The Trinity: Part 3
"For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one" ~1 John 5:7
A while back, I started a series on the Trinity entitled "Is Jesus God?" Today, I'd like to continue on with this topic. Keep in mind that whereas the previous posts have been rather long, I'm going to take the rest of this series in small steps. For the newcomers to my blog, it may be necessary to read the previous posts on this topic before continuing.
But before we begin, I would like to clarify a few things. First, I believe in the Trinity as three separate Persons; however, I also believe that They are One and the same, and you will see why as you read on. My purpose in this discussion is to prove the Trinity from Scripture. I am aware that this is a rather "heated" topic of debate among Christians; I have heard some claim that Jesus is not God, that He is merely the Messiah, and I am aware that other religions pervert the Trinity as well. Some even claim that Christians believe in three gods! But as I showed in my previous posts on this topic, Christians are not that... well... stupid! If you disagree with my stance on this topic, it is recommended that you read the other two posts before making your final decision; I explain very thoroughly my understanding of the Trinity based on the Scriptures. Also, I am still working on this series, so there is more to come... I would love to hear your feedback, but I do ask that those holding contradictory views wait to weigh in on this until the series in completed (which may take a while, so sit tight!) And lastly, keep in mind that this is only a small portion of the series; I have so much more both written and unwritten to share with you all. Therefore, I ask that no one criticize my views based on this post alone; as I said before, please see my other posts for more... So now that we have established that, let's begin.
Today, we will focus on Psalm 118:11-12, which reads,
"They compassed me about; yea, they compassed me about: but in the name of the LORD I will destroy them. They compassed me about like bees; they are quenched as the fire of thorns: for in the name of the LORD I will destroy them."
Psalm 22, a Messianic Prophecy, states (verses 7-8, 12-13, 16), "All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. .... Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. .... For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet." The Gospels record this event: "And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, And saying, 'Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.' Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, 'He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.'" (Matthew 27:39-43). So we see that these verses in Psalm 118 are referring to Jesus.
As for the reference to "I will destroy them," Jesus said in John 8:24, "I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins." Also, 1 Corinthians 15:54-57 states, "So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory.' 'O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?' The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." Hebrews 2:14-15 says, "Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." I included those last two passages, because they show how Jesus had the power over death; hence, he "destroyed"; Jesus rose from the dead. In John 10:17-18, Jesus said, "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." Now, let's look at Acts 2:24 -- "Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it." We examined this passage more fully in our first post on this discussion, and we saw that Jesus is God. However, you will notice here, that Jesus says that it is in His own power (which was given to Him by the Father) to die and rise, but Peter says in Acts that God raised Him up -- Jesus and the Father are ONE! Also, notice that 1 Corinthians says that we have the victory over sin and death "through our LORD Jesus Christ." Now, let's look at Romans 8:11: "But if the SPIRIT of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." So, God raised Christ from the dead, Christ rose from the dead of His own will and accomplished victory over sin and death, and the Spirit of God (which is in us) accomplished this victory over sin by quickening our mortal bodies-- God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are ONE! If there is any doubt about this, consider this Scripture: "And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power" (1 Corinthians 6:14). We just learned that the Spirit raises us up, and that Jesus rose of His own choice; but here it says that God raised up Jesus and raised us up, once again, corroborating the Trinity.
I'll throw in one more point about this: Romans 8:14-17 states, "For as many as 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. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." Now here is a pertinant question: If the Trinity were all "separate" persons - and hence, three different gods -- as some claim, why would those following the Spirit of God become God's sons if they are not One and the same? If they were really different "gods," I would think that those following the Spirit would be walking away from God (because they are following the spirit instead); but this passage says that those following the Spirit are God's sons. We learn from this passage 1) that if we are led by the Spirit of God, we are God's children so the two are not separate, 2) that if we are children of God, we are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ if we suffer with Him. We already addressed the first part, so let's look at #2: If we are children of God, we are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ -- Galatians explains it thus: "Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ" (Galatians 4:7). This one says, "through Christ." Why? Because Christ is God's Son and a fellow heir. But how do we know from this that Jesus is God? Well, chapter 3 in Galatians, verse 26 says, "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." This is why it is THROUGH Christ; it is THROUGH faith in Him (Remember, Jesus said, "I am the door" -- We gain access to God through faith in Jesus.). But does this show that Jesus is God? It provides us with an important clue: to believe in someone is to entrust your being to him; Why would we need to BELIEVE in Jesus if He were not God? To put it another way, why would Jesus need to come to die for us if we did not need to believe in Him? In other words, if Jesus were not God, He would not have come to earth to die for us; there would have been no point -- He would have been just an average man who died on a cross for what He sincerely believed was the truth (that He was God, as He said many times, and we'll get into that later), but was actually false. No significance about it whatsoever; no one was saved by this act if Jesus were not God. Consequently, there would have been no reason to believe in Him. But you will notice that when Jesus rose from the dead and Thomas said to Him, "My Lord, and My God!" Jesus did not correct Him; Jesus did not say, "Don't call Me God!" Instead, He let Thomas call Him so, because He IS God! And so it is throughout Scripture; whenever anyone called Jesus God, He never corrected them (unless it was the demons who spoke), because they were correct --- Jesus is God.
Verse 13-16 "Thou hast thrust sore at me that I might fall: but the LORD helped me. The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation. The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly. The right hand of the LORD is exalted: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly."
Psalm 20:6 states, "Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven With the saving strength of His right hand." This passage mentions God's "anointed." Psalm 2:2 states, "The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD and against His Anointed..." Who is God's anointed? Jesus Christ; Christ means "anointed." In part 2, I quoted Psalm 2 in connection with our topic on Christ's Divinity. This time, let's look at some specific verses from that Psalm which go along with the passage we are now examining: "He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure.... 'You [the Son] shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel' .... '[Kings and judges of the earth] Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, When His wrath is kindled but a little.'" We can see from this that the right hand of the Lord -- Jesus -- doeth valiently! Psalm 98:1 says, "Oh, sing to the LORD a new song! For He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory." The passage which we are examining states, "The right hand of the Lord is exalted"; we established previously that Jesus is at the right hand of God, and Philippians 2:9-11 states, "Wherefore God also hath highly EXALTED him, and given him a name which is above every name: 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." Also, remember, "The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation."? Jesus is salvation: "And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me" (Isaiah 63:5). Isaiah 12:2 says, "Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation." Jesus is our salvation and the Lord is our salvation -- they are ONE! The Lord is our strength and our song -- Philippians 4:13 says that Christ is our strength, as well: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Isaiah 12:1-6 (which we quoted part of a moment ago) says, "And in that day thou shalt say, O LORD, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted. Sing unto the LORD; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth. Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee." Notice the reference to drawing from the wells of salvation -- John 7:38 states, "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." -- and the inhabitants of Zion being glad because the Holy One is in her midst" --"Yet I have set my King on my Holy hill of Zion," Psalm 2 states when referring to Christ, our salvation. Psalm 132:17-18 states, "There [Zion] will I make the horn of David to bud: I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed. His enemies will I clothe with shame: but upon himself shall his crown flourish." We should notice three things from this passage: 1) Jesus is the Anointed of Zion; 2) Jesus is a descendant of Jesse; and 3) Jesus is KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. All of these points have been previously established about Christ, while at the same time, proving that He is God! In Luke 1:67-79, Zacharias' prophecy concerning Christ helps to bring all of these points together: "And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, 'Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.'" Remember, "The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous" -- Jesus is our righteousness -- He has made us righteous. Immediately following this statement the Psalm says, "the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly." Therefore, it is interesting to note that Zacharias said "that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life." So Jesus makes us righteous and saves us from our enemies, and the Psalm states that the "LORD" is the one who does these things! It is also important to note that Zacharias calls John the prophet of "the Highest"; this is a title which specifically refers to God: at Jesus' birth, the angels proclaimed, "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" (Luke 2:14). Psalm 47:2 states, "For the LORD Most High is awesome; He is a great King over all the earth," and we also know that Jesus is KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
Also, as a side note, Zacharias says that "the dayspring from on high has visited us"; there is a prophecy in Numbers 24 (vs. 17) which states, "I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth." Compare this to Genesis 49; when Jacob was blessing his son Joseph, he said, "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." Interestingly, this fits with our discussion earlier about how Jesus is the righteous judge, and we saw from Psalm 2 that He rules with a rod of iron. Jesus verifies this when He says of Himself, "I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star" (Revelation 22:16 ).
Stay tuned for more on the Trinity coming up on the DCF blog!