For several centuries, the concept of the Trinity has been the accepted doctrine of many established Christian denominations, not because it is easily understood, but because God, who is one, reveals Himself in a manner that has the appearance of being three, known as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Christianity has been surrounded by a variety of fringe cults such as Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Christadelphians and others, some of whom have their own versions of the Bible, and some having other books additional to the Bible. Most of these cults do not believe the Trinity, and in the process they give Yeshua the Messiah a diminished status, such as that of a prophet, teacher, or an angel, with no power to save us from our sins.
In recent times I have noticed that some Messianic Jews do not believe the Trinity. Instead they believe that Yeshua is a Messiah of some sort, but he is not God appearing among us as a human being.
What is the Trinity?
In it's simplest form, the Trinity is a statement that God exists as three persons, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and these three are one, so that there is one God.
The Trinity can also be described in terms of manifestations of God. Anything associated with God, including humanity and all of God's creation, is a manifestation of God. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit can be identified in the Bible as manifestations of God that were never created. They are part of the nature of God and have always existed. If you take the view that anything uncreated is God, and you can find only three of them, then you have the Trinity. If you find more than three, then you have something more than a Trinity, but Christian theologians seem to be content with the idea that there are only three.
The word "Trinity" does not exist anywhere in the Bible. Instead it is a term that has been invented by the Church to describe their observation that there is one God who exists as three separate personalities.
The Unity of God
At every synagogue service the Jews recite the Sh'ma, which is from Deut. 6:4 and begins as follows:
Sh'ma Yisrael, Adonai Elohenu, Adonai echad.
This is translated:
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.
Yeshua quoted the Sh'ma in Mark 12:29, in response to a question about which was the greatest commandment of the Torah. The Sh'ma continues to say that we should love God with all our heart, and our neighbour as ourself.
However, the Sh'ma does not claim that God is only one exclusively. The Hebrew word "echad" means a compound unity, such as a bunch of grapes. The alternative word "yachid" means only one.
References to plurality occur throughout the Torah, as God is referred to as "Adonai Elohim". The word "Elohim" means "Gods", "Lords" or "Masters" and is plural. It is derived from the singular root word "Elah" (Aleph, Lamed, He).
Muslims do not accept the plural nature of God, and use the root word, pronouncing it "Allah". Anyone who wants to strip away the plural nature of God should consider the result. You end up with the most hostile anti-semitic religion the world has ever known, dedicated to the destruction of the Jews first and then the Protestant Christians.
The Name of God, Revealed to Moshe and Used by Yeshua
When the Lord appeared to Moshe (Moses) in the burning bush He identified Himself in Exodus 3:14, according to the Masoretic Hebrew text, as:
ahyah asher ahyah
I will be what I will be
In the King James version, and most other modern transtlations, it has been translated in the present tense as:
I am that I am
This is an impossible phrase in Hebrew because there is no first person singular present tense conjugation of the verb "haya" which means "to be". You can't conjugate it to say "I am". The change of tense probably occurred by reference to the Septuagint Greek which says:
ego eimi o On
which is literally translated:
I am The Being
The Septuagint is a Greek translation of the Hebrew Tanakh, made in Alexandria during the third century BC. It was widely used throughout the Greek-speaking world and was the standard Bible of the early church. However, it does have a few errors and this is one of them.
Yeshua appears to be using the Divine Name in John 8:58 when he says "Before Abraham was, I am". Again, this is a difficult phrase in Hebrew and it is possible that John was looking at Exodus 3:14 in the Septuagint when he wrote it. A modern Hebrew translation of the New Testament, produced by the Bible Society in Israel, changes it to the past tense so it becomes "Before Abraham was, I was".
Whatever the tense might have been (and we don't know if Yeshua was speaking Hebrew or Aramaic), he was obviously invoking the Divine Name in some form or other, because the Pharisees picked up stones to throw at him. The Divine Name tells us that God cannot be defined as anything in particular, so the verb "haya", meaning "to be", suffices as the Name. The verb is conjugated without an object, and it does not seem to matter what tense it is, except that the first person singular present tense conjugation "I am" does not exist.
