The Trinity in The Old Testament - Part 1

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ICHTHUS
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The Trinity in The Old Testament - Part 1

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“Draw near to Me, hearken to this; in the beginning I did not speak in secret, from the time it was, there was I, and now, the Lord God has sent Me, and His Spirit” – Isaiah48:16

Who is the speaker of these words in verse 16? Some commentators, like Thomas Cheyne, have suggested the words “ and now Lord Yahweh has”, belong to another speaker, who is introduced here. No doubt this is due to the influence of the Targum of Jonathan Ben Uzie’s reading;

“The prophet saith: And now the Lord God and His Word, hath sent me” (C W H Pauli; The Chaldee Paraphrase on the Prophet Isaiah, pp.166-167)

This is also accepted by John Calvin in his commentary. That this view is wrong, can be seen from the facts of the passage, where it will be seen, that, The Speaker in this verse, is none other than Yahweh. There is no Hebrew text that supports the paraphrase reading.

The words in this verse are like those found in verse 3, “I have declared the former things from the beginning”, and verse 5, “I have even from the beginning declared it to you”. In verse 12 and 13 the Speaker says, “Listen to Me, O Jacob and Israel, My called; I am He, I am the First, I also am the Last. My hand has also laid the foundation of the earth, and My right hand spread out the heavens”. In verse 15 we read, “I, even I have spoken, yes, and I have called him”. In the very next verse, we read, “Thus says Yahweh, your Redeemer, The Holy One of Israel: “I am Yahweh your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go”.

In Isaiah 41:4, we read, “Who has performed and done this, calling the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am He”. And, 44:6, “Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god”

Can any of these words have been spoken by a created human? In the Book of Revelation, Jesus says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”. Dr Thayer, in his Greek lexicon says of these words, “absolutely (i. e. without a noun) and substantively; α. with the article: ὁ πρῶτος καί ὁ ἔσχατος, i. e. the eternal One, Revelation 1:17; Revelation 2:8; Revelation 22:13”. The words “The First and The Last”, are equivalent to “The Eternal One”. In Exodus 3:14, where Jesus Christ is Speaking with Moses, and gives His Name, the Greek Old Testament, the Septuagint (LXX), reads, “εγω ειμι ο ων”, literally, “I am The Eternal One”.

In the Book of Hebrews, God the Father is addressing Jesus Christ, and says, “And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain, they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.” (verses 10-12). These words are spoken in the passage in Isaiah, and could only refer to the Creator God, Yahweh!

Are there two subjects in this verse, “Adonay Yahweh”, and “His Spirit”, Who both send the Speaker? This is the reading of the older English Versions, as Wycliffe, Coverdale, Great, Geneva, Bishops, and KJV. Or, is “Adonay Yahweh” the one subject, and the Speaker and “His Spirit”, two objects, Who sends the Speaker and His Spirit? The actual word order in the Hebrew, LXX, and Latin Vulgate, make two objects, and not two subjects.

The Hebrew here is: “וְעַתָּ֗ה אֲדֹנָ֧י יְהוִ֛ה שְׁלָחַ֖נִי וְרוּחֹֽו׃”, the order of words here are: “And now 'Adônây Yahweh He has sent Me and His Spirit”.

The Hebrew verb “שְׁלָחַנִי” is masculine, singular, 3rd person, “He has sent Me”, which refers to “'Adônây Yahweh”, as The Sender.

The Greek Old Testament, The Septuagint, has rendered this Hebrew as;

“καὶ νῦν κύριος κύριος ἀπέσταλκέν με καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα αὐτοῦ”, the order of words here are: “And now the Lord Lord hath sent Me and His Spirit.
The Latin Vulgate of Jerome;

“et nunc Dominus Deus misit me, et spiritus eius”, the order of words here are: “And now, the Lord God has sent Me and His Spirit”

The following (and others) Jewish Bible’s also translate the words, where the Holy Spirit is the second object and not subject.

