See Below four Trinity Articles
So how can we be so sure that the
appearance of Yeshua does not
contradict the Old Testament insistence
that only God should be worshipped?
Does explaining the trinity tie you in knots?
An English preacher called David Pawson rightly noticed that we often feel awkward and embarrassed about the inexplicable trinity. How can God be three and one at the same time? “We don’t know!” We have to admit. There are metaphors of clover leaves having three parts to the one leaf... of water, ice and steam all being H2O... of the ability to be a mother, daughter and wife simultaneously, but none of these analogies really do justice to the mysterious Godhead we claim to know and love. But, insists Pawson, the trinity is one of the greatest truths we have to share, because by it we alone, of all faiths, can declare the truth that God IS love! In order to love, we need an object of affection, but since God is Father, Son and Spirit, he was already living in loving unity long before he created the world! In himself, God’s very essence is love with no need of outside intervention. We could say that a singular God could be loving in nature, but to say that he IS love is a unique privilege of those who believe that he can give and receive love in and of himself.
They're all there, the entire time, all through the Tenach
The word “trinity” cannot be found in the Bible, but the truth is that the three of them have been there together all the way along. Genesis tells us that God created the heavens and the earth by his word. John 1 tells us that the Word is Yeshua - that he was with God and was God from the get go, right there at creation. We also see the third person of the trinity, the Holy Spirit, hovering over the waters in the second verse of the Bible. Not sure about this? The first words of the Bible in Hebrew are: בראשית ברא אלוהים
In the beginning, God created (or “in the beginning, created God...”, because that’s the way Hebrew sentences are structured). The word for God is Elohim. This word Elohim, very interestingly, is plural. Still not convinced? The decision to create humanity is made. “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness”, says the plural God, in plural. There is no getting away from it this time. The Hebrew is very clear.
Later on we see hints of Yeshua appearing as "The Angel of the Lord", which could simply be one of God's many angels, except that those who encounter this one a) identify him as The Lord himself, and b) worship him. There is no way that a regular angel of God - even a top level angel - would accept worship that belongs to God alone. If you want to see what I mean, see what happens when "The Angel of the Lord" turns up to visit Hagar in Genesis 16 and 21, Abraham in chapter 18, and the One who stops him killing Isaac in 22:11, look at the interaction between Samson's parents and the Angel of the Lord in Judges 13, and consider who the fourth person was in the firey furnace that Daniel's three friends were rescued from. As you ponder the texts and the dialogues, look carefully at the way people address this angel, at the way he refers to himself, and you will see that there is something divine going on here. This angel speaks as if he is God, and people speak as if they have encountered God. Because he is. And they have.
We also learn of the third person, the Holy Spirit, very much active in his own right in the Tenach - falling upon and anointing people with power to prophesy and act to accomplish God's will. He empowers the artisans who make the tabernacle, falls upon Saul in 1 Samuel 10, and is spoken of by David in the Psalms and the prophets (The Spirit of the sovereign Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me... Isaiah 61). He appears many times throughout the Scriptures, helping and enabling people to do the will of God.
We even see all three of them together in this verse:
"Come ye near unto Me, hear ye this:
From the beginning I have not spoken in secret; from the time that it was, there am I;
and now the Lord GOD has sent me, and His Spirit." Isaiah 48:16
There they all are - all three of them together. The Lord God (Father), the One who he sent, who was with him from the beginning (Yeshua) and His Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament. God repeatedly promises that he would come and live among them, in words that bewilder the mind if you are not ready to accept the deity of Yeshua. He says,
Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion,for behold, I come and I will dwell in your midst,
declares the Lord. And many nations shall join themselves to the Lord in that day,
and shall be my people. And I will dwell in your midst, and you shall know that the Lord of hosts
has sent me to you. Zechariah 2:10-11
Yes, it was always God's intention to come and live among us as Yeshua. And you can see the sameness yet separateness in these verses - he speaks as God himself, yet tells us that the Lord of Hosts has sent him.
