THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY

 

THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

The following brief discussion of the doctrine of the Trinity is a response to a man who wrote to me, asking why I gave the impression in one of my texts that the Father existed prior to Christ, and brought forth the Word, the Expression of Himself, according to His own will. Tim was asking about the doctrine of the Trinity, about the relationship of the Lord Jesus Christ to the Father. I may have mentioned in that booklet that when John says Christ was in the beginning, it does not signify that God has a beginning. It means, rather, that in the beginning of the creation—the same expression found at the opening of the Book of Genesis.

The Doctrine of the Trinity

You heard me say, "I am going away and I am coming back to you." If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. (John 14:28)

"For the Father is greater than I." Yes, or no?

Tim, you have asked me about the doctrine of the Trinity, and about how I view the relationship of Jesus Christ to the Father.

I conceive of one God. "Hear O Israel, the Lord your God is one Lord." This is the Shema of Israel

God is the Person whom the Lord Jesus refers to as Father.

I want to say some things about the doctrine of the Trinity, First let me issue a disclaimer. The Lord Jesus Christ has been exalted by the Father to a position as high as possible, so that all of Heaven and earth is subject to Him. So nothing I will proceed to say in any manner detracts from the majesty or authority of Christ. Christ is Lord of the Church, which is His Body, and has authority over all mankind.

I have been a fervent disciple for sixty-one years. As I have studied the Scriptures, and have walked with Christ, I have come to the conclusion that the doctrine of the Trinity, while it seeks to exalt Christ, a praiseworthy endeavor, is actually working against what Christ desires, which is to have brothers with whom He can have fellowship; a bride who is an integral part of Himself; and a Body through which He can reveal Himself, and the Father revealed through Christ through the saints.

We have" booted Christ upstairs", so to speak, by viewing Him as equal to the Father. We have made Him part of an incomprehensible Godhead and no longer available to us as an elder brother, except in some mysterious, religious sense.

As we are moving past the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Pentecost to the last three observances, culminating in the feast of Tabernacles, we become increasingly conscious of the desire of Christ to dwell in us. Such indwelling makes us aware of the distinction between the Father and the Son. We begin to understand the Godhead experimentally, rather than from a study of theology. This subject is emphasized in the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John, verses 1-23.

The climax comes in the seventeenth chapter of John. There is no more holy ground in the Bible, except for the passages that deal with Christ’s atoning death.

Here we find (In John, Seventeen) that we are being made, through Christ, an integral part of the Godhead, and that God loves us as He loves His Son.

In Isaiah Jesus is referred to as the "everlasting Father, the Prince of peace." This does not mean He is the Father. The word "Father" in this setting merely means one who has been appointed as head. At least, this is how it was explained to me.

As I see it, the Lord Jesus is the Ancient of Days. Jesus is JHVH, the becoming One. But He is not the Father. There are no days with the Father. He always has been, always is, and always shall be.

God always is.

The Word proceeded from the Father. Jesus was begotten of God, not created. All things were created by God acting through the Word, His Expression. God is inconceivable to our minds. We can conceive of God by thinking of the Word, or of Messiah, or of Jesus. But Jesus is not God the Father. Rather, He is the offspring of God the Father. God the Father appointed Jesus both Lord and Christ. The fullness of the Father dwells in Jesus. But Jesus is not the Father Himself.

Because the Word stood true during the heavenly rebellion, God has placed Him on the highest of all thrones.

God made the Word, Man. The Word became flesh. Then the Word, Jesus, had to overcome the world. Because He overcame the world He is seated on the highest of all thrones. If we overcome the world we will sit with Him on His throne.

The Lord Jesus, the Word, the Anointed One, always obeys the Father—even to the point of the death of His soul. He drank the cup.

We have been called to be one with Christ as He is One with the Father. But we are neither Christ nor the Father. Yet we stand in relation to the Son as He stands in relation to the Father.

All the fullness of God can be seen in Christ. Christ is the chief Cornerstone, the chief Capstone, of the eternal Temple of God. We also are living stones in the same temple.

God enlarged and revealed Himself through Christ. We have been chosen to be an integral part of that same enlargement and revelation. This is the Olive Tree. God has turned away temporarily from Israel after the flesh. When the full number of chosen Gentiles has come to God, then God will turn again to the physical land and people of Israel and they shall be saved. Jerusalem yet shall be the capital of the world, and the Lord Jesus shall govern from the Temple Mount.

There is no power in the heavens, on the earth, or in the dark regions under the earth, that can in any manner prevent the return of Yeshua to Israel as King of all kings and Lord of all lords.

Thus the Shema of Israel remains true and undefiled.

There is but one God. The Lord Jesus came forth from Him. Now we are becoming an integral part of the Lord Jesus, and thus of God through Him, by eating His flesh and drinking His blood.

As we press forward in Christ, He reveals the Father to us. Then we understand that we are in Christ as He is in the Father. This is how we come to understand the Father.

