Doctrine of the Trinity
The Godhead, the Trinity, has three distinct male personifications, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, each with distinguishable attributes. The Trinity is a Spirit (John 4:24). The Trinity is eternal; it has always existed and will always exist; it had no beginning and will have no end; it exists outside of time and space, yet it permeates time and space to the sub-atomic level.
The Trinity created all time, space and matter and the observable characteristics of nature by which man can measure the things of Nature. The Trinity is not Nature (Pantheism) yet it is omnipresent and omnipotent throughout the physical and spiritual realms of all that exists. The Godhead inhabits the praises of Israel (Psalm 22:3) and the praises of the saved and transformed, positionally dwelling within the heart of the saved (Ephesians 3:17). The Trinity is the Great “I AM” that spoke to Moses (Exodus 3:14) in Egypt and to the children of men when Jesus walked upon the Earth in the lands of Israel and Judah (John 8:58).
The Trinity is not bound or limited by the “Laws of Nature” and with the Godhead all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). The Trinity has no limitations and is bounded only by their own nature and will. The Trinity is Holy and does not conform to a standard because it is the standard of holiness and infinite being. The Trinity is self-existent, self-sufficient and eternal. It is Sovereign and has absolute rule over the universe. It forms the light and creates darkness, it makes peace and creates evil:
"I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things."
(Isaiah 45:7 KJV)
This verse must be taken in proper context: When Lucifer rebelled in the ancient past (See: Isaiah 14:12-16 & Ezekiel 28:13-17), that was a sin. The very act of rebellion brought forth death from the Trinity into the realm of all that exists outside the Trinity. In that sense, evil was created. By Lucifer's rebellion, and by the rebellion of the Angels that followed him, they became evil spirits. Those spirits still exist within the sphere of all things created by the Trinity. Later, when Adam fell, he too became an evil being (as did all mankind) because he sinned against God and all that is holy within the Trinity. All things, living and dead, good and evil, seen and unseen, function within the boundaries of all 'existence' that was brought forth by the Trinity. God Himself is light, and there is no darkness in Him (1 John 1:5). God is not evil, nor does He tempt man with evil (James 1:13), but there is evil within the sphere of 'existence' that was brought forth by the Trinity and God will use that evil in our world for His Divine purposes (See: 1 Samuel 16:16, 1 Kings 9:9, Job 1:8-12 & 3:2-7, 1 Corinthians 5:5, 1 Timothy 1:20). The Trinity cannot lie, yet it permissibly will allow deception in the affairs of men (See: 1 Kings 22:22, 2 Chronicles 18:21& 2 Thessalonians 2:11) and it can impose evil on mankind as temporal punishment, example or for control, but in all cases it is for the Godhead’s ultimate glory and purpose (John 9:2-3, Ezekiel 9:8, Job 2:4-7 & 2 Corinthians 12:7). The Trinity is faithful to Itself and to the entire creation. The Godhead cannot change its character, nor will it fail to fulfill a promise (Genesis 17:6-9, 1 Kings 8:25, Romans 11:25-29). The Trinity is faithful in times of tribulation, in the chastening of it's children, in forgiving of our sins, in its answers to our prayers and its promise to keep the saved eternally secure.
We will now differentiate the three (3) persons of God who compose the Holy Trinity:
The Doctrine of the Father
The Father is the preeminent member of the Godhead (1 Corinthians 15:24-28). His Holy Name, JEHOVAH is declared in English only four times in the King James Bible (Exodus 6:3; Psalms 83:18; Isaiah 12:2; Isaiah 26:4). This proper name of God the Father was not even revealed to Abraham, Isaac or Jacob. And although God initially identified Himself to Moses at the burning bush as the Great “I AM that I AM” (Exodus 3:14), He later identified Himself by His proper name to Moses:
"And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD: And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them."
(Exodus 6:2-3 KJV)
The Hebrew Old Testament is replete with references to the word יְהֹוָה Yᵉhôvâh, yeh-ho-vaw' throughout the Messianic Text, even though the King James Version gives the proper name, JEHOVAH in only those four cited instances. Modern-day scholars claim the ‘Tetragrammaton’ “YHWH” of the Hebrew Scriptures should be written as the name “Yahweh” and vocalized as ‘Yah-way’, and this is widely peddled into Sunday School subscription booklets used by many of our Churches today. The fact is, the true vocalization of the Holy name is unpronounceable by the fleshly human tongue, but the KJV’s rendering of “JEHOVAH” is the more accurate proper identification, IMHO.
