Christian Prayer Cell

SALVATION THE GIFT OF GOD

രക്ഷ-ദൈവത്തിൻറെ ദാനം

टाइटैनिक

യഥാർത്ഥ ദ്വിജൻ

രക്ഷയും സർട്ടിഫിക്കറ്റും

അദ്‌ഭുത പ്രകാശത്തിലേക്ക്

മഹാഭാഗ്യം I

മഹാഭാഗ്യം II

ഭൂരിപക്ഷവും ന്യുനപക്ഷവും

പത്രോസിന്റെ സിംഹാസനം

ORNAMENTS TJM

TRIUNE GOD

QUESTIONS PROVING TRINITY

പരിശുദ്ധാത്മ സ്നാനവും കൃപാവരങ്ങളും

ചന്ദ്രനിലെ 'മുയൽ'

അസത്യ സംമാർജിനി

യുക്തിവാദം ഒരു പരിശോധന

മൂന്ന് അത്യാപത്തുകൾ

സുരക്ഷിത ഡ്രൈവിങ്‌സ്

   
 

 
 
 
 
 
TRIUNE GOD

TRIUNE GOD




By




T. John Mathew




Bible Study Centre

Mannuthy. P. O

Thrissur--680651

Kerala; INDIA




[Rights reserved by the Author]



CONTENTS



• PREFACE


• CHAPTER 1. GOD OF THE BIBLE 


• Explanation of Trinity


• ‘Unreasonableness’ of Trinity


• Limitations of Human Comprehension


• One God, Three Persons


• Appearance of God in Human Form




• CHAPTER 2. REVELATION IN THE NEW 

TESTAMENT

• The Functioning of Trinity

• God the Son 


• The Word 


• “Both me and my Father”


• “the Father in me”


• “Christ…God blessed for ever”


• “all the fullness of the Godhead”


• “Thy throne, O God, is for ever”


• “the great God…Jesus Christ”


• The Alpha and the Omega


• The Creator of the Universe


• “the Amen…the beginning of the creation of God”


• The true God and Eternal Life


• The Lord of Sabbath


• Jesus Christ [Jehovah] in the Old Testament


• The Son of God


• “Father Greater than I”


• The only-begotten Son of God


• “This day have I begotten thee”


• The Firstborn


• Jesus’ Name Pentecostalism



• CHAPTER 3. GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT


• Personhood of the Holy Spirit


• Deity of the Holy Spirit


• Divine Attributes in the three Persons


• The word ‘Trinity’



• CHAPTER 4. MISTRANSLATIONS AND

MISINTERPRETATIONS 

• Mistranslations


• Misinterpretations

• The Finite and the Infinite


• ‘Wisdom’ in Prov: ch: 8


• ‘ Today’ in Luke 23: 43


• Satan’s temptation of Jesus Christ


• “Great Teacher”


• “Knoweth no one”


• “Let us make man in our image”


• “the beginning of the creation of God”


• “This day…begotten thee”


• “the firstborn of all creation”


• “…the head of Christ is God”


• Unacceptability of the NWT


• CHAPTER 5. CONSEQUENCES OF THE REJECTION OF TRINITY 


• Rejection of Immortality


• Distortion of Resurrection


• Jesus Christ—an Incarnation of Michael?


• Disrespect to the Lord’s Supper


• The Number 144000


• Strange Beliefs and False Predictions


• Failure to Understand Truth


• CHAPTER 6. QUESTIONS


 


PREFACE


The Bible is the only book in the world, which tells us that there is only one God and that this one God is: God the Father, God the Son And God the Holy Spirit. This concept has given rise to many controversies; some have argued that this is an unreasonable idea, which originated as result of misunderstanding and misinterpreting the Word of God. Interpretations aimed at proving that Jesus Christ is not God and that the Holy Spirit is not a person, but is just the active force of God have appeared since the third century. However, in the 20th century a great effort was made by some people to support these ‘interpretations’ by a ‘translation’ known as the “New World Translation.” The fourth chapter of this book cites certain typical examples of these interpretations and translations with a view to enabling the readers to evaluate their ‘reliability.’ It is a fact that those who make an in-depth study of the Bible find it impossible to support either this translation or the interpretations that necessitated it.

The purpose of this book is to induce students of the Bible to study the Word of God carefully and truthfully and come to their own conclusions. It is true that this is so designed as to prove that the concept of Trinity is perfectly biblical. Several arguments and interpretations questioning the validity of Trinity are examined here and readers are provided with sufficient analytical data to find out what is right and what is wrong. As the author, I believe that the arguments put forward in support of Trinity are perfectly reasonable and that all the major arguments challenging the validity of Trinity are proved to be erroneous. It is acknowledged with gratitude that Dr. C. J. Joseph, Pattikkad, Trichur has helped me with the necessary information about the correct meanings of the Hebrew and Greek words referred to in this book.

