Refutation of the Master’s University Bible Faculty Document on the Trinity and Divinity of Messiah – Part 1: Trinitarian Tensions in the OT

In March of this year Prof. Bill Schlegel, a teacher at the Master’s University’s Israel Bible Extension (IBEX) program since 1995, informed the IBEX Director that he could no longer affirm the doctrinal statement of the university, with regard to the Trinity and the deity of Jesus. If you wish to hear Prof. Schlegel’s story in his own words go to and go to podcast, then to interview 31. In response to this event the Bible faculty of the Master’s University put out a 22-page document on the Trinity and the Divinity of Christ for the students. When I first read this paper I was stunned at such a sophomoric attempt, by what I suppose are learned bible teachers, to defend the Trinity and deity of Christ.

The bulk of this defense is simply proof-texting with little exegesis, and when there is an attempt at exegesis, it reveals a profound ignorance of biblical theology and language. Scripture verses are given with little regard for immediate context, as well as the larger context of the Hebraic background of Scripture. The presupposition of Trinitarianism looms over the entire work and is forced into the provided proof texts as if no other possible interpretation exists. In some cases I was left scratching my head after reading the biblical text provided for a specific point – the passage just wasn’t saying what they were purporting.

I want to go through this paper point by point and offer a refutation. I presume this is the best Scriptural evidence for these doctrines that they could muster. So let’s see how well their presuppositions about the specific texts presented holds up under scrutiny. Please open the pdf file of the paper and go point by point between their paper and my answers to them: The Trinity and Divinity of Messiah.

The Trinity and Divinity of Messiah in the OT

  1. I am not quite sure what they mean by “Trinitarian tensions.” It seems like they are saying that although there is no direct statement in Scripture regarding multiple persons in God and a plain reading of Scripture would simply yield the unitarian monotheistic view held by the Hebrews, yet there are these hints of plurality in the Godhead, throughout Scripture, causing a tension with the simple plain reading.

Gen. 1:26 – This first example they offer, of Trinitarian tensions in the OT, is typical of what we will see in the rest of the paper, i.e. the authors making Trinitarian hay out of any and every verse that affords them the opportunity.

The assertion that the plural pronouns in the phrase “And God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness … ‘ ,” is a reference to multiple persons within God, i.e. a reference to the Trinity, is typical of many Christian apologists, bible commentators and lay people, as well as many of the early church fathers from the 2nd century on. And certainly, for anyone who already accepts the Trinity doctrine, this could be a confirmation of that belief. But it must be said first off that the Trinity doctrine is not taught by this passage. Of course it may accommodate that belief for the one who holds that doctrine; but it could also accommodate the belief in poly-theism, or Arianism, or Herbert W. Armstrong’s God-family, or Mormonism’s view of God. And why would the  plural pronouns suggest ‘three’ persons in God? Why not two or ten? The only reason it would suggest ‘three’ is because the Trinity concept, which came along at a much later time, is being read back into this text.

Is this verse a slam dunk for Trinitarians? While many popular commentators and apologists think so, and many church fathers thought so, modern scholarship is decidedly against the notion that Gen.1:26 implies a multiplicity of persons within God. This is true even among Trinitarian scholars. Gordon J. Wenham comments on this verse in the World Biblical Commentary on Genesis, saying:

Christians have traditionally seen [Gen. 1:26] as adumbrating the Trinity. It is now universally admitted that this was not what the plural meant to the original author.

Charles Ryrie, in the Ryrie Study Bible gave this brief comment on Gen. 1:26:

Us…Our. Plurals of majesty.

The Liberty Annotated Study Bible, published by Liberty University states regarding this verse:

The plural pronoun “Us” is most likely a majestic plural from the standpoint of Hebrew grammar and syntax.