The Father has all the attributes of the Godhead, (i.e. He is a Spirit, is omnipotent, omniscient, holy, and loving), but He has one unique attribute: He is the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 4:4). The ‘Holy Child’ Jesus (Acts 4:27 & 4:30), the only begotten Son of the Father, who was brought forth in human flesh by a unique operation requiring the participation of all three members of the Trinity:
"Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost."
(Matthew 1:18 KJV)
Specifically, God the Father supplied the Holy Blood (Acts 20:28), through which God the Son took upon Himself human flesh through the woman (who was of the fleshly lineage of David), and it was an operation of conception performed through the Holy Ghost without a physical act of copulation. Not only is He the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, but He is also the Father of all born-again Believers who are "in" Christ.
The Doctrine of the Son
The Son is the second member of the Trinity. He eternally exists with the Father and the Holy Spirit. The Son created all things (Ephesians 3:9 & Genesis 1:1). He spoke the universe into existence, the heaven and Earth and all that is therein. He made the Earth to be inhabited (Isaiah 45:18) and gave life to all things in the physical realm (Acts 17:25), from the ancient beginning of time and all things temporal. He was foreordained by the Father before the foundation of our world to bring Salvation to man (1 Peter 1:20), and in so doing, left the glory He shared with the Father in eternity (John 8:23) to be incarnate in sinful human flesh to rescue us from the captivity of sin.
Prior to the Incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ, when He appeared to men in Old Testament times in what are termed as “Christophanies” (See: Genesis 3:8, Genesis 18:1–3, Genesis 32:24-25, Joshua 5:13-14), He was in the form of a man in bodily appearance. This would be the same type of physical body that the Angels (good or bad) had when they appeared in Old Testament times (Genesis 6:2-4 & Daniel 9:21, Judges 13:3-6). This fact would suggest that the bodily human form/shape was something the Angels of God could assume even before the creation (Job 38:7). And, since they were the first inhabitants of the ancient Earth, they were able to sojourn on the ancient Earth in the physical form of men (although they are a higher-order of creature than the later sons of Adam - See: Psalms 8:5, Hebrews 2:7 & 2:9). But I digress.
When the Lord Jesus Christ became incarnate in human flesh in the days of His birth in Bethlehem, He permanently exchanged whatever previous form of man-like body He had appeared in during the cited Christophanies of the Old Testament, for the sinful flesh and bones of fallen mankind, the physical sons of Adam. That exchange, fusion, or whatever you want to call it was permanent and eternal. In either Old Testament or New Testament appearances in a body of flesh, the Lord Jesus Christ was the personification of the Trinity in bodily form (Colossians 2:9). In His incarnation He was 100% God, but also now 100% human.
Allow me to digress again and amplify the ramifications of the Lord's Incarnation. It staggers the mind to consider the conditions under which He now found Himself: He left the light and glory of the heavenly world and entered into the dark womb of an earth-bound woman of flesh and low estate, in the form of a human babe. He was then thrust from the womb and into our world; helpless in His ability to feed and cloth Himself, fully dependent on an earthly mother for nourishment, warmth and protection. Imagine the long years of physical growth and development and the trauma of childhood as he learned the ways of human life. These experiences were no doubt traumatic; experiencing the emergence of His conscience Deity and the internal warfare between his holy mind and heart and the enmity of the sin nature within his human flesh.
A noted philosopher once said something to this effect: You can know about something, but you really can't know it yourself until you experience it. Although the Son of God knew what was in all men, He could not know what it was like to actualy be a man until He became the Son of man in the flesh. He had to experience the loneliness of human existence in order to save men. He needed to experience the fleshly requirement for food and shelter, the personal need for friendship and love, to witness with human eyes the wickedness and corruption of the world around Him and His feelings of great compassion for the suffering souls He sojourned with in His walk through this world of fallen man. And all the time knowing within Himself of the destiny awaiting ahead, the cruelty and suffering He must yet endure to faithfully fulfill the will of His heavenly Father. This man was fully God and fully man and carried the passions of both within His being from his youth until his gruesome death on the cross. When you pray to the risen Lord Jesus Christ about your problems in this life, HE KNOWS (from personal experience) what you are feeling, and why.
