This is part #5, "2A. Plurality in Jehovah was revealed in the Old Testament," of my series, "Jesus is Jehovah!" by topic, which will be based on my morning `quiet time' Bible reading.
My previous post in this series was part #4, "1C. Quotes by mainstream Christian authors that Jesus is Jehovah." See the Contents page for more details.
© Stephen E. Jones
2. JESUS IS JEHOVAH IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
A. Plurality in God was revealed in the Old Testament
"The Old Testament in several places indicates plurality in the Godhead":
"The Old Testament in several places indicates plurality in the Godhead (Gen 1:1-3, 1:26, 3:22, 11:7,9, Gen 18,19:24, Ex 23:20-23 [cp. 1 Cor 10:4], Is 48:12,16, 63:7-14, Zech 2:8-11, 3:2). As mentioned above, the Bible indicates both the deity of Christ and the personality and deity of the Holy Spirit. These factors, together with the deity of the Father (undisputed), produce a description of the Godhead in trinity. Especially in the New Testament, these three Persons are repeatedly spoken of as cooperating collectively (Matt 3:16-17, Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:21-22, Matt 28:19, Luke 1:35, John 3:34-35, John 14:26, 16:13-15, Acts 2:32-33, 38-39, Rom 15:16,30, 1 Cor 12:4-6, 2 Cor 3:4-6, 13:14 [cp. 1 John 1:3], Gal 4:4-6, Eph 4:4-6, Heb 10:12,15, 1 Pet 1:2)." (Quick, K.R., 1989, "Pilgrimage Through the Watchtower," Baker: Grand Rapids MI, pp.59-60).
i. The usual Hebrew word for "God" ('elohim) is plural
"... the Hebrew names for God- Elohim. .... The im in Elohim is a plural suffix added to the singular noun El ":
"The Old Testament definitely implied the existence of more than one Person within the divine oneness. The first clue is to be found in one of the Hebrew names for God- Elohim. Found in the first verse of the Bible (Gen. 1:1), it is used repeatedly by the Old Testament writers. The im in Elohim is a plural suffix added to the singular noun El. Some have called this literary phenomenon `the plural of majesty,' but isn't God's singular name El majestic enough? In the temptation, Satan enticed Eve: `ye shall be as gods [Elohim]' (3:5). The word `gods' should have been translated `God,' a reference to the God of creation." (Gromacki, R.G., 1974, "The Virgin Birth: A Biblical Study of the Deity of Jesus Christ," Kregel: Grand Rapids MI, Reprinted, 2002, p.20).
"The very name which is usually employed for designating God in the original Hebrew .... Elohim, is in plural form":
"Nevertheless, despite the fact that the oneness of God is so strongly emphasized, and, as it were, constitutes the first article of Israel's basic law, the distinctions within that unity of the Godhead come to light also as in that revelation His fulness of Being progresses. The very name which is usually employed for designating God in the original Hebrew has a certain significance here. For this name. Elohim, is in plural form, and therefore, although it does not, as was formerly generally supposed, designate the three persons of the divine Being, it does, in its character as an intensive plural, point to the fulness of life and of power which are present in God. It is, no doubt, in connection with this same fact, that God sometimes, in speaking of Himself, uses a plural referent, and by this means makes distinctions within Himself that bear a personal character (Gen. 1:26-27; 3:22; and Isa. 6:8)." (Bavinck, H., 1977, "Our Reasonable Faith: A Survey of Christian Doctrine," , Zylstra, H., transl., Baker: Grand Rapids MI, Fourth printing 1984, p.147).
"... the Hebrew word for God, Elohim, is a plural form. This form is, in view of the pervasive monotheism of the Old Testament, a striking stylistic usage, to say the least":
"Yet the church has always believed that the God who reveals himself in Christ is the God who revealed himself to Israel. The Bible may be in two parts, but it does not reveal two Gods. Hence, there must be data in the Old Testament concerning God that are at least amenable to the Christian understanding of God. Given this assumption, theologians have noted, for example, that the Hebrew word for God, Elohim, is a plural form. This form is, in view of the pervasive monotheism of the Old Testament, a striking stylistic usage, to say the least. When it occurs in the first creation narrative together with the use of plural pronouns - `Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion' (Gn. 1:26 NRSV) surely it is an intimation that God is not a solitary monad, especially since the creature, who is like him, is a fellowship of male and female." (Jewett, P.K., 1991, "God, Creation, and Revelation: A Neo-Evangelical Theology," Wm. B. Eerdmans: Grand Rapids MI, p.269).
