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The Truth about 1 John 5:7-8 and Matthew 28:19

by Bill Wong

 

 

 

 

Believers in the Trinity doctrine cite Matthew 28:19 as evidence that the Bible teaches God is a Trinity, one God in three persons (and therefore also we should be baptized in this 3-fold name instead of the name of Jesus; note that His real name is in Hebrew and is Yahusha (Yahushua/Yeshua).

 

Matthew 28:

18   And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

19   "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,

20   teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."    (NASB)

 

 

Is this really teaching a Trinity? There are several issues with this verse:

 


 

1)

 

Firstly, it does not give the actual name. Is it one name, whatever it is, or three names: one each for the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (note: holy spirit does not have a name)? Just what is the name we are supposed to be baptized with?

 

 


2)

 

Secondly, just because it mentions Father, Son and Holy Spirit (remember, Greek does not use capital letters), does not mean God is a Trinity. We are told in Acts 2:38:

 

Acts 2:

38   Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins;

      and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (NKJV)


 

When we truly repent of our sins and are baptized, we are baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus and then God gives us of His holy spirit by the laying on of hands to empower us:

 

Acts 19:

 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance,

    saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”
 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.   (NKJV)

 


A Biblical baptism involves the knowledge of God and His son Jesus Christ and all that is done for our reconciliation to God and our repentance must be directed toward God because we, in truth, sin against Him.  Also, we must be baptized in Jesus’ name and then, upon laying on of hands, we will receive God’s gift of His holy spirit.  God giving us His holy spirit upon being baptized in His son Jesus’ name includes all three terms, but it still does not mean a Trinity – indeed, what we see is that there are 2 people (God and Jesus) and 1 thing (holy spirit).  

 


 

3)

 

Thirdly, a doctrine such as the Trinity, which goes against and confuses the meaning of the Shema and monotheism as the Lord Jesus Himself supports as we read in Mark 12:28-34 and John 17:3, is something that must be explained thoroughly and often so there can be no misunderstandings, confusion or mystery – but it never was by Messiah: 


Mark 12:

28   Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, "Which is the first commandment of all?"

29   Jesus answered him, "The first of all the commandments is: 'Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one.

30   And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment.

31   And the second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."

32   So the scribe said to Him, "Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He.

33   And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices."

34   Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." But after that no one dared question Him.     (NKJV)

 

John 17:

3   And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.    (NKJV)



It defies logic to believe that the Lord Jesus never mentions a Trinity at all in His entire ministry, but right before He returns to His father, He supposedly states a Trinitarian formula?

 

 


4)

 

The fourth problem is that this verse actually puts the Bible, the word of God itself, in the uncharacteristic and unbelievable position of contradicting itself, but we know God does not contradict Himself or lie. It is contradictory, because in several places in the Book of Acts, which outlines the acts that the apostles actually performed, the Bible indicates that baptism must be done in the name of Jesus (Yeshua); again:

 

36  "Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ--this Jesus whom you crucified."

37  Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles,

     "Brethren, what shall we do?"

38  Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins;

      and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

 

Comment: God’s holy spirit has literally just been poured out onto the disciples and inspired Peter to utter these instructions in response to those asking what they should do upon realizing that the Lord Jesus is the Messiah. The baptismal formula mentions the requirements of committing one’s life to Christ: repentance of sin and the acknowledgment of Christ’s sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins, hence why the baptism is done in the Lord Jesus’ name. Also included is the empowerment of God’s holy spirit to enable the believer to do His will.

 


Acts 8:

14   Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God,

       they sent Peter and John to them,

15   who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.

16   For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

17  Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. (NKJV)

 

Comment: Please note that baptism in Jesus’ name is required to receive God’s holy spirit. And notice that there is absolutely no mention of a triune formula after they laid hands on them. If baptizing in a triune formula “name” was true, it should show up here since they had not yet received holy spirit.

Why would a triune formula not be used here to receive the supposed 3rd person into you after it was “missed” the first time? Instead, it is confirmed baptism into Jesus’ name is correct.

 


Acts 10:

48  And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.   (NASB)

 

Acts 19:

4   Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him,

     that is, in Jesus."