The doctrine of the Trinity, that there are three equal Gods constituting one God, or that there is one Person in three forms, that they all are all equal, that the Father is not greater than the Son, not only is against the Scripture but makes Christ’s teaching that we are to become one with Him rather difficult if not impossible to comprehend. How are we to become a true brother of the Father? Are we the Bride of the Father? Did the Father cry out to Himself in Gethsemane? This is not sensible.

Did not Christ rejoice with His disciples that He was ascending to His God and our God; to His Father and our Father? Tim, can you see how the doctrine of the Trinity makes such a statement some kind of religious mystery that we cannot take at face value but must do theological contortions to explain it away?

Tim, the truth is, Jesus Christ is God’s Son, and we are younger brothers, although not as great in authority—except as He chooses to share His authority with us as coheirs. We have been born of the same Father as He. He is the Firstborn among many brothers.

The Lord Jesus Christ was sent to earth in order to bring us to the Father, not to Himself. We come to Him first because He is the only Way to the Father; the only Truth of the Father; the only Life of the Father. But He is not the Father!

No man knows the Father except the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal Him.

Tim, I want you to give some serious thought to the following facts of Scripture. Remember, I am not in any manner taking away from the Lordship or Divinity of Jesus Christ, only commenting on His relationship to the Father.

As to whether the Father existed before the Word, I cannot really speculate on that. My understanding is that time, as we know it, does not exist in the spirit world. The fact that God always has been is not at all comprehensible to us. Our mind is not so constructed as to grasp eternity or infinity.

One passage that has meant a lot to me, and has helped me to understand that the Father and Jesus Christ are two different Persons, is as follows. It bears a lot of thought:

I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill. I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father {or have begotten you} Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession." (Psalms 2:6-8)

If my understanding is correct, God here is speaking to Christ, just as He does in numerous passages of the Old Testament. This says to me that at a specific point ( today") the Word, through whom God created the heavens and the earth, became the Son of God.

Christ is the Firstborn of the Father, and has been given all authority over the heavens and the earth. He also is the Head of the Church. Through Him, that is by His body and blood, God is bringing forth additional sons, born of the same God. The second chapter of the Book of Hebrews is helpful here.

To whom did Christ pray while in the Garden of Gethsemane, if not to One who is greater than He and whom He obeys?

There is Christ's cry on the cross, which seems to be meaningless if there are three equal gods.

Then there is the fact that the Father gave the Book of Revelation to Christ. This suggests to me that the Father knew the contents of Revelation before Christ did (if we think in terms of physical time).

Jesus said no one but the Father knows the date of His return. This means to me that the Father knows things that Jesus does not. How, then, can there be three equal Gods, apart from some tortured theological explanation?

Jesus stated clearly that the Father is greater than He. But the doctrine of the Trinity claims this is not the truth.

There are verses in the Book of John in which Jesus said He only acted as the Father acted—it was God in Him doing the works. In fact, Jesus said that the witness of two men is true. He is one Witness. The Father is the other Witness.

Hebrews says that Christ learned obedience to the Father by the things He suffered.

The sixth chapter of the Book of John states that if we live by His body and blood we will be related to Him as He is to the Father. This obviously does not mean that we Christians become the same person as Christ, or equal to Him, except in the sense of spiritual union.

Tim, I believe the truth is that God the Father made the Word, "God." Keep in mind that "God" is not a name but a title. This means the Father made Jesus, "God." The Father begat the Word, and then made Him "God."

In the following passage, the Father speaks concerning the Word, or Christ:

The LORD says to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet." The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion; you will rule in the midst of your enemies. Your troops will be willing on your day of battle. Arrayed in holy majesty, from the womb of the dawn you will receive the dew of your youth. The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: "You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek." (Psalms 10:1-4)

Notice that the Father made Christ a priest, a priest of God:

And it was not without an oath! Others became priests without any oath, but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him: "The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: ‘You are a priest forever.’" (Hebrews 7:20,21)

We see that the Father is referred to as "God," and then as "Lord." We see also that God and Christ are separate Persons ("God said to Him").

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 5:7-10)

If you stop to think about it, the passages above do not fit the concept of three Gods, co-equal, co-eternal.

Again,

Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy. (Psalms 45:6,7)

We see, then, that the Father speaks to His Firstborn, as well as to His Church, and sometimes to Satan, in passages in the Old Testament.

Again:

In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. (Hebrews 1:1-4)

Notice how the Majesty in Heaven" is separate from the Son."

It is not that Jesus Christ is the Father, it is that the Father does all things through Him and He reveals the Father in all that He is and does.

The same is be true of us. We will never be the Lord Jesus Christ. But it is the will of the Father and of Christ that Christ shall do all things through us and that we shall reveal Christ in all that we are and do.

As Paul stated, I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless, I live. Yet it is not I who am living but Christ who is living in me. So it is with God and Christ; so it is to be with us.

Tim, I hope the above will help you understand my position concerning the doctrine of the Trinity.