Trinity and Oneness Doctrines Contrasted
By Rev A. F. Varnell
1. THE TRINITY DOCTRINE TEACHES, that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, are three separate distinct beings. Co-equal, Co-eternal, and Co-existence. They base this theory on the great commission, Mat.28:19, and the baptism of Jesus, Mat. 3:13-17. Matt 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:”; Matt 3:13-17 “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. 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: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
THE ONENESS DOCTRINE TEACHES, that there is only, one Omni-present God, Deut. 6:4, with Mark 12:29, Isa. 43:10-11, 45:5, John 17:3. Only one first cause, only one Supreme Lord. They teach that Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three manifestations of one God. Deut 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:”; Mark 12:29 “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:”; Isa 43:10-11 “Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.”; Isa 45:5 “I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:”; John 17:3 “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
2. THE TRINITY DOCTRINE TEACHES, that the Son of God was an Eternal Son, and that the Eternal Son came from heaven and Incarnated the child the Virgin Mary brought forth. They base this theory on Isa. 9:6. They say the child was born but the Son was given from heaven. Isa 9:6 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
THE ONENESS DOCTRINE TEACHES, that the Sonship began with the Virgin birth, and that the child the Virgin Mary brought forth is the Son of God, Luke 1:34-35. Luke 1:34-35 “Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 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.”
3. THE TRINITY DOCTRINE TEACHES, that the man Christ Jesus was Incarnated by the Eternal Son of God.
THE ONENESS DOCTRINE TEACHES, that the man Christ Jesus is the Son of God, Incarnated by the Eternal Father. John 10:30, 14:7-11, 17:3. John 10:30 “I and my Father are one.”; John 14:7-11 “If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake.”; John 17:3 “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
4. THE TRINITY DOCTRINE TEACHES, that the Son of God was Eternal without a beginning. They say He was co-eternal with the Father, and yet they say He was an Eternal Son of the Father. (Eternal means without beginning or end. Son implies a beginning.)
THE ONENESS DOCTRINE TEACHES, that the Son of God had a beginning. They teach that God begat the Son in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and that, that was His beginning as a Son, Mat. 1:18-25, Luke 1:30-35. God's Son was made of a woman, made under the law, Gal. 4:4-5, with Heb. 2:9-18. Mat 1:18-25 “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. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. 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. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.”; Luke 1:30-35 “And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 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.”; Gal 4:4-5 “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”; Heb 2:9-18 “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.”
THE ONENESS DOCTRINE TEACHES, that the Son of God was only Eternal in the mind of God. They teach that He was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest through the virgin birth I Pet. 1:20 (“Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,”), Isa. 46:10 (“Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:”), Rom. 4:17 “(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations, before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.)”. When it is God's Eternal purpose to do something He speaks of it as though it is already done. II Tim. 1:9-10 (“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:”), Eph. 1:3-4 (“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:”), John 17:5 (“And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.”) and 24 (“Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.”).
5. THE TRINITY DOCTRINE TEACHES, that Jesus sitting on God's right hand, I Peter 3:22, means that the Son God, is sitting beside the Father God. Two beings sitting side by side in heaven.
THE ONENESS DOCTRINE TEACHES, that Jesus sitting on God's right hand, means He has been exalted to a place of favour, power, and authority. Compare these scriptures on the right hand--I Peter 3:22 “Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”, I Cor. 1:24 “But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”, Isa. 48:13 “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.”, Psa.109:31 “For he shall stand at the right hand of the poor, to save him from those that condemn his soul.”, Isa. 63:12 “That led them by the right hand of Moses with his glorious arm, dividing the water before them, to make himself an everlasting name?”, Psa. 16:8 “I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.”.
6. THE TRINITY DOCTRINE TEACHES, that when Jesus prayed it was God the Son praying to God the Father.
THE ONENESS DOCTRINE TEACHES, that when Jesus prayed it was the man Christ Jesus (the Son of God) praying to His Father who is the only true God, John 17:3 “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”. Jesus was a union of God and man through the Virgin birth, John 10:30 “I and my Father are one.”. He prayed as man, not as God. God does not need to pray.