It is hoped that this book will clear the doubts of those who find it difficult to come to a definite conclusion with regard to the concept of Trinity. They are likely to come across answers to unanswered questions and questions which cannot be answered by those who mistranslate and misinterpret the Word of God. I acknowledge with deep gratitude that it was the great interest my late parents [Mrs. Rachel John & Mr. T. K. John, Thyparampil, Narakathani, Ezhumattoor, Tiruvalla] showed in biblical scholarship that led me to develop the habit of studying scriptural passages in depth, which I hope, will be recognized as the most important characteristic of this book. The books they collected and handed over to me have made an invaluable contribution to the preparation of the study materials and books of the Bible Study Centre, Mannuty. I pray that the Omnipotent, Omnipresent and Omniscient God of Truth may enlighten the hearts of all who love truth and prove the ideas discussed here a blessing to them. I praise the Lord for enabling me to prepare this book, thus serve the cause of truth and glorify the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

 

Trichur

T. John Mathew.


   

5th January 2006  

 


CHAPTER 1


GOD OF THE BIBLE

The first sentence of the first book of the Bible is, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” This sentence gives everyone who reads this Book from the beginning, an idea of its scope, which extends into the infinities of Time and Space—the eternity of the past and the boundless beyond that encompasses the universe. The first words, “In the beginning God” takes the reader to the beginning of ‘beginningless’ Time and to what God Who transcends both Time and Space has done. There is no other book in the world, the scope of which is so immense and so relevant to man. That is why it is said that the Bible is the Book of books. It is humanly impossible to compose a book, the scope of which is so vast and so beyond our capacity for comprehension; no man has ever attempted to write a book of this sort because human imagination is incapable of handling facts and ideas of the sort described in this book. As we have noted, the first sentence of this book suggests that it is the revelation of God and not something man has discovered. In this Book of 66 books containing 929 chapters and 31173 verses, we come across the expression, “Thus saith Jehovah” or its equivalent, more than 2000 times. The claim that God is the true author of this book is proved by the accurate fulfillment of the prophecies it contains, the accuracy of scientific truths it refers to incidentally and above all, the style of its narration and the love of truth and justice revealed in its contents.

The fact of divine authorship of the Bible means that we human beings have no right to tamper with either its text or ideas. It is our duty to accept them as they are. Even if it seems to us that a certain idea in this book is wrong scientifically or historically what we should consider is that that is the truth in spite of it being beyond human comprehension; because it is stated by the God of Truth.

It is in the light of these facts and principles that we should try to understand the statements and doctrines in the Bible. What we find in it is God’s self-revelation to which nothing can be added. So Theology, unlike the other branches of human knowledge is the proper understanding of nothing but and nothing more than what God has revealed to us through His Word. And we have to consider every idea in this Book sacred in the sense that we have no right to modify it in any manner by our interpretations. Interpretations should be made with a view to magnifying what is there in the Scripture, not with a view to inserting our ideas into it or deleting from it those ideas, which we do not like or we do not understand. Bearing in mind these guiding principles of studying the Bible let us examine the concept of Trinity and find out whether it is in accordance with the teachings and ideas in the Old and New Testaments. 

According to those who believe in Trinity the Bible makes it clear that there is only one God, that Christ is God and that the Holy Spirit also is God. The idea that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit [see Matt: 28:19—20] together constitute one God existing as three distinct Persons is referred to by the term Trinity or Triune God. [All the verses quoted in this book are taken from the Standard Edition of the Holy


Bible Newly Edited by the American Revision Committee in A. D. 1901 and Printed and Distributed by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Inc. Brooklyn 1, N. Y., U. S. A., which has been publishing the literature of Jehovah’s Witnesses. It may be noted that Jehovah’s witnesses cannot question the authenticity of this translation to which they had 

no objections when they printed and distributed it. The reason for using this translation in this book in preference to their New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures is explained in chapter 4].


Explanation of Trinity


The Bible does not explain how three different persons can be one and the same. We do not find any perfectly suitable example in our material world to explain this idea. The fact that the Bible contains this ‘unreasonable idea’ is proof that it was not human wisdom that inspired the prophets and apostles to write this Book. What the Bible presents to us is not a god with three heads; if it were so, it would just be a foolish idea borrowed from some mythology. What the Bible presents to us is the one and only God Who exists as three Persons the essence of each of Whom is the same. This is a unique idea found only in the Bible. An example, which may to a certain extent explain this concept, is this: If we take water in three different glasses of different colours and shapes, we will see that they are different in respect of appearance and shape, but are the same with regard to their content. Another example, which also may help us to understand this truth is the same source of electricity that illumines three different bulbs of different colours; these bulbs are different from one another with regard to their appearance and properties; but with regard to what illumines them, they are the same. To the question how three persons can be one, the answer can be given by the example of three interlocking rings like those representing the five continents on the Olympic Flag; each of these is a perfect ring in itself; but it passes through the others and lets the others pass through it, causing each one to be inside the other two and the other two inside each one; thus the three rings constitute one entity; but at the same time they are separate rings and are different from each other. Similarly we may say that the omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent Universal Spirit [God] Who ‘fills heaven and earth’ [Jere: 23:24] exists as three different Persons—God the Father [invisible Person Who is in heaven], God the Son [visible Person Who came into the world to redeem mankind from sin], and God the Holy Spirit [the invisible Person Who now dwells in the hearts of believers and strengthens them]; these three Persons are one and the same in essence, but are different with regard to personhood and functions.