The staunchly Trinitarian NIV Study Bible has this in it’s commentary note on this passage:

us… our…our. God speaks as the Creator-King, announcing his crowning work to the members of his heavenly court …

H. L. Ellison, in The International Bible Commentary, edited by F. F. Bruce, says regarding the traditional Christian view that the plural refers to the Trinity:

This should not be completely rejected, but in it’s setting it does not carry conviction. The rabbinic interpretation that God is speaking to the angels is more attractive, for mans creation affects them … But there is no suggestion of angelic cooperation. Probably the plural is intended above all to draw attention to the importance and solemnity of God’s decision.

The Cambridge Bible Commentary states on the passage:

i. Until recently, the traditional Christian interpretation has seen in the 1st pers. plur. a reference to the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity. The requirements of a sound historical exegesis render this view untenable: for it would read into the book of Genesis the religious teaching which is based upon the Revelation of the New Testament.

Gleason Archer, in his Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, while not commenting on Gen. 1:26, does comment on Gen. 3:22, where again God speaks in the plural ‘us’:

Who, then, constitutes the “us” referred to in verse 22? Conceivably the three persons of the Trinity might be involved here (as in Gen. 1:26), but more likely “us” refers to the angels surrounding God’s throne in heaven …

I want to note again that the above quotes are from Trinity-believing, traditional, orthodox scholars, honest ones I might add. One has to wonder why the authors of this paper did not think it worth while to inform their students of alternative ‘orthodox’ interpretations of this verse. As we saw from most of the quotes above, the most prominent alternative interpretation is that God is speaking to his heavenly court, the angelic beings surrounding his throne. Some object to this on the basis that angels could not have been active participants in the creation of man – this was God’s work alone. Yes, true, for the next verse reads literally, “So God, he created man in his own image … ” Here the verb is singular and so is the pronoun, showing that God alone performed the act of man’s creation. So if God was speaking to the angels it was not to include them in the act of creation, but perhaps to invite them to be observers of his crowning achievement. This was also the predominant rabbinic interpretation. It may also be that angels are also created in the image of God, and so the “us” and “our” is intended to include them in that regard only. As far as I  am aware, there is no verse in Scripture which says that man alone is created in the image of God. We should also note that if verse 26 is referring to multiple persons in God, then why does verse 27 not read, “So God, they created man in their own image?”

The authors then state that the plurality in the godhead is especially implied “since it is parallel and dealing with the plurality within humanity (male and female). It implies the relationality in the godhead is the basis for the relationality in humanity.” Are they trying to say that if God were a single person there would have been no basis for the male and female relationship in humanity? That is quite an assertion, I wonder how they can prove it. And if they are saying that the male/female relationship in humanity is “parallel” to that of the relationship of the persons in the godhead, then the Trinity is just a family of gods. This whole point is sheer speculation on their part.

Genesis 19:24 – This, again, is a verse typically used to show plurality in God. They only make a brief statement concerning it, without any exegesis. They seem to be implying that there are two Yahwehs in this text, one in heaven and one on earth. They do not attempt to explain how this can be, probably because it sounds ridiculous even to them. I have heard other apologists speak of this verse as presenting two Yahwehs. The impossibility that the Hebrew Scriptures would be presenting more than one Yahweh should be obvious to anyone familiar with the OT. Indeed, the fundamental creed of the Hebrew bible and of the Jewish people, the Shema, precludes any such notion:

Hear O Israel, Yahweh our God, Yahweh is one.   Deut. 6:4

Now the apologists will say, “Yes, one in essence and substance.” This is the same thing they point out to Oneness believers regarding John 10:30, where Jesus said:

I and the Father are one.

They will point out to the Oneness folk that the word ‘one’ in this verse, in the Greek, is neuter in gender, which they say rules out that Jesus and the Father are ‘one person.’ I agree. They also point out that the adjective would have to be masculine in gender to have the meaning ‘one person.’ Again I agree. But what they fail to point out is the fact that the word ‘one’ in Deut. 6:4 is a masculine singular adjective and hence means ‘one person.’ What the shema is saying is this:

Hear O Israel, Yahweh our God, Yahweh is one person.

