© Charles A. Clough 1999
Charles A. Clough
Biblical Framework Series 1995–2003
Part 5: Confrontation with the King
Appendix A: The Doctrine of the Trinity
Lesson 116 –Trinity – Supporting Old Testament Data
11 Mar 1999
Fellowship Chapel, Jarrettsville, MD
We’ve been going through an appendix on the Trinity. I started this unit by mentioning the One and the Many problem, and the reason I did that, even though it’s hard material if you haven’t thought about these things before, because we Christians are very fond of answering questions too fast without digesting the question, without filtering the question. One of the fellows in the church passed a thing around on the Internet illustrating this point, the example illustrated it. There was a professor in this class and there were a bunch of students. And as many professors love to do, they like to kind of the first day of class find out who all the Christian students are so they can attack their faith the rest of the semester. The professor said, “So and so, you’re a Christian aren’t you?” And the kid said, “Yes.” Then he immediately started attacking him about, “well, is God good?” “Yes, God is good.” And you know where it went from there. “Well, what about evil, what about this, what about that, if you saw somebody dying you’d help them, God doesn’t, you do, so what kind of a God does Christianity have?” It’s the same old stuff. And then he went on to attack the idea that science says anything you can hear, taste, touch, have you ever heard God, have you ever tasted God, have you ever smelled God, you know, so how come you believe in God then. And the last part of the internet thing was where another Christian got up in class and started asking the professor questions and pinned his ears behind his back.
The thing is that where … it’s just like fighting a war, it’s whoever has the initiative wins. And in this case, the professor controlled the terrain, he set up the situation, and he pushed it all the way to victory. What he did is he got the Christian to be on the defensive; he started going after the Christian and saying do you believe in God? Is God this, is God that, and it was the Christian who was doing all the answering and he was doing all the questioning. You can control the situation by the questions you ask, and as long as you keep asking the questions, then you’ve got control of the terrain, the conversation. So one of the first things in these kinds of situations is we have as much right to ask questions as a non-Christian. So let’s ask them.
If you pay attention to the Gospels, the Pharisees will often come to Jesus with a question, but if you look, He usually turns it right around and asks them a question. That’s one of the first things to be cognizant of in these kinds of confrontations that you can get into, is that whoever is doing the questioning controls the terrain. They’re picking out the targets, and they’ve got the gun to shoot the targets with. So one of the maneuvers here is to maneuver yourself into the position where you’re doing the questioning, let them answer.
To apply that to what we’re doing, what happens is the non-Christian likes to say the Trinity is a logical contradiction. How can God be three and how can God be one? Obviously, not in the same way. God is a threeness, God is a oneness, the problem is we don’t know enough about God to adequately and totally define His oneness and His threeness. But why I’m trying to approach it the way I’m trying to approach it, which may seem a little odd for you, is to show you that the non-Christian starts with his own baggage. He’s got some very serious problems. The One and the Many is a very serious unsolved problem. When the professor asked the kid, have you ever smelled God, do you ever see God, do you ever touch Him, that kind of thing, aside from the fact, yes as a matter of fact some people did see Him, hear Him and touch Him, the disciples walked with Him when He was incarnate. But that still isn’t an answer to his question. The point is that if it’s really true that everything that we know comes through the senses, then how do we know logic? Where does logic come from? Did you ever taste the logical principle? Did you ever hear a logical principle, did you ever see a logical principle, what do they look like? Got dimensions?
The point is that not all truth comes through the empirical, so what this professor did, he shut up the situation by saying that science says that only what you can touch, taste, feel, etc., only that’s knowledge. But that was the wrong premise. That set up the premise and once the Christian kid bought into the premise he’s led right down the primrose path. So you don’t buy the premise in the question. Once you shut up the question there’s no way you can get yourself out around it; that’s a key point. What we’re trying to show here is that no one has solved the problem of logic and language. Anybody that tries to tell they have just doesn’t know the history of philosophy. Nobody has solved the problem. Don’t sit there and say, from a nice comfortable fortress and bang, bang, bang, you’re shooting at the Christian, you don’t have a fortress, there’s nothing you’ve got there.
That’s why when we talk about logic and language require this One and the Many problem, there’s got to be a oneness and there’s got to be a diversity, and the two have got to both be valid. You can’t have a sentence, like I said last time, any time you have a descriptive sentence where you have a subject, we used the dog; “That dog is a German shepherd.” “Dog” is the individual subject, that’s the particular, “that dog,” not another dog, not Joe’s dog, not the dog in the pound, that dog, one particular dog, period, individual, an individual instance of the dog, is a member of this group of dogs, this classification of dogs called German shepherds. That’s a classification; those two words aren’t the same, one is an instance, the other is a class. One of those words is probably not something that’s part of the Many, because there are many different kind of dogs, many kinds of different German shepherds, this is one particular German shepherd among many German shepherds. But there’s a classification that encompasses all German shepherds.
Now if it weren’t true that we have universal classifications, none of us would be communicating to each other. It’s hard enough to communicate as it is, but we’d never communicate if we didn’t share knowledge of what these classes are. If you say one thing is red and I say another thing is red, we’re off to the wrong race, right from the start. We’ve got to agree on these things. How do we get this agreement? We all intuitively know it’s there; we never even give a thought to it. Nobody questions it. We all take it for granted that we have these universal categories of knowledge. We don’t taste them, we don’t touch them, nobody has sat down and defined them, where did they come from? We know where they come from; they come because they’re designed in creation, that’s where they come from. But nobody wants to say that, gee, you might offend the Supreme Court. You don’t want to have any “God talk” mixed into these kinds of things.
So what we want to say when we start out is that every time we speak and every time we think, whether we’re a Christian or a non-Christian, we’re working this problem. We just don’t think about thinking. That’s the problem. And that’s okay. But then don’t come criticizing the gospel and don’t come criticizing the Christian faith if you haven’t given thought to this. What I’m moving us to is to see that when the Christian faith discusses something like the Trinity, what we have done is we have said back to the Creator/creature distinction—that we have God, God has character, and there’s the creation. God is infinite, I never close the box, that’s why I use that symbolism, it’s an open box, God has character, God has design, and we are an analogue, we have a similarity, we are a finite replica. I’m talking about man here, not dogs and cats, this is creation called man. Man is made in God’s image and there are things about us that are in His image. We eat, sleep and breathe all the time bumping into God and relying upon Him, in every way. And what’s mind blowing about this is that what this says is every time we go to speak and every time we go to think, in effect we’re confessing the kind of God the Scripture says exists.