We also see the God's Son mentioned several times in the Tenach:
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, andyou perish in the way, for his wrath
is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. Psalm 2:2
Who has ascended to heaven and come down? Who has gathered the wind in his fists?
Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is his name, and what is his son's name? Surely you know! Proverbs 30:4
and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. Daniel 7:13
Incomprehensible, but true! So, although this idea seems alien to most Jewish people (and frankly, rather bewildering to most believers) a careful study of the Scriptures shows us that Yeshua did not suddenly appear two thousand years ago. As he says of himself; "Before Abraham was, I AM" John 8:58
One of the hardest things for Jewish people to deal when it comes to Yeshua is the idea that he could be God in human form. The trinity just sounds like straight up polytheistic idol-worship to Jewish ears.
Monotheism was the defining difference between the faith of Abraham and all the pagan worshippers surrounding him in the Mesopotamian basin. Every Jewish person knows that their God is one, and squirms inside when they see a church cluttered with images that seem like idols - the holy child in the arms of Mary, Yeshua on the cross... it might be like you, or I am going into a place of worship with star signs of the Zodiac all over the walls. Their resistance comes from their understanding of the scriptures that God is a jealous God, and that they must never bow the knee to any other. www.oneforisrael.org
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By Rachmiel Frydland
Most modern Jewish people seem to have made their "peace" with Jesus of Nazareth. Some consider Him to be a great, Jew, or even the greatest Jew who ever lived. Some of our Jewish leaders, as Dr.Heinrich Graetz and Dr. Joseph Klausner, compliment Him on His teaching. Some admire His parables and purity, as Moses Montefiore; and Some as Sholem Asch and others, even consider Him to be the Messiah of the Gentiles. Today we often meet Jewish people who acknowledge that Jesus is the Messiah for Jew and Gentile alike; and some are even willing to share these convictions with other Jewish people. What then holds such Jewish people back from joining with us and accepting Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior?
The hindrance some have expressed to the writer of this article is the reluctance to accept the fact that Jesus is supernatural. Moreover, from childhood we have been inculcated with Maimonides' Thirteen Principles one of which is:
I firmly believe that the Creator, blessed be his name, is One: that there is no oneness in any form like his; & that he alone was, is, & ever will be our God.
We have been thus brought up to think that if we believe that God is One, then this idea excludes any idea of God manifesting Himself through Jesus the Messiah. This Christian concept of God's triunity seemed to us to be a Gentile and pagan idea. NOT SO! Christians, as well as Jewish people, must believe in One God. There is no other. The God of Abraham. Isaac and Jacob is the God of the Jewish people and of the Christians. The Hebrew Scriptures of the Old Testament are authoritative for the Jew and for the Christian. In them is found the confession that
is authoritative for all of us.
Hear. O Israel. the LORD our God, the LORD IS ONE. Deuteronomy 6:4
TRIUNITY IN TANAKH (Old Testament)
While it is universally admitted by both Jews and Christians that God is One and that there is no one beside Him, we are also compelled to acknowledge that the triunity of God is clearly taught in the Torah, the Prophets, and in the Writings --- that is in the whole Tanakh, the Hebrew Scriptures of the Old Testament, & the New Testament. Not only in the Tanakh but also in the Talmudical & Rabbinical writings this concept is well known. Space does not permit us to present proofs from all the sources in this short article. Here we present just a few challenging proofs:
THE TORAH: When God (Elohim) create the world He wanted to make absolutely clear to His creation that He is not some abstract mathematical unitarian principle with no analogy in all creation, as some of our philosophers tried to present Him under Aristotelian influence. Instead we read in the holy Torah these words:
And (Elohim) said. Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:
and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle,
& over all the earth. Genesis 1:26
Elohim made man, a being composed of a triunity --- body, soul and spirit, in the image of God;
and to make this more clear God reveals Himself in His plural form of Elohim and says, "Let us make man."
Even those of our rabbis who do not accept as yet the triunity of God, realize that this verse is clear support for such teaching. Thus in Midrash Rabbah on Genesis we find the following comments on the verse: Rabbi Samuel bar Nahman in the name of Rabbi Jonathan said, that at the time when Moses wrote the Torah; writing a portion of it daily, when he came to this Verse which says, "And Elohim said let us make man in our image after our likeness," Moses said, Master of the Universe why do you give herewith an excuse to the sectarians (who believe in the triunity of God). God answered Moses, You write and whoever wants to err let him err.