ii. In the Old Testament God speaks to Himself using the plural pronouns "us," "our" (Gn 1:26; 3:22; 11:7; Isa 6:8)
"A second hint [of "the existence of more than one Person within the divine oneness"] is found in plural pronouns ascribed to God":
"A second hint is found in plural pronouns ascribed to God. God said: `Let us make man in our image' (1:26, italics mine). This usage of the first personal plural pronouns also occurs elsewhere (3:22; 11:7; Isa. 6:8). To explain them away as joint references to God and His angels or to an editorial `we' is just too simplistic. In fact, both the oneness of God and the plurality of Persons are taught in these passages. After God said: `Let us make man in our image, after our likeness' (Gen. 1:26), Moses wrote: `So God created man in his own image' (v. 27). Isaiah `heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?' (Isa. 6:8). Note the interchange of the singular and the plural in both of these incidents. Since God is one, He can say `I.' Because of the plurality of Persons, He can also say `us.'" (Gromacki, 1974, pp.20-21. Emphasis original).
"The Bible does not say that God was speaking to someone else, that is, to someone other than God. ...We must allow that `us' means at least two!":
"IN THE BEGINNING `In the beginning God created ...' `And God said, Let US make man in OUR image (singular), after OUR likeness (singular) ... So God created man in HIS own IMAGE (singular)' (Genesis 1:1, 26, 27). The Bible does not say that God was speaking to someone else, that is, to someone other than God. Notice how the plural US refers to a singular image and likeness. When they had built the tower of Babel, God said: `Let US go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So THE LORD scattered them abroad ..: ' (Genesis 11:6, 7). We must allow that `us' means at least two!" (Dencher, T., 1985, "Why I Left Jehovah's Witnesses," , Christian Literature Crusade: Fort Washington PA, Revised, p.142. Emphasis and ellipses original).
"... the New Testament relates these verses [Isa 6:8-10] to both the Lord Jesus ... and the Holy Spirit ... thus finding here what will yet accommodate the full revelation of the Holy Trinity":
"[Isa 6:8] ... Us: a plural of consultation (1 Ki. 22:19-23), but the New Testament relates these verses to both the Lord Jesus (Jn. 12:41) and the Holy Spirit (Acts 28:25), thus finding here what will yet accommodate the full revelation of the Holy Trinity." (Motyer, A., 1999, "Isaiah: An Introduction and Commentary," Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries," InterVarsity Press: Leicester UK, Reprinted, 2005, p.72. Emphasis original. Typo corrected).
iii. Plurality in Jehovah was revealed in the Old Testament
"Abraham addressed three men as `Jehovah', and offered to wash his (or their?) feet!":
"Abraham addressed three men as `Jehovah', and offered to wash his (or their?) feet! Read the account at Genesis 18:1-22. The Watch Tower Society says they were all angels. The only clue given as to whether any of them were angels or not is Genesis 19:1, where two angels arrive at Sodom. Compare this with 18:22. If two of them were angels, Abraham had still seen Jehovah! It is very obvious that if they were all angels they would have all left. Why three angels to represent Jehovah? If the one who remained was also an angel, why did the other two leave? And why doesn't the Bible say that this one was also an angel? Why does it indicate he was Jehovah Himself? If this remaining one were simply. an angel representing Jehovah (as the Watch Tower Society indicates), representing this mean that the other two angels were not representing Him? Yet, if those three angels did represent Jehovah, why three when one would have been sufficient? Could Abraham tell the difference between the representative angel and the non-representative angels?" (Dencher, T., 1985, "Why I Left Jehovah's Witnesses," pp.142-143. Emphasis original).
