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Questions or points in this section...
I have a few Unitarian friends that believe Father, Son and Holy Ghost are only one being. They believe that the Father is the mind; the Son, the body; and the Holy Ghost, the spirit. They say humans are made the same way: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; Mind, Body and Spirit. What would you say on this statement about humans?
It is evident that all humans have a body, however the mind and spirit are used interchangeably in the Bible making it appear that they are the same thing. For example, notice the following verse: And the Spirit [Hebrew: ruwach] of the LORD fell upon me, and said unto me, Speak; Thus saith the LORD; Thus have ye said, O house of Israel: for I know the things that come into your mind [Hebrew: ruwach], every one of them. (Ezekiel 11:5) The translators of the King James Bible translated the same Hebrew word ruwach into Spirit in some places, and mind in others. Solomon wrote, A fool uttereth all his mind [Hebrew: ruwach]: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards. (Proverbs 29:11)
The spirit of man is obviously the place where he thinks, otherwise known as the mind of man. This spirit or mind goes back to God at the point of death. Whether that man was the most vile criminal or the most righteous saint, his spirit goes back to God who gave it at the point of his death. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. (Ecclesiastes 12:7) Many suppose that the spirit of man goes back to God in a conscious condition at the point of death, but there is nothing in the verse that indicates such a conclusion. In fact, in the very same book, Solomon wrote, For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing. (Ecclesiastes 9:5) [For a thorough Bible study on the condition of the dead between the time of death and their resurrection, please contact us and request the study entitled, What the Bible Says About Hell.]
The Bible describes how humans were created. And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7) Job wrote, All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit [Hebrew: ruwach] of God is in my nostrils. (Job 27:3) God put His spirit in man and he became a living soul. Body + spirit = living soul. Body - spirit = dead soul. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:26)
It is true that man is a spiritual being with a mind and a physical body. However, to use this fact to try to prove a trinity is fruitless, for man is definitely not three persons in one man as many suppose the trinity to be.
This question and its answer were printed in the August 2000 issue of Present Truth.
I am studying the January 1999 issue of Present Truth again, entitled,
The Importance of Knowing the Truth About God. Can you prove with Scripture
that God the Father was counseling with His Son in Zechariah 6:12, 13?
Thank you for bringing up these questions. Yes, the Scripture indicates that the Father and His Son counselled together in Zechariah 6:12, 13. Zechariah wrote, And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD. Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both. (Zechariah 6:12, 13)
We are told to behold the man whose name is the Branch. Who is that? Isaiah wrote, And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. (Isaiah 11:1-5, 10)
We know this is talking about Christ because Paul quoted this verse in reference to Him in Romans 15:12. Also, the Branch is said to come out of the stem of Jesse, the father of David. (Acts 13:22) In the book of Revelation we read, 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)
This conclusively proves that Jesus is the Branch spoken of in Zechariah chapters 3 and 6. Since there is only one other Person mentioned as taking part in the counsel in Zechariah 6, verses 12 and 13, namely the LORD, and Christ and the LORD are spoken of as both, then the LORD in these verses must be a Person other than Christ. This Person is obviously God the Father, for He is the One who so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. The counsel is between the Father and His Son and nobody else.
Regarding the two thrones in the book of Revelation. You are right that thrones are mentioned as well as throne. The thrones mentioned are found in Revelation 20:4 and are occupied by the righteous saints during the thousand years. These thrones are subordinate thrones compared to the thrones of God and His Son. The throne spoken of most often in Revelation is the throne of the Father, as we see in Revelation chapters 4 and 5. We know the Father is the One seated on this throne because Christ approaches this throne and takes a book out of the hand of the One seated on the throne. (Revelation 5:6, 7) We also know that Christ ascended up to heaven to sit with the Father on His Fathers throne. Jesus said, To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:21)
Notice there are two thrones mentioned here. The throne of Jesus, and the throne of His Father. Jesus also mentioned His throne to His disciples when He said, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matthew 19:28) Jesus said that in the regeneration He will sit in the throne of His glory. This does not take place until the second coming of Christ, for Jesus said, When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory. (Matthew 25:31) Right now Christ has set down with [His] Father in his throne, Paul wrote, We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens. (Hebrews 8:1) In the new earth Christ will sit upon His own throne.
Of the new earth John wrote, And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. (Revelation 21:22) He also wrote, And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him. (Revelation 22:3) So there are two thrones mentioned in the book of Revelation that belong to divine beings. There are other subordinate thrones that will be occupied by men, but there is no third throne that belongs to a third divine being called the Holy Spirit. This was the point of the statement in the article you mentioned.