‘Unreasonableness’ of Trinity


There are many who think that this concept of Trinity is untrue because it is quite ‘unreasonable.’ The followers of Islam find it very difficult to think that one God exists as three Persons; their question is, “How can one be three and three be one?” It is possible to give them satisfactory explanation with the help of their own sacred book, the holy Koran, in which we read, “And when We gave unto Moses the Scripture and the Criterion {of right and wrong}, that ye might be led aright.” [Surah 2: 53] and “ Lo! We did reveal the Torah [Old Testament of the Bible], wherein is guidance and a light, by which the Prophets who surrendered [untoAllah] judged the Jews, and the rabbis and the priests [judged] by such of Allah’s Scripture as they were bidden to observe, and thereunto were they witnesses.” [Surah 5: 44]. Thus the holy Koran accepts the authority of the Old Testament as the inspired Word of God and therefore the followers of Islam are bound to accept the revelations about God in it. And we are going to see that according to the Old Testament there is only one God and this one God exists as three Persons. But before examining the relevant passages in the Old Testament it is desirable to determine whether it is the Word of God or human reason that we should accept as our guide to truth. If we find that the human faculty of reason is not as good a guide as the Word of God in our search for truth, we should be reasonable enough to accept the statements in the Word of God as true instead of modifying them with interpretations that seem to be more reasonable than divine revelations.


Limitations of human comprehension


We ought to bear in mind that the limitations of our faculty of reasoning have made it very difficult in the past, to comprehend certain realities as they are: Though Copernicus, and later Galileo pointed out that the Ptolemaic theory of the universe was wrong and the earth is actually revolving round the sun, instead of the sun revolving round it, the people of their age considered this idea most unreasonable; as a result, Galileo was persecuted for uttering this incomprehensible truth, which was considered blasphemous nonsense. But as time passed, the incomprehensible truth the scientists uttered, became comprehensible. Another truth, which remained incomprehensible until the age of Galileo is that, the earth is hanging in empty space; it was recorded in the Bible probably before B. C. 1500, “He stretcheth out the north over empty space, And hangeth the earth upon nothing”[Job 26:7]. The idea that the earth remains hung in empty space was extremely incomprehensible to the ancients. So no one dared even to think of the meaning of this verse. All ‘intelligent’ men believed that if an object was suspended in empty space, it would surely ‘fall down.’ And different theories were formulated with a view to explaining how the stars are prevented from ‘falling down’ from the sky: It was explained by the ancient Greeks that the Titan Atlas, son of Iapetus and Clymene, was holding up the pillars of the huge sphere of the sky with the stars stuck on its inner surface, and thus preventing the heavenly bodies from falling down; in ancient India it was explained that Ananthan, the king of serpents, was supporting the earth upon its thousand heads and thus preventing our globe from falling down. People found these explanations quite ‘reasonable’ and ‘convincing’. For thousands of years, until Galileo invented the telescope, these were considered ‘unquestionable truths’, because people could 

comprehend them easily. But today we know that the ‘incomprehensible’ Biblical idea of the earth hanging in empty space is the one that is true and that this idea is true about all heavenly bodies, while the ‘comprehensible’ ideas, millions believed in, for millenniums, are nothing but foolishness. This historical fact proves that it is quite reasonable to believe the ‘unreasonable truths’ of the Bible and it is really unreasonable to accept seemingly comprehensible ideas in preference to the revelations of the Word of God. We can legitimately expect that the incomprehensible truths in the Bible will become fully comprehensible to us one day, when we stand before God.


One God, Three Persons


The Bible tells us that there is only one God. We read, “Hear, O Israel, Jehovah our God is one Jehovah”[Deut: 6: 4]; “I am Jehovah, and there is none else; besides me there is no God”[Isaiah. 45: 5]; “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, 

be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”[1.Timothy.1:17]; “Thou believest that God is one, thou doest well.”[James 2: 19]

We have to note that in the very first sentence of the Bible this one and only God of the Holy Book reveals Himself as One Who is more than one Person. We read, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” [Genesis.1: 1]. In this sentence, the Hebrew word ‘Elohim’ translated ‘God’ in English is a common plural noun [Singular: ‘El’ or ‘Eloh’; Dual plural: ‘Elohayim’] indicating grammatically that it refers to three or more persons. But the verb translated ‘created’ is singular, indicating that its subject ‘Elohim’ is singular; but the fact is that it is plural. Thus in the first sentence of the Holy Bible there is something that looks like a ‘grammatical error’ when we view it in the context of English grammar. The real reason for this apparent error is that the one God of the Bible has the unique characteristic of being more than one Person and yet remaining only one in essence.