5   When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.    (NASB)

 

Acts 22:

12  "A certain Ananias, a man who was devout by the standard of the Law, and well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there,

13  came to me, and standing near said to me, 'Brother Saul, receive your sight!' And at that very time I looked up at him.

14  "And he said, 'The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to

      hear an utterance from His mouth.

15  'For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard.

16  'Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.'      (NASB)

 

Romans 6:

3  Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?     (NASB)

 

Galatians 3:

26  For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

27  For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

28  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female;

      for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

29  And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise.    (NASB)

 

 

We see also in 1 Corinthians 1 that baptism MUST be in a name, and that name cannot be just any name, but it must be the Lord Jesus’ name:

 

1 Corinthians 1:

10  Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you,

      but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.

11  For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe's people, that there are quarrels among you.

12  Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, "I am of Paul," and "I of Apollos," and "I of Cephas," and "I of Christ."

13  Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

14  I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius,

15  so that no one would say you were baptized in my name.                      (NASB)

 

Comment:   The implication is you must be baptized in a name and that name is Jesus (Yeshua). Why?  Please note that in verse 13, Paul is making the point that you must be baptized in the name of the one who was crucified for our sins.

 


There are other reasons we must be baptized in Jesus’ name besides the fact that He suffered and died as atonement for us.  The Bible says He is the groom and we are the bride.  He gives us not only His righteousness and covering, but the privilege of being His bride and “taking” His name.


Additionally, baptism requires a witness and the Bible clearly states that it is the Lord Jesus who is the true witness so again, it is most definitely with His name that we are to be baptized:


Revelation 3:

14   "And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, 'These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God:

15   "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.

16   So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.

17   Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing' --- and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked ---

18   I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.

19   As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.

20   Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

21   To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

22   "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." ' "   (NKJV)

 


The apostles must have baptized according to the way that the Lord Jesus taught them, which would be baptizing in the name of Jesus (Yeshua), as we have seen the apostles actually doing. So either all the baptisms in Acts, 1 Corinthians and elsewhere were for some reason done incorrectly and those books are in error or deceptive, or Matthew 28:19 is what cannot be true. So which is it?

 

We will discuss further what the problem is with the Matthew 28:19 text that makes it contradict the Bible and give further evidence to show why the current “Trinitarian format/text” is in error.

 

 

 


The Johannine Comma (1 John 5:7-8)

 

It should be noted that attempts by Trinitarians to add or change the Biblical text has happened before and the results of the tampering are still in Bibles today. An example is the Johannine Comma.

 

Of the thousands of Greek manuscripts, the Johannine Comma (insertion/tampering of the text of 1 John 5:7-8) was present in only a handful of them and they were all very late medieval texts from the 16th century.  It is also missing in all the texts in other languages and the writings of the early church fathers.  It was either a commentary in the margins of the text or an outright addition to the text, which was copied into the actual body of the text of 1 John 5:7-8.  It was missing from Erasmus’ earlier editions of the New Testament, but Erasmus eventually added it despite his suspicions it was false.  It has been used ever since to promote the doctrine of the Trinity.

 

This is how the Johannine Comma (verses 7-8) reads in the New King James Version (NKJV) with 1 John 5:6-9 given for context:

 

1 John 5:

6    This is He who came by water and blood --- Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.

7    For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.

8    And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.

9    If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son. 

 

 

However, everything from the words ‘in heaven’ in verse 7 to ‘on earth’ (all in italics) in verse 8 were inserted into the text and should be removed:

 

1 John 5:

7    For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.

8    And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.

 


So it should really read like this:

 

1 John 5:

7    For there are three that bear witness:  

8    the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.

 


We can see from the context that the subject of 1 John 5:7-8 is revealed in the previous verse 6 – it is Christ Himself who came by water and blood, with the spirit as witness:

 

1 John 5:

6    This is He who came by water and blood --- Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.

 

 


We would therefore expect verses 7 & 8 to refer to the witness of the three from verse 6: the water, blood and spirit, which it does.  However, the Johannine Comma inserts in verses 7 & 8 two sets of witnesses: one in heaven and one on earth, so it can put in the Trinity formula of “the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one” as the supposed heavenly witness, while the correct rendering is left as the supposed earthly witness.  The addition into the text is something God declares emphatically that we must not do; and it also does not make sense, because we know that any mention of the spirit in the Bible is already including heavenly things --- so this makes it even more obvious that the Johannine Comma was added to try to show a Trinity under the pretense of imagined separate heavenly and earthly witnesses.  This tampering of the text breaks the continuity and context of this passage which can further be seen by what verse 9 speaks about. 

