Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Holy Trinity

The word "trinity" is not found anywhere in the Bible.  So does that mean it is a false teaching? Throughout the years, there have been many errors regarding the triune nature of God, and many of those errors still persist today.  I will not attempt to define or elaborate here on the erroneous teachings.  But I would like to show you what the Bible says about the Trinity.

The Heavenly Father
Many passages in the Scriptures refer to the Father in heaven, who has a face, a will, reveals things to man, loves children, and even feeds the birds.  Here are just a few:

"Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?" (Mat 6:26)

"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter." (Mat 7:21)

But He answered and said, "Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted." (Mat 15:13)

And Jesus said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven." (Mat 16:17)

"For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS." (Mat 16:27)

"See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven." (Mat 18:10)

"So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish." (Mat 18:14)

"Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven." (Mat 18:19)

"My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart." (Mat 18:35)

"Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven." (Mat 23:9)

"Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." (Mat 25:34)

"But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom." (Mat 26:29)

The Son of God 
Just as there are many passages about the Father, the Scriptures are also full of many references to His Son, known as the Son of God. Let me cite a few examples:

Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." (Mat 16:16)

But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, "I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God." Jesus *said to him, "You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN." (Mat 26:63-64)

"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." (Mar 1:1)

"He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; (Luk 1:32)

The angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. (Luk 1:35)

And they all said, "Are You the Son of God, then?" And He said to them, "Yes, I am." (Luk 22:70)

"I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God." (Joh 1:34)

Nathanael answered Him, "Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel." (Joh 1:49)

"He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (Joh 3:18)

But when Jesus heard this, He said, "This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it." (Joh 11:4)

She *said to Him, "Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world." (Joh 11:27)

"but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name." (Joh 20:31)

"who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord," (Rom 1:4)

"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." (Gal 2:20)

"until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ." (Eph 4:13)

"Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession." (Heb 4:14)

"the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil." (1Jo 3:8)

"Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God." (1Jo 4:15)

"Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1Jo 5:5)

"The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son." (1Jo 5:10)

He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1Jo 5:12-13)

"And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this:" (Rev 2:18)

This is not just a Christian concept from the New Testament. It's found in the Hebrew Old Testament Scriptures as well. One example is Psalm 2, which says, "I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. 'Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession. 'You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.'" Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth. Worship the LORD with reverence And rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!" (Psa 2:7-12; cf., Heb 1:5)

The thirtieth proverb says, "Neither have I learned wisdom, Nor do I have the knowledge of the Holy One. Who has ascended into heaven and descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has wrapped the waters in His garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name or His son's name? Surely you know!" (Pro 30:3-4)  I would like to ask you, my dear reader, to tell me the name of the Son of the One who established all the ends of the earth. Surely you know!

The answer to that question is found in the following verse, which says, "Every Word of God is flawless..." (Prov 30:5a, NIV). His name is "the Word of God."  I will elaborate on this title more in the following section, but I would also like to point out that another hint for the answer to the question, "What is His Name or His Son's name" is found in the first verse of this proverb that says, " The man declares to Ithiel, to Ithiel and Ucal..." (Prov 30:1b, NASB).  According to Matthew Henry, "Ithiel signifies God with me, the application of Immanuel, God with us...Ucal signifies the Mighty One." I will also elaborate further on these two titles in the following section.

Jesus is God   
Not only is Jesus God's Son, He Himself is God. I have already written at length about this in another post, called "Is Jesus God?" so I will not elaborate on this much here.  Two or three verses will suffice to prove the point:

Isaiah prophesied, "For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace." (Isa 9:6).  That term “Mighty God” in the original Hebrew is “El Gibbor.”

The Hebrew word “El” means God.  In the five instances in Isaiah, where El is used to mean an artificial, man-made god of wood, silver, or gold, which cannot save, the context makes it clear that it does not mean the Lord.  For example, “Who has fashioned a god or cast an idol to no profit? (Isa 44:10)

In the other seventeen instances where the Hebrew word “El” is used in Isaiah, it always means the one, true, holy and righteous God of Israel, the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and its offspring, Who gives breath to the people on it And spirit to those who walk in it.  The Lord calls Himself “El.” (see Isa 43:12; 45:22).

