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"Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon him while He is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon." (Isaiah 55:6-7)

 

Mar 12, 2019

In this episode Brother Jonathan talks about the Trinity, some of the Greek support for it, and passages which demonstrate it.

 

Remnant Bible Fellowship

S3EP6

About the Trinity                                                                                           

 

  1. Definition
    1. The word “trinity” is not found in the Bible. It was first used by Tertullian, a bishop in Northern Africa who lived from about 145-220 AD. Tertullian, along with others such as Athanasias, was the first to articulate and systematize what was described in the scriptures regarding the triune nature of God.
  2. There is One God
    1. The Bible is very clear that there is only ONE God.
      1. “I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:” (Isa 45:5)
      2. “Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.” (Deu 4:39)
  • “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:” (Mar 12:29)
  1. The fact that God is “one” is clearer in the Hebrew.
    1. “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:” (Deu 6:4)
  2. The Hebrew word that we translate as “one” here is “echad”. It means “unity” or “oneness”. In this word is implied the plurality of the Godhead. Even in the first title applied to God in the OT there is plurality in unity:
    1. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Gen 1:1)
  3. The Hebrew word translated as “God” is “elohim”. It is the plural form of the word “el”. When it is used to refer to God this plural form of the word is always referred to in the singular. So, it is plurality in unity. Even some Jewish Rabbis have commented on this.
    1. “Come and see the mystery of the word Elohim; there are three degrees, and each degree by itself alone, and yet notwithstanding they are all one, and joined together in one, and are not divided from each other.” (Simeon ben Joachi)
  4. This gives a better backdrop to how the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit can all be three persons in one being.
  • Persons and Being
    1. The Christian doctrine of the Trinity is distinctly monotheistic. Monotheism is the belief that there is only one being in all the universe who can be called God. This is different than the belief of Unitarianism. Unitarianism is the belief that God is one person, and not a tri-une God. Christians are necessarily monotheistic. The term “person” is used theologically to describe the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit within the Godhead. They are all the same being. God is numerically one being, but He is manifested in three distinct persons. All three persons are equally God and each has their own will, and refers to themselves as “I” and others as “you”.
    2. Many of these terms were argued about for the first centuries of Christianity. The question for Christians was not so much “what does the Bible say”, as much as, “How do we explain/systematize this doctrine?” It is obviously confusing at times to try and understand. Several terms were thrown around during early Christian debates.
      1. “ousia” (ousia), means “essence; being” – “that which exists and therefore has substance” (BDAG)
      2. “homos” (o{moV) means, “all the same, nevertheless, yet; likewise, equally” (BDAG)
  • “homoios” (o{moioV) means, “of the same nature; like, similar” (BDAG)
  1. These three terms were very important when Christians were trying to systematize their doctrine of God. When they are put together the question at hand was:
    1. Is Jesus “the same being” [homoousin, o{moousin] with the Father?
    2. OR, Is Jesus “a similar being” [homoiousin, o{moiousin] with the Father? (Sabellianism)
  2. This may seem like splitting-hairs but it is really a serious question. Is Jesus an entirely separate being who is only SIMILAR to God, or is He the SAME BEING (ousia)? According to the Bible, this is the difference between denying Jesus and believing on Him.
    1. “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as [Gr. Kathos, “just as”] they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.” (John 5:22-23)
    2. “He that hateth me hateth my Father also.” (Joh 15:23)
  • “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.” (1Jn 2:23)
  1. “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” (2Jn 1:9-11)
  1. It is explicitly stated that if we deny the personhood of Jesus Christ as He relates to the Father that we sever any relationship with God at all. Someone cannot deny that Jesus is the unique Son of God – in the sense of being the same being with the Father – and be a Christian.
  2. If someone were to try to say – as some do – that Jesus is NOT the same being as the Father, but still try to say that He is divine is some sense, then what you have is a belief in multiple gods. To deny the Trinity, while trying to maintain that Jesus is equal with God (the Son of God), is to descend to polytheism; but to deny that Jesus is equal with God (the same being) means that Jesus couldn’t have redeemed mankind. The only understanding of these things that makes sense of what the Bible plainly describes in salvation, doctrine, and all commandments, is that God is three persons in one being (tri-une).
