DOCTRINE STUDY RELATION BETWEEN THE TRINITY PART I
By: Christopher Bassaragh April, 2009.
Relationship of the Trinity and Their Relation to Mankind In the world of Christendom there is a common belief in respect to the Godhead; it is composed of a triune entity known as the Trinity. In simple, though this statement is truly challenging and complex, it is One God in three persons. I would almost like to believe that a better way to visual this idea is by illustrating “God” as a three bound cord, or a braid, three separate strands whined together to make one cord, a unity; that unity would be God. But that is still a clumsy portrayal of understanding the trinity, and this paper is not about what is God or the trinity, or who is God directly, but an assurance of the existence of the Triune God, based on scripture, and how each member of the Godhead may truly relate to each other. First off, let’s establish the biblical support that Christendom believes in; the existence of the triune God. Evidence of: The Father:
The Son, Yeshua (Jesus):
The Holy Ghost:
a. Psalms 89:26
a. Matthew 1:18
a. Genesis 1:2
b. Isaiah 22:21-25
b. Mark 5:7
b. John 14:16
c. John 3:16
c. John 1:1-14, 34
c. John 14:26
d. John 5:43
d. John 3:16
e. Revelation 14:1
e. Acts 18:28
e. Acts 2:4
f. Galatians 1:1
f. Hebrews 4:8
f. 1 Corinthians 6:19
Scripture supports the unity of these three beings; Matt 3:16-17, 28:18-21, John 1:31-34, 1 John 5:7, 1 Cor 6:9-15; and being that they are three separate beings there must be the question of their roles to us and each other.
The Shema, of Deut 6:4, says עמש לארשי הוהי ונהילא הוהי דחא: “shema Yisrael, Adonai elihanu Adonai echad” "Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord is One." This term for one caused a great problem between the Jews and the Christians, (and Islam for that matter because they Qur’an teaches Allah “God” has no partner, but this paper is about Judeo-Christian theology). The problem is one is not three. But in a closer look at the word echad one would establish that this word could mean more than just one a single, but also a group (Gen 34:16, Ex 26:6, 11; 36:13, Jud 20:8; I Sam 11:7) or the ultimate unity. Hence in 1 John 5:7, ὅτι τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ µαρτυροῦντες ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, ὁ Πατὴρ, ὁ Λόγος καὶ τὸ ἅγιον Πνεῦµα, καὶ οὗτοι οἱ τρεῖς ἕν εἰσι.: “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” Some bible translations have substituted the word one for united, others have translated the text as “to agree as one”; the point that is being put across is the unity of a group, the Godhead, working together in one accord.
John 10:30 writes “I (speaking of Yeshua) and my Father are one.” John 15:26,
“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.” John 16:13-15, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”
Through these words spoken by Messiah we begin to tap into the various roles of the Godhead. There is a source of all power, the Father, Gen 1:1, Job 37:23, Jer 10:12, there is the redeemer of the fallen world, the Son, who receives power from the Father, Matt 28:18, John
6:36-39, John 14:24, Rev 1:1, and there is the Comforter for enduring life by supernatural strengths, Joel 2:28, John 16:13, 1 Cor 12, Gal 5:22; each relating to mankind in special ways. But how do they relate to each other, are the equals, or is there any form of subordination. Who is the Almighty? Who is the Creator? Who is written in the scriptures as having all power and authority? Who is the first and the Last? Many would answer these three questions with a one word answer, God. But if the term God is defined as a title, being, an object of worship (Dictionary.com, Merriam-webster.com), then we must dig deeper for this answer. When we follow scripture we find that more proper answer to the question would simply be God, but would be Yeshua Ha Messhiach, Jesus the Christ, Rev 1:7,8; John 1:1-3; Matt 28:18; Rev 1:17,18; because the term God in the Christian Bible is comprised of three persons. But there seems to be something special about our Lord Jesus, the “only begotten Son of God”; throughout His entire ministry and testimony, He claims to be given his power, authority and dominion. Christ always claims His source of strength is from his Father. Throughout the New Testament Christ never claims the abilities, powers, or His will for that matter are His until they are given. Everything He claims comes from, and is done for, the Father: Jesus answered and said unto them, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” John 6:29; Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. Luke 22:42; And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Matt 28:18; Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Mark 13:31, 32. The one consistent theme we find is the Father is the source, and the Son has obtained all authority as an inheritance.