 

Verse 9 refers to only one witness, the witness of God and what is that witness?  It is the water, blood and spirit from verse 6 which is repeated in the correct un-tampered text of verses 7 & 8.  There is no witness in heaven and then another witness on earth, or a Father, Word and Holy Spirit which the Johannine Comma inserts in verses 7 & 8.  Also, verse 9 speaks of God and His testimony of His son Jesus – there are only two people involved, not three.

 

This is the correct reading of 1 John 5:6-9 without any inserted text and it shows clearly that the witness of God about His son is the water, blood and spirit only all throughout:

 

1 John 5:

6    This is He who came by water and blood --- Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.

7    For there are three that bear witness:

8    the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.

9    If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son.



Even though virtually all scholars denounce the validity of the Johannine Comma insertions, it nevertheless still remains in a few Bible English translations such as the King James Version (KJV) and the NKJV (though the NKJV includes it, there is a footnote stating those words are missing except in a few Greek manuscripts), while most others do not.  Why?  If it is determined to be inaccurate and an addition/change, why is it still there?  It would be willfully negligent and deceptive to leave it there, but perhaps traditions and biases die hard.

 

So why are we mentioning the Johannine Comma? It is because there is evidence that the text for Matthew 28:19 was also altered. But if the Johannine Comma is only a few hundred years old and still not removed, would it be even more difficult to acknowledge that Matthew 28:19 has been tampered with and even more impossible to have it changed back to reflect the truth since it occurred even much further in the past?





Matthew 28:19 was changed in the text – the witness/evidence of scholars and historians

 

 

The fact that Matthew 28:19 was indeed changed to its current form long ago has been acknowledged by many:

 

 

"The obvious explanation of the silence of the New Testament on the triune name, and the use of another (JESUS NAME) formula in Acts and Paul, is that this other formula was the earlier, and the triune formula is a later addition."

- The Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics

 

 

"The baptismal formula was changed from the name of Jesus Christ to the words Father, Son, and Holy Spirit by the Catholic Church in the second century."

- The Catholic Encylopedia, II, p. 263

 

 

"It may be that this formula, (Triune Matthew 28:19) so far as the fullness of its expression is concerned, is a reflection of the (Man-made) liturgical usage established later in the primitive (Catholic) community. It will be remembered that Acts speaks of baptizing "in the name of Jesus,"..."

- The Jerusalem Bible, 1966, p. 64, a Catholic Bible

 

 

"Persons were baptized at first 'in the name of Jesus Christ' … or 'in the name of the Lord Jesus'… Afterwards, with the development of the doctrine of the Trinity, they were baptized 'in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.'"  

- Canney’s Encyclopedia of Religions, 1970, p.53

 

 

"Modern critics claim this formula is falsely ascribed to Jesus and that it represents later (Catholic) church tradition, for nowhere in the book of Acts (or any other book of the Bible) is baptism performed with the name of the Trinity..."  

- New Revised Standard Version

 

 

"The Trinity.-...is not demonstrable by logic or by Scriptural proofs,...The term Trias was first used by Theophilus of Antioch (c AD 180),...(The term Trinity) not found in Scripture..." "The chief Trinitarian text in the NT is the baptismal formula in Mt 28:19...This late post-resurrection saying, not found in any other Gospel or anywhere else in the NT, has been viewed by some scholars as an interpolation into Matthew. It has also been pointed out that the idea of making disciples is continued in teaching them, so that the intervening reference to baptism with its Trinitarian formula was perhaps a later insertion into the saying. Finally, Eusebius's form of the (ancient) text ("in my name" rather than in the name of the Trinity) has had certain advocates. (Although the Trinitarian formula is now found in the modern-day book of Matthew), this does not guarantee its source in the historical teaching of Jesus. It is doubtless better to view the (Trinitarian) formula as derived from early (Catholic) Christian, perhaps Syrian or Palestinian, baptismal usage (cf Didache 7:1-4), and as a brief summary of the (Catholic) Church's teaching about God, Christ, and the Spirit:..."    

