The Old Testament can be compared to a chamber lavishly furnished but dimly lit. The New Testament is a great light that shines into it. When this takes place nothing is changed, the light brings nothing new into the room; but it gives a clearer view of what was previously barely perceptible, if not completely veiled from the spiritual eye. With that in mind, when studying the Word of God, you should interpret the Old Testament by the greater light of the New Testament, lest you fail to understand all that the Old Testament contains for us.
For example: the Old Testament prophecies of the coming Messiah were fulfilled in Jesus Christ, which was, obviously, revealed in the New Testament. Without the New Testament those prophecies would have remained mysteries! Let’s consider the many types and shadows of Jesus Christ that are manifested within the physical structure and ceremonies of the temple. Without the New Testament we couldn’t possibly know that the veil of the temple typified Jesus’ flesh being our access into the Holy of Holies (Heb 10:20, Joh 14:6)! We would have no way of knowing the High Priest, sacrificial lamb, and blood on the mercy seat were symbolic of Jesus and His sacrificial death. These are just a few of the many areas the Old Testament is brought to life by what the New Testament reveals!
This is also true of the doctrine of the Godhead. Considering that the full revelation of the Trinity was not given until the New Testament (particularly through the ministries of Jesus and the Holy Ghost) it’s a great folly to establish a systematic belief on the Godhead by using the Old Testament to interpret the New.
Let’s look at an example of how Bible interpretation is supposed to be done. Deuteronomy 6:4: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD” should be interpreted through the lens of verses like 1 John 5:7: “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 (or any of the other New Testament verses that support the Trinity) establishes that there is but one God who exists as three distinct persons! Once that’s established, we can go back to Deuteronomy 6:4 and get a clearer understanding of why Moses used the word echad and not yachid for the word one. The oneness of God is an ontological and composite oneness, not a numerical oneness!
Another example would be the Bible’s use of the name “Elohim” to describe God. If you recall, “Elohim” is the plural name for God used over 2,500 times in the Old Testament. If we interpret the meaning of “Elohim” through the lens of 1 John 5:7 we once again see that a composite unity exists between the three persons of the Godhead!
Other examples could be the many times we see dialogue between two persons that are both referred to as “God”, or verses like Genesis 1:26 where God is spoken of as being plural. When we Trinitarians come across passages like these we aren’t confused in the slightest because we know that the New Testament teaches that God is a trinity of persons!
Do you now see the Oneness people’s dilemma? By going to Deuteronomy 6:4 first they’ve had to construct an entire system of Theology to explain how God can be numerically one, yet appear to be three. They have had to construct an entire system of theology to explain why Jesus is called God, yet is shown praying to another that is obviously God (Joh 17)! They’ve had to invent an entire system of theology to explain how Jesus could speak to the Father and the Father speak back to Him, yet they could still be the one and selfsame person (Joh 12:28)! They’ve had to invent an entire system of theology to explain who Christ was commending His spirit to when He died on the cross (Lk 23:46)! They’ve had to find a way to explain why 1 John 5:7 doesn’t mean what it obviously means!
Trinitarians, the burden of proof is on them, not us! When the Bible says God is three, we say He is three! When the Bible says God is one, we say He is one! When the Bible says “these THREE are ONE” we believe exactly that: there are three persons in the one God! And although there are times we have to admit we don’t understand every minuscule detail about the Trinity, we are not going to create an entire system of anti-Scriptural theology to explain the unexplainable!
I want to look at some more very plain and obvious passages that establish a plurality of persons in the Godhead. We’ll start with New Testament passages (with some Old Testament verses to support certain points) and then work our way back to the Old Testament.
Jesus Anoints Himself With Himself
Because the Jesus Only adherents believe Jesus is the only person in the Godhead, they will ask you, “What’s the name of the Father? What’s the name of the Son? What’s the name of the Holy Ghost?” They follow that up by saying, “The name of the Father is Jesus! The name of the Son is Jesus! The name of the Holy Ghost is Jesus!” With that in mind, I want to share another great verse with you:
Ac 10:38 How GOD anointed JESUS OF NAZARETH with the HOLY GHOST and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for GOD was with HIM. (emphasis added)
According to the Jesus Only adherent’s system of interpretation this verse is basically saying, “How Jesus anointed Jesus with Jesus and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for Jesus was with Himself.” Are any of you with yourself? This verse is nonsense if Jesus is the only person in the Godhead.