You can say what you are in Hebrew using "ani" which means "I" and then you put an object after it. For example Yeshua says, in John 8:12, "ani or ha'olam" which literally means "I, Light of the World".
Yeshua again invokes the Divine Name in John 18:5-8 where he says "I am" (Greek "ego eimi) and the soldiers fell backwards. Nobody knows how he might have said it in Hebrew, but it could have been "ani hu" which means "I am he". In this case there is an object, but does it matter? The power of the words was in their meaning, and in the person who spoke them. Can you imagine it? A band of soldiers, fully armed and ready to arrest Yeshua, were all knocked over when he spoke the Divine Name and revealed his Divine Nature just for a brief moment. While they were splattered on the ground he taunted them with the question "Whom do you seek?" . They replied "Yeshua the Nazarene", and he demanded that they let his disciples go. Yeshua was always fully in control of the situation. Nobody could take his life away from him. He laid it down voluntarily because it was necessary for our salvation.
The Pre-Existence of Yeshua and His Work as Creator
Returning to John 8:58 where Yeshua says "Before Abraham was, I am [or I was]", there is another curious meaning which compares Yeshua to Malki-Tzedek (King of Righteousness), an eternal priest without beginning or end who ministered to Abraham. This is discussed in detail in Hebrews 5 and 7.
Yeshua himself made an indirect reference to Malki-Tzedek in Matt. 22:44 as follows:
The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.
This is a quotation from Psalm 110 which goes on to say:
Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
Malki-Tzedek appears in Genesis 14:18-20 where he gave bread and wine to Abraham and blessed him, calling him "possessor of heaven and earth". Unlike the other patriarchs who appear in Genesis, there is no record of his genealogy, or what happened to him, yet he was so great that Abraham paid tithes to him. Malki-Tzedek must have been none other than Yeshua himself, who is also without beginning or end, as we shall see.
And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. (John 17:5.)
Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. (John 17:24)
In both of the above verses, the Greek "kosmos" is used, which means "world".
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. (John 1:1-3)
This gives us the answer to the question about whether or not Messiah was created. Since nothing was created without him, it follows that Messiah himself could not have been created. He always existed, just as God the Father has always existed.
Don't be fooled by Jehovah's Witnesses who have their own translation of the New Testament which says "The Word was a god" instead of "The Word was God". They claim that the Bible versions used by Christians have been wrongly translated, and only the Jehovah's Witness version is right. They are totally wrong on this point. They think that they have a superior knowledge of Greek but actually they don't know anything.
Here is another verse that does not directly reference the pre-existence of Messiah, but says he was "foreordained".
Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you. (1 Peter 1:20)
The Brit Chadeshah (New Testament) is not intended to stand on it's own. It is an eye-witness account of the life of Yeshua, giving insights to the Tanakh which were previously obscure and difficult to interpret. Everything in The Brit Chadeshah rests on the foundation that has been already laid in the Tanakh. Where do we find the eternal, uncreated Messiah in the Tanakh? Here are some examples:
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. (Micah 5:2)
Doth not wisdom [chokmah] cry? And understanding [tebunah] put forth her voice? ... 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. (Proverbs 8:1-31)
The words "chokmah" and "tebunah" mean wisdom and understanding and have no direct association with the word "Torah". However, since the Torah is considered to be the source of all wisdom and understanding, this passage supports the widely held Jewish belief that the Torah has always existed. The passage is also Messianic and John 1:1-3 builds upon it with the phrase "In the beginning was the Word". Without John chapter 1 we might be inclined to believe that there are four uncreated manifestations of God, known as the Father, Messiah, Torah and Holy Spirit. However, since we are told that the Torah is the written Word and Messiah is the living Word, they are both the same and we are back to three.