- Hastings Dictionary of the Bible 1963, p.1015

 

 

"It is often affirmed that the words in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost are not the ipsissima verba [exact words] of Jesus, but...a later liturgical addition."

- The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, I, p.275

 

The historical fact that the verse Matthew 28:19 was altered is openly confessed to very plainly. "As to the rite of baptism, it was normally consummated as a bath in which the one receiving baptism completely submerged, and if possible in flowing water as the allusions of Acts 8:36, Heb. 10:22, Barn. 11:11 permit us to gather, and as Did. 7:1-3 specifically says. According to the last passage, [the apocryphal Catholic Didache] suffices in case of the need if water is three times poured [false Catholic sprinkling doctrine] on the head. The one baptizing names over the one being baptized the name of the Lord Jesus Christ," later expanded [changed] to the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit."

- Theology of the New Testament: By R. Bultmann, 1951, p. 133, under “Kerygma of the      Hellenistic Church and the Sacraments.”

 

 

The Lord's Command To Baptize An Historical Critical Investigation. By Bernard Henry Cuneo page 27. "The passages in Acts and the Letters of St. Paul. These passages seem to point to the earliest form as baptism in the name of the Lord." Also we find. "Is it possible to reconcile these facts with the belief that Christ commanded his disciples to baptize in the triune form? Had Christ given such a command, it is urged, the Apostolic Church would have followed him, and we should have some trace of this obedience in the New Testament. No such trace can be found. The only explanation of this silence, according to the anti-traditional view, is this the short christological (Jesus Name) formula was (the) original, and the longer trine formula was a later development."  

- The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. 1923, New Testament Studies #5

 

 

"Jesus, however, cannot have given His disciples this Trinitarian order of baptism after His resurrection; for the New Testament knows only one baptism in the name of Jesus (Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:43; 19:5; Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3; 1 Cor. 1:13-15), which still occurs even in the second and third centuries, while the Trinitarian formula occurs only in Matt. 28:19, and then only again (in the) Didache 7:1 and Justin, Apol. 1:61...Finally, the distinctly liturgical character of the formula...is strange; it was not the way of Jesus to make such formulas... the formal authenticity of Matt. 28:19 must be disputed..." page 435.  

- The Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge

 

 


The witness/evidence of Eusebius of Caesarea

 

 

Eusebius Pamphili (c. 263—c. 339) was the Bishop of Caesarea. He was perhaps the most famed historian of his time and is even called “the Father of Church History”. Though he wrote extensively, he is known most for his church histories, such as ‘Ecclesiastical History’ which survives even today as an accurate and detailed recording of early church history. He had access to the famous Library of Caesarea and therefore would also have access to the earliest New Testament manuscripts which preceded the earliest texts we have today (pre- 4th century). It is for his work as a historian and his access to the earliest texts that we are citing him regarding Matthew 28:19. Though he was a Trinitarian, nevertheless all his works document the fact that he never knew Matthew 28:19 to be a 3-fold name Trinitarian formula, but instead all he ever did know – and write about consistently, was that Matthew 28:19 declared the words of the Lord Jesus to be: "Go ye and make disciples of all the nations in my name."

 

Given below are this historian’s eyewitness account of what Matthew 28:19 truly said.  

 

 

Demonstratio Evangelica

 

Book III, Chapter 6, 132 (a), p. 152

With one word and voice He said to His disciples: "Go, and make disciples of all the nations in My Name, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you,"

 

Book III, Chapter 7, 136 (a-d), p. 157

Whereas He, who conceived nothing human or mortal, see how truly He speaks with the voice of God, saying in these very words to those disciples of His, the poorest of the poor: "Go forth, and make disciples of all the nations." "But how," the disciples might reasonably have answered the Master, "can we do it: How, pray, can we preach to Romans: How can we argue with the Egyptians? We are men bred up to use the Syrian tongue only, what language shall we speak to Greeks: How shall we persuade Persians, Armenians, Chaldaeans, Scythians, Indians, and other barbarous nations to give up their ancestral gods, and worship the Creator of all? What sufficiency of speech have we to trust to in attempting such work as this? And what hope of success can we have if we dare to proclaim laws directly opposed to the laws about their own gods that have been established for ages among all nations? By what power shall we ever survive our daring attempt?"

