Christian Essentials, Controversial Issues, Evangelism & Apologetics, The Bible, The Trinity Doctrine

Proof and Evidence from Old Testament Scriptures on the Trinity Doctrine – What does the Bible teach?

 

One of the common objections to the Trinity Doctrine is the claim that the Bible teaches against it, but is that true?  When reading the Bible it is important to ask the right questions to get a proper perspective.   Does the Old Testament teach that there is only one personage whom is God? Or does the Old Testament teach that there is a Unity of how God has been revealed?

It is very important to have a proper understanding of the nature of God.  Consider this quote:  “It has often been said that every theological heresy begins with a misconception of the nature of God. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that we have a clear and accurate understanding of the nature of God and the identity of Jesus Christ” (from Yes, You Should  Believe In The Trinity book which is also online/ Witnesses for Jesus, Inc)

Groups such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and Oneness Pentecostals claim to be Christians in affiliation but when examined their perspective of God is not in accordance with the Scriptures.  Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the Trinity Doctrine and claim that only the Father is God according to the Bible.  Mormons have a plethora of Gods perspective when it comes to the Trinity.  According to Mormonism (Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints, Mormons) the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit are three separate Gods, whom became Gods over time in the past.  Oneness Pentecostals (United Pentecostal Church International, UPCI, Jesus Only) have a Modalist perspective when it comes to whom God is, thus they reject the doctrine of the Trinity and claim it is not supported in the Scriptures.  They believe that God was the Father in creation, that the Father became the person of Jesus Christ in our redemption, and then became the Holy Spirit in our reconciliation.  In short they have a form of Modalism which teaches that there are different manifestations (modes) of God but one personage, not three distinct personages as the Scriptures teach.

– Jehovah’s Witnesses have been taught by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society:  “In what position does belief in the Trinity put those who cling to it? It puts them in a very dangerous position. The evidence is indisputable that the dogma of the Trinity is not found in the Bible, nor is it in harmony with what the Bible teaches. (See the preceding pages.) It grossly misrepresents the true God. Yet, Jesus Christ said: “The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23, 24RS) Thus Jesus made it clear that those whose worship is not ‘in truth,’ not in harmony with the truth set out in God’s own Word, are not “true worshipers.”” (Reasoning From The Scriptures, 1989, Trinity)

– And the Watchtower and Bible Tract Society states:  “Jesus taught his disciples to pray: “Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.” Our heavenly Father, whose name is Jehovah, is described in the Bible as being superior to his Son. For example, Jehovah is “from everlasting to everlasting.” But the Bible says that Jesus is “the firstborn of every creature.” That Jehovah is greater than Jesus, Jesus himself taught when he said: “My Father is greater than I.” (Matthew 6:9; Psalm 90:1, 2; Colossians 1:15; John 14:28, King James Version) Yet, the Trinity doctrine holds that the Father and the Son are “equally God.”” (Awake Magazine, April 22, 2005, page 6)

– Mormons have been taught by the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints:  “Latter-day Saints believe in God the Father; his Son, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Ghost. These three Gods form the Godhead, which holds the keys of power over the universe. Each member of the Godhead is an independent personage, separate and distinct from the other two, the three being in perfect unity and harmony with each other.” (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Godhead)

– And:  “What is Exaltation?  Exaltation is eternal life, the kind of life God lives…If we prove faithful to the Lord, we will live in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom of heaven.  We will become exalted, just like our Heavenly Father.  Exaltation is the greatest gift that Heavenly Father can give his children (see D&C 14:7)…Those who receive exaltation in the celestial kingdom through faith in Jesus Christ will receive special blessings…They will become gods.” (Gospel Principles, page 302, 1992)