And the exact same term, “El Gibbor”, which Isaiah used in 9:6, is used in Isaiah 10:21, where it says “A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the Mighty God.” The Hebrew word “Gibbor” means “powerful; by implication warrior, tyrant: champion, chief, giant, man, mighty (man, one), strong (man), valiant man.”  So the term “El Gibbor” could be translated literally “God-Man,” “God Champion,” “Warrior God,” “Strong God,” or “Valiant Man-God.”

So I ask you, my friend, to whom does the term “us” refer in this passage, where it says, “a child is born to us” and “a Son will be given to us”?  Is it the prophet and his wife? Is it the nation of Israel?  Who do you think had a Son called “El Gibbor”?  Only One Person is worthy of that name, and that is the Son of God Himself.  Jesus Christ is the “God-Man,” the “Mighty God!” So the term “Us” in this passage refers to the triune God-head, just as Elohim spoke in the first person plural at the creation, saying, “Let Us make man in our own image.” (Gen 1:26).

Another passage that illustrates my point is a tribute to the Messiah found in Psalm 45. It says, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of joy above Your fellows." (Psa 45:6-7; cf. Heb 1:9). According to Hebrews 1:8, the psalmist addresses the Son, saying, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever." And in the next verse the psalmist says to the Son, "Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You." He is speaking to the Son saying, "O God...God, your God has anointed you." This could only be true of Jesus Christ, who is God, and whose God is the one, true God.

Prior to His becoming flesh, Jesus, the Word was with God at the dawn of creation. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God...And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (Joh 1:1-2, 14). The Word was God!

We learn from the Revelation given to the apostle John that "He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is the Word of God."  (Rev 19:13, NIV).

And, of course, the term “us” in Isaiah 9:6 referred in part to Joseph and Mary, the earthly parents of Jesus. "BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL," which translated, means, "GOD WITH US."  (Mat 1:23). The Lord Jesus Christ is "God with us" to all of us who believe in Him.

Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"  (Joh 20:28)

Exact representation of God 
Jesus is the exact representation of God's nature.

"And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high," (Heb 1:3)

Jesus the Image of God 
While man is made in God's image, Jesus is the actual image of God.

"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven."  (Col 1:15-20)

The original Greek word for “image” here is eikon, from which we get the English word icon.  It means, “a likeness, that is, (literally) statue, profile, or (figuratively) representation, resemblance: image.”  If you want to know what God looks like, just look at Jesus.  He takes after His Father, and resembles Him exactly.

Jesus at right hand of God
Not only is Jesus the image of God, He also sits at God's right hand, in the place of highest honor and power and authority, ruling the universe.

"So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God." (Mar 16:19)

"Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear." (Act 2:33)

and he said, "Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." (Act 7:56)

But to which of the angels has He ever said, "SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET"? (Heb 1:13)

"Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens," (Heb 8:1)

Jesus presents us to the Father 
The Bible teaches that Jesus will present the saints to the Father, making us to stand in His presence blameless, because of His atonement.

"Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen." (Jud 1:24-25)

The object of this sentence is "the only God our Savior," whom Jude refers to as "Him."  When Jude gives glory to "Him," the only God, he is referring to the Father in heaven. We know this for certain, because Jude says that we give this glory to God "through Jesus Christ our Lord."  We give the glory "to" God, and we do so "through" Jesus Christ our Lord. This shows a clear distinction between the Father and the Son.  And it is in agreement with the words of Jesus Himself, who said, "no man comes to the father except by Me." (Jn 14:6).

Jesus also said, "Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven." (Mat 10:32-33).  All of these verses together indicate that Jesus will one day present us in the Father's glorious presence and confess us before Him.

Father and Jesus Christ distinct Persons
By now it should be evident that the Father and Jesus Christ are distinct Persons of the Godhead. But if not, just look at the way many of the New Testament epistles begin.  There you will see the Father and Jesus Christ named separately and distinctly, which would be pointless, if they were the same Person:

"Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, To those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ:" (Jud 1:1)

"Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love." (2Jo 1:3).  The use of the conjunction "and" here indicates two distinct Persons.

"Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;"  (2Pe 1:2)

"what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ." (1Jo 1:3)

"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort," (2Co 1:2-3)

"James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings." (Jam 1:1)

"Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen." (Heb 13:20-21)

"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." (Eph 1:2)

Jesus Himself indicated that while He was one with the Father, He was distinct from the Father. He prayed, "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." (Joh 17:3).  Eternal life is knowing the the Father in heaven, only true God, and Jesus Christ.

"And they said to the mountains and to the rocks, 'Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?'" (Rev 6:16-17)

“And they cry out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’” (Rev 7:10)

“Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.’"  (Rev 11:15)

“Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, ‘Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.’” (Rev 12:10)

“So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” (Rev 12:17)

“These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb.” (Rev 14:4)

“Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.” (Rev 14:12)

“Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.” (Rev 20:6)

“I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” (Rev 21:22)

“And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.” (Rev 21:23)

“Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb,” (Rev 22:1)

“There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him;” (Rev 22:3)

cf., 1Co 1:3; Rom 1:7; Philemon 3; Titus 1:4; Philip 1:2; 1 Tim 1:2; 2 Tim 1:2; 2 Thes 1:2; 1 Thes 2:16; 1 Thes 1:1; Gal 1:1,3

The One "Who is and Who was and Who is to come"
As I have just proven, the Father and Jesus are distinct Persons.  This is very clearly evident throughout the entire book of Revelation, including John's greeting, which makes explicit reference to the Trinity.

He writes: "John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood--" (Rev 1:4-5).  Here John conveys a blessing of grace and peace to the seven churches in Asia.  The grace and peace are from 1) The Father, whom he refers to as "Him who is and who was and who is to come," 2) "and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne," which explicitly refers to the Spirit of God, 3) "and from Jesus Christ."  Each of these references are separated by the word "and" (Greek: "kai"), indicating that they are each distinct.  If they were not distinct Persons, then it would make no sense for John to use this expression the way he did.

Therefore, it seems quite clear to me that the Father is the One Who identifies Himself by declaring, "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." (Rev 1:8).  He refers to Himself as "the Almighty," and John refers to Him as "the Lord God."  This is consistent with the distinction made throughout the book of Revelation, where only the Father is referred to as "God," or "the Almighty," or "the Lord God Almighty," and Jesus is referred to as "Christ," "the Son of God," "the Word of God," "the Lamb" and "The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God." (Rev. 1:1,2,6,8,9; 2:7,18; 3:1,2,12,14; 4:5,8,11; 5:6,9,10; 6:9; 7:2,3,10,11,12,15,17; 8:2,4; 9:4,13; 10:7; 11:1,11,13,16,17,19; 12:5,6,10,17; 13:6; 14:4,7,10,12,19; 15:1,2,3,7,8; 16:1,7,9,11,14,19,21; 17:17; 18:5,8,20; 19:1,4,5,6,9,10,13,15,17; 20:4,6; 21:2,3,7,10,11,22,23; 22:1,3,5,6,9,18,19).

That is why I am convinced it is the Father once again to Whom John was referring when he wrote: "And He who sits on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.' And He said, 'Write, for these words are faithful and true.' Then He said to me, 'It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.'" (Rev 21:5-6) This was spoken by Him who sits on the throne, and all throughout the book of Revelation, the Father is consistently referred to as He "who sits on the throne," (Rev. 4:9,10; 5:13; 6:16; 7:10,15; 19:4; 21:5).  You can find the description of the Father, sitting on the throne in Revelation 4, and the description of Jesus the Lamb standing between the throne and the elders in Revelation 5.  Jesus is also depicted at the center of the throne (Rev 7:17)

Therefore, whenever you find expressions of worship to the One "who was and who is and who is to come," and to "Him who sits on the throne," they are referring to God the Father.  Here is one great example of such a praise:

“And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.’ And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, ‘Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.’” (Rev 4:8-11; cf., 19:3-7)

The Alpha and the Omega
The term Alpha and Omega means First and Last, just as the letters alpha and omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. The term "first" comes from the Greek word, protos, meaning – foremost (in time, place, order, or importance); before, beginning, best, chief, first (of all), former.

The term "last" comes from the Greek word, eschatos, meaning – farthest, final, end, lowest, uttermost.

