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Fourth in the series of the Trinity in the Old Testament

In Apologetics, Chrisitian, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Prayer, Satan, Saved, Sin, Trinity on August 30, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Fourth in the series of the Trinity in the Old Testament

The dogma of the Trinity and of the divine and human nature of Jesus is so interwoven that proving the existence of Jesus and of the Trinity in the Old Testament is more or less the same.

(Romans 1:1-4 AMP)  FROM PAUL, a bond servant of Jesus Christ (the Messiah) called to be an apostle, (a special messenger) set apart to [preach] the Gospel (good news) of and from God,

Which He promised in advance [long ago] through His prophets in the sacred Scriptures–

[The Gospel] regarding His Son, Who as to the flesh (His human nature) was descended from David, And [as to His divine nature] according to the Spirit of holiness was openly designated the Son of God in power [in a striking, triumphant and miraculous manner] by His resurrection from the dead, even Jesus Christ our Lord (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

Before moving to more examples of the Trinity in the Old Testament the question of the Jews reaction to Jesus reveals their understanding of Old Testament scripture and their reaction to the claims of Christ. Does Jesus say that they still believe in the God of the Old Testament? In their reactions and Jesus response rejecting Jesus meant rejecting God. The gospel of John gives two examples of Jesus and their response to His claim of son ship and deity. In both instances they hated Him and tried to kill him.

The first reference is: John 8:37-59 The Jews state their monotheism especially in v. 41: “we have one Father, God”. Jesus’ answer follows immediately: “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God. I did not come of Myself, instead He send Me” (v. 42). In vv. 54-55 Jesus says: “It is My Father that honours Me, of whom you say that He is your God. Yet you have not known Him … but I know Him”. He claims that Abraham rejoiced about the days of Jesus and that He was, before Abraham ever lived (vv. 56-58). Against the Jewish “Abraham is our father” (v. 39) Jesus claims: “you are of your father, the devil” (v. 44).

In John 5:17-47 Jesus proclaims His divine Sonship. The Jews understood that Jesus made himself “equal with God” (v. 18). Within His long statement about the relationship between Father and Son Jesus says: “He who does not honour the Son, does not honour the Father who sent Him” (v. 23). Later He states: “And you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe” (v. 38). Jesus immediately connects this with their understanding of the Old Testament: “You search the Scripture, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they that testify of Me” (v. 39). And finally He brings the whole question down to Moses, the lawgiver: “Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you: Moses, in whom you put your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me” (v. 45-46).IN Luke 24:43-49 he states similarly that the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms speak about him.[1]

Just compare the opposite example. People like Simeon, Hannah, John the Baptist or His disciples were Jews believing in the Yahweh of the Old Testament. Proof? They accepted Jesus as Messiah as soon as they met him for the first time, some of them even when he was still a baby.The New Testament frequently states that the Old Testament taught and believed in the second person of the Trinity. John says in John 12:41 that Isaiah saw Jesus on the throne (Isaiah 6) and Paul believed that Jesus was with Israel in the desert (1 Corinthians 4:10), just to name some examples.

Is the real Jesus present in the Old Testament?

Did Jesus actually act in the Old Testament?

Was He part of what the believing Jews believed?

Was He promised to act for the first time in history or was He acting in history already and only promised as the Messiah and God coming in the flesh?

Perhaps one reason is that the personal name of the incarnate God, ‘Jesus’, is not used in the Old Testament, although the Hebrew equivalent ‘Yeshua’, meaning ‘salvation’, is very often used as a personal name for the Messiah, the salvation of the world.

Compare

Genesis 49:18, Psalms 9:14, 91:14-16, Isaiah 12:2-3, Isaiah 62:11, Habakkuk 3:13

Matthew 1:21, Luke 2:29-30

The New Testament reveals that no one ever saw or heard from the Father. The verses listed below in the table below show that Jesus is the only revelation of God.

Matthew 11:27 John 1:18, 5:37, 6:46 1Timothy 6:16 1John 4:12

Is this only true for the New Testament? Or take the question the other way round: If no man, including Old Testament men ever saw or heard God, who else did the Old Testament saints see and hear? From the New Testament the only answer can be that the revelation came through the Holy Spirit in Jesus Christ. Now we understand, why John says that Isaiah saw Jesus on the throne. Isaiah saw “the glory of God”, one of the names of Jesus in the Old Testament.

(John 1:14 HCSB)  The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

The Son and Spirit have been revealed in the Old Testament, then it follows the Father is reveled as well.

Did the Father act in the Old Testament?