– The United Pentecostal Church International teaches:  “The doctrinal views of the UPCI reflect most of the beliefs of the Holiness-Pentecostal movement, with the exception of the “second work of grace,” the historic doctrine of the Trinity, and the traditional Trinitarian formula in water baptism. It embraces the Pentecostal view that speaking in tongues is the initial sign of receiving the Holy Spirit…In distinction to the doctrine of the Trinity, the UPCI holds to a oneness view of God. It views the Trinitarian concept of God, that of God eternally existing as three distinctive persons, as inadequate and a departure from the consistent and emphatic biblical revelation of God being one.” (UPCI site)

– And:  “The One true God has revealed Himself as Father, through His Son in redemption, and as the Holy Ghost, by emanation. This one true God manifested Himself in the Old Testament in various ways; in the Son while he walked among men; as the Holy Ghost after the ascension” (Bethel United Pentecostal Church)

  • There is one God according to the Old Testament Scriptures

There is no question in regards to the Bible teaching that there is one God.  For example we read, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1 NASB)  Also, “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!” (Deuteronomy 6:4 NASB, The Shema)  And, “”You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.” (Isaiah 43:10 NASB)

  • Unity of God found in the Old Testament Scriptures

There are many Scriptures from the Old Testament that give reference to there being one God.  But I have not found any particular reference that states there is only one personage (being) known as God.  With that being said I have read numerous Scriptures from the Old Testament that demonstrates and identifies a Unity (plurality) of how God has been revealed.   Though we do not read any passage in reference to a Trinity stating the Father is God, that the Son (Jesus) is God, or that the Holy Spirit is God, we do however read from the following Scriptures that there is a Unity/Plurality of God, thus giving proof that the Trinity Doctrine is Biblical, logical, and true.

For example we read, 26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”   27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:26-27 NASB)  We also read,  “Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever””. (Genesis 3:22 NASB)  Notice in Genesis 1:26 the “Us”, “Our”, and in Genesis 3:22 “one of Us”, thus showing a Unity.  Side note, man was created in the image of God, not angels, not animals, etc.

In another place we read, “Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven(Genesis 19:24)  With that we read,10 “I sent a plague among you after the manner of Egypt; I slew your young men by the sword along with your captured horses, And I made the stench of your camp rise up in your nostrils; Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the LORD.   11 I overthrew you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, And you were like a firebrand snatched from a blaze; Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the LORD.” (Amos 4:10-11 NASB)  In Genesis 19:24 there are two whom are called LORD, thus showing a Unity.  This is affirmed by what the prophet Amos wrote in 4:10-11 which indicates that the LORD was speaking in the first person and then stated “as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah” which is speaking in the third person, thus showing a Unity.

In Isaiah we read, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!”” (Isaiah 6:8 NASB)  And, 12 Listen to Me, O Jacob, even Israel whom I called; I am He, I am the first, I am also the last.   13 “Surely My hand founded the earth, And My right hand spread out the heavens; When I call to them, they stand together.   14 “Assemble, all of you, and listen! Who among them has declared these things? The LORD loves him; he will carry out His good pleasure on Babylon, And His arm will be against the Chaldeans.   15 I, even I, have spoken; indeed I have called him, I have brought him, and He will make his ways successful.   16 Come near to Me, listen to this: From the first I have not spoken in secret, From the time it took place, I was there. And now the Lord GOD has sent Me, and His Spirit.“” (Isaiah 48:12-16 NASB)  Again we read more Scriptures stating “Us” in reference to the LORD, and this is not speaking about angels.  Isaiah 48:12-16 is a fascinating text which the speaker is identified as the LORD, the first and last, I am He.  In Isaiah 48:16 the LORD states He was sent by the Lord God and His Spirit, which would indicate a Tri-Unity or proof for the Trinity Doctrine.  As the New Testament affirms it was the the Father whom sent Jesus Christ into the world to give His life as an atoning sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. (John 1:1-29)  And it was through the Holy Spirit that Jesus was supernaturally born through a virgin named Mary. (Matthew 1:18-23, Luke 1:26-35)

It is clear that the Old Testament indicates that there is one God whom has been revealed as a Unity, a Tri-Unity in reference to the Trinity Doctrine.  As stated before there are not any specific Scriptures stating word for word that there is one God revealed in three persons known as the Father, Son (Jesus), and Holy Spirit.  However, with that being said we do read numerous Scriptures from the Old Testament that indicates there was a Unity in how God was revealed and made known, thus giving proof for the Trinity Doctrine.

