Book: Is God a Trinity?

Who Was Jesus?

TThe Bible does not teach the doctrine of the Trinity. But we are still faced with the questions: Who was Jesus Christ? Was He a man that lived such a perfect life that God decided to call Him His Son at baptism? Or was He God who became a man and died for all men?

In the past, in most theological circles, a rejection of the doctrine of the Trinity included a rejection of the divinity of Christ. But, before this booklet becomes classed as an Arian heresy, let me quote from the Catholic theologian, Karl Rahner: “...We must be willing to admit that should the doctrine of the Trinity have to be dropped as false, the major part of the religious literature could well remain virtually unchanged...the Christian idea of the incarnation would not have to change at all, if there were no Trinity.

“It is not surprising then, that Christian piety practice remembers from the doctrine of the incarnation only the ‘God’ has become man, without deriving from this truth any clear message about the Trinity” (The Trinity, p. 10-12).

A rejection of the doctrine of the Trinity does not constitute a rejection of the incarnation - the divinity of Christ. In fact, what he says indicates that, for all practical purposes, the Trinity doctrine is meaningless.

Jesus Was the Problem

To this day, Christianity is still confused about who and what Jesus Christ really was. A majority believes in a mysterious Trinity and a vociferous minority believes that Christ was a created being. Neither has the truth.

But why all the confusion?

Who Jesus was is clearly indicated in the pages of the Bible. It has been there for centuries. While Christians were busily excommunicating and killing each other over the questions of who Jesus was, the answer has been in the pages of Bible, and that explanation is not in harmony with what is taught by most churches today. Christ is not the second person in a Trinity, and God did not create Him—He is the Creator GOD!

In the Beginning

To find out who Jesus was, let’s go back to the beginning. Beginnings are mentioned in the Bible, in at least two separate places—in the first chapter of Genesis and in the first chapter of John’s Gospel.

The Apostle John began his Gospel by describing Who and what Jesus was before He came to this earth, as the Savior of mankind. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made...And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (verses 1-3, 14).

If we read no further in the New Testament than this, we would be able to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Jesus Christ was God and that He was the One who created man in Genesis 2:7. John clearly stated that the Word—the One who became Christ—created all things. Had Christians clearly understood these verses, there would have never been an Arian controversy or a doctrine of the Trinity, as both doctrines are meaningless.

But the Apostle John was not the only New Testament writer who wrote about the pre-existence of Christ. Notice what Paul wrote to the Corinthians. “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink of the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them; and that Rock was Christ” (I Cor. 10:1-4).

Paul clearly tells us that Jesus Christ was the God of the Old Testament—the One who spoke to Moses and the one that led the Israelites out of Egypt. This clearly shows us that the One who became the Son was the God of the Old Testament, not God the Father. Therefore, Christ was the Jehovah that spoke with Moses and the Holy One that led Israel.

Yet, the doctrine of the Trinity hinges on the assumption that God manifested Himself as the Father in the Old Testament and Christ in the New Testament. Such assumptions are false and without scriptural proof.

Duality of God Throughout the Bible

The plurality of God in not merely a “plural of majesty” as some would have us believe. Six hundred years before Christ, the Prophet Daniel recorded for us a vision. “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days...” (Dan. 7:13). The “Son of man” he describes can be none other than the One who later became Jesus Christ. Daniel then saw Him given rulership and a Kingdom that will never be destroyed (verse 14). The “Son of man” mentioned here could hardly be a mere physical human being!

The Ancient of Days, in this instance, is the divine Being who is called the Father in the New Testament. Jesus Christ referred to the same occurrence as mentioned in the vision in His parable of the nobleman (Himself) who went to a far country (heaven) to receive a kingdom, and to return (Luke 19:12).

David also referred to the duality of the God family in Psalms 110. “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (verse 1).

Two different Lords are mentioned here. One is the being who became God the Father and the other is the One who became Jesus Christ. Paul quoted this passage to the Jewish Christians—applying it directly to Jesus Christ: “But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?” (Heb. 1:13).

Was the Son also God? Verse 8 answers, “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever...” There can be no doubt that God the Father and Jesus the Son are mentioned as two separate beings in the Old Testament.

Who Was Melchizedek?

Now, Notice Hebrews 5:5-6: “So also Christ glorified not himself to be made high priest; but he [glorified him] that said unto him, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee. As he also in another place, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”

So Christ holds the office of Melchizedek. Who was Melchizedek? He was one of the Beings composing God.

In Genesis 14:18, he is called the king of Salem and the priest of the Most High God. Notice why he could not have been merely a human being.

The Apostle Paul, described Him further in Hebrews 7:2-3: “To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is King of peace; without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.”