 

But while the disciples of Jesus were most likely either saying thus, or thinking thus, the Master solved their difficulties, by the addition of one phrase, saying they should triumph "In MY NAME." And the power of His name being so great, that the apostle says: "God has given him a name which is above every name, that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, "He shewed the virtue of the power in His Name concealed from the crowd when He said to His disciples: "Go, and make disciples of all the nations in my Name." He also most accurately forecasts the future when He says: "for this gospel must first be preached to all the world, for a witness to all nations."

 

Book III, Chapter 7, 138 (c), p. 159

But when I turn my eyes away to the evidence of the power of the Word, what multitudes it has won, and what enormous churches have been founded by those unlettered and mean disciples of Jesus, not in obscure and unknown places, but in the most noble cities—I mean in Royal Rome, in Alexandria, and Antioch, through the whole of Egypt and Libya, Europe and Asia, and in villages and country places and among the nations--I am irresistibly forced to retrace my steps, and search for their cause, and to confess that they could only have succeeded in their daring venture, by a power more divine, and more strong than man’s and by the co-operation of Him Who said to them; "Make disciples of all the nations in my Name."

 

Book IX, Chapter 11, 445 (c), p. 175

And He bids His own disciples after their rejection, "Go ye and make disciples of all the nations in my name."

 

 

Theophania

 

"The Disciples could not otherwise have undertaken this enterprise, than by a Divine power which exceeds that of man, and by the assistance of Him who said to them, 'Go, and make Disciples of all nations in my name.' And when he had said this to them, he attached to it the promise, by which they should be so encouraged, as readily to give themselves up to the things commanded. For he said unto them, "Behold I am with you always, even to the end of the world."

- The Theophania from the Syriac, Text edited by Samuel Lee, London 1842. Cambridge 1843, page 336

 

"Our Saviour said to them therefore, after His resurrection, 'Go ye and make Disciples of all nations in my name.' And these things He said, who formerly had commanded: "In the way of the Gentiles go ye not," but enjoined them that they should preach to the Jews only. But, when these abused their inviters, then He dismissed the servants the second time, and said, "go ye out into the ways and paths, and all that ye find call to the feast."

- The Theophania from the Syriac, Text edited by Samuel Lee, London 1842. Cambridge 1843, page 242

 

"Which of the magicians is it, who ever projected that which our Saviour did? But, if one did so project; still he dared not to advance this. But, if one so dared; still he brought not the matter to effect. He (the Saviour) said in one word and enouncement to His Disciples, 'Go and make disciples of all nations in my name, and teach ye them every thing that I have commanded you.' And the deed he made to follow the word. For thence, every race of the Greeks and Barbarians became at once, and in a short space of time, (His) Disciples."

- The Theophania from the Syriac, Text edited by Samuel Lee, London 1842. Cambridge 1843, page 298

 

 

Ecclesiastical History

 

But the rest of the apostles, who had been incessantly plotted against with a view to their destruction, and had been driven out of the land of Judea, went unto all nations to preach the Gospel, relying upon the power of Christ, who had said to them, “Go ye and make disciples of all the nations in my name.  

- History, III, Chapter 5. Sec. 2

 

 

Oration in Praise of Emperor Constantine

 

What king or prince in any age of the world, what philosopher, legislator or prophet, in civilized or barbarous lands, has attained so great a height of excellence, I say not after death, but while living still, and full of mighty power, as to fill the ears and tongues of all mankind with the praises of his name? Surely none save our only Savior has done this, when, after his victory over death, he spoke the word to his followers, and fulfilled it by the event, saying to them, Go ye and make disciples of all nations in my name. - Chapter 16, Section 8

 

Commentary on Psalms


"According to another explanation, the words Sichem, Galaad, Manasses, Ephraim, Juda, Moab, and Edom represent all nations indiscriminately. The Jews are mentioned in the first place, because to them first should the kingdom of God be announced; but after them Christ commanded his disciples to preach the Gospel 'to all the nations in his name.'"