Christ Praying to Himself
Joh 17:1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
I think you probably know where I’m going with this, but let’s look at it anyway! If we apply their method of interpretation to these verses, they’re teaching that Jesus was asking Himself to glorify Himself; was giving Himself His power; was sending Himself; was glorifying Himself on earth; finished the work that He gave Himself; and asked Himself to glorify Himself in Himself and was with Himself before the world was! And they say the doctrine of the Trinity is illogical? They say that we are confused? Not hardly!
Some say He prayed like this for an example, but was that the case in the Garden of Gethsemane, when He prayed so fervently that His sweat was like great drops of blood? Give me a break! It was exactly what the Bible says it was: Jesus praying to His Father!
Jesus Being Baptized In the Jordan
Mt 3:16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
This passage of Scripture is dealing with Jesus’ baptism by John in the Jordan river. When He was coming up out of the water the Holy Ghost, in the bodily shape of a dove, descended and landed on His shoulder. At the same time, God the Father spoke out of heaven and said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased...” Perhaps we can ask a Oneness adherent if this was Jesus landing on His own shoulder, and then telling Himself how proud He was of Himself? Saints! God is not a ventriloquist! I believe this passage tells us exactly what it appears to tell us: God is a trinity! If not, it must be considered an intentional attempt by the Holy Ghost and gospel writers to deceive all who saw it and would later read about it!
Christ Was Not Alone
The Oneness people often use Isaiah 44:24 to “prove” their position on the Godhead. Here’s what it says:
Isa 44:24 Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I AM the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens ALONE; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself; (emphasis added)
They like to ask us, “How could God create everything alone, yet be with someone else at the same time? Can a person be alone and with someone simultaneously?” Let’s allow Jesus to answer this one for us.
Joh 16:32 Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me ALONE: and yet I AM NOT ALONE, because the Father is with me. (emphasis added)
Yes! There is a sense in which a person can be alone and not alone at the same time. Being numerically isolated and unaccompanied is not necessarily a requirement. Jesus was alone in this world in that the world did not understand who He was or the mission He was here to accomplish, yet He was not alone because He had the company of His Father (not to mention the hundreds of thousands of people that were all around Him)! In Numbers 23:9 Israel is said to “dwell alone”, but no one supposes that each Israelite dwelt in absolute isolation. Israel did not mix and mesh with neighboring people, but they were not completely alone.
The context of Isaiah 44:24 reveals that the comparison is between the one true God and the many false gods Israel was flirting around with. Jehovah was alone in creation because there was no other god with Him, but He was not alone in that Jehovah is a trinity of “persons”.
Christ Being Sent
This next verse is one of my favorite triadic passages in the Bible. A triad is a group or set of three connected people or things, therefore, a triadic passage of Scripture is one that exhibits all three persons of the Godhead. Although it is an Old Testament passage it teaches a New Testament truth about the Christ. Here it is:
Isa 48:16 Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me.
It should be obvious that three distinct persons are being spoken of here: “the Lord God”, “His Spirit”, and “Him that was sent”. It should also be obvious that the words “the Lord God” refer to the Father; “His Spirit” refers to the Holy Spirit; and the one “sent” refers to Jesus; but unfortunately, the Oneness people get confused about who’s who in the Bible and claim “the Lord God” is Jesus; the “Spirit” is Jesus; and the one “sent” is also Jesus. Can you imagine that? Jesus and Jesus sent Jesus!? That’s utter nonsense! Common sense should tell us the person being sent is not the same person as the sender! But to avoid an argument over the identity of Him that is called “the Lord God”, I will first establish the identity of Him that is said to be “sent”.
