Sunday, April 29, 2018

The Hebrew Roots Of The Trinity

  • The Old Testament Contains A Number Of References Where Plural Pronouns Are Applied Exclusively To God:
          -"Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” (Genesis 3:22)
          -"Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” (Genesis 11:7)       
          -"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)

          If this is not evidence supporting the the triune nature of God, then why would He speak for Himself using plural pronouns?

          Moreover, the term Elohim, which is plural, is a name used frequently for the Lord throughout the Old Testament. Consider the following:

          "In the beginning God (Elohim) created [by forming from nothing] the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void or a waste and emptiness, and darkness was upon the face of the deep [primeval ocean that covered the unformed earth]. The Spirit of God was moving (hovering, brooding) over the face of the waters." (Genesis 1:1-2, Amplified Bible)

          Thus, it would be rational to deduce from this text that God as the three divine persons of the Trinity were involved in creating the universe. In other words, the Old Testament plainly vindicates the notion that there exists plurality within the Godhead. Also, the Old Testament confirms the fact that the triune God speaks as one:

           "For thus says the Lord of hosts, “After glory He has sent me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye. For behold, I will wave My hand over them so that they will be plunder for their slaves. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me. 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. “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 2:8-11)

           Isaiah saw the Lord Jesus Christ as Yahweh (Isaiah 6:1-10; John 12:37-41). In fact, there are scenarios in the Hebrew Scriptures where the term Elohim is applied to two personalities:

           "You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of joy above Your fellows. All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia; Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad." (Psalm 45:7-8)

           "Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven." (Genesis 19:24)
  • How The Term Elohim Is Grammatically Plural:
           -"Interestingly, the word Elohim is grammatically plural rather than singular (the -im suffix in Hebrew indicates the plural form). The singular form of Elohim is probably Eloah. What are we to make of the plural? Does the plural form of Elohim imply polytheism? No, the Torah makes clear that God is one (Deuteronomy 6:4). Polytheism is expressly forbidden in the Old Testament." (Gotquestions, "What is the meaning of the word Elohim?")
  • Concerning The Uniqueness Of The Term Elohim:
           -"The name Elohim is unique to Hebraic thinking: it occurs only in Hebrew and in no other ancient Semitic language. The masculine plural ending does not mean "gods" when referring to the true God of Israel, since the name is mainly used with singular verb forms and with adjectives and pronouns in the singular (e.g., see Gen. 1:26). However, considering the Hashalush HaKadosh (Trinity), the form indeed allows for the plurality within the Godhead." (Hebrew4Christians, "Hebrew Names of God")
  • Even Hebrew Scholars Have Confessed That Elohim Suggests Plurality:
           -"Virtually all Hebrew scholars do recognize that the word Elohim, as it stands by itself, is a plural noun. Nevertheless, they wish to deny that it allows for any plurality in the Godhead whatsoever." (Jews For Jesus,"Jewishness and the Trinity")
  • Presenting Further Evidence:
           -"The Hebrew word translated "God" is the word El or Elohim. Elohim is the plural form of El. The plural form is used 2607 of the 2845 times the word "God" is used in the Old Testament. Not only is the word for God usually used in the plural form, but several verses refer to God as "Us". An example of how the Hebrew word Elohim is used in the plural is that it is translated "gods" (referring to idols) 235 times in the Old Testament. It is exactly the same word that is translated "God," referring to the Almighty. An example is given below: "I am the LORD your God [Elohim], who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. "You shall have no other gods [Elohim] before Me (Exodus 20:2-3)." (God and Science, "The Triunity (Trinity) of God in The Old Testament")

4 comments:

  1. Hi Jesse,

    This is Mr Anonymous from Stan's blog! My name is Jon. I'm sorry, but he seems to be preventing the publication of my messages now. Never mind, I'm thankful you have space here.

    I've read your article here with interest. You're right that the use of the word 'Elohim' to describe God indicates plurality. However, in order to use this as proof of the trinity we would need to find instances of where 'Elohim' is used to describe both Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and then exclusively these three. But what we do find is the term instead being used for other representatives of God in OT passages:

    In Genesis 32 Jacob wrestles with an angel representing God in the form of a man. In verse 20 he says 'I have seen God face to face'.

    In Exodus 3:2 the angel of the Lord appears in a burning bush, and in verse 6 says 'I am the God of you father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

    God uses an angel to lead the Israelites in Exodus 23:30, and he tells them 'my name is in him'

    Representatives of God on earth are often referred to by his name. In fact when he was challenged for making himself out to be God, Jesus himself pointed out that the leaders of Israel were referred to as Elohim (God).

    Then we can see how Jesus was the full revelation of his Father - 'the image of the invisible God' and how after his resurrection he was glorified by hid Father and given 'the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow' Phil 2:9-10. Then finally of course we are all baptised into 'the name of Jesus' and given the 'new name' in the future Rev 3:12.
    So really we should in fact have no problem with Jesus being named 'God' after all! We would just have to understand what that really says about him...

    My original discussion with Stan concerned God as the Father and Jesus as the Son. My point was that, out of all the words God could have used to describe their relationship, he chooses Father and Son because it accurately and clearly allows us to understand it. Therefore like any father and son, the father exists first, he plays an essential part in the existence of the son and he has authority over him. Any other type of relationship would require different words for us to understand it.

    My discussion with Stan on that subject is from the 26th December 2018 on this link: https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=30006406&postID=7775855115258347706&page=1&token=1545887625977&bpli=1



    Jon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jon,
      the father exists first

      NO. They exists simultaneously. Otherwise you have heresy.

      There is a reason Stan is blocking your comments. You preach heresy and were proven at Stan's to be unteachable.

      Delete
  2. Hello Jon,

    Why would the term "Elohim" need to be used to specifically describe Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit? The fullness of divine revelation was not even given to Moses and the Prophets. As for the scribes and Pharisees of the Law, they were not God Himself. They were simply appointed judges. So that particular point does not apply here at all.

    Regarding the identity of the angel of the Lord, Scripture does not expressly tell us who this figure is. Theophanies (manifestations of deity to men) are used in Jewish Scripture. Certain appearances could very well be Jesus Christ manifesting Himself prior to His incarnation on earth. Interestingly enough, this "angel of the Lord" does not show up after the birth of Christ.

    If Jesus Christ is not God, then how could He rightly claim to be Lord over the Sabbath (Matthew 12:6-8)? How could He tell His Jewish audience that He was greater than the temple? Why would the Pharisees conspire against Christ, if what He had affirmed about Himself did not imply that He was divine (Matthew 12:14)?

    The title "Son of God" supports the deity of Jesus Christ, since it means having the same essence as God the Father (John 5:18; 10:35-36; 19:7). There is functional subordination in the Trinity. Philippians 2:5-10 confirms all these truths. Christ is called the Eternal Word of Life (1 John 1:1-4). How could that be if He is a creation of God?

    Just as God the Father is not a father to Christ in the same sense of a parent to child relationship, the Son is not a son of God in the same sense as we are sons of God. There exists a unique relationship between God the Father and God the Son. Our special status as sons of God is given to us by adoption, and we are not divine.

    You seem to have overlooked all of the points argued in this article and made up a few bizarre hermeneutic rules out of thin air in the process. If Jesus Christ is "the exact representation of the Father," as Hebrews 1:3 says, then, by logical necessity, He must be fully divine. He is not a created being, but God Almighty Himself.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Excellent article! I've had similar thoughts for a while. And where it says that God is "one", the Hebrew word is "echad", which usually means "two or more united as one", rather than the numerical one.

    ReplyDelete