7. THE TRINITY DOCTRINE TEACHES, that the Spirit of Jesus and the Holy Ghost are two different Spirits. They say one can have the Spirit of Jesus and be born again according to John 3:5 “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”, and yet not have the Holy Ghost.
THE ONENESS DOCTRINE TEACHES, that the Spirit of Jesus is the Holy Ghost, Read Eph. 4:4 “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;”, Mat. 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”, 28:20 “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”, John 14:16-20 “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.”, Col. 1:27 “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:”, II Cor. 3:17 “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”. There is a difference in receiving the Spirit and being filled with the Spirit, but it is all the same Spirit. It must be remembered that Jesus Christ was God manifest in the flesh, I Tim. 3:16 “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”, II Cor. 5:19 “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”. The Father was Incarnate in the Son, John 14:7-11 “If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake.”. “He was the image of the invisible God," Col. 1:15 “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:”. "In Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily," Col. 2:9 “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.”.
8. THE TRINITY DOCTRINE TEACHES, that Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three distinct proper names, and that believers should be baptized into three names. They base this theory on Mat. 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:”.
THE ONENESS DOCTRINE TEACHES, that the NAME of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost is one NAME, and that, that NAME translated into English language is JESUS. This truth is revealed in Acts 2:38 “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”, John 5:43 “I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.”, Phil. 2:9-11 “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”, Heb. 1:4 “Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.”. The Oneness Doctrine teaches that we should do what Jesus said, and not just say what He said.
9. THE TRINITY DOCTRINE TEACHES, that the Oneness of Father and Son in John 10:30 (“I and my Father are one.”) is that they work together in harmony and get along together.
THE ONENESS DOCTRINE TEACHES that the Oneness of Father and Son in John 10:30 is a union of Father and Son through the Virgin birth. That is, the Father was Incarnated in the Son, John 14:7-11. God was manifest in the flesh, I Tim. 3:16.
10. THE TRINITY DOCTRINE TEACHES, that the Father and Son worked together in creation. They base this theory on Gen.1:26, which says, "Let us make man in our image."
THE ONENESS DOCTRINE TEACHES, that God refers to Himself as US, WE, and OUR as a mark of distinction to mean I. Like a King or a great ruler uses the word WE. See the word WE in your dictionary. Ministers almost always refer to themselves as WE. They hardly ever say I when referring to themselves. The Bible says God made the world by Himself, Gen 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”, 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;”. He did not have a helper.
These two schools of thought are before the religious world. The Trinity theory is by far the most popular, as it came from the Athanasian creed, down through the Catholic church and on into Protestantism. Each individual should know both sides of this great question and trust God to reveal light to you. Keep your heart open and be willing to pay the price for light. Truth is very costly. It cost John the Baptist his head. Truth caused Jesus to be nailed to the cross, John 18:37-38 “Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.”, John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”. The Martyrs laid down their lives for the truth. Truth might cause you to be put out of your church and be ostracized as a heretic. Be willing to pay the price and God will reveal His truth to you. "Buy the truth and sell it not," Prov 23:23. This means pay any price the truth may cost, but don't sell out at any price.
From the BMA Articles of Faith: "It Does Make a Difference What You Believe":
There is one God in three manifestations: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God is an invisible Spirit (John 4:24, Colossians 1:15). Jesus Christ is God, the invisible Spirit, manifest in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16, John 1,4).
When God became a Man
One day a little Babe was born in a very crude and obscure place in a small and humble city. His expected arrival was not announced to the world. His mother was not widely known.
Finding no room in the crowded inn, the lowly couple retreated to a stable and there in the dark hours of the night, while the city was sleeping, the little stranger arrived.
No one suspected anything out of the ordinary, but the birth of that little Babe set all the bells of heaven to ringing. A bright new star appeared in the heavens. An angel hastened to a group of shepherds to announce the glad tidings of great joy while the illuminating light of heaven encircled the astonished shepherds, dispelling the darkness of the night. Suddenly, the lone angel was joined by a whole multitude of the heavenly host chanting the joyful refrain, “Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men.”
When the angels had gone, the shepherds hurried to Bethlehem to see the new-born Babe. From the far distant east came wise men with costly gifts to present to Him. Soon, all Jerusalem was stirred. Even the king was troubled. The birth of that humble Child had moved heaven and earth.
