9 “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals, 10 thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Some of you once lived this way” (1 Cor. 6:9-11, NET). 

In 1996, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was signed into law by President Bill Clinton. DOMA defined marriage as between a man and a woman. It barred federal recognition of same-sex marriage by restricting the definition of marriage to the union of one man and one woman. However, December 13th of this year, the 117th United States Congress passed the Respect for Marriage Act and it was signed into law by President Joe Biden, which repealed the DOMA.

There was a time when this country stood unmovable against biblical offenses such as homosexuality and abortion—even enacting laws against such practices.  What we use to call an abomination and see as evil are now celebrated and recognized as a “cultural norm.” For example, before 1962, sodomy was a felony in every state, now we expect the unregenerate to embrace, promote and even applaud homosexuality and other ungodly practices. However, when professing Christians, due to passivity or ignorance, accept a homosexual lifestyle as biblically permissible- that is a travesty.

God is love, true, but “God is a just judge, And God is angry with the wicked every day.” (Ps. 7:11, NKJV).[1] God takes a dim view at those who say, “Jesus is Lord,” then dishonor Him by their practice and acceptance of egregious sins—Scripture is crystal-clear on the subject.

What is alarming is the growing community of pro-homosexual “professing” Christians. To make the Bible conform to their philosophy, lifestyle and carnal practices, they patently misinterpret passages and pretext biblical narratives. For example, explaining that Leviticus 18 and 20, which condemns the practice of homosexuality merely refers to temple prostitution. They espouse that David loved Jonathan in a homosexual way, saying Jesus never condemned homosexuality and that God loves all men unconditionally, etc. Or, asserting that in 1 Cor. 6:9 and 1 Tim. 1:10 (although most have never even read these passages), Paul only condemned prostitutes and pederasts, and not monogamous male-to-male relationships, etc. Although claiming to be in the faith, they naturally disagree with the definitive biblical prohibitions against homosexuality and are extremely tolerant of it.


The Biblical Prohibition

The Bible has much to say on the topic starting in the OT Law, example: 

Lev. 18:22: “You shall not sleep with a male as one sleeps with a female; it is an abomination”

Lev. 20:13: “If there is a man who sleeps with a male as those who sleep with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they must be put to death. . . .”

In spite of the clarity of these passages, liberal theologians and pro-homosexual advocates attempt to downplay these OT precepts by limiting the homosexual prohibition to a cultural meaning (e.g., referring to temple prostitution). However, if the prohibitions were speaking only against temple prostitution, why then are only male to males mentioned? Why would not the law include both men women? Or state plainly anything about “temple prostitution?”

Also, contextually the prohibition against homosexual acts are sandwiched between the other laws concerning sexual behavior, such as prohibiting sex with an uncle, aunt, animals, etc. Clearly, the prohibition is not confined to such a limitation as temple prostitution. Now, the law does indeed speak explicitly against temple prostitution, but not in Leviticus, rather we find that context in Deut. 23:17-18. The fact is, the passages in Leviticus are not vague commandments against prostitution, but specific injunctions against homosexuality in all forms—as severely as its condemnation in the NT as well.

 

But what of David and Jonathan in 2 Sam 1:26?

“I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; very pleasant have you been to me; your love to me was extraordinary, surpassing the love of women” (ESV).

First, note verse 23, where the same term (as a verb) is used to describe the love between a Saul and Jonathan. In verse 26, the phrase “surpassing the love” is from the Hebrew noun, ahabah. Both this noun and the verb (aheb) are similar to the English word, “love”—in which context determines the meaning. As in verse 23, frequently, the verb is used to denote the love of the father for his son. For example, Abraham’s love for Isaac (Gen. 22:2; also see Gen. 37:3,4; 44:20; Prov. 13:24 et al.). Even more, the term could also denote the love with which women love their husband and children. 

Second, the flawed pro-homosexual interpretation neglects to take into account the Middle Eastern concept of a man’s relationship to his wife. In the Middle East, a man’s primary kinship is with other men, not with his wife. For example, during dinner time, the wife and daughters would set up the table, however, when it was time to eat, the man and his sons, and, if any friends were invited, they would all eat together while the women would leave and eat separately or after the men. This is still a common practice in the 21th century.

Third, it is an established fact that throughout the ancient world, the friendship between a man and a man was esteemed higher than the relationship between a man and a wife. So, it is completely natural within this culture that David’s “love” for his closest and best friend Jonathan, “surpassed that of women.”  

New Testament

The NT provides the same categorical condemnation against the sin of homosexuality as in the OT—primarily, in Rom. 1:18-32; 1 Cor. 6:9; and 1 Tim. 1:10. Before we examine these texts, an argument that liberals and skeptics like to propose should first be mentioned. They point out that Jesus himself nowhere condemned homosexuality, so it must be permitted. It is ridiculous to assume that Jesus covered every single doctrine and repeated every single commandment contained in the OT in a period of three years. In point of fact, many doctrines, He left up to His apostles to teach; hence, many things that Jesus said and did are not recorded in the NT, “if they were written in detail, I expect that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25).        

But, Jesus did indeed condemn homosexuality. In Matt. 19:3-6, Jesus teaches that “from the beginning,” God defined marriage as the union between male and female, as does Paul in Eph. 5 citing the same Adam and Eve reference that Jesus did.

 

ROMANS 1:18-32

Paul’s entire thesis here is dealing with the constant suppressing of truth by pagans and its consequences (viz. God’s wrath “continuing” to be on them; cf. v. 18). Paul uses an argument from nature (creation) to show that they are without excuse—for “For they exchanged the truth of God for falsehood, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator. . . .” (v. 25, NET).