- Psalm 59:9, The Lord's Command to Baptise, Bernard H. Cuneo, 1923, page 77

 

"All nations are invited to come consider the awe-inspiring deeds, which God performed in behalf of his people, in Egypt, in the Red Sea, in the Jordan; and to reflect that he who could confute his enemies of old, is still powerful against them. Hence we should rejoice in him, who by his power endureth forever. We should understand these words of that saying of Christ: 'All power is given to me in heaven and on earth. Going make disciples of all the nations in my name.' Wherefore Aquila translates it: 'who exercises authority in his power forever.'"

- Psalm 65:5-6, The Lord's Command to Baptise, Bernard H. Cuneo, 1923, page 78

 

"That Christ's voice was endowed with power is evident from his deeds; for when he said to his disciples: 'Come, follow me, and I shall make you fishers of men," he actually fulfilled this promise by his power; and again when he commanded them saying: 'Going make disciples of all the nations in my name,' he manifested his power in very deed."

- Psalm 67:34, The Lord's Command to Baptise, Bernard H. Cuneo, 1923, page 78

 

"From the preceding verse we learn that the earth shook and trembled. This was realized when Christ entered Jerusalem, and the entire city was in consternation; also when the nations of the world trembled upon hearing the words of the Gospel from the lips of the Apostles. How should we understand the prophet when he says that Christ's way is in the sea, and his paths in many waters, and his footsteps will not be known? This passage receives light from his promise to his disciples: 'Going make disciples of all nations in my name,' and, 'Behold I am with you all days even to the end of the world.' For thruout the entire world, invisibly present to his disciples, he traveled on the sea of life, and in the many waters of the nations. This he accomplished by his invisible and hidden power."

- Psalm 76:20, The Lord's Command to Baptise, Bernard H. Cuneo, 1923, page 79

 

 

Commentary on Isaiah


"This command seems to be given to the disciples of our Savior. Since they are messengers of good tidings, they are called messengers, and light ones, to distinguish them from the apostles of the Jews. Wherefore the prophet addresses these messengers of good tidings thus: You disciples of Christ, go as the Savior himself has commanded you; 'Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,' and 'Going make disciples of all the nations in my name.'"

- Isaiah 18:2, The Lord's Command to Baptise, Bernard H. Cuneo, 1923, page 79

 

"For he who said to them, 'make disciples of all the nations in my name,' also forbad them to establish churches in one and the same place."

- Isaiah 34:16, The Lord's Command to Baptise, Bernard H. Cuneo, 1923, page 80

 

 

 

And to summarize that Matthew 28:19 was changed and known (but unfortunately, not to the masses of believers):

 

The facts are, in summary, that Eusebius quotes Matthew 28:19 twenty-one times, either omitting everything between 'nations' and 'teaching,' or in the form 'make disciples of all the nations in my name,' the latter form being the more frequent.

- Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics

 

 

"Matthew 28:19 in particular only canonizes a later ecclesiastical situation, that its universalism is contrary to the facts of early Christian history, and its Trinitarian formula (is) foreign to the mouth of Jesus."  

- The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 2637, under “Baptism”

 


An admission by one of the highest ranking Roman Catholic Church officials and cardinals who was the last pope (Pope Benedict XVI) stated that the Trinitarian formula in Matthew 28:19 came from Rome:


"The basic form of our (Matthew 28:19 Trinitarian) profession of faith took shape during the course of the second and third centuries in connection with the ceremony of baptism. So far as its place of origin is concerned, the text (Matthew 28:19) came from the city of Rome."

-   Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

 

 

 

 

The witness/evidence of the synoptic Gospel of Luke

 

 

The evidence of textual change can also be seen when we compare the text of Matthew 28:19 with a parallel text in Luke:

 

Luke 24:

47  and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

 

 

Notice the similarity between Luke 24:47 and Matthew 28:19 in the form it was in before it was changed:

 

Matthew 28:

19   Go and make disciples of all the nations in My name, teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I commanded you.