  3. Kerry D. McRoberts said, “The distinctions among the three members of the Godhead do not refer to their essence or substance, but to their relationships. ‘There are three, not in status, but in degree; not in substance, but in form; not in power, but in manifestation.’” (Horton, Systematic Theology, p. 167)
  4. Another word over which there was discussion was the word “hupostasis” (u{postasiV). It means, “the essential or basic structure/ nature of an entity; substantial nature, essence, actual being, reality.” (BDAG)
  5. Jesus is said in Hebrews 1:3 to be the “express image of his [God’s] ‘hupostasis’”. The KJV renders it as “person”. Other versions variously render it substance, being, nature, essence. Paul says in Colossians that Jesus “is the visible image of the invisible God.” (Colossians 1:15) In fact, the only part of God that can be physically touched – in the most basic sense – is Jesus. The Son of God became a human being and subjected Himself to a physical human body. In His resurrection body, He demonstrated that He was able to be touched. (See Luke 24:39 and John 20:27) But God the Father is primarily a Spirit (John 4:24).
  1. John 1:1
    1. The language used by the writers of the New Testament was intentionally specific in many instances. One of the best examples is John 1:1.
      1. “En a[rch/: h\n oJ lovgoV, ka;i oJ lovgoV h\n pro;s to;n qeovn, ka;i qeo;V h\n oJ lovgoV.” (John 1:1)
    2. The last part of the verse is what we’re going to look at (1:1c): ka;i qeo;V h\n oJ lovgoV. “and the Word was God “ (KJV) – Literally, it would be “and God was the Word”.
    3. In Koine Greek, when something is emphasized in a sentence it is thrown to the front of the sentence. This can be done without affecting the meaning because word order in Greek does not usually affect the grammatical translation. So, if you want to emphasize something you would put it at the front of the sentence and still have the same translation, but you would make clear that something is being emphasized. In John 1:1c, the word “theos” is put at the front of the clause. What is more interesting is that it doesn’t have the article in front of it, “oJ”. When a name is mentioned it usually had the article in front of it. This is very noticeable in the NT, because the word for God usually has the article in front of it.
    4. There are some very good reasons for this wording. It is intentional on the Apostle John’s part. He is being very specific about what doctrine he is describing.
      1. “Theos” is put in emphasis to stress its essence or quality. John says, “What God was, the Word was.”
      2. Its lack of a definite article shows us that the person of the Word (Jesus Christ) is not to be confused with the person of “God” (the Father).
    5. This tells us that John the Apostle was specifically teaching that Jesus was one in essence or being with the Father and has all the attributes of the Father, but that Jesus Christ is not the same “person” (in the theological sense) as the Father. This very clearly supports the tri-unity of God.
    6. Consider how easily this could’ve been different if John was teaching something else:
      1. Kai; oJ lovgoV h\n oJ qeovV – “and the Word was the God” (i.e., the Father, Sabellianism)
        1. Sabellius was a teacher of modalistic monarchianism from the third century. This idea taught that as things got farther from the “one” or “divine mind” they became less and less like it. The lowest form of these being those of the physical universe. The idea shows a Greek philosophical influence. It relegated Jesus to being “a god” and less than the Father in divine nature. It also made Jesus dependent on something else for His existence. Sabellius taught that the Son’s nature was LIKE the Father’s but not the SAME as the Father’s. He was condemned as a heretic by the Christians.
      2. Kai; oJ lovgoV h\n qeovV – “and the Word was a god” (Arianism)
        1. Arius was a follower of dynamic monarchianism. This is the idea that Jesus BECAME a god after a progression of increasing exaltation. He taught that Jesus was a created being and was only unique in that he was God’s greatest creation. Arius’ attack on the divinity of Christ is what led to the Council of Nicaea. Many Christian leaders came together to defend the divinity of Christ against Arius’ teachings (who had openly been excommunicated). They formulated the Nicene Creed as a result.
        2. Arius’ teachings about Jesus’ divinity are still taught today by the Watchtower Society: Jehovah’s Witnesses.
  • Kai; qeovV h\n oJ lovgoV – “and the Word was God” (Biblical) Jesus is one in being/essence with the Father, but is different in person.
  1. The Trinity at Work in Redemption (Matthew Slick)
    1. Incarnation – The Father incarnated the Son in the womb of Mary by the Holy Spirit.
      1. “And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luk 1:35)
    2. Baptism in the Jordan River – The Spirit descended on the Son, and the Father spoke His approval from heaven.
      1. “But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Mat 3:14-17)
    3. Public Ministry – The Father anointed the Son with the Spirit.
      1. “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” (Act 10:38)
    4. The Crucifixion – Jesus offered Himself to the Father through the Spirit.
