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Understanding the Trinity...

IS THE TRINITY TRUE?

 

IS THERE A MYSTERY?

 

The doctrine of the Holy Trinity has been consistently misunderstood, probably more than any other teaching of the Bible. The Trinity is a complex doctrine, and there is the aspect of mystery surrounding it. The early church confessed this fact in 1 Timothy 3:16. We might call this scripture an "early creed" of the church. It states,

"And by common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: God who was revealed in the flesh, was vindicated in the Spirit, Beheld by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, Taken up in glory." Yes, "great is the mystery of godliness".

This scripture is telling us that we cannot completely understand the infinite God with our finite minds. We will get into trouble if we try to make God "reasonable", or "easily understood". God is complex. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts as the prophet pointed out in Isaiah 55: 9. Nevertheless, God has made a revelation of Himself in the Bible, which we can accept or reject as we please.

Notice that immediately following the confession by the early church that "great is the mystery of godliness", the very next scripture continues,

"But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons".


ATTACKS ON THE TRINITY

 

The Trinity has become the main doctrine that all the cult groups attack. It is also the main doctrine that all the mainline, historic churches agree upon. We may all have our differences, Catholics and varying Protestant groups, but when it comes to the doctrine on God we all agree that the Bible teaches belief in One God revealed in three persons, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Nevertheless we would not want to believe in the Trinity if the Bible did not teach it, no matter what the beliefs of our various churches were.

It's interesting that the cult groups usually give their members a false definition of the Trinity. For example, the magazine salesmen knocking on your door with their propaganda from Brooklyn, New York, say that the church teaches that there are three gods in one. This is completely false.

Another group which sends around youngsters calling themselves "elders" profess belief in their particular definition of the Trinity which is that there are three gods in unity. This is not the Trinity teaching of mainstream Christianity. What then, is the true definition of the Trinity?


THE TRUE DEFINITION OF THE TRINITY

 

The late Dr. Walter Martin, probably the foremost expert on the cults in the world, and a renowned bible scholar, gives this true definition of the Trinity,

"Within the unity of the One God there are three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; and these three share the same Nature and attributes. In effect then, the three Persons are the One God."

Go back and read that again, so it will stay in your mind.


MEANING OF "ONE"

 

Some may say, "That's ridiculous, how can the three be one?" To answer this common objection, it should be kept in mind that the word "one" can denote COMPOSITE as well as solitary unity. A Hebrew word for one is "echad" and is used for Adam and Eve becoming "one flesh". (Gen. 2; 23-24 Ezra 2:64 records that "the whole assembly numbered 42,360." The words "whole assembly" in English are the single Hebrew word "echad". (One assembly, but many members.)

There are many variations of the Hebrew words for "one" but without fail Yahweh God chose, when describing Himself, the Hebrew word meaning "composite unity". He never said He was "yachid" one - the absolute singular. Jesus used the equivalent Greek word for composite unity when He spoke of marriage in Mark 10: 8. THE ONE GOD HAS THREE MANIFESTATIONS.


IS "TRINITY" IN THE BIBLE

 

The word "Trinity" means "Tri-Unity". While not used in Scripture as a Bible term, it conveys what the Bible teaches concerning God. The ONE GOD of the Bible is revealed to us in THREE persons as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost).


WHAT ABOUT OTHER GODS?

 

It's true that there is more than one God mentioned in scripture. There are many false gods mentioned, some of them by name. They are not, however, the true God by nature. Galatians 4:8 makes sure we understand that important difference when it says:

"However at that time when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which BY NATURE are no gods."

 

By nature, there is only one true eternal God, all the other gods are not gods by nature. They are created and false as opposed to the one true God who is eternal, without beginning or end. 1 Corinthians 8: 5,6 says:

"for even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ through whom are all things, and we exist through Him."

Notice the same statement for the Father and Son who are contrasted as the "ONE GOD", "ONE LORD" as opposed to all other so-called gods; our God, our Lord is one.


GOD IS ONE

 

In our limited understanding of the Nature of God, we will begin with this one truth, that is stated over and over in Scripture, and that is the fact that "God is one". Isaiah 43:10,11 says this:

"I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me. I, even I am the LORD, and there is no Savior besides Me."

Verse 13 continues "Even from eternity, I am He". Isaiah 45: 22 strongly states,

"Turn to Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other."

Did matters change when the New Testament was written, and the Lord Jesus Christ came into full prominence? Was provision made then for more than one true God? Not at all. Galatians 3:20 states, "God is only one" James 2:19 says,

"You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe and shudder."

The Scriptures could go on and on, but we believe the point is sufficiently made--there is only one God. Now, if the Father is called "God", He is that one God. If the Son, Jesus Christ is called "God", He is that one God. If the Holy Spirit is called "God", He is that one God.

Since there is only one God, we must start at that point, and with that central truth, then accept any further Biblical revelations of the Person of God. This we will now do.


GOD THE FATHER

 

There is seldom any argument that the Father is called God, so we will look at just one Scripture calling the Father "God". 2 Peter 1:17 contains the words "Father God".

"For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory."