This rules out the possibility that Gen. 19:24 is presenting us with two Yahwehs or two persons who are both Yahweh. So what does the verse mean? The answer is really quite simple, but because the Trinitarian interpretation has prevailed in the thinking of orthodox Christians since the time of the early church fathers, the simple answer has been kept hidden to most. This is one of the problems with prevailing traditions, they stifle further study and the search for other possible solutions to seemingly difficult passages. Just simply interpret the passage in line with the prevailing tradition (no matter how much you may have to distort the text to do so) and presto, a canned interpretation. Then this canned interpretation gets so embedded into the psyche of the Christian world, that when someone comes along and offers another, more plausible interpretation of the text, he is accused of trying to ‘explain away the Scriptures.’

The solution to the Gen. 19:24 text’s seeming contradiction to the Deut. 6:4 text is the biblical concept of agency. This concept is so prevalent in the Scriptures, both OT and NT, that the almost complete ignorance of it by most Christians is staggering. I was a Christian for 35 yrs. before I ever heard of this concept; I had never in those years heard it mentioned from the pulpit of any church I attended, or read of it in any book, or seen it explained in any bible commentary. I was completely ignorant of it although it was clearly there in the Scriptures. My traditional way of thinking blinded me from seeing it. Yet, so pervasive is the concept of agency in the Scriptures, that without a solid recognition of it, gross misunderstandings of much of Scripture will certainly dominate the Christian world.

The concept is quite easy. An agent is one who speaks and acts on behalf of or in place of another, by whom he has been authorized and sent. Simply put, an agent is a representative or emissary of another. The principal idea with agency is that the agent is as the one who sent him, so that whatever the agent says or does is to be understood as if the one who authorized and sent him is speaking and acting. A perfect illustration of this concept can be seen in the gospel narrative of the centurion who sought Jesus’ help for his sick and dying servant. This story can be found in Matt.8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10. But as you read these two accounts of the same event you should notice what seems like a contradiction. In Matthew’s account the centurion is said to come himself to Jesus and ask for help, while in Luke’s telling the centurion sends a delegation of Jewish elders to  Jesus, to request his help. Is this a contradiction? Not if you understand the concept of agency. Matthew can speak of the centurion as if he had come to Jesus himself because the delegation of Jews he sent were speaking in his place and on his behalf. The Jewish delegation was as if they were the centurion. This concept will play an important role in answering many of the assertions made by the authors of the paper we are examining. Another example of this concept can be seen in Exodus 7:1-2, where Moses, God’s chosen agent, is told by Yahweh, “See, I have made you God to Pharaoh and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. You are to say everything I command you … “

So lets apply the concept of agency to Gen 19:24 and see if we can gain clarity. The context of this verse actually begins with 18:1-2 which reads:

Yahweh appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre … Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby …

First we are told that Yahweh appeared to Abraham; then that he saw three men. Of course, the Trinitarian has a hay day here, for anytime ‘three’ is mentioned in the Bible he encourages himself in his belief. So some Trinitarians will say that God is appearing in the form of three men to signify that God is ‘three-in-one.’ This is, of course, eisegesis, as any responsible exegete will tell you.

Now there are many other times in the OT that it is said that God appeared to men or that men saw God, such as Gen. 12:7; 17:1; 26:2,24; 32:30; Exodus 4:5; 24:9-11; Is. 6:1, 5. Did these people literally see God? Did their eyes actually behold God himself in person? Let me ask you this question. Did the Jews of the 1st century think that these people actually, literally saw God? What about the authors of the NT, did they believe men actually saw God? How did they understand these OT passages? They tell us very plainly. The apostle John did not think these men actually saw God, for he says:

“No one has ever seen God … ”   John 1:18 and 1 John 4:12

The apostle Paul also did not think these men actually saw God:

“God, the blessed and only ruler, … whom no one has seen or can see.”  1 Tim.6:15-16

Trinitarians will usually say that these verses mean that no one has seen the Father, and so who these men saw was the pre-incarnate God the Son. But in their attempt to make the Trinity fit in the Scriptures where it doesn’t, they violate their own doctrine. Are not all three members of the Trinity supposed to be equal in deity, in glory, in honor, in majesty, and in every other aspect? Then how is it that God the Father cannot be seen but God the Son can? What is different about the pre-incarnate Son that allows him to be seen? There is no need to read back into an ancient document an idea that would not even enter anyone’s mind for another 2,000 yrs., when there is a perfectly good biblical concept which enables us to make sense of these passages.