"Abraham addressed the three as `Jehovah' ... And, when the city of Sodom was destroyed, the New World Translation says ... `Then Jehovah made it rain sulphur and fire from Jehovah, from the heavens'":
"In explaining to Witnesses the fact that Psalm 110 shows God, the Father in heaven, talking to the Son (also God) upon the earth, it may help to invite them to turn to Genesis 18 and 19 in their own New World Translation. There it says that `Jehovah appeared to him' [Abraham] as `three men' or angels (18:1-2). Abraham addressed the three as `Jehovah' (18:3). Two of them left Abraham and went toward the city of Sodom, but Abraham continued to address the remaining individual as `Jehovah' (18:22, 19:1). When the other two reached Sodom and spoke with Abraham's relative Lot, he addressed the two of them as `Jehovah' (19:18). And, when the city of Sodom was destroyed, the New World Translation says at Genesis 19:24: `Then Jehovah made it rain sulphur and fire from Jehovah, from the heavens... .'" (Reed, D.A., 1986, "Jehovah's Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse," Baker: Grand Rapids MI, Thirty-first printing, 2006, pp.36-37. Ellipses original).
"One Jehovah sends another Jehovah in this account! ... Here we see where there are two persons, both of whom are Jehovah!":
"There are certain descriptions of this Jehovah that the Witnesses are unprepared to accept. One of these is found at Zechariah 2:8-11, quoting here from the A.S.V.: For thus saith JEHOVAH OF HOSTS: After glory hath HE SENT ME unto the nations which plundered you; for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his [Jehovah of hosts'] eye. For behold, I will shake my hand over them, and they shall be a spoil to those that served them; and ye shall know that JEHOVAH OF HOSTS HATH SENT ME. Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion; for lo, I (Jehovah) come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith JEHOVAH. And many nations shall join themselves to Jehovah in that day, and shall be my people; and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that JEHOVAH OF HOSTS HATH SENT ME (Jehovah) unto thee. The reason the Witnesses cannot accept this portion of Scripture is very obvious: One Jehovah sends another Jehovah in this account! According to them, Jehovah is just one person. Here we see where there are two persons, both of whom are Jehovah! At Zechariah chapter three, one person of Jehovah refers to another Jehovah: Reading verses one and two ([Zec 3:1-2] A.S.V.): `And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of Jehovah, and Satan standing at his right hand to be his adversary. And Jehovah said unto Satan, JEHOVAH REBUKE THEE, O Satan; yea, Jehovah that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee ...' At Isaiah chapter forty-eight Jehovah is sent by the Lord God! In verse twelve [Isa 48:12] He says: `I am the first, I also am the last' (A.S.V.). In verse sixteen He says: `Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; from the beginning I have not spoken in secret; from the time that it [the beginning] was, there am I [Isa 48:16]: and now THE LORD JEHOVAH HATH SENT ME, and his Spirit.'" (Dencher, 1985, pp.143-144. Emphasis original).
iv. The Angel of Jehovah is God, yet is distinct from God
"Then, there are references to the Angel of the LORD who is identified with, yet distinct from, God ":
"Old Testament For Israel the fundamental unity of God is an axiom, `Hear O Israel: the LORD our God is one' (Dt. 6:4). This insistence on the divine unity was most important because of the idolatrous, depraved polytheism of the surrounding nations. The OT, however, contains intimations of a `fulness' in the Godhead which foreshadow NT trinitarian teaching. First, there are the occasions where God refers to himself in plural terms (Gn. 1:26; 3:22; 11:7; Is. 6:8); the evangelist John treats the Isaiah passage as a vision of Jesus (Jn. 12:41). Then, there are references to the Angel of the LORD who is identified with, yet distinct from, God (Ex. 3:2-6; Jdg. 13:2-22). The OT also refers to the Spirit of God as God's personal agent (Gn. 1:2; Ne. 9:20; Ps. 139:7; Is. 63:10-14). It speaks of the wisdom of God, particularly in Proverbs 8, as a personalized outgoing of God to the world, and of the Word of God, the creative utterance of God (Ps. 33:6, 9; cf. Gn. 1:26). There are also prophecies which identify the long-awaited Messiah with God (Ps. 2; Is. 9:6f.). This clearly does not amount to the full doctrine of the Trinity, but in presenting plurality within God's unity these OT passages anticipate the fuller NT teaching." (Milne, B., 1982, "Know the Truth: A Handbook of Christian Belief," Inter-Varsity Press: Leicester UK, 1988, Fifth printing, pp.59-60. Emphasis original).