Here is another passage from the Tanakh which appears to say that Messiah always existed, although the obscure grammatical mixture of first and third persons (I am he... the Lord hath loved him) makes it less clear:
Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last. Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together. All ye, assemble yourselves, and hear; which among them hath declared these things? The Lord hath loved him: he will do his pleasure on Babylon, and his arm shall be on the Chaldeans. I, even I, have spoken; yea, I have called him: I have brought him, and he shall make his way prosperous. Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord God, and his Spirit, hath sent me. (Isaiah 48:12-16)
What is the relationship between God the Father and the Messiah? The Father sent the Son into the world, but not like a commanding officer sending a soldier into battle. Instead they are co-equal.
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (John 17:21)
The role of Messiah as the Creator is also given in Colossians and Hebrews:
In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
The term "firstborn of every creature" does not mean "first to be created". It is the same as "firstborn from the dead" and refers to the bodily resurrection of Yeshua. He was born on earth in a created, mortal body but he was eternal and rose from the dead, and because of him we will also rise. (See also 1 Cor. 15:20-23). The term "firstborn" is also a reference to his authority, since the firstborn son of a Jewish family is the one who is given authority.
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds. (Hebrews 1:1-2).
In this case the Greek word "aionas" is translated "worlds", although literally it means "ages". It makes little difference, considering that we have already seen that Messiah creates the "kosmos", and in any case both of these words are approximate Greek equivalents of the Hebrew word "olam" which means "age, world or universe".
The Jews believe that there are two worlds or ages, known as the "olam hazeh" which means this world from creation until the final judgement, and the "olam haba" which means the world to come, after the final judgement. The two worlds are mentioned in Matthew 12:32 where Yeshua says that those who sin against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, neither in the "olam hazeh", nor in the "olam haba".
Not only is Yeshua the creator of the "olam hazeh", he is also the creator of the "olam haba".
And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. (Rev. 21:5-6)
And behold, I come quickly....I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last... I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. (Rev. 22:12-16).
God the Father
Modern Christianity takes for granted the concept of God the Father, and tends to have rather more arguments about God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Some Christians believe that they, and they alone, know about God the Father, while all other religions, including Judaism, only know God as the Judge of all the Earth who keeps himself distant from us. As far as Judaism is concerned, nothing could be further from the truth.
The following verses from the Tanakh tell us about God the Father:
Do ye thus requite [give back to] the Lord, O foolish people and unwise? Is not he thy father that hath bought thee? Hath he not made thee, and established thee? (Deut. 32:6)
Wherefore David blessed the Lord before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, Lord God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. (1 Chr. 29:10)
He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation. (Psalm 89:26)
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory: where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies toward me? Are they restrained? Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O Lord, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting. (Isaiah 63:15-16. Note the association between "heaven" and "father" as in "Our father who art in heaven").
But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter, and we all are the work of thy hand. (Isaiah 64:8)
Have we not all one father? Hath not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers? (Mal. 2:10)
The Talmud also acknowledges that God is our Father:
Mishnah 20. Judah B. Temah said: Be bold as a leopard, and swift as an eagle, and fleet as a hart, and strong as a lion, to do the will of thy father who is in heaven. (Mishna Avoth 5. A footnote to this passage gives some of the verses mentioned above.)
The concept of God the Father is also popular in modern Judaism and is included in the Jewish liturgy. For example at Rosh Hashana (New Year) they sing "Avinu Malkenu" which means "Our Father, Our King".
Having said all this, it is nevertheless probably true that Yeshua spoke about God the Father more than his contemporaries. He addressed God as "Father" or "Heavenly Father" over and over again throughout the Gospels.
The early Gentile believers in Yeshua, who had been converted from paganism, had rather more difficulty addressing God as Father. In their former days of paganism, they had worshipped a variety of gods, none of whom could be thought of as Father. Now they were getting used to the concept of one God, and they needed the help of the Holy Spirit to call him Father.