The evidence for the Trinity Doctrine is in the Old Testament and the New Testament.  The question is, will people let the Bible speak in context?  Those involved with such groups as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, Oneness Pentecostalism, etc. have been mislead concerning what the Scriptures teach on the identity and nature of God.  I have provided this as a short summary in reference to the doctrine of the Trinity in the Old Testament.  If you wish to learn more about the Trinity Doctrine please check out our Trinity Doctrine section, or you can provide some feedback in a post or by email.

10 The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews.   11Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. (Acts 17 NASB)

Kelly Powers

Discussion

3 thoughts on “Proof and Evidence from Old Testament Scriptures on the Trinity Doctrine – What does the Bible teach?

  1. There are four “our/us” verses in the ENTIRE BIBLE. There are TENS OF THOUSANDS of “I/me” and “he/his” verses about God. So at best God is a plurality 0.0004% of the time. You completely ignore the possibility that God could be talking to other beings, such as his angels or the “sons of God”. Twice you say that this can’t be referring to angels. Why? You don’t offer any explanation. How do you know angels aren’t ALSO made in the image of God? If that were true, then we’d be made in God’s image AND angels’. What is your explanation of the “sons of God”?

    Looking at other translations of Isaiah 48:16, it’s clear there is debate about whether God was speaking or Isaiah in the sentence you cite. Context suggests it’s Isaiah, but I suppose we should be open to your interpretation. All the same, you should acknowledge the fact that others interpret it differently.

    The “Yahweh reigned fire from Yahweh” argument is ridiculous. Does the train of Yahweh’s robe not fill his temple? Is the earth not his footstool? It isn’t talking about two Yahwehs—and even if it were, then you’d have two Gods, not one. Yahweh was present on the earth in the angels he sent, and he’s present in heaven. That’s what omnipresent means, assuming you hold to that doctrine.

    Posted by שת בנ־אברהם | November 13, 2018, 7:03 PM
  2. Since there are both our/us verses, this leaves no doubt that God is a plurality. The fact that Elohim which is a plural noun denoting a plurality in the Godhead is used over 2500 times in the OT is absolute proof that God is a plurality of Beings. Also the fact that there are many I/Me verses and He/His verses in the OT does not dispel the our/us verses and magically make them go away. It only serves to show that one of the Beings is speaking, etc in that context.

    Also in Genesis 1:26 God is not talking to angels or other sons of God because neither of these have the power of creation (let US created man……) and man was made in the image of God (let US make man in OUR image) therefore neither the angels or sons of God can qualify to stand in that passage. And of course the clear fact is that neither one of them are mention in the context of Genesis chapter 1. In fact angels are not even mentioned until chapter 16!! and the sons of God are not mentioned until chapter 6. Neither of these two groups are said ANYWHERE in the Bible to have creative powers.

    Also Isa. 48:16 is not open to multiple interpretations. Practically all translations offer the same translation as the NASB: From the first I have not spoken in secret, From the time it took place, I was there. And now the Lord GOD has sent Me, and His Spirit.” It is clear that the Lord God, the “Me” and “His Spirit” are definitively three mentioned. So שת בנ־אברהם your argument does not stand.

    Also I see no problem in Gen 19:24 with two YHWHs. See Deut 6:4 which says that “our YHWH is ELOHIM…” meaning that YHWH is plural Beings. The Father and the Son can both have the name YHWH with no problem since they are both Deity and yet be one God. So your argument falls short again sir. Also in Mat 28:19, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit all share the singular name.

    Posted by Frederick | November 14, 2018, 4:02 AM
  3. “Since there are both our/us verses, this leaves no doubt that God is a plurality.”

