Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Trinity in the Old Testament

The Hebrew word translated "God" is the word 'El' or 'Elohim.' 'Elohim' is the plural form of 'El.' The plural form is used 2607 of the 2845 times the word "God" is used in the Old Testament. Not only is the word for God usually used in the plural form, but several verses refer to God as "Us":

* Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." (Genesis 1:26)
* Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever"-- (Genesis 3:22)
* "Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech." (Genesis 11:7)
* Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here am I. Send me!" (Isaiah 6:8)

Not only is the plurality of God found in the Old Testament, but the members of the triunity are also defined. Several Old Testament verses tell us that God is our Father:

* "Do you thus repay the LORD, O foolish and unwise people? Is not He your Father who has bought you? He has made you and established you. (Deuteronomy 32:6)
* "He will cry to Me, 'Thou art my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.' (Psalms 89:26)
* For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
* For Thou art our Father, though Abraham does not know us, And Israel does not recognize us. Thou, O LORD, art our Father, Our Redeemer from of old is Thy name. (Isaiah 63:16)
* But now, O LORD, Thou art our Father, We are the clay, and Thou our potter; And all of us are the work of Thy hand. (Isaiah 64:8)
* "Have you not just now called to Me, 'My Father, Thou art the friend of my youth? (Jeremiah 3:4)
* "Then I said, 'How I would set you among My sons, And give you a pleasant land, The most beautiful inheritance of the nations!' And I said, 'You shall call Me, My Father, And not turn away from following Me.' (Jeremiah 3:19)

The Son is also found in the Old Testament:

* "I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, 'Thou art My Son, Today I have begotten Thee. (Psalms 2:7)
* Do homage to the Son, lest He become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him! (Psalms 2:12)
* Who has ascended into heaven and descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has wrapped the waters in His garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name or His Son's name? Surely you know! (Proverbs 30:4)
* "I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. "And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations, and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13-14)

The third member of the triunity of God, The Holy Spirit, is also found extensively in the Old Testament:

Genesis 1:2
1 Samuel 11:6
Psalms 106:33
Ezekiel 3:24
Genesis 6:3
1 Samuel 16:13
Psalms 139:7
Ezekiel 8:3
Exodus 31:3
1 Samuel 16:14
Psalms 143:10
Ezekiel 11:1
Exodus 35:31
1 Samuel 19:20
Isaiah 11:2
Ezekiel 11:5
Numbers 11:17
1 Samuel 19:23
Isaiah 30:1
Ezekiel 11:24
Numbers 11:25
2 Samuel 23:2
Isaiah 32:15
Ezekiel 36:27
Numbers 11:26
1 Kings 18:12
Isaiah 34:16
Ezekiel 37:1
Numbers 11:29
1 Kings 22:24
Isaiah 40:13
Ezekiel 37:14
Numbers 24:2
2 Kings 2:16
Isaiah 42:1
Ezekiel 39:29
Numbers 27:18
1 Chronicles 12:18
Isaiah 44:3
Ezekiel 43:5
Judges 3:10
2 Chronicles 15:1
Isaiah 48:16
Joel 2:28
Judges 6:34
2 Chronicles 18:23
Isaiah 59:21
Joel 2:29
Judges 11:29
2 Chronicles 20:14
Isaiah 61:1
Micah 2:7
Judges 13:25
2 Chronicles 24:20
Isaiah 63:10
Micah 3:8
Judges 14:6
Nehemiah 9:20
Isaiah 63:11
Haggai 2:5
Judges 14:19
Nehemiah 9:30
Isaiah 63:14
Zechariah 4:6
Judges 15:14
Job 33:4
Ezekiel 2:2
Zechariah 7:12
1 Samuel 10:6
Psalms 51:11
Ezekiel 3:12
Zechariah 12:10
1 Samuel 10:10
Psalms 104:30
Ezekiel 3:14
Malachi 2:15

Finally, there are a number of verses in the Old Testament in which the triunity of God is directly expressed:

* Who has ascended into heaven and descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has wrapped the waters in His garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name or His Son's name? Surely you know! (Proverbs 30:4)
* Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit. And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. (Isaiah 11:1-2)
* "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. (Isaiah 42:1)
* "Come near to Me, listen to this: From the first I have not spoken in secret, From the time it took place, I was there. And now the Lord GOD has sent Me, and His Spirit." (Isaiah 48:16)
* The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives, And freedom to prisoners; (Isaiah 61:1)
* In all their affliction He was afflicted, And the angel of His presence saved them; In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them; And He lifted them and carried them all the days of old. But they rebelled And grieved His Holy Spirit; Therefore, He turned Himself to become their enemy, He fought against them. (Isaiah 63:9-10)

Some of the verses above include all members of the triunity (Isaiah 42:1, Isaiah 48:16, and Isaiah 61:1). Therefore, the Old Testament does reveal the Christian concept of the Godhead, with God being one God, consisting of three persons. How can God simultaneously exist as both singular and plural? It is a logical impossibility if God were restricted to the three dimensions of space and one dimension of time of our physical universe. However, the attributes of God, given by the Bible, provide a reasonable explanation of how this paradox can be resolved.


(the above information is from: God and Science)

13 comments:

Jeff said...