Who could He be? Why all this commotion about His birth? It was a mystery, a great mystery, but that newborn Babe was none other than the mighty God, the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth, who was born of a virgin and came into the world in the likeness of man to dwell among us. “They shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is ‘God with us’” (Matthew 1:23).
The angel announced unmistakably who He was. Said the angel, “Unto you is born this day in the city of David, a saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
Many times in the Old Testament God is spoken of as the Lord God, the Lord Jehovah, the Lord thy God, etc. And now, the angel announces that the Babe of Bethlehem is Christ the Lord.
Since both the Old Testament and New Testament emphatically declare that there is only one Lord, then it is very evident that the Lord Jesus of the New Testament and the Lord God of the Old Testament is the same Lord.
The following scriptures taken from the Old and New Testaments will prove conclusively that the Lord God of the Old Testament is the Lord Jesus Christ of the New Testament.
The Lord God created heaven and earth - Isaiah 42:5.
Other scriptures that prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Babe of Bethlehem was the Lord God Almighty:
The Child-a Son-shall be called the Mighty God and the Everlasting Father - Isaiah 9:6.
Now that it has been fully established by Scripture that Jesus is God, the next step is to discuss the Sonship.
When Did The Sonship Begin?
Was Jesus a Son in eternity with God before His birth in Bethlehem? If so, when did He become a Son? Was He as old as the Father? Who was His mother? What became of His body when He was born in Bethlehem? Was He born twice - once in eternity and again in Bethlehem? Did He have two Fathers and mothers?
Oh, no! That is not the right understanding of God and the Son. In eternity, God was an invisible Spirit without flesh and bones, who alone created the heavens and the earth.
O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth. Isaiah 37: 16
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. Isaiah 44:24
Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea. Job 9:8
He declared Himself that there was no one else with Him and that He created the earth by Himself (Isaiah 44:24; Isaiah 45:5, “I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me”). There is no Savior, He said, but Himself (Isaiah 43:11, “I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour”).
It was He, the only Lord God and only Savior who came into the world in the form of man to become man’s salvation. His name was called Jesus, which means, “Jehovah has become salvation.”
That is when the Sonship began, when God became a man - the Babe of Bethlehem - a Lamb of sacrifice for sin. It was God in the flesh who died for the sins of the world (Acts 20:28, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood”). There was no Son before Jesus was born in Bethlehem, although He who became a Son existed as the invisible Spirit from everlasting.
Jesus Was Both God And Man
Jesus was man, a perfect man. As a man He slept, He ate and He grew weary. But all of His mighty works prove that He was more than a man. What man other than He could raise the dead, walk on the water, open blind eyes, multiply bread and fish, etc.?
He was God and man united in an image. That is the reason He could say to Philip, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9). And did not He say, “I and my Father are one.” And did He not also say, “If ye believe not that I am he (speaking of the Father) ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24,27)?
Indeed, it was a marvelous mystery but Jesus was the God-man. His birth was not after the fashion of ordinary man. He had no earthly father. His Father was the Holy Ghost and His mother was the virgin Mary. Therefore, He was both God and man.
As a man He ate; as God He multiplied bread and fish. As a man He slept in the boat; as God He arose and calmed the stormy waves. As a man He prayed at the grave of Lazarus; as God He raised Lazarus from he dead. As a man He died; as God He raised Himself from the dead (“Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” John 2:19). He was God and man - Father and Son - Spirit and flesh - in one image.
Therefore, when God said, “Let us make man in our image” (not images), He was speaking of the two-fold relationship of the Father and Son in one-image. We read: “So God (by Himself) created man in his own image” (not images). Genesis 1:27 says: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” What, then is God’s image? Jesus is the image of the invisible God. Colossians 1:15 says, “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.”
The children of Israel had never seen their God. He was always invisible to them. But when Jesus came, the invisible God was made visible. At the same time God was manifest in the flesh on earth, he remained Spirit in heaven. For that reason Jesus could speak of the Father that dwelleth in heaven.
Jesus at the right hand of God does not mean that God and Jesus are two persons sitting side by side on a throne in Heaven, both of them sitting there stationary for centuries. that is a ridiculous and unscriptural idea of God. A preacher once said that Jesus had stood up only one time since He ascended to Heaven and that was when He stood up to welcome Stephen, because Stephen saw Him “standing” at the right hand of God.