As I have just proven with certainty, it is the Father Who calls Himself "the Alpha and the Omega" in Rev 1:8 and 21:6. However, as with other names or titles for the Father, His Son Jesus shares many of the same ones.  This is also true of the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.  Jesus said, "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end." (Rev 22:12-13).  Here we know it is Jesus speaking, because He says, "I am coming quickly," and in the same context, "I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star." (Rev 22:16)

Jesus refers to Himself as the Alpha and Omega.  Not only does He exist now, but He was and He is to come. Jesus is the beginning and the end. Jesus took the lowest place. He became the lowest during his passion and crucifixion. He was farthest from God when He prayed, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” No one has ever been farther from God than Jesus was. Now He is in the highest place! (see Phil 2:5-11). He declares the end from the beginning (see Is 46:10). He is exalted above all else! 

Jesus calls Father “My God” 
One of the most interesting things to me about the Godhead is that Jesus calls Father “My God.” That's right!  Even Jesus, Who is Himself God, has a God -- the one true God, which His Father.

About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?" (Mat 27:46). 

Jesus *said to her, "Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.'" (Joh 20:17)

Jesus said, 'Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God." (Rev 3:2)

Jesus said, "'He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.'" (Rev 3:12)

The apostle Paul understood this correctly when referred to the heavenly Father as the God of Jesus: "...that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him." (Eph 1:17; also see 1 Cor 15:24-25)

Finally, the apostle John also referred to the Father as the God of Jesus: "and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father--to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen." (Rev 1:6)

The Father's relationship with Jesus
There are many passages that show the beautiful relationship that Jesus and the Father have with each other.

At that time Jesus said, "I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. "Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. "All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him."  (Mat 11:25-27)

At the baptism of Jesus, while He was praying to the Father "...a voice came out of heaven, 'You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.'"  (Luk 3:22b)

And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will."  (Mat 26:39)  If Jesus and the Father were the same person, the this prayer would not make any sense.  Jesus would have said, "Not as I will, but as I will."  However, their wills are separate and distinct from one another, which indicates two persons.

He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, "My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done." (Mat 26:42)

"Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? (Mat 26:53)

"The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand." (Joh 3:35)

Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. "For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel. (Joh 5:19-20)

"All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out." (Joh 6:37)

"No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. "It is written in the prophets, 'AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me." (Joh 6:44-45)

So they were saying to Him, "Where is Your Father?" Jesus answered, "You know neither Me nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also." (Joh 8:19)

"I and the Father are one." (Joh 10:30)

"Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God," (Joh 13:3)

"...I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me." (Joh 17:8b)

Jesus *said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him." (Joh 14:6-7)

"You heard that I said to you, 'I go away, and I will come to you.' If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. (Joh 14:28)

"...then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet." (1Co 15:24-25)

The Father knows things Jesus does not
Something else I find fascinating is that the Father knows things that Jesus does not.

For example, the Father knows the day and the hour when Jesus will come back to the earth.  But Jesus does not know.

Jesus said, "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone." (Mat 24:36). 

The book of Revelation begins with the words, "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John," (Rev 1:1). Put differently, God gave this revelation to Jesus ChristIf God had to give the revelation to Jesus Christ, then the Father is the source of the revelation.  Just as Jesus only said what He heard the Father saying during his earthly ministry, in the same way after his resurrection and ascension, He received a revelation from the Father, which He delivered to the saints.

Pray to the Father 
Jesus always prayed to the Father in heaven.  A perfect example was in the garden after He ate the last supper with His disciples.  Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You," (Joh 17:1)

If Jesus was praying to Himself, why would He lift His eyes to heaven and address God as "Father?"

And His prayer was for the Father to glorify Him, so that He may glorify the Father.  Again, this prayer would not make any sense if Jesus were praying to Himself.  He would have to say, "I now glorify myself, so that I may glorify Myself."

When Jesus was asked by His disciples how to pray, He taught them and us to pray to the Father in Heaven.

And He said to them, "When you pray, say: 'Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come." (Luk 11:2)

"You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you." (Joh 15:16)

Jesus taught us to pray to the Father in Jesus' name.  Consider this fact in relation to the distinction between the members of the Godhead.  It is consistent with the evidence throughout Scripture that the Father and Jesus Christ are two distinct Persons.