But surely God did not make Moses to write the whole Scriptures in order to make people err. but rather to show them the right way and the right revelation, namely that the One God is a triune God who calls Himself Elohim and who says. Let us make man.
THE PROPHETS: There are many Scripture verses which show clearly that God manifested Himself also as the Word by which He created heaven and earth and by which He leads and directs creation. He also manifested Himself as the Ruakh Hakodesh, the Holy Spirit, who inspired the prophets of God and who did mighty miracles through the great judges of Israel, Gideon, Samson, and David. We want to point out one Scripture which compels us to admit the triunity of God. Isaiah the prophet speaks in the name of God and says:
Come near unto me. hear this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning: from the time that it was,there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me.
Here God calls the people to come to Him, but He is sent by the Lord GOD and His Spirit. Exactly the same teaching as we have found in the Torah. we find also in the teachings of God's prophets. How else can it be? The same God who commanded Moses to manifest His triunitarian nature commands also the Hebrew Prophets to do the same.
THE WRITINGS: Very clearly we find the same teaching about God in the Psalms and in the other writings of the Hebrew Scriptures. We read in Psalm 2 where the Holy Spirit, the Ruakh Hakodesh, speaks through David and says:
I will declare the decree: The LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son:
this day have I begotten thee. Psalm 2:7
Here is the Holy Spirit speaking through David and instructing David, that the LORD, which is in Hebrew the ineffable name of Jehovah (which we pronounce as Adonai, has a Son who is begotten of God in a most supernatural way. Maybe King David himself did not well understand the words that he was commanded to write by the Holy Spirit; but as Moses and Isaiah, he obeyed. Be wrote this down for us so that there be no misunderstanding. God who is almighty manifests Himself as a triunity, leaving us no doubt as to His nature.
IS TRINITY JEWISH?
But is such a concept Jewish? Is it not some Gentile or pagan concept that has somehow crept into our Holy Scriptures as some extreme liberalists would like to tell us? No, this was and still is a Jewish conception of God creating and dealing with His creation and His people Israel in a triune way. This quotation bears it out: Exodus 19 starts with the words, "In the third month." This is explained by the words of Proverbs 22:20, "Have I not written to thee excellent (Hebrew, threefold) things in counsels and knowledge." On this Rabbi Joshua bar Nehemiah said that this is the Torah whose letters are threefold, alf, bet, g(i)ml, and everything is a Trinity: The Torah is Trinitarian, for it is composed of the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings. The Mishna (talmudical learning) is a trinity composed of Talmud (learning) halakhot (daily Jewish laws) and haggadot (historical items). The mediator consisted of a trinity of Miriam, Moses, & Aaron. Prayers are a trinity of morning, afternoon, and evening prayers. Israel is a trinity consisting of priests, Levites and Israelites. The name Moses in Hebrew consists of three letters. He is of the tribe of Levi, which again is in the Hebrew three letters. from the seed of the Patriarchs who are a trinity of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; in the third month which is Sivan, after Nisan & Iyar on mount Sin whose letters are three as it is written. "And they rested in the wilderness of Sin.".(Midrash Tanhuma on Exodus 19)
If, according to our rabbis', God has made everything and arranged everything in a Trinitarian way. then it must also be Jewish and biblical to know that God, Himself is a Trinity. This He is and has manifested Himself as the Savior, Messiah, and Son of God in the person of the Lord Jesus, the Messiah. He then sent down the Holy Spirit, the Ruakh Hakodesh, on the Disciples in the third month, of the Feast of Shavuot, the feast of perfection, celebrated after counting seven times seven.
