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THE TRINITY IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
WHEN CHRIST WAS BORN, AND AT THE INCARNATION OF CHRIST, WE SEE THE THREE PERSONS
The work of each One in the Godhead reveals that there are three distinct Persons:
'The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world' (1 John 4:14).
The Father who sent and the Son who came are separate Persons.
'If I depart, I will send Him (the Spirit) unto you' (John 16:7).
The Son who sent and the Spirit who came are separate Persons.
The Father sent the Son to die. The Son went to the cross and died.
The Spirit reveals Him to our hearts for 'He shall glorify me' (John 16:14)
The Father loved (John 3:16); the Son died (Romans 5:6); the Spirit convicts and teaches (John 16:8-13).
The New Testament gives ample teaching on the reality of the 'Trinity', such as Matthew 28:19:
'Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.'
Here we have a triune parallelism of three nouns - and the parallelism would be shattered if two of the nouns were of persons and one (the Holy Spirit) merely of 'an influence or force,' - or an insulting 'it'' - as Jehovah's Witnesses are taught by the WBTS!
The Greek of Matthew 28 is also very interesting: the baptizing is to be administered in one name, not three - i.e. the verse does NOT read:
'Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the nameS of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.'
If the WBTS were right, concerning their claims for restoring the True Name of God, which they insist to be 'Jehovah' despite the abundant evidence against the claim, then we might expect the baptismal formula to be in the name of 'Jehovah'. However, the actual formual implies some measure of unity in itself, for it is to be in the name of 'the Father' and 'the Son' and 'the Holy Spirit.' Jesus uses the article with each noun and thus speaks of three persons - the aspects of unity and three persons in this passage alone may explain why Tertullian designated the Latin word trinitas as describing the Godhead (note this Latin term is all that was contributed to the doctrine which stands firm on Scriptural evidence alone). Since there are an overwhelming number of Scriptures supporting this view the burden of proof falls upon Unitarians and other unbelievers to demonstrate from the Scriptures that such is not the case, for one can hardly deny that New Testament Scripture demonstrates that, at an early date, there was a tri-name phraseology in use among Christians.
It is most significant that the first public appearance of Christ was that of His baptism and the three Persons of the Godhead were present and identified. The Holy Spirit was seen to descend upon Christ in the form of a dove and the Father openly identified the Son saying: 'This is my beloved Son' (Matthew 3:17).
So, when baptism is administered it is to be done in the name (not names) of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit as the verse above teaches. The word name reveals the divine unity which exists in the Father, Son, and Spirit for the name is threefold.
Christ refers to the other members of the 'Trinity' in John 14:16,17: 'I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter ... Even the spirit of truth.'
Paul speaks of the 'Trinity' in 1 Corinthians 12:4-6:
'Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God who works all in all.'
These verses point clearly to the 'Trinity' - and in such a clear way that all 'gifts, ministries, and works' are together, or united, in the same way that the Spirit, the Lord, are united in One God! So there are distinctions in office, differences in administrations, and diversities of operation within the 'Trinity'.
The benediction of 2 Corinthians 13:14 clearly presents the 'Trinity':
'The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.'
As in Matthew 28 and 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 the article is present before each noun and not after the rule of Granville Sharp. Paul has three entities in view and, furthermore, each article is genitive singular in form: tou (of the), even though 'Spirit' is neuter, for the masculine and neuter are identical in the genitive singular.
In Ephesians we have at least two references to the 'Trinity':
'For through him (Christ) we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father' (Ephesians 2:18).
4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (Ephesians 4:4-6).
In 1 Peter 1:2 we have the clear distinction given of the work of each person of the 'Trinity':
'Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.'
So, to summarise, we can observe the three Persons of the Godhead present in the important aspects of Christ's life:
IN THE DEATH OF CHRIST WE SEE THE THREE PERSONS PRESENT
Christ was born of a virgin, but was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:22-25), God was also present (Luke 2:13,14).
THE TRINITY WAS ALSO PRESENT IN THE RESURRECTION AS SHOWN EARLIER
'God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son' (John 3:16).
It was also written of the Father: 'He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all' (Romans 8:32).
But we also hear the Son speaking of Himself: 'No man taketh it (my life) from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down' (John 10:18).