Yeshua who is the life, and now holds the keys of death, is and was always God. Being the first begotten of God (the Father) was the first idea to come from the Father. Yet this idea is not fully correct, for it is limiting to an omniscient being has ideas, for they don’t, so we use the term idea very loosely. For one to be begotten, one must come from a source, which follows the line of thinking that the early Church believed prior to Council of Trent 325 AD (Time Line Index). But there were also other heretical ideas floating around such as the teachings of Arius, who claimed Yeshua could not be equal or even divine as His Father, but a creature of His Father. This Idea is not biblical, for Christ himself says I and my Father are one, John 10:30; and is supported and witnessed by John the beloved, John 1:1. Yeshua is fully God, but because of His incarnation, He is also fully man. The Godhead through scripture seems to have a hierarchy, but a unity as well; this is probably part of the great mystery of God. We humans are people with a desire to understand things, even if they are far above us. This often leads us to dismiss simple facts, and adjusts revelations to fit our frame of thinking. But no matter how hard one tries to adjust what scripture says, a hierarchy and diverse roles of the Godhead are clearly evident in Scriptures. If we are examining the idea of triune God in scripture, we must look at the same scriptures the early church would have been referring to during the time of Messiah and the few generations after which are recorded and spoken about in the New Testament: The Tanakh. During the time of the forming of the new church later called “Christians” after the Greek of followers of Christ, the “Messiachim” or “Children of Light” were using the Tanakh as the scriptures. The Tanakh was comprised of the Torah, writings, and the prophets. Christ and His followers allude to these as the scriptures, John 1:45, Luke 24:44. So what does the Jewish scriptures say of the Godhead, a triune God. The Shema begins with a declaration of “Hear, O
Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.” Duet 6:4. דחא: echad, which means one, singular, first, or a unit. But this does not prove enough to say the Shema is in reference to a triune God. Well we can first look at the creation account to begin this investigation. Between Genesis 1:1-3, we clearly see two entities participating in the creation process. We see the mention of God, who is assumed as the Father speaking and creating with His words. Following that is the Spirit of God moving about brewing upon the waters. Though Orthodox Judaism and Islam have debated this saying that the Spirit of God is not a separate entity being spoken of but God the Father’s spirit, In examining the original text we find some interesting things evident through the writings of Moses.
ַשּׁ ַמיִם וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ׃ ָ ֵאשׁית ָבּרָא הִיםאֱלֹ אֵת ה ִ ְבּר1 ץ ֶרוְהָאָ ָהיְתָה תֹהוּ וְחֹוָבֹהוּ ֶשׁ ְך עַל־ ְפּנֵי תְהֹום וְרוּ ַח אֱלֹהִים ְמ ַר ֶחפֶת עַל־ ְפּנֵי ַה ָמּיִם׃2 :ְ וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים יְהִי אֹור וַי3 The first thing odd in verse one we run into is the word “ֹ הִיםאֱל- elohim” which is the word for God mentioned only when He is performing an act of creation. The special thing about this word it’s plurality. Which many Trinitarians suggest is the first evidence of the trinity. Though ancient cultures had a habit of using a plural construct on a singular when it came to their terms for their god, believing it showed the god’s supremacy, I hold belief to the view that this plurality is the act of the Holy Spirit revealing a divine mystery which we still cannot understand. By verse two we are introduced to the term “ – וְרוּ ַח אֱלֹהִיםv’ruach Elohim” “and the Spirit of God.” The interesting things here is that it does not take the singular to show its
ownership to God, but takes the position of individual participation within the group titled “God”. The use of the word “of” here is crucial, defining the point of ownership by a group, or associated within a group. Just as one would say “the keeper of Reggae Boys” is not meaning that Reggae Boys is the keeper, but has a keeper in the midst of them. We find by verse three the indirect mentioning of the one who is acting. “ֶר אֱלֹהִים וַיֹּאמ
– vay amer Elohim” “and the God said…” The introduction of “the Word”, the acting agent of the Father permitted to create. So how do we know that it was Yeshua creating and not the Father by His own voice? Referring back to John 1:1-3