TRINITY AND COMMON SENSE
But. can three be one? Does not common-sense rebel against such a statement? Must we not state categorically that God is either One or Three? Not so. As a matter of fact everything you come in contact with is not a mathematical concept of one, but usually an item composed of a trinity. The ancient Greek philosopher reasoned out the theory of atoms by simply watching a black cow, eating green grass, and then giving white milk. All things are composed of millions and billions of atoms; but the atom itself is a trinity of a proton, electron and nucleus. Perhaps we could best express it in the words of Dr. Henry Heydt:
In Romans 1:20 Paul uses the creation of the cosmos as demonstrating this Godhead (theiotes]. The universe ... is an absolute triunity of space, time, and matter. Each of these in turn is an absolute triunity. Space consists of length, breadth, and depth or height: time is future, present, and past; matter is energy, motion, and phenomena. Here we have not merely an illustration of three in one --- as in the case of light, heat, and ultra-violet rays of the sunbeam, or the manifestation of H2O as liquid, ice, and steam --- but an absolute trinity composed of three absolute triunities.
WHAT IS THE MEANING TO YOU?
We now have only to answer the question. "What does it all matter?" The answer is that it matters very much. It proves the truth of God's Word. The most important thing is, what the Jewish Messiah Jesus (Yeshua) said, "For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
Do you want peace in your heart & peace with your Creator? Receive this gift of God; confess your sins and believe in God's Son, the Korban (sacrifice) for your sins. Then you will be saved & have perfect peace in your heart. "But as many as received him to them gave he the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." (John 1:12)
Reprinted by permission of
The Messianic Literature Outreach www.messianicliterature.org/
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In Light of Tanakh
By Milton B. Lindberg
Hear, O Israel (Shema Yisrael): The Lord our God (Adonai Eloheinu),
the Lord is one (Adonai Ehad). Deuteronomy (Devarim) 6:4
Upon the rock of this declaration rests the second of the Thirteen Principles of Jewish Faith: "I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, blessed be His name, is a Unity, and that there is no unity in any manner like unto His, and that He alone is our God who was, is, and will be."
From where, then, comes the doctrine of the Trinity? A large part of the world, though professing to worship the God who is revealed in the writings of Moses and the prophets, nevertheless believes in God as a Trinity.
Although it may be granted that the Christian's New Testament teaches that the term God may be applied to God the Father, to God the Son, and to God the Holy Spirit, the Christian should cease to claim that he worships the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of Moses and the prophets, the God of the Torah, the Neviim, and the Ketuvim, unless there is found in the Tenach (Old Testament), indisputable evidence that God exists in more than one personality.
The first words of the Torah declare: "In the beginning God (Elohim) created the heavens (hashamayim) and the earth." It must be admitted that the word for God here is in the plural form, even as is the word for heavens, and that it is the same as used in the first commandment: "You shall have no other gods (Elohim) before me" (Exodus 20:3). Likewise in Deuteronomy 13:2 (v. 6 in Hebrew text): "If he (a false prophet) says, 'Let us follow other gods. '" Elohim is invariably a plural form. Additionally, when speaking of the act of creation performed in the beginning by Elohim the Triune God, Moses used a verb in the singular number, bara (created).
It is reasoned by some that the plural Elohim is the "plural of majesty," used to ascribe majesty to one who is nevertheless a single individual, and that therefore the use of the singular verb would be entirely reasonable. But a singular verb is not invariably used with the plural Elohim. Readers familiar with the Hebrew text can check the plural verbs used in Genesis 20:13 and in Genesis 35:7. Plural adjectives are also used to describe this Elohim. For examples see Deuteronomy 4:7, Elohim krovim (God is near), and Joshua 24:19, Elohim kedoshim (a holy God).
The plurality of the name Elohim leads naturally to a consideration of the fact that other plural words are also used in referring to God. In Genesis 1 :26 God said: "Let us make man in our image." In Genesis 3:22 God said: "The man has now become like one of us." And in Genesis 11:7 God said: "Come, let us go down and confuse their language." To whom, and of whom is God speaking with the use of these plural pronouns?