Because of this, “God gave them over to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged the natural sexual relations for unnatural ones” (v. 26, ibid.). The phrase, “the natural sexual relations” is a literal translation of the Greek phrase tēn phusikēn chrēsin—phusikēn (“nature”) and chrēsin (“use,” i.e., sexual use/function). This, Paul says, is para phusin (“against nature, unnatural”).[2]

Homosexual men likewise, says Paul, “abandoned” tēn phusikēn chrēsin [‘the natural sexual function’] with women and were inflamed in their passions for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in themselves the due penalty for their error” (NET).  Alluding to Lev. 18 and 20, Paul sees homosexuality as not only unnatural, (viz., “contrary to nature,” ESV), but as having the same consequence as stated in the OT: “those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also approve of those who practice them” (Rom. 1:32). “Professing” Christians who practice and/or approve of homosexual relationships cannot remove the contextual significances of Rom. 1:18-32.    

1 CORINTHIANS 6:9-10:

9 “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners [malakoipracticing homosexuals [arsenokoitai], 10 thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God” (NET; note v. 11: “Some of you once lived this way”).

 

1 TIMOTHY 1:9-10:

“for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality [arsenokoitais], enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine.” (ESV).

The two key Greek terms in both 1 Cor. 6:9 and 1 Tim.1:10 are malakos (only 1 Cor. 6:9, “passive homosexual partners, effeminate”) and arsenokoitēs (“homosexual” or more literally, “sodomite” [NKJV] or “men who have sex with men” [NIV]). And both terms are plural (malakoi, arsenokoitais/ arsenokoitai). Malakos (“soft”) appears in four places in the NT. In every place, the term refers to “soft garment/clothing” (cf. Matt. 11:8) except in 1 Cor. 6:9, where contextually it refers to the “soft” passive (effeminate) partner in a homosexual relationship.

Whereas arsenokoitēs is a Greek term that Paul actually made up (only appearing in these two passages). Apparently, the source of Paul’s usage of his compound term, arsenokoitēs (from arsēn, “a male” and koitē, “a mat/bed” with the idea of intercourse) comes from the LXX (i.e., Greek trans. the OT) of Lev. 18:22 (“with a male [from arsēn] you shall not lie in bed/intercourse [from koitē] [as with] of a woman”). Same terms and semantic in Lev. 20:13.  

This shows unequivocally the apostle’s intended meaning of 1 Cor. 6:9 and 1 Tim. 1:10- “both of them have committed a detestable act [toebah]; they shall surely be put to death” (Lev. 20:13). As with a number of other languages, Greek distinguishes the “active dominate” (arsenokoitēs) and the “passive effeminate” (malakos) roles in a homosexual relationship. For example, BDAG (Walter Bauer’s, Greek Lexicon of the NT, 3rd ed., rev. and ed. Frederick W. Danker), defines Paul’s term as “one who assumes the dominant role in same-sex activity.”   

To pretext and thus circumvent the obvious meaning in these passages, liberals and pro-homosexual “professing” Christians make eisegetical leaps – arguing that arsenokoitēs narrowly refers to “promiscuous homosexuality,” pederasty, and/or prostitution, etc., and not a monogamous loving relationship between two of the same sex. They also remove malakos from its contextual import in 1 Cor. 6:9-10 and 1 Tim. 1:9-10. Naturally, they do so to justify their own lifestyle and/or personal philosophy—making the Bible say what they want it to say.

Although arsenokoitēs can refer to prostitution, abuse, pederasty, etc., the lexical-semantic of arsenokoitēs (again, Paul’s unique term) in 1 Cor. 6:9 and in 1 Tim. 1:10, condemns homosexuality in all forms, as does Rom. 1:18-32; Lev. 18:22; and 20:13.

 

In closing, homosexuality, in our day is just as depraved and abominable to the Lord as it was when the “Old and New Testament” were being written. It is without a doubt our “calling “to speak out as believers against this growing, fertile and depraved LGBT Mob Cult of our century and send them packing.

May God bless our courage in the face of this egregious sin against Him!

—————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Notes 

[1] All biblical citations are taken from the NASB (2020) unless otherwise indicated.

[2] From para with the accusative (“against”) and phusin (from phusis, “inherent nature,” cf. Gal. 4:8; Eph. 2:3).

 

Romans 10:15: “How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written [Isa. 52:7], ‘How Beautiful’ [or ‘timely’] [are] the feet of those [“the man in motion”] [euaggelizomenwn] gospelizing good things.”

 2 Timothy 2:15: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).

The phrase “accurately handling” is from the Greek base verb, orthotomeō, from orthos (“correct, straight”) and temnō (“to cut”)—thus, “to cut straight,” the term denotes the idea of precision.

 2 Peter 3:16: “as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which there are some things that are hard to understand, which the untaught [ἀμαθεῖς] and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.”

 

The gospel (good news) biblical defined as the substitutionary atoning work of God the Son, from His incarnation, His perfect vicarious life to His death, burial, and physical resurrection, which is the very ground of justification (apart from works; 1 Cor. 15:1-4). All those who believe in this gospel calling upon the Lord, the Son of God will be saved (Rom. 10:9). The gospel is the sole work of the Son (not the work of man) but the “result” of the gospel is man believing, repenting, obeying, etc. 

Evangelism (from euaggelion, eu, “good” and aggelos, “message”) is simply proclaiming the gospel. All Christians are called to grow in doctrine (2 Pet. 3:18); defend the faith (apologetics; 1 Pet 3:15; Jude 1:3); and evangelize (proclaim the gospel, Matt, 28:19; Rom. 10:9, 15). We must ensure that our passion in evangelism is biblically accurate and consistent; since the gospel is the gospel of the Son (Rom. 1:1, 3). Proclaiming the truth is a loving and obedient act (Gal. 1:10).

 

Salvation & the Power of God through the Gospel

In Romans 1:6, Paul affirms that the gospel is the power of God for salvation. Thus, it is God’s ordained and normal means He uses to save sinners. The gospel has the same efficacy today as it did in the first century. In spite of that, we see a noticeable difference between biblical evangelism and modern evangelism. Far too many Christians today use unbiblical methodology and concepts in evangelism, such as implying that one’s faith-act is the “cause” of regeneration.

