The Trinity in the Old Testament

There are some who say the trinity is a New Testament construct, that God is not a trinity. They say that God does not change and since they can not see the trinity in the Old Testament, it must be a lie. They say this speaks of three gods, and since God is one, this is a lie.

We will look at this today, but first let us establish that God is one:

Deuteronomy 6:4

Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!

He is unique.

Deuteronomy 4:35

35 “To you it was shown that you might know that the Lord, He is God; there is no other besides Him.

Deuteronomy 4:39

39 “Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that the Lord, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other.

Isaiah 43:10-11

10 “You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me. 11 “I, even I, am the LORD, And there is no savior besides * Me.  

So yes, there is only one God. But even though the trinity was a mystery that was not revealed until the New Testament, we see the trinity in the Old Testament. In Genesis 1, we see the word ‘elohim’ translated as God. Elohim is a plural word, not singular.

Genesis 1:1

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

It has been thought to be a magestic plural, but this does not mean that in fact is the case:

  1. (plural)
    1. rulers, judges
    2. divine ones
    3. angels
    4. gods
  2. (plural intensive – singular meaning)
    1. god, goddess
    2. godlike one
    3. works or special possessions of God
    4. the (true) God
    5. God

Others would say that when God says let us create man, in Genesis 1:26, He is speaking to the angels. This implies it God and the angels who created mankind.

Genesis 1:26

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness ; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

But Genesis 1:27 tells us otherwise.

27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

As an aside, the same word, ‘Elohim’ is translated as God (when speaking of God), and ‘gods’ (when speaking of other gods) in Exodus 20:2-3.

2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 “You shall have no other gods before * Me.

We see the fact that it is GOD who created everything confirmed in Isaiah 44:24,

 24 Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, “I, the LORD, am the maker of all things, Stretching out the heavens by Myself And spreading out the earth all * alone *,

 There fore, it could not have been angels creating with God.

We see in John 1:1-3 that the Son of God is who created everything.

 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing  came into being that has come into being.

The Son is seen in the Old Testament:

Psalm 89:26

26 “He will cry to Me, ‘You are my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.’

Isaiah 9:6

6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders ; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

We see in 2 Samuel that the Holy Spirit, considered to be God, and mentioned the Rock of Israel.

2 Samuel 23:2-3

2 “The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me,

And His word was on my tongue.

3 “The God of Israel said,

The Rock of Israel spoke to me,

‘He who rules over men righteously,

Who rules in the fear of God,

In Isaiah 42, we see God speaking of His chosen One, in whom His soul delights and on whom He has put His Holy Spirit.

Isaiah 42:1

42 “Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations.

God spoke in Isaiah 48, saying he is the first and the last – reminicent of what Christ said of Himself in the New Testament. He went on to say that He was there from the first, and how God sent Him and the Holy Spirit – which is the definition of the trinity in the God-head.

Isaiah 48:12-17

12 “Listen to Me, O Jacob, even Israel whom I called;
I am He, I am the first, I am also the last.
13 “Surely My hand founded the earth,
And My right hand spread out the heavens;
When I call to them, they stand together.
14 “Assemble, all of you, and listen!
Who among them has declared these things?
The Lord loves him; he will carry out His good pleasure on Babylon,
And His arm will be against the Chaldeans.
15 “I, even I, have spoken; indeed I have called him,
I have brought him, and He will make his ways successful.
16 “Come near to Me, listen to this:
From the first I have not spoken in secret,
From the time it took place, I was there.
And now the Lord God has sent Me, and His Spirit.”

17 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 in the way you should go.

We can see Christ spoke of Himself as the first and last.

Revelation 22:13

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
In fact, the New Testament teaches that Christ is God.

John 1:1

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:14

14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Colossians 2:9

9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,

In fact, in Hebrews 1:1-4, we see Jesus is the exact representation of the nature of God.
1God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the righ thand of the Majesty on high, 4having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.
Indeed, when Jesus read for the first time before the congregation in the New Testament, He explained himself as being the Son whom the Father anointed, the Messiah.

Luke 4:18-21

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed

19 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”

20 And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Isa. 61:1-2a

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives
And freedom to prisoners;
2 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord

 

Even though these three are mentioned in the Old Testament, there is little doubt the people living then did not see it. That was not the purpose of that text at the time and place it was given.

Mat 3:16-17 (cf Mark 1:10–11; Luke 3:22; John 1:32-34)

16 After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water ; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him,17 and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”

Acts 7:55

55 But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.

2 Cor 13:14

14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.

So WHY was the trinity hidden in the Old Testament? So Christ would be crucified, which was necessary for those who love God.

2 Corinthians 2:7-11

7 but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; 8 the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; 9 but just as it is written,

“Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,
And which have not entered the heart of man,
All that God has prepared for those who love Him.”

10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.

So yes, we see the trinity in the Old Testament. This is not saying God is three gods, but that there are three persons in one God.

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