 

 

In Luke 24 it is clear the disciples were to go to all the nations in the Lord Jesus’ name. The original Matthew 28 also makes it clear that it is to be under the Lord’s name where the Lord tells us himself it is his name. Luke is writing from the apostle’s perspective and therefore says ‘in his name’; it enforces the fact that the Lord Jesus said ‘in my name’ in Matthew 28.

 

It is VERY important that we remember why the gospels are called the Synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John). Synoptic means “with the same eye” or “seeing together”, which is to say all four gospels, though written by different authors, are of the same source and subject – the life, including the sayings, of the Lord Jesus.

 

In the original Matthew 28:19 and Luke 24:47 we actually see the parallel nature of the writings and the wisdom of God in providing four different witnesses that verify one another and combine to give a composite and complete picture of the life of the Lord Jesus. Indeed, the entire Bible is inspired so that it must read and comply with itself, not contradict itself. It becomes very evident that Matthew and Luke are writing about the same parting instructions from the Lord to go and proclaim the gospel in the Lord’s name.

In the original Matthew the disciples are told to make disciples of the nation in the Lord’s name. How do you make disciples? By baptizing them in Jesus’ name as we are told elsewhere in the New Testament.

 

In Luke, what does repentance for forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ name signify? Once again, baptism in Jesus’ name.

 

Both the original Matthew 28:19 and Luke 24:47 are parallel statements that verify the instructions the apostle Peter gives in Acts 2 to make disciples:

 

Acts 2:

38  Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins;

     and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

 

 

We can see that Luke 24:47 actually mentions the requirements of repentance and forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ name as Acts 2:38 indicates a baptism must include. What Luke 24:47 and Acts 2:38 tell us to do is to make disciples. The original Matthew 28:19, its parallel Luke 24:47 and Acts 2:38 all agree.

 

So when we refer back to Matthew 28:19 as it is now in its changed form, it becomes painfully clear due to the synoptic nature of the gospels, that Matthew and Luke cannot both be right. The Lord does not tell us in two separate occasions at the end of the gospels of Matthew and Luke while giving final instructions, to on the one hand go and make disciples “in the name of the Father, of the Son, and the Holy Spirit”, while at the same time instruct the apostles to proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins in his name.

 

Making disciples and proclaiming repentance and forgiveness of sins in the Lord’s name requires baptism and therefore mean the same thing. The Lord, of course, would not give two different names to proclaim to the nations (and we must be reminded that there is no name given in today’s Matthew 28:19).

 

Matthew 28:19 as it is today cannot be correct. It does not agree with Luke 24:47, Acts 2:38 or any of the actual baptisms performed in the New Testament. As a synoptic gospel, Matthew 28:19 and Luke 24:47 MUST agree and they clearly do not. The weight of evidence as shown in how the apostles actually baptized indicate that they heeded the words of the Lord in Luke 24:47 and not in Matthew 28:19. Their actions therefore illustrate the fact that Matthew 28:19 has been tampered with and the original form is correct. The Bible agrees with itself and cannot contradict itself.

 

 

 

 

Internal witness/evidence of Matthew 28 itself

 

Another proof of the textual change can be found in the very set of verses themselves. If we read Matthew 28 verses 18 and 19 together after the change, we find there is no continuity between the two verses.

 

Matthew 28:

18  And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

19"  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,     (NASB)

 

 

One would expect that the Lord saying in verse 18 that all power has been given to him would be followed by a command relating to him and the fact that everything is now (as if it was not before) focused squarely upon him, such as the all-inclusive power in his name. But instead we are expected to believe that after he says all power is his in heaven and earth, he utters the words of a Trinitarian formula – not following up on the fact of the awesome authority he just stated belongs to him.

 

It makes complete sense and flows in continuity and rhythm, however, when the original version is read:

 

Matthew 28:

18  And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

19  Go and make disciples of all the nations in My name, teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I commanded you.

 

 

We readily see that the ‘me’ in Matthew 28:18 correlates with the ‘my’ in verse 19.