In the same way, many replace the content of the gospel with citing Jeremiah 29:11 to unbelievers (“God has a great plan for you”) and the so-called unconditional, universal love of God, or the “Jesus is knocking at your door” concept (Rev. 3:20). Of course, in the NT, we do not find Jesus nor any apostles saying such things to unbelievers. The fact is Jeremiah 11:29 is neither addressing Israel in general, nor the church (note the starting context in v. 1).

And Revelation 3:20 was not an evangelistic statement, rather, Jesus was speaking to already saved Christians. As with all Christians, Jesus is always knocking at our door wanting more fellowship. It is an issue of sanctification in the believer’s life, and not an issue of justification nor evangelism to the lost.  

 

The man or woman of God who proclaims the gospel has an enormous responsibility before God to be biblically accurate.  Christian missionaries, whether here or abroad must be biblically sound to properly evangelize; understanding what the gospel is before they go out. An incomplete or distorted gospel is no gospel at all (Gal. 1:8-9).

 

Paul’s Gospel Definition

In Romans 1:1, 3, Paul speaks of “the gospel of God. . . 3 concerning His Son” As said, it is not the “great” works of man. Paul’s definition of the gospel is also found in 1 Cor. 15:3-4:                   “For I delivered to you as of prōtos [‘first importance’] what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”

 

According to these passages, Paul’s gospel account includes in detail: 

 

  1. The Christ that Paul taught was truly God and truly man (Rom. 9:5; Phil. 2:6-11[1]); forever God in the flesh (Acts 17:31; 1 Tim. 2:5).[2]

 

  1. The death of Christ is the ground of justification, which is “apart from works” (Rom. 4:4-8; 5:1; Eph. 2:8-10).

 

  1. His physical resurrection “according to the Scriptures” (cf. Luke 24:37-40; esp. John 2:19, 21).

 

Those who deliver the gospel of the Son to nonbelievers, must be definitive and clear.

 

Hosea 6:6: “For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, and in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings” (cf. Prov. 15:8). Again, an incomplete or distorted gospel is no gospel at all.

 

The Importance of Evangelism

 

The proclamation of the gospel is God’s appointed means of saving His people (Rom. 1:16)—it is the power of God.

Romans 10:9, 15: “Because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 13 ‘For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord [YHWH] will be saved’ [cited from Joel 2:32]. . . . 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How timely [or ‘beautiful’] is the arrival of those who proclaim the good news’” (cited from Isa. 52:7).

Note that confessing “Jesus is Lord” in verse 9 is paralleled with calling on the name of the Lord in verse 13, which is a quotation form Joel 2:32—the same Lord. Paul identified Jesus as the YHWH of Joel 2:32—namely, confessing Jesus as YHWH.

Salvation is a matter of God’s sovereignty, which Paul calls eklogēn charitos (“election of grace”; Rom. 11:5).[3]

 

Evangelism is Two-Fold

1) To the world (Acts 17:30; Rom. 10:15). In Luke 10, after sending out the Twelve Apostles on a similar mission as in Matthew 28:19-20 (and Luke 9:1-6), Jesus sends out Seventy-Two “others” on a larger mission, but the same message: To proclaim the gospel. In Luke 10:2, Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few”—a sad thought. Is evangelism not the task of Christians and especially pastors (Rom. 1:15)?

Although the “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few: Jesus says to the Seventy-Two missionaries: “Beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Thus, we must pray ALWAYS to the Lord of the Harvest that He may ignite the inactive soldiers for active duty.  In Luke 10:3, Jesus then said, “Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. . . .” In verse 16, Christ stated that “The one who listens to You listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.”

 Rejecting their words of truth from Jesus’ messengers (now we call them “Christians”) is the same as rejecting Christ Himself and, as Jesus said, rejecting God. Paul said our gospel message is mōron (“foolish,” 1 Cor. 1:18-25) to the world. But again, the gospel of the Son and the proclamation of it is the means God chose to save sinners (Rom. 1:16).  

2) Evangelism is also for the church. Paul said to the church of Rome: “I am eager to ‘preach the gospel’ [euaggelizō] to you also who are in Rome.” Is that not the task of pastors to their church in order for them to learn the gospel better and thus, be more effectual in the proclamation of it? Most likely, this is why Paul was excited to evangelize, that is, preach the gospel to the church in Rome (Rom. 1:15).

In Acts 18:24-28, although Apollos was “mighty in the Scriptures,” “fervent in spirit,” “teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus,” verse 26 says that “when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” As a result: “He powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ (v. 28). God requires accuracy when handling His word especially in the presentation of Christ and His cross work.

Conclusion

 Evangelism is the ordained and normal means that God chose to redeem His people. The book of Acts provides a historic narrative of the first thirty years or so of the church in which we read the evangelistic content of the apostles and others. What we find is that their evangelism was simple, accurate, and focused on the substance of the gospel: The atoning work of God the Son, the resurrected Savior and salvation through faith in Christ alone. In contrast to today’s evangelism, which is generally disconnected from biblical evangelism.                 

 

“How beautiful are the feet of those gospelizing of good things” (Rom. 10:15, trans. mine).


NOTES 

[1] Cf. also Colossians 2:9; 2 Timothy 2:8. The deity of the Son was consistently taught in the NT and OT.   

[2] Cf. Acts 1:11; 1 John 4:2-3. 

[3] Cf. Ephesians 1:4-5; 2:8-10; Philippians 1:29.

 

 

Biblically speaking, the gospel (good news) is the substitutionary and sacrificial work of Christ—not the work of man in his response, faith, repentance, good behavior, etc. Besides passages such as 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, which we will deal with shortly, Paul makes this point clear in Romans 1:1, 3, “The gospel of God . . . concerning His Son.” So, the gospel in and of itself has nothing to do with man, but everything to do with the atoning work of Jesus Christ, God the Son. We must not confuse the work of Christ, which is the gospel—the good news of Jesus’ cross work—with the response of faith in Christ, repentance, obedience, etc. Salvation is solus Christus (through Christ alone), thus, Hs work being the very ground or cause of justification, and faith being the very alone instrument.