The Father Has Given Jesus Authority
In His high priestly prayer on the night He was betrayed, Jesus prayed to the Father, saying, "Even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life." (Joh 17:2)

After His resurrection, Jesus came up and spoke to [His disciples], saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth." (Mat 28:18)

If the Father were Jesus, there would be no need to give Himself authority.  Likewise, there would be no need to give Himself the disciples, as Jesus said in this prayer the Father had done: "to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life."

The Father and Jesus Have the Same Name
As I mentioned already, Jude referred to God the Father as the only God our Savior (Jud 1:25).  This is consistent with the Scriptures written before Christ, in which God was referred to as Savior (2Sa. 22:3; Psa. 17:7; 106:21; Isa. 19:20; 43:3,11; 45:15,21; 49:26; 60:16; 63:8; Jer. 14:8; Hos. 13:4).

And Jesus was named after His Father, for the very name "Jesus" means "Savior."  "Jesus" in Hebrew is "Yeshua," which means "Yahweh [the Lord] is Salvation."  The angel of the Lord told Joseph, "...You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." (Mat 1:21)

Jesus said, "I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him." (Joh 5:43)

Jesus prayed to the Father, saying, "I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. (Joh 17:6).  What name did Jesus manifest?  He manifested or displayed the name of the Father, which is the same as His name, Jesus.

Again in His prayer to the Father, Jesus said, "I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are." (Joh 17:11)

Once more He prayed to the Father, "I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them." (Joh 17:26)

Isaiah prophesied, "For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace." (Isa 9:6)

Jesus also equated Himself with the "I AM" title God gave Himself in Exodus 3:14, when "Jesus said to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM.'" (Joh 8:58). In Hebrew, this name that we translate "I AM" in English is "YHWH," the tetragrammaton for Yahweh, meaning approximately "he causes to be" or "he creates".  The Hebrews understood the holiness of this name, and did not write it out in full, preferring to use only the four consonants.  Rather than pronounce it, they preferred to say instead, "the Lord."

These passages and others make it clear that the Father and Jesus have the same name, as well as the same title.  It is part of the ancient Hebrew culture for a son to be named after his father, which is why it was so surprising to everyone when Zechariah named his son John (Lk 1:59-63).  We still do the same thing today, naming sons after their father.  The son always carries the father's family name, or surname.  For example, I have the same "Lacroix" name as my father, which is French for "The Cross." And sometimes a son also carries the father's given name.  For example, a father named "Charles" sometimes names his son, "Charles."

The heavenly Father did this when He named His Son Jesus.  However, having the same name does not mean they are the same person.  For more on this topic, see The Name of Jesus.

The Father gives the Spirit 
Many Scriptures teach that it is the Father who gives the Spirit:

"If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?" (Luk 11:13)

"And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high." (Luk 24:49)

"I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;" (Joh 14:16)

"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." (Joh 14:26)

"When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me," (Joh 15:26)

The Spirit of God
The Word of God is full of references to the Spirit of God.  In the Old Testament, He was called the ruach, meaning "wind" or "breath.  In the New Testament, He is called the pneuma, meaning "spirit," "current of air" or "breath."  The Old Testament revealed long ago that not only is God the Father, He also has a Spirit.  

He was present at the dawn of creation: "The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters." (Gen 1:2)

There are many other Scriptures in the Old Testament about the Spirit of God.  But here are just a few examples: Is 11:1-2; 61:1; 42:1; Ps 51:11; Ez 11:1.  The prophet Isaiah prophesied that the Spirit of the Lord would be upon Messiah.  King David asked the Lord not to take the Holy Spirit from him.  The prophets, like Ezekiel, said the Spirit lifted them up. Now let's look at some from the New Testament.

"And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit," (Eph 5:18)

"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law." (Gal 5:16-18)

"Do not quench the Spirit;" (1Th 5:19)

Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus is accursed"; and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit. Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. (1Co 12:3-5)

"They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia;" (Act 16:6)

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed." (Luk 4:18)

c.f., Ac 4:25-31; 1 Co 2:10-16; Jn 20:22; Mt 10:20; Lk 1:15; Rom 8:1-27 (Spirit raised Christ from dead);

For more on this, see The Person of the Holy Spirit.

Outpouring of the Spirit 
Even in the Old Testament book of Joel, the prophet foretold the outpouring of the Spirit that would happen in these last days.