All power is now given to him and therefore all things are to be done in his name.

His name is what is to be proclaimed to all nations in all things.

 

For all nations wait for his (singular) law:

 

Isaiah 42:

1  "Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold;
         My chosen one in whom My soul delights
         I have put My Spirit upon Him;
         He will bring forth justice to the nations. 
2  "He will not cry out or raise His voice,
         Nor make His voice heard in the street. 
3  "A bruised reed He will not break
         And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish;
         He will faithfully bring forth justice.

4  "He will not be disheartened or crushed
         Until He has established justice in the earth;
         And the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law."

(NASB)

 

 

 

 

The witness/evidence that everything is to be done in Jesus’ name

 

Even aside from the evidence of textual tampering and having the Bible contradict itself with the way the apostles actually baptized disciples of Christ, there are many other ways to know that Matthew 28:19 simply does not belong and there is something that is just not right with it – it contradicts everything the Bible teaches us about the Lord Jesus Christ and the power of his name.

 

Especially when contrasted with the baptisms discussed in other areas of the New Testament, it becomes conspicuously (and suspiciously) evident this is the only time the formula of “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” is ever used in the Bible.

 

However, the Lord Jesus does issue instructions to his disciples to do things in his name many, many times.

 

Here are just a few examples:

 

Matthew 18:

20   For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”   (NKJV)

 

Luke 9:

47  But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their heart, took a child and stood him by His side,

48  and said to them, "Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me;

      for the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great."

49  John answered and said, "Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name;

      and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow along with us."

50  But Jesus said to him, "Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is for you."  (NASB)

 

John 14:

13  "Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

14  "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.    (NASB)

 

Acts 9:

11  And the Lord said to him, "Get up and go to the street called Straight,

     and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying,

12  and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight."

13  But Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem;

14  and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name."

15  But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine,

      to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel;   (NASB)

 

 

The theme of the entire New Testament is of course the salvation of God through His son Jesus Christ. Why else is the Lord Jesus’ name so powerful and so important? Is it not the name above every name:

 

Philippians 2:

  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death,

     even the death of the cross.

9   Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,

10  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,

11  and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.   (NKJV)

 

 

The Lord’s name is above every name and that is why God expressly tells us that EVERYTHING must be done in the name of Jesus (Yeshua):

 

Colossians 3:

17  And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (NKJV)

 

 

This would of course include baptism – we must be baptized into the name of the name above every name, which is the name of the very person, the son of God – our shepherd and guardian, who died for us:

 

1 Thessalonians 5: 

9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,

10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.   (NKJV)

 

1 Peter 2:

21   For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 

22   “ Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”;

23   who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten,

      but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;

24    who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins,

      might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.

25    For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (NKJV)

 

 

As the bride of Christ who become members of his body when we are baptized, should we not take the name of the groom we marry? Should we not be baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus?

 

Ephesians 5:

23   For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.

24   Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
25    Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,

26   that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,

27   that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing,

      but that she should be holy and without blemish.

28   So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.

29   For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.

30   For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.

31   “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
32   This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

33   Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself,

      and let the wife see that she respects her husband.     (NKJV)

 

Revelation 19:

7   Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.”

8   And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
9   Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’” And he said to me,

    “These are the true sayings of God.”   (NKJV)

 

 

The Bible tells us that EVERYTHING must be done in the Lord Jesus’ name, giving thanks and glory to God. This includes baptism, the act of confessing and committing to the Lord who saves us and gives us the privilege of becoming his bride through which we become adopted into the family of God.

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

 

The problem with Matthew 28:19 in modern Bibles is that the text was tampered with at a very early date. The Bible declares everything is to be done in Jesus’ name and shows very clearly in many different ways why the current “Trinitarian formula” in Matthew 28:19 is incorrect. Scholars and historians agree with the Bible. Yet nothing is being done to correct it. We know why – traditions die hard. But truth always prevails. If you know the truth, than do not ignore it but live it. We can try to fool ourselves and set the truth aside, but we can never fool God. And in the end, we must account for our decisions.

 

The Bible truth declares God is one and He has a son. There is no 3rd person in a Trinity.