The gospel then is comprised of all essential theology of the Christian faith since it involves the person, nature, and finish work of Christ. Simply, the gospel is the atoning work of God the Son, in incarnation, death, and resurrection. And trusting Him alone for salvation (Rom. 10:9, 13; 1 Cor. 15:3-4 [see discussion below on this passage]; 2 Tim. 2:8).      

 

In expanded detail, the essential doctrines of the Christian faith include:      

 

  • The person of the Son is truly God and truly man, the two natured person—being distinct from the Father who sent Him (John 1:1, 14, 18; 5:17-18; 20:28; 1 Cor. 2:8; Rom. 9:5; Phil. 2:6-8; Col. 2:9; Heb. 1:3; 1 John 4:2-3; 5:20; Rev. 1:7-8).  

 

  • The sending of the Son to earth from the Father out of heaven (John 3:13, 16-18; 6:38; 16:28).

 

  • A literal descendant of David, born of a virgin (2 Tim. 2:8[1]; Matt. 1:18; Rom. 9:5; Gal. 4:4).

 

  • The perpetual (ongoing, permanent) incarnation of the Son—the Word became flesh (John 1:1, 14; 2 Tim. 2:8; 1 John 4:2-3; 2 John 1:7).

 

  • The Son’s substitutionary (vicarious) atoning sinless life (preceptive obedience) and cross work (penal obedience) as the very ground of justification, which removed the sin-guilt and God’s wrath due to us for our sins (Gen. 15:6; Isa. 53:11; Mark 10:45; John 6:37-39; Rom. 5:6, 8, esp. v. 10; 8:32; 1 John 2:2, 4:10).

 

  • Salvation (justification), then, is through faith alone “apart from works” (Acts 10:36, 43; Rom. 4:4:4-8; 5:1; Eph. 2:8-9; 2 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 1:9).

 

  • Jesus’ real death and physical resurrection (John 2:19-21; 19:30; Acts 1:11; 17:31; Rom. 10:9; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; Titus 2:13).

 

  • His accession to the Father (John 6:62; 16:10, 28; 20:17; Acts 1:10-11; Heb. 10:12-13).

 

  • His (physical) second coming (Acts 1:10-11; Titus 2:13-14; 1 John 2:28).

 

  • The concept of the Trinity—namely, one true eternal God revealed in three distinct persons (see chap. 3 above).   

The person (unipersonal, i.e., distinct from the Father, and Holy Spirit), nature (truly God truly man) and finished completed work (justification through faith alone) are necessary and indispensable to the Christian faith. They also imply other important doctrines such “total inability,” that is, in man’s unconverted spiritual state he cannot (no ability) please or come to Christ (John 6:44; 8:43-44, 47; Rom. 3:10-18) due to the inherent sin-guilt (imputed sin) of all men resulting from the first sin in the Garden. These doctrines constitute the key ultimate test in which distinguishes genuine Christianity from false non-Christian (atheistic) religious cults and world religions.

All must be affirmed in a basic sense, and none can be denied. Further, one cannot affirm some of these, but not the others. For example, Roman Catholicism (as discussed below) officially embraces the Trinity, deity of Christ, the incarnation, virgin birth, and Jesus’ resurrection. However, because Roman Catholic doctrine rejects that the alone work of Christ is the absolute and sufficient means and ground of justification, Rome falls outside of Christian orthodoxy (cf. Gal. 1:6, 8)—hence, non-Christian.

Thus, it is not the Jesus of biblical revelation that Rome embraces, rather a different Jesus and a “different gospel.” Therefore, all things pertaining to the gospel are “essential” theology. Whereas secondary theology is any doctrine that is not essential to one’s salvation—namely, any doctrine that does not fundamentally deny or distort the nature and/or finished work of Christ (e.g., the OT Law, spiritual, gifts, method of water baptism, eschatology [i.e., end-time teachings], etc.). Again, the sufficiency of the gospel is the work of the Christ. and justification through faith alone is the only recognized gospel.    

[1] “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant [spermatos] of David, according to my gospel.” 

The mission of John the Baptist was to proclaim the need for spiritual repentance and the coming Messiah. John the Baptist was the one about which Isaiah prophesied in Isa. 40:3: “A voice cries out, “In the wilderness clear a way for LORD [YHWH]; construct in the desert a road for our God.…” (cf. John 1:23). According to Christ, John the Baptist was the Elijah that was to come prophesied in Mal. 4:5-6 (cf. Matt. 11:14).[1] And John the one who baptized Jesus as recorded in John 1:29-34; Matt. 3:13-17: Mark 1:9-11; and Luke 3:21, 22.

John’s gospel account provides some theological details not found in the synoptics. In John 1:29, we read that Jesus came to John to baptized: “On the next day, John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’”

 Using a “lamb” for sacrifice was very familiar to the Jews:

  1. Used as a sacrifice at the Passover (Exod. 12:12:1-36).
  2. Lamb was “led to the slaughter” (Isa. 53:7).
  3. A Lamb was used in daily sacrifices (Lev. 14:12-21).

 

Thus, John sees Christ as the Lamb signifying the final and sole infallible “ultimate sacrifice,” which takes away the sin of the world. This concept is found throughout the Apostle John’s writing. This is especially seen in Rev. 5:6-14:  

6  “And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slaughtered. . . . 8 When He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. . . . 9 And they *sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are You to take the scroll and to break its seals; for You were slaughtered, and You purchased people for God with Your blood from every tribe, language, people, and nation. . . . 11 Then I looked, and I heard the voices of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders. . . . 12 saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered to receive power, wealth, wisdom, might, honor, glory, and blessing.’ 13 And I heard every created thing which is in heaven, or on the earth, or under the earth, or on the sea, and all the things in them, saying, ‘To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be the blessing, the honor, the glory, and the dominion forever and ever.’ 14 . . . And the elders fell down and worshiped.