Paul could not have been describing a human being, or even an angel in those verses, for he is describing a Being that eternally existed, as only God has eternally existed.

Melchizedek was a priest of the Most High God. Who was the Most High God? Why of course, the being that became the Father! Jesus Christ said, “My Father is greater than I” (John 14:28). And also Melchizedek still lives (and if you will read Hebrews 7:8 carefully, you will see that Paul repeats this supremely important fact) and is still that High Priest. But Christ is also a High Priest (see Heb.7:26; 8:1). There cannot be two High Priests both holding the same office, so Melchizedek and Jesus Christ must be the same.

So we see that even in the first book of the Bible, the plurality of God is shown, although clear understanding of this truth could not be known until Jesus came to reveal it in the New Testament. Jesus said, “...No man knows who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him” (Luke 10:22).

Jesus Came to Reveal the Father

A clear distinction has been made in the New Testament between Christ and the Father, again proving that Christ was the God of the Old Testament. “No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18). Christ came to the earth to reveal the Father and to show that a family relationship has existed in the Godhead.

Unless Jesus had revealed the Father to us, there would be no way for us to know Him. “All things are delivered unto me, of my Father, and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him” (Matt. 11:27).

The Meaning of the Word YHVH

In the Hebrew of the original inspired text, there are two different names that are commonly used to refer to God. The word first used for “God” in the Genesis is Elohim. The second word is YHVH (commonly pronounced “Jehovah”). This word YHVH is generally translated “LORD” (In capital letters) in the King James Version of the Bible. It is first used in Genesis 2:7. There it was the LORD GOD—YHVH—who formed man out the dust of the ground. It was the LORD GOD who dealt directly with Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden. As we saw in John 1, it was the Word—Jesus Christ—who created all things.

Therefore, it was the LORD GOD of the Old Testament who became the Jesus Christ of the New Testament. This fact is illustrated by grammatical derivation of the word YHVH.

The word YHVH is explained by Rabbinic sources as encompassing three Hebrew words, HYH meaning was, HVH meaning is (literally “present tense” —the word “is” is not used in Hebrew) and YHYH, meaning will continue to be.

Putting the words all together, YHVH actually means the “Was-IsWill Continue to Be” Being. Even Hebrew linguistic scholars agree that YHVH must be derived from some form of the verb “to be” (was, is, will be).

By His very name, God quite literally encompasses all aspects of time—past, present and future. This is in complete accord with Malachi 3:6, “For I am YHVH, I change not”; Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ the same yesterday [was], and today [is], and forever [will continue to be].” Revelations 1:8 says, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”

Even etymologically, Jesus Christ and YHVH can be equated. Yet, this is only a small part of the picture, because the clear statements of both the Old and New Testaments give overwhelming proof that the God of the Old Testament is the One who became Jesus Christ.

People Stumbled at Christ

In Isaiah 8:13-14, we find a very interesting prophecy concerning the Lord of Hosts. “Sanctify the Lord of Hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare of the inhabitants of Jerusalem.”

Most editions of the King James Version of the Bible note that these verses refer to the One who later became Jesus Christ. But even more accurate proof is found in the New Testament.

In his first epistle, the Apostle Peter writes: “Wherefore also it is contained in the scriptures, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed” (I Pet. 2:6-8).

The very same prophecy is alluded to in Luke 2:34. There can be no denying the fact that Jesus Christ was the God of the Old Testament, the Stone over which many people stumbled.

The religious leaders of the time simply could not understand how Jesus could have been God. Yet, the Old Testament, which they had copied for centuries, is filled with prophecies about Him. Truly, they were blinded, and most remain so to this day. The Apostle Paul explains this in the ninth to the eleventh chapters of his epistle to the Romans.

While Jesus Christ, the God of the Old Testament, was on earth as a human being, there was only one God-Being—the Father—left in heaven. We find that Jesus prayed to His Father in Heaven:

“And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world existed” (John 17:5).

The Jews and the Arians, found it hard to believe that God could become man. Yet, the New Testament explains that it did indeed happen. One of the members of the Godhead became a man that we might have the opportunity to be born into the family of God.

The Apostle Paul explained this concept in his epistle to the Philippians. The Amplified Bible makes the passage a little clearer. In chapter 2:5-8, he encourages the Philippians:

“Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let him be your example in humility:] Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained, But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity] so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being. And after He had appeared in human form He abased and humbled Himself [still further] and carried His obedience to the extreme death, and even the death of [the] cross!” Jesus Christ was God. Still, he voluntarily gave up His position as God to come to this Earth, becoming a physical human being and dying for us so we could be saved.

The true impact and importance of the oft-repeated scripture: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16) becomes abundantly clear.