We have seen in Genesis 1: 1 that Elohim (plural) created the heavens and the earth; and in the next verse we read: "And the Spirit of God (Ruah Elohim) was hovering over the waters." Was it speaking for himself and his Spirit that God (Elohim) said in verse 26: "Let us make man in our image?" Is this why Solomon said: Remember your Creator (plural, in the literal translation of Ecclesiastes 12:1)?
In Proverbs 30:4 the challenging question is presented to mankind: "Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Who has gathered up the wind in the hollow of his hands? Who has wrapped up the waters in his cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and the name of his Son? Tell me if you know!" Does God have a Son?
In Psalm 2 we have a prophetic picture which should be read in its entirety. In it is described (vv. 2 and 3) the time when the nations will declare themselves against God, and against his Anointed One (Mashiho, from which our English word Messiah comes). God says in verse 6 that he will nevertheless establish this Messiah as his King on Zion, his holy hill.
In verse 7 Messiah steps forward to declare the decree by which his coronation shall be accomplished saying: "I will proclaim the decree of the Lord: "He said to me, 'You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations (goyim) your inheritance. '"
Furthermore, in Psalm 2:11-12 we are solemnly instructed: "Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son (nashqu bar), lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him."
The Hebrew for "kiss the Son" is nashqu bar. Even if this is translated, as some would have it, "Do homage in purity," the homage is to the Lord of verse 11 and to the Son of verse 7. The Tanakh clearly indicates that there is a divine personality who is called the Son of God, who is worthy of homage, and if we put our trust in him, we are blessed.
In Psalm 110, the one who is in a future day to rule in Zion is addressed as a divine personality by another who is also deity. "The Lord says to my Lord," writes David the psalmist, "sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet. The Lord will extend your mighty scepter from Zion; you will rule in the midst of your enemies" (psalm 110:1-2).
Here is one who is "the Lord" speaking to David's Lord and telling him to sit at his right hand until the time comes for him to rule in the midst of some who are now his enemies. Surely the psalm is speaking of two divine personalities, one whom is yet to be Israel's King! "And the Lord shall be king over all the earth" (Zechariah 14:9). "At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne of the Lord, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of the Lord. No longer will they follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts" (Jeremiah 3: 17).
Does the Tanakh indicate how a divine eternal personality can be a Son? Is this not a great problem, since being a son suggests the idea of generation and birth? The divine solution: deity becomes a Son by way of incarnation, God taking upon himself humanity.
Hear the words of the prophet Isaiah: "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever" (Isaiah 9:6-7b).
"Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of men? Will you try the patience of my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign (no ordinary birth, but something so unusual, remarkable, and miraculous as to constitute a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:13-14). Immanuel means "God with us," deity incarnate, dwelling with men!
Who are the three divine personalities Isaiah 48:11-18 (Yeshaiah Hanavii speaks about? "Listen to me, 0 Jacob, Israel, whom I have called: I am he; I am the first and I am the last. (Only God is eternal.) My own hand laid the foundations of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens (the Creator is speaking); ... And now the Sovereign Lord (one divine personality) has sent me (the speaker is eternal and the Creator, and therefore a second divine personality), with his Spirit (a third divine personality).
"This is what the Lord says -- your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. (This divine personality, the sent one, calls himself the Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; and he says that he and God's Spirit have been sent by the Sovereign Lord.) If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.”
Not only has Israel failed to listen to him, but mankind generally has failed to heed the Redeemer; and until men turn to him wholeheartedly, there will be no peace.
Many Jewish people express the lament that if there is a God, he seems to have forgotten the Jews; but Israel’s long night of suffering is not without purpose. God permits her hardship in order that Israel may be brought to acknowledge her rejection of her God and return to him. In Micah 5:2 (verse 1 in Hebrew text) we read: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
Thus we have corroboration of other predictions already considered concerning Messiah: 1) that he was to appear in human form; 2) that he was to be rejected (see Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22); 3) that he was to be born in Bethlehem (and every year the world celebrates the birth which took place there more than nineteen hundred years ago, before the dispersion of the Jewish nation); 4) this one is to be Israel’s King; and 5) that he is deity, for his “origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
But if three divine personalities are revealed in the Tanakh, why does Moses speak of God as one? The second of the Thirteen Principles of Jewish Faith says: “The Creator, blessed be His name, is a Unity, and there is no unity in any manner like unto His.”