If it is argued that the plural ‘Elohim’ is used in order to convey the idea of respect, that argument will be valid only if we find that this practice is followed wherever this Hebrew word for ‘God’ is used. But we see that this is not done. When Jesus on the Cross cried to God the Father, the word He used was ‘Eli’ [Elohi] the singular of ‘Elohim’ in Aramaic, meaning ‘my God’ [Matt:27:46; Mark 15:34]. The writer of Genesis also could have used this noun in the singular as Jesus did. But we find that he chose to use the noun in the plural and the verb in the singular. There must be sufficient reason for this writer to use a uniplural noun to speak about God in the first sentence of this divinely inspired book. The subsequent writings in the Old Testament and the revelations in the New Testament explain what was the need of this uniplural noun in the first sentence of the Holy Book.

In Gen: 1: 26 we read, “And God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness …”In this sentence, the words ‘us’ and ‘our’ indicate that the God they refer to, is One Who is more than one Person; otherwise ‘me’ and ‘my’ would be used. It has been argued that God said these words to someone whom He had created before starting the creation of the universe. Let us assume that this argument is right. Then we have to say that since God said to His first creation “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, it was in their images and after their likenesses that God and His first creation made man. And this should be the statement in the verse that follows; but Gen: 1: 27 is: 

“And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him;” This means, if our assumption is right, God after creating man with the help of His first creation in the images and likenesses of both of them, ‘lied’ that it was only in His own likeness and image that man was made. Not only that, hiding the role of His first creation in the task of creating man, and grabbing for Himself all the credit for this great accomplishment, God said it was He {not He and His first creation} who made man. Thus God refused to give any recognition to His ‘first creation’s contribution’ to the creation of man. This leads us to the conclusion that God is ‘unjust and untruthful.’ After receiving ‘invaluable help’ from His first creation in making man, and after making man in the image and likeness of this first creation also, this God ‘claimed’ man was made in His image and after His likeness only! Isn’t this a very ‘ignoble behaviour’on the part of God? Is he really ‘Almighty’? If He were, would He need the help of His first creation to perform the task of creating man? It is to these conclusions and questions that we are driven by the assumption we have made. No sensible person can agree with them; then how can we say that the assumption leading to them is right? We cannot but say that it is absolutely unreasonable to argue that it was to some already created being that God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:” If there were an iota of truth in this idea, Gen: 1:1 should be, “In the beginning God created the one who was to help Him in His creative work and then, with his help created the heavens and the earth.” Since this is not what we read in the Word of God, there is no room for imagining that God sought the help of some already created being in the work of creating man. We ought to be truthful enough to understand that it was to Himself that God said the words, “Let us make man in our image” and accordingly He created man in His own image. Since God said ‘us’ referring to Himself, it is evident that this one God is more than one Person. 

The verse, “And Jehovah God said, ‘Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil”[Gen: 3: 22] makes it abundantly clear that Jehovah God is a God in Whom there is more than one Person, because it is impossible to say “one of us” if “us” does not mean more than one. [If it is argued that God said these words to a certain creation of His, that argument cannot be considered reasonable because it is not mentioned to which created being God said these words. If there had been a created being to whom God had spoken these words, the name of that being would have been mentioned here, as in the Word of God it is always the practice to state who speaks, who is spoken to and what is spoken. Nowhere in the account of creation, or anywhere in the whole Bible do we come across the creation of a being with which God discusses his dealings with humanity. So it would be totally baseless to say that it might be to some created being in heaven that God said these words].

“Come, let us go down, and there confound their language” [Gen: 11: 7] is an exhortation that somebody makes to somebody else; it cannot be made where there is only one person. Answers to the questions, “Who said, ‘Come’? and ‘To whom was it said’? make it clear that there was one or more to say ‘Come’ and there was one or more to hear ‘Come.’ Thus the presence of more than one Person is unquestionably evident here. There is nothing in this verse, which suggests that God said these words to someone created by Him; the One or Ones Who hears these words do have the status and abilities of God; otherwise They would not be involved jointly in the work mentioned here. From

the context of this verse [Jehovah said these words when He saw men building the City and Tower of Babel and thereby preventing the scattering of population] it is clear that God made this exhortation to Himself, indicating that He is not a single Person. Since ‘Elohim’ is the common plural and not the dual plural, the number of persons it refers to cannot be less than three. Thus we come to the conclusion that there are at least three Persons in the one God revealed in the opening chapters of the book of Genesis.


The opponents of Trinity argue that the word ‘Elohim’ is used in the Old Testament for speaking about false gods and even of men and therefore it is not reasonable to consider the grammatical structure of a sentence in which this word is used, as a proof of Trinity. This argument raises the question: Is it the real Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent and only God or some false god who is spoken of in Gen: 1: 1? If the answer of the opponents of Trinity is that it is some false god like Baal who is spoken of in Gen: 1: 1 that answer amounts to saying that the Bible is not the Word of God and that there is no reference in this book to the true God Who is the creator of the universe. If the true Almighty God is someone other than the creator of the universe who is spoken of in Gen: 1: 1, that ‘God’ is nowhere spoken of in the Bible and we have to conclude it is only false gods who are spoken of in this book. Not even those who disbelieve the Bible will come to this conclusion. Everyone admits that it is the true God of the Bible Who is spoken of in Gen: 1: 1. The argument in support of Trinity based on the grammatical structure of Gen: 1: 1 cannot be disputed as long as this fact is admitted.