But that is not the meaning of the right hand. The right hand is a symbolic term which means power and authority. Jesus said, “All power is given unto me in Heaven and in earth.” When God became incarnate man on earth, He did all of His mighty works through the power and authority of that man. And now that Jesus has ascended to heaven, He has all power in Heaven. Matthew 28:18 says, “And Jesus came and spake unto them saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Therefore, Jesus at the right hand of God means that Jesus is the power of God. “But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24).
It must be remembered that the Lord Jesus Christ is more than a man. He is both God and man. He is God manifest in the flesh. “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (1 Timothy 3:16).
Notice a few symbolic uses of “right hand” in connection with power.
My right hand hath spanned the heavens - Isaiah 48:13
The Lord is at the right hand to the poor - Psalms 109:31
God led the children of Israel by the right hand of Moses - Isaiah 63:12
The Lord was on David’s right hand - Psalms 16:8
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is not a third, separate and distinct person from the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit is God. In John 4:24 we read, “God is a spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” God is holy. Therefore, God is the Holy Spirit. No further evidence is needed to prove that the Holy Ghost is God, than the scriptural fact that the Holy Ghost is the Father of Jesus. “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 the child of the Holy Ghost. 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” (Matthew 1:18, 20). It must be remembered that Jesus Christ is incarnate God.
Jesus Is The Holy Spirit
Jesus called His disciples together one day and told them He was soon going away but that He would send another Comforter who would abide with them forever.
Who, then, is this other Comforter? What is His name? Is He someone else other than Jesus? If the Comforter is someone else, then Jesus is not here; He is not in us. But Jesus said, “Lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the world.”
Jesus did not leave His disciples in the dark. He told them very plainly who the other Comforter is. Said He, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (John 14:18). And He further told them that the other Comforter was He who was dwelling with them, and would be in them when He came again. He was with them in the flesh and went away to Heaven in flesh, but He came back in Spirit on the Day of Pentecost to be in them. So, we may rightfully sing, “Since Jesus Came Into My Heart.” Therefore, the name of the Comforter, who is the Holy Ghost, is Jesus. “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26). There is no other name.
The Trinity Theory
Through the confusion of the Dark Ages and the traditions of men, the vision of the greatness and the glory and the majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ has become dimmed. He who said, “I am the First and the Last” has been relegated to second place.
After a raging discussion of centuries concerning the Godhead, a doctrine was finally agreed upon known as the doctrine of the Trinity, namely: That God consists of three separate and distinct Persons, thus, placing Jesus Christ, who is declared to be Lord of all, as the second Person.
God, no doubt, has winked at the ignorance of the people as they have piously chanted hymns to the “Blessed Holy Trinity-God in three Persons.” But now the mists are being cleared away and the doctrine as taught by the Apostles is again being revealed, that Jesus Christ is God, the Spirit manifest in the flesh - not three Persons, but One.
This Trinity doctrine is man’s feeble attempt to solve the great mystery of the incarnate God, but in thus disposing of the mystery they have only added absurdity to mystery.
If the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three, separate Persons, then each Christian has three Persons in him. “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (2 Corinthians 6:16). “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? (2 Corinthians 13:5). “What! know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19). If there are three Persons, each raised Jesus from the dead, “But God raised him from the dead” (Acts 13:30). “Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19). “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Romans 8:11). If Christ and God are two Persons, then Jesus had two Fathers. God is His Father and the Holy Ghost is His Father. “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). “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). Moreover, Jesus Himself is called The everlasting Father. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). If there are three separate distinct Persons each called God, then there are three separate Gods, or else each one of the three is one-third of God. If there are three separate Persons, co-equal, then Isaiah had a false vision when he said, “To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One” (Isaiah 40:25).
If there are three separate, distinct persons, there should be three separate, distinct names, whereas there is only one name. Father is not a proper name. Son is not a proper name. Holy Spirit is not a proper name. Peter was not so mistaken after all, as many people think, when he inspiringly said on the Day of Pentecost: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 2:38).