So who or what were these people in the OT seeing? I believe the concept of agency gives us the answer — they were seeing an agent of Yahweh who was acting and speaking as Yahweh, on Yahweh’s behalf. Now the Trinitarian might protest that I am reading into the Bible my own ideas, but I think I can prove my assertion. Let’s look at one incident in Scripture which illustrates the concept of agency in relation to Yahweh appearing to men. In Exodus 3 we have the story of Moses and the burning bush. In verse 2 we read:

“There an agent of Yahweh appeared to him (Moses) in flames of fire from within a bush.”

I have translated the Hebrew word malak as agent instead of ‘angel’ because that is what the word means; one who is sent by another to convey the mind, will, purpose and action of the one who sent him; a representative. So agent is a good word to express the meaning of malak. Most versions have “the angel of the LORD” but it is not necessary to take it as definite (for a thorough explanation see this article: Pre-incarnate Appearances Of The Son Of God In The OT – Truth Or Myth (Part 1). The LXX  does not have the definite article, and the YLT and CEV, as well as the JPS Tanakh 1985 edition, translate it as an angel.” Why do I point this out? Because Trinitarians are wont to see the angel of the LORD’ as not just any angel but as a pre-incarnate appearance of the second person of the Trinity (without any warrant from the text itself). This desire to find the pre-incarnate Son of God in the OT is probably why most versions have the definite article when it is not necessary. That this idea about ‘the angel of the LORD’ being God the Son is untenable, is confirmed in the only passage in the NT which speaks specifically about this agent of Yahweh.

“After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush … (Moses) whom God sent to be their ruler and deliverer , in association with the agency of the angel who appeared to him in the bush.   Acts 7:30, 35

Now, let those basic reading comprehension skills assist you here. When you read what Stephen said, does it sound like he thought the angel was a pre-incarnate appearance of the Son? If he believed that why did he not inform his audience of that all important truth? After all, Trinitarian apologists today think it important enough to tell their audiences. Stephen understood this like any Jew at that time would have – that the agent of Yahweh appeared in Yahweh’s stead and spoke as Yahweh, because that is the principal idea of agency – the agent is regarded as the one who sent him. Stephen uses the Greek word sun in Acts 7:35 which carries the idea of  ‘to accompany, to associate with.’ It is likely that this agent of Yahweh accompanied Moses the whole time, from when they left Egypt to when they entered the promised land, acting as God’s representative. Listen to what else the Scripture says concerning this agent of Yahweh:

“Then the agent of God, who had been traveling in front of the camp of Israel, withdrew and went behind them.”   Exodus 14:19

“See, I (God) am sending an agent ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. Pay attention to him and obey what he says. Do not rebel against him; he will not forgive your rebellion, since my Name is in him. If you obey what he says and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies … My agent will go ahead of you and bring you into the land …”  Ex.23:20-23

In the second quote above, we gain an understanding of the close connection between God and his agent. The agent is speaking for God, carrying out God’s will, and has God’s name in him. So to rebel against the agent is to rebel against God himself. Note how the Lord says that Moses is to “obey what (the agent) says and do all that I say,” making the word of the agent synonymous with Yahweh’s own word.

[Since writing this I have come to an alternative understanding of the ‘angel’ in Ex. 23:20-23, which is explained here: Binitarianism In The OT – Truth or Myth (Part1)].

Now back to Exodus 3. In verse one we saw that an agent of Yahweh is said to have appeared, but in verse 16 Moses is told to say to the elders of Israel:

“Yahweh, the God of your fathers – the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – appeared to me … “

And in 4:5

Yahweh said, “This is so that they may believe that Yahweh, the God of their fathers … has appeared to you.”