So the Father is called God, and therefore must be the one God.


GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT

 

Next, we will look at the Holy Spirit and ask, "is He called God?" Let's turn to the account in Acts 5:1-11,

"But a certain man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife's full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, "Annanias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and keep back some of the price of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men, but to God."

Pausing here in the account, notice that Annanias lied to the Holy Spirit, and then it is stated, "You have not lied to men, but to God". So the term, "Holy Spirit" and "God" interchange, and this is proper, since God is revealed as the Holy Spirit.

I would point out also, that it is impossible to lie to an inanimate force. Some cult groups teach that the Holy Spirit is not God, nor even a person, but only an "active force". However, only personalities can be lied to. How foolish one would feel talking to a chair, or the wind! The Holy Spirit is not an "it" as the cult groups teach, but the Holy Spirit is a "He", a person, a part of the Godhead.

Notice Acts 13:2 which says,

"And while they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for Me, Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."

Notice that the Holy Spirit speaks, and when He does, He calls Himself, "Me" and "I", personal pronouns used by (logically) a Person! The Holy Spirit is God.

Some cult groups say that Satan is a real person, because in Scripture he speaks and has a personality. However, when the Holy Spirit speaks and reveals His personality, they promptly deny the Holy Spirit the same status they give to Satan, that of being a person with intelligence! Some cults would rather recognize Satan as an intelligent person, than the Holy Spirit whom they call "it".

The Holy Spirit is not only an "intelligent personality", He is God. In the Scriptures, only God is eternal. It should not surprise us therefore when we read Scriptures calling the Holy Spirit "eternal". Hebrews 9: 14 reads:

"how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the ETERNAL SPIRIT offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"

Notice that all three persons of the Godhead were involved in our salvation as shown by the Scripture just read, namely the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. John 4:24 says, "God is Spirit".


IN REVIEW

 

We restate at this point on the complex subject of the Trinity, the Bible truth that there is only one true God by nature, and that that one God has revealed Himself through the pages of Scripture as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

We proved already that the Father is called God, and also that the Holy Spirit is called God. We showed from Scripture that the Holy Spirit is "God", "He", "Me", "I", but never "it". Watch out for groups reducing the Deity of the Holy Spirit to an "active force", and denying that He is God.


INTERCHANGES OF "GOD" AND "HOLY SPIRIT"

 

Now we will consider more Scriptures proving that the Holy Spirit is indeed God. When the Bible interchanges terms exactly, we can be sure that God is teaching us that they are interchangeable. We will now commence to look at some Scriptures in the Old Testament referring to Yahweh God, and find that when they are applied and quoted in the New Testament, they are, in fact, attributed to the Holy Spirit. This is possible only if the Father, Yahweh God, and the Holy Spirit are the one God.


EXODUS AND HEBREWS

 

Let's consider Exodus 17:2,

"Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, "Give us water that we may drink." And Moses said to them, "Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test Yahweh (or, the Lord)?"

Notice that the people were clearly testing Yahweh God. When this account is referred to in Hebrews 3:7-9, we find that the people were testing the HOLY SPIRIT.

"Therefore just as the HOLY SPIRIT says, Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me, as in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your Fathers tried Me, by testing Me, and saw My works for forty years."

Indeed, the people were putting to the test the one God, revealed two ways in these Scriptures, as the Father and as the Holy Spirit.


JEREMIAH AND HEBREWS

 

The prophet Jeremiah records a promise of YAHWEH God in chapter 31, verse 33,

"But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD (or YAHWEH), "I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God and they shall be My people".

That promised new covenant is now a reality. The original uttering of that covenant promise was attributed to YAHWEH God, but let's now read Hebrews 10:15,

"And the HOLY SPIRIT also bears witness to us, for after saying, "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days says the Lord; I will put my laws upon their heart, and upon their mind I will write them".

Another revelation of the one God, through the Father and the Holy Spirit, who are the one God.


ISAIAH AND ACTS

 

Another prophet, Isaiah, records in chapter 6, verses 8-10,

"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! and He said, "Go and tell this people; Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand." Render the hearts of this people insensitive. Their ears dull, And their eyes dim. Lest they see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their hearts, and repent and be healed."

When application of the Scripture was made in New Testament times by the apostle Paul, we find that the HOLY SPIRIT is credited with the utterance, in place of the Father. Acts 28:25-27 records,

"And when they did not agree with one another, they began leaving after Paul had spoken one parting word, "the Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers saying,

"Go to this people and say, "You will keep on hearing but will not understand; and you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive; for the heart of this people has become dull, and with their ears they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes; lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and turn again, and I should heal them."

Yes, the terms "God" and "Holy Spirit" interchange in Scripture. The Holy Spirit Himself is called "God" and He is that one true God.

So far, we have shown that both the Father Yahweh, and the Holy Spirit are called "God". Now we will consider Jesus Christ. Is He also called "God" in Scripture?


OUR GOD AND SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST

 

Yes, in Scripture, Jesus is called "God", but is also spoken of as being "with God", or the "Son of God". In our natural thinking, we cannot understand the "mystery" of Jesus Christ.

