Thursday, June 8, 2017

Christ: Fully God, Fully Man


Fully Human and Fully Divine

Much of the Scripture and exegesis for this section comes from "Jesus Christ is not God - the JW argument", by Tim Staples, Envoy Magazine, Premier Issue, pp 21-23, and "Christ's Divinity Proved by the JW Bible", Joel S. Peters, This Rock, December 1996, pp. 18-25.

"For to join the mortal and the eternal, and think they can agree and work together, is folly. For what things are more differing or more distinct betwixt themselves, and more opposed, than the mortal and the immortal and eternal, joined together in order to undergo cruel storms?"  - Lucretius

God answered the objection with a single Word.

The Problem: Many Christians assert some alteration in the Divinity or the humanity of Jesus Christ. The variations on these interpretations are legion - Jesus is not really God, but a lesser, created being (e.g., an archangel), Jesus is two persons in one body, Jesus is both man and God, but only the man died on the cross, while God did not, etc.

The Truth: Jesus Christ was, from the first moment of His conception, one Person with two complete natures, a fully human nature completely free from all taint of sin, and the fully Divine nature in which resides the Godhead. Christ was truly generated and born by a human mother through the power of the Holy Spirit descending upon her from God the Father. In this way, the one divine Person united Himself, both in Will and Intellect, to a complete human nature, that is, a human body, human will, human intellect, and human soul. Christ is both fully God and fully man at the same time and in the same person, two complete natures united substantially together in hypostatic union, each nature possessing its own will and its own mode of operation, the human will in free and full harmony with, and in subordination to, the Divine Will.

Lk 1:31, 35 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.... And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.

The above verses have been used to argue that Mary was Mother of God only in the sense that she carried Christ in her womb, that Mary's ovum was not used in the creation of the God-Man, Jesus Christ, but that the Holy Spirit conceived Him without any part or share in the humanity of his mother, Mary. Yet...

Rev 22:16 "I Jesus have sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star."

Gen 3:15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel."

This is the only occurrence of the phrase "her seed" in all of Scripture. It is a reference to the coming of the Messiah and to the special role a woman will play in the redemption of mankind.

Elizabeth confirms that Mary is the Mother of God when she says:

Lk 1:43 And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

Christ's human nature came to Him through the humanity of His mother, herself created specially by God.

Gal 4:4 But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law...

1 Tim 2:5-6 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, the testimony to which was borne at the proper time.

Jesus is both fully man and fully God.

Jn 20:17 Jesus said to her, "Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God."

As a man, God is His God. He worships Him, prays to Him, and needs Him in His life, just as we do. His human soul cries out to God just as ours do. However, Jesus always distinguishes between the disciples' relationship to God and His own relationship to God when He refers to God. Christ is human. But He is also Divine.

Phil 2:6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,

Jn 14:28 You heard me say to you, 'I go away, and I will come to you.' If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I.

The Father is "greater" than the incarnate Christ because Christ's humanity is a creation, and in His humanity He is subordinate to the Father, though in His divinity, He is equal to, and of the same divine substance as, the Father.

Heb 2:9 But we see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for every one.

Jn 1:18 No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.

Mt 11:11 Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

If John is greater than anyone born of woman, does this mean John does not have a human nature? Does it mean that those residing in heaven, who are greater than John, have a different nature? If John the Baptist is the greatest man to ever live, does that mean John the Baptist was greater than Jesus, superior to Him by nature? Clearly not. Thus, there is no difficulty in saying that the Person of God the Father is in some way superior to the Person of God the Son.

Jn 17:3 Now, this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.

Rom 9:5 to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

One God in Three Persons - this is in perfect harmony with Catholic doctrine.

Is 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

Psalm 22:28 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord; and all the families of the nations shall worship before him.

Mt 1:22-23 All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel" (which means, God with us)

Paul asserts two things simultaneously about Christ:

Gal 1:12 For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

Paul asserts Christ is not a human being...

1 Tim 2:5-6 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, the testimony to which was borne at the proper time.

... and that Christ is a human being. If Scripture is the word of God, nothing but truth, then both statements must be true. Is Christ an angel? Paul doesn't think so:

Heb 1:1-8 In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has obtained is more excellent than theirs.

5 For to what angel did God ever say, "Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee"? Or again, "I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son"? 6 And again, when he brings the first-born into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship him." 7 Of the angels he says, "Who makes his angels winds, and his servants flames of fire."

8 But of the Son he says, "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever, the righteous scepter is the scepter of thy kingdom.

Paul asserts that the Father calls the Son God.