And the Holy Spirit also had His part as set forth in Hebrews 9:14: 'Christ ... through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God.'
The Father raised up the Son from the dead as testified in Acts 2:24: 'Whom God raised up.' The 'Trinity' raised Jesus from the dead!
But, in John 10v17-18, Jesus said:
'Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up .... but He spake of the temple of His body',
and in John 10v17-18 He said:
'I lay down my life that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from me, but I lay it down on my own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from my Father.'
So Jesus raised himself (the same temple - the same body!) from the dead (cf. John 2v19-21), 'Jehovah' the Father raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 10v9 and 1 Corinthians 15v15), and the Holy Spirit (Romans 8v11; 1 Peter 3:18) raised Jesus from the dead.
THE TRINITY IS MENTIONED IN RELATION TO THE INSPIRATION OF THE WORD OF GOD
WE SEE ALL THREE PERSONS AT WORK IN RELATION TO SERVING THE LORD
'All Scripture is given by inspiration of God' (2 Timothy 3:16).
'The prophets ... searched .. what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow' (1 Peter 1:10,11).
'But holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit' (2 Peter 1:21).
AS BELIEVERS WE KNOW THE REALITY OF THE TRINITY IN OUR OWN LIVES
The Father is mentioned in 2 Corinthians 3:5-6: 'Our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament.'
The Son is mentioned in 1 Timothy 1:12: 'He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.'
The Holy Spirit is mentioned in Acts 20:28: 'Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.'
The Father - Superior to the Son
First, the Father: 'One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all' (Ephesians. 4:6).
Then the Son: 'Christ in you, the hope of glory' (Colossians 1:27).
And also the Holy Spirit: 'Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you' (1 Corinthians 6:19).]
Page 6 continued - Awake! April 22, 2005
The 'He' in this verse is the Holy Spirit who is taking what is the Fathers - but is equally the Son's - and we see the Trinity at work together again!
WBTS statement: 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."
The Father's superiority over the Son, as well as the fact that the Father is a separate person, is highlighted also in the prayers of Jesus, such as the one before his execution:
"Father, if you wish, remove this cup [that is, an ignominious death] from me. Nevertheless, let, not my will, but yours take place." (Luke 22:42) If God and Jesus are "one in essence," as the Trinity doctrine says, how could Jesus' will, or wish, seem different from that of Father? - Hebrews 5:7, 8; 9:24.
Furthermore, if Jehovah and Jesus were the same, how could one of them be aware of things of which the other was not? Jesus, for instance, said regarding the time of the world's judgment: "Concerning that day or the hour nobody knows, neither the angels in heaven nor the Son, but the Father." - Mark 13:32.
[Orthodox Christian Reply: Let us first look at the WBTS claim that 'Jehovah', the Father, is 'superior to his Son.'
First they claim that: 'Jehovah is "from everlasting to everlasting." But the Bible says that Jesus is "the firstborn of every creature."
We will examine the truth about the word 'firstborn,' in relation to Jesus, later. First let us look at the very revealing prophecy in Micah 5v2:
'But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.'
This is a well known prophecy of the place of the birth of the Messiah, Jesus, at Bethlehem. The WBTS recognised this fact in the first sentence of this article:
According to reliable history, a man named Jesus was born over 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem, a small town in the land of Judea.
The key word in Micah 5v2 is 'eternity', also translated 'everlasting'. This is the Hebrew word 'olam' which is also used for ('Jehovah') God and is, for instance, the Hebrew word used in Psalm 90v2; 93v2; 103v17; 106v48:
e.g. '....Even from everlasting (olam) to everlasting (olam), Thou art God.' (Psalm 90v2)
To say Micah 5v2 doesn't show Christ's eternal/everlasting existence implies 'Jehovah' God isn't eternal either. The Jehovah's Witnesses chose to dishonestly translate 'olam' as 'time indefinite' in their NWT to try and avoid the clear conclusion that Jesus Christ has existed for the same time span as 'Jehovah' - eternally!
The WBTS article then claims: 'That Jehovah is greater than Jesus, Jesus himself taught when he said: "My Father is greater than I."'
Many people make the same mistake and think that John 14:28 proves that God the Father is 'greater' than the Son:
JOHN 14:28 'You heard me say, `I am going away and I am coming back to you.' If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.