Turn to Romans 1; this gives added insight into that passage which acts as a theological basis for responsibility of every man, woman and child on this planet. It doesn’t matter whether they’re Hindu, Pakistani, Chinese, Australian, American, German, whatever, it doesn’t make any difference, every person says… people don’t like this, people have a hard time understand it, Romans 1:20, we’ve gone through it many times but you can’t do it too much. “For since the creation of the world,” obviously that part of the text means that this wasn’t true before the creation of the world, so “since the creation of the world, His invisible,” or His unseen “attributes,” notice not empirically seen professor, not smelled, not touched, “His invisible attributes,” and Paul explains two of them, “His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen.”
There’s a contradiction there and in the Greek it’s a very strong kind of contradiction, deliberately set up to teach something. In the first one, the word for invisible is aorato, and the very “they are clearly seen is” horao. See the stem is the same, this noun has that “a” in front of it, it means not. In the Greek it’s obviously what Paul’s saying; the unseen things of God are clearly seen, on the surface that’s a contradiction. How can you see unseen things? Paul wants that to be a device that triggers some thought. Think he says, I’ve been saying this, follow me, Paul says. The unseen things of God, the things that are not empirically observed or touched, he says nevertheless are “clearly seen,” and to that verb stem horao, he adds a kata prefix, and that intensifies the action of the verb. So where you have a verb stem and you have the kata prefix, that always strengthens that verb stem. So that’s why the translators have chosen to translate “His invisible attributes … have been clearly seen,” clearly seen.
You’ll notice that he then goes on and explains it because if you’re following him you think wait a minute, I don’t get this Paul, you’re telling me I can’t see His attributes, then you’re telling me I clearly see them and moreover you’re telling me I clearly see them all the time. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t observe them. Then he explains why, because in the next clause he says how. What’s his explanation of that kata horao, who are “clearly seen?” Here’s how they’re clearly seen, “being understood through what has been made,” that’s how you understand. In other words, we go out, we observe the world around us, we observe what’s inside our heads, we think inside our heart, and out of that he says you understand these invisible attributes. There’s no exception to this sentence.
Verse 20 applies to every man, woman and child who has ever taken a breath on the face of this planet. That’s why there are no such things as atheists. That’s why the Bible says unbelief is self-deception. There are atheists who could pass a lie detector test and say yes, I honestly believe I don’t believe. But the fact that they believe they don’t believe, that belief is self-deception. What has happened, and that’s the sinfulness of sin, we can deceive ourselves into thinking that we do not believe and that’s false. All men know God exists. If they didn’t and God’s revelation wasn’t clear, how could they be held accountable? The very fact that God holds everyone accountable assumes that everybody is accountable. Well, how can you be accountable for something you don’t know about? So it’s undeniable in Scripture that all men, including atheists, know God exists. Not only do they know He exists, but Paul says in this verse they are “clearly seen” all the time, it goes on all the time.
What we’re getting to in our lesson is language and logic. This is one of the ways that men are in touch with God every single day they take a breath. They are walking in God’s world, they are thinking according to the rules of logic that God has implanted in the soul. The only basis for that logic, as we are going to see, is the Trinity. And here they are using the tools. This is why Cornelius Van Til had a very famous illustration he used, he was on one of the public transit systems in the city of Philadelphia one day and he was sitting across the aisle from this parent that had a little kid wandering around and wasn’t controlling him or something, and the kid did something and Van Til was sitting over there, this aged professor watching this whole thing go on and the parent finally reached down and grabbed the kid and sat it on their lap. Well, this kid was a real brat and came up and slapped the parent’s face.
Van Til used that illustration many, many years in his theology class because he said that’s an example of the unbeliever saying God doesn’t exist. In order to reach God and attack Him, he has to sit on God, he has to utilize language and logic. He has to utilize the attributes of God in order to attack the attributes of God, for if the universe were really the way the unbeliever hopes it is, there’s no basis… we go back to our diagram of the limitations of human knowledge. On this basis how do you ever get categories? See, on this basis you don’t know if you have n pieces of data, a thousand observations, n equals a thousand. How can you be sure that 1001 doesn’t bring in new data that totally blows away everything you’ve known before? If you’re honest you have to say you can’t.
What this leads to is that anybody who believes in some theory of empiricism, that’s what this is, knowledge through sensation, any person who believes this way has to ultimately be driven to a position that all knowledge is contingent, all knowledge is up for grabs, there is no such thing as enduring truth. But no scientist can operate this way. Why? Because the moment he goes to mathematically describe something, now he’s using logic, and logic isn’t empirically derived. The moment he writes his scientific report and publishes it in a journal, he’s using language. So he’s using logic and language, just like that little kid on the bus was sitting on the parent’s lap in order to reach their parent’s face. And in order to attack God men have to create universals. They have to create these tools of thought and language in order to attack God with.
So what we are doing in this section on the Trinity is we’re trying to think more deeply than most people think, get down to basics and show that in fact the Trinity is the presupposition of all knowledge. Instead of trying to say well, we have all these rules of logic and gee, we’re going to set up this test in all our finite omnipotence and we’re going to figure out how to prove God exists. In other words, we in all our grandiose intelligence are going to construct some sort of proof, we’re going to see whether or not God fits our proof and if He does, wonderful; and if He doesn’t, too bad for Him. The concept goes out the window. Doesn’t that sound like Eve in the Garden all over again? She had two propositions. God said the day you eat thereof you’re going to die. Satan said in the day that you eat thereof your eyes will be opened, you’re not going to die; he explicitly said you’re not going to die. So the moment Eve held up those two statements, in order to do this thing, she had to move… the statements are really like this, first God speaks, God’s authoritative, a creature speaks, a creature is not authoritative, so the statements should have been valued like that, but Eve in order to do the test said gee, I don’t know, I’ll have to see which one’s right. The moment she did that, what did she do? She elevated the creature statement on the same level as the Creator’s statement. Now we have two conflicting authorities at the same value level, the same authority level. Then she was going to do her grand experiment. Well, she found out!
