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Of course these do not adequately illustrate the Trinity because God the Father is not a part of God, or the Son a part of God, or the Holy Spirit a part of God - each is fully God.
The chemical formula for water is H2O - two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen combine to form water which 'normally' exists as a liquid but, when hot, becomes steam and, when cold, becomes ice. All three forms are the same chemical formula, but are manifested in three different forms. God is one in essence but three in Person.It is ever the tendency of men to try and get God to fit the scope of their limited minds!
To use another illustration, we speak often of mankind. Suppose there were only three persons in the human race. All three would be mankind but three persons. In the Godhead there is only one God-kind [God-hood] but there are three Persons. All three are God, but each has His own office and work.
Perhaps the illustration to the right clarifies the relationship better than others?
One problem we have in speaking of God in three Persons is to properly define the word person. The ordinary usage of the word simply means a human being. But this is not the Bible usage of the word. A man may have lost his arms, legs, eyes, and hearing and still be a person. He is able to think, to feel, and to determine. These are the true marks of personality.
Returning to the Bible we must remind ourselves of the inscrutability of the nature of God:
'Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?' (Job 11v7)
With our frail finite minds it is completely impossible for us to fully comprehend the Divine being. So we should beware of the dangers of confining God to the narrow limits of our small minds, for it is easy to fall into the sin of the people in Psalm 50v21, to whom God said:
'Thou thoughtest I was altogether such an one as thyself,'
or like those in Romans 1v23:
'who changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image'
What really matters is that the truth of the three distinctive persons in one Godhead does occur in the Scriptures. Some people seem to think that Christians believe in three Gods, or just one person, and thus they talk disparagingly about a three-headed God.
The one verse so often quoted by Jew and Gentile alike to 'contradict' the 'Trinity' is found in Deuteronomy 6v4:
'Hear, O Israel, Yahweh our God is one Yahweh; and thou shall love Yahweh thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might ..... '
But language betrays the shallowness of such attacks. What the WBTS will not want you to know is the fact that the literal translation of Deuteronomy 6:4 reads: Yahweh our Gods is one God'. The very words translated in Bibles as 'our God' are in the plural - literally 'our Gods'! The main argument, however, lies in the word 'one' which is the Hebrew word echad. A quick check of the use of the use of this word in the Hebrew text proves that the word echad does not denote absolute unity in many places throughout the Old Testament, but composite unity, which argues for the 'Trinity' of the Deity. We should also explain here that the word 'Trinity' is not strictly a correct term to describe the Godhead of the Bible and 'Triunity' and 'Triune' are the correct theological terms.
In Genesis 2v24 the Lord tells us:
'Therefore shall a man leave his father & his mother & cleave unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.'
The parallel idea is presented in Genesis 2v24 and Ephesians 5v31. When a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, they become one flesh' (in Hebrew, bosor echad). Obviously this does not mean that in marriage a man and his wife become one person, but that they become one in unity of their substance and are considered as one person in the eyes of God. Please note, this is true unity; yet not solitary, but composite unity. No one knowing this should conclude from this verse that the man & woman are not two distinct persons, yet these two persons are 'one' flesh. So it is with regard to the 'Trinity'. Let us consider composite unity further.
Moses sent twelve spies into Canaan (Numbers 13v23) and when they returned they brought with them a great cluster of grapes (in Hebrew, eschol echad). Now, since there were hundreds of grapes on this one stem, it could hardly be absolute or solitary unity; yet again echad (one) is used to describe the cluster. This shows conclusively that the grapes were considered one in the sense of their being of the same origin, hence composite unity is again demonstrated.
We find the same idea in other verses (Genesis 11:6):
'And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they imagined to do.'
Again the word for one is a compound unity not a simple unity.
Of course, if the inspired writer Moses had wanted to teach God's absolute oneness (in Deuteronomy 6:4) as opposed to His compound oneness, he could have used the appropriate word for simple unity - the Hebrew word yachid.
Many more examples of this truth can be found in the Old Testament, but we find a similar use of the Greek word for one in the New Testament:
1 Corinthian 3:6-8: 'l have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth; but God, that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one; and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor.'
Here the word one means one in unity.
1 Corinthians 12:13: 'For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.' (cf. Galatians 3:28).
Now compare this usage of the word one in John 17:22,23:
'And the glory which thou gavest me, I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.'