1. εν αρχη ην ο λογος και ο λογος ην προς τον θεον και θεος ην ο λογος 2. οὗτος ἦν ἐν ἀρχῇ πρὸς τὸν θεόν 3. πάντα δι' αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν ὃ γέγονεν
In the beginning was the “λογος –Word” and “λογος ην προς τον θεον – the word was with God” and “θεος ην ο λογος – God was the Word”. “οὗτος ἦν ἐν ἀρχῇ πρὸς τὸν θεόν – The same was in the beginning with God”. “πάντα δι' αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο – All things were made, (manifested) by Him,” What we see here is the Communication of the Father is Yeshua. Yeshua is Living Word of the Father. Therefore the moment the Father thought willed to create, Yeshua was in motion creating. Jesus is the voice, the will, the essence of the Father, who in the appropriate time, was made manifest in flesh to dwell among His creatures, to die for their iniquities.
In this investigation of the first three verses of the Torah we discover that in the term God we have three persons acting: The Father who is the source, permits and wills the concept and life of all things into existence. The Word, who is the first begotten of the Fathe4r from His first communication or reflection of His own thoughts. This Word would become the active power of manifestation, life, and communication of wisdom, knowledge and being. Lastly would be the Holy Spirit, introduces as the Spirit of God, whom would be the connecting agent between all living creatures and the Creator of them. Therefore the Holy Spirit testifies of Yeshua, Yeshua testifies of the Father, and the Father, whom we know is Love, is of a great mystery to Mankind. But where else do we find any direct or indirect reference of the Godhead in the Tanakh? The orthodox Jew would say there is no such record, where the Trinitarian Christian would say it is there. The first evidence given to any bible student to think to inquire of this issue is that Yeshua makes a reference of three individuals in his final commission to his disciples: “Make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.” Matt 28:19. If Yeshua is the Word, and the Word is God, and God is a constant, never changing, than there should be evidence of this teaching somewhere in the scriptures He would have been using with the people He taught. Could it be that there was a lack in spiritual discernment in the early believers which is cleared up as time passes? God slowly expresses more present truth for each generation to come. Are we privileged to understand something that may have been lost along the road of time? Though this is a great possibility, I must still consider Moses, a friend of God, teaching that there is only one God, with an unpronounceable name. So what support can we find in the Tanakh of the triune Godhead? Other than the opening verses of Genesis chapter one, our second appearance of the idea comes up by verse 26 of chapter one. “And God (Elohim) said let us make man in our own image.”; again in Gen 11:7 we see God
(now YHVH instead of Elohim) using the plural again saying “let us go down, and there confound their language”; and “Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?", Isa 6:8, showing God referring to Himself as a plural. Though we do not get a count of the plurality, we can identify more than one person being present. The first example direct example of the triune Godhead becomes apparent when Abraham meets with three strangers whom he worships. The text is introduced “ And the LORD appeared to him” Abraham lifts up his eyes and sees three men, they spend some time with them, and when they speak, they speak with revelation of the unknown and scriptures says it was the LORD (YHVH) who was speaking to Abraham. When they were ready to continue their journey toward Sodom one of the men stayed back continuing a dialogue with Abraham and verse 22 reads “And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD”. By the end of the chapter in verse 33 we find that the one who stayed and talked with Abraham was also considered the LORD. Genesis 18:1-33. *Interesting to note, by the time the two men reach Sodom, Moses calls them angels, who will end out delivering Lot and destroying Sodom and Gomorrah. Other distinguishing marks to show of the existence of a trinity and their relationship with each other scattered throughout the Tanakh. Each one of the Godhead has a significant role that they play with mankind, here are some references below. The father in Tanakh: 1. "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)
