense those who hate me.
Deuteronomy 32:42 I will make my arrows drunk with blood, My sword shall devour flesh; With the blood of the slain and the captives, From the head of the leaders of the enemy.

Yahweh’s expression here is relative to the false idol gods of the heathen, the gods that are spoken of in the context (Deuteronomy 32:16,17), which had become a snare to the people of Israel. None of these false idol-gods are with Yahweh. He has no association with such idol gods. The idol gods cannot, of themselves kill, or make alive; they cannot wound, nor heal. Not one of these idol gods has the power to deliver God’s people out His hand, so that they might protect from Yahweh’s hand of vengeance. This is the setting of Yahweh’s words. Yahweh was not saying that He, Yahweh, was the one pictured by David, the one shepherd set up by Yahweh, or that He, Yahweh, would lay his life down for the sheep, so that He, Yahweh, was saying he would give them eternal life as a result.

Jesus said that he gives eternal life to the sheep. (John 10:28) In saying this, was Jesus claiming to be Yahweh? There is no indication by the words recorded in John 10:28, that Jesus was claiming the words of Deuteronomy 32:29, and thereby claiming to be Yahweh who was prophesied as the one who was to send Jesus. Prophetically, Isaiah records the Messiah as saying, “Yahweh has.. sent me.” (Isaiah 61:1; see also Deuteronomy 18:15-19) Never do we find any declaration in the scriptures that Jesus is Yahweh. It is Yahweh who has given the sheep to Jesus, and for this reason no one can snatch them from Jesus’ hand, since as Jesus said: “No one is able to snatch them out my Father’s hand.” (John 10:29) Jesus was not, by use of these words, claiming to be Yahweh, but rather he was pointing out that because these sheep had been given to him by Yahweh, that none could snatch them out his hand, because they are Yahweh’s sheep given him, and we know that no one can snatch them out of the hand Yahweh, who greater than all.  Rather than claiming to be able to give eternal life because he is Yahweh, the context shows that he is making this claim because he is the genuine, approved shepherd, who lays down his life for the sheep. (Matthew 3:17; 12:18; 17:5; Mark 1:11; 3:22; John 10:10,11,15; Acts 2:22) Jesus’ human life was the purchase price by which eternal life could be given to the sheep, and thus, Jesus, in saying that he layed down his life for sheep, was saying the same thing as “I give eternal life to them”, as in John 10:28.

How could Jesus’ laying down his life result in eternal life for the sheep? It is because of Jesus’ miraculous birth, apart from the sin of Adam, and because as a fully obedient, sinless man, Jesus had life in him (John 1:4) and could pay the redemptive price to Yahweh to release mankind from the condemnation of death in Adam, thereby, giving his sheep eternal life. (Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:35; John 6:51; 8:23; Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 5:2; 1 Timothy 2:5,6; Hebrews 9:14; 10:5; 1 Peter 2:21,22,24; 1 John 3:5) The redemptive price paid to Yahweh was not Yahweh. The Most High did not give the Most High to Most High for the redemption of man, but rather the price needed was a sinless and fully obedient man, a man who is not the only true God who would fully obey the only true God, thus justifying the only true God and condemning sin in the flesh. (Romans 3:26; 8:3) If Jesus had to be the only true God in order to obey the only true God, then rather than condemning sin the flesh, Jesus justified sin in the flesh, since it would have proven that in order for Adam to have obeyed the only true God, Adam would have needed to have been the only true God. Click Here for studies on or related to the atoning sacrifice.

It is claimed that “a standard strategy used by anti-Trinitarians to escape the force of passages like this one is to claim that it indicates merely that God is able to delegate responsibilities to his trusted, created agent. However, the allusion to Deuteronomy 32:39 precludes this explanation.” It is then claimed that the whole point of Deuteronomy 32:39 is that Yahweh alone is able to kill and give life, evidently with the thought that it is thus impossible for Yahweh to give to another, the ability to “give life”. Actually, it is the trinitarian that esacapes the force of the passages like John 10:30 by imagining, adding to, and reading into Yahweh’s words, something that is not there. Nor is there is anything in Deuteronomy 32:39 that would preclude Yahweh’s giving Jesus the authority to judge, kill, or raise the dead. In fact, the scriptures do show that Yahweh sent Jesus, anointed Jesus,  etc. The trinitarian has to build one imaginative assumption on top of another imaginative assumption in order to escape what these scriptures plainly tell us. (John 17:5; see also:  Deuteronomy 18:15-19; Matthew 22:32; 23:39; Mark 11:9,10; 12:26; Luke 13:35; 20:37; John 3:2,17,32-35; 4:34; 5:19,30,36,43; 6:57; 7:16,28; 8:26,28,38; 10:25; 12:49,50; 14:10; 15:15; 17:8,26; 20:17; Acts 2:22,34-36; 3:13,22; 5:30; Romans 15:6; 2 Corinthians 1:3; 8:6; 11:31; Colossians 1:3,15; 2:9-12; Hebrews 1:1-3; Revelation 1:1) The only true God did indeed give all this authority and power to Jesus. — Psalm 2:6-8; 45:7; 110:1,2; Isaiah 9:6,7; 11:2; 42:1; 61:1-3; Jeremiah 23:5; Daniel 7:13,14; Matthew 12:28; 28:28; Luke 1:32; 4:14,18; 5:17; John 3:34; 5:19,27,30; 10:18,36-38; Acts 2:22; 10:38; Romans 1:1-4; 1 Corinthians 15:27; 2 Corinthians 13:4; Colossians 1:15,16; 2:10; Ephesians 1:17-22; Philippians 2:9-11; Hebrews 1:2,4,6,9; 1 Peter 3:22.