WHO DWELLS IN CHRISTIAN BELIEVERS ON EARTH NOW?
IF THE HOLY SPIRIT DWELLS IN CHRISTIANS AND JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES SAY HE IS NOT GOD - THEN HOW CAN GOD DWELL IN US?
How can Christians 'all be one; even as the Father is in Jesus, and Jesus is in the Father, that we may be in the Father/Son ' (paraphrased) - obviously only by the Holy Spirit (the third member of the 'Trinity') indwelling the Christians' body so we no longer walk in the flesh, but are led by the Spirit who dwells in us.
Of course, not all who claim to be Christian are actually leading lives surrendered to Christ and so they are not indwelt of the Spirit.
Scripture is very clear - as we shall see in other places - if the Spirit does not dwell in you then you are not Christ's and you are not saved! And to have the Spirit dwelling in us is to have the 'Trinity' in us - for there is no other way that the three can be One with us exactly as Jesus described.
The New Testament is very clear on this subject:THE TRINITY IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
1 Corinthians 3v17: 'Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man defiles the temple of God, God will defile him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.'
2 Corinthians 6v16: 'What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, ''I will dwell in them (the Holy Spirit does!) and walk among them (Jesus did!); and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,'' says the Lord, ''and do not touch what is unclean; and I will welcome you, and I will be a Father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,'' says the Lord Almighty.' (Emphasis in brackets added)
1 Corinthians 6v19: 'Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.'
These echoes of the Old Testament are fulfilled in these Scriptures and in other verses, such as John 14v23:
22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, 'Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?' 23 Jesus answered and said to him, 'If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me.
When we consider the New Testament record we can see that it has never been possible for anyone outside of the 'born again' experience of orthodox Biblical Christianity to keep these words of Jesus! It does not matter how great a spiritual experience anyone claims for themselves, whether they are Buddha or Muhammad, without the new spiritual life of the 'born again' experience they are outside of the Kingdom of God.
There is a very distinctive Biblical usage of the word 'one' in relation to God. He is One but He is also three-in-one. Two persons (the third Person of the 'Trinity', the Holy Spirit, is revealed more fully in the New Testament - John14v26; 16v7-14 etc.) are both called 'Jehovah' (Genesis 18v21; 19v24; cf. Isaiah 9v6; Micah 5v2), and both are one (Hebrew echad) with the Holy Spirit in composite unity (Deuteronomy 6v4).
People may consider they understand the 'Trinity' through such metaphors as 'water-ice-steam', but this doctrine can only be truly understood by those who are born again of the Spirit of God. It is only when the Spirit of God comes into the life of a person that he is given a discernment to understand the spiritual realities of life, just as Nicodemus could not fathom out what Jesus was telling him (John 3).
In 1 John 5:20 we read: 'We know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ.'
First, we must know in order that we may know! God says here in effect, 'We know that we know.' We must first know Christ and it is then that He gives us an understanding to know these other truths.
It is impossible to explain to a man born blind the beautiful colours of the spectrum as seen in the rainbow. He lacks one important sense and nothing can be done about it. So it is with the non-believer who tries to understand the things that are found in the Word of God. True believers receive a new set of senses the moment they are born again; senses that the ordinary person does not have and which cannot be procured by a college education or degree, but only through a miracle of God.
We are not surprised that attacks are made on the heart of the Christian faith concerning the deity of the three persons of the Godhead, for we read in 1 Corinthians 12:3:
'Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Spirit.'
Again we read in 1 Corinthians 2:14:
'But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.'
The first important step in understanding anything spiritual, never mind the 'Trinity' of the Godhead, is to be born again by the Holy Spirit. When Nicodemus came to Jesus he said to Him: 'Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God...' (John 3:2). As a religious man he knew many things. But when it came to the spiritual realities of eternal life Jesus had to say to him: 'Art thou a master of Israel and knowest not these things' (John 3:10)? No one can fully know spiritual realities until they are born again.
The vital and personal question is: 'When were you born again by the Spirit of God?' We would not ask: 'When were you christened, or baptized, or confirmed'. Nor ask, 'Did you join the church', or 'Do you keep all the commandments and do many good works?' No, even if you had done all these things you are still not be saved and could go to a lost eternity. Jesus said: 'Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God' (John 3:4,5). Again (John 3:7) Jesus emphasised: 'Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.'