    There are four verses with our/us language. There are over ten thousand verses with singular pronouns. You’re cherry-picking to the nth degree if you really think four verses that **could** be interpreted as God talking to Themselves proves Their plurality when there are thousands upon thousands that demonstrate otherwise.

    “Also the fact that there are many I/Me verses and He/His verses in the OT does not dispel the our/us verses and magically make them go away. It only serves to show that one of the Beings is speaking, etc in that context.”

    On the contrary, the fact that there are 4 plural pronoun verses doesn’t give you permission to ignore or redefine the 10,000+ singular pronoun verses. Again, that’s 0.0004% of all pronouns referring to God AT BEST. And that’s assuming your arbitrary assumption that the us/our verses are God talking to Themselves.

    “The fact that Elohim which is a plural noun denoting a plurality in the Godhead is used over 2500 times in the OT is absolute proof that God is a plurality of Beings.”

    Whoa there, “a plurality of Beings”? You just said there are multiple Gods. James White, the Trinitarian apologist, would be gathering the green branches right now for your bonfire. God is supposed to be three Whos in one What, three Persons in one Being.

    Secondly, Moses is called an elohim (Exodus 7:1). Pagan gods are also called elohim (1 Samuel 5:7; 1 Kings 11:5,33; 18:24), each one separately getting the plural noun. Is Moses a plurality? Is Chemosh a plurality? Behemoth is a plural noun, yet it is referring to a single creature. The fact is that Hebrew plurality doesn’t just indicate number. It has a broader grammatical function than it does in English.

    ~~~

    “Also in Genesis 1:26 God is not talking to angels or other sons of God because neither of these have the power of creation (let US created man……) and man was made in the image of God (let US make man in OUR image) therefore neither the angels or sons of God can qualify to stand in that passage.”

    You need to read Genesis 1 again. Don’t get hung up on verse 26. There’s another verse that follows, and it clears the whole thing up for you. “So God created man in HIS own image, in the image of God HE created him; male and female HE created them.” So Yahweh brought up the idea to the sons of God, then he went and did it himself. Nobody else helped him, but they were certainly present to witness it (cf. Job 38:4-7). So if the sons of God are lesser elohim created in Yahweh’s image, and humans are created in Yahweh’s image, then it stands to reason that humans bear both the image of Yahweh and the other elohim. I bear my dad’s image, but I also bear my grandpa’s image, and to a lesser degree, my uncle’s image—even though my uncle had nothing to do with making me.

    “And of course the clear fact is that neither one of them are mention in the context of Genesis chapter 1. In fact angels are not even mentioned until chapter 16!! and the sons of God are not mentioned until chapter 6. Neither of these two groups are said ANYWHERE in the Bible to have creative powers.”

    Frederick, they are mentioned right there in chapter 1, and Job 38 is a second witness. You can CLAIM they aren’t mentioned until chapter 6 or 16, but Job 38 says they were there at Creation, so the most logical reading of Genesis 1 is that the “us/our” refers to the sons of God. And like 1:27 says, only Yahweh actually created Adam and Eve. The sons of God merely watched. They needn’t have creative powers to be witnesses to Creation.

    ~~~

    “Also Isa. 48:16 is not open to multiple interpretations.”

    You are wrong (https://biblehub.com/isaiah/48-16.htm).