The point is that there is no test, the way we normally think of, there is no test to prove that God exists or not. It’s true from the garden, because God Himself is a presupposition of the test. It’s exactly backwards; let me try to put it this way. The unbeliever thinks in terms of creating a test and then seeing whether God fits it. biblically speaking we should reverse that, it’s not the test first, then God; it’s God first but we don’t have any test? The basis of the test is human logic, human observation, human thought, human language. Where does that come from? It comes from God. So you can’t set up a test without standing on the firm foundation of the biblical God. He is the presupposition of the tools that you need to do the test with. That’s what we’re trying to push for here as we go into the Trinity.
The Trinity says that on the Creator/creature level, at the Creator level there is also a One and the Many. This is an eternal One and Many; this is the Triune God, there are three and there’s one. Down here we’re going to see some illustrations of the Trinity, but we’ve already seen this One and Many principle operating down in the finite creature. The reason it’s operating down there is because of finite creatures made in God’s image, so it’s no accident that we happen to mirror, whether we want to or not, we daily mirror the Trinity working in our lives.
Turn to page 3, if you’ll follow with me those paragraphs. This is just to review a little bit to get into the biblical material tonight on the Trinity.
“The other foundation toll of human thought is logic. Logic works on language, and it, too, needs a balance between the One and the Many. Like language, however, it is left by unbelief without a foundation.” That’s a key statement, language and logic. If you start with unbelief, strict unbelief, I said strict unbelief, what do I mean strict unbelief? I mean not letting the unbeliever sneak in knowledge of absolutes and all the other stuff that he’s really ripping off from the Christian. That’s stolen capital, every time he reaches for the candy jar you slap his wrist, you can’t bring in any of that stuff because on a non-Christian basis they’ve got to define their own tools; they’ve got to justify logic on their foundation. They’ve got to justify language and logic their way. Tell me how matter and motion evolving creates logic. That’s your problem, not mine; I don’t have that problem, because I believe I’m created by God. So I have my problem solved for me, how are you going to solve yours, tell me about it. Are you going to go with David Hume and make everything experimental and if Hume wound up saying that you can’t know anything, are you going to go to Kant, which way are you going? Well, I hadn’t thought about that. Well it’s time you did, because it’s your insistence that you want to start from man; it’s my insistence that I have to start from God. So we’re starting from two different places. That’s what we’re talking about here.
“From the ancient pagan philosopher Aristotle down to modern logicians like Russell and Whitehead formal logic has relied upon ideal, abstract, ‘pure’ categories, symbolized by ‘empty’ marks on paper (the One again). These categories must be perfectly stable and sharp, or the rules of inference don’t work.”
“The extreme adherence to the One, however, is perpetually frustrated with the Many circumstances in every day life,” then I start to give you an example of this. “A few decades ago when the ‘new math’ replaced traditional arithmetic in American schools, parents and students alike found that its heavy emphasis upon abstract formal logic” remember the set theory, and they’ve got to make all sense of Venn diagrams, I don’t know whether you got into that or not but set theory suddenly came into vogue, everybody dealing with set theory, I never dealt with set theory until I was a third year mathematics major at MIT, and here we are teaching 8 and 9 year olds about set theory. Excuse me! “Parents and students alike found that it’s heavy emphasis upon abstract formal logic didn’t help at all in making change at the local store.” Duh … $1.26, what do I do now, the cash register doesn’t work, the electricity is off, there’s going to be a major crisis in our civilization if the cash register fails, nobody can make change, we don’t do that any more, we all have new math.
“In fact, many students (and their parents!) didn’t understand it. A given instance involving numbers or inference in the everyday world is often a complicated mixture of opinion, perspective, and associated meanings.” A good example of this, “A classroom test that seemed perfectly clear to the teacher often comes back with surprising interpretations by the students, interpretations the teacher never expected,” when they gave the quiz. We’ve all had that experience, both ends. “The ‘pure’ categories of Aristotle simply don’t exist in the real world.”
“Pagan thought, therefore, finds itself relying upon logical rules of inference (the One) in the midst of a world of instance (the Many) with absolutely no explanation of why logic works so much of the time.” Never have they come up with an explanation.
Now we go to the Trinity. We said last time the Trinity is simply saying that the One and the Many that we observed is here, down here at the creature level, because it’s inherent… inherently, it’s not just God decided hey, I’ll be cute, it’ll be cool to make a universe with the One and the Many in it. That’s not what we’re saying. We’re saying that when God created the universe, because He is One and Many the universe turned out that way. In other words, God’s own character determined this.
That’s why we say, the beginning paragraph, I can’t emphasize this enough, this is a key paragraph: “As we’ve noted repeatedly in this series, the difference between pagan and biblical thinking lies in the Creator/creature distinction. The pagan insists upon one kind of reality, one level of being; the Christian insists upon two kinds of realty and two levels of being. How, then, do the pagan and the Christian differ in dealing with the One and the Many question?”
“The Bible-believing Christian, on the other hand, sees the One and the Many in creation as derivative,” key word, “derivative of the One and Many in the Creator. How the One and the Many fit together in Him. After rephrasing the question in these terms, it is immediately apparent that the Triunity of God provides the answer. The Trinity doctrine states that in God’s being, which is ultimate reality, both the One and the Many coexist in non-competitive harmony. God has absolute unity and has absolute individuality. No Aristotelian ‘cease-fire’ is needed; eternal harmony prevails.” The Father isn’t sitting there fighting the Son, the Holy Spirit isn’t arguing with the Father. One isn’t totally trying to fight the other, there’s harmony in the Trinity. So can you have One and Many without a big fight going on? Of course. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit work together, they work so much together that we can call the whole Triunity one. So there’s no inherent necessity for a conflict between the One and the Many, but there is in the non-Christian, he’s got to overemphasize the One, gets totalitarian politics, or he goes over to anarchy, emphasizing all the particulars, I’ve got my right, Joe has his, Mary has hers, and totalitarian says society has a right, that’s communism. So it plays out, but it’s balanced if you look at the Trinity.
The quote by Rushdoony on page 4 had enormous implications to American political theory. “Whatever other influences may have been at work, it is apparent that, in the shaping of the United States, a truly Christian concept of the One and the Many was a decisive, if often unrecognized, presupposition.” One of the reasons historically why we have the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government, they’ve separated the power. Yet all these powers are part of the government.