For as many that are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. (Rom. 8:14-15)
And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. (Gal. 4:6)
Both of these verses are in the context of the adoption of believers as sons of God. Yeshua pursued the same theme with his disciples as follows:
If ye love me, keep my commandments. 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 seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless (Greek "orphanus" = "orphans"): I will come to you. (John 14:15-18)
Yeshua had obviously taught them that through his intervention as the Son of God, they could also be adopted into the Kingdom as sons of God. They were obviously worried that when he went away they would be left as orphans, but he reassured them that the Holy Spirit would confirm their status as adopted sons.
The concept of "God the Father" is a manifestation of God, just the same as the other uncreated manifestations. The first appearance of the Father is in Deut. 32:6 ("Is not he thy father that hath bought thee?"). This was after God had taken the Israelites out of Egypt and given them the Torah. First God did all the things that a father is supposed to do, and then introduced himself as the Father. What does a father do for his children? He provides for them, keeps them safe, rescues them from danger, and then gives them the law.
According to Matt 6:9 we are supposed to address God as Father when we pray. Yeshua told us to say "Our Father which art in heaven". In that case, how did they pray before the Torah was given? Did they know about God the Father? Probably they did, but it wasn't written down until after the Torah had been given, about 2,500 years after Creation. As far as Biblical chronology is concerned, Messiah pre-dates even God the Father because he appears in Genesis 49:10.
The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.
The Holy Spirit pre-dates both the Father and the Messiah, because he appears in Genesis 1:2.
... the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
When the Lord tells us "Many that are first shall be last, and the last shall be first" (Matt. 19:30), he starts by applying it to himself.
God the Son
The term "son of God" was a commonly used term of respect among the Jews. Someone who was kind, honest, hospitable, easy to get on with, and who worshipped God, was called a "son of God". Someone who was evil, argumentative, and cared not for the things of God would be called a "son of Satan".
There were many people who could be called "sons of God", so what is so special about Yeshua, who is called the "Son of God"? The answer is that he referred to God as MY Father, not just OUR Father. For example, when he was twelve years old and his parents found him in the Temple he said:
How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? (Luke 2:49).
What was so unique about the relationship between Yeshua and his Heavenly Father, so that he referred to him as MY Father and not OUR Father. The answer is that he had no natural genetic father, and was born of a virgin through the intervention of the Holy Spirit, so that God was his Father.
There is a Jewish belief that when God created the world, He also created the souls of all the people who would ever live. These souls are in the loins of their fathers, so that every man carries around with him the souls of his descendants. To bring these souls into the world, he needs the assistance of a woman, who becomes the vehicle for bearing his children. This is why the genealogy tables only show the paternal line.
The concept of men bearing the souls of their descendants is given in Hebrews as follows:
And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melkhisedec met him. (Hebrews 7:9-10).
Since Yeshua was born of a virgin and was not in the "loins" of Joseph the husband of Mary, in whose loins was he? He was in the "loins" of his Heavenly Father, if such a concept exists. This does not mean that God the Father has his loins full of Messiahs who will at some time or other come to the world through virgin births. There is only one Messiah, and he comes to the world only once in that way, to save us from our sins once and for all. Before his virgin birth, he was not a "twinkle in his Father's eye" as the English expression goes. Instead he was co-equal with the Father, as we have already seen, sharing in His Glory.
God the Holy Spirit
There is an argument about whether the Holy Spirit exists separately from God the Father, or is simply a characteristic of God. The first mention of the Holy Spirit is during the Creation.
In the beginning God [Elohim] created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God [Ruach Elohim] moved upon the face of the waters. (Gen. 1:1-2)
The Hebrew word "Ruach" means "Spirit" or "Breath". At first sight it would appear that the Holy Spirit is merely a characteristic of God, such as the "Breath of God" or the "Spirit of the Holy One". However, the plural Elohim suggests that there is more than one person involved in creation. We have already seen that everything is created through the Messiah, the Son of God, and now we see the Holy Spirit involved in creation.