    * “Come near me and listen to this: “From the first announcement I have not spoken in secret; at the time it happens, I am there.” And now the Sovereign LORD has sent me, endowed with his Spirit. (NIV)
    * “Come closer, and listen to this. From the beginning I have told you plainly what would happen.” And now the Sovereign LORD and his Spirit have sent me with this message. (NLT)
    * “Draw near to me, hear this: from the beginning I have not spoken in secret, from the time it came to be I have been there.” And now the Lord GOD has sent me, and his Spirit. (ESV)
    * “Approach me and listen to this. From the beginning I have not spoken in secret; from the time anything existed, I was there.” And now the Lord GOD has sent me and his Spirit. (CSB)
    * “Approach Me and listen to this. From the beginning I have not spoken in secret; from the time anything existed, I was there.” And now the Lord GOD has sent me and His Spirit. (HCSB)
    * “Approach me! Listen to this! From the very first I have not spoken in secret; when it happens, I am there.” So now, the sovereign LORD has sent me, accompanied by his spirit. (NET)
    * “Come near to me and hear this: “From the beginning I have not spoken in secret; from the time that it was, there am I.” Now the Lord Yahweh has sent me, with his Spirit. (WEB)

    The VAST majority of the most common translations that include quotation marks do not treat that phrase as part of the quote. There are a few that do, but this verse most certainly is open to multiple interpretations.

    “Practically all translations offer the same translation as the NASB: From the first I have not spoken in secret, From the time it took place, I was there. And now the Lord GOD has sent Me, and His Spirit.” It is clear that the Lord God, the “Me” and “His Spirit” are definitively three mentioned. So שת בנ־אברהם your argument does not stand.”

    I just demonstrated that you’re mistaken, so my argument does stand.

    ~~~

    “Also I see no problem in Gen 19:24 with two YHWHs.”

    That’s problematic, to say the least.

    “See Deut 6:4 which says that ‘our YHWH is ELOHIM…’ meaning that YHWH is plural Beings.”

    How can you cite Deuteronomy 6:4 and leave off the verse that says he is ONE Yahweh?? At least you’re not shy about being a polytheist. You’ve said it now several times.

    “The Father and the Son can both have the name YHWH with no problem since they are both Deity and yet be one God.”

    You just refuted yourself. You’ve said twice so far that God is multiple Beings, which means multiple Gods. You also said there are two Yahwehs. So you are clearly talking about two Gods named Yahweh. This is the problem with Trinitarianism. You use the language of polytheism, then immediately turn around and pretend you’re talking about one God. You can’t have your cake and eat it. It doesn’t work that way.

    “So your argument falls short again sir. Also in Mat 28:19, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit all share the singular name.”

    Well this post is called “Proof and Evidence from Old Testament Scriptures on the Trinity Doctrine”, so citing a NT verse is out-of-bounds. But since you went there, let’s examine it. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (ESV). Did the disciples ever baptize anyone in the name of Yahweh? I challenge you to provide one verse where they did. Since they only ever baptized in the name of Jesus, does that mean the Father’s name is Jesus as well? That’s problematic for a number of reasons that are beyond the scope of this discussion for now. And the Holy Spirit is never given a name in Scripture, so you can’t really baptize in its name.

    But besides all that, you’re **assuming** that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. There is nothing in this verse or the rest of the Gospel of Matthew that even hints that Jesus is God, and there is a strong case from Matthew 1 that “Holy Spirit” is just a title for the Father similar to “Adonai” or “haShem”. (“That which is conceived in [Mary] is from the Holy Spirit.” Is the Holy Spirit Jesus’ dad, or is the Father Jesus’ dad?)

    There is a compelling reason to think that this verse was changed by Trinitarians after the Council of Nicaea. We admittedly don’t have proof that this happened, but I challenge you to read through this commentary and consider it for yourself (https://www.revisedenglishversion.com/Matthew/chapter28/19). If you look at 1 John 5:7 in the KJV, it reads, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” We know beyond a doubt that this was a fabrication. There is ample documented evidence proving that someone made up this verse and stuck it into the Latin text of 1 John. So while we don’t have any examples of the correct reading of Matthew 28:19, there is good circumstantial evidence that it was changed, along with another example of a known change.

    ~~~

    This is a lively conversation, and I’m pleasantly surprised that you even responded to my comment, seeing as I’m five years late in commenting. I hope you can get your polytheism sorted out before we pick this up again. Have a good evening!

    Posted by שת נב־אברהם | November 15, 2018, 3:55 PM

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