Because of the fact that the 'Intense Debate' widget required extra steps for readers leaving comments (having to sign up separately with Intense Debate, and then having to sign in separately from Blogger), and worst of all, because Blogger would show "0 Comments" on the main page, even if there were several comments left through Intense Debate, I decided to uninstall Intense Debate. However, when I did so, it gave an XML error message. Since I don't know XML (I only know HTML), I was not able to manually fix that. Instead, I chose the Blogger option to revert to the Classic widget. Now that I've done that, I see that I have lost a number of things I had before: the comments that were left through Intense Debate, my image at the top of the page, all my links, etc. Guess I'm going to have to start re-building my page. What a pain.

Jeff said...

Although it actually looks cleaner now, reverting to the Classic widget in Blogger also deleted all my key search words and deleted my visitor and country counter (I was almost at 10,000 visitors and something like 111 or 114 countries!). A bit irritating.

Jeff said...

Got my stuff back! YES! Woo-hoo!

thekingpin68 said...

Those are useful verses. Some of which I had highlighted, and some I now highlighted.

Thanks, Jeff.

thekingpin68 said...

Intense debate or Intense headache?

satire and theology said...

Jeff Jenkins (You should try and link perhaps?)

Jeff Jenkins

Jeff Jenkins

Jeff Jenkins

Farrah said...

I love how you carry on conversations with yourself in your comments section. ;-)

I just noticed how you brought your profile question around to Salvation. Excellent!

How could anyone read the Bible and not believe in the trinity? I love those "us" verses. You are talking about the OT, but this one really jumped out at me last week in the distinction made between God and Jesus: I Cor. 8:6. One God the Father OF whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus BY whom are all things. It is BY Jesus we get to God. :-)

Jeff said...

Those are useful verses. Some of which I had highlighted, and some I now highlighted.

Thanks, Russ!

Intense debate or Intense headache?

Good point.

LOL at those links. I'm not sure whether I should attempt a link exchange or not...it might get pretty confusing! Especially if I left comments on their site, or if they left comments on my site! Readers would think we were leaving comments on our own site! LOL!
Nevertheless, thank you! I will have to check those out.

Jeff said...

Farrah,

I love how you carry on conversations with yourself in your comments section. ;-)

Ha, thanks. They are partially for people reading this, so they will know what's been going on. They are also for those whose comments were lost as a result of deleting the 'Intense Debate' widget. And, they are also for me, as a troubleshooting reference and record to remember what steps I took, in case I need to go back and change something (just in case I forgot what I did).

I just noticed how you brought your profile question around to Salvation. Excellent!

Thank you! After all, that's what it's all about.

How could anyone read the Bible and not believe in the trinity? I love those "us" verses. You are talking about the OT, but this one really jumped out at me last week in the distinction made between God and Jesus: I Cor. 8:6. One God the Father OF whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus BY whom are all things. It is BY Jesus we get to God. :-)

Thanks, Farrah. A couple Jehovah's Witnesses came to my door the other week, and they of course deny the Trinity, so I was doing a little research on that. And that's a good verse that you brought up!

Regarding God referring to Himself as "Us" and "Our" in Gen. 1:26-27, those words "Us" and "Our" cannot refer to angels, because (1) angels do not create, (2) Nowhere in the Bible does it say we are created in the image of angels, and (3) Gen. 1:27 says "So God created man in His own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." Again, it says we were created in God's image, not in the image of angels.

Though Jehovah's Witnesses completely deny the Trinity and say that it is of the devil, Oneness Pentecostals believe in modalism, that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are just three Names for the same Person. But if that were the case, how could Jesus say, "I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come." (John 16:12-13) If Jesus and the Holy Spirit were the same Person, or even if the Holy Spirit were merely "breath" or a "force" or not a Person at all, then how could Jesus refer to Him as "He?" An impersonal divine influence or force cannot be a "He." It says the Holy Spirit will guide, speak and tell. A force cannot speak. And, if the Holy Spirit were merely another Name for Jesus, then Jesus would not refer to the Holy Spirit in the third person.

Also, John 15:26 says, "When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me." The Counselor (in the NIV; 'Helper' in the NASB; 'Comforter' in the KJV) is the Holy Spirit, and is again called "He." Only a Person can testify. A force cannot testify. And again, Jesus speaks of the Holy Spirit as another Person, in the third person.

Again, in Matthew 28:19, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." One God, three Persons. If these three Names were all the exact same Person, then there would be no reason to use three Names. For example, it would sound silly to say, "And baptizing them in the name of Jehovah and of Yahweh." That is a redundancy that makes no sense.

In one of my comments that got deleted when I uninstalled the 'Intense Debate' widget, I mentioned Amos 4:11, which says, "I overthrew you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, And you were like a firebrand snatched from a blaze; Yet you have not returned to Me," declares the LORD."
If the Trinity does not exist, or if the Trinity is three Names for one Person, then how can YHWH ("the LORD"), speaking in this verse, refer to another Person as God ("...as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah...")?

Anonymous said...

You've outdone yourself brother "Good Job"

In Christ,
Lee

Jeff said...

Thanks, Lee! I appreciate your stopping by and leaving a comment!

Tessa said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Ruth

http://muffinsnow.com

Jeff said...

Ruth,

Thank you! I'm glad you have been stopping by and reading. And even a brief comment is much appreciated.