The solution to this is not to say that the agent of Yahweh is Yahweh, but that the agent of Yahweh acts and speaks as Yahweh. This is not a difficult concept to understand; it is really quite simple.

Back in our text, in chapter 18 of Genesis, after Abraham receives the three men and they sit down to eat, at verse 10 it says, “Then Yahweh said … .” This is repeated throughout the rest of the chapter. When God’s agents speak for him, what they say can be recorded as God himself speaking. This is true of heavenly agents and human agents, i.e. the prophets. What appears to be going on in this chapter is that one of the agents is speaking for Yahweh ( vv.10,13,17-21) while the other two seem to remain silent. Eventually two of the agents head off to Sodom (vv. 22 and 19:1) and the one is left there with Abraham, who speaks to the agent as though he were God (vv.23-33). The agent, acting as God’s mouthpiece, converses with Abraham and then leaves, presumably heading toward Sodom (v.33).

In 19:1 the two agents who had left first arrive in Sodom, where Lot greets them with typical Semitic hospitality, unaware of their true mission. Eventually the agents reveal their purpose for coming :

“Get … out of here, because we are going to destroy this place, for the outcry against it’s people has grown great before Yahweh; and Yahweh has sent us to destroy it.” v.13

The agents say that they are going to destroy Sodom, but in the next verse we read:

So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law … “Hurry and get out of this place, because Yahweh is about to destroy the city.”

Lot understood that the agents were carrying out Yahweh’s orders, acting as His representatives. And this brings us to our original text at 19:24:

“Then Yahweh rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah, from  Yahweh, out of the heavens.”

There are two ways to understand this verse without resorting to the absurdity that there are two Yahwehs presented here. First, that the agent of Yahweh ( called Yahweh here) had the authority to bring the judgment on the cities, but did so by Yahweh’s will and power, not his own. In other words, the agent would have had no power or authority to destroy the cities if Yahweh had not authorized him as his agent and sent him to carry out His will. So the concept of agency explains the passage well without involving the text in a contradiction with Deut. 6:4, remembering that what the agent does can be recorded as Yahweh doing it.

But another solution is to translate the verse differently. The word in Hebrew that is represented by the English word ‘from‘ in the above quote, is eth, which has been commonly understood as an untranslatable mark of the accusative case. In  An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax by Bruce K. Waltke and M. O’Connor, on pp. 177-178, they state this concerning eth:

(1) … sign of the accusative … (2) More recent grammarians regard it as a marker of emphasis used most often with definite nouns in the accusative role … A.M. Wilson, late in the nineteenth century, concluded from his exhaustive study of all the occurrences of the debated particle that it had an intensive or reflexive force in some of it’s occurrences. Many grammarians have followed his lead. On such a view eth is a weakened emphatic particle corresponding to the English pronoun ‘self’… It resembles Greek ‘autos’ and Latin ‘ipse’, both sometimes used for emphasis…

So the verse could be saying something to the effect that it was Yahweh himself who caused the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, that it was Yahweh’s doing. It was not a natural occurrence nor was it the doing of the agents who carried it out. It was done by Yahweh’s will and power.

So I make an appeal to Trinitarian apologists who wish to truly be honest with the text of Scripture, to stop using this passage in this ridiculous way, as a proof text for the Trinity.

Deut. 4:37 – First off, the translation they quote from (appears to be the NASB) is a rather free translation, no doubt meant to bolster their claims. Most versions say something different, “in his sight” (KJV, WBT, Orthodox Jewish Bible, Jubilee Bible 2000); “with his presence” (ASV, ERV, ISR, NHEB, WEB, JPS Tanakh); “by his presence” (CSB, HCSB, NIV); “in his presence” (YLT); “accompanied by his presence” (ISV); “going before thee” (Douay-Rheims). Only the NASB and NET have “personally brought you out,” which is interpretive, not literal.

