In Defence of the Trinity (Part 2)

Some Key scriptures concerning the Trinity as seen in the New Testament.

In keeping with the teachings of the Hebrew Scriptures, the New Testament clearly recognizes that there are three persons in the Godhead, although it becomes quite a bit more specific. The New Testament answers the question of Proverbs 30:4: “What is His name, and what is His Son’s name if you know?” His Son’s name is Yeshua (Jesus). In accordance with the Hebrew Scriptures, He is sent by God to be the Messiah, but this time as a man instead of as “The Angel of the Lord.”

In this passage of scripture in Proverbs 30:4 the first person is called the Father while the second person is called the Son. Furthermore, the Son is sent for a specific purpose: to die for our sins. In essence, what happened is that God became a man (not that man became God) in order to accomplish the work of the Atonement. Jesus in His flesh was fully man and fully God. (Also confirmed by the Great Biblical Creeds of the Church Historically) although the evidence of scripture stands alone and does not need man’s testimony or endorsement! The New Testament calls the third person of the Godhead the Holy Spirit. He is related to the work of the second person, in keeping with the teaching of the Hebrew Scriptures. We see, then, that there is a continuous body of teaching in both the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament relating to the Tri-unity of God.

1. Several times in the New Testament we see all three persons of the Trinity mentioned together.

“When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 5:16-17).

In this passage of scripture we see the three distinct persons of the Godhead mentioned. At the Lord Jesus baptism all three members of the Trinity were present. The Lord Jesus was physically present on earth. The Holy Spirit came down to rest upon Him and the Father spoke from Heaven. Then again the truth of the Trinity is confirmed in the parting commission of the Lord Jesus to His disciples.   “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).

Baptism in the name of Jesus that is also mentioned in the New Testament was a reference to the uniqueness of Believers Baptism associated with Jesus to distinguish it from several other forms of baptism practiced at the time when the New Testament was written. Believers Baptism is to be administered in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. This was Jesus express command! In 110 AD Ignatius of Antioch wrote concerning Baptism, “Wherefore also the Lord, when He sent forth the apostles to make disciples of all nations, commanded them to “baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” not unto one [person] having three names, nor into three [persons] who became incarnate, but into three possessed of equal honour.” (Letter to the Philadelphians, 2)

The subject of Baptism has not been dealt with in this study. That is another subject all together although it is related to the issue of the oneness adherents who themselves believe that Baptism should be administered only in the name of Jesus and not in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. This command of the Lord Jesus they reject outright! (See the article on Believers Baptism on this website)

2. In John Chapter 14 we see all three persons of the Triune God referenced together and distinctly from each other.

“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever … “the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you… “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (John 14:16-17, 21: 16) .

We are told that the Son will pray to the Father and the Father will send the Helper (Holy Spirit). Then in verse 21 we are told that when we keep His commandments that we will be loved by the Son and by the Father. Jesus clearly draws a distinction between Himself and the Father and the Holy Spirit. This is future tense. After we have the Holy Spirit on earth and indwelling us as believers, we will still have the love of the Father and Son in heaven.

3. The Lord Jesus again reveals an eternal distinction between Himself, the Holy Spirit and His Father.

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: “of sin, because they do not believe in Me; “of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more;” (John 16: 7-10).

In this passage, Jesus promises that He will send the Holy Spirit who will convict the world of sin. Yet He also makes it clear that He goes to the Father. He does not become the Father, nor does He become the Holy Spirit! as taught by the Oneness adherents.

4. The First Letter of John walks us through the Trinity.

“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world” (1 John 4:14).

The Lord Jesus Christ is our Advocate with the Father. An advocate is a legal representative. An advocate pleads for the one being defended. Here John tells us that when we sin, Jesus pleads on our behalf to the Father. This does not make sense if Jesus is the Father. Throughout this book, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are identified as separate persons who are all equally God.

Notice also that Jesus was “sent” you may well ask,” sent from where?” The answer has to be from Heaven. Even as John the Baptist testifies concerning Him, “I am from below but He is from above.” Indeed, the role of a mediator between God and man is also seen in the book of Job. “Also, now, lo, in the heavens [is] my witness, (umpire) And my testifier (Advocate) in the high places. My interpreter [is] my friend, Unto God hath mine eye dropped And he reasoneth for a man with God, And a son of man for his friend.” (Job 16:19-21). (Young’s literal translation) Who is this person who intercedes for Job and stands between him and God? It is the pre-incarnate Son of God as the eternal mediator between God and men. (1Timothy 2:5) The Apostle John also says; “This is He who came by water and blood — Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one” (1 John 5:6-7).

The Lord Jesus came by water and blood to pay our debt to sin, He continues as our Advocate with the Father and the Holy Spirit continues the work and bears witness to the truth on earth. These three are identified as distinct in their personhood, but verse seven clearly tells us that the three are one. How then can Jesus say, “I and the Father are one”? Because the Triune God is one God revealed in three persons. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are equal, of one substance, and eternally distinct.

Polycarp, the Bishop of Smyrna, was discipled by John the apostle. Polycarp himself said: “O Lord God almighty…I bless you and glorify you through the eternal and heavenly high priest Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, through whom be glory to you, with Him and the Holy Spirit, both now and forever”

Dionysius made a defence in 262 AD against Sabellius who popularized the Oneness/Modalistic view. He responded to the argument that Oneness believers use today – that the Trinity equals three gods. Dionysius called the argument blasphemy and the idea that the Son is the Father and that the Father is the Son he also called blasphemy: A.D.Dionysius himself said:  “Next, then, I may properly turn to those who divide and cut apart and destroy the Monarchy, the most sacred proclamation of the Church of God, making of it, as it were, three powers, distinct substances, and three godheads. I have heard that some of your catechists and teachers of the divine word take the lead in this tenet. They are, so to speak, diametrically opposed to the opinion of Sabellius. He, in his blasphemy, says that the Son is the Father and vice versa” (Letters of Pope Dionysius to Bishop Dionysius of Alexandria 1:1).