"The angel of the Lord thus appears as a manifestation of Jehovah himself, one with Jehovah and yet different from him":
"While any angel sent to execute the commands of God might be called the angel of the Lord (II Sam. 24:16; I Kings 19:5, 7), yet mention is made of an angel under circumstances that justify one in always thinking of the same angel, who is distinguished from Jehovah, and yet is identified with him (Gen. 16:10, 13; 18:2-4, 13, 14, 33; 22:11, 12, 15, 16; 31:11, 13; Ex. 3:2, 4; Josh. 5:13-15; 6:2; Zech. 1:10-13; 3:1, 2), who revealed the face of God (Gen. 32:30), in whom was Jehovah's name (Ex. 23:21), and whose presence was equivalent to Jehovah's presence (Ex. 32:34; 33:14; Isa. 63:9). The angel of the Lord thus appears as a manifestation of Jehovah himself, one with Jehovah and yet different from him." (Gehman, H.S. & Davis, J.D., 1944, "The Westminster Dictionary of the Bible," , Collins: London, 1924, Revised, p.29).
"The older writers discovered intimations of the Trinity in ... the remarkable phenomena connected with the appearances of the Angel of Jehovah":
"It is another question, however, whether there may not exist in the pages of the Old Testament turns of expression or records of occurrences in which one already acquainted with the doctrine of the Trinity may fairly see indications of an underlying implication of it. The older writers discovered intimations of the Trinity in such phenomena as the plural form of the Divine name Elohim, the occasional employment with reference to God of plural pronouns ('Let us make man in our image,' Gen. i. 26; iii. 22; xi. 7; Isa. vi. 8), or of plural verbs (Gen. xx. 13; xxxv. 7), certain repetitions of the name of God which seem to distinguish between God and God (Ps. xlv. 6, 7; cx. l; Hos. i. 7), threefold liturgical formulas (Num. vi. 24, 26; Isa. vi. 3), a certain tendency to hypostatize the conception of Wisdom (Prov. viii.), and especially the remarkable phenomena connected with the appearances of the Angel of Jehovah (Gen. xvi. 2-13, xxii. 11, 16; xxxi. 11, 13; xlviii. 15, 16; Ex. iii. 2, 4, 5; Jgs, xiii. 20-22)." (Warfield B.B., 1958, "The Biblical Doctrine of the Trinity," in "Biblical Foundations," Tyndale: London, p.86).
"There is also the striking Old Testament phenomenon of the angel of the Lord ... whose title and task distinguish him from God, yet whose presence evokes a response at the human level appropriate only when one is in the presence of God":
"Theologians have also noted the way in which the wisdom of God is personified in the Old Testament as God's Architect and Counselor in creation, the Instructor of the wise who bestows the divine Spirit upon all who seek understanding (Prv. 8). It is this usage that the writers of the New Testament reflect in their view of Jesus as the Logos (Word/Wisdom) who was in the beginning with God and by whom all things were made (Jn. 1:2-3). There is also the striking Old Testament phenomenon of the angel of the Lord, the mysterious messenger of the covenant (Gn. 16:2-13; 22:11, 16; 31:11, 13; 48:15-16; Ex. 3:2, 4-5; Jgs. 13:20-22). Here is One whose title and task distinguish him from God, yet whose presence evokes a response at the human level appropriate only when one is in the presence of God." (Jewett, 1991, p.270).
v. The Word, Spirit and Wisdom of Jehovah are distinct from Jehovah
"... passages in which the Word or Wisdom of God is personified ... point to ... a plurality of persons":
"It is far more plausible that the passages in which God speaks of Himself in the plural, Gen. 1:26; 11:7, contain an indication of personal distinctions in God, though even these do not point to a trinity but only to a plurality of persons. Still clearer indications of such personal distinctions are found in those passages which refer to the Angel of Jehovah, who is on the one hand identified with Jehovah, and on the other hand distinguished from Him, Gen. 16:7-13; 18:1-21; 19:1-28; Mal. 3:1; and also in passages in which the Word or Wisdom of God is personified, Ps. 33:4, 6; Prov. 8:12-31. In some cases more than one person is mentioned, Ps. 33:6; 45:6, 7 (comp. Heb. 1:8, 9), and in others God is the speaker, and mentions both the Messiah and the Spirit, or the Messiah is the speaker who mentions both God and the Spirit, Isa. 48:16; 61:1; 63:9, 10 . Thus the Old Testament contains a clear anticipation of the fuller revelation of the Trinity in the New Testament." (Berkhof, L., 1958, "Systematic Theology," , Banner of Truth: London, British Edition, Third printing, 1966, pp.86-87. Emphasis original).