Their argument seems to be this – since this text says Yahweh personally brought them out of Egypt, and other texts say that Yahweh sent an agent to be with them, then the agent must be a manifestation of the pre-incarnate 2nd person of the Trinity. In fact they assert rather confidently that this is “the only way to harmonize these texts.” Then they conclude that “Yahweh sent Yahweh,” once again presenting us with two Yahwehs, which is an impossibility according to Deut. 4:6.

The only way to harmonize these texts.” I hardly think so, unless you just completely dismiss the biblical concept of agency. This way of interpreting Scripture , i.e. ignoring the cultural background and philosophical mindset of the original writers and readers of Scripture, and then just reading a much later tradition into the text, is a rather facile and inept approach to Bible study.

They quote Jeffrey H. Tigay as support for this supposed Trinitarian tension between Yahweh and the agent of Yahweh, but I am sure he would quite disagree with their conclusion. I do not agree with some of what Dr. Tigay says in this quote. For example, he says of Numbers 20:16, that Midrashic interpretation sees the agent there as Moses , but then he downplays that understanding by saying that Moses is never referred to as a malak, although prophets are sometimes. But this is begging the question. Moses is certainly a prophet and this may be the one time he is designated a malak. Surely Moses’ role in relationship to God and Israel is as an agent of Yahweh. And the fact that Deuteronomy never mentions angelic agency in no way negates such a use of agents by God as recorded in Genesis, Exodus and Numbers. Every case of agency recorded in those books can be spoken of in Deut. as Yahweh’s direct involvement  because that’s just how the language of Scripture portrays God’s use of agents – he takes the credit for it because it’s his authority and power that accomplishes it through the agent. In Judges 2:16 it says that the judges who Yahweh raised up saved the Israelites. But in verse 18 it says that Yahweh was with the judge and He saved the Israelites. This kind of language is common in the Scripture.

So Deut. 4:37 is not saying that Yahweh alone, by himself, without the use of agency, brought Israel out of Egypt. I mean didn’t Moses have a role to play? Yes, and so did other agents. The verse may simply be speaking of the fact that God’s presence was with Israel, in the pillar of cloud. In Ex. 13:21 we read:

“Yahweh went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud by day … and by night in a pillar of fire …”

In Ex. 14:19-20 there is an interesting interplay between the agent of God and the pillar of cloud. They seem to be distinct yet they move together. If the pillar of cloud speaks of the manifestation of God’s presence, then here we see both God’s presence and his agent at work together. I think we can take the pillar of cloud as God’s presence going with them based on Ex. 32 and 33. In 32 the people commit idolatry while Moses is on the mountain and God wants to destroy them and start over with Moses. But Moses intercedes for the people and God relents (vv.1-14). In 33:1-3 Yahweh tells Moses to leave there and go to the land of promise and then says:

“I will send an agent before you …But I will not go with you because … I might destroy you on the way.”

Verses 7-11 are a parenthetical insertion, informing the reader of the usual practice of Moses of meeting with God at the ‘tent of meeting’. When Moses would go into the tent, the visible representation of God’s presence would descend as a pillar of cloud. God would then speak directly to Moses giving him direction and instructions. So why is this information given the reader at this time? Because this is what God meant when he said he would not go with Moses and the people, but would only send an agent. He was saying that his presence would not appear at the tent of meeting anymore and so basically they would be left without direction or instruction from God.

Moses does not like this and in vv.12-17 we find him pleading with God to not remove his presence from them but to continue to make known his will to them at the tent of meeting in the pillar of cloud, the manifestation of God’s presence. God relents and the appearances of the pillar of cloud continue for the rest of their journey to the promised land {see e.g. Numbers 11:16-30; 12:1-10; 14:10-12}.

So what does all of this tell us about Deut. 4:37? First, that the version used by the authors of this paper was chosen specifically for it’s wording, but that the translation is probably not accurate. The passage is not saying that Yahweh personally brought them out of Egypt, i.e. without the use of agency, whether human or angelic. More likely it is saying that Yahweh brought them out of Egypt (through the agency of Moses and angels), accompanied by his presence, i.e. in the pillar of cloud {see Num. 14:13-16}. And no, it is in no way necessary that the agent involved has to be Yahweh himself.