A symbolic “Lamb” is frequently used in reference to Christ in two primary ways: As a suffering servant and as a sacrifice.   

  1. The Lamb as the suffering servant. As mentioned, the symbolism is seen and derived from Isa. 53:7: “He was oppressed and afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers. So He did not open His mouth.” Note, this text (Isa. 53:7) is specifically applied to Jesus in Acts 8:32. Also, all the servant-songs occur in the latter section of Isaiah (40-55). The NT links John the Baptist (John 1:23) with the first part of this section of Isaiah (40:3). Jesus is related to the suffering servant in other places in John’s Gospel (John 12:38 and Isa. 53:1).

 

  1. The Lamb as the Passover sacrificial lamb. In the OT, the Passover lamb is actually a real animal. John uses the Passover symbolism of Christ repeatedly in his literature, especially in relationship to the sacrificial death of Christ. Note the following:

I. Jesus was condemned at noon on the Day of Preparation, which was the day before Passover (John 19:14). Thus, Jesus was going to die at the very time the priests would be slaying the lambs in the Temple.

II. Exod. 12:22 indicates that hyssop was used to smear blood on the doorposts in the Passover procedure. Whereas in John 19:29, hyssop was used to give Jesus the wine on a sponge.

III. Exod. 12:46 indicates that the bones of the Passover lamb were not to be broken. Whereas in John 19:36, Jesus’ bones were not broken, which was a fulfillment of Scripture (Ps. 22:16-17).

 

So, in John’s gospel we see both, the Lamb as the suffering servant and as a sacrifice. We see this same reference in Heb. 10:10-14:

10 “By this will, we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ ephapax [‘once for all time’]. 11 Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; 12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD, 13 waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES ARE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET. 14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified”—

Thus, His work was perfectly completed, that is, finished for all time (Tetelestai, John 19:30). As Paul writes in 1 Cor. 5:7: “… For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.”

 

Back to our text, John 1:29: “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” It is in this context that Christ – “Removes, takes away the sin of the world.” 

The term “takes away” (NASB) is from the Greek verb, airō, which carries the basic meaning of “to raise from the ground, take up, lift up.” Note the following exegetical points:

  1. Grammatical. The verb here is a present tense participle and it’s articular (i.e., has the article, “the”)— ho airōn, literally, “the One taking away.” The present tense action, indicates a literal non-figurative taking away, raising up, removal of sin by the atoning sacrifice of Christ—not He will take away the sin, but rather He is the one taking away the sin—which is then applied to the sinner at faith. The atonement and thus, the removal of sin and the wrath due to us because of sin is a definite action completed at the cross.

 

  1. Lexical. The first century Koinē Greek meaning of the verb in this passage is “to bear away what has been raised, carry off; to move from its place. . . . to remove the guilt and punishment of sin by expiation, or to cause that sin be neither imputed nor punished” (Thayer)[2]; to “carry away, remove (to move from one place to another)” (BDAG).[3] Additionally, the verb appears ninety-seven times in the Greek NT (NA28). In every single place, the verb denotes a literal removing or taking something away. Only in one place (1 Cor. 6:15) is it used figuratively.

 

Therefore, due to the meaning and tense of the verb, one cannot legitimately impose a universal meaning upon the term “world” (kosmos). The present tense action of the verb (an actual “taking away”), and John’s own soteriology (cf. John 1:13; 3:15-17; 6:37-39, 10:15; 1 John 2:1-2) would prevent this pretext.   

Universalists and Inclusivists. Because of the semantic import and tense of the verb, Universalists and Inclusivists will appeal John 1:29 to teach that all men in “the world” will be saved regardless if they believe in Christ or not. They will interpret the verb airō (“takes away”) here properly (i.e., a literal, not hypothetical, removal of sin); yet improperly interpret the term “world” to mean “all men” inclusively, without exception. Thus, the Universalistic/Inclusivistic depends on an unbiblical pretext assuming that the term “world” carries a universal meaning here—namely, every single person universally will have their sin taken away.                                 

However, note the hermeneutical (interpretative technique) error they make: Both Universalists and Inclusivists do not consider the various meanings of the term kosmos (“world”) how it was normally used in a first century significance. Many times, it was used to denote the world of the Jews and Gentiles. For example, many first century Jews assumed that salvation was for them alone—God’s “chosen” people. So, in John 3:16, Jesus used “world” as a “corrective” to this false notion to Nicodemus, thus, in this sense, ‘For God so loved the Jews, and even the Gentles.’

In the NT, kosmos (“world”) carries a wide range of meanings, depending on the context. Similarly, the Greek adjective pas (“all, every”), can mean “all” or “every” inclusively (e.g., Rom. 3:23; Col. 1:17-17), but others times, it can also mean all kinds, or as many as (Matt. 4:24; or Acts 22:25: “[Ananias to Paul] ‘For you will be a witness for Him to ALL [pas] people of what you have seen and heard.”

Thus, “all” in the sense of all in the region, or “all” kinds of people (kings, rulers, Jews, Gentiles, men women, slaves, free etc.), and not every single person in the world. Kosmos is also similar. In the NT, kosmos has at least eight clearly defined separate meanings defined by its surrounding context: 

  1. Used to signify every single person, Rom. 3:19. 
  1. Used to signify non-believers, John 1:10; 15:18; Rom. 3:6. 
  1. Used signify only believers, John 1:29; 3:17; 6:33; 12:47; 1 Cor. 4:9; 2 Cor. 5:19. 
  1. Used to signify Gentiles in contrast to Jews, Rom. 11:12. 
  1. 5. Used to signify the world system, John 12:31. 
  1. Used to signify the earth, John 13:1; Eph. 1:4. 
  1. Used to signify the universe as a whole, Acts 17:24: “God that made the world and all things therein seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth.”
  2. Used to signify the known world (not everyone inclusively)—Jews and Gentiles, Rom. 1:8: “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.” 