If the Holy Spirit is separate from God the Father, how was he created? The answer is that he wasn't. He was there in the beginning, in the second verse of Genesis, and is co-equal with both the Father and the Son. All three together are one.
How can one be three, and how can three be one? Nobody really knows, because nobody this side of heaven knows God well enough, and probably not even on the other side. But we know that one God can exist as more than one person. For example, David says:
Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. (Psalm 51:11)
In this sentence he acknowledges two persons of the one God. He says "take not thy Holy Spirit from me" as if the Holy Spirit is something separate from God which can be given and taken away. At the same time he says "Cast me not away from thy presence", as if the Holy Spirit is synonymous with the presence of God.
We see the Holy Spirit sometimes as separate from God the Father, but still united and of equal authority. Here are some examples of the Holy Spirit appearing separately:
Come ye near unto me; hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning. From the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord God, and his Spirit, hath sent me. (Isaiah 48:16)
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 seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. (John 14:16-17)
At the same time we see that the Holy Spirit expects obedience on a level that is only appropriate to God himself.
Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, after they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not. (Acts 16:6-7. Note: The term "Holy Ghost" appears synonymously with "Holy Spirit" in the KJAV.)
For as many that are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Rom. 8:14)
We also see, from the story of Chananyah and Shappira (Ananias and Sapphira) that telling lies to the Holy Spirit is the same as telling lies to God.
But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? ... Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. (Acts 5:3-4)
Who Do We Worship?
If we believe that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three different personalities of the same God, then it might seem reasonable to suppose that we can worship any of them, or all three of them, just as we please. We are encouraged to worship the Father and the Son, although the normal rule is that we should worship and make intercessions to the Father, through the authority of the Son, and in the power of the Holy Spirit. There is no instruction to worship the Holy Spirit.
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. (Matt 6:9)
And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (John 14:13)
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (Rom. 8:26)
Should we also worship Yeshua? Yes, although Yeshua himself never gave any direct instructions that we should do so. He encouraged us to worship and pray to the Father, but if people wanted to worship the Son, he accepted their worship whenever it was offered. He had a right to do so because he was God manifested in the flesh, and he demonstrated his deity by accepting their worship.
In the Brit Chadeshah, there are many examples of people worshipping Yeshua, and they seem to occur at key points in his life and ministry, or when someone had made a discovery about him.
And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. (Matt. 2:11)
Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God. (Matt. 14:33)
And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me. (Matt. 28:9-10)
And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. (Luke 24:51-52)
Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. (John 20:27-29)
Thomas' confession "My Lord and my God" is one of the strongest affirmations of the deity of Yeshua.
When Stephen was stoned, he looked into heaven and saw Yeshua and worshipped him.
But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, ... And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. (Acts 7:55-59. Note, this is a literal translation of the Greek. Stephen was calling on God, not the people stoning him.)
Now that we have seen how Yeshua accepts our worship, we can compare what happens when someone tries to worship the Apostles.
And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man. (Acts 10:25-26)
And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker. Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people. Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, and saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein. (Acts 14:11-15)
Clearly, the Apostles would not accept worship because they were not God. Yeshua is the only man who can accept worship, because he is God, and we are encouraged to worship him:
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 ... That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2:5-11)
Angels were worshipping Yeshua at his advent:
And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. (Heb. 1:6, quoting Psalm 97:7 from the LXX).
The four living creatures and the twenty-four elders continue to worship Yeshua, together with the angels, as they hold in their hands the prayers of the saints. These prayers have been made, not to Yeshua, but to the Father. Yeshua is the administrator of the prayers, assisted by these other heavenly beings.
