God of the Jews and the God of the Christians
After God’s confusion of the languages of men for their disobedience in building the tower of Babel, the human race abandoned the true God and became idolaters. But some 610 years after the confusion of languages God called back Abraham the Semite, with whom He made a covenant by virtue of which Abraham was obliged to obey God in all respects and on all accounts, while God promised him that He would make him “a great nation” and “a father of many nations” (Gen. 12:2; 17:4, 5). “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed,” God told him (Gen. 22:18). God meant that from Abraham’s seed was destined to be born. the Messiah through whom nil the nations of the earth were to be blessed as a result of their faith in Him and their obedience to Him.
Subsequently God blessed Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, and made their seed a great nation, in accordance with the promise He had given to Abraham the patriarch. Through Moses the prophet and lawgiver God gave the Jews the Decalogue, or Ten Commandments, as well as the rest of the legislation contained in the Pentateuch. For, after hearing God’s voice coming out of the burning, smoky Mount Horeb and the sound of the trumpets, they became afraid and said to Moses, “Speak thou concerning us to God, and we will hear thee; but let not God speak to us, lest we die” (Exod. 20: 19). This wish of theirs was pleasing to God and He appointed Moses: to be un intercessor between Goel and the people. In a word, the Jews came to know and believe the true God as unipersonal. But we Christians have come to know and believe the true God (whom the Jews were the first to know and believe) through His Son incarnate, the Messiah, as one God in respect of essence and nature but as three persons in respect of substances, namely, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, or Mind, Logos, and Spirit, constituting a co-essential (homoousian) and inseparable trinity. In the Old Testament the one God subsisting in three persons is referred to in many verses, some of which we cite hereinbelow for the purpose of affording enlightenment and conviction to those wishing to learn and study the truth from the sources of Israel.
The Holy Trinity Proved by the Old Testament
The Greek name for God, Theos (whence theology, etc.) is derived from the Greek verb theomai, meaning to behold, since God beholds all things and beheld everything before it was even created, although in His power He is a consuming fire.
1. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth“ (Gen.1:1). In the Hebrew original of this verse God is not called “Elohah” which, being in the singular, would correspond to the Greek word Theos by which it was translated – but “Elohim,” which means “Gods,” being the plural form of the word.
2. “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good” (Gen. 1:3-4). God, of course, could see even before the creation of light, notwithstanding that the Bible says, “And God said . . . And God saw . . . that it was good.” But whom did He see, and to whom did He say this, and for whom did He see that the light was good? Certainly, He could not have been talking to Himself, which would have been absurd, to say the least. For later He said, “at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established” (Deut. 19: 15). Hence it is to be inferred that He spoke to others when He said that it was good, and it may also be inferred that they were His peers, i.e., persons of equal rank, and not subordinate creatures; for the Creator could not have been addressing or consulting His creatures with regard to the creation of His works. For He said through the prophet: “Who hath learned the mind of the Lord, and who hath been his counsellor? who will conciliate him?” (Is. 40:13).
3. “And God said, Let us make man in our image and after our likeness” (Gen. 1:26). The expression “Let us make” is in the first-person plural and has reference to three co-essential (homoousian) persons conferring and saying, “Let us make a man like ourselves.” The expression “a man in the image and after the likeness of God” has reference to the Messiah to be born in the future. With reference to Adam the Bible says:
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them . . . And the evening and the morning were the sixth day” (Gen. 1: 27-31).
4. “And the Lord God said, Behold, Adam is become as one of us, to know good and evil” (Gen. 3:22). The use of a personal pronoun of the first person in the plural number in “one of us” amounts to a confirmation of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.
5. “Come, let us go down, and there confound their language” (Gen. 11: 7). The expression “let us go down and confound” implies persons of equal rank and of the same essence (homoousian) and has reference to the Holy Trinity.
6. “And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre as he sat in his tent door at noon. And he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself to the ground, and said, My Lord, if now I have found favor in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant. Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree . . . And they said, So do, as thou hast said . . . And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat” (Gen. 18: 1-8). Thereupon the three men got up from Abraham’s table, looked down at the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and set out in that direction. Abraham went along with them to see them off on their journey. The Lord who had revealed Himself in three persons to Abraham., told him:
“I shall not hide from my servant Abraham what I do. Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him . . . the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah hath been multiplied unto me, and their sins are great exceedingly. I will go down, therefore, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it which is come unto me; and if not, I will know” (Gen. 18: 17-21).
