3 in 1? The Mystery of the Trinity
The Mystery of the Trinity
Many are searching for answers to the mystery of the Trinity (God/Jesus/Holy Spirit). Fortunately, we can turn the pages of the Bible to inform us, as “All Scripture is inspired by God” (2 Tim 3:16). We can rely on the truthfulness, integrity and reliability of the Bible to aid us in our quest for knowledge of God. In Scripture we find the '3 in 1' Living God whom we can call upon for our every need.
Though as if through a veil which obscures our vision, we glimpse the triune nature of God in the very first book of the Bible. The first hint that God was more than one was in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God (Elohiym) created the heaven and the earth." The word Elohiym means: 'God' plural. In ancient Hebrew there is no word for two; all counting of multiples begins at three. God introduced Himself to Abraham as 'El Eloyhim' meaning, 'God the (plural) God' (Gen 46:3). Three is a number that is found to have significance in the scripture occurring more than 425 times. King Solomon wrote that a three fold cord is not quickly broken (Ecc 4:12), and a whole Christological Study could be built around this verse alone.
Not until Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead did prophecy begin to come into focus regarding the true nature of a Triune God. Jesus Himself claimed to be part of the Trinity as recorded by the Apostle Matthew, when He said, Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Matt 28:19 -20).
The 1st Member of the Trinity
The first time we hear of God as a 'Father' is in the well-known "Lord's Prayer" which Jesus taught the disciples to pray, beginning with calling God, "Father" (Matt 6:9). Jesus also referenced the 'Father' as the One who sent Him in John 14:24-26.
The 2nd Member of the Trinity
The second Member of the Trinity's birth was prophesied centuries before it happened by the prophet Isaiah who said, For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace" (Is 9:6). Here, unequivocally we see that Jesus was the Israelite's long awaited Messiah.
Jesus identified Himself as God 3 times. In John 8:57,58 we read that Jesus identified Himself as such when speaking to Jewish leaders who challenged Him; they said: You are not yet fifty years old, and You have seen Abraham? Truly, truly, I tell you, Jesus declared, before Abraham was born, 'I am' [emphasis added], (see also: Ex 3:14 - this is the name that God used with Moses to identify Himself). It enraged the Jews that Jesus identified Himself as God, and they picked up stones to kill Him; however, He seemingly vanished in the blink of an eye before they could harm Him; it was not yet His divinely appointed time to die.
In John 18:6 we read that the guards were terrified of Jesus and fell to the ground when He identified Himself as God in the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus identified Himself as God the third time when He was on trial for His life. As He stood before the High Priests and they asked Him if He was the Christ, He replied “I am” [see above].
The Apostles also declared that Jesus was God. When doubting Thomas saw Jesus after His resurrection, he cried: “My Lord, and my God!” (John 20:28); and in a salutation to other believers, the Apostle Peter acknowledged that Jesus was God; he wrote, “Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:1)”. There was no doubt upon reading these words that Peter, an eye-witness to Jesus’ ministry, His death, and His resurrection, and believed that Jesus was God. Later, the prophet John also identified Jesus as God, when he penned the words: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made (1 John 1:1-5).
The Apostle to the Gentiles, Paul, who met Jesus face to face after His resurrection wrote, “Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory” (1 Timothy 3:16). Indeed as Paul stated, it is a mystery that has challenged Biblical scholars down through the ages.
3rd Member of the Trinity
At the inception of His ministry on earth, eye witnesses saw the Holy Spirit descend upon Jesus when He was baptized (Matt 3:16-17). And at the end of His earthly ministry, before Jesus was crucified, He spoke about the third member of the Trinity, "the Comforter, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have told you" (John 14:26).
Jesus described the 'Comforter' (Jn 14:16, Jn 14:26, Jn 15:26, 16:7) who would come to them, as the 'Spirit of Truth' (Jn 15:26) as He was preparing for His death, resurrection and ultimate return to heaven.
Not only did Jesus speak of the Holy Spirit, but also the Apostle Peter (Acts 5:3-4), and the Apostle Paul Ephesians 3:14-19. There are numerous references to the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament as well, and this is a worthwhile endeavor for the reader to track them all down.
So much more could be written of the Trinity, however, you are encouraged to diligently search through scripture too, in order to get to know the Triune God; a loving Father, our Savior His Son, and the Holy Spirit who resides in us today.
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© 2016 Susan Grove