Let’s look at a few verses that prove the one “sent” in Isaiah 48:16 is Jesus:
Isa 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD (Jehovah) hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; HE HATH SENT ME to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; (emphasis added)
This was a Messianic prophecy given to Isaiah in approximately 750 B.C. Now, let’s look at its fulfillment nearly 780 years later:
Lu 4:17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; HE HATH SENT me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
21 And he began to say unto them, THIS DAY is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. (emphasis added)
Here, standing in a synagogue in Nazareth, Jesus began to read out of the book of Isaiah. After reading Isaiah 61:1 He told them they had just witnessed the fulfillment of it. You may ask: What is so important about this passage? Jesus said the Spirit of God was upon Him, had anointed Him, and had SENT Him! These are the exact same words Isaiah used in Isaiah 48:16: “Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me (Jesus).”
There are many Scriptures that refer to Christ being sent, but there are a few particular ones that I feel really drive the point home. Let’s look at some of them:
Joh 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that SENT ME. (emphasis added)
This is a wonderful Scripture that demonstrates the absolute absurdity of the Oneness doctrine. First of all, Jesus said He was sent down from heaven to do the will of Him that sent Him. Who was it that sent Jesus down from heaven? We can find the answer to that in:
Joh 6:39 And this is the FATHER'S WILL WHICH HATH SENT ME, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
40 And this is the will of HIM THAT SENT ME, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. (emphasis added)
Jesus said it was the Father that sent Him. I would like to ask you once again: Can we logically say that the sender and the one being sent are the same person? The answer is “NO”! Dear listeners, that isn’t good English and it certainly isn’t sound exegesis!
Secondly, if Jesus and the Father are the same person as the Oneness people propose, He did indeed come to do His own will, which would make Him out to be a liar, which is an impossibility because the Bible is very plain, God cannot lie (Tit 1:2)!
Although it should be clear now that Jesus is the one “sent”, we find further proof when we cross reference Isaiah 48:16 with Isaiah 48:12-13:
Isa 48:12 Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last.
13 Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together.
Verses 12 and 13 tell us that the person speaking laid the foundation of the earth and spanned the heavens with His right hand! Again, it is obvious that the speaker is not the same person that is referred to as “the Lord GOD”, or Him that is called “the Spirit”. This is important because He is shown to be the creator of all things! Who else besides the Father and the Holy Spirit partook in creation? Well, let’s allow the Bible to answer that question:
Joh 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
Col 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
The speaker in Isaiah 48:16 can be none other than the Lord Jesus Christ because it was Jesus that stood alongside the Father and the Holy Ghost in creation and it was Jesus that was sent down from heaven to do the will of the Father that sent Him!
Although I have more than proven my point, I think the most revealing thing about Isaiah 48:16 is the sender and the one sent are BOTH called “Jehovah”. Can you imagine two Jewish Rabbis trying to figure this verse out? Picture this with me: Rabbi Lehi turns to Rabbi Malachi and asks, “How can Jehovah send Jehovah?” Without any knowledge of the Trinity, what’s Rabbi Malachi going to say other than, “I do not know my brother; let us move on to some other more profitable text”?
Saints, the Rabbis believing that God is one person simply had no way of explaining why Jehovah was said to have sent Jehovah! It was quite a mystery for them and anti-Trinitarians can do no better than the Jews in explaining how the sender and the one sent are both called Jehovah! This isn’t a problem for us Trinitarians, though. We know that Jehovah Father and Jehovah Holy Spirit sent Jehovah Jesus!
Jesus being sent by the Father was pre-ordained before the foundation of the world (Re 13:8). The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost voluntarily and freely chose what role they would take in bringing about the redemption of lost humanity; this is called the Eternal Covenant of Redemption.
There Are Three That Bear Witness (The Johannine Comma)
1Jo 5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
This is one of the most despised verses in the entire Bible. Most of today’s newer versions have omitted it completely or (at the very least) changed its meaning. Some critics will audaciously, and erroneously, claim that the Catholic church added this verse in the 15th or 16th century because the Bible lacked evidence supporting the doctrine of the Trinity! The truth is, 1 John 5:7, or the Johannine Comma as it’s commonly referred to, is present in a fourth-century Latin treatise entitled “Liber apologeticus”. In fact, Edward Hill, author of the book “The King James Version Defended” said:
“The first undisputed citations of the Johannine comma occur in the writing of two 4th-century Spanish bishops… In the 5th century the Johannine comma was quoted by several orthodox African writers to defend the doctrine of the Trinity against the gainsaying of the Vandals, who…were fanatically attached to the Arian heresy.” “Evidence for the early existence of the Johannine comma is found in the Latin versions and in the writings of the Latin Church Fathers.” Among these is Cyprian (ca. 250) and Cassiodorus (ca. 480–570), as well as an Old Latin manuscript of the 5th or 6th century, and in the Speculum, a treatise which contains an Old Latin text. It is also found in the great mass of the later Vulgate manuscripts and in the Clementine edition of the Vulgate.” (pgs 209-210).