Nevertheless, although Deuteronomy 32:39 is not specifically regarding this, all created life on all levels does have its original source from the only true God, the only Might of the universe. Even Jesus’ life (in his prehuman life, in the days of his flesh, as well as in his resurrected life) is from Yahweh. (John 6:57; Colossians 1:15; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Hebrews 5:7; 1 Peter 3:18) Since Yahweh is the one in ultimate control of all life, Jesus said that he could have asked his God and Father to send His angels as agents (to deliver him from the hands of the death that he had foretold — Matthew 16:21; 20:28; 26:53).The true Biblical monotheism is that which is presented in John 17:3 and 1 Corinthians 8:6, both of which identify the one true God as the God and Father of Jesus, while Jesus is presented as the agent sent by the only true God. Jesus has One who the Supreme Being over him; the Supreme Being does not have another who is the Supreme Being over him. — Psalms 45:7; Micah 5:4; Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34; John 20:17; Romans 15:6; 2 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 11:31; Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 1:17; Hebrews 1:9; 1 Peter 1:3; Revelation 1:6; Revelation 2:7; Revelation 3:2; Revelation 3:12.

Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, Israel: Yahweh is our God; Yahweh is one:

We have discussed the scriptures leading up Jesus’ statement in John 10:30, where he says, “My Father and I are one [Greek, neuter hen].” The claim is that Jesus was expressing himself and his Father as the one Yahweh of Deuteronomy 6:4. While we do not consider the Septuagint a very reliable translation, and although the traditional Septuagint changes to the holy name to forms of Kurios, we do note that the Septuagint does not use the neuter “hen” in its rendering of Deuteronomy 6:4 (as Jesus does in John 10:30), but rather it uses the masculine heis. In the Hebrew the masculine gender is always used related to the holy name. At any rate, if Jesus meant his words to have been understood as “My Father and I are one Yahweh”, he would certainly have used the Greek form, “heis” (masculine), not “hen” (which is neuter). Nevertheless, this is “explained” by assuming the trinity as the default, and claiming that “John wards off the possible misunderstanding that Jesus is claiming to be the same person as the Father.” Thus, based on this trinitarian assumption, Jesus’ usage of the neuter in John 10:30 was to distinguish himself from the Father, which evidently is thought to be referenced by “heis” in the LXX rendering of Deuteronomy 6:4. The reasoning given really doesn’t make any sense, and the idea presented actually confuses the issue rather than to make it clearer.

Usually, trinitarians will tell us that all three persons of Yahweh are being spoken of in Deuteronomy 6:4, not just the Father. And that very claim is given in the statement, erroneously changing the holy name to “Lord”: “Jesus, the Son, is to be included in the identity of the one Lord God of Israel, while maintaining a personal distinction between himself and the Father.” The problem, however, is that we are never told how Jesus’ usage of “hen” rather than “heis” is supposed to effect this distinction; evidently, we are supposed to simply accept these thoughts of men beyond what is written.

In reality, if Jesus had meant that he and his God and Father are both the one Yahweh spoken of in Deuteronomy, he certainly would have made it clearer by using the masculine heis rather than the neuter hen. By using “hen” instead of “heis”, if he had meant this to have any reference to “one Yahweh”, then he would certainly be leaving his hearers with the wrong implication by using the neuter “hen”.

However, we do not have to wonder about any of this, since Jesus did let us know what he meant by his being one with his God and Father. In prayer to the only true God (John 17:1,3), Jesus spoke of this oneness with his God and Father, and prayed that his followers be included in the same oneness with him and his God and Father. (John 17:11,21,22) Jesus uses the same form “hen” in the verses of John 17; thus if the oneness is meant say that Jesus and his Father are one Yahweh, then in John 17, Jesus is praying for his followers to be “one Yahweh” with him and his Father, which would produce thousands of persons in the only true God (which is really absurd). Paul shows that this oneness that is held between Jesus and his God and which includes the followers of Jesus is the “the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace,” “one spirit.” (Ephesians 4:3,4 — While the World English translators capitalize “spirit”, we have placed in the lower-case.) Christians cannot keep or preserve the unity of God’s holy spirit; such a job is not given to the followers of Jesus. But they are to keep, preserve, the unity of disposition, purpose, of glorifying the God and Father of Jesus (Romans 15:6), through Jesus. — 1 Peter 4:11.

We might add that although it does not appear that Jesus was claiming to be one in power with his Supreme Being, Jesus most certainly is at one with the power of the Supreme Being. He is in agreement with that Power. This does not mean that Jesus has the exclusive power of the Supreme Being, for all the power that Jesus has is given to him by the Supreme Being, and thus the exclusive power of being the Supreme Being is never given to Jesus. Paul directly notes this as recorded in 1 Corinthians 15:27. If Jesus was that Supreme Being, then no power would need to be given to him by anyone, but since his Supreme Being does give him his power and authority, this actually proves that Jesus is either not the Supreme Being, or that he had to become Supreme Being by being given the exclusive power that belongs only to the Supreme Being; since the latter would be a self-contradiction, we conclude that Jesus is not, never has been, and never will be the Supreme Being.

The trinitarian does have to actually imagine in their thoughts (beyond the things which are written — 1 Corinthians 4:6) that John 10:30 is one person of Yahweh speaking to another person of Yahweh, and imagining further that these two persons are persons of the one Yahweh spoken of in Deuteronomy 6:4, which imaginations are thus added to and read into the words of Jesus in John 10:30. As we have shown, however, all of this imagining, assuming, adding to, and reading into John 10:30, are not necessary since Jesus himself let us know what he meant by his words.

Keywords:  hen, John 10:30, Is Jesus God, I and my father are one, one God, one substance, ousia, one true God

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