I hope this helps to answer your questions.
This question and its answer were printed in the November 2001 issue of Present Truth.
Could not Isaiah 9:6 support the idea that Father, Son and Holy Ghost are only one being, with the Father being Gods mind, the Son His body and the Holy Ghost His Spirit?
No, Isaiah 9:6 only mentions one individual, the Son of God. In that verse the Son of God is called the everlasting Father, but this title is not given to Christ because He is His own Father, but rather because He is the Father of the children which His Father has given him. Isaiah 8:18 mentions this, when Jesus said, through Isaiah, Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion. (Isaiah 8:18) We know that this verse refers to Christ because it is applied to him in Hebrews 2:13. Christ is the Father of the redeemed, the author and finisher of our their faith. (Hebrews 12:2)
I am the son of my earthly father. Yet, at the same time I am the father of my son. If someone were to come to me and call me a father, I would not assume they are thinking that I am my own father. I would know they are referring to me as a father of my son. Surely, we can expect no less of God. When He inspired Isaiah to refer to Christ as a father, He was not trying to indicate that Christ was the Father of Himself. Furthermore, the term Holy Spirit is not used at all in Isaiah 9:6, thus making it impossible for this verse to prove that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are all one being. The Bible clearly makes a distinction between the Father and His Son, portraying them as two separate beings. (Daniel 7:9, 13; Revelation 5:1, 7; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Zechariah 6:12, 13; Proverbs 30:4, etc.)
The idea that the Father is the mind, the Son the body, and the Holy Ghost the Spirit, of one being, is not taught in the Bible. If that were true, when Christ was on earth you would have the body (Christ) praying to His own mind (the Father), asking his mind to take away the cup from his body, but then exclaiming to his mind, not my will but thine be done. This is evidently absurd. At Christs baptism you would have the mind speaking from heaven to His body, saying, This is my beloved Son. This would have been a lie if the Son was merely the body of the Father. I have a body, and I have a son, and I can tell you for sure they are not the same. My son is a separate being from myself.
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) Gods love is so deep and so broad that He sent His only begotten Son to die for our sins. When we see this love it breaks our hearts and changes our lives. Any deviation from the Bible on this point is a deviation from our ability to love God with all our heart.
I hope this helps to answer your question.
This question and its answer were printed in the February 2002 issue of Present Truth.
There are so many instances in Jesus preaching, even in the Old Testament, where God uses the plural to speak of Himself [to prove that God is three in one]. (He also uses the singular at times, so it is not a royal we.)
I am glad that you brought up this subject.
Some people suppose that we can find the Trinity doctrine in the first chapter of the Bible. They make this claim because the Hebrew word elohim, that was translated God, is plural, and they believe the plural pronouns in Genesis 1:26 help to support the Trinity doctrine as well.
The Hebrew word elohim is plural, but it never indicates plurality when referring to the true God. Every time elohim is used referring to the true God it has a singular meaning. Gesenius calls it the plural of majesty and the Brown-Drivers Briggs Hebrew Lexicon says that when it refers to the true God it is plural intensive with a singular meaning.
Furthermore, the word elohim is used in the Bible in places where it could not possibly be referring to a plural being. For example, God said to Moses, See, I have made thee a god [elohim] to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet. (Exodus 7:1) Was God saying that He was going to turn Moses into a trinity? Obviously not! God would not have us believe that Moses is a plural being. For other examples read 1 Samuel 5:7; 1 Kings 11:5, 33; 18:27, etc.
As indisputable evidence that elohim has a singular meaning when referring to the true God, please consider this: whenever New Testament writers quoted from the Old Testament they used the singular Greek word theos to denote the true God as a translation of the word elohim. This is also true of the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint. This proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that elohim has a singular meaning when referring to the true God. If elohim really indicated a plurality in the true God, then the New Testament writers should have been consistent and used the plural form of theos (qeoi, qeoiV or qeouV) when speaking of God, instead they used the singular, every time, even though they used the plural form 8 times when referring to men or false gods. (You can read these for yourself in John 10:34, & 35; Acts 7:40; 14:11; & 19:26; 1 Corinthians 8:5; and Galatians 4:8.)
Regarding the plural pronouns in Genesis 1:26, the pronouns are plural in the original Hebrew, forcing it to be translated, God said, let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness. Those who claim this verse teaches a trinity point out that elohim is plural and the pronouns are plural, therefore there must be a plurality in God. If we are to accept this explanation we would have to translate it, GODS said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness. This translation would do injustice to the true meaning of elohim, and it would have three Gods speaking in unison, saying, Let us make man in our image. Is that what God is trying to tell us? Did several Gods create man, or was there just one?