As you can see, there are plenty of manuscripts containing the Johannine Comma and ample reasons why it belongs in God’s holy Word!
Most of the Oneness people I’ve come in contact with hate this verse and wish it were not in the Bible! I know that’s absurd, but honestly ... do you really blame them? I mean, 1 John 5:7 is enough all by itself to establish the doctrine of the Trinity which, consequently, destroys their entire diabolical system of Theology! Think about it! This verse shows a clear distinction between the three persons of the Godhead, and reveals the composite unity that exists between them as persons! This is a Oneness person’s nightmare! David Bernard, in his book The Oneness of God (pgs. 141-142), spent half a page degrading it, yet turned right around and said he believes God has protected and preserved His Word. It is obviously a sore spot even for the Jesus Only movement’s “champion” apologist.
John says that “there are THREE that bear record in heaven ... and these three are ONE”. The phrase “bear record” means to be a witness or to testify. It is a legal term which deals with a particular courtroom procedure. What John is telling us is plain, there are three persons that sit upon the witness stand of heaven and testify! 1 John 5:7 could have been translated: “There are three that testify in heaven...,” and it would have done the text no harm!
Marvin Hicks’ explanation of 1 John 5:7 was that the Father, Word, and Holy Ghost are nothing more than three manifestations of God. This would mean that God is still displaying Himself as three manifestations even in heaven. I am sorry, but I don’t believe the three witnesses spoken of in this passage are merely manifestations! If that were true, we could never know God for who He really is. We would never see anything other than a mask that God was hiding behind. I think the only logical explanation for this passage is that there are three distinct persons who testify and bear witness on our behalf, just like the doctrine of the Trinity teaches.
Even though this passage is as plain as it is, if you asked a Jesus Only adherent how many persons are being referred to, they’ll still say one! Do you understand the implications of this? I want you to imagine this scenario with me. Let’s say that you are being accused of a crime and you are asked to take a seat on the witness stand and testify on your own behalf. After a period of examination the lawyer asks you point blank, “Did you do it?” to which you reply, “No, I did not!”
The lawyer then asks you, “Do you have any witnesses to confirm this?” You assert, “Yes, sir! I have two and both have agreed to testify for me!”
You then get up from the witness stand and go back to your seat. You sit there for about thirty seconds and then get up and go back to the witness stand again and say, “Alright, my next witness is here!” Saints, no sensible person would take you seriously; you’d be laughed out of the court room! And as ridiculous as this proposition is, it is exactly what the Oneness people want you and I to believe about 1 John 5:7!
I think the thing that really cripples the Oneness position in regards to 1 John 5:7 is it doesn’t stand alone in its subject matter! It’s just one of many verses that speak of either the Father, the Son, or the Holy Ghost as being distinct witnesses. For example:
Re 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness...
Joh 8:18 I am one that BEAR WITNESS of myself, and THE FATHER that sent me BEARETH WITNESS of me. (emphasis added)
Here, the Father and Jesus are said to be witnesses. It just so happens that the word witness in this verse is translated from the same exact Greek word that was translated record in 1 John 5:7, therefore, it too means to be a witness or to testify.
Let’s look at two verses showing the Holy Ghost to be a witness in heaven:
Heb 10:15 Whereof THE HOLY GHOST also IS A WITNESS to us: (emphasis added)
1Jo 5:6 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. (emphasis added)
The Law Of Testimony
This all makes perfect sense when you take into consideration the law of testimony:
De 17:6 At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.
De 19:15 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.
Not only was this law valid in the Old Testament, we can also find it prevalent in the gospels:
Mt 18:16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
Not only was this law valid in the gospels, we can find it prevalent in the epistles:
2Co 13:1 This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.
In every dispensation, God has said “out of the mouths of two or three witnesses let every word be established”! Did Jesus abide by this law? Let’s look and see:
Joh 8:16 And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.