This God-man, Jesus, emerged from the baptism of John as both a Prophet of the Lord God and the Prince of the kings of this world. He knew all things past, present and future. Following His death and burial, His soul was plunged into the lowest hell, then resurrected three days later into life everlasting. From there the Prince ascended into the highest heaven to assume the office of the Great High-Priest for all mankind. And in our near future, the Prince will return to this miserable planet a second time, as a Prince, and call out His Bride that He purchased with the currency of His own blood and suffering.
In the 'latter days' of the Hebrew people, the Prince will lead His armies of Hebrew witnesses (Revelation 14:4) in one final outreach to gain the souls of the remnant of lost men from the captivity of Satan and the curse of sin, before the ultimate blasphemy and desecration (2 Thessalonians 2:4) and the outpouring of God’s wrath upon the end-times world (Revelation 16). In the end, the Prince will step foot again on the very same Mount of Olives He ascended from over two-thousand years ago, just outside the earthly Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:4). He will regenerate the heavens and the earth (Isaiah 65:17) and the Prince will triumphantly enter the city to the rapturous joy of the surviving and redeemed Hebrew people of the time (Matthew 23:36-39). He will come with His Bride (the 'Raptured' Church) and will be anointed as the King of Kings (Daniel 9:24) and reign over His people and all the inhabitants of the Earth for one-thousand-years (Revelation 20). Then, finally, He will judge the dead and the living, destroy death and cast it and hell, Satan and his angels and all lost men and women, into an eternal lake of fire. And, in the end, the Son Himself will present all He has unto the Father, and God will be all in all, world without end in the eternal heaven and Earth which He will also create (Revelation 21:1).
Doctrine of the Holy Spirit
Aside from the persons of the Father and Son, the Holy Spirit is the third and least known member of the Trinity (John 16:13). He has a unique personality apart from the Father and Son, yet He is fully God and shares the same eternal attributes. He has a mind, a will, He speaks, He loves, He grieves, and He prays on behalf of born-again man (Romans 8:26). He is the Comforter and He who the Lord Jesus Christ sent at Pentecost following His resurrection (Acts 2:3-4).
Throughout the Bible, the Holy Spirit is referred to by many names. Besides the “Spirit of God” and the “Holy Spirit”, He is also the “Spirit of Christ”, “The eternal Spirit”, “The Spirit of Truth”, “The Spirit of grace”, “The Spirit of glory”, “The Spirit of Life”, “The Spirit of promise”, “The Spirit of holiness” and the Spirit of wisdom, revelation and faith. In pictorial and metaphorical Biblical expression, His Emblems are the “Dove”, water, oil, wind and fire and the “seal” of God’s authority and workings.
He has no less than eleven “Ministries” dealing with things concerning creation, the Scriptures, the nation of Israel, the work of the Savior, convicting sinners, comforting saints, and restraining the activity of Satan. To the Church (the universal Body of Christ), He formed it and sanctifies it. To the local Church, He inspires the worship service, directs its missionary work, aids in the singing services, appoints and anoints its preachers, desires to warn its members and guide their decisions and evangelistic efforts. To the individual believing sinner, He regenerates and transforms them, baptizes the believer into the Body of the Lord Jesus Christ, indwells the believer and seals them with the holy Spirit of promise and provides comfort and assurance of Salvation. He is also a daily and nightly companion to the believer, guiding their mind and conscience and opening their understanding of the word of God.
The Holy Spirit gives gifts to the Church, not for salvation but for edification and for signs. The gift of tongues was given specifically as a sign to the nation of Israel and the Gentiles that don’t believe (1 Corinthians 14:22) and He uses that sign specifically to communicate the Gospel to those whose native language is different from him who is preaching (See: Acts 2:5-12). The gifts of teaching, giving, helps, discernment of spirits and prophecy the Holy Spirit gives to the Church for edification and service. Lastly, the Holy Spirit brings forth fruit of the Spirit; grace, good works, patience, peace, joy, love, charity, compassion and alike, when believers live under the compelling influence of righteousness and holiness in the Lord through the Spirit.
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Gaines R. Johnson, D.D., D.Th.
The Bible, Genesis & Geology Ministry
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