For example, John 1:1 says,

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

Right away, we are all thinking--how can Jesus be with God and yet be God? We cannot completely comprehend the infinite God with our finite minds. No wonder the whole early church exclaimed in common confession "great is the mystery of godliness" in 1 Timothy 3:16. We must either accept God's revelation of Himself to us, or we end up with unsatisfactory, man-made doctrines.

Cult and occult bibles usually read in John 1:1 that the Word was "a god", but this is a distortion of God's word. Just because there is a "mystrey" surrounding the God- head-head, this doesn't mean we cannot have correct knowledge concerning God, and in particular, Jesus Christ. Colossians 2:2 tells us to,

"...attain to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ Himself."

True knowledge is possible and desirable.


A TRUE KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST

 

Is Jesus Christ called "God" in Scripture? The answer is a resounding "YES!" from all reliable Bible translations. The Angel announcing Jesus' birth said,

"Behold the Virgin shall be with Child, and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name "Immanuel", which translated means, "God with us" (Matthew 1:23).

The disciples believed Jesus to be God. Thomas exclaimed to the risen Christ, "My Lord and my God" (John 20:28,29). Jesus blessed him for saying this. The Apostle Paul admonished the elders in Acts 20:28 "to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood," proving that Jesus was indeed, God Incarnate.


GOD THE SON

 

We now call the Father, Yahweh God, as a witness to His Son's identity. The Father says in Hebrews 1:8,

"But of the Son He says, "Thy Throne, O God, is forever and ever."

If the Father calls the Son "God" (Ho Theos, "THE GOD " in Greek.) I choose to believe it. Jesus Christ is called the "true God" in 1 John 5:20, so we won't make the mistake of believing He is some kind of "extra god". Let's consider that Scripture,

"And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding, in order that we might know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life."

So far, we have looked at Scriptures calling Jesus, "God", and "the true God", and now we will move on to one that calls Him the "only God". 1 Timothy 1:16.17 says of Jesus Christ,

"And yet for this reason I found mercy, in order that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen."

Jesus Christ is eternal, with no beginning and no end. He is God, the true God, the only God.

This is the plain teaching of the Scriptures, and anyone teaching that He is anything less, like the first creation of God or that He's some kind of extra god, or maybe an archangel named Michael, that false teacher is wresting the Scriptures to his own destruction, and I speak out strongly against this kind of heresy.


ALMIGHTY GOD

 

Jesus Christ is in fact called, "Almighty God" in the book of Revelation. Let's read Revelation 1:8,

"I am the Apha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty".

Who's coming? The Almighty!

Can we make further identification of the Alpha and Omega? Yes, for in Revelation, chapter 22 the Speaker keeps promising "I am coming quickly". In verse 13 He identifies Himself with the words,

"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.." In verse 16, He is more specific, saying, " I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches." Verse 20 concludes, "He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming quickly". Amen. Come, Lord Jesus."

Revelation chapter 1, beginning in verse 13, gives a vision of a "son of man", which incidentally is a title of Jesus Christ. In verse 17 and 18, we read these words,

"I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades."

So the "Alpha and Omega" is the First and the Last.

This Son of Man, this Jesus, is the only one who died and rose again and conquered death. He gives Himself the Revelation titles, "Alpha and Omega", "the First and the Last", and, of course, "Almighty God".

On the following pages are two charts of scriptures for you to check out. Make copies of these to keep in your Bible. Have them available when you encounter any one who has a problem with understanding the Trinity.




IN CONCLUSION

 

In conclusion on the teaching of the Trinity, we have proven beyond doubt from Scripture, that there is only one true God by nature. This one, true God has revealed Himself in three ways, as the Father Yahweh, and the Son Jesus Christ, and as the Holy Spirit. This Trinity teaching was not invented centuries after the death of Christ as the cults teach at the Nicene Council, but is the true revelation of God to us in Scripture.

The council at Nicene convened to drum out of the church the heresy that Jesus Christ was only a creature and an archangel to boot. Various door-knocking cults have attempted to reintroduce the Arian heresy to gullible Christians. Combat them with the word of God, Christians, and learn to defend your faith. We suggest that you obtain copies of two further publications from us, namely the booklets,

"Could Jesus be "a god" ?", and "Jehovah's Witnesses and the Real Jesus".

These booklets will equip you to answer the cults when they attempt to misuse Scriptures on the humanity of Jesus and misapply them to His Deity.

Please send $ 2.00 for both booklets postage included. An order form listing all our other literature and cassettes will be included with all orders.


Several years ago the WT Society published a booklet "Should you Believe in the Trinity? In it they quote a number of outside sources to back up their peculiar teachings. As usual they alter "truth" to suit their own ends. A comparison of what they said and what the books they are quoting really said is very revealing. To see the deception for your self visit this Web page.

Encyclopaedia of Anti-Trinitarian Deceptive quoting Jehovah's Witnesses, Christadelphians, United Pentecostals (UPCI) and Unitarians will misquote sources to "prove" trinity is of pagan origin and not a Bible teaching.

http://www.bible.ca/trinity/trinity-jw-deceptions.htm#title

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