“And now, the Lord Eternal hath sent me, and his Spirit” (Isaac Leeser, The Twenty-Four Books of the Holy Scriptures: Carefully Translated According to the Massoretic Text)

“and now the Lord Eternal hath sent me, and his spirit.” (Dr A Benisch; Jewish School and Family Bible, Vol. III)

“And now the Lord GOD has sent me, and his Spirit” (The Holy Scriptures According to the Masoretic Text, A New Translation. The Jewish Publication Society of America. 5677-1917)

There can be no doubt that the Speaker in Isaiah 48:16, is Yahweh, as seen from the chapter, especially in the verses shown. As the Speaker is One Who has been “sent” by “Adonay Yahweh”, it most certainly refers to the Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. As passages like Matthew 10:40; Mark 9:37; Luke 9:48; John 5:23, etc, show.

In the Prophecy of Isaiah 9:6, we see that the Child to be born, will be called, or known as, “The Mighty God”, the Hebrew, “אֵל גִּבּוֹר”, literally, “God of Might”. This same Title is used in Isaiah 10:21. The Hebrew noun, “שְׁמוֹ”, is masculine, 3rd person, singular, and can only refer to the Child, “His Name”. The Deity of the Child is clear, It is interesting that the Jehovah’s Witnesses, here read in their New World Translation, “Mighty God”.

Isaiah 48:16 has “Adonay Yahweh”, sending the Speaker, Who is also “Yahweh”. We also have “His Spirit”, Who is also “sent”, along with the Speaker. As both the Speaker, and they One Who “sent”, are Yahweh, “His Spirit”, must also refer to One Who is Yahweh. That the “Spirit” here is a Person, is clear from the fact that He is “sent”, which can hardly refer to something impersonal. Neither can “His Spirit” refer to a created being, as no creature can have this relationship with God, from eternity past!

In 2 Samuel 23:2, we have a very clear reference where The Holy Spirit is called Yahweh:

“The Spirit of the LORD speaks by me (heb., דִּבֶּר־בִּי, is masculine); His word (heb. וּמִלָּתוֹ , is feminine, lit, “Her word”) is on my tongue. The God of Israel has spoken; the Rock of Israel has said to me”

We would have expected “אֶת־דְּבָרוֹ”, the masculine, “His word”, which would agree with “יהוה” (Yahweh), which is masculine. However, with the use of the feminine, “וּמִלָּתוֹ”, it is clear that The Spirit is meant, so that “The Spirit of the Lord”, IS the subject, and refers to One, and not two Persons. It is "His Word”, that is, The Spirit’s, that is on the tongue of David. The following words also belong to the Spirit, Who is also called “The God of Israel”, and “the Rock of Israel”. Very clear testimony to the full Deity of the Holy Spirit.

In Job 33:4, we see the Holy Spirit as the Creator.

“The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of (וְנִשְׁמַת)the Almighty gives me life (תְּחַיֵּנִי).”

“The spirit of God hath made me, And the breath of the Almighty given me life.” (The Holy Scriptures According to the Masoretic Text, A New Translation. The Jewish Publication Society of America. 5677-1917)

In this verse also, the Hebrew is very interesting. We have “רוּחַ־אֵל”, “the Spirit of God”, and then, “עָשָׂתְנִי”, the feminine singular, literally, “She has made me”, referring grammatically to “Spirit (רוּח)”, which is also feminine in the Hebrew. “רוּחַ־אֵל”, refers to only one Person, The Holy Spirit.

“made”, is the same Hebrew word, “עֲשׂוֹת”, used in Genesis 1:7, 2:4, etc. In Genesis 2:7 we read, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (נִשְׁמַת חַיִּים); and man became a living soul (לְנֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה)”

The Deity and Personality of The Holy Spirit is clear in the Old Testament. Taken together with “Adonay Yahweh”, and the Speaker Who is also “Yahweh”, in Isaiah 48:16, we have a very clear reference to The Holy Trinity in the Old Testament. Three distinct Persons Who are equally in One Godhead.

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Re: The Trinity in The Old Testament - Part 1

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ICHTHUS wrote: Wed Jul 28, 2021 5:10 am “Draw near to Me, hearken to this; in the beginning I did not speak in secret, from the time it was, there was I, and now, the Lord God has sent Me, and His Spirit” – Isaiah48:16...
Thanks, that is an interesting scripture, all though it really does not mention trinity.

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Re: The Trinity in The Old Testament - Part 1

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Is. 48:16 - Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD [Jehovah], and his spirit, hath sent me. - KJV.