And Abraham began a conversation with the Lord concerning Sodom and Lot.
“And the Lord went his way as soon as he had left off conversing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place” (Gen. 18:33).
“And there came two angels to Sodom at eve; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom; and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them” (Gen. 19:1).
Lot took the angels into his house and made them his guests. In departing, God’s angels told Lot to take his wife and daughters and other relatives and go out of that place.
“For we will destroy this place, because their cry is waxen great before the face of the Lord; and the Lord hath sent us to erase it” (Gen. 19: 13).
Abraham was the founder of the God-formed society, or, so to speak, its father, and was its first member or citizen. Moreover, Abraham became the father of many nations which became justified through faith, as did their father Abraham. The Jews, however, though descended from Abraham in the flesh, are not his children, because they disregarded and broke their father’s covenant. The Christians are Abraham’s children, because they are justified by faith, like Abraham, and keep the ways of the Lord. But any Christians who disregard and infringe the terms of the covenant of their father Abraham, forfeit their membership in the divine society and lose every right of inheritance, or, in other words, they are shut out from the kingdom of heaven.
The patriarch Abraham, out of consideration for his unshakable faith in and obedience to God, was allowed to make the Holy Trinity his guests in the form of three angels, and to converse with God. God prefers to be welcomed as a guest into the tents of righteous and humble 1nen, such as Abraham, rather than into the palaces of kings and magnates.
“Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye built unto me? and where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath my hand made, and all those things are mine, saith the Lord: and on whom shall I look but on him that is humble and quiet and trembleth at my words?” (Isa. 66: 1-2).
Accordingly, to Abraham the Holy Trinity Itself revealed Itself in the shape of three men, and one Lord spoke and addressed Abraham, whereas to Lot God sent two angels to execute His command.
7. Now, an oral word is not sent forth, nor does it remain forever. Likewise, a spirit that is sent forth and creates and builds and sustains is not a breath of air which is soon dissipated, any more than God’s mouth is a corporeal member similar to man’s. Both of them are to be taken in a hypostatic sense.
“By the Logos of the Lord were the heavens made; and by the spirit of his mouth all the host of them” (Ps. 32:6).
“Forever, O Lord, thy Logos remaineth in heaven” (Ps. 118:89).
“He sent his Logos, and healed them” (Ps. 107:20).
“Thou wilt send forth thy spirit, and they shall be built.” (Ps. 104:30).
“The spirit of God hath created me, and the breath of the Almighty sustaineth me” (Job 33:4).
Thus, the Father is God, the Logos (Son) is timelessly born of the Father and is God, and the Holy Spirit timelessly proceeding from the Father is God; yet there are not three different Gods, but a Unit as respects God’s essence and nature, and a Trinity as respects God’s persons and substances (or hypostases, as they are termed in theology).
8. Also in the verses of the Old Testament quoted below, the Holy Trinity is distinguishable.
“It is the God of Gods who is the Lord; and it is the God of Gods, the Lord himself, who knows” (Joshua 22: 22).
“And one cried unto another and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of the hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isa. 6: 3).
“And now the Lord, the Lord hath sent me and his spirit” (Isa. 48: 16).
It is plain, therefore, that the Old Testament itself condemns them who deny the Holy Trinity.
Hence the Jews can have no excuse whatever with regard to the Holy Trinity for disbelieving in It and persisting in their belief in a unipersonal God (monotheism) – a barren and fruitless God neither begetting a son nor emanating a spirit, and they are equally excuseless for combating the Holy Spirit with all their power ever since the day on which it manifested Itself both in the river Jordan (Matt. 3:16) and on the mountain on which took place the transfiguration (Luke 9:16). Moreover, it is important to note: that all other monotheists, such as Mohammedans, Masons, and the pseudo-scientific deists, derive from the monotheistic Jews, who openly and secretly combat the divinity of both Jesus Christ and the Holy Trinity. It is hard for them to kick against goads, however.
Behold, O Jews and Judaizing Gentiles, the book of Genesis is the first witness for the Holy Trinity (as appears from the above-quoted passages). Lo, the holy prophets have prophesied in detail concerning the Holy Trinity such facts as those of the conception, birth, career, crucifixion, burial, resurrection, and assumption (ascension) of Jesus Christ, and those of His establishing the Christian Church, the persecution and war against it, and its ultimate triumph, which will soon be realized by its taking possession of the kingdom of its Founder and keeping possession thereof forever thereafter. (Dan. 2:44, 7:18).