17 It is also written in your law, that the testimony of TWO men is true.
18 I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me. (emphasis added)
Please take notice of the word two in John 8:17. Jesus said that it is written in the law “the testimony of TWO men is true”. How many men? TWO men! Jesus said that He was one and His Father was one which equals ... TWO! This is important because, if you noticed, Deuteronomy 17:6 and 19:5 plainly state that the testimony of one man is not valid. Now, I’m not saying that Jesus needed anyone to agree with Him in order to establish what He said to be true, but He voluntarily submitted to and held Himself accountable to the law of testimony.
With that truth established, let me say this: If Jesus and the Father were the same exact person, this would have been a wickedly deceitful thing for Jesus to have done! No one in their right mind would have thought Jesus to be referring to Himself as two separate witnesses! I can’t even fathom Jesus invoking the law of testimony all the while knowing a second witness didn’t exist! If the Father and Son are the same person Jesus is a liar! Dear listeners, the above passages plainly show that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three distinct witnesses!
Let’s look at another passage that demonstrates this truth:
Joh 5:31 If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.
32 There is ANOTHER that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. (emphasis added)
The statement “there is another” emphatically proves that Jesus is not the Father! Here, the Greek word for another is allos (al'-los) which means “different”! Jesus said, “There is a different person that bears witness of me”. Things that are different are not the same!
The sad thing is the Oneness people will try and throw the old “human nature/divine nature” cure all at you! Saints, the two witnesses Jesus mentioned in John 5:31-32 are no more the two natures of Jesus Christ than the two witnesses in Revelation 11:3 are!
This “two natures” argument presents the Oneness people with the greater problem of having to explain how mere natures can possess intellect and reasoning powers, yet not be persons. Jesus said, “the testimony of two MEN is true”, not “the testimony of two natures is true”! This ought to be enough to overthrow the Oneness church’s entire system of Christology! This is irrefutable evidence that the Father and Jesus are distinct persons! The Oneness people need to either confess that the Father and Jesus are two distinct persons, or confess that natures are in fact persons and their Jesus is indeed a schizophrenic!
All the Oneness people can really say about 1 John 5:7 is it isn’t inspired, or claim the Father, Word, and Holy Ghost are three manifestations, or simply ignore the verse altogether! Where a Trinitarian doesn’t have to even bat an eye when reading 1 John 5:7, a Oneness man or woman will have to spend the rest of their life trying to explain why it doesn’t mean what it actually does mean! You know a doctrine is suspect when you have to rip pages out of the Bible to maintain it! So as you can see, the Bible is very clear about all three persons of the Trinity being witnesses in heaven and about them being witnesses of heavenly things here on the earth.
Christ the Mediator
1Ti 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
I have never met a Jesus Only adherent (pastor or laity) that could LOGICALLY explain this verse to me. And honestly ... how can they? The word mediator means a go-between, a reconciler, or middle-man. Two or more parties are necessary for a mediator to do the particular job of mediation. Jesus Christ is our mediator, our middle man. He stands BETWEEN the Father and men reconciling us to each other! Dear listeners, Christ is not standing between HIMSELF and men mediating for us reconciling us back to Himself! That is an impossible and totally absurd argument!
Let us look at Christ the mediator:
Joh 17:9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.
Who was Jesus referring to in this prayer when He used the second-person singular pronouns “thou” and “thine”? Was He referring to Himself despite having previously used the first-person singular pronouns “I” and “me” to describe Himself? Are Oneness adherents telling us that Christ is praying to Himself for us, and telling Himself that He has given us to Himself because we are His?
This is certainly not Christ giving us an example of how to pray. He did not have to resort to that type of madness; He simply told His disciples how to pray (Mt 6:9-13, Lk 11:1-4)! Rest assured, these verses mean exactly what they appear to say. Christ is positioned between us and the Father mediating and praying for us!