Heb 1:9-13 Thou hast loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, thy God, has anointed thee with the oil of gladness beyond thy comrades." 10 And, "Thou, Lord, didst found the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of thy hands; 11 they will perish, but thou remainest; they will all grow old like a garment, 12 like a mantle thou wilt roll them up, and they will be changed. But thou art the same, and thy years will never end." 13 But to what angel has he ever said, "Sit at my right hand, till I make thy enemies a stool for thy feet"?

In this series of rhetorical questions, Paul makes clear that Christ was much more than an angel. The only thing left is - God.

Psalm 2:7 I will tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to me, "You are my son, today I have begotten you.

Psalm 110:1-3 The Lord says to my lord: "Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool." 2 The Lord sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your foes! 3 Your people will offer themselves freely on the day you lead your host upon the holy mountains. From the womb of the morning like dew your youth will come to you.

Is 35:4-6 Say to those who are of a fearful heart, "Be strong, fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you." 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; 6 then shall the lame man leap like a hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert;

Mt 11:2-6 Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to him, "Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?" 4 And Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. 6 And blessed is he who takes no offense at me."

John knew who Christ was - he had proclaimed Him the Lamb of God, and he saw the Spirit descend on Him (John 1:29-33). John sent his disciples to ask Christ this question in order to make his own disciples realize that Christ was fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 35 - Christ is God.

Jer 23:5 "Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6 In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: 'The Lord is our righteousness.'

Mt 16:16 Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Col 1:15-19 He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; 16 for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authoritiesall things were created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent. 19 For in him all the fulness of God was pleased to dwell,

If Christ was created by God and all things were created through Christ, then Scripture is wrong - Christ did not create all things, since He did not create Himself. Since Scripture cannot be wrong, Christ must be uncreated and thus, God.

Jn 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Jn 5:18 This was why the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the sabbath but also called God his Father, making himself equal with God.

Jn 14:1 "Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me"

Jn 10:28-30 and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. 30 I and the Father are one."

Jn 16:14-15 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

Heb 3:4-6 Yet Jesus has been counted worthy of as much more glory than Moses as the builder of a house has more honor than the house. 4 (For every house is built by some one, but the builder of all things is God.) 5 Now Moses was faithful in all God's house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, 6 but Christ was faithful over God's house as a son. And we are his house if we hold fast our confidence and pride in our hope.

Rom 9:5 to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed for ever. Amen.

1 Jn 5:7-8 And the Spirit is the witness, because the Spirit is the truth. 8 There are three witnesses, the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree..

Rev 17:14 they will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful."

Col 2:9 For in him the whole fulness of deity dwells bodily,

1 Jn 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, to know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

Jn 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Jehovah's Witnesses will argue that the correct translation should be "the word was a god." The only charitable thing which can be said is that this is an extremely poor translation of the Greek, a translation so poor that any professor of Greek would flunk the student who gave him or her such a translation. However, even if it were correct (it isn't), that means worshipping Jesus is idolatry.

Ex 20:3 You shall have no other gods before me.

If Christ were only "a god," but not God, then He must be a false God.

Ex 3:14 God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"

This is God's name - I AM.

Deut 13:7-11 some of the gods of the peoples that are round about you, whether near you or far off from you, from the one end of the earth to the other, 8 you shall not yield to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him; 9 but you shall kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. 10 You shall stone him to death with stones, because he sought to draw you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 11 And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and never again do any such wickedness as this among you.

God commanded idolaters and blasphemers to be stoned.

Jn 8:33 The Jews answered him, "We stone you for no good work, but for blasphemy; because you, being a man, make yourself God."

Jn 8:58-59 Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am." 59 So they took up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple.

The Jews clearly thought Jesus was proclaiming himself to be God. So did other people.

People who met Christ gave Him homage as they did God.

Mt 2:11 And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

Jn 9:38 He said, "Lord, I believe"; and he worshiped him.

Mt 28:9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, "Hail!" And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.

Jn 18:4-6 Then Jesus, knowing all that was to befall him, came forward and said to them, "Whom do you seek?" 5 They answered him, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus said to them, "I am he." Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. 6 When he said to them, "I am he," they drew back and fell to the ground.

They fell to the ground because Christ called Himself by the divine name God revealed to Moses.

Jn 20:28-29 Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" 29 Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe."

Some argue that Thomas was not referring to Christ when he said "my God!", rather he was speaking to God. If so, Thomas engages in blasphemy by taking the name of God in vain.

Rev 4:9-11 And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives for ever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever; they cast their crowns before the throne, singing, 11 "Worthy art thou, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for thou didst create all things, and by thy will they existed and were created."