      1. “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb 9:14)
    5. The Resurrection – The Father resurrected the Son by the Spirit.
      1. “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.” (Act 2:32)
      2. “And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:” (Rom 1:4)
    6. Pentecost – The Son received the promise of the Spirit from the Father, whom He then poured out on His disciples.
      1. “Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.” (Act 2:33)
    7. Additional Descriptions Applied to All Three in the Trinity
      1. Who gives us words to speak?
        1. The Father “But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.” (Mat 10:19-20)
        2. Holy Spirit “But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.” (Mar 13:11)
  • Son “Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.” (Luk 21:14-15)
  1. Who gave the New Covenant?
    1. Father “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jer 31:33-34)
    2. Holy Spirit “Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” (Heb 10:15-17)
  • Son “And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” (Heb 12:24)
  1. Who comforts us?
    1. Father – “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” (2Co 1:3-4)
    2. Holy Spirit – “Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.” (Act 9:31)
  • Son – “For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.” (2Co 1:5)
  1. Who gives us peace?
    1. Father – “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” (1Co 14:33)
    2. Holy Spirit – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,” (Gal 5:22)
  • Son – “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (Joh 14:27)
  1. Who sends out Christians?
    1. Father – “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” (Mat 9:38)
    2. Holy Spirit – “So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.” (Act 13:4)
  • Son - “Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” (Joh 20:21)
  • Distinctions within the Godhead
    1. “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1Jn 2:1-2)
      1. The Greek word underlying “advocate” here is “parakletos”. It means “one who appears in another’s behalf; mediator, intercessor, helper.” (BDAG) It describes how Christ is our “go-between” with the Father. How can this be possible if Jesus is EXACTLY the same person as the Father? Christ cannot be our advocate with the Father if they are exactly the same person. They are different persons within the same God.
    2. “By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore. Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.” (Heb 7:22-8:2)
      1. Jesus is described as our High Priest: the man who stands before God on our behalf and brings a sacrifice for the people. If Jesus IS the Father, then how can he be our High Priest?
    3. We may want to take a minute to consider John 10:30.
      1. “I and my Father are one.”
      2. “ego kai oJ pathr eJn esmen”
    4. The Greek language used by John when he quotes from Jesus is very specific. If it was meant to say that Jesus and the Father are numerically “one” then the Greek word used would’ve been in the nominative masculine “eJiV”; but instead of using “eJiV” he used the nominative neuter “eJn”. This shows the intention is that “unity” is meant and not absolute identity.
    5. The distinctions within the Godhead can be seen clearer when we look at passages that show the subject-object relationship between them.
      1. Jesus praying TO the Father.
        1. “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luk 22:42)
      2. The Father TESTIFIES of Jesus.
        1. “If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true.” (Joh 5:31-32)
  • Jesus refers to the Father as “another” (5:32). The Greek word is very specific. It means “another of the same kind”. If John—or Christ—were to mean “another one of another kind” then they would’ve used a different Greek word.
  1. Jesus counts Himself and the Father as two witnesses. (5:32)
  2. The Father testifies of the Son.
    1. “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Mat 3:17)
  3. The Son testifies of the Father.
    1. “Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” (Joh 5:19)
  • The Son testifies of the Spirit.
    1. “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (Joh 14:26)
  • The Spirit testified of the Son.
    1. “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:” (Joh 15:26)
  • Other scriptures to consider.
    1. “In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old. But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.” (Isa 63:9-10)
    2. “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” (Zec 12:10)
    3. “And God [elohim] said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his [singular] own image, in the image of God created he [singular] him; male and female created he [singular] them.” (Gen 1:26-27)
    4. “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” (John 14:16-17)
    5. “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.” (1Cor 12:4-6)
    6. “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.” (2Cor 13:14)
    7. “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Eph 4:4-6)
    8. “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.” (1Pe 1:2)
    9. “John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (Rev 1:4-6)