So here in John 1:29, in light of the verb’s meaning as a literal non-figurative sin being “taking away,” removed by the atoning sacrifice of Christ, and the verb being in the present, not future tense, the “world” would be the world of believers. By the blood of Christ, He purchased and removed the sin of men from “every tribe, language, people, and nation” (Rev. 5:9). The world of believers is shown love through the giving of the Son so that they will have eternal life through faith in Him.

Thus, John’s statement here defines the efficacy and intent of the Son’s atoning cross work. “Behold, the Lamb of God, the One taking away the sin of the world,..” both Jews and Gentles—the good news of the gospel!


Notes

[1] Also cf. Matt. 17:11-13; Mark 9:11-13; Luke 1:16-17.

[2] Joseph H. Thayer, Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament.

[3] Walter Bauer’s, A Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament, 3rd ed., ed. and rev. by Frederick W. Danker (BDAG).

 

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“I and the Father are one.”

Ἐγὼ καὶ ὁ Πατὴρ ἕν ἐσμεν (Egō kia ho Patēr hen esmen), lit., “I and the Father one we are”).     

Both historically and currently, Christians have pointed to this passage to show that Jesus indeed claimed equality with God the Father. As with Jesus’ other undeniable claims to be equal with and truly God (Matt. 12:6; John 5:17-18; 8:58-59 et al; Rev. 1:7-8, 17; 2:8; 22:13; etc.), the response of the Jews in verse 33 is an irrefutable confirmation of Jesus’ claim: “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” This passage also provides a clear refutation to the Oneness view, which erroneously asserts that Jesus is the Father (i.e., the same person). Ironically, Oneness advocates actually use it as a so-called proof text. Aside from the fact that throughout chapter 10, Jesus and the Father are clearly differentiated as two persons (vv. 15, 17, 18, 25, 29, 30, 36, 37, 38). But note the following points regarding verse 30 that refutes Oneness theology:      

No agreement in conservative recognized Christian scholarship with a Oneness interpretation. Neither historically nor contemporaneously has any Christian writer interpreted John 10:30 in a modalistic (Oneness) way. Rather, all standard scholarly sources (patristics, commentaries, grammars, lexicons et al), interprets the passage in the plain intended way within the defining context: The person of the Son claiming equality with the distinct person of the Father.

Plain reading. Jesus simply says, “I and the Father ARE one.” Only by pretexting can one read something into this text beyond the simple plain reading.                              

The neuter adjective hen (“one”) is used—contextually indicating a unity of essence, not personal identity. If Jesus wanted to identify Himself as the Father (same person), He certainly could have used the masculine heis to indicate this (e.g., John 12:4; Rom. 3:10; 1 Tim. 2:5 et al.). In this passage, the Father and the Son are the subjects of the sentence (egō, “I,” Patēr, “Father”—both in the nominative case). The neuter adjective hen (“one”) is the predicate nominative and it precedes the plural verb esmen (“are”). The predicate nominative is describing the essential unity of Jesus and the Father.[1] In others words, Jesus is explaining that the Father and Son are—one thing, not one person. In the context of unity, not identity of person, the same neuter adjective is used in John 17:21, where Jesus prays that His disciples “may be one [hen]” even as Jesus and the Father are one.  

The plural verb esmen (“are”). Again, in sharp contrast to the false Oneness interpretation (Jesus is the Father), the Greek contains the plural verb esmen (“I and the Father are one”), and not a singular verb such as eimi (“am”) or estin (“is”) in which case, the passage would read: “I and the Father am/is one.” Furthermore, Jesus’ claim to deity is not merely found in verse 30. Rather, the passages leading up to verse 30 undeniably prove His claim. In verses 27-29, Jesus claims that He is the Shepherd that gives His sheep eternal life and no one can snatch them from His nor His Father’s hand (same words of YHWH in the LXX of Deut. 32:39[2]).


NOTES

[1] Greek grammarian A. T. Robertson comments on the application of the neuter hen in John 10:30: “One (hen). Neuter, not masculine (heis). Not one person (cf. heis in Gal. 3:28), but one essence or nature” (Robertson, Word Pictures).

[2] Note the same phrases used in both in Deuteronomy (LXX) and John: Deuteronomy 32:39: “And there is no one who can deliver ek tōn cheirōn mou [‘out of the hands of Me’].” John 10:28: “they will never perish; and no one will snatch them ek tēs cheiros mou  [‘out of the hand of Me’].” Verse 10:29: “no one is able to snatch them ek tēs cheiros tou Patros [‘out of the hand of the Father’].”  

 

 

 

“But of that day or hour NO ONE KNOWS, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone”

Unitarians, esp. Muslims and JWs use this passage (among others) to show Jesus is not God. 

First, throughout the OT and NT, Christ is presented as ontologically truly God and truly man (Exod. 3:6, 14; Isa. 9:6; Dan. 7:13-14; John 1:1, 18; 5:17-18; 8:58; 20:28; Rom. 9:5; 10:9-13; Phil. 2:6-11; Titus 2:13; Heb. 1:6, 10-12; 2 Pet 1:1; Rev. 1:7-8; 22:13). His claim to be God were unambiguous (Mark. 14:61-64; John 5:17-18; 8:24, 58 et al.; 10:30; Rev. 1:7-8; 22:13; etc.).       

 

So was Jesus ignorant of His Return?  

The simple response has to do with the verb oiden (“knows”). Instead of ignorance (Jesus not “knowing”), we see the verb oiden (perfect form of eidō) in a “preeminent sense” in that, the verb oiden takes the force of the Hebrew stem hiphil. Verbs with the hiphil has a causative or declarative sense. Thus as here: “I make known, cause, promulgate, declare.”  

