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Query for the Month

of January 1999

Next up-date: February 1st 1999 (God willing).

 


Query:

 

Response:

The word "Trinity" does not occur in the Bible, but it is often used to explain how three Gods, the Father, the Son and the Spirit are really one person. But is this true?

What the Bible does set out before us is a picture of three separate and distinct Persons who are described as Father, Son and Spirit. By implication, a son is less than a father, but in this case we have the Father's word that the Son can be worshipped as His equal. However, that very statement tells us that the Son has not in the same position as the Father by right, but has been given it.

Hebrews 1:1-6
God, who at sundry times and in divers
[different] manners spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, by Whom also He made the worlds. [This makes Him the Creator God].

Who, being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person [so He looks like His Father], and upholding all things by the word of His power [He not only created everything, but keeps them all going], when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high, being made so much better than the angels [by the display of this power], as He has by inheritance [being the only-begotten] obtained a more excellent name than they.

(Romans 1:3-4
Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, .... by the resurrection from the dead:)

For to which of the angels said He at any time, You are My Son, this day have I begotten you? And again, I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son?

And again, when He brings in the firstbegotten into the world, He said, And let all the angels of God worship Him.

And in another place,

Philippians 2:5-8
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

This last thought shows that by accepting equality with His Father He is not taking anything away from His Father. But, on the contrary, He is uplifting the Father by sharing with Him.

Revelation 3:21
To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.

It is He that commands us to praise His Father for His mercies.

Revelation 19:5
And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all you His servants, and you that fear Him, both small and great.

Where did He come from? The Word says:-

Proverbs 8:22-31

The LORD possessed Me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: while as yet He had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.

When He prepared the heavens, I was there: when He set a compass upon the face of the depth: when He established the clouds above: when He strengthened the fountains of the deep: when He gave to the sea His decree, that the waters should not pass His commandment: when He appointed the foundations of the earth: then I was by Him, as one brought up with Him: and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him; rejoicing in the habitable part of His earth; and My delights were with the sons of men.

John 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.

All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the Light of men. And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not...

That was the true Light, which lights every man that comes into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came to His own, and His own received him not....

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only Begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth....

No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

 

As Eve was in Adam, the Son of God was in His Father.

He came out, not to be like her, a different aspect of man, but to be the equal of His Father in all respects.

So I have no problem with those who would worship the Son as an equal with the Father. But they are not one person, for He is the "express image" of His Father, which makes Him a double or twin, if you like, but not the same Being, just as Eve is not Adam. However, when on earth He said,

John 14:9
Jesus said to him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known Me, Philip? He that has seen Me has seen the Father; and how say you then, Show us the Father?

And, speaking to some disbelieving Jews, He said

John 5:37
And the Father Himself, which has sent Me, has borne witness of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His shape.

By this He meant that They share the same qualities and character, so that to know One is to know the Other. As He is the Creator God then He is the One who was with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (the LORD God), and He is the one who appears over and over again in the Old Testament eating, talking, walking with men and women and accepting their worship, for "No man has seen God [the Father] at any time". 1 John 4:12.

That He was "sent" tells us that the Father has authority over Him and this is expressly set out in the following words.

1 Corinthians 15:22-28
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at His coming. Then comes the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He
[the Son] shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign, till He has put all enemies under His feet.

The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

For He [the Father] has put all things under His [the Son's] feet. But when He says all things are put under Him [the Son], it is manifest [or clear] that He [the Father] is excepted, which did put all things under Him.

And when all things shall be subdued to Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God [the Father] may be all in all.

 

The Spirit is not so easy to identify.

Jesus speaks of Him as a Witness for Him and a Comforter of men, following in His footsteps.

John 14:16-17
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 sees Him not, neither knows Him: but you know Him; for He dwells with you, and shall be in you.

Like the Father, the Spirit of God is not seen by disbelievers, but He is well known to those who love and follow Jesus. Jesus calls Him "He", and claims that He is "another Comforter", which makes Him separate from the Son. At the baptism of Jesus we have the person of the Son of God kneeling on the riverbank, the Spirit of God appearing as a dove and touching Jesus, while God the Father speaks from heaven.

Matthew 3:16-17
And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened to 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.

Thus the Spirit can take other forms and does not have to have the "person" of the Father and the Son. I have not found any command in the Bible to worship the Spirit. He appears to be sent as our Guide and Counselor and to teach us about Jesus who is the central character of the Book of God.

John 16:12-15
I have yet many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine: therefore said I, that He shall take of Mine, and shall show it to you.

Because He does not speak of Himself, it is not surprising that there is not a great deal written about Him the Scriptures. But we are told that He was there on the day of creation, moving over the waters. Genesis 1:2. He was there before the Flood trying to save mankind from their folly. Genesis 6:3. He was with Joseph in Pharaoh's court and with many others too numerous to mention here. Genesis 41:38. He guided and taught the Israelites who were with Moses during the exodus.

Nehemiah 9:20
You gave also Your good Spirit to instruct them, and withheld not Your manna from their mouth, and gave them water for their thirst.

Although we are not commanded to worship Him as we are the Son of God, we are certainly urged to pray [i.e. talk] to Him and to learn from Him. In fact, He even prays for us at times!

Romans 8:26-27
Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities
[or weaknesses]: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And He that searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

Conclusion:

In the Bible there are three Persons who can be called God. Each one has His own work and position, and we can honour them by recognising that work and addressing them as required. They are not the same person, for "The LORD our God is one LORD" as it is written.

Deuteronomy 6:4-5
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.

We can ask the Spirit for comfort and guidance and knowledge of the truth.

We can ask the Son for forgiveness and cleansing from sin.

We can thank the Father for love and mercy.

 


 

Spiritual Dictionary:

GOD - A trinity?

In the Bible there are three Persons who can be called God. Each one has His own work and position, and we can honour them by recognising that work and addressing them as required. They are not the same person, for "The LORD our God is one LORD" as it is written.

Deuteronomy 6:4-5
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.

We can ask the Spirit for comfort and guidance and knowledge of the truth.

We can ask the Son for forgiveness and cleansing from sin.

We can thank the Father for love and mercy.


Next thought. To be discussed from February 1st 1999.

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