God Is A Trinity

      Orthodox Jews testify that their faith is a belief in the one and only true God. On the front of their synagogues they will usually have carved Deuteronomy 6:4, "Hear O Israel, Jehovah Our God, Jehovah is one." They refer to this verse as the shema and quote it in their services as their creed. They will tell Christians, "We Jews can never believe in your Christian religion because you worship three gods. Your belief in a Trinity is a form of polytheism (many gods)."

     The Mormons require every male to spend two years serving as a missionary. They teach that there are three persons that make up the Godhead…Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and since each person is a God this proves a plurality of Gods exist. They will tell you that these are the only Gods they worship but that an infinite number of holy persons have spiritually progressed until they have become gods. They will also teach that God was once a man and progressed spiritually until He became God and this opportunity is available to you and other humans who become spiritually worthy.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that they believe in one God and His name is Jehovah. They will say that the Father and the Son are two different persons and only the Father is the one true Almighty God. They will say that Jesus is less than God and base their belief on statements by Jesus that he was submissive to the Father’s will and therefore, inferior. They deny that the Holy Spirit is God or that He is a person.

     Preachers of the United Pentecostal Church teach that since there is only one true God, therefore, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are just three names or titles for the same person. They will teach that Jesus is the one true God and just manifests Himself in the different modes of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.


Old Testament Scriptures Teaching Three Persons In The Godhead.

Three persons were active in creation.

     "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Genesis 1:1. The Hebrew word for God is "Elohim" meaning the strong One or the putter forth of power. The El in Elohim is singular, but the suffix him (pronounced heem) is a particular plural in Hebrew that means three or more. The verb "created" is in the singular which reveals that creation was the work of the one true God, but three persons in the Godhead were active.

      The prophet Malachi reveals that the Father was active in creation. "Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us?:   Malachi 2:10

     Moses revealed the Spirit was active. "…and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters." Genesis 1:2.

     A third Person was also active in creation. This person reveals Himself through Isaiah by the titles "LORD", "Redeemer", and "Holy One of Israel." "Come near to Me, hear this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning;, From the time it was, I was there. And now the Lord God and His Spirit have sent me. Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go. Isaiah 48:16, 17.

     The creation story also reveals that there was a plurality of persons active in the creation of man. "Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…´ Genesis 1:26. Being made in the image of God includes spiritual, moral, and intellectual qualities not possessed by other creatures of God, but on the basis of God's singular plural name, Elohim, it specifically refers to man being a trinity of body, soul, and spirit.

     We also have examples of plural personalities in the Godhead communicating with One Another: "And the LORD said, '…Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language…'" Genesis 11:6, 7. "Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?' Then I said, 'Here am I. Send me.' " Isaiah 6:8.

     There is also reference to plural personalities in Isaiah's account of God's relationship with Israel. "For He said,' Surely, they are My people, Children who will not lie.' So He became their Savior.'" Isaiah 63:8 (The Hebrew word for Savior is translated "Jesus" in our New Testament). In verse 10 we read, "But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; Therefore, He turned Himself  against them as an enemy…"

     The prophet Zechariah gave the revelation that one of the persons of the Godhead would come and dwell with man. "Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion; for behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst" declares the LORD, "and many nations will join themselves to the Lord in that day and will become MY people. Then I will dwell in your midst, and you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you." Zechariah 2:10, 11.

     From the above scriptures and others that ascribe deity to the Messiah (i.e. Isaiah 7:14 & 9:6) it should not come as a surprise that the most sacred Jewish book, the Zohar, makes this comment on Deuteronomy 6:4, "Hear O Israel, Jehovah our God, Jehovah is one" : Why is there need of mentioning the name of God three times in this verse? The first Jehovah is the Father above. The second is the stem of Jesse, the Messiah who is to come from the family of Jesse through David. And the third one is the way which is below and these three are one." (We understand "the way which is below" to refer to the Holy Spirit Who shows lost mankind the way to restored fellowship with God - John 16:7-11).

     It is also helpful to compare Deuteronomy 6:4 with Genesis 2:24, "For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh." The bond of marriage unites two personalities into a spiritual, physical, and affectional unity. In both cases the word for one is 'echad' , pronounced ekh-awd'.

     Jewish priests and scholars in Jesus' day never challenged His teaching that there was more than one person in the Godhead. What they did challenge was Jesus' claim to being "the Son of God" and thus teaching that God had entered the physical realm: "Jesus said to them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM" Then they took up stones to throw at Him…" John 8:58, 59.

     "I and My Father are one." Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, 'Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?" The Jews answered Him saying, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself God." John 10:30-33

     So why have Jews come to believe that Deuteronomy 6:4 eliminates believing in one God composed of three persons? The answer is found in the twelfth century A.D. in the writings of Moses Mainmonides, one of Israel's most respected scholars. He compiled thirteen articles of faith which were accepted into Jewish liturgy. One of them is, "I believe with a perfect faith that the Creator, blessed be His name, is an absolute one." In doing so he changed the word "echad" in Deuteronomy 6:4 to "yachid" The difference is that "echad" means "a united one." As we have seen from a comparison of Deuteronomy 6:4 with Genesis 2:24 the original word of scripture does not disallow the belief that the united God is composed of three persons.

Copyright © 2002 Thomas E Berry
All Scripture quoted from NKJV unless otherwise noted


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