 

In 1 Cor. 2:2, the same verb is used in this sense, where Paul states: “I determined ‘to know’ (eidenai from eidō) nothing among you but Jesus Christ and him crucified,” that is, I cause or determined to make known, nothing among you, but Jesus Christ.

So in light of the verb oiden (“to know”) taking the force of the Hebrew stem hiphil (as in 1 Cor. 2:2), the literal sense would be: “But of that day and that hour none can cause or declare to you to KNOW (that is, none has authority) to cause to make known— not the angels, neither the Son, but, preeminently, the Father alone—He will reveal or declare it.

Therefore, in Mark 13:32, the verb takes the force of the Hebrew hiphil stem (causative or declarative sense)—i.e., in a “preeminent sense” (as in 1 Cor. 2:2). Thus, the Son “knows” the day and hour of His return, but the one who will make known, cause, promulgate, or declare is the Father alone. A proper exegesis erases any notion of the Son being ignorant of His return. 

“To them belong the patriarchs, and from them, by human descent, came the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever! Amen” (Rom. 9:5, NET).

 

 

 

 

The biblical mandate of every believer (esp. to those in Christian ministry positions, viz. pastors, teachers, evangelists) is to grow theologically (2 Pet. 3:18), contend for and defend the faith (1 Pet. 3:15; Jude 1:3), and to evangelize (Rom. 1:16; 10:15, 17)—in obedience to the Lord.  

 

Apologetics Defined

The term “apologetics” comes from the Greek noun[1]apologia (in all case forms), which appears eight times in the Greek NT. The term apologia is a compound word from apo (“from”) and logos (logic/intelligent reasoning”), thus, to provide an answer or logical and coherent response to an objection raised. It is an intelligent verbal defense, or speech. The term was used in an ancient court for making a legal defense.    

 

Biblical Application

1 Pet. 3:15: “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense [apologian] to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” As with the book of James, 1-3 John, and Jude, Peter’s Epistles are “catholic” Epistles, meaning general or universal letters. Unlike the narrative books (Gospels, Acts), the NT catholic Epistles were not written to particular churches or persons; rather, they were to the general population of Christians thus, Peter mandates every Christian to be ready to:

  1. Make a defense (apologia). All Christians are called to defend the faith not by philosophy, but rather by Scripture.

 

  1. Give a reason (logos) for that defense, with gentleness and respect. Apologetics then is a “reasonable defense” of essential biblical theology in which the entire Christian faith rests. In an age where apologetics and essential doctrine become a mere sidebar in the Christian church, it was a primary theme in the Scriptures.

 

The Apostle Paul, for example, devotes enormous space in his letters to the defense and proclamation of the gospel. In fact, virtually all of the NT Epistles were written to undeceive the church and refute (i.e. provide a defense) a particular false doctrine and affirm essential truths of the gospel (esp. that Jesus was God-man, the triune concept of God, and justification through faith alone apart from works).      

 

Acts 17:16-17—Paul in Athens: 16 “Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was being provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols.”

The term “provoked” (paroxunō) carries the meaning to incite or jab someone or something. Thayer defines the meaning as “to irritate, provoke, rouse to anger; to stimulate their emotions.” The verb here is an imperfect indicative denoting a repeated action. Paul’s provocation against the idolatry he saw was persistent and ongoing. The term reasoning is from the Greek word dialegomai. This term is a compound word from dia (“through”) and legō (“to reason, speak”). 17 “So [as a result] he was reasoning [dialegomai] in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.” So what was Paul arguing? Note verses 2-3 of Acts 17:

2 And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.”

Phil. 1:7, 16. Writing from prison (house arrest), Paul explained to the church of Philippi that “it was because of “apologetics” that he was in chains: “Since both in my imprisonment and in the defense [fr. apologia] and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me. . . . 16 I am appointed for the defense [from apologia] of the gospel.”  

Acts 18:28 “For he [Apollos] powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ (cf. vv. 24-27).

Jude 1:3: “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.” As with 1 Peter 3:15, Jude, through the Holy Spirit, instructs all Christians to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all [hapax] handed down [delivered] to the saints” (2 Cor. 10:3-5; Titus 2:13).

 

The Glory of God in Apologetics: The Church of Ephesus

While Paul was meeting with the Ephesian pastors (elders), he gave then pointed instructions of their divine calling as pastors of the church (Acts 20:17:31). Note verses 26-31:    

26 “Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men.  27 For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. 28 Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood. 29 I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.”

Note: Paul’s main admonishments to the overseers (syn. with elders, pastors) of the church: Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock (v. 28); against the “false teachers”(savage wolves) within the church (vv. 29-30); “Therefore be on the alert” (v. 31). Question: Did the Ephesian overseers listen? Yes they did! Look at Jesus’ message to them in Rev. 2:2-3:

2 “I know your deeds and your toil [kopon] and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; 3 and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary.”

 

Jesus says He “knows” (oida) their deeds/works. Jesus sees all in the church and each member, in and out. The term “toil” is from the Greek noun kopos meaning, “toil of labor,” intense laborious work, involving fatigue – from the verb koptō, to hit, denoting deep fatigue; “to cut, by means of a sharp-edged instrument (BDAG)[2]. Thayer indicates that the kopos is equivalent to koptein in Jer. 51:33 (LXX): A beating of the breast in grief or sorrow; intense labor. In the NT, kopos is synonymous with ponos, which carries the meaning of “pain” as in Rev. 21:4.

Jesus commended the church of Ephesus for their intense painful labor (kopos) and perseverance in 1) not tolerating evil men (false teachers), 2) testing those who call themselves apostles, who were not, 3) finding them false, and 4) enduring for Jesus’ name sake and not growing weary. They glorified God in their deeds of continuous and laborious apologetics adhering to Paul’s warning of the wolves “from among your own selves” (i.e., in the church). The Apostle Paul’s entire Christian life was defending and affirming the essential doctrines of the Christian faith (the gospel). 