The Hebrew word Maimonides used in the Principles of Faith for unity is the word yahid. The word yahid carries the thought of absolute oneness rather than unity. True, yahid always means oneness in the absolute sense. But the appeal of every honest seeker after truth is not to the Thirteen Principles of Faith, but to the Holy Scriptures, the Tanakh. The seventh of those Principles states: “I believe with perfect faith that the prophecy of Moses our teacher, peace be to him, was true, and that he was the chief of the prophets, both of those that preached and of those that followed him.”
Therefore, to Moses we turn in Deuteronomy (Humesh Devarim) 6:4, and read: “Shema Yisrael (Hear, 0 Israel): Adonai Eloheinu (the Lord our God or Gods), Adonai ehad (the Lord a unity; not yahid, an absolute one, an only, but ehad). Ehad is the word that Moses also uses in Genesis 2:24, when he says: And they (husband and wife) will become one flesh (basar ehad). Ehad is the word that God uses when he tells Ezekiel: Join them together into one stick so that they (the two sticks for Israel and Judah) will become one (ehad) in your hand (Ezekiel 37: 17).
Truly, “there is no unity in any manner like unto His,” for the unity which is God’s transcends all other unity. So unique is his unity, that the virgin born son, Immanuel, of whom we read in a former paragraph, is by the same prophet (Isaiah) called the Mighty God and Everlasting Father. So completely are the divine and timeless eternal personalities joined, that although one of them appeared in time as an incarnate Son, yet, being equally and eternally self-existent with the Father, he is said to exist eternally as the Son. At the same time he was, is, and ever will be one with the mighty God, the everlasting Father.
Is it not also a remarkable fact that the eternal one’s appearance in time nineteen hundred [plus] years ago marks the focal point of all history, so that all the world reckons time as either before or after his coming, B.C. or A.D.? Jewish people may prefer the designations B.C.E. (before the common era) and C.E. (the common era), but the dividing point between the eras is the same.
The careful and honest inquirer therefore comes to the conclusion that the Tenach teaches the Trinity as well as the Unity of God.
God declared unto Moses: “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account” (Deuteronomy 18:18-19).
“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let ‘him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God (Eloheinu), for he will freely pardon” (Isaiah 55:6-7).
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T H E
T R I N I T Y
by Dave Hunt
Many Christians are at a loss to understand, much less to defend, the "Trinity" when that word is not even found in the Bible. To deal with that issue, we must begin with God, as the Bible itself does.
There are two general concepts of God: (1) pantheism/naturalism, that the universe itself is God; and (2) supernaturalism, that the Creator is distinct from His creation. Within these are two more opposing views: (1) polytheism, that there are many gods; and (2) monotheism, that there is only one true God.
Monotheism itself is divided into two rival beliefs: (1) that God is a single being; and (2) that God has always existed in three persons who are separate and distinct yet one. Obviously, Christians are the only ones who hold the latter view--and even some who call themselves Christians reject it. Yet it is the only logically and philosophically coherent view of God possible.
Pantheism has the same fatal flaws as atheism. If everything is God, to be God has lost all meaning and so nothing is God. The problems with polytheism are equally obvious. There is no real God who is in charge, so the many gods fight wars and steal one another's wives. There's no basis for morals, truth or peace in heaven or earth. Polytheism's basic problem is: diversity without unity.
The belief that God is a single being is held by both Muslims and Jews,
who insist that Allah and Jehovah are single entities.
It is also held by pseudo-Christian cults such as the Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons - - -
and by various aberrant Christian groups who also deny the deity of Christ.
Some Pentecostals claim that God is a single being and
that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are God's three "titles" or "offices."
Here we have unity without diversity.
That God must have both unity and diversity is clear. The Allah of Islam (like the Jehovah of Jehovah’s Witnesses and Jews), for instance, is incomplete in himself, unable to experience love, fellowship and communion before creating beings with whom he could have these experiences. The Bible says that "God is love." But the God of Islam and Judaism could not be love in and of himself--or whom could he love when he was alone before creation?