How did God reveal himself in the Old Testament? Each person of the Godhead is presented in the Scriptures as being Deity with the attributes and titles of Deity.
The use of the Hebrew word, elohim, which is often translated 'God'
God reveals Himself as a three-in-one God even in the Old Testament. First, we think of the names for God. There are three primary names found in the Old Testament for God which is a Triunity in itself: Elohim, 'Yahweh' (from the tetragrammaton - YHWH - sometimes 'Anglicised' as 'Jehovah'), and Adonai. There are three compounds used with Elohim: El Shaddai, El Elyon, and El Olam. There are also three compounds used with 'Yahweh': 'Yahweh' Elohim, Adonai 'Yahweh', and 'Yahweh' Sabaoth. Thus we find three groups of three each in these names of Deity.
The one name for Deity which presents the 'Trinity' is Elohim. Instead of being used in the singular, as are the others, it is plural, but it is with a singular verb as in Genesis 1:1:
'In the beginning God (Elohim) created the heavens and the earth.'
Two important points, with regard to the word in Genesis, are that the plural as it occurs here is recognised by Hebrew scholars as a plural of majesty, referring to the one true God, and the very fact that the Hebrew verb forms which have elohim as their subject are in the singular (as in 'created' in Genesis 1v1) alludes to the plurality of God. Even more important is the fact that, in many Old Testament passages, Elohim and 'Jehovah' (from the tetragrammaton YHWH), appear together as designating the same being. So, for example, we read in Genesis 2v7, rendered in the King James: 'And the Lord God [Hebrew: 'Jehovah' Elohim] formed man of the dust of the ground.' (cf. Genesis 2v4, 5, 8, 16, 18, 21, 22 - and so on). The important point made by the use of Elohim in the Old Testament is that we can be certain when it refers to God - or whether angels are acting on God's behalf.
The Bible teaches clearly that the three Persons of the Godhead all had a direct part in the creation of the world:
In John 1:3 we read of the Word, the Lord Jesus: 'All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.'
Notice that this proves that Jesus is not a created being - as the WBTS claims - for this would mean that they are saying that Jesus created Himself!
In Job 26:13 and Job 33:4 we read of the Holy Spirit's part in the creation: 'By his Spirit he hath garnished the heavens.' 'The Spirit of God hath made me.'
The elementary rule of geometry is that things equal to the same thing are equal to each other - simple syllogism. There can be no doubt that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are One and equally God.
Again, after the fifth day's work, God said in Genesis 1:26: 'Let us make man in our image.'
But the following verse says, 'God created man in his own image.'
The word us certainly refers to other persons of the Godhead.
The same truth is found in Genesis 11:7 at the tower of Babel, when God said, 'Let us go down.'
Since there is no other God but 'Jehovah' (Isaiah 43:10,11), not even a lesser Mighty 'god' as the WBTS try and claim, there must be a Unity in Plurality and Substance or the passages are not meaningful. This clearly teaches the 'Trinity'.
It is also interesting to notice the benediction which the high priest used in invoking a blessing upon the people of Israel, and by divine authority:
'The Lord bless thee, and keep thee; The Lord make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them' (Numbers 6:24-27).
The three parts of this benediction represent the ministries of the three Persons of the Godhead. The first part expresses the benevolent love of God; the second reflects the redeeming grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; and the last is setting forth the joy of the communion of the Holy Spirit and corresponds with the New Testament benediction of 2 Corinthians 13:14:
'The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.'
We will see that the name God put on His people changed to Christians (Acts 11:26: 'The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch') after the ministry of Jesus - so Jehovah's Witnesses are mis-named, for we are meant to be witnesses to Jesus (Acts 1:8)!
We have already mentioned another example of the plain teaching of the 'Trinity', found in Isaiah's vision, Isaiah 6:3:
'And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.'
There are also three distinct Persons set forth in other places in the Old Testament:
2 Samuel 23:2,3: 'The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.'
The Rock is also clearly identified in the New Testament as Jesus Christ - and as the Rock the Israelites followed (1 Corinthians 10v1-4):
1 Corinthians 10:1 For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that Rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.
1 Corinthians 10v4 reveals another deceptive WBTS translation in the NWT:
4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they used to drink from the spiritual rock-mass that followed them, and that rock-mass MEANT the Christ.
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