Who is sending them both?

Who are they speaking with if not the Father?

The Shema Deuteronomy 6:4 has been addressed several times, but this is probably the best application I have seen:

The Old Testament confession

……But we only want to take a deeper look at the confession of Israel in Deuteronomy 6:4 : “Hear Israel, the Lord our God is one God”. Some translations say “is God alone”. But the word “one” does not have this meaning[2]. (The word for “alone” is ‘yachid’) This confession is not mainly directed against having several gods. The word ‘echad‘ “is a compound unity noun – that is to say, a noun which demonstrates oneness or unity, but at the same time contains several entities[3] (see Geneses 1:5, 2:24, Numbers 13:23 Ezra 2:64, Jeremiah 32:38-39). In German we can translate “ist ein einiger Gott” (is a God being one). I believe that this confession is a confession against monistic monotheism! God is one consisting of several. Was this confession necessary? Was there ever a danger that Israel thought that Yahweh was two Gods? Yes. If you see them worshipping the Angel of Yahweh, the commander of Gods army, and listening to the voice out of the cloud of glory etc., it was necessary to reaffirm that this was not the result of polytheism, but of triunity.[4]

A major distinction between Jews, Muslims and others that see God as a Unitarian God as one who existed before creation, he only can love creation, they only can speak about how God deals with creation. Therefore they only know actions of God with no proof that God cannot deal otherwise. From a Trinitarian Christian perspective we not only know what He does but what He is from eternity to eternity.  For example the Muslim asks Allah daily that he may accept Mohammed. How do we explain that God never changes without the Trinity? In the Trinity, obedience exists without any force: love and law are identical. Our ability to communicate, love, respect each other and working to a goal outside of ourselves come from the Trinity. But the Trinity existed, before the world was created. So loving, talking, helping, listening and being obedient exist eternally. God does not need men to exist or to be good. In a monad God there can be only power and will no love is available, for an extreme example: in Islam power and will are being exercised daily through the violence they execute. The German word ‘Dreieinigkeit’ (three-oneness, triunity) shows very well that Trinity has two enemies: the ‘one’ stands against polytheism, the ‘three’ against monistic monotheism. Polytheism will vitiate biblical faith as much as non-trinitarian monotheism.

Why such confusion about the Triunity of God? If this same God, can create the world ex-nihilo, create man, send His son in the flesh who died and rose again; why is the Trinity so hard for some to accept? The Trinity is the only unique distinction between Christianity and every other belief system in the world. The truth of the Trinity is seen in its opponent’s ferocious attack. Where else do Muslims, Mormons, Sikhs, Hindu’s, Jehovah Witnesses and atheists share information and join in attack using the same arguments? If the Trinity was not Biblical why does the enemy spend so much of his resources attacking it?  Finally in the end days Satan creating false miracles, his presence as an angel of light is revealed and last but by no means unimportant the unholy Trinity is thrust upon the final scene in God’s revelation of the end times. Finally millions if not billions have trusted in the Triune nature of God for salvation, did they all perish with a false belief? Has God allowed this doctrine to carry on through the disciples, the early church fathers and the reformation right into the modern church without correcting it? Salvation is a work of God..initiated by the Father, accomplished by the Son, applied by the Spirit.

The Son is glorified by the Spirit; the Father is glorified by the Son; again the Son has His glory from the Father; and the Only-begotten thus becomes the glory of the Spirit. IN like manner faith completes the circle, and glorifies the Son by means of the Spirit, and the Father by means of the Son. Worship of any of the three is worship of all three and thus worship of the one.[5]


[1] From Trinity in the Old Testament and Dialogue with Jews and Muslims by Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher

[2] See e.g. the discussion in Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenbergs Christology of the Old Testament (newly reprinted)

[3] Stanley Rosenthal, “The Tri-Unity of God in the Old Testament”, The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Collingswood, USA, 1978, p. 4-5 (especially the examples 5-6)

[4] From Trinity in the Old Testament and Dialogue with Jews and Muslims by Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher

[5] “Perichoresis in the Greek Father” StVlad ThQ 35 (1991) :53-65

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  1. […] saw, to the second person of the Trinity.” Another states “John says in John 12:41 that Isaiah saw Jesus on the throne (Isaiah 6)”. Similarly, one claims: “The Apostle John states that the glory seen by […]

  2. […] saw, to the second person of the Trinity.” Another states “John says in John 12:41 that Isaiah saw Jesus on the throne (Isaiah 6)”. Similarly, one claims: “The Apostle John states that the glory seen by […]

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