 

Apologetic Duty for Christians

What is our biblical obligation when we encounter false teachings or teachers? See Matt. 7:15: “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (cf. 1 Pet. 3:15; Jude 1:3).

 

Firm Foundation of Faith

Accurately defending and affirming the truth requires that one is familiar with the truth.  If one is not familiar with the basic truth of the gospel, how is he or she going to be familiar with teachings that oppose biblical truth? In 2 Tim. 2:15, Paul stresses directly to the pastors: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling [orthotomeō, lit., “cut straight”!] the word of truth.”

 

Although written directly to pastors, all Christians should make every effort to handle God’s Word accurately and precisely ensuring with great diligence that their interpretation is correct before they apply it to themselves and others.

The first phrase, “Be diligent” is from the verb, spoudason, which is in the aorist imperative. The tense here stresses urgency. The verb carries the meaning of being swift or fast, “to exert oneself” (Thayer). “Endeavor, earnestly strive” (Mounce). Pastors and church leaders have a higher responsibility to defend and refute false teachers and doctrines (Titus 1:9, 13).

After Paul affirms the sufficiency of Scripture alone for the task of teaching, rebuking, correcting, “training in righteousness” and the equipping the man of God for pan ergon agathon (“every good work,” 2 Tim. 3:16-17), he furthers instructs pastors to: “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and exhort, with great patience and instruction” (2 Tim. 4:2). Note the five aorist imperatives (stressing urgency): “Preach,” “be ready,” “reprove/refute,” “rebuke,” and “exhort/encourage.” Why is Paul stressing such urgency of these commandments? Note in the next verses, 3-4:

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

Engaging in affirming and defending the faith, was commanded and addressed by Jesus (Matt. 7:15); Paul (Acts 20:17-31; Gal. 1:6, 8; Col. 2:3-4, 8-9; Titus 2:13); Peter (1 Pet. 3:15; 2 Pet. 2:1ff.); Jude (Jude 1:3); and John (1 and 2 John).

As said, virtually every NT epistle was written for the express purpose of refuting false doctrines and providing a positive affirmation of essential truth. In John 20:31, the Apostle John provides a two-fold reason (apologetic and evangelistic) as to why he wrote his Gospel: “But these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God [apologetic], and that believing you may have life in His name” (evangelistic). Thus, we as Christians are called to always be ready to provide a biblical defense and a reason for our faith.

The church of Ephesus was commended by Christ Himself for engaging in continuous apologetics—in actively testing and finding false teachings and teachers: 2 “I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance. . . . 3 and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary” (Rev. 2:2-3).

 

“Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (1 Pet. 3:15).


 

Notes

[1] The verbal form appears in the NT ten times.

[2] Bauer, Danker, Arndt, and Gingrich, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 3rd ed.   

 

I always say at the onset to those who make the incorrect uninformed assertion regarding the triquetra symbol being derived from Wicca, paganism, etc. that that calendar in your office and/or house and/or in the rooms of your children, — are filled with symbols of pagan gods (all days and names of months were named after pagan gods). Thus, any objection to the triquetra as use by Christians would be inconsistent and historically ignorant lacking any meaningful basic research on the triquetra and its origins in religious and non-religious usage.  

In terms of the triquetra (Trinitarian symbol), you should not base an argument on ignorance, and unaccredited internet articles. Primarily, KJV Onlyists and anti-Trinitarian groups (esp. JWs, and unstudied Oneness advocates) chiefly utilize the pagan-triquetra arguments against it. So Christians should strive to do the objective research, in order that they not provide bad untruthful arguments and appear unread. In point of fact, The triquetra is a very old symbol and dates back perhaps to around 500 BC. But its actual origins are unknown. Some scholars believe it to be Celtic in origin, and it is sometimes called the Irish Trinity Knot.

The triquetra symbol is also found in Norse Viking artifacts such as combs and saddles; found on a Norwegian coin from around the 11th cent.; and there is a Japanese form, again with no religious significance. Further, the triquetra has been found on Indian heritage sites that are over 5,000 years old; found on carved stones in Northern Europe dating from A.D. 8th cent. as well as found on early Germanic coins-with no religious significance at all. It is certainly possible that various cultures developed the basic design arrangement independently. But in spite of where or when it first appeared, it has been associated to a vast number of meanings through time.

However, to early Christians (and many today), the triquetra symbolized the Trinity (one God, three persons). For example in the late 8th cent. Book of Kells was an exemplified manuscript book in Latin containing all four Gospels together with various prefatory texts contained also figures of triquetras. The triquetra symbol has been found in Norwegian churches dating to the 11th century.

In conclusion, the triquetra has been used historically by all kinds of groups to mean different things. As with other Christian symbols and Christian holidays (e.g., Christmas, Easter, cross, etc.), we embrace the Christian significance—not its origin. In spite of the (unclear) origins, the triquetra has a rich meaning that has been used by the early church to signify the Trinity. No Christian used it as a pagan symbol, in the same way no Christian uses a calendar today on their wall to exalt the pagan gods of the days and months it represents—thus, calendars were factually derived from pagan in origins.

Historically, for Christians, the Triquetra represents the Trinity, not its supposedly pagan origins. And those who object (due to a mass of misinformation) to this Trinitarian symbol, since they do not have a problem with pagan-origins calendars in their homes, do they have a problem with the Apostle Paul’s quotations of pagans writers to make a biblical point, viz., Epimenides of Crete in Titus 1:12 and Acts 17:28 (referring to Zeus); Aratus of Cilicia in Acts 17:28 (also referring to Zeus); and Menander in 1 Cor. 15:33?  

In point of fact, for hundreds of years Christians have been using the triquetra a symbol that proclaims the doctrine of the Trinity.