This belief that God is a single entity (Unitarianism) and not three persons existing eternally in one God (Trinitarianism) was first formulated in the early church around 220 A.D. by a Libyan theologian named Sabellius. He attempted to retain Biblical language concerning Father, Son and Holy Spirit without acknowledging the triune nature of God. Sabellius claimed that God existed as a single being, who manifested Himself in three activities, modes or aspects: as Father in the creation, as Son in redemption, and as Holy Spirit in prophecy and sanctification. This heresy, though condemned by the vast majority of Christians, survives to this day.
The Bible presents a God who did not need to create any beings to experience love,
communion and fellowship.
This God is complete in Himself, being three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, separate and distinct yet at the same time eternally One God. They loved and communed and fellowshipped with each other and took counsel together before the universe, angels or man were brought into existence. Isaiah "heard the voice of the LORD [in eternity past] saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" (Is 6:8). Moses revealed the same counseling together of the Godhead: "And God said, Let us make man in our image after our likeness"; and again, "[L]et us go down and there confound their language" (Genesis 1:26; 1 1:7). Who is this "us" if God is a single entity? Why does God say, "the man is become as one of us"? (Genesis 3:22)
Moreover, if God is a single being, then why is the plural Hebrew noun Elohim (literally "Gods") used for God repeatedly? In fact, this plural noun is in the center of Israel's famous confession of the oneness of God! The Shema declares, "Hear, 0 Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord" (Deuteronomy 6:4 Mark 12:29). In the Hebrew it reads, "Jehovah our Elohim (gods) is one [echad] Jehovah." The Hebrew word echad allows for a unity of more than one. For example, it is used in Genesis 2:24 where man and woman become one flesh; in Exodus 36:13 when the various parts "became one tabernacle"; in 2 Samuel 2:25 when many soldiers "became one troop"; and elsewhere. Nor is the word Elohim the only way in which God's plurality is presented. For example, Ecclesiastes 12:1:"Remember now thy creator [lit. "Creators"]"; and Isaiah 54:5: "For thy Maker is thine husband [lit. "Makers, husbands"]" Unitarianism has no explanation for this consistent presentation of God’s plurality all through the Old Testament. Although the word "trinity" does not occur in the Bible, the concept is clearly there, providing the unity and diversity that makes possible the love, fellowship and communion within the Godhead. Truly the Trinitarian God is love--and He alone.
Jesus said, "The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand" (John 3:35). God's love is not just toward mankind but first of all among the three Persons of the Godhead. And three Persons they must be. Father, Son and Holy Spirit can't be mere offices, titles or modes in which God manifests Himself, for such cannot love, consult and fellowship together. Not only is the Son presented as a person, but so are the Father and the Holy Spirit. The Bible presents each as having His own personality: each wills, acts, loves, cares, can be grieved or become angry. "Offices" or "titles" don't do that! Unitarianism isn't Biblical--and it robs the Godhead of the necessary qualities of true Deity.
Godhead? Is that a Biblical term? Yes, indeed. It occurs three times in the King James New Testament in Acts 17:29, Romans 1:20, and Colossians 2:9. In contrast to theos, which is used consistently throughout the New Testament for "God," three different but related Greek words occur in these verses (theios, theiotes, theotes) which the King James translators carefully designated by the special word, Godhead. That very term indicates a plurality of being. Paul wrote, "[I]n him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Col 2.9). Did he simply mean that in Christ dwelt all the fullness of Himself? That would be like saying that in me dwells all the fullness of me. Well, of course it does--- so why say it, and what does it really mean? Nothing!
Does it simply mean that in Christ dwells all the fullness of Deity, as some non-KJV translations render it? That, too, would be redundant--or it would detract from the deity of Christ. For if Christ is intrinsically God, then what is the point of saying that "in Him dwells all the fullness of Deity"? Of course it does! But if Christ is the Son and there are two other persons in the Godhead, then it does mean something. It means that just as Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one God, so, when the Son became man, He brought that fullness of the Godhead with Him into flesh.