Some General Scriptures proving the Trinity.

1. God addresses His Son in Eternity.

“The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth. The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.   The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath” (Psalm 110:1-5).

In this passage God addresses His Son in eternity. He says He is a Priest forever after the order of Melchizadek who met Abraham. Melchizedek himself was without father or mother or genealogy without beginning or end and like the Son of God remains a priest forever. Melchizedek was in fact the pre-incarnate Son of God Himself This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, his name means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.” Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of daysor end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever. And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. For it is declared: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 7:1-3,15-17).

God again speaks to His Son in eternity when He declares: “Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One. “Let us break their chains,” they say, “and throw off their fetters.” The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, “I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill.”   I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, “You are my Son today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter you will dash them to pieces like pottery.” Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth.   Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for His wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him” (Psalm 2:1-12).

2. In the New Testament we are told that Jesus Christ is the Wisdom of God and that the treasures of all of God’s wisdom are hidden in Him.

“Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”(Colossians 2:2-3)… “They may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (1 Corinthians 1: 24). The Lord Jesus existed from all, eternity as the wisdom of God and speaks about the fact that He was around at creation and was involved in creation with His Father. Wisdom is spoken of as a person eternally existing and that that person was “filled with delight day after day rejoicing always in the presence of God.” This could only be said of a person! The Book of Proverbs picks up on this truth

“The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old; I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning, before the world began. When there were no oceans, I was given birth, when there were no springs abounding with water; before the mountains were settled in place, before the hills, I was given birth, before He made the earth or its fields or any of the dust of the world. I was there when He set the heavens in place, when He marked out the horizon on the face of the deep, when He established the clouds above and fixed securely the fountains of the deep, when He gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command, and when He marked out the foundations of the earth. Then I was the craftsman at His side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in His presence, rejoicing in His whole world and delighting in mankind” (Proverbs 8:22-31).

3. The Eternal Son of God was involved with His Father in creation.

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:15-17).

In the Book of Hebrews we read that God made the universe by His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. He speaks of Him as a separate and distinct person within the Godhead. In fact in the book of Hebrews we see God speaking to His eternal and divine pre-existing Son who was co-creating the universe with His Father.

“ In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, by whom he made the universe. But about the Son He (God) says, Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.” He also says, “In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.” To which of the angels did God ever say, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”? (Hebrews 1: 1, 6-13).

4. The Eternal Son of God existed from all eternity separate from and yet One with the Father.

In the book of the Prophet Micah we read, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from days of eternity” (Micah 5:2).

Clearly this Old Testament passage tells us where the Messiah would be born and also of His Eternal Divinity. The Lord Jesus Christ in His pre-existent form as the Eternal Son of God like His Father has existed from all eternity. This is clearly seen in this Old Testament text! When we turn to the New Testament especially to the writings of the Apostle John this truth is clearly revealed. Let;s look at some of those texts. “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He (the Word) was with God in the beginning” (John 1:1). Literally the text reads, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was face to face with God…” Of course “the Word” is referring to the Lord Jesus Christ who is called “the Word of God” in Revelation chapter nineteen. (Revelation 19:13) John the Baptist also testified to the eternal nature of the Lord Jesus as it is written, “John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because He was before me’” (John 1:15).

Other texts from the Apostle John

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:1-3)… “And now, Father, glorify Me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began” (John 17:5). The Lord Jesus could not make it clearer concerning His eternal relationship with His Father from all eternity!

1. The Trinity lives in every true believer through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit Himself.

“Jesus replied, “If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (John14:23). Notice the use of the terms “we” and “our” the Lord Jesus uses. Because the Holy Spirit has the same nature that God the Father and God the Son has then we can truly say that when the Holy Spirit comes to live within a person’s life then that person also has the Father and the Son dwelling in their life even though the Father and the Son physically reside in Heaven.

2. The Lord Jesus has a separate will than that of His Father yet chose to do the will of His Father.

He was not praying to Himself as the Father! “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from Me; yet not My will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42) .Clearly there are two wills involved in this prayer. There is the will of Jesus and the will of His Father. As Jesus Himself said “I have not come to do My will but the Will of the Father who sent Me.” When He said this He was not saying He was the Father but that His will was always in perfect unity with the will of His Father dwelling in Heaven! To make Jesus the Father would have Jesus praying to Himself. This is Ludicrous to say the least!

3. In the book of Revelation we see the Son as distinct from the Father yet having equality with God.

In Eternity, where time on earth as we know it does not exist, we see the Son coming out from the center of God’s throne revealing the glory He shared with His Father before the world was. “Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He came and took the scroll from the right hand of Him who sat on the throne” (Revelation 5:6-7).

Now compare this text with the Psalm which says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever: A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions” (Psalm 45:6-7). It is interesting that in the Old Testament for example where we read that the Word of the Lord came to Jeremiah or to Isaiah or to the other people writing the Old Testament scriptures it denotes a specific person giving the revelation to the prophet or writer speaking to them personally. The “Word” was Jesus. This is “The Word” that was face to face with God and was God and in the beginning with God, a separate and distinct personality from God that would Himself become flesh. (John 1:1-2, 14)

Sources: Mike Oppenheimer. (Jewish Hebrew Scholar) “Let us Reason” website.Arnold Fruchtenbaum of “Ariel Ministries” (Jewish Hebrew Scholar).Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry website. My own Bible references/ research as well. Texts used are the NIV and the King James Bible

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