Let’s look at another passage that deals with this same subject:
1Jo 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an ADVOCATE with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: (emphasis added)
The word advocate is translated from the Greek word parakletos (par-ak'-lay-tos) which means “an intercessor”. An intercessor is one that intervenes on the behalf of another! Jesus is our advocate; He is our intercessor. But if the Father and Jesus are the same person, in what sense can this be true? I can tell you right now, there’s no way in this world I’m going to believe this verse is teaching that the human nature of Jesus is mediating between us and the divine nature of Jesus (the Father)! And even if that were true, it would still contradict the Oneness position, because it means there are two distinct persons represented in heaven!
New Testament Dialogue Between Members of the Godhead
I have always been amazed at how Oneness adherents can read over a conversation that took place between the Father and Son, yet still claim they are the very same person. Some are so arrogant they will actually taunt us, challenging us to submit a passage of Scripture that explicitly states that the Father and Son are two distinct persons. I don’t think we should have to. Jesus didn’t explicitly state that Peter, James, and John were three distinct men when entering the Garden of Gethsemane. Why? Could it be that God gave us the ability to come to certain conclusions on our own? Common sense should teach a person that where intelligent dialogue exists at least two persons are present. Common sense should tell a person that when Jesus prayed, He wasn’t praying to Himself.
Let’s look at an Old Testament passage showing dialogue between the Father and Son.
Ps 110:1 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
How many persons do you think are being referred to here? Common sense should tell you that two persons are being spoken of, but the Oneness doctrine teaches there is only one! The only logical explanation for the statement, “The LORD said unto my Lord,” is God the Father was speaking to God the Son.
Here is one more verse displaying dialogue between the Father and Son:
Joh 12:28 Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.
Let us pray that they will allow the Word of God to speak for itself instead of twisting every passage in the Bible to fit the “supposed” revelation that Jesus is in fact the Father.
The Omission of the Holy Ghost In the New Testament Salutations.
Oneness people often ask Trinitarians why the Holy Spirit is not mentioned in the salutations of the epistles. They say this omission of the Holy Ghost is proof He is not the third person of the Godhead. Let’s look at a few examples of New Testament salutations and discuss whether their assumption is true.
Ro 1:7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1Co 1:3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
2Co 1:2 Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Here is a list of several other salutations: Ga 1:3, Eph 1:2, Php 1:2, Col 1:2, 1Th 1:1, 2Th 1:2, 1Ti 1:2, 2Ti 1:2, Tit 1:2, Phm 1:3, Jas 1:2, 2Pe 1:2, and 2Joh 3.
There are huge, gaping holes in this argument. First of all, though it’s true the Holy Ghost isn’t mentioned in the above salutations, it proves nothing. This type of argument is called “an argument from silence” which any credible apologist will tell you is an invalid form of argumentation. If I told you my wife and I were coming to your house (without mentioning my children), it would not mean I don’t have children. I may have decided not to mention them, but omission certainly doesn’t constitute a denial.
Secondly, if we are to assume the Holy Ghost doesn’t exist because He is absent from these salutations, we must also conclude that the Son does not exist because (in other places) the Father is sometimes mentioned without any reference to the Son (Ro 8:15).
Next, this argument from silence actually stands in opposition to Oneness Theology. If the absence of the Holy Ghost in the salutations means He is not the third person of the Godhead, we can logically conclude the presence of the Father AND Jesus establishes that they ARE two distinct persons; any evidence of plurality severely weakens the Oneness position!
Just look at the manner in which the word and is used in at least sixteen of the above mentioned salutations. For example: “Grace to you AND peace from God our Father, AND the Lord Jesus Christ.” According to Webster’s Dictionary (Random House, 3rd edition) the word and means “in addition to”. The use of the word and in each of these salutations reveals that two distinct persons are joined together even as two, and sometimes three, distinct blessings (grace, peace, mercy) are joined together.
Oneness people reject this fact saying the article and actually means “even”. For example: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father, EVEN the Lord Jesus Christ.” They say the article and actually proves that the Father and Jesus are the very same person.
So you may ask: How do you determine what the word and means in a particular verse? Nearly all scholars will agree that it is determined by the context of the verse. Let me illustrate:
1Co 1:3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Oneness adherents will say this passage should read: “from God our Father, EVEN the Lord Jesus Christ.” But let’s look at verse 2 (the preceding verse) and verse 4 (the following verse) and see what we find.