"A tendency is pointed out to hypostatize [ascribe real existence to] the Word of God ... and ... the Spirit of God":
"The tendency of more recent authors is to appeal, not so much to specific texts of the Old Testament, as to the very `organism of revelation' in the Old Testament in which there is perceived an underlying suggestion `that all things owe their existence and persistence to a threefold cause,' both with reference to the first creation, and, more plainly, with reference to the second creation. Passages like Ps. xxxiii. 6; Isa. lxi. 1; lxiii. 9-12; Hag. ii. 5, 6, in which God and His Word and His Spirit are brought together, co-causes of effects, are adduced. A tendency is pointed out to hypostatize the Word of God on the one hand (e.g., Gen. i. 3; Ps. xxxiii. 6; cvii. 20; cxlvii. 15-18; Isa. lv. 11); and, especially in Ezek. and the later Prophets, the Spirit of God, on the other (e.g., Gen. i. 2; Isa. xlviii. 16; lxiii. 10; Ezek. ii. 2; viii. 3; Zec. vii. 12). Suggestions - in Isa. for instance (vii. 14; ix. 6) - of the Deity of the Messiah are appealed to. And if the occasional occurrence of plural verbs and pronouns referring to God, and the plural form of the name Elohim, are not insisted upon as in themselves evidence of a multiplicity in the Godhead, yet a certain weight is lent them as witnesses that `the God of revelation is no abstract unity, but the living, true God, who in the fulness of His life embraces the highest variety' (Bavinck)." (Warfield, 1958, pp.86-87).
vi. The Hebrew word for "one" ('echad) in "Jehovah our God is one" (Dt 6:4 ASV) can mean a compound unity
The same Heb. word 'echad "one" in "God is one" (Dt 6:4) can be a compound unity. For example the same word 'echad is used of the "one flesh" of husband and wife (Gn 2:24); "one people" comprising many individuals (Gn 11:6; 34:16,22); " one voice" of "all the people" (Ex 24:3); "one cluster of grapes" (Num 13:23); and "one stick" joined to "another stick" making a compound "one stick" (Eze 37:16-17).
" 'ehad ... one ... It stresses unity while recognizing diversity within that oneness ... In the famous Shema of Deut 6:4, `Hear, O Israel ... the LORD is one,' ... the usage of the word allows for the doctrine of the Trinity":
"... 'ehad ... one ... It is closely identified with yahad `to be united' ... It stresses unity while recognizing diversity within that oneness ... in Ex 24:3 `with one voice' expresses that all Israel was involved in entering into the Covenant with Yahweh. The concept of unity is related to the tabernacle, whose curtains are fastened together to form one unit (Ex 26:6, 11; 36:13). Adam and Eve are described as `one flesh' (Gen 2:24) ... In Gen 34:16 the men of Shechem suggest intermarriage with Jacob's children in order to become `one people.' Later, Ezekiel predicted that the fragmented nation of Israel would someday be reunited, as he symbolically joined two sticks (37:17). Once again Judah and Ephraim would be one nation with one king (37:22) ... Diversity within unity is also seen from the fact that 'ehad has a plural form, 'ahadim ... In the famous Shema of Deut 6:4, `Hear, O Israel ... the LORD is one,' the question of diversity within unity has theological implications. Some scholars have felt that, though `one' is singular, the usage of the word allows for the doctrine of the Trinity ... The NT also is strictly monotheistic while at the same time teaching diversity within the unity (Jas 2:19; 1 Cor 8:5-6) ... The lexical and syntactical difficulties of Deut 6:4 can be seen in the many translations offered for it in the NIV. The option `the LORD is our God, the LORD alone' has in its favor both the broad context of the book and the immediate context ... Zechariah employs the text with this meaning and applies it universally ..: `The LORD will be king over all the earth; in that day the LORD will be (the only) one, and His name (the only) one' (14:9 NASB)." (Wolf, H., "'ehad," in Harris, R.L., Archer, G.L. & Waltke, B.K., eds, 1980, "Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament," Moody Press: Chicago IL, Twelfth printing, 1992, Vol. I, p.30).