Human intelligence can never fathom the mystery of Jesus Christ. Nothing short of divine illumination of the Scriptures can reveal Him as He is. He is hidden in the Scriptures from carnal view but the illuminating light of the Holy Spirit places a halo of glory around His majestic being and brings Him to view as the Great I Am, The Everlasting Father, The only wise God our Savior, The Creator of Heaven and Earth, etc. “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). Isaiah 9:6. “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Timothy 1:17). “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” (Colossians 1:16).
Jesus Christ puzzled the world in the days of His flesh, and he puzzles them now. The Jews rejected Him because, “He being a man, made Himself God” (John 10:33).
They were continually asking then, “Who art thou? Whom makest thou thyself? What manner of man is this? Whence hath this man this wisdom? Art thou the King of the Jews? Whence art thou? How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? Who is this that forgiveth sins also?
And still today the world is puzzled. No wonder. He is so great and marvelous. The name of Jesus excels all other names. No tongue of man has ever proclaimed His worth.
The Devil has done his best to conceal the identity of Jesus Christ, to hide Him from the people. And with such great success at that end of the age the entire world will reject Jesus Christ and will worship the Anti-Christ as God (all except those whose names are written in the Book of Life).
John warned of this when he said, “Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God; and this is that spirit of Anti-Christ.” 1 Timothy 3:16 says God was manifest in the flesh, and 1 John 4:2 says Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. Harmonizing these two scriptures we find that Jesus Christ was God who came in the flesh, and to attempt to place Him on a lower plane than the mighty God and Lord of all is to join ranks with the Anti-Christ forces.
For in him (Jesus Christ) dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Colossians 2:9
THE MYSTERY OF THE GODHEAD:
In 1 Timothy 3:16 Paul writes: “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” Reading this one verse in the context of the entire chapter, one wonders why this statement ends Paul’s discussion of the qualifications for bishops and elders. Except for vs 9 of this chapter, it would seem to be out of context. There he says: “Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.” This would indicate to me that Paul found controversy about the Godhead among Timothy’s peers, as much as we do today. Dismissing our understanding—and differences—about God’s Person by saying it is all a mystery is not acceptable. Again, Paul writing to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:15 admonishes: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” The sadly missing ingredient in all our discussions about the Godhead is found in I Corinthians 13: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith so that I could remove mountains and have not charity, I am nothing.” Should I have a criticism of christians, it would be that they need more love in their presentation of the Oneness of God. Once, a brother in Christ discussing this subject with me told me: “I want to be right and I want you to be wrong. Plus I want you to acknowledge that I am right and that you are wrong.”
In answer to your questions now, God did NOT manifest Himself anywhere in the Old Testament in human form as a Person of the Godhead. There are several pre-ophanese (or appearances of God in human form to man). Jesus plainly speaks about this when He says in John 1:18: “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” However, when Jacob wrestled with the angel at Peniel, he declared: Gen 32:30: “I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” In Judges 13:21-22: “Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the LORD. And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God.” The Bible says Moses met with God on Mt Sinai when he received the Ten Commandments and his face shown so brightly that they could not look on him. God’s finger is said to have written those on tablets of stone. The three Hebrew children had a man perceived to be the Son of God by a heathen king. The king watched as the hand of God wrote of his doom on the banquet hall walls. And if you will read the story of Adam & Eve carefully, while it says God walked with them in the cool of the day, you will NOT find God appearing to them in human form but rather talking to them. Either Jesus’ claim to be the only human manifestation of God in flesh is true or it isn’t. I believe what Jesus said was true. Don’t you?
Many years ago when I attended the Assemblies of God Bible College in Springfield, MO, I had a discussion with a young man named Bill Eastlake. Bill later became the head of all Sunday School publications for AOG. He asked, as you have asked me: “How could the human Jesus pray to His heavenly Father if they are One? How could Jesus, while being baptized by John, have the Father speaking from heaven and the Holy Spirit descending upon Him in the form of a dove and yet they all be One?” My answer was simple and direct: God is everywhere present and can manifest Himself in many forms and places at the same time, even today. According to Philippians 2:6-11, Jesus humbled Himself and became a man, meaning He laid aside His Divine attributes temporarily to become our sin sacrifice and express God to man in human form. Attempting to “localize” an omnipresent God into a Person in a specific place is meaningless. ONLY Jesus did that while He was here on earth. I like Pastor Don Horath’s explanation about Jesus standing on the right hand of God. He pictures, from the human stand point, that Jesus was literally standing on God’s literal hand. We know that is not so. Rather, the right hand is a position of authority. Jesus was NOT the bodily expression of God in the beginning before the worlds were formed, nor is He that any where else in the Old Testament. Read John 1:1, 14: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God….And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” God did not have an earthly form until Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
What a marvelous revelation that is. To think that God loved us so much that He came to us in human flesh to bridge the gap between sinful man and perfect God. God’s plan of salvation was already in place before the foundation of the world. Man’s sinfulness and need for a Savior was no surprise to God when it happened. Since God has no time framework and is not restricted in any way, His plan of salvation was complete in Christ before He formed the worlds and created man.