1Co 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
1Co 1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;
A distinction between the Father and Son is very plain in these two verses. Why would Paul place some cryptic reference to Christ being the Father in the middle of them? Do you think the Corinthian Christians understood Paul to be doing this? Did any of you when you first read the New Testament? Of course not! This type of argument shows the desperation of these Oneness adherents!
This idea is also debunked by several of the salutations themselves. For example:
2Jo 1:3 Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, AND from the Lord Jesus Christ, the SON OF THE FATHER, in truth and love. (emphasis added)
2Co 1:3 Blessed be God, even the FATHER OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; (emphasis added)
Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and FATHER OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (emphasis added)
Col 1:3 We give thanks to God and the FATHER OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, praying always for you, (emphasis added)
In these verses, the words “Son of” and “Father of” destroy the Oneness proposition. The word of means “belonging to” or “coming from”. So, Jesus is the Son that “belongs to” the Father, and God is the Father that “belongs” to the Son.
Secondly, I want you to notice that Paul didn’t call Jesus “the Father” of the Son, he called Him “the son” of the Father. This alone establishes plurality in these salutations and reaffirms that the meaning of the word and means “in addition to”.
I would like to ask the Oneness people a few questions: (1) What purpose do these salutations serve if Jesus and the Father are the same person? (2) Why is Paul still calling God the “father of the Lord Jesus Christ”? (3) Why does Paul refer to both “God the Father” and “Lord Jesus Christ” in the same verse? In the New Testament, the description “Lord”, or “Kurios” is equivalent to the Old Testament “Jehovah” and is primarily reserved for deity! In all four of the above verses (2Jo 1:3, 2Co 1:3, Eph 1:3, Col 1:3) the Father and Jesus are both called “God”! Considering the Oneness people say the Father is the divine nature of Jesus and Jesus (the Son) is the human nature of Jesus; why would Paul call the humanity of Jesus “Lord”? Dear listeners, no one in all of Christendom (outside of the Oneness people) have ever understood these passages to mean Jesus Christ is God the Father!
The fourth question I would like to ask is: If the article and is proof the Father and Jesus are the same person, shouldn’t that mean grace, mercy, and peace are also the same thing considering they are also joined together by the word and (1Ti 1:2, 2Ti 1:2, Tit 1:4)?
The last point I want to convey to you about these salutations is the most damaging to the Oneness position. If the absence of the Holy Ghost in the above mentioned salutations means He is not a person, His mention in other salutations should logically mean He is a person. Let’s look at a few places He is mentioned:
1Pe 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the SPIRIT, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. (emphasis added)
Eph 2:18 For through him [Jesus] we both have access by one SPIRIT unto the Father. (emphasis added)
We also find Him mentioned in Paul’s benediction to the Corinthians in:
2Co 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the HOLY GHOST, be with you all. Amen. (emphasis added)
And what about Matthew 28:19?
Mt 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the HOLY GHOST: (emphasis added)
These are just a few of the many instances that the Holy Ghost is mentioned. The facts of it are, the Holy Ghost is mentioned in every epistle in which He is omitted from the salutation or benediction! Do you think the Oneness people will still hold to their own devices when they are used against them?
Someone may be wondering why the Holy Ghost isn’t mentioned any more than He is. Here’s the answer:
Joh 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, HE SHALL TESTIFY OF ME: (emphasis added)
Joh 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for HE SHALL NOT SPEAK OF HIMSELF; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
14 HE SHALL GLORIFY ME: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. (emphasis added)
The Bible was written as the Holy Ghost moved upon holy men of God (2Pe 1:21). The Bible says He has come to testify of and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ! He doesn’t speak of Himself! With that in mind, it only makes sense that He would be spoken of less that the Father and Son. You can think of the Holy Ghost as the friend that is always taking pictures of everyone around Him. Just because He isn’t in the picture doesn’t mean He is not there! The Holy Ghost’s primary duty is to take pictures of the Lord Jesus Christ and then show them to the world!
Jesus and the Holy Ghost - Two Distinct Persons
Joh 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you ANOTHER Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; (emphasis added)
It doesn’t take a doctorate in Theology to see there are three distinct persons represented in this verse. First, we have the speaker: the Lord Jesus. Secondly, we have the Father to whom Jesus is praying. Thirdly, we have the Holy Ghost whom Jesus is asking the Father to send to us! Please, study this verse carefully. If the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are indeed the same person, this verse is useless! What purpose could it possibly serve?