Rev 5:6-7,12-14 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders, I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth; 7 and he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne..... saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!" 13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all therein, saying, "To him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might for ever and ever!" 14 And the four living creatures said, "Amen!" and the elders fell down and worshiped.

The angels in heaven give the same homage to the Lamb "in the midst of the throne" who is Christ as they give to the One who is seated on the throne.

Rev 7:11 And all the angels stood round the throne and round the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God...

People in heaven and on earth fell down and worshipped Jesus as God.

Zech 3:1 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, "The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?"

Jude 1:9 But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, disputed about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a reviling judgment upon him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you."

Even angels cannot rebuke Satan and his demons (not even the archangel Michael) - only God can.

Mt 17:17-18 And Jesus answered, "O faithless and perverse generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me." 18 And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly.

Mk 1:25-27 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!" 26 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. 27 And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, "What is this? A new teaching! With authority he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him."

Mk 9:25-27 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, "You dumb and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again." 26 And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse; so that most of them said, "He is dead." 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.

Lk 4:33-36 And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon; and he cried out with a loud voice, 34 "Ah! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God." 35 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!" And when the demon had thrown him down in the midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm. 36 And they were all amazed and said to one another, "What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out."

Lk 4:40-41 Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to him; and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them. 41 And demons also came out of many, crying, "You are the Son of God!" But he rebuked them, and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.

Lk 9:42 While he was coming, the demon tore him and convulsed him. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the boy, and gave him back to his father.

Lk 13:32 And he said to them, "Go and tell that fox, 'Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course.

1 Jn 1:1-4 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life 2 the life was made manifest, and we saw it, and testify to it, and proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was made manifest to us 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing this that our joy may be complete.

Only Christ rebuked on His own authority. The angels invoked God. When the Apostles cast out demons, they did not rebuke, rather they invoked Christ's name, despite the fact that Christ had given them authority to cast out unclean spirits (Matthew 10:1, Mark 6:7, Luke 9:1). Both the Apostles and the angels know that only God has the power to cast Satan out.

Acts 16:16-18 As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by soothsaying. 17 She followed Paul and us, crying, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation." 18 And this she did for many days. But Paul was annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, "I charge you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." And it came out that very hour.

Acts 19:13-15 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to pronounce the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, "I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches." 14 Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. 15 But the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?"

Lk 10:17 The seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!"

Heb 1:6 And again, when he brings the first-born into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship him."

Rev 21:5-6 And he who sat upon the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." Also he said, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true." 6 And he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the fountain of the water of life without payment.

Rev 22:13,16 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end..... "I Jesus have sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star.

Jesus and God are both the Alpha and the Omega.

Jn 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God; 3 all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.

All created things were created through Christ. But if Christ Himself were created, then He would have had to create Himself, which is logically impossible.

Col 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation...

This does not indicate that Christ was created first, but that He has preeminence, a title given by a father to a son. Isaac, Jacob, and Ephraim received the blessing of the first-born, although none of them were first-born. Nowhere does Scripture say that Jesus created everything except Himself. It says He created everything. Period.

Is 44:24 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: "I am the Lord, who made all things, who stretched out the heavens alone, who spread out the earthWho was with me?

Here God says He did it all by Himself. If Christ created all things, why doesn't it say "we"?

Jn 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.

Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

If Christ created heaven and earth, then Christ is God.

Acts 20:28 Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God which he obtained with his own blood.

The only person who shed his blood to acquire the Church was Jesus Christ. Note that this passage does NOT say "the blood of His own son." The Greek reads "periepoiesat dia tou haimatos tou idiou." The word son, "huios," does not appear. Since only Christ shed His blood for the Church, Christ must be God.

Early Christians' comments on Christ's Divinity

Brothers of Christ

"Christ...was the only Son of Mary, and the Virgin Mother bore no more children besides Him...'brothers' really means 'cousins' here, and Holy Writ and the Jews have always called cousins brothers" - Martin Luther, Sermons on John, Chap. 1-4

The Problem: Because the people of the Near East were a tribal people, the languages they use do not make the same familial distinctions made in non-tribal languages, such as Greek and English. Neither Hebrew nor Aramaic has a word which distinguishes "brother" from "cousin" - the same word is used for both states, since all who are descended from the same patriarch are brothers. However, Greek does have a separate word for each state. The Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures (i.e., the Septuagint translation) recognizes the translation difficulty and solves it by using the word "brother" exclusively - it doesn't use "cousin" at all. Consequently, if two people in Scripture are called "brothers," the reader can only determine the blood relationship between the two people by the context - neither the Greek nor the Hebrew provides the information by using distinguishing terms. For various reasons relating to Church authority and the archetype which Mary represents in Scripture, it is theologically useful for many Christians to impugn various Catholic teachings about Mary. In this case, her eternal virginity is attacked through inadvertent or deliberate misunderstandings of context involving the words "brother," "until" (Matthew 1:24-25), and "first-born," the argument being that "until" implicitly means "things were one way until the event, another way after the event," and that "first-born" implies other children.