"There is a Hebrew word that does mean an absolute unity and that is yachid ... If Moses intended to teach God's absolute oneness as over against a compound unity, this would have been a far more appropriate word":
"Deuteronomy 6:4, known as the Shema, has always been Israel's great confession. It is this verse more than any other that is used to affirm the fact that God is one and is often used to contradict the concept of plurality in the Godhead. But is it a valid use of this verse? On one hand, it should be noted that the very words `our God' are in the plural in the Hebrew text and literally mean `our Gods.' However, the main argument lies in the word `one,' which is a Hebrew word, echad. A glance through the Hebrew text where the word is used elsewhere can quickly show that the word echad does not mean an absolute `one' but a compound `one.' For instance, in Genesis 1:5, the combination of evening and morning comprise one (echad) day. In Genesis 2:24, a man and a woman come together in marriage and the two `shall become one (echad) flesh.' In Ezra 2:64, we are told that the whole assembly was as one (echad), though of course, it was composed of numerous people. Ezekiel 37:17 provides a rather striking example where two sticks are combined to become one (echad). The use of the word echad in Scripture shows it to be a compound and not an absolute unity. There is a Hebrew word that does mean an absolute unity and that is yachid, which is found in many Scripture passages, the emphasis being on the meaning of `only.' If Moses intended to teach God's absolute oneness as over against a compound unity, this would have been a far more appropriate word." (Fruchtenbaum, A.G., "Jewishness and the Trinity," Jews for Jesus, July 1, 1981).
Messianic Jews interpret 'echad "one" in Deut. 6:4 as being a compound unity:
"Messianic Jews believe in the Shema ... Deuteronomy 6:4: 'Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD' ... The Shema is a confirmation in Torah that Adonai/God is a compound unity ('echad') not as is commonly misunderstood.')" ("Messianic Judaism," Wikipedia, 23 January 2010).
In fact the Messianic Jewish Torah Observant Followers of Yeshua in its Statement of Beliefs cites Dt 6:4 as evidence that "The nature of YHWH is a compound unity" and adds that "Yeshua of Natzeret ... is YHWH who appeared among mankind in the flesh":
"Statements of Belief .... YHWH [the LORD] is our Elohim. He is echad [One]. He alone is YHWH. Deuteronomy 6:4. .... The nature of YHWH is a compound unity expressed in the aspects of Abba [God, the Father], Yeshua [Salvation, Jesus, the Son, Messiah] and the Ruach HaKodesh [the Holy Spirit/Breath] in this age. Matthew 28:19. ... Yeshua of Natzeret [Nazareth] is the Messiah of Israel, the Savior of the world, the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is YHWH who appeared among mankind in the flesh, and now is glorified with all power in Heaven and in Earth, at the right hand of Abba. John 1:12-14, 18." ("Torah Observant Followers of Yeshua - Statement of Beliefs," December 28, 2006).
Therefore, that "God is one" (
vii Intimations of the Trinity in the Old Testament
"Yet even in the OT we have clear intimations of the Trinity":
"Yet even in the OT we have clear intimations of the Trinity. The frequent mention of the Spirit of God (Gen. 1:2 and passim) may be noted, as also, perhaps, the angel of the Lord in Exod. 23:23. Again, the plural in Gen. 1:26 and 11:7 is to be noted, as also the plural form of the divine name and the nature of the divine appearance to Abraham in Gen. 18. The importance of the word (Ps. 33:6), and especially the wisdom, of God (Prov. 8:22ff.) is a further pointer, and in a mysterious verse like Isa. 48:16, in a strongly monotheistic context, we have a very close approach to Trinitarian formulation." (Bromiley, G.W., "Trinity," in Elwell, W.A., ed., 1984, "Evangelical Dictionary of Theology," Baker: Grand Rapids MI, Seventh printing, 1990, p.1112).