I also want you to notice that Jesus prayed that the Father would send us ANOTHER Comforter! The word another means different or more! So, Jesus was praying that the Father would send us a comforter different than, and in addition to, Himself. Please note that Jesus did not say the Comforter would be another mode or manifestation of Himself! This Comforter would be a different Comforter, another Comforter! Don’t forget: Things that are different are not the same!
The Holy Ghost Is Not the Father of Jesus
Let us look at one of the Oneness people’s shiftiest arguments. It is drawn from two verses found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
Mt 1:20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: FOR THAT WHICH IS CONCEIVED IN HER IS OF THE HOLY GHOST. (emphasis added)
Lu 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, THE HOLY GHOST SHALL COME UPON THEE, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. (emphasis added)
Please, take note that Matthew and Luke said Jesus was conceived of the Holy Ghost after He had overshadowed Mary.
Oneness adherents try to confuse Trinitarians by asking them who the father of Jesus was. Bishop S. C. Johnson asked:
If God and the Holy Ghost are two separate persons, which one is the Father of Jesus? For the Scripture say, God is His Father and the Scripture say the Holy Ghost is His Father. Did He have two Fathers? (Jehovah God of the Old Testament Is Jesus Christ of the New Testament).
David Bernard asked:
Did Jesus have two fathers? The Father is the father of the Son (1 John 1:3), yet the child born of Mary was conceived by the Holy Ghost (Matthew 1:18-20, Luke 1:35). Which one is the true father? or is the Holy Spirit Jesus’ father (Luke 1:35)? (Oneness of God, pgs. 290-293).
Although this question is utter nonsense, it can be very tricky for a person who has never heard it. S. C. Johnson and David Bernard are using sleight of hand. First of all, the Bible NEVER attributes the fatherhood of Jesus to the Holy Ghost; yet God the Father is referred to as the father of Jesus over two-hundred times! Secondly, the conception of Jesus Christ is not to be compared to that of a human being. In a very real sense, the word conceived in Matthew 1:20 is used anthropomorphically. I say this because there were no sexual relations between God and Mary. Jesus was not conceived in the same manner as you and I were–He was born of the seed of woman–His birth was supernatural. It was a miraculous occurrence where the Son of God moved into the human realm, via the womb of the virgin Mary. The incarnation was not the eternal Son of God’s genesis–He existed throughout eternity (Pr 30:4, Isa 9:6, Da 3:25)–He was begotten, not made or created. The Holy Ghost was not the Father of Jesus. He was simply the agent God the Father used to bring about the incarnation. This was a matter is the economical Trinity operating in their respective offices.
Let’s read a few more triadic verses:
Ro 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of GOD is shed abroad in our hearts by the HOLY GHOST which is given unto us.
6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time CHRIST died for the ungodly. (emphasis added)
Ro 15:30 Now I beseech you, brethren, for the LORD JESUS CHRIST'S sake, and for the LOVE OF THE SPIRIT, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to GOD for me; (emphasis added)
1Co 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same SPIRIT.
5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same LORD.
6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same GOD which worketh all in all. (emphasis added)
2Co 13:14 The GRACE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, and the LOVE OF GOD, and the COMMUNION OF THE HOLY GHOST, be with you all. Amen. (emphasis added)
Eph 4:4 There is ... one SPIRIT ...
5 One LORD, ...
6 One GOD and Father of all, ... (emphasis added)
For further study of triadic passages, refer to: Ro 14:17-18, 15:16,1Co 2:2-5, 6:11, 2Co 1:21-22, Eph 2:18, 3:14-19, 5:18-20, Php 3:3, Col 1:6-8, 1Th 1:3, 5:18-19 2Th 2:13-14, Tit 3:4-6, Heb 2:3-4, 9:14, 1Pe 1:2, 3:18, 1Jo 3:21-24, 1Jo 5:7, Jude 20-21, Re 1:4-6, and many more.
These are just a few of the many instances that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are mentioned together! If God isn’t a trinity of persons, none of these verses make sense! But thank God He is and they do!
Copyright 2009 by David Lamb