"It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days." (Joe 2:28-29)

For more about the fulfillment of this prophetic promise, see Baptized with the Spirit.

Sevenfold Spirit 
We know there is only one Holy Spirit, since He is referred to in the singular form throughout Scripture, including the book of Revelation.  Yet another very amazing aspect of God is that the Holy Spirit is sometimes referred to as the seven-fold Spirit, which is sometimes translated as "the seven Spirits of God."

"To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: 'I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.'"  (Rev 3:1)

"Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God;"  (Rev 4:5; cf., 5:6)

Plural Oneness
Moses wrote in the Hebrew shama, "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one [echad]." (Deuteronomy 6:4). In this passage of Scripture, Moses used the Hebrew word "echad" for "one" when he referred to God's oneness. This is the same Hebrew word used for a unified oneness between two people in Genesis 2:24, in which Moses wrote, "That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one [echad] flesh." We also find the same Hebrew word "echad" used throughout the Hebrew Scriptures for plural oneness, such as "one people" (Gen 11:6; 34:16,22), "one heart" (2 Chr 30:12; Jer 32:39), and forming "one stick" by joining two (Ez 37:17). 

Lastly, I would like to point out some of the Scriptures where the inspired Bible writer referred explicitly to all three members of the Holy Trinity at once:

First of all, when Jesus was baptized, we see all three Persons of the Godhead manifested at once.  Luke wrote in his gospel: "Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, 'You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.'" (Luk 3:21-22).  Jesus was in the water praying to the Father, who was in heaven speaking to Jesus about how pleased He was with His Son, and the Holy Spirit was descending upon Jesus in bodily form.  This is undeniable evidence that the three Persons of the Godhead co-exist simultaneously.  They are not three manifestations of God that occurred at different points in time.

Jesus said, "For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." (Act 1:5, 7-8)

Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit…” (Mat 28:19)

The apostle Peter said to the high priest and his associates, "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him." (Act 5:30-32)

"Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure."  (1Pe 1:1-2)

"There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all." (Eph 4:4-6)

"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all." (2Co 13:14)

"Then God [Elohim, a plural form of '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.'" (Gen 1:26)

Jesus said, "'He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'" (Rev 3:21-22)

Each of these passages above refers to the three members of the Trinity separately yet concurrently (cf., Joh 14:16, 26; 15:26).

The Prophet Elijah's explanation
One of my favorite people in the Bible is Elijah the prophet.  In John Bunyan’s Vision of Heaven, the holy prophet Elijah, who is apparently one of the twenty-four elders, told him:

“We clearly see here that from eternity God was sole existing, but not solitary, that the Godhead is neither confused in unity, nor divided in number. We see that there is a priority of order but no superiority among the persons of the Trinity, but that they equally have the same excellency and power, and equally are adored.”

This revelation was given to John Bunyan by Elijah in heaven.

Putting it All Together
Both the Old and the New Testament Scriptures clearly teach that the Divine Godhead is a Holy Trinity, although the term "trinity" is never used in the Bible. 

Surely the eternal God is One God.  As Moses taught, "Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!" (Deu 6:4).  We are strictly monotheists.  Nevertheless, He is one Triune God in perfect unity of three Persons -- the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  In fact, many times the three Persons of the Trinity are referred to concurrently in Scripture.  They are simultaneous and co-eternal.

Therefore, we should not reject the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, as if it were a form of tritheism.  On the contrary, we should guard against error regarding the Holy Trinity, and believe the truth of God's Word.  Jesus is not only the Son of God, He IS God!  He is the exact representation of God, the perfect image of God.  He sits at right hand of God, reigning in majesty on His throne, and calls the Father “My God”.

The heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are distinct Persons.  One day, Jesus will present his bondservants to the Father.  And just as He prays to the Father, He taught us to pray to the Father as well.  It's the Father who gives the Spirit in the name of Jesus.  And the Holy Spirit is being poured out in these last days, just as the Father promised.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. The "Trinity" painting © 2012 Danny Hahlbohm, all rights reserved by the artist.

Author's note Also see the following posts:

Refuting the Oneness Christology Heresy
The Person of the Holy Spirit
Baptized with the Spirit
Holy Fire Baptism
Is Jesus God?
The Name of Jesus

You can access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master." Now I'd like to ask a very important question.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission.

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