"But even in the opening pages of the OT we are taught to attribute the existence and persistence of all things to a threefold source":
"In the Old Testament It can be understood that in ages when revealed religion had to hold its own in the environment of pagan idolatry, nothing that would imperil the oneness of God could be freely given. The first imperative, therefore, was to declare the existence of the one living and true God, and to this task the OT is principally dedicated. But even in the opening pages of the OT we are taught to attribute the existence and persistence of all things to a threefold source. There are passages where God, his Word and his Spirit are brought together, as, for example, in the narrative of the creation where Elohim is seen to create by means of his Word and Spirit (Gn. 1:2-3). It is thought that Gn. 1:26 points in the same direction, where it is stated that God said: `Let us make man in our image, after our likeness', followed by the statement of accomplishment: `So God created man in his own image', a striking case of plural and singular interchanged, suggesting plurality in unity." (Finlayson, R.A., "Trinity," in Douglas, J.D., et al., eds. , 1982, "New Bible Dictionary," , Inter-Varsity Press, Leicester UK, Second edition, Reprinted, 1988, p.1221. Emphasis original).
"There are many scriptural indications for three-in-oneness in the Godhead":
"Scriptural Indications for Three-in-Oneness There are many scriptural indications for three-in-oneness in the Godhead. For example, when God was about to create man, he said: `Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground' (Gen. 1:26, italics added). Though scholars have offered different suggestions as to what may be meant by the plural pronouns in this verse, there is good reason to interpret it as a reference to the Trinity. (Note that the phrase `our image' in this verse is explained in verse 27 as `God's image.') ... After Adam and Eve had been created and fell into sin in the Garden of Eden, God said: `The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever' (Gen. 3:22, italics added). Note that the phrase `like one of us' in this verse refers back to verse 5, `like God.' As is true with Genesis 1:26, this verse supports plurality within the Godhead. Later, when sinful human beings were attempting to erect the Tower of Babel, God said: `Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other' (Gen. 11:7, italics added). Again, plurality within the Godhead. Many centuries later, Isaiah had a vision in the temple in which God commissioned him to service. God asked Isaiah, `Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' And Isaiah said, `Here am I. Send me!' (Isa. 6:8, italics added)." (Rhodes, R., 1992, "Christ Before the Manger: The Life and Times of the Preincarnate Christ," Baker: Grand Rapids MI, p.27. Emphasis original).
"Although the great emphasis of the Old Testament is the unity of God, hints of plurality in the Godhead are not lacking, nor are suggestions that this plurality is a trinity":
"INTIMATIONS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT Although the great emphasis of the Old Testament is the unity of God, hints of plurality in the Godhead are not lacking, nor are suggestions that this plurality is a trinity. It is interesting that God used plural pronouns (Gen. 1:26; 3:22; 11:7; Isa. 6:8) and plural verbs (Gen. 1:26; 11:7) to refer to himself. The name for God (Elohim) is plural and may imply plurality, though this is dubious. The plural form is probably used for intensity, rather than for expressing plurality. More definite indications that this plurality is a trinity are found in the following facts: (1) The Lord is distinguished from the Lord. Gen. 19:24 states, `Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven,' and Hosea 1:7 declares, `I will have compassion on the house of Judah and deliver them by the Lord their God' (cf. Zech. 3:2; 2 Tim. 1:18). (2) The Son is distinguished from the Father. The Son speaking through Isaiah the prophet said, `The Lord God has sent Me, and His Spirit' (Isa. 48:16; cf. Ps. 45:6f.; Isa. 63:9f.). Ps. 2:7 reads, `Thou art My Son, today I have begotten Thee.' Jesus is not only called the Son of God (Rom. 1:4), but also the only begotten Son (John 3:16, 18) and his first-born Son (Heb. 1:6). Christ did not become the eternal Son of God at the incarnation; he was the Son before he was given (Isa. 9:6). `His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity' (Mic. 5:2). (3) The Spirit is also distinguished from God. Gen. 1:1 reads, `In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.' Then v. 2 states, `The Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.' Note also the quotation, `The Lord said, 'My Spirit shall not strive with man forever' (Gen. 6:3; cf. Num. 27:18; Ps. 51:11; Isa. 40:13; Hag. 2:4f.). (4) Other such matters as the triple use of `holy' in Isa. 6:3 may imply a trinity (cf. Rev. 4:8), as well as the triple benediction of Num. 6:24-26." (Thiessen, H.C. & Doerksen, V.D., 1979, "Lectures in Systematic Theology," , Eerdmans: Grand Rapids MI, Revised, pp.90-91. Emphasis original).
My next post in this series is part #6, "2B. Jehovah seen in the Old Testament was the pre-incarnate Jesus."