And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. (Rev. 5:8)
Yeshua came into this world as Messiah Ben Joseph, and will come again as Messiah Ben David. When Joseph was in Egypt, he became Pharaoh's right-hand man, administering all his day-to-day affairs.
And he [Pharaoh] left all that he had in Joseph's hand; and he knew not ought that he had, save the bread which he did eat. (Gen. 39:6)
If you wanted something from Pharaoh, you would make your request to Pharaoh but you would not actually see Pharaoh, you would see Joseph who acted on his behalf. The same situation exists today if you want something from the Prime Minister. You write a letter saying "Dear Prime Minister" but you know the Prime Minister will never see it, he is much too busy. Instead the request is dealt with by a civil servant who works in the Prime Minister's office.
God is obviously greater than any Prime Minister. He sees everything. But our requests to the Father are dealt with by the Son, who sits at the right hand of the Father on high. (Heb. 1:1-6).
On the question of worshipping or praying to the Holy Spirit, we should be aware that there is nothing in the Bible that encourages it. The popular song by Chris Bowater says "Holy Spirit we welcome you". God does not respond to such a prayer. Instead anything in the occult spirit world can manifest itself and convince us that it is the Holy Spirit. Even when we are encouraged to worship God "in spirit", Yeshua makes it clear that we are to worship the Father.
Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:21-24)
This passage tells us about the omnipotent nature of God, who is not limited to any particular place and is everywhere at the same time. It doesn't matter where we are, we can pray to the Father.
Who Raised Yeshua from the Dead?
Which person of the Trinity raised Yeshua from the dead? Was it the Father, Son or Holy Spirit?
The Father Raised the Son
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)
Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) (Galatians 1:1)
The Son Raised Himself
Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. (John 2:19)
Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. (John 10:17-18)
The Holy Spirit Raised the Son
For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit. (1 Peter 3:18)
Baptism in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. (Matt. 28:18-19)
The word "baptism" is a Christianised version of the Jewish term "immersion" which means ritual washing, a practice which appears in a variety of circumstances in the Torah. (Ex. 30:17-21; 40:12, Lev. 14:8; 16:26; 22:6, Num. 19:7). Immersion is still practiced by the Jews today when someone is converted to Judaism. It is also mentioned extensively in the Jewish literature. Immersion was always for a purpose, but was never done "in the name" of anything. The term "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost", as it appears in Matthew's Gospel, is probably not intended to be a ritualistic expression to be recited at baptism. Instead it represents the belief system into which the person is converted.
There are examples of people being baptised more than once as their understanding increased. They were baptised into an understanding that was subsequently found to be incomplete, then baptised again when they were able to accept new truths about Yeshua the Messiah and about the Holy Spirit. (Acts 8:14-17; 19:1-7)
Matthew's Gospel was written at some time between AD 65 and 110, but more likely during the first half of that period. (New Bible Commentary, Revised 1967, IVP). The reference to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in association with baptism is a clear indication that the Early Church believed in the Trinity.
The Didache, otherwise known as "The Teaching of the Lord to the Gentiles by the Twelve Apostles", is an Early Church document written sometime during the first or second centuries. It contains the following paragraph which appears to be a commentary on Matt. 28:18-19.
But concerning baptism, thus shall ye baptize. Having first recited all these things, baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit in living (running) water. But if thou hast not living water, then baptize in other water; and if thou art not able in cold, then in warm. But if thou hast neither, then pour water on the head thrice in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. But before the baptism let him that baptizeth and him that is baptized fast, and any others also who are able; and thou shalt order him that is baptized to fast a day or two before. (Didache para. 7)
The Disappearing Trinity
There is one verse, in the King James Authorised Version, that specifically states that God exists as three persons:
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. (1 John 5:7-8).
The NIV has a cut-down version of these two verses as follows:
For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and the three are in agreement.