Those who promote the idea that Gods said, Let us make man, run into a big problem in the next verse, because all of a sudden the pronouns switch to singular, both in Hebrew and in English, while the plural elohim is still used. Why was there a change? The next verse says, So God [elohim] made man in HIS own image, in the image of God [elohim] created HE him. If we are expected to believe that Gods are speaking in verse 26, to be consistent we must believe that Gods are being referred to in verse 27, but instead of plural pronouns the Bible changed to singular pronouns as if only one person was referred to.
Now, theres a very simple explanation for this. The use of plural pronouns after a singular noun does not indicate that the singular noun should really be plural. For example, lets suppose the president said to the attorney general, Let us make a law. This wouldnt indicate that there are two presidents just because he used a plural pronoun. The plural applies to the two who will be involved in making the law rather than to the president. In like manner, the us and our in Genesis 1:26 applies to the Two who were involved in the creation of the world rather than to the one who was speaking.
The Bible says God created all things by Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 3:9) It is obvious that the God in this verse is someone other than Jesus Christ. And according to Hebrews 1:2, God, the Father, created all things by His Son.
Now, we can know for sure who is speaking in Genesis 1:26, and whom He is speaking to. God, the Father, said to His Son, let us make man in our image. Remember, Christ is the express image of the Father, so anyone created in the Fathers image is automatically created in His Sons image.
I am glad you mentioned the use of the plural by Jesus in the New Testament. Jesus used the Greek word, theos, in the singular form, many times in the New Testament. Every time He used this word in the singular form He was referring to one person, and one person only, God, His Father. Also, every time He was referring to God, He used the singular pronouns which were translated, He, Him, His, Thy, Thine, and Thee. Every time Jesus included Himself when He was speaking of God, He used the plural pronouns, we, us, and our. Here are some examples: John 14:23; 17:11, 21; etc.
So, to the best of my knowledge, God never referred to Himself using plural pronouns, or nouns with a literal plural meaning.
I hope this helps to clarify this issue.
This question and its answer were printed in the December 2002 issue of Present Truth.
I have done an exhaustive search on the three in one godhead. There are so many scriptures to support it. One of the most plainly spoken is 1 John 5:7.
One of the favorite verses used to support the theory that God is made up of three persons is 1 John 5:7. Lets read this verse and then its context and find out just what it is saying to us. It says: For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. (1 John 5:7)
This verse says that there are three that bear record in heaven. The question must be asked, three what? Trinitarians and Tritheists assume that there are three [persons or beings, or even three Gods], but that is not what the verse says. It just says there are three.
When we read the next verse we find a very similar statement. It says, And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. (1 John 5:8) Again we read of three, but instead of bearing record in heaven, they bear witness in earth. The words record and witness come from the same Greek word in the very same form, and can be translated alike.
Verse 8 says, there are three that bear witness in earth. Again, we must ask three what? Are there three persons? three beings? three Gods? From the context we find that it can be none of these. These three are said to be the Spirit, and the water, and the blood. Verse six explains what these are where it says, This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. (1 John 5:6)
From this verse we find that two of the three, the water and the blood, cannot possibly be persons, yet they bear record in the earth. How do they bear record? This is easy to learn when we see how the Spirit bears record on the earth. Paul wrote, The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. (Romans 8:16) This occurs on the earth. The water and the blood also bear witness that we are the children of God. The water by baptism, and the blood by cleansing us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)
If the three that bear witness on the earth are not separate individual persons, then there is no guarantee that the three that bear witness in heaven are separate persons. Also, verse eight helps us to understand how the three in heaven are one. Verse eight says, these three agree in one, or in other words the record that they bear is in agreement. So it is not the three, the water, the blood, and the Spirit, that are one, but the three records that are one. This is also true about the previous verse, the record of the Father, the Word and the Spirit is the same record. They all bear record that we are the children of God, and their record is in agreement.
How does the Father bear record in heaven? If a heavenly being wished to have direct access to the Father, who is sitting upon the throne, the Father would personally bear record that we are the children of God. The Son of God also bears record in the same way. And the Holy Spirit bears record in heaven the same way that it bears record in the earth, it bears record with our spirit that we are the sons of God. In heaven this same Spirit can bear witness to a heavenly being, even if they are not physically standing before the throne of God. And these three records are in perfect agreement.
First John 5:7 does not prove that there are three persons in one God. If we wish to find evidence from the Bible that God is composed of three persons we must look elsewhere.