The last paragraph, the conclusion to this and transition to the material we want to go into tonight in the text. “Thus to the hasty critics who call the Trinity a contradiction we respond by saying that, just as he lacks a basis for knowledge and ethics, his language and logic are floating in thin air. Somehow they are ‘just there’ barely able to survive the tug-of-war between the One and the Many in everyday use. Moreover, the pagan can’t even back up his claim of a contradiction in the Trinity doctrine without violating his own ‘pure’ abstract logic categories. To apply his logic, he must invest the terms ‘God,’ ‘Trinity,’ ‘three,’ and ‘one’ with meanings that he brings from his own worldview which contaminates the ‘purity’ of his abstract, objective categories!”
In other words, you’ve got these abstract categories of three, God, but he has to fill those up, he can’t turn the crank in the logic machine unless you put content into it. If I have an equation and I say y = ax + b, how do you get an answer out of it if you don’t have x. You’ve got to plug in an x to get a y. So in the logic machine, the non-Christian in order to criticize us has to bring meanings into the words, or he can’t make sentences. That’s where we’ve got him, he’s bringing in content and meaning to these words, and we say whoa, where you getting that from. “To tell us of his unbelief he resorts to using language like the One and the Many coexist after all just as the Trinity doctrine implies!” That’s what he has used to describe his very position, he has to use language, and the moment he opens his mouth to use language he’s already utilizing the balanced concept of the One and the Many.
We want to survey the biblical material that shows the plurality in God. The most striking way of doing this, I think, is pages 5-7. I’ve tried to show material from the Old Testament, because most people don’t think it’s there. Most people think the Trinity is some new thing that happened with Jesus. It’s true that the presence of the person of Jesus Christ forced the church to think this through like believers in past centuries didn’t have to think it through. But the presence of Jesus in history, the birth of Jesus Christ, because that’s where we started all this, the event of the birth of Jesus Christ, the introduction of the incarnate God-man walking this planet forced us as believers to say we’ve got to think this one through, we’ve got to think hard about this. This is forcing, we can’t kind of say well gee, that’s kind of nice. Now we’ve got heretics knocking at the door, we’ve got conflicts going on; we’ve got to come to this statement. That’s why the doctrine of the hypostatic union. But remember, all through those 400 years of trying to say who Jesus was, what was the underlying problem? What was the underlying problem of all those heresies? They started with the wrong concept of God. They either were so monotheistic that it was a solitary monotheism without allowing for a plurality within the one God, or they went off on some pagan thing and screwed it all up, messing up the Creator/creature distinction.
We want to look at Old Testament supporting data. The first key thing, page 5, “Old Testament Supporting Data.” One of the problems here is that people think of the Old Testament in terms of Medieval and modern Judaism. Medieval and modern Judaism does promulgate a solitary monotheism. But that’s not Old Testament Judaism, that is Middle Ages and modern Judaism. So let’s not read stuff into the Old Testament that’s not there. That’s a tradition of modern Judaism, not ancient Judaism. Where do you go to find ancient Judaism? The Old Testament. So if we want to know what Judaism believes, we read the book of Judaism which is the Old Testament.
Looking at this we find something different. We find there are two words. Deuteronomy 6:4, this is one of the theme songs of modern Judaism, it always has been crucial but this is the one has struck a note over the years. “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!” There are two Hebrew words. In Deuteronomy 6:4 the word echad is used for one. Midway in that paragraph of Old Testament supporting data, I tell you about a medieval rabbi called Maimonides. Maimonides is to Judaism what probably Thomas Aquinas and Augustine are to the Christian church. He was a man who had tremendous influence on all the generation after him. He’s a very important figure, because this guy’s calling in life was to protect Judaism from Christian intrusions. He built a fortress for Judaism. He’s the architect of a lot of modern… what has come down among Judaism.
“Maimonides went far beyond the ancient Jewish Old Testament sources. Even the famous Sh’ma,” that’s the Hebrew word that is used to describe Deuteronomy 6:4, if you hear a Jewish person talk about the Sh’ma, do you know what it is? In Deuteronomy 6:4 what’s the first word, “Hear,” that’s Sh’ma. They will often label a text by the first word, so that’s where that comes from. But this is the text we’re talking about. It says, “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!” They say see you Christians, there’s no three there, just one so you Christians have changed the Old Testament. This word Sh’ma uses the Hebrew word echad, word number one. It doesn’t use the second one. The second word also means one, but it means an absolute one, a plain simple ordinary one, and modern Judaism thinks of Deuteronomy 6:4 in terms of word number two, not word number one.
We’ll show why that’s important. There’s a shift and these two words played a role in this shift. Echad means one, but it allows a multiplicity. Genesis 2:24, who’s created in Genesis 2? Genesis 2 recapitulates day six, man was created on day 6. What does Genesis 2 do? College professors say aha, see contradictions in Genesis 2 and Genesis 1. What did we say? Genesis 2 was a repetitive and developed narration of what happened on the sixth day. What does Genesis 2 say? Woman was created. Then what happens? Man and woman become one flesh. Guess what the word is there? Echad, one flesh. Is there a multiplicity? You betcha. Every married person knows there’s multiplicity. There’s no mixture of personalities, they’re still there, but echad is used. Now here’s one of the first references in the Bible for echad and it’s talking about two people. In a relationship, yes, one marriage, but within that oneness there’s a twoness. So we distinguish these two words by saying yachid is a word that refers to absolute, simple one; echad is used for oneness in the sense of a collection, it can be one, it is used for the numeral one, but the way and the flavor in which it is used tells us that the Bible authors were quite comfortable using this word where there was multiplicity involved. Yachid is never used in the Old Testament to describe God’s personal essence, which is sort of interesting. It’s never used. When you get passages like Deuteronomy 6:4, it’s always echad, not yachid.
“The Old Testament obviously taught clear cut monotheism, but it did not teach the rigid, absolutely unified monotheism of post-biblical Judaism,” post biblical Judaism, not Old Testament Judaism. “The Old Testament differentiation within the ‘unity’ of God appears in at least four ways.” Now we’re going to survey the four ways in which you see a multiplicity inside that word echad. We’re not saying—don’t get me wrong—we’re not saying that you can see the Trinity in all these passages. That’s not what we’re saying. What we’re saying, however, is that there’s more than one there. There’s more than one going on, there’s something funny going on here in the Old Testament. I know people can say it’s Monday morning quarterbacking. We might not have seen it if we’ve been an Old Testament saint, we might not have sensed this. Well, maybe, but maybe not, because we really don’t know how much they really knew about some of these things. We can sit back from New Testament perspective and look back and say oh yeah, Abraham knew that. Well, maybe he did, maybe he didn’t, but the plurality is there.
Page 5 is the first one, on page 6 the second one is the angel of Yahweh, the third one is the word of Yahweh, and then I go into the explicit references. Let’s look at these three and then we’ll get to the fourth one, which is an explicit testimony of the Triunity of God.
The first one is that God appears to use the plural pronoun. We’ve already covered that in Gen. 1, the creation event. Who makes men? We make men, in our image. “What is the explanation for these first person plurals?” If you didn’t take Latin, didn’t learn the English language right, we have singular, plural, we have first person, I, we, pronoun, then we have adjectives etc. This is another reason why in the King James the second person is preserved and we don’t preserve it in our language. In the King James English, when I talk to you as an individual, I use a particular word that we don’t use any more. I don’t use “you,” the King James doesn’t use “you” when it’s talking about singular, it uses thee and ye. That’s old English and that’s part of the degeneration of the English language as time goes on we get sloppier and sloppier. We’ve lost that, nobody uses that any more. In Texas they try to make up for it by saying y’all, because it’s singular and then when they say y’all it means a group of you. But most people in the English language today don’t do that, it’s just you.
But we have a particular technical question here. Why does God, a monotheistic God, choose this instead of this, in the first chapter, no less, of creation, we’ve got the plurality of God. “What is the explanation for these first person plurals? Some have argued that the plurals in the creation narrative (Genesis 1:26) must refer to God and the angels.” That’s the usual explanation, it’s God and the angels that sang. “This view is contradicted by Psalm 8:5 and Hebrews 2:5-18 that expressly deny that man was created after the pattern of angels.” It doesn’t say that we were made in the angels image, it says we’re made lower than the angels. So it’s not God and the angels that get together and do the tweaking. God alone did this. “It also conflicts with clear statements that God alone created man (Genesis 2:7, 22; Isaiah 44:24).”
Turn to Isaiah 44:24, I would just love to have the time in my life to study the book of Isaiah sometime, in thoroughness, particularly from chapter 40 on, it’s an amazing book. Look at what he says here, he doesn’t talk about angels making men. He says, “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” how, by Myself and angels? No! “by Myself, and spreading out the earth” how, with angels? “all alone.” So God is a solitary agent of creation, angels were not involved in creation. They themselves were created. We have to dismiss that, that’s not true. The plural thing isn’t “we” meaning God and angels. So we can wipe that one.
Now what is it? “Others seek to explain this plurality as ‘merely’ a plural of majesty or the ‘regal we’.” You often hear an important person say well we believe this and we believe that, and they’re using the we kind of for themselves. So people have said that’s a plural of majesty and that’s all that God meant. “Such an explanation is thoughtlessly shallow. Why should there have arisen in human language a plurality of majesty if it wasn’t due to the prior truth of the plurality of God? It is not ‘merely’ a plural of majesty; it is a plural of majesty that is incomprehensible in depth and richness-referring to the plurality of Being in God.” Is everybody clear on that, the plurality of God? It’s there, it’s in the text, and you’ve got to explain it. It doesn’t prove the Trinity; it sets up and allows for the Trinity. It keeps people from saying that the Trinity conflicts with the Old Testament. No it doesn’t.
Second thing, “The angel of Jehovah.” Turn to Isaiah 42:8, this is the essence of monotheism in the Creator/creature distinction. God says “I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images.” I will not tolerate worship of anything outside of Myself. The other verses there are Acts 10:26; 14:11-15; Revelation 19:10, it’s where those angels show up and the guy goes to worship the angels and the angel says hey, no, no, whht, up, I’m not God. So always in the Scripture there’s only one to worship. Got that. Now watch what happens. “As a figure apparently distinct from God, the Angel of Yahweh occurs throughout [blank spot: notes read: “the Old Testament carefully distinguished as a person having his own identity. (e.g., Genesis 24:7, 40; 1 Chronicles 21:15-18; Isaiah 63:9; Zechariah 1:12-13). Nevertheless this very figure is at the same time identified with and worshipped Yahweh God Himself (Geneses 16:7-13; 22:11-18; 31:11-13; 48:15-16; Exodus. 13:21 cf. 14:19; Judges 5:11-23; 13:9-20)! One can easily conclude that in this instance the Old Testament teaches that at least two persons of some sort are distinguishable within the one God.”]
Let’s look at Genesis where he first occurs, Genesis 16:7. Who prior to chapter 16 in Genesis has promised Abraham the Abrahamic Covenant? God. God is a covenant-making, covenant-keeping God. Oh-oh, then how do you explain this one? The angel comes to the woman; by the way, the first presence of the angel is to a female in trouble, alone by herself because she’s been thrown out of the home—interesting lesson of God’s compassion. [Genesis 16:7, “Now the angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur.  And he said ‘Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from and where are you going? And she said, ‘I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress, Sarai.’] Verse 9, “Then the angel of the LORD said to her, ‘Return to your mistress, and submit yourself to her authority,  Moreover, the angel of the LORD said to her, ‘I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they shall be too many to count.  The angel of the LORD said to her further, ‘Behold, you are with child, and you shall bear a son; and you shall call his name Ishmael, because the LORD has given heed to your affliction.” Verse 13, “Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, [‘Thou art a God who sees,’]” Who’s speaking to her? “The angel of the LORD.” Who wrote this text? A Jew or an Arab? Hagar is looked upon by the Arabs as one of the mommas of the Arab nations. But who wrote this text? Jews. This is Old Testament Judaism. So in verse 13 it’s an interpretation by the author of the Genesis text about what this woman just did, and he says that she saw the Lord, the Lord who spoke to her. Yet the immediate text says it was the angel of the Lord that spoke to her. Then who is this angel of the Lord?
We could cite many of those verses and I encourage you to look these up, it just creates more of an awe of who our God is to go through these things and you can see, my wife’s been teaching Judges in the Precepts class and she’s gone through those passages. The angel of the Lord is a real interesting being.
So at least we conclude that there are two, two persons, there’s the angel of the Lord, and there’s the Lord. The question is, “In the light of New Testament insistence that no one has ever seen God in His fullness (John 1:18; 6:46; 1 Timothy 6:15-16; 1 John 4:14), one can only conclude that the angel of the Lord who was seen face to face was the Second Person of the Trinity, God the Son, in preincarnate form. The word God in the four passages just quoted can then be understood to refer to the First Person of the Trinity, God the Father, Who is never really seen,” in His fullness, in His completeness.
Next we have the Wisdom of Jehovah, or the Word of Jehovah. This is a little subtlety about the Hebrew text. We think, when I say “Word of God” and you use the Word, nine times out of ten what do we have in mind when we’re talking about the Word of God? We have in mind the Bible. But watch it here. There is an expression in the Old Testament when the prophets were getting their information from God, which they later wrote as Scripture. They didn’t get it from Scripture, this is original revelation, before they wrote it as Scripture; there’s this expression that says “The Word of Jehovah” came to them. When you read the Old Testament think how many times you read that, “The word of the Lord” came to prophet so and so, “The word of the Lord” came to so and so, “The word of the Lord” came to so and so. That’s not the Bible coming to them. The Bible was being written by them. So what was this “Word of the Lord” that was coming to them?
That “Word of the Lord” was sent to do things for God. Turn to Isaiah 55:10; notice how many times we go back to Isaiah. In the doctrine of the Trinity there’s this annoying concept that says the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son and the Son is always begotten of the Father, we have to deal with what “begotten” means and what proceeds means. Isaiah 55 sets this idea in motion. Isaiah 55:10, “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth, and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater,  So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” So far there it’s all impersonal pronouns, “it.”
But there’s something more powerful than just thinking of that in terms of a Bible and a written text of paper. Something’s going on here. There’s the Word of Jehovah, the Word of the Lord comes to the prophet, it’s sent by the Father and returns to the Father, and it accomplishes tasks. I grant you, it’s not a complete clear exposition. All I’m trying to point out is that the Old Testament text has these openings, these cracked doors, these partial windows. That’s what we’re seeing, there’s a structure here, embedded in the Old Testament itself.
The paragraph on page 6, “A third type of relevant Old Testament data concerns the Wisdom or Word of Yahweh. When God reveals Himself to his Old Testament prophets, it is declared that the “Word of Yahweh Came” to them (e.g., Isaiah 2:1; 38:4; Jeremiah 2:2, 4, 11, 14; Ezekiel 20:2; Hosea 1:1). This Word is sent to do things for God (Isaiah 55:10-11). “It delivers the elect from judgment (Psalm 107:20), and controls nature (Psalm 147:15).” What was one of the arguments we used, a category of arguments for the deity of Jesus that the church used? One was substitution of actions of God, that Jesus performed things that only God could do. We said Jesus pronounced forgiveness of sins, not that He announced that God forgave them, He said I forgive you. He created things out of nothing. So when Jesus Christ takes on the roles of the Creator, we assume He must be the Creator. It’s a similar kind of thing that’s going on here. This Word that comes from God controls nature, it saves the elect from judgment. “Moreover, this Word is clearly distinguished from all of creation,” because it says the creation in Psalm 33 was created by this Word of the Lord, “but it is distinguished from the Creator in Proverbs 8:22-31,” I was with Him from before the creation of the world, says wisdom. How can that be? I was there, says wisdom, when He created the world. Who’s that? “Before creation the Word existed, yet it existed with an identity separate from Yahweh (Proverbs 8:22-26).”
On page 7, “By the end of the Old Testament era, Jewish thought had developed this concept of the Word of Yahweh.” Now this is Old Testament Jewish thought, not modern Jewish thought, this is Jewish thought at the time of the New Testament. “Aramaic translations and commentaries on the Old Testament, called Targums, frequently mentioned the divine Word of Yahweh.” This is not Christian here, we’re not talking about something the apostles did, this is all stuff within the Jewish community. “Dr. David L. Cooper,” who by the way for many years was a pioneer in Jewish evangelism in Los Angeles, “relates some of this early Jewish thinking:” He wrote a fantastic series of books that are out of print, never have been reprinted to my knowledge, and I had to go to Dallas Seminary to dig all this stuff off, it’s on bookshelves way in the back of the library, but a fantastic series.
“‘We shall begin with Genesis 19:24 which reads in the American Revised Version as follows:” watch this, you know the story it’s Sodom and Gomorrah. ‘Then Jehovah rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from Jehovah out of heaven….’” Why are there two Jehovah’s in that sentence? Why does it say Jehovah, subject of the verb to rain, but then there’s a prepositional clause, “from Jehovah.” So the Lord rained from the Lord. The next sentence in Cooper’s work is he’s going to show you what a rabbi thinks about that verse, Genesis 19:24, so the next sentence describes a Targum or an interpretation of that verse. “Jonathan Ben Uzziel [a Targum] renders the original text of this passage as follows: ‘And the Word of the Lord caused to descend upon the people of Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord of heaven.’ Here we see that the Jehovah who rained the fire is called ‘the Word of Jehovah.’ The translator then used the term, ‘the Word of Jehovah’ in referring to the One in the sacred text called Jehovah.” See the interplay? In one place it’s Jehovah, in the next place it’s the Word of Jehovah.
“After mentioning many such instances in the Targums ….” He illustrates the others, then the next quote, also from Cooper.
“From the quotations I have noted, it becomes clear that the official ancient interpretation of the synagogue was that the Word of Jehovah and the Holy Spirit were divine personalities and were distinguished from the one who is called Jehovah. From all the facts which we have learned thus far, we see that Moses and the Prophets were Trinitarians, and the great leaders of Israel in pre-Christian times were likewise Trinitarians.” A lot of scholars have criticized this sentence; you’ve got to be careful. I think Cooper probably went too far, this sentence where he’s saying they were Trinitarians, I don’t think they really were. I think they just never thought about it. I think he’s reading too much in. There’s plurality inside God, that’s all. That’s a more careful sentence. “In view of these facts, then, we can assert with all confidence that Christians who worship the Holy Trinity … are simply worshipping the same God who revealed Himself to Abraham.” We would agree with that sentence. It’s just the other one I don’t think they consciously thought of themselves as Trinitarians.
Now we’re going to go to mysterious passages in the Old Testament and I quote them so you can look them up if you want, but just look at these texts. These are very interesting texts. Here is where the Trinity may indeed be present in the Old Testament in very clear form.
Isaiah 48:16, Yahweh speaks, you’ve go to see the context, so go to verse 12, so we identify the speaker. It’s all quotes in your translation. Who starts off the speech? “Listen to me, O Jacob, even Israel whom I called; I am He, I am the first, I am also the last.” Who’s the speaker? Jehovah! Now go to verse 16, what do you make of this, it says: “Come near to Me, listen to this: From the first time 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.” Question: what is the antecedent of the pronoun Me? Every pronoun has an antecedent; the antecedent means a noun that the pronoun stands for. What’s the antecedent of Me? The speaker, but who’s the speaker? The Lord. So now you’ve got two Lords here, verse 16, “The Lord God,” that’s Jehovah’s name there, The Elohim, “The Lord God sent Me,” and Me is the guy in verse 12, “and [He sent] His Spirit.” This is a pretty powerful text; you have to think about it.
The other text I cite is in Isaiah 61:1, this is a quote that one Sabbath day the Lord Jesus Christ got up in a synagogue, the book of Luke recounts this, and He quotes this passage, and the people really get ticked off. They know what He meant when He got up and said this, this young son of a carpenter coming up in our synagogue and daring to say after reading this scroll, because the men in the congregation would take turns reading the Bible, and he read the scroll and said, “This day you have seen it fulfilled, it’s Me.” And he walked over and sat down. Can you imagine what happened when He did this? In Isaiah 61:1, we’ve got to know the context so go to the previous verse, Isaiah 60:22. Who’s speaking, in verse 22 it’s “I, the LORD.” Now in Isaiah 61:1, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the LORD has anointed Me—“who’s the antecedent of the pronoun Me? The speaker of verse 22; who’s that? It’s the Lord. Now you’ve got the Lord has anointed the Lord, moreover, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon 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.” We always quote that of Jesus but tonight we’re not worried about the rest of that verse, we’re just looking at the first part of it.
So remember there are these two passages in the Old Testament, Isaiah 61:1 and Isaiah 48:16, and there’s something going on here. Now it’s true, the Old Testament saints may not have really delved into this much; it took the church 400 years to work it out, so maybe they didn’t spend too much to much time thinking about this but it’s there. The same God speaks in the Old Testament as in the New Testament. He has a plurality in the Old, and clearly these two passages in Isaiah show His fourness? Twoness? Or “threeness?” So, it’s not any plurality it’s a Triunity that’s involved here.
So that’s the set up, next week we’ll deal with the New Testament evidences which I don’t think we have to spend too much time on because we’ve already with dealt with the Lord Jesus Christ, so the notes on page 8-9 refer mostly to the personality of the Holy Spirit. Then we want to get into pages 10-11, pay attention to that because that is a statement of the parts that go into a proper statement of what the Trinity is all about. We’re going to struggle with that, that’s not easy material either; it’s taking advantage of all the Scripture that we’re looking and then going back to the One and the Many problem again. So we’re going to combine all that stuff, the One and the Many stuff, with all the Scripture data, and we want to pull it together into the doctrine of the Trinity and try to understand it.
Question asked: Clough replies: It’s not quite as clear, but where it says “the Word of the Lord” came to the prophets, I’m investing that with the fact that in many of those contexts it allows for the fact that it’s a hypostasis, that there’s more to it than just a revelation going on, that because the way the word and wisdom is used interchangeably in the Old Testament and the wisdom, the word chokmah, takes on a distinct…, what the theologians call a hypostasis, a being in and of itself, in texts like Proverbs 8. It also explains why suddenly, without warning, apparently, John’s talking about “And the Word was with God and the Word was God.” Where did that come from all of a sudden? What we’re trying to say is that it wasn’t all of a sudden, that John, when he starts opening his Gospel with this magnificent passage, the Word was God, he actually is in continuity with what Rabbinical thought was thinking about, and you read Cooper’s work, Cooper did an awful lot of work reviewing the Targums. He was one of these self-taught guys (sort of like Dr. Chafer who started Dallas Seminary), he always felt like in order to evangelize Jewish people correctly you really had to immerse yourself in their culture, and the Trinity is a big dividing line, so Cooper did a lot of work on these Targums.
He says books are filled with them, where he shows that the rabbi’s in the centuries leading up to Jesus’ era and even after that, were talking this way. They weren’t just thinking of the Word of God as a text, it had more oomph to it than that. That, as I said, would explain why John didn’t suddenly … I’m not saying John couldn’t have come up with that had the Holy Spirit led him that way, but usually when you see these things they didn’t just think that up. The New Testament authors got an awful lot out of the Old Testament. I see that more and more as I study. But that was a good question, the question being whether I’m saying that the Word of the Lord in the Old Testament means more than just revelation in general, but rather it also refers to a being. I can’t generalize that and say in every case, but I think I can say that in those times and places where the text says “the Word of the Lord” came to the prophet, it allows for that.
Question asked: Clough replies: The issue of Ephesians 6 was brought up, Ephesians 6 is not a new thing either, it comes out of Isaiah 59, and it’s significant what the image is there. See, this is another example, you start studying the Bible more carefully and you realize… there’s a passage in Isaiah that talks about the shield and everything. Isaiah 59:17, see here’s where if you read the Old Testament it helps you interpret the new, because these guys that wrote the New Testament weren’t making this up. They didn’t dream this. And the Holy Spirit, remember the case of the Emmaus Road? Remember the report the disciples said after they walked with Jesus. What happened on the Emmaus Road? He’s walking down this road and Jesus in His resurrection body showed up. But whatever His resurrection body looked like, He didn’t have a name tag on it and they didn’t know it was Jesus. He said well what’s been going on, give me the latest, what’s the newspaper say today? They said well, we thought Jesus was going to be the Messiah and He died and they say He rose. Then he says I think you’re a little stupid guys, you don’t believe the whole Old Testament. Then He proceeded, THEN it says in Luke He proceeded to tell them all of the Law and the Prophets. And after that little Bible class what does Luke report. He’s a medical doctor, and you’ll see him do this repeatedly in the Gospel of Luke, it’s not in the other Gospels, Matthew concentrates on bureaucracy questions because he’s a bureaucrat; Luke reports on all these emotions and how people felt on healings, Luke says their hearts burned within them. What was Jesus doing? Think about it. On the Emmaus Road was He generating new Scripture or was He saying guys, let’s look at the Old Testament text a little more carefully. See, it was rooted back in the Old Testament text.
And here’s a good example of it, we have this Ephesians 6 thing, and we all, because we’re New Testament people, we go into there and start talking about the sword and the spirit and the breastplate and we want to get all the armor down. That’s fine to do that, and you’ll often hear it said Ephesians 6 is modeled after the Roman soldier. Well, maybe, but I don’t think that was the primary model, because what do you do over here. It’s just that it wasn’t necessarily a model of the Roman soldier; it was the model of a soldier.
Isaiah 59:15, “… Now the LORD saw, and it was displeasing in His sight that there was no justice,  And He saw that there was no man, and was astonished that there was no one to intercede; then His own arm brought salvation to Him,” notice this strange thing, here’s another one of these passages that’s very strange. Look at that text very carefully; notice the sentence in verse 16, “His own arm brought salvation to Him, and His righteousness upheld Him” Doesn’t it almost sound like there’s another entity there? The word “arm” often becomes an emblem in the Old Testament of the Messiah, because the arm is what accomplished something. “His own arm brought salvation, and His righteousness upheld Him.  And He put on righteousness like a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head; and He put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped Himself with zeal as a mantle.”
It’s a picture at the end times of the Lord God executing the judgment. What does that suggest about the interpretation of Ephesians 6? Ephesians 6 is applied to whom? The church; and what is the battle going on in Ephesians 6? The church is doing battle with whom? Principalities and powers. See, there’s a stunning thought in that passage, we won’t have time to go into it but if in the Old Testament original context is talking about what we call the Second Advent, the finalization, the end period of history when good and evil is going to be separated, God’s going to straighten it all out and He’s going to bring in His kingdom. And in Ephesians 6 we have this very imagery used of the church fighting the principalities and powers, what does that suggest the church is doing for 2,000 years? Preparing the way for the return of Christ by doing what? By doing battle in some unseen way with the principalities and powers who will ultimately in the Millennial Kingdom, what will happen to them, the evil ones? They’ll be knocked off the earth.
So without straining and stretching here, it’s just that Ephesians 6 has a lot more to say than just individuals doing battle. It’s talking about the place of the church in the program and plan of salvation, that the battles that we go through in our lives against the principalities and powers is part of a battle that began with Jesus Christ and is going to end with the Second Advent. Something is going on, it’s almost as though we in the Church Age, though we don’t claim land, we’re not in the crusades to restore the Holy Land, we’re not bringing in the Kingdom in a physical political way, in a way we are but it’s indirect. Somehow our faithfulness to stand for the Word of God against the principalities and powers is what is a mechanism that is going to bring in the Kingdom, because it’s part of this. Paul’s not picking this out randomly, he is talking about the judgment at the end time, and the church by asserting its stand of faithfulness with Jesus Christ and the authority of Scripture is standing against the powers that want to prevent the establishment of the Kingdom. So we have some role in this and God isn’t relegating it just to angels; somehow we are involved. He hasn’t told us all the details, but all He’s told us in the New is you trust and obey.
But what Ephesians 6 makes you conscious of is that while you’re trusting and obeying there’s all kinds of unseen things going on around us, as a result of our trusting and obeying. Our eyes aren’t open to all that’s going on around us, but something is going on around us, and the Holy Spirit wants us just to be aware there are some cosmic things going on. We don’t think of it because we’re just doing our own little thing down here, we don’t really get involved in that and maybe the Lord doesn’t want us to; maybe if we really knew what was going on we’d be freaked out. But we do know that we’re under watch, we know that the angels are learning something from us. I mean, what do we have to teach them other than a bad joke? But nevertheless they seem to be learning from us something. The powers and principalities are watching us. So in answering the question, the plurality of God shows up somewhat in this passage.
Question asked: Clough replies: Well, I think that’s true in Hagar’s case, it’s true in Abraham’s case, was it true in Judges, is that the way it happened in Judges? [someone says something] You’re right, the angel of the Lord shows up, but He also showed up in another form, the captain of the host of the Lord, in Joshua. And I guess you could even defend that there because Joshua takes up a sword, he’s on sentry duty, and he’s wondering, “are you for us or against us?” So it’s obvious, it’s not some stunning Theophany, he wouldn’t be drawing a sword at God. He’s a sentry, I just had an army class today and we were talking about the role of the sentry, and you come up to the sentry, you challenge, there’s an exchange or you don’t pass, you get shot. That’s the same thing there, that’s what Joshua was going to do, take care of this guy, this is a secure area, it’s his army, it’s his command post, this guy shows up and Joshua is on security. Then it’s very clear, the angel just speaks and Joshua knows who it is. It’s an amazing person.
Question asked: Clough replies: It’s the total expression, the malak Yahweh, the angel of the Lord.
Question asked: Clough replies: The problem with the Jehovah’s Witnesses is, if you can relate it to that chart on page 37, they have a screwed up idea of God. Their whole basic idea of God is screwed up. That bad concept of God that they have which is Arianism, Jehovah’s Witnesses are nothing more than recycling of that whole heresy. That forces them, every time they get into a passage to run that passage through a certain grid, and what they do is they make Jesus an angel, in this case using Michael, I think the Jehovah’s Witnesses say he’s Michael. But the problem with that is, what did we just go through tonight? What did it say in the Isaiah passage? I’m not sharing My glory with anybody, that’s what God says. I don’t do that, so understand that from the very start. Now if you’ve got another angel there and he’s not God, but he’s worshipped as God, which the angel of Jehovah is, we’ve got a big problem here. And I don’t think the Jehovah’s Witnesses have really thought this through because in one case yes, it’s an angel of the Lord, but when Hagar says it’s the Lord, and He’s constantly identified as that, and worshiped, then you go where you have genuine angels, by genuine I don’t mean the angel of the Lord isn’t genuine, I mean non-divine angels, what do you see constantly? These angels don’t want to be worshiped. Satan does, but the good guys when they show up to help Christians, they don’t want… the interpreting angel that comes to John the Apostle says hey, I’m like your fellow brethren, don’t… I may have a different set of clothes than you guys but I’m not God.
So where do you put this in between thing that the Jehovah’s Witnesses are always talking about. It gets back to, when you go through those ancient heresies and realize that Arianism, which was a majority view at one time, that Arianism was finally destroyed by Athansaius’ argument; Athansaius’ argument pounded away at the Arians and said if Jesus Christ is not God, then we are not saved. If Jesus Christ is not God, then knowing Christ does not mean I know God. The Jehovah’s Witnesses can’t get away from that theological logic. It traps them in it. It’s just like I said, they started off with a wrong concept of God and all the Scriptures subsequently is rammed and crammed through the filter. That’s why it’s so slippery talking with one of them. You can sit here and talk for hours and go on like this with them, it’s very frustrating. The Holy Spirit has to open their hearts.
Next week we’ll continue on and try to get into stating the Trinity doctrine in a comprehensive way.