The NIV has a footnote saying the additional text of the AV is not found in any Greek manuscript before the 16th century. This does not prove anything one way or the other, because if people were prepared to tamper with the New Testament they could have done it just as easily before or after the 16th century. This is a subject for further study. Suffice it to say, at this stage, that according to Gail Riplinger's book "New Age Bible Versions", the two men who revised the Greek New Testament, B.F. Westcott and F.J.A. Hort, about 100 years ago, and cut out this verse about the Trinity, were heavily into the occult.
The Father and Holy Spirit have no names, only titles, but the Son has a name, called Yeshua, therefore he can't be God.
Yeshua was both human and divine. He gets his name from his humanity and his title of Messiah from his divinity.
How can Yeshua be God and then complain that God has forsaken him?
This is from Matt. 27: 46 and Mark 15:34 when Yeshua was on the cross and cried out "My God! my God! Why have you forsaken me?". In his humanity he could bring his seemingly justifiable complaint to God just the same as any human, but he was not actually asking for a change of circumstances because he knew he had to suffer in submission to the will of God. In his divinity he could just as easily have called on his Father to send twelve legions of angels and expect an immediate response, but he chose not to. (Matt. 26:53). Even his complaint was a fulfillment of prophecy and a claim to be the suffering Messiah, as it was a quote from Psalm 22 which contains a number of details about how the Messiah would be executed.
How was Yeshua able to operate simultaneously with both his human and divine nature? I don't know. I just accept by faith that it is possible because I can see the Trinity in both the Tanakh and the Brit Chadeshah.
Christians are making Yeshua into an idol and worshipping him as if he was God.
Idolatry is the worst sin against God, and this is the reason why God took the Israelites out of Egypt, to get them away from the idols.
I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. (Exodus 20:2)
The suggestion that the followers of Yeshua are worshipping an idol is a very serious charge and requires a firm rebuttal.
Idolatry is defined as making a god for yourself according to your own requirements. The first act of idolatry was in Babylon when they said:
... let us build a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make a name [a god], lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. (Gen. 11:4)
Idolatry is making your own god. There is nothing idolatrous about reading the Bible and discovering that there is one God, revealed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Those who accuse Trinitarians of idolatry are merely venting their own frustrations because of the weakness of their arguments.
Why isn't there a passage in the New Testament that explains the Trinity in detail?
The anti-deity crowd always wants to debate everything at great length. There is no polemic debate on this subject in the New Testament because at the time the question had not been raised. They were more concerned with other issues such as the Judaising Controversy and infiltration of the Church by Gnostic mystery cults.
You can go into any church today, and unless it is the type of church that regularly recites a creed, you will rarely hear anything about the Trinity. You only hear about it when church members complain that they have been visited by the Jehovah's Witnesses and drawn into polemic debate. There were no Jehovah's Witnesses in New Testament times and there was no big debate about the Trinity. There was, however, much discussion about the person and work of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The Trinity is not a Jewish idea.
The Trinity is not popular among the Jews who do not believe in Yeshua, but when they receive Yeshua as their Messiah they do not appear to have problems with the Trinity. The British Messianic Jewish Alliance (BMJA) includes the Deity of Yeshua and the Trinity in their Doctrinal Basis as follows:
Applicants for membership must
The BMJA is affiliated to the International Messianic Jewish Alliance (IMJA) which requires all it's constituent Alliances to have similar clauses. All members of any constituent Alliance must agree with the Doctrinal Basis.
In Britain there is another, more recently established organisation, called the Messianic Jewish Alliance of Great Britain (MJAGB). They also have a Statement of Faith which accepts the deity of the Yeshua the Messiah, and they require all members to agree with it.
Most of the Messianic Fellowships and Congregations in Britain are affiliated to either the BMJA or the MJAGB, or have at least established a working relationship with them. That means the Jewish Believers in Yeshua who reject his deity are a very small minority.
Of course it does not necessarily follow that the majority must be right. I am just pointing out that Jewish Believers in Yeshua do not generally have problems with the Trinity.