|Not too long ago, in an attempt to witness to several people via electronic mail through computer networks, I made a statement as to what constitutes my faith. As part of that statement, I said that I believe in the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. One of the people to whom I was trying to witness was of the Jewish faith and he rejected the concept of the Trinity. |
The Holy Trinity is fully supported in Scripture in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. In this article, I would like to share some of these Scriptures and how they proclaim the existence of God in Three Persons.
The idea of the Trinity is found early in the Bible in Genesis 1:26, "Then God said, ‘Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.'" As we see here, God said "Let us make man in Our image. . ." indicating that we (man) are made in the image of God and others. We know from reading Scripture that the angels are different from us in many respects. The fact that angels do not have gender is one. Therefore, it is unlikely that God would have been referring to Himself and the angels in this passage. The Bible does not speak of any other beings in heaven. The only conclusion that we can draw from the use of the plural pronoun "Our" is that God was referring to Himself along with at least one other being or person on a level with Him.
The plural pronoun "Us" is also used in Genesis 3:22a where the Lord said, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil." Again indicating that there is more than one person in the Godhead.
Those who reject the idea of a Holy Trinity usually accept or have some belief in God. They just do not believe that the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ are a part of God. Therefore let's take a look at the Holy Spirit and the preexistence of Christ.
The Holy Spirit
References to the "Spirit of God" abound in the Old Testament. "The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." (Genesis 1:2) The first occasion is in the second verse of Genesis. We see here that God was at least two different persons – God the Father and God the Holy Spirit – at the beginning of creation. Many other Scriptures refer to the Holy Spirit in some manner. Here are just a few: "My Spirit" (Genesis 6:3), "Spirit of God" (Genesis 41:38), "Your Holy Spirit" (Psalms 51:11), "Spirit of the Lord" (Isaiah 11:2), and "My Spirit who is upon you" (Isaiah 59:21). Throughout the Old Testament we see these and many other references to the Holy Spirit.
In the New Testament we find that the Holy Spirit is more fully explained, and we know in more detail the purpose that the Holy Spirit has in our lives. He is a comforter or helper for us, as Christians.
The Holy Spirit was there when Jesus was conceived in the womb of Mary, "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 1:18) The Holy Spirit was there when Jesus went up into the wilderness to undergo the temptations of the devil, "Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil." (Matthew 4:1) The Holy Spirit was there when the apostles needed guidance to preach the gospel and write the New Testament and do it without error, "For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say." (Luke 12:12)
Even though the Holy Spirit was present and active in the life and ministry of Jesus, this was not the only purpose which the Holy Spirit would have for us. The Holy Spirit would fulfill another very important role for God. Jesus taught the disciples about the purpose of the Holy Spirit during His ministry. "‘He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.' But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified." (John 7:38,39) "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." (John 14:16,17) "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I have said to you." (John 14:26) "But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me." (John 15:26) "Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high." (Luke 24:49)
As we see in these selected Scriptures, the Holy Spirit was given to the apostles to guide and direct them as they established the church, preached the gospel and wrote the New Testament. Even those of us that boast of an impeccable memory can not remember everything that is said and done. Of course, the fact that the apostles were being taught by Christ and the fact that they witnessed the wonderful miracles that He performed would make the events stand out in their memories much more than the average event. Nonetheless, humans are not flawless when it comes to remembering events and teachings. It was therefore necessary for God to provide a means by which the apostles could have 100% perfect memories when it came to remembering the teachings of Christ and the events that surrounded His ministry. God provided the Holy Spirit to fulfill this need.
But we too have a need for the Holy Spirit today. As we try to live a good faithful Christian life, it is difficult. It is difficult because of the constant bombardment of temptations sent our way by Satan himself. We need constant guidance and direction to be able to withstand those temptations and "fight the good fight." Again, God has provided! He has provided the Holy Spirit to meet that need.
How do we know that God has given us the Holy Spirit? Because the Scriptures tell us so, "Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'" (Acts 2:38) For an excellent description of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us as Christians read Romans chapter 8.
The Preexistence of Christ
Was Jesus just a prophet, a good man, a man of God; or was He in fact the Son of God? If we are to believe in the Christian concept of the Holy Trinity, then we must be able to show evidence that Christ existed as part of the Trinity prior to His coming to earth as Jesus.
The Old Testament is replete with prophecies concerning the coming of Christ. There have been volumes written and still more shall be written in the future on this aspect of Jesus Christ. The first prophecy in the Bible concerning the coming of Christ is found in Genesis 3:15, "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel." From this verse forward we see prophecies in Deuteronomy, 1 Samuel, Job, Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. Over and over again these prophecies point to the coming of Christ: "The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him." (Isaiah 11:2); "For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given." (Isaiah 9:6); "Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him." (Daniel 7:14) and "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold your King is coming." (Zechariah 9:9) These are but a few of the many prophecies of the coming of Christ.
But did Christ exist prior to His coming in the form of man? Again there are many Scriptures which point to the preexistence of Christ. The Gospel of John clearly indicates that Christ was at the beginning of time. Here is what the book of John has to say about Christ: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made." (John 1:1-3)
Jesus also said that He was in existence prior to the time of His ministry here on earth: "‘Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.' Then the Jews said to Him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?' Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.'" (John 8:56-58)
There is yet another area of this discussion which I will not be able to develop to any reasonable extent. That area is the fact that the Old Testament has many different "types" of Christ. These are persons in the Old Testament who posses certain characteristics or attributes of Christ. They were mere men, but their lives point to the coming Christ. There were several of these in the Old Testament. Perhaps we can develop these in future articles.
As I draw this article to a close, I feel that the subject has not been given justice for there is so much more that can be said about the reality of the Holy Trinity. However, I sincerely hope that I have given you enough to strengthen your faith and I encourage you to study this subject further.
All Scriptures quoted are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.
About the Author
Stephen Kingery is an author, preacher, teacher and founder of The Home Bible Study Institute.
Visit our site at http://www.james1-22.org
Permission to use is granted if attributed to author and his website.
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