However, it is desirable to find out what has prompted the opponents of Trinity to argue that it is unreasonable to put forward an argument in support of Trinity on the basis of the grammatical structure of Gen: 1: 1. Those who raise this objection ignore the fact that most words in any language have not only their normal meanings but also their particular meanings in particular contexts: For example we know what is the normal meaning of the word ‘devil’; but in the sentence, “I know him; he is a devil” the context shows that it is not a real devil but a human being who is spoken of. Similarly we know what the word ‘beast’ means; and we also know that it is not in this normal sense, but in the sense of ‘Antichrist, the man of sin’ that this word is used in Revelation 19: 19—20. Words convey their normal sense when they are used without reference to particular contexts; whenever they are used in particular contexts, they convey particular meanings. Particular contexts and figures of speech can ascribe particular meanings to most words; but this does not in any manner affect the normal meanings of words: For example, the normal meanings of ‘heart’ and ‘stone’ do not undergo any change as a result of our using them in a particular context and saying, “He has a heart of stone.” It is a linguistic fact that whenever the normal sense of a word is modified by a particular context or a figure of speech, both the normal sense of the word and the modification effected are easily noticed and understood. It is in accordance with this linguistic fact that we find Elijah referring to the false god ‘Baal’ by the word ‘Elohim.’ We read in 1. Kings 18: 27, “And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud; for he is a god [Elohim]; either he is musing, or he is gone aside, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth and must be awaked.” The context makes it evident that it is in an ironical sense that Elijah refers to Baal by the word ‘Elohim.’ Though for the prophets of Baal, he was ‘Elohim,’ for Elijah he was only a false god. [If he had considered him Elohim in the true sense, he would not have killed those prophets]. The use of ‘Elohim’ by Elijah in an ironical sense in a particular context cannot mean that the word has lost its normal sense or that it is impossible to understand where and when it is used in its normal sense.

In this manner it can be shown that all the verses cited as examples of ‘Elohim’ having ‘various meanings’ do not prove anything other than the fact that the normal sense of this word, like most other words in language, can be modified by particular contexts and that in the absence of any particular modification of meaning by any particular 

context the word conveys its normal sense. Since in Gen: 1: 1, there is neither any particular context as we find in 1. Kings 18: 27 or 11: 33 nor the use of any figure of speech, it is clear that ‘Elohim’ is used there in its normal sense. Whatever is the sense in which a word is used in a sentence, the grammatical structure of that sentence and the sense of that word are in harmony with each other; this is a basic linguistic fact. The true meanings of a sentence and the words used in it are to be understood in the light of the grammatical structure of that sentence; it is most unreasonable to think that the meanings of a word and the sentence it belongs to are to be understood in the light of the grammatical structure of some other sentence in which that word is used in a different context. No sensible person will argue that this is how meanings of words and sentences are to be understood. So it is most unreasonable to argue that the meaning of ‘Elohim’ in Gen: 1: 1 should not be examined in the light of the grammatical structure of that sentence and we should not use the finding as an argument in support of Trinity. If this ‘objection’ is to be considered reasonable, it has to be proved that the meaning of a word is to be understood, not by examining its context and structure of the sentence it belongs to, but by examining its use in a different context in a different sentence having a different grammatical structure. As it is impossible to do this, it is impossible to find fault with the examination of the grammatical structure of Gen: 1: 1 and the meaning of the word ‘Elohim’ and the argument in support of ‘Trinity’ put forward on the basis of that examination.

Appearance of God in Human Form


We read in Exodus 33: 17—23 that it is not possible for man to remain alive, seeing God in all His glory. However we read about God appearing to Abraham in human form; we are told, “And Jehovah appeared unto him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and lo, three men stood over against him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself to the earth, and said, My lord, if now I have found favor in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:” [Gen: 18: 1—3] It is to be noted here that we are not told, “ Jehovah and ‘two other beings’ appeared unto Abraham.” To the question, “Who appeared unto Abraham?” the answer is, 

“Jehovah.” To the question, “Who did Abraham see?” the answer is, “three men.” So, to the question, “Who were those three men?” the answer cannot but be, “Jehovah.” Thus we see that those three men were Jehovah and Jehovah was those three men. This means, it was as three men that Jehovah appeared to Abraham in human form. To the question why Jehovah appeared to Abraham as three men instead of one man, what is the answer? The only reasonable answer is that Jehovah God is one God Who exists as three Persons.

We find Jehovah telling Abraham about the wickedness of the people of Sodom: “Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know” [Gen: 18: 20—21]. We learn from Gen: 18: 33 that the Person Who said these words did not go to Sodom; instead it was the other two Persons, described as ‘angels’ in chapter 19: 1 Who went to Lot’s house. When we consider that all these statements are true, we cannot but say: Jehovah told Abraham that He would go to Sodom; accordingly He went there; it was two ‘angels’ who went there; Jehovah was those angels and those angels were Jehovah. If it is argued that the ‘angels’ were not Jehovah we will have to say that Jehovah did not keep His promise to Abraham, which amounts to declaring that God lied to His ‘friend’ about going to Sodom. The only conclusion we can arrive at, is that the Person Who talked with Abraham was Jehovah and the ‘angels’ who went to Lot’s house also were Jehovah, even though they were different Persons. This means the three Persons Who appeared to Abraham were in essence, one and the same Jehovah God. The fact that it was as three Persons in human form this God appeared to Abraham, is an important proof that the one God of the Bible exists as three Persons, which is the concept of Trinity. 