Isaiah 48:16b – This is one of a number of proof texts given in this paper, at which I was left scratching my head as to how this is in any way a support for the Trinity. It is clear that the speaker at this point is the prophet himself, Isaiah. He is announcing to the Israelites that he was indeed sent by the Lord Yahweh, accompanied by his spirit. This could, of course, be said by every prophet whom God sent to Israel. Any commentator or exegete who views this as the Messiah speaking is taking liberties with the text that are not warranted by the context. Nothing in the immediate context points to the speaker being the servant of Yahweh; it would be pure conjecture to conclude that. Most commentaries I consulted agree.

Now lets suppose this verse was presenting the servant of Yahweh, i.e. the Messiah, as speaking here. I still fail to see how that would make this a proof text for the Trinity. Of course the Messiah is sent by Yahweh and is accompanied with the Spirit of God. Any unitarian Christian believes that. This is just another example of seeing the Trinity in any and every verse that happens to mention God and the Messiah and the spirit, as if the mere mention of these three is positive proof for the doctrine. Can they not be three separate entities? Where is the verse that says these three are one substance or co-equal members of the Godhead? It doesn’t exist!

Isaiah 59:21 – Another head scratcher and example of reading Trinitarian doctrine into Scripture. The verse is not about the Father speaking to the Son about his Spirit. Such a view of this passage is pure eisegesis. The verse speaks of Yahweh’s covenant with Israel, the new covenant, to be fulfilled in the kingdom age, when the whole nation, from that time and forward, will be faithful to Yahweh. Notice the similarity with Jer. 31:31-34 and Ezek. 36:24-30.

Yet, once again, even if the verse was about the Father speaking to the Messiah concerning the spirit, what does that have to do with the 4th century doctrine of the Trinity? Nothing!

Isaiah 11:1-9 & 61:1-3

Where, O where, is the Trinitarian tension in these passages? I don’t want to be harsh but please, someone tell me how passages about Yahweh anointing his servant with his Spirit create a tension with the plain biblical teaching that Yahweh is one person. It seems that the authors of this paper are victims of a kind of cult-ish persuasion, where once someone has been thoroughly indoctrinated into a system of theology, they are unable to read Scripture and ascertain it’s true historical meaning, but are bound to see in it’s pages, only the theology into which they were indoctrinated. These passages have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the Greek metaphysical concept that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob exists eternally in three hypostases.

Perhaps it is the list of things the servant of Yahweh is depicted as accomplishing in these passages that cause the authors of this paper to think that the servant of Yahweh must be Yahweh, for how can a mere man accomplish such feats. But this totally misses the point of these passages. It is not that Messiah is a mere man, but a man chosen {Is.42:1} and set apart {John 10:36} by Yahweh, anointed with Yahweh’s Spirit { Is. 11:2; 42:1; 61:1}, carrying out his tasks by Yahweh’s power {Micah 5:4}. He is the first immortal man {1 Cor. 15:20-23; Rom.14:9}, exalted to the highest place { Phil. 2:9} by Yahweh and given all authority {Matt. 28:18}. Yes, this man can and will accomplish the will of Yahweh {Is. 53:10b} for it is Yahweh doing it {Eph. 3:11}, in and through his chosen servant. Or do you think that the Almighty Yahweh cannot accomplish these things through a man?

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Please save the pdf file of the document to your computer, and follow along as we go point by point in upcoming posts, continuing in the refutation.

Author: Troy Salinger

I am 60 yrs. old. I live with my wife of 37 yrs. in Picayune MS. I have been a believer in the Lord Jesus since August of 1981. I have no formal theological education, but have been an ardent student of Scripture for 41 yrs. I am a biblical Unitarian i.e. I believe the Father is the only true God (John 17:3) and Jesus is His human Son, the Messiah.

5 thoughts on “Refutation of the Master’s University Bible Faculty Document on the Trinity and Divinity of Messiah – Part 1: Trinitarian Tensions in the OT”

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