Commenting on this scripture some trinitarians will say: "The speaker of Is. 48:16 is Jehovah as identified by context in the first part of the verse and as shown by his identification in verse 17 where he continues to speak. But notice that Jehovah, who is speaking, says: `The Lord GOD [Jehovah] ... hath sent me.' Therefore there must be at least two persons who are Jehovah!"

The answer to such "proof" is obvious: "speaker confusion." Isaiah, like most other Bible writers, often interspersed the conversation of one person with statements by others and often doesn't identify the new speakers. Very often they appear to be comments by Isaiah himself.

That this is very likely the case here is shown, not only by context, but by these Bible translations: The RSV and the NIV Bibles show by quotation marks and indenting that Isaiah himself made the final comment in Is. 48:16.

Quotation marks in NLT, ESV, TEV, Tanakh, Holman Christian Standard Bible, ICB, New Century Version, and THE MESSAGE also show the last part of Is.48:16 to be a new speaker (not Jehovah).

The NAB (1970 and 1991 versions) also indicates a new speaker there, and, in the St. Joseph edition of the NAB, a footnote for Is. 48:16 tells us that the final statement was made by Cyrus! And the very trinitarian Holy Bible: Easy-to-Read Version, World Bible Translation Center, 1992, comes right out and says at Is. 48:16,

" 'Come here and listen to me! ... from the beginning, I spoke clearly, so that people could know what I said.' Then Isaiah said, `Now the Lord [Jehovah] my master sends me and his Spirit to tell you these things.' "

The New English Bible (NEB), The Revised English Bible (REB), and the Bible translation by Dr. James Moffatt (Mo) consider the last statement of Is. 48:16 to be spurious and leave it out of their translations entirely.

Certainly these mostly trinitarian translations would have rendered this scripture (and punctuated it accordingly) to show a two-Jehovah meaning (or given such an alternate rendering in the footnotes) if their trinitarian translators had thought there was even the slightest justification for such an interpretation! (Also analyze Jer. 51:19 - Jacob is the former of all things - Jehovah of hosts is his name, according to this trinitarian-type "speaker confusion" reasoning!)

"The prophet himself [Isaiah], as a type of the great prophet, asserts his own commission to deliver this message: Now the Lord God (the same that spoke from the beginning and did not speak in secret) has by his Spirit sent me, v. 16." - Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible, Isaiah Chapter 48 verse 16.

When trinitarian scholars and translators deny a trinity 'proof,' it is certain that said 'proof' is not a proof at all.

Instead of comparing one scripture with another to enable an interpretation for a trinity "proof," please show us where a scripture clearly teaches this most important concept. You know, e.g., "there are three persons who are the one God." Or even any place where God is described using the word "three". Such an important concept MUST be clearly taught in scripture and not just in 4th century edicts.
Last edited by tigger 2 on Fri Jul 30, 2021 4:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Trinity in The Old Testament - Part 1

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What knowledge of Biblical Hebrew do you personally have? What I have posted in the OP is beyond any dispute to anyone who knows Hebrew, and is not biased against the Holy Trinity.

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Re: The Trinity in The Old Testament - Part 1

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Post by 2timothy316 »

ICHTHUS wrote: Wed Jul 28, 2021 2:40 pm What knowledge of Biblical Hebrew do you personally have? What I have posted in the OP is beyond any dispute to anyone who knows Hebrew, and is not biased against the Holy Trinity.
So do you have a degree in Hebrew?

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Re: The Trinity in The Old Testament - Part 1

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Please show us where a scripture clearly teaches this most important concept of the identity of God. You know, e.g., "there are three persons who are the one God." Or even any place where God is described using the word "three". Such an important concept MUST be clearly taught in scripture and not just in 4th century edicts.

Just one scripture using the word "three" describing God??

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Re: The Trinity in The Old Testament - Part 1

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Or, if you can't find that, how about just one dream or vision where God is shown to us as more than one Person (the Father, YHWH)? Acts 7:55, 56 would be a good place to begin your search.

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Re: The Trinity in The Old Testament - Part 1

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Acts 7:55 "But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God" NASB1995.

Here's one such vision. How does it show that Jesus is God? Where's the HS?