2. "He will cry to Me, 'Thou art my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.' (Psalms 89:26) *Note that Yeshua means our salvation, therefore reading as the rock of my Yeshua (Jesus), whom laid all His foundation on the will of the Father. 3. â€œFor 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) *Here we identify with the unity of the Father with His son, the only begotten of Him. The Son in Tanakh:
"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)
Holy Spirit in Tanakh:
1. And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,” (Exodus 31:3) 2. And the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard those tidings, and his anger was kindled greatly. (1 Samuel 11:6) 3. O thou that art named the house of Jacob, is the spirit of the LORD straitened? are these his doings? do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly? (Micah 2:7)
In addition we can find texts that show the Godhead relating to each other. 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. Isa 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. Isa 42:1; 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; and “ 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.” Isa 63:9-10;not to mention the trilogue of Psalms 2, inspired unto David. What we do find evident is that there is a Triune Godhead represented in the scriptures Yeshua used when teaching in the temple and when teaching His disciples. What we also discover is that though they are unified and equal, there was a slight subordination until a certain time had passed; when that time passed is a mystery to us. We are shown throughout the bible
that Yeshua’s source of power and authority came from His Father, and was given to him, almost like an inheritance. Messiah continually affirms that He would only do the will of the Father and that all He does is because of His Father. His life is to do nothing but glorify, testify, and reveal the character and love of the Father to all His beloved creatures. He seeks no Glory for Himself. We are also shown the relationship of the Holy Spirit and the Son, He is here to comfort us, for Yeshua would never leave us alone, John 14:16-18. In this world of Chaos the Spirit works on behalf of the Messiah, sharing the fruits of our Lord and Savior, the fruits of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. In sharing these beautiful fruits, the comforter will testify of Yeshua alone not of Himself, this is His ministry to us, John 15:26. This same Spirit is the breath we have received giving us permission to live, it is a piece of Him mixed with the dirt that animates us into a soul. It is the love of the Father to will His son to extend us life. It is the love of God that we can feel Him moving in us. As for the great mystery of the Father in relation to all this, I believe this is one thing no man, or any of His creations for that matter, may ever know. We know He is the source of all things. He is. The only thing He has revealed to us is His love and His Word: Yeshua Ha Messiah. All that we know is from the Son, reveal by the Spirit. But the Father is the greatest mystery of the entire existence of everything. He is, and nothing more can be said. Without Him, there would be no idea of even a concept let alone you or me. The Trinity, or more properly the “Godhead”, is biblical, and all three is equally God; God in three persons, yet one God. This is a concept far past the human understanding, yet we will continue to search it out. According to the scriptures there relationship between each other shows subordination, yet in our understanding of the realm of time, they have always been equal.
So rather than pulling out our hair trying to understand the things beyond us, let us continue to do the will of the Father, live by the name of the Son, as we are comforted by the Holy Ghost; an keep our faith till we can ask our creator all these mysterious questions.
Citations: "God." Dictionary.com. April 12, 2009. <http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/god> "God."merriam-webster.com. April 12, 2009. <http://www.merriamwebster.com/dictionary/god> Bible Reading for the Home. Washington D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Associations, 1963. "The Council of Nicaea, the Trinity" Time Line Index. April 12, 2009. <http://www.timelineindex.com/content/view/1212> "Arius and Arianism" Time Line Index. April 12, 2009. <http://www.timelineindex.com/content/view/1449> Morehead, Keith G. "Echad", Answering Christianity.com. April 12, 2009. <http://www.answering-christianity.com/echad.htm>