The Greek (Westcott and Hort 1881 Greek Text) reads:
28 hkousate oti egw eipon umin upagw kai ercomai proj umaj ei hgapate me ecarhte an oti poreuomai proj ton patera oti o pathr meizwn mou estin
Again, the WBTS 'Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures' reads identically, as any Jehovah's Witness can check.
Just a few verses earlier, in the same book, we read Jesus' words to His disciples:
'Truly, truly I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father.' (John 14v12)
Again the Greek text reads:
12 amhn amhn legw umin o pisteuwn eij eme ta erga a egw poiw kakeinoj poihsei kai meizona toutwn poihsei oti egw proj ton patera poreuomai
and the WBTS Greek reads identically.
How is it possible that Jesus could say to the disciples that they shall do greater (meizona) works than He had shown them? After all, He had raised the dead, healed the sick, cast out demons, and forgiven sins -and only God can forgive sins! (Matthew 9v2,5; Mark 2v5,9; Luke 5v20,23 & 7v48).
According to Greek expert, W.E. Vines, the Greek word, meizon (meizona) is the comparative degree of megas (see GREAT, No. 1), e.g., Matthew 11:11; in Matthew 13:32, the RV rightly has "greater than" (KING JAMES VERSION, "the greatest among"); 23:17; in Luke 22:26, RV, "the greater (among you)" (KING JAMES VERSION, "greatest"); in Jas. 3:1, RV, "the heavier (marg., greater) judgment" (KING JAMES VERSION, "the greater condemnation"); it is used in the neuter plural in John 1:50, "greater things"; in 14:12, "greater works" (lit., "greater things"); in 1 Corinthians 12:31, RV, "the greater," KING JAMES VERSION, "the best".
The examples from Vines shows how the word is used in a comparative manner. Thus Christ tells His disciples that the reason they can expect to do these 'greater' works is: 'because I go to the Father.' So Jesus explains, as we see in the surrounding chapters, that this is the reason they will do 'greater' things: 'but I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (advocate) shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.'
Notice how, in John 14v26, we read:
'But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My Name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.'
The Son does exactly what the Father does because, as we have already proven, He is equal to the Father and that is why John 16v15 is true:
'ALL things that the Father has ARE MINE; therefore I said, that He takes of Mine, and will disclose it to you.'
Now, the reason that the disciples will do 'greater [than] these' (Greek: meizona touton) is because of the Holy Spirit working in them. But how can men possibly do greater works than Jesus? When the WBTS claim that the word 'greater' makes Jesus inferior to 'Jehovah' they also have to conclude that the Holy Spirit - and/or the disciples - are greater than Jesus!
Clearly this Greek term 'greater' is shown to be a comparative, numerical or positional 'greater'. The disciples will do 'greater' things (although they are positionally much lower as mere men) only in a numerical sense.
Although Jesus was positionally lower than the Father while He was 'the Man of Sorrows....acquainted with grief' (Isaiah 53:3), He never did inferior works to the Father - the works testify to this (John 10v31-39). The same Greek word (meizona) used in the statement "the Father is greater than I," therefore refers to position rather than essence. Jesus was speaking from the standpoint of his humanity, the incarnate state He assumed in order to fulfill the purposes of redemption. He had already acknowledged that "the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing" (John 5:19) because He had limited Himself as a Man (Philippians 2:5-11). The numerous statements that the Father had sent Him confirm that Jesus was acting under authority and was obligated to fulfill the Father's commands. This was in order to fulfil His role as the second Adam - the perfect second Man who lived the life Adam was created to live - continuously and perfectly in God's will. This is why there are verses in the New Testament - the ones the WBTS pick on to try and prove Christ's inferiority - which speak of Him as the Son of Man in subordination to God the Father. But, in heaven, Christ shares the throne and the worship of the hosts of heaven (Revelation 5).
So the Bible proves that the WBTS are wrong to claim that the Father is 'superior' or 'greater' than the Son in terms of His divinity or nature. Jesus clearly meant that the Father was positionally 'greater' when He made the statement in John 14:28, just as He meant that the disciples would do 'greater' works numerically, not in terms of quality or superiority!
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