As a side note to this, I encourage you to read any Bible commentary on 1 John 5:7, most of which declare that the words in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth were not found in any Greek manuscripts before the 15th century, and were added into the Latin Vulgate by mistake of a copyist who included a marginal note in the text. For this reason most of the newer Bible translations leaves these words out, or include them in italics to indicate their questionable nature.
I hope this helps to clarify this verse.
This question and its answer were printed in the December 2002 issue of Present Truth.
Is not Christianity a religion of one God, I would like a simple answer.
True Christianity is a religion of one God, the Father. (1 Corinthians 8:6) Unfortunately, most Christians claim to believe in one God, composed of three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This makes them in reality polytheists, unlike the Jews or any other truly monotheistic religion.
I hope this simple answer is sufficient to answer your question.
This question and its answer were printed in the December 2002 issue of Present Truth.
I would like to know more about the Hebrew words echad and yachad. Some say these words show that God is a plurality in unity whatever that is!
Yachad was only used three times in the Bible (Genesis 49:6; Psalm 86:11; Isaiah 14:20), and it means, to be (or become) one:join, unite. (Strongs Hebrew Dictionary) Yachad is never used in reference to God, so this word could not possibly lend any weight to the idea that God is a plurality in unity.
Echad is the Hebrew word most commonly used to describe something that is one. Most of the times you find the English word one in the Old Testament it was translated from the Hebrew word echad. This word is used in a well-known passage of the Old TestamentDeuteronomy 6:4. It says, Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one [echad] LORD.
Many Trinitarians use this verse to attempt to prove that God is made up of three individuals. They claim that the word echad means a group, or a unit, rather than just one, and only one. To support this assertion they quote from Numbers 13:23, which says, And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one [echad] cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff; and they brought of the pomegranates, and of the figs. Some Trinitarians assert that because the word echad is used here, referring to a cluster of grapes, that the word echad means one made up of parts, a unit or a group.
If the above verse would have said, one [echad] cluster of grapes when in reality it meant that there were several clusters of grapes, then the argument would hold some validity. Surely you would not suppose that the spies carried home two or three clusters of grapes. If the verse would have said, one [echad] grape, when in reality it was referring to a whole cluster of grapes, then we would know that the word echad means more than just one. Yet, the verse mentions only one cluster of grapes.
Another verse that Trinitarians sometimes refer to for support for their assertion that echad means more than one is Genesis 2:24, where it says, Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one [echad] flesh. Trinitarians sometimes use this verse to try to prove that echad does not mean one. However, the verse did not say that a man and a woman would become one human, nor did it say that they would become one person or one being. Though the man and the woman would become one flesh, they would still be two persons, two beings, and two humans. Neither would they be joined together to become one body of flesh. Rather, this verse refers specifically to the marriage relation that, once consummated, makes a man and woman joined to each other. We know that this verse has this meaning because a man can even be joined to an harlot. (1 Corinthians 6:16)
In seeking for an understanding of the term one flesh, we must not conjecture about the meaning of the word one, but rather we should seek for the meaning of the word flesh, as it is used in this verse. Even in this verse, one still means one, and only one.
Please read the following verses where the word echad is used, and see for yourself whether it means a plurality. Two are better than one [echad]; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one [echad] will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone [echad] when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one [echad] be warm alone? And if one [echad] prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12) And his offering was one [echad] silver charger, the weight thereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one [echad] silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them were full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering. (Numbers 7:13)
It is very obvious from the above verses that the Hebrew word echad means one. When the Bible says, Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one [echad] LORD, it means just that. There is one, and only one, LORD our God, and not a unity of three gods.
I hope this helps to answer your question.
This question and its answer were printed in the February 2003 issue of Present Truth.
Recently someone said that 1 John 5:7 is authentic because it appears in the Textus Receptus. Could you please comment.
You are right that it appears in the Textus Receptus, however, it did not appear there until the sixteenth century, even though the majority of texts which are often referred to as the Textus Receptus were in existence long before that time. The story of how 1 John 5:7 found its way into the Textus Receptus is very interesting.
One Bible commentary says, Erasmus did not have it in his first edition, but rashly offered to insert it if a single Greek Manuscript had it and [Manuscript #] 34 was produced with the insertion, as if made to order Some Latin scribe caught up Cyprians exegesis and wrote it on the margin of his text, and so it got into the Vulgate and finally into the Textus Receptus by the [irresponsibility] of Erasmus. (Robertsons New Testament Word Pictures commentary on 1 John 5:7)
Even if this text were considered to be valid, it does not prove a Trinity. For an explanation of this text, please read the Questions and Answers Section of the December 2002 issue of Present Truth, available by request or online at www.presenttruth.info.
This question and its answer were printed in the August 2003 issue of Present Truth.
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