In Romans 1:20 Paul argues that God's "eternal power and Godhead" are seen in the creation He made. God's eternal power--but His Godhead? Yes, as Dr. Wood pointed out years ago in The Secret of the Universe, the triune nature of God is stamped on His creation. The cosmos is divided into three: space, matter and time. Each of these is divided into three. Space, for instance, is composed of length, breadth and width, each separate and distinct in itself, yet the three are one. Length, breadth and width are not three spaces, but three dimensions comprising one space. Run enough lines lengthwise and you take in the whole. But so it is with the width and height. Each is separate and yet distinct, each is all of space--just as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are distinct Persons, yet each is God.
Time also is a trinity: past, present and future-- two invisible and one visible. Each is separate and distinct, yet each is the whole. Man himself is a triunity of spirit, soul and body, two of which are invisible, one visible. Many more details could be given of the Godhead's triunity reflected in the universe. It can hardly be coincidence.
The Hebrew word Elohim (Gods) occurs about 2,500 times in the Old Testament, while the singular form occurs only 250 times and most of those designate false gods. Genesis 1:1 reads, "In the beginning Elohim created the heaven and the earth" ; i.e., literally, "GODS created the heaven and the earth." Though a single noun is available, yet the plural form is consistently used for God. And in violation of grammatical rules, with few exceptions, singular verbs and pronouns are used with this plural noun. Why?
At the burning bush it was Elohim (Gods) who spoke to Moses. Yet Elohim did not say, "We are that we are," but "I AM THAT I AM" (Exodus 3:14). One cannot escape the fact that all through the Bible God is presented as a plurality and yet as one, as having both diversity and unity. This is unknown among all the world's religions! To reject the Trinity is to reject the unique God of the Bible.
The New Testament presents three Persons who are distinct, yet each is recognized as God. At the same time we have repeatedly the clear statement that there is only one true God. Christ prays to the Father. Is He praying to Himself? "[T]he Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world" (I John 4:14). Did He send Himself'? Worse yet, did one "office" pray to and send a "title"? Father, Son and Holy Spirit have distinct functions, yet each works only in conjunction with the others. Christ said, "[T]he words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself [on my own initiative]: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works" (John 14:10); "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter .... Even the Spirit of truth" (John 14:16-17). Throughout the New Testament Father, Son and Holy Spirit are separately honored and act as God, yet only in concert with one another.
The Old Testament also presents three Persons in the Godhead interacting. For example: "Hearken unto me, 0 Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last. Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens-from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord God, and his Spirit, hath sent me" (Isaiah 48:12-16). The One speaking through Isaiah refers to Himself as "the first and the last" and the Creator of all, so He must be God. But he speaks of two others in the same passage who must also be God: "the Lord God, and his Spirit, hath sent me." Jesus presented a similar passage to the Pharisees (Matthew 22:41-46) when He asked them who the Messiah was, and they said, "The Son of David." He then quoted Psalm 110:1: "The LORD said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool." Then Jesus asked them, "If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?" (Matthew 22:45). The Pharisees were speechless. Unitarianism cannot explain these two "Lords."
It is a mystery how God can exist in three Persons yet be one God; but it is also a mystery how God could have no beginning and create everything out of nothing. We can't understand what a human soul or spirit is. Nor can we explain love or beauty or justice. It is beyond human capacity to comprehend the full nature of God's being. But neither can we understand what it means for us or anything else to exist-- nor is can we comprehend what space is or what time is or matter. For every door science opens, there are ten more unopened doors on the other side. The more we learn, the more rapidly the unknown expands before us like receding images in a hall of mirrors. The Jehovah's Witnesses and other Unitarians argue that because the Trinity can't be understood it can't be. But the fact that it is beyond human comprehension is no reason for rejecting what the Bible presents so consistently to us.
God is telling us about Himself so that we may believe in and know Him.
We dare not reject what He says or lower it to the level of our finite minds.
Written primarily to respond to teachings of The United Pentecostal Church.
Also see Global Peace and the Rise of Antichrist, Chapter 18
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