In the matter of Jesus’ oneness with the Father before creation—and by the way, with the Holy Spirit as well—Jesus was not in His human body then but totally in God’s Omniscience, Omnipresence and Omnipotence. God is Holy, therefore He is a Holy Spirit; God is a Spirit, therefore He is THE Holy Spirit; God was in Christ, therefore God became a man; Jesus was God in flesh, therefore He is in the Father and the Father is in Him. Jesus is the fullness of the Godhead bodily. In Jesus’ birth and resurrection, all three: Jesus, the Father, the Holy Spirit, were involved as the agent of change because they are one and the same.
I hope this helps clarify your thinking about the Godhead. I return to my original statement: the mystery of the Godhead is something that has been discussed, disagreed about and differentiated on since the church was founded. John’s disciples didn’t even know there was such a thing as the Holy Ghost because they were following His gospel. But the church’s oneness is not found in doctrine, methods nor human personalities and perspectives. Rather, we are ONE in Christ alone. All other efforts to bring unity of the faith will result in further division. Eph 4:13: …”until we all come into the unity of the faith , and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”.
Rev Don Matthews
We believe that the One True God is revealed to us in the expressed personality, relationship and association of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We do not believe that the Godhead is a “great mystery” as some would say. On the contrary, we believe that God wants us to know and experience His presence in our daily lives. See Isaiah 43:10-13, I Peter 1:2-5 and II Corinthians 13:14. No Bible-believing Christian can deny the concepts of the Trinity or the Oneness of the Godhead. Most of our fuss, arguments, debates and condemnation concerning the Godhead revolve around semantics or our definition of word meanings. Jesus capsulated this concept in John 14:26. It is archaic, hedonistic and polytheistic to visualize three Gods, sitting on three thrones in heaven, trying to appease or agree with each other. Undeniably, Jesus is the ONLY fleshly, visible manifestation of God. As Father, God is the Creator of all things. He begat Jesus, as His earthly manifestation, through Mary to dwell among men and to become our Savior. Compare II John 3 and Matthew 1:18-21 to determine Who Jesus’ Father was. The answer is in Ephesians 3:9-11. God became a man at Bethlehem. He was Emmanuel, God with us. Jesus did not BECOME God as He grew up. He was God in flesh and we beheld His glory as the only begotten Son of God. He was born to die on a cruel cross for our sin, to be buried and to search out hell's captives then to resurrect victorious over death, hell and the grave. He has ascended to the right hand of the Father, the place of Authority and Administration, to makes intercession for us there. He is preparing a place for us so that we may be with Him throughout eternity. We will rule and reign with Him then.
We believe that the greatest revelation God has given to man is the truth of Who Jesus is. Read Matthew 16:13-19. All of our spiritual life revolves around our conception of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Person. He is NEVER referred to in the Scriptures as "the Second Person of the Trinity." That is a human, Catholic description of God in flesh. He proclaims Himself to be the "Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last". Jesus is very God manifest in the flesh to reveal God to men. He is Emmanuel, that is, God with us. See Colossians 1:15-19. Philippians 2:5-11 gives us Jesus' purpose from creation. John 1:1-4 tells us that Jesus was "in the beginning". He was with or an integral part of God and He was God indeed. Coming in the form of man, He bridged the gap between man and God. His coming as a Babe in Bethlehem's manger gave Him human flesh identification with the lowly existence of man, as He grew up thru all stages of life’s experiences. He was "tempted in all points like as we and yet without sