Before I write anything let me first say that I believe that Yeshua the Messiah is one with the Father. So do not let the rest of this paper confuse you. And please, if at all possible, don’t read anything into it that is not here. The issue I want to address is how we look at the Trinity.
First let me address the history of the term.
From the website www.religionfacts.com/christianity/beliefs/trinity.htm
The early “church” father Tertullian (c. 155-230), who wrote in Latin, is believed to have first used the term “trinity” to describe the God of the Bible.
The doctrine of the trinity was first thoroughly and formally articulated in the fourth century in response to perceived distortions of biblical teaching on the subject, but the fundamental beliefs of the doctrine can be seen from the first century. While no systematic presentation of the doctrine can be found in the New Testament, Christians argue that it can be shown that the Bible teaches that the Father is God, the Son, Jesus Christ, is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, all the while affirming that there is but one God.
Hints of Trinitarian beliefs can also be seen in the teachings of extra-biblical writers as early as the end of the first century. However, the fullest early expression of the concept came with Tertullian, the Latin theologian who wrote in the early third century. Tertullian coined the words "Trinity" and "person" and explained that the Bible taught that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were "one in essence - not one in Person."
About a century later, in 325, the Council of Nicea set out to officially define the relationship of the Son to the Father, in response to the controversial teachings of Arius. Led by bishop Athanasius, the council affirmed the doctrine of the Trinity as orthodoxy and condemned Arius' teaching that Christ was the first creation of God. The creed adopted by the council described Christ as "God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance (homoousios) with the Father."
Nicea did not end the controversy, however. Debate over how the creed (especially the phrase "one substance") ought to be interpreted continued to rage for decades. One group advocated the doctrine that Christ was a "similar substance" (homoiousios) as the Father. But for the most part, the issue of the Trinity was settled at Nicea and, by the fifth century, never again became a focus of serious controversy.
Now there are a number of problems with this definition which I will address. First of all Yeshua (Jesus) cannot be God because no one is God. The word God is ambiguous at best; it comes from a Germanic pagan root. It shouldn’t mean anything to us because the Lord’s name is not “God”. This word “God” is used to describe many, and sometimes any, diety. Then it is used as a proper name for YHVH. It can’t be both. It is either His name or it is not. NOT! He gave us His name in Exodus 3.
Exo 3:13 Then Moses said to God, "Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you.' Now they may say to me, 'What is His name?' What shall I say to them?"
Exo 3:14 God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM"; and He said, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"
Exo 3:15 God, furthermore, said to Moses, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, 'The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.' This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations.”
(IAM WHO I AM) haw-yaw' ash-er' haw-yaw'
OT:1961 hayah (haw-yaw); a primitive root [compare OT:1933]; to exist, (Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary.)
OT:834 'aher (ash-er'); a primitive relative pronoun (of every gender and number); who, which, what, that; also (as an adverb and a conjunction) when, where, how, because, in order that, etc. (Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary.)
Exodus 3:14 The Septuagint: Egoo eimi ho Oon. Greek: Egoo (NT:1455) eimi (NT:1491) ho (NT:3543) Oon (NT:5541), "I am He who exists." It is in the present indicative active form of the verb “to be,” meaning, what is true of His being before is true of Him today, that He has no change from eternity past to eternity future.
You see His name and titles mean something. They describe His character, glory, eternal nature and power. He uses His name and titles to communicate this to man. To call Him “God” not only muddies the equation, but it confuses our very perception of who the Lord is. He is the YHVH often pronounced Yehova. His name means “I am who I will be”. Also translated “who was and is and is to come”.
So we must conclude that calling Him by name and understanding its true
meaning will bring clarity and greater devotion. We need to use the terms He gave us. This is no different than use of the term Trinity which, in their attempt to define the Lord, is derived from men and not from the Lord. The term breeds confusion and can’t be understood or defined. Yet it is continually debated.
The cults say that “Christians believe in three gods. The “Christians” say they only believe in one God in three persons. Then they call Jesus (Yeshua) god, the Spirit god and the father god. I’m confused just saying it. The problem is that their vocabulary is wrong. If Christians would use the Biblical Hebrew words that were given to them by the Lord and then define them correctly, the Lord would not need to be redefined by men, just declared. The Lord uses perfectly good and more than adequate words to proclaim who He is, YHVH, Elohim, Echad. When these words are translated properly and used in their proper context, they truly show His character and nature perfectly. There is less need to redefine. We are set free from our incessant need to box the Lord into a neat little package. We are now free to just declare what He has said about Himself, whether we understand the fullness of it or not. Do we think Moses fully understood everything about the Lord when He told him His name. We don’t see Moses trying to codify a definition of the great I Am That I Am. The miracle of the burning bush, the 10 plagues, the parting of the Red Sea and more seemed to suffice enough for Moses to take the Lord at His word.
If we see that He uses words like Elohim – which is plural – to describe himself, then we already have it built into our vocabulary that there is something complex about His nature. This is a much better place to start from than using an ambiguous and much debated word like the Trinity which demands an explanation that does nothing but confuse even the greatest scholar.
The Lord is not looking to be defined; He is looking to be declared! Our job is to declare Him according to His own terms. So this is our task, to look for the truth at all cost even if it costs us our traditions or the things we thought we knew.
Just like use of the Word “God” causes confusion and ambiguity, the word
“Trinity” does the same. It is non-definable because it is man-made. This word can be used by many different people to mean many different things. So the best solution would be to use Biblical terms to define them and let the definitions stand.
The book of John offers us a perfectly good definition of who Yeshua is. I believe this passage in John is the best way to understand the relationship that the Son has with the father.
Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joh 1:2 He was in the beginning with God.
Joh 1:3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
Joh 1:4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.
Joh 1:5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
In this passage we see a more than acceptable declaration of who Yeshua
is. He is the Word of the Lord who created all things in the beginning. Gen 1 declares that the Lord created all things through His spoken word. It seems to me that John 1 is actually a short commentary on Gen 1 applying the identity of the Word to Yeshua.
This not only makes perfect sense, but it is the only real way to understand the relationship of Yeshua to the Father. If Yeshua is the Word of Elohim, then we should ask ourselves what is it that makes the relationship Yeshua to the Father comparable to being His Word?
We see that in Luke 6:45 it says…
45“The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills
In Mat 23 the writer takes this thought a little further.
33“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. 34“You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. 35“The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. 36“But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. 37“For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Both passages declare that “the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.” Words here are declared to come forth from the very being of the person as a reflection of his or her heart. We also can see this in real life from evil men like Hitler, Stalin, Hiro Hito, etc. These men through their words killed millions. Words have power and are dismissed way too easily. They are thrown out randomly.
2For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. 3Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. 4Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. 5So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.
See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! 6And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. 7For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. 8But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. 9With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; 10from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. 11Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? 12Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.
Who can deny the power of words? Who would deny that they reflect our very innermost core of who we are?
This is why John calls Yeshua the Word of the Lord. His Word is one with Him and reflects His nature in the same way that our words do for us. This can be seen as said above in real life and is also metaphor for the relationship Yeshua has with the Father. His Word can also be separate from Him in the same way our word is separate from us.
If our word goes out in audio form or on the written page it has now become separate yet still reflects the very nature of who we are. Hitler used his words to kill millions. The influence of his words can still be felt today in the neo Nazis. His words reflected his evil nature.
It is easy to see that the Lord used real life situations to show how our words are one with us yet separate simultaneously. Our job is to use His words to declare who He is without convoluting the issue with our feeble attempts to redefine Him. The Lord does not fit in our box. He has given us all we need to teach, preach, declare and make Him known to the world. We just have to be careful not to get in the way.
Revelation 5 and 7 have very interesting ways of declaring the relationship between the Son and the Father.
The Book with Seven Seals
1I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a book written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals. 2And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?” 3And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the book or to look into it. 4Then I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book or to look into it; 5and one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.”
6And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. 7And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. 8When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
Angels Exalt the Lamb
10 “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.”
11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, 12saying with a loud voice,
“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”
13 And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”
14 And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped.
13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?” 14I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15“For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. 16“They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; 17for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”
Rev 5:6 uses the English word between the Greek word that is used and defined is…
2) the midst
3) in the midst of, amongst
Rev 7:17 uses the English word center for the same Greek word.
So what must I conclude?
1. The Lord is sitting on the throne and the Lamb proceeds out the midst or center of the throne.
2. The elders fell down before the Lamb and presented to Him the prayers of the saints.
3. The Angels and the 4 Elders worship the one who sits on the throne and the Lamb.
4. the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and Elohim will wipe every tear from their eyes.”
5. Not once are they defined just declared.
6. The oneness of their relationship is beyond man’s comprehension.
7. No one calls them a Trinty.
I want to emphasize that I am not attacking the concept of the Father, Yeshua and the Spirit as One. All I am trying to do is challenge how we look at it. We can either use the terms and words the Lord has given us to proclaim who He is, or we can invent words and definitions that no one can fully articulate or describe. I am advocating for the idea that the Lord is not to be explained just proclaimed. If we are willing to do that, then we are admitting His transcendent nature and His immeasurable characteristics.
Do you think that John the revelator was lacking in Rev 5 and 7 because he didn’t put his own spin on this scene in Heaven at the throne of the Lord? Why do we feel the need to add to the Word with our own words? Why do we have to define the indefinable? Isn’t it enough that the Lord gave us so many wonderful prophesies to confirm His Word? Aren’t His miracles throughout the centuries adequate? What else can man do with His own stupid logic to make the Lord seem more palatable? I know let’s define him with our own indefinable words. Hey I got one, let’s call Him a Trinity. Ya, then we can explain it by describing the Lord as water, ice and steam. Or maybe we can use the egg as our analogy by using the shell, yoke and white. Boy that’s better than the Word could ever do, NOT!
Something that escapes most “Christians” is the fact that, for centuries pagan religions all over the world have had Trinitarian gods.
Within the Hindu religion there is Brahman. Brahman is considered to be the only one and true god. From Brahman all other manifestations arise and are just faces, much akin to the idea of emanationism. Brahman is one god in three persons. These persons are Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Together, these make Creator, Sustainer, and Destroyer.
"The ancient Babylonians recognized the doctrine of a trinity, or three persons in one god -as appears from a composite god with three heads forming part of their mythology, and the use of the equilateral triangle, also, as an emblem of such trinity in unity" (Thomas Dennis Rock, The Mystical Woman and the Cities of the Nations, 1867, pp. 22-23).
"In the Fourth Century B.C. in Greece, Aristotle wrote: 'All things are three, and thrice is all: and let us use this number in the worship of the gods; for, as the Pythagoreans say, everything and all things are bounded by threes, for the end, the middle and the beginning have this number in everything, and these compose the number of the Trinity'" (Arthur Weigall, Paganism in Our Christianity, 1928, pp. 197-198).
"The Egyptian Hymn to Amun decreed that 'No god came into being before him (Amun)' and that 'All gods are three: Amun, Re and Ptah, and there is no second to them. Hidden is his name as Amon, he is Re in face, and his body is Ptah.' . . . This is a statement of trinity, the three chief gods of Egypt subsumed into one of them, Amon. Clearly, the concept of organic unity within plurality got an extraordinary boost with this formulation. Theologically, in a crude form it came strikingly close to the later Christian form of plural Trinitarian monotheism" (Simson Najovits, Egypt, Trunk of the Tree, Vol. 2, 2004, pp. 83-84).
Many other areas had their own divine trinities. In Greece they were Zeus, Poseidon and Adonis. The Phoenicians worshipped Ulomus, Ulosuros and Eliun. Rome worshipped Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto. In Germanic nations they were called Wodan, Thor and Fricco. Regarding the Celts, one source states, "The ancient heathen deities of the pagan Irish[,] Criosan, Biosena, and Seeva, or Sheeva, are doubtless the Creeshna [Krishna], Veeshnu [Vishnu], [or the all-inclusive] Brahma, and Seeva [Shiva], of the Hindoos" (Thomas Maurice, The History of Hindostan, Vol. 2, 1798, p. 171).
Pagan religions have, by the hand of Satan, tried to replicate and then pollute the King of Kings and Lord of Lords since day one. Then they forced their polluted definition of who they say the Lord is on us. The only difference is that these pagan civilizations don’t exist as the same people groups. The Jews have outlived them all showing that YHVH and His Messiah Yeshua, by the power of the Spirit, have kept their word to this very day to declare His faithfulness to all generations.
To summarize – He, YHVH, is an Elohim (complex) and they are Echad (one in complex unity), just as our word is one yet separate from us. I don't fully understand it, but I see it graphically illustrated in real life. This sets me free from the obligation of defining Him, especially when it comes to defining Him in ways that parallel pagan religions. The Lord already defined Himself. He even gave us a vocabulary that spells out Who He is. Yet, we resist using it. We feel the need to make up words that we think are better. The word Trinity and its convoluted definition is not found in the Scriptures anywhere. Instead we should keep it Scriptural and get rid of our man-made traditions.
Why don’t we just let the word speak for itself? He is YHVH, He is Elohim, they are echad (one). Good enough for me, how about you.
Shalom uvracha b'Yeshua Rabbi Henry