It has been interpreted that the two men who went to Sodom were in fact two angels sent by Jehovah to that city and that it is incorrect to conclude Jehovah went there. We read in Heb: 13: 2, “Forget not to show love unto strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” It is quite reasonable to conclude that this is a reference to Abraham’s entertaining the ‘three men’ by the oaks of Mamre. The description of these men as angels by the writer of the Hebrews is regarded as conclusive proof that they were no more than true angels and not Jehovah.

In order to justify this interpretation, it has been argued that Jehovah’s sending angels on His behalf fulfilled His promise to Abraham that He would go to Sodom; or we can think that Jehovah by exercising His ability as the omnipresent and omniscient God saw what happened in Sodom and in that sense ‘went’ there without actually going there. But we have to note that what Jehovah said to Abraham was, “I will go down now, and see…” [Gen: 18: 21]. These words of Jehovah rule out the possibility of His sending someone else on His behalf out of question. The argument that it was in the sense of Jehovah being omnipresent that He said to Abraham about going to Sodom is quite unreasonable because Jehovah in His capacity as the omnipresent God was already there in Sodom and there was no need for Him to go there. [It may be noted here that it was in His capacity as a righteous judge who punishes the guilty only after verifying evidence, that Jehovah wanted to go to Sodom]. Therefore the only reasonable conclusion is that in keeping with His promise to Abraham Jehovah did go to Sodom and the two angels who reached Sodom according to Gen: 19: 1 were Jehovah. Now quite naturally the question arises: If it was Jehovah Who came to Sodom, why is He referred to as ‘two angels’ in Gen: 19: 1 and why is the same wording used in Heb: 13: 2? Let us find out whether there is an answer to this question in the Word of God.

When we examine the narrative style of the different books of the Bible we see that persons are often spoken about in two ways—as they actually are and as they are seen to be. The Holy Spirit might have done this in order to give a full, comprehensive understanding of the persons concerned, their circumstances and the people around them. As an example first let us examine the reference to Joseph in Luke 2: 33 and 2: 48; in both these verses Joseph is referred to as the father of Jesus. However, it is clearly stated in the first chapter of this Gospel that it was after Virgin Mary conceived Jesus that Joseph became her husband; so it is factually incorrect to refer to Joseph as the father of Jesus. But after the marriage of Joseph and Mary they lived together; after the birth of Jesus, Mary had children by Joseph; everyone who knew their family thought that Joseph was the father of all those children including Jesus; that is why we read in Matt: 13: 55--56, “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joseph, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us?” and in Luke 4: 22: “…Is not this Joseph’s son?” The fact that it was a normal and happy family life that Joseph and Mary led is further made clear by Mary’s words, “Son, why hast thou dealt with us? behold, thy father and I sought thee sorrowing” Luke 2: 48.

[The context is Mary and Joseph searching for their ‘missing son’ and finding him finally, at the Temple]. We see that Joseph was looking after Jesus as one of his own children in obedience to the divine instruction he had received [Matt: 1: 20]. The statement in Luke 3: 23, “And Jesus himself, when he began to teach, was about thirty years of age, being the son {as was supposed} of Joseph…” proves this fact beyond all doubt. Thus it was seen that Joseph was the father of Jesus. That is why we find Mary referring to her husband as the father of Jesus. We do not consider that Mary’s description of Joseph as the father of Jesus contradicts the scriptural truth that Jesus is the Son of God and He cannot have an earthly father.

Just as the Word of God has stated what Joseph actually was and what he was seen to be, the Holy Spirit has stated what the three men who appeared to Abraham actually were [Gen: 18: 1—2 & 18: 20—21] and what they were seen to be [Gen: 19: 1]. Since the two men who went to Sodom conveyed to Lot the divine message of judgment upon the city, they acted as, and were seen to be messengers [angels] of God. That is why they are referred to as angels. In the book of Judges also we come across the same sort of description. We read, “And Jehovah looked upon him, and said, “Go in this thy might, and save Israel from the hand of Midian” [Jud: 6: 14]. In this verse we see that it was Jehovah who spoke these words to Gideon. But in the verses 11 & 12 it is stated that the speaker was “the angel of Jehovah.” This identification of Jehovah with “the angel of Jehovah” is to be explained in the light of the fact that Jehovah is spoken about here in both ways—as He actually is and as He was seen to be [angel carrying a divine message]. So we can conclude that the descriptions of Jehovah as “three men” in Gen: 18: 2 and as “two angels” in Gen: 19: 1 are quite right and reasonable.

