“Jesus Only” and Hebrews 5:4, 5

By Larry Ray Hafley

The “Jesus Only” doctrine affirms that there is but one person in the Godhead; namely, Jesus Christ. They believe that Jesus is the Father, Jesus is the Son and Jesus is the Holy Spirit. The United Pentecostal Church is the largest exporter and exponent of this teaching. Occasionally, it is called “Oneness” doctrine, and the people are known as Pentecostal Oneness.

At any rate, that serves to identify what we are talking about in this article. A number of passages give the Oneness people a great deal of difficulty. Hebrews 5:4,5 gives them a problem. At least, I have never met a Pentecostal debater who could even blink his eyes or clear his throat like he thought he could answer an argument that can be made from that text. Note the Scripture. “And no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.”

First, what is the honor that no man takes unto himself? It is the honor or the office of being an High Priest. No one takes this position upon his own authority. It is bestowed by another. Take Aaron for an example. He did not make himself an High Priest. God selected and elected him to that place. Hence, God, one person, chose Aaron, another person, to be the High Priest. If another person was not involved, Aaron made himself to be the High Priest. There is no escape from that conclusion. So, two parties, two persons were involved, for “no man taketh this honor unto himself.”

Second, underline the words, “so, also, ” which introduce verse 5. 6′ So also” means “in like manner,” or “in the same way.” Just as Aaron did not glorify himself to be made an High Priest, “So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest.”

Third, if Christ did not glorify himself to be made an High Priest, who did it? Who glorified him to be made an High Priest? It was not Aaron. It was not Jesus. It was God the Father. But if God the Father is not a separate and distinct person from Jesus, then Jesus did glorify himself and that contradicts what the passage says.

The Oneness Pentecostal may reply that Jesus was made an High Priest by his manifestation as the Father. Well, did a “manifestation” make Aaron an High Priest, or did another person make him an High Priest? Remember, as Aaron was made an High Priest, “so also” was Christ. If another person made Aaron an High Priest, then another person made Christ an High Priest.

Fourth and finally, no matter how you look at it, another person was included in installing Christ as High Priest. And that stubborn fact is a death blow to the “Jesus Only” persuasion.

Guardian of Truth XXXII: 8, p. 228
April 21, 1988