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Re: The Trinity in The Old Testament - Part 1

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[Replying to tigger 2 in post #8]

To Anyone:
Instead of comparing one scripture with another to enable an interpretation for a trinity "proof," please show us where a scripture clearly teaches this most important concept. You know, e.g., "there are three persons who are the one God." Or even any place where God is described using the word "three". Such an important concept, if true, MUST be clearly taught in scripture and not just in 4th century edicts.

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Re: The Trinity in The Old Testament - Part 1

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Post by Overcomer »

Tigger2 wrote:
Instead of comparing one scripture with another to enable an interpretation for a trinity "proof," please show us where a scripture clearly teaches this most important concept.

Scripture interpreting Scripture is a hermeneutical tool used by scholars which cannot be dismissed summarily. We need to understand any given topic, including that of the Trinity, by looking at all the Biblical passages that pertain to it. Therefore, Ichthus is correct in applying it here. And, as with all hermeneutical tools, there are guidelines to make sure that scripture interpreting scripture is applied correctly.

Guideline #1: Interpret the obscure in light of the clear.

There are ambiguous passages in the Bible. To understand them, we have to look at other verses that treat the same topic. For example, Jesus made statements about not bringing peace, but a sword in Matthew 10. However, he is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9). We can only understand these statements by reading them in context, looking at all the verses on this topic, not isolating them from each other.

Guideline #2: Interpret the non-didactic in light of the didactic.

There are passages in the Bible that are clearly instructional – like Paul’s epistles for example. But there are other passages, such as the poetry of Psalms, that are written in figurative language. For example, when Psalm 91 talks about us sheltering under the wings of God, we know that God doesn’t have wings. It’s a metaphor. We know from John 4:24 that God is Spirit.

Guideline #3: Interpret earlier revelation in light of later revelation.

We cannot fully understand the Old Testament without an understanding of the New. This is particularly important with regard to the Trinity because, while the Old Testament hinted at its reality, it only becomes clear in the New Testament. This is called progressive revelation in which something in the Old Testament is not changed, only clarified.

This latter guideline assumes yet another hermeneutical tool, that of figural interpretation. Figural interpretation establishes a connection between two events or persons in such a way that the first signifies not only itself, but also the second, while the second involves or fulfills the first. The correspondence between the two can only be discerned after the second event while the second event gives new significance to the first. We see this time and time again in the New Testament and its relation to the Old.

The Gospel writers sometimes quoted Old Testament Scripture verbatim, sometimes provided mere echoes of verses and, other times, alluded to them metalelptically by using several words or mentioning a person or event from the earlier text. This is explained in an excellent book entitled Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels by Richard Hays. Looking specifically at allusions, Hays notes numerous passages that speak to the divinity of Jesus Christ.

One example involves the devil’s efforts to tempt Jesus in the wilderness in Matthew 4. Satan offers Jesus the world if he will bow down and worship him. Jesus responds by quoting Deut. 6: 19: “The Lord your God you shall worship and him alone you shall serve.” Throughout Matthew’s Gospel, we find many examples of people worshiping Jesus: a leper seeking healing (8:2); a ruler of the synagogue (9:18); the two Marys when they encounter the risen Lord (28:9). In all these cases, Jesus does not stop them from worshiping him which indicates that he is divine.

Another example is found in the use of the phrase “I am with you all the days until the end of the age.” Jesus utters these words in Matt. 28:20. As Hays puts it, who, but God, could make this “extravagant promise of eternal presence?” (672). It is a phrase spoken some 114 times in the Old Testament. Hays cites three examples wherein God makes the promise to be with Jacob (Gen. 28:17), Jeremiah (Jer. 1:8-9) and Haggai (Hag. 1:13) wherever they go and whatever they do in service to him. First-century Jewish followers of Christ would recognize that, when Jesus made the same statement, it was tantamount to saying he was God.

In conclusion, I can only reiterate the importance of using Scripture to interpret Scripture. Used in conjunction with other hermeneutical tools, it has a powerful role to play in our understanding of God’s Word.

Here is a link to information about Hays’ book:

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/them ... l-witness/

I have pre-ordered a book entitled How Scripture Interprets Scripture by Michael Graves and look forward to reading it. It is being released at the end of this month.

Here is an article on that topic:

https://arcapologetics.org/scripture-in ... scripture/

And here is an example of how the principle of Scripture interpreting Scripture is used correctly to determine meaning:

https://bible.org/article/scripture-int ... e-jonah-42

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