The Truth: Jesus was the only son of Mary. Mary did not have marital relations with Joseph, rather she remained a virgin throughout her whole life, her virginity remaining intact even during and after the birth of the Lord, as a sign of her undefiled devotion to God, an unmerited gift from God to Mary.

Not all uses of the word "brother" indicate two men with the same mother:

Deut 23:8 "You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother; you shall not abhor an Egyptian, because you were a sojourner in his land.

Neh 5:7 I took counsel with myself, and I brought charges against the nobles and the officials. I said to them, "You are exacting interest, each from his brother." And I held a great assembly against them...

2 Kings 10:13-14 ... Jehu met the kinsmen of Ahaziah king of Judah, and he said, "Who are you?" And they answered, "We are the kinsmen of Ahaziah, and we came down to visit the royal princes and the sons of the queen mother." 14 He said, "Take them alive." And they took them alive, and slew them at the pit of Beth-eked, forty-two persons, and he spared none of them.

The word translated here as "kinsmen" is the same word which is translated "brother" elsewhere.

Jer 34:9 that every one should set free his Hebrew slaves, male and female, so that no one should enslave a Jew, his brother.

2 Sam 1:26 I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; very pleasant have you been to me; your love to me was wonderful...

1 Kings 9:11-13 and Hiram king of Tyre had supplied Solomon with cedar and cypress timber and gold, as much as he desired, King Solomon gave to Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee. 12 But when Hiram came from Tyre to see the cities which Solomon had given him, they did not please him. 13 Therefore he said, "What kind of cities are these which you have given me, my brother?" So they are called the land of Cabul to this day.

1 Kings 20:32 So they girded sackcloth on their loins, and put ropes on their heads, and went to the king of Israel and said, "Your servant Ben-hadad says, 'Pray, let me live.'" And he said, "Does he still live? He is my brother."

Amos 1:9 Thus says the Lord: "For three transgressions of Tyre, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment; because they delivered up a whole people to Edom, and did not remember the covenant of brotherhood.

Mk 6:3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?"

Mt 13:55 Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?

Note that Christ isn't called "a son of Mary," but "the son of Mary," nor is he called "a carpenter's son" but "the carpenter's son."

Mk 3:21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for people were saying, "He is beside himself."

The word "brothers" above is translated "family." In first-century Jewish society, a younger brother would NEVER presume to tell his older brother (especially his first-born older brother) or his father what to do. It was a violation of honor, respect, and conduct.

Additional evidence - the geneologies:

Mk 15:40 There were also women looking on from afar, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome,

Lk 6:15-16 and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

Mt 10:2-3 James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;

Mt 27:56 among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

Jn 19:25-27 So the soldiers did this. But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" 27 Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

Mary Magdalen's offspring: none apparent.

Mary, wife of Clopas' (or Cleophas) offspring: James the younger, Joseph, and sons of Zebedee (Matthew 27:56, Mark 15:40, John 19:25). James is called son of Alphaeus in Matthew 10:3, but Alphaeus and Clopas could be the same person, or the mother of James could have re-married. According to Hegesippus, Cleophas was the brother of Joseph, Mary's husband, which would make James a first-cousin.

The Blessed Virgin Mary's offspring: Jesus.

Also, note that Mary is given into the care of "the beloved disciple," who is clearly not Mary's son. This is not proper for a man whose mother has other sons - she would have been given into the care of a family member, not an unrelated person.

The "until" argument:

Gen 8:5 And the waters continued to abate until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen.

The waters diminished "until" the tenth month, but they kept diminishing even after that (or we would all be living on one square foot of land).

Mt 1:24-25 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called his name Jesus.

Neither does this imply that Joseph had relations with Mary after the birth of Jesus.

The first-born argument:

Ex 34:20 All the first-born of your sons you shall redeem. And none shall appear before me empty.

Does this mean the first-born son wouldn't be redeemed until the second son was born? "First-born" means no more than it says. This son was born, and he was the first. It doesn't imply a second.

See also Mary, Ever-Virgin

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