The question whether it was in actual human form that Jehovah appeared to Abraham can be answered easily. We read in John 1: 32 that the Holy Spirit descended as a dove out of heaven and abode upon Jesus. This is proof that God can take any form He pleases; so it is quite reasonable to believe that it was as three human beings possessing all human faculties that Jehovah appeared to Abraham. [However this does not mean Jehovah became ‘three men’ as a result of this appearance, as also the Holy Spirit did not become a dove as result of descending upon Jesus in that form. What we have to understand is that God, whose face men cannot see and live {Ex: 33: 20} appeared before His ‘friend’ in a suitable form to tell him what He was going to do]. Since it was as three men instead of only one man that Jehovah appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, it indicates that Jehovah, the God of Abraham is One Who exists as three Persons.

It may be noted that there is no means of ascertaining which Person in the Triune God stood before Abraham and which Persons went to Sodom. As we, human beings cannot unveil what God has chosen not to reveal, it is futile and unwise guessing it. 

CHAPTER 2.


REVELATION IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

 


It is the New Testament that unveils the mystery behind the author of Genesis using the common plural ‘Elohim’ in order to speak about the one and only God. Just before His ascension Jesus told His disciples, “ Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you;” Matt: 28: 19—20. These words of Jesus make it clear that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit together have only one ‘name’. We know that one name usually signifies one person;

The phrase, “in the name of” ought to be followed by a word signifying only one thing or person. But here we find that it is followed by “the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” Thus we see that according to Matt: 28: 19—20 “the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” together constitute an entity, which is grammatically treated as a singular noun. However we see clearly that this ‘singular’ entity does contain three Persons: the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. This means these three Persons are one; that is why they are treated as a singular noun. In other words, the grammatical structure of the words of Jesus in the Great Commission reveals that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are the three Persons in ‘Elohim’ the one God of the Bible.


The Functioning of Trinity


In our world it is seldom possible for three persons to have the same opinion about anything. The will of three persons can seldom be the same. The reason is that three persons in the world can never be one. The God of the Bible, Who is One, but exists, as three Persons cannot have any difference of opinion among them; they cannot have more than one will. They can have only one will because they are one even while existing as three different Persons. A close examination of Jesus’ prayer to the Father on the eve of His crucifixion reveals this fact. He prayed, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine be done”[Luke. 22: 42]. It was quite natural for Jesus as the Son of Man to feel the desire that that cup, which is crucifixion, should be removed. But He did not pray, “Father, remove this cup from me.” His real will was that His natural will to avoid crucifixion should not be done; instead, His Father’s will to suffer it, should be done. We find Him accepting the Father’s will perfectly, without any hesitation and submitting Himself to the horror of crucifixion. That Jesus was perfectly willing to be crucified in accordance with the Father’s will is stated in the verse, “he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross”[Phil: 2: 8]. Jesus rebuking Peter for saying that He should not suffer death [Matt: 16: 21-- 23] proves it beyond all doubt that His will was the same as His Father’s. The fact that His will was not different from the Father’s, even though it was quite natural for Him to have a will opposed to it, can be explained only by the concept of Trinity; it is because of the oneness of the Father and the Son that they had the same will when it was quite natural for the Son to have a different will. [The prayer of Jesus, “Father, if thou be willing… not my will, but thine” made it very clear that it was perfectly as the Son of Man, with all human feelings, emotions and sensibilities, that He suffered death on the cross and that He, as the last Adam and representative of the human race {1.Cor: 15: 45}, was perfectly obedient, unlike the first Adam, to the will of God].

The perfect and eternal unity of will among the three Persons of the Triune God is further illustrated by Jesus’ words, “Put up again thy sword into its place; for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Or thinkest thou that I cannot beseech my Father, and he shall even now send me more than twelve legions of angels? How then should the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be”? [Matt: 26: 52--54]. Jesus said these words to Peter when he drew out his sword and struck the slave of the high priest. These words mean that if Jesus had prayed to the Father even for an unscriptural deliverance from crucifixion, that prayer would have been answered. We find several verses in the Gospel according to John, which state that God the Father sent Jesus into the world in order that He might suffer death and thus become propitiation for the sins of humanity. And we see that if Jesus had prayed that He might be saved from the hands of His tormentors, it would have become necessary for the Father to send His angels and save Him from death. This means if it is necessary to consider either the Father or the Son to be superior to the other, it is the Son who has to be considered superior because His prayer has to be accepted by the Father even if it happens to be against His will. Thus we see that it is impossible for the Father to have a will different from the Son’s; we have already seen that the Son’s will cannot be different from the Father’s; this means the will of the Father and the will of the Son are always the same and that it is so, because they are one in essence, while existing as two Persons.

The fact that it was in accordance with the will of the Son and the Father that the Holy Spirit came into the world is clear from Jesus’ words, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may be with you for ever” [John 14: 16] and “He shall glorify me; for he shall take of mine, and shall declare it unto you. All things whatsoever the Father hath are mine; therefore said I, that he taketh of mine, and shall declare it unto you”[John: 16: 15]. The functioning of the three Persons of the Godhead is always complimentary, as it is evident from the manner in which God the Father sent God the Son into the world to suffer death on the cross and redeem mankind from sin and God the Holy Spirit came into the world after the ascension of Jesus Christ, to build the Church.

It is because of the oneness and the consequent perfect unity of will among these three Persons that there has not been, there is not, and there will never be any possibility of any discord between them while carrying out their plan for the eradication of sin and evil from the universe and the establishment of the new Heaven and the new Earth. The concept of Trinity makes the possibility of any disharmony between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit nonexistent. Thus we see that it is the idea of Trinity implicitly mentioned in many a verse and explicitly stated in Matt: 28: 19—20 that explains what God is, what He was, what He has done and how He accomplishes His plans and purposes about mankind and the universe.

God the Son


There are several verses in the Bible, which either directly or indirectly prove the fact that Jesus Christ, referred to, as the Son in the Gospel according to John, is God. Some of them are mentioned below:

The Word


We read in John 1: 1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the word was with God, and the Word was God” and in verse 14, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.”

It is evident that the ‘Word’ who became flesh and dwelt among the apostles is none other than Jesus Christ. Since this ‘Word’ was God it is clear that Jesus Christ is God. When we substitute ‘the Word’ by ‘Jesus Christ,’ we get, “Jesus Christ was with God and Jesus Christ was God. In these words the apostle John makes a very emphatic statement about the Deity of Jesus Christ. The statement that ‘the Word’ [Jesus Christ] was there in the beginning makes it clear that there is no possibility at all, for thinking about Jesus Christ as a creation. The opponents of Trinity argue that instead of “and the Word was God” it should be translated, “and the Word was a god.” In no authentic translation do we find this done; it is clear that this is a mistranslation made with a view to justifying the contention that Jesus Christ is not God. However, this mistranslation provokes the questions: If Jesus Christ was ‘a god,’ who are some of the other ‘gods’ like Him, Who is the ‘Mighty God’ and ‘Everlasting Father’ [Is: 9: 6]? What proof is there in the Bible to show that Jesus Christ is one among several ‘gods’? Those who say that Jesus Christ is not God, but He is ‘a god’ have the obligation to answer these questions. It is impossible to answer them; it means, the translation, “and the Word was God” is quite right and Jesus Christ is God.


“Both me and my Father”


The verse, “…but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father” [John 15: 24] means that by seeing Jesus the Jews actually saw both Jesus and the Father. This cannot but mean that in Jesus we see the visible expression of the invisible Father, Who though a different Person, is the same as Jesus in essence. In no other way can we understand the meaning of this verse. If Jesus were actually a creation of God, it would be said that by seeing him one could see, not the Father, but a creation of His. Since one saw the Father when one saw Jesus it is clear that both Jesus and the Father are one and the same in essence. [There are some people known as Jesus name Pentecostals, who say that Jesus and the Father are not two different persons; they deny Trinity saying that Jesus is the only Person in the Godhead; however their argument is shown to be wrong very clearly by the words, “both me and my Father” in this verse. The word ‘both’ would not be used if there were not two Persons. Their argument that the Holy Spirit is not a Person, but just the active force of God is refuted in the chapter: God the Holy Spirit]


“the Father in me”


In John 14: 9—10 we read, “Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and dost thou not know me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; how sayest thou, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me”?

This verse means that when Philip saw Jesus, the Father became visible to him. The fact that Jesus is “the image of the invisible God” [Col: 1: 15] makes this idea clearer; it is the Son who reveals the Father; without the Son the Father is invisible and it is the Father who is in the Son; that is why the prophet Isaiah describes the birth of Jesus in the words, “For unto us a child is born…. and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”[Isaiah. 9: 6]. That it was the Everlasting Father Who became visible through the child Jesus, establishes the Deity of Jesus beyond all possible doubt. 


“Christ…God blessed for ever”


We read in Rom: 9: 5, “whose are the fathers, and of whom is Christ as concerning the flesh, who is over all, God blessed for ever, Amen.” In this verse it is clearly stated that Jesus Christ is the blessed God.


“all the fullness of the Godhead”


In Col: 2: 9 we read, “for in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” That in Christ there is the Godhead, the fullness of the Godhead, and all the fullness of the Godhead bodily is the most emphatic statement establishing the Deity of Christ. How can a person say that the One in whom there is all the fullness of the Godhead [Deity] bodily is not God? The fact of Christ’s equality with God stated clearly in Phil: 2: 6 is another unambiguous proof of this truth. [Both these verses are mistranslated in the NWT]..


“Thy throne, O God, is for ever”


In Heb: 1: 8 we read, “but of the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever;” here the Father Himself addresses the Son, “O God.” This verse is another undeniable proof of the deity of Jesus Christ. [See also, chapter 4: Mistranslations and Misinterpretations].

“the great God…Jesus Christ” The words, “…appearing of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” {Tit: 2: 13} also bring out this truth, as Jesus is described here as the great God. [“.glorious manifestation of the great God and of {the} the Saviour of us, Christ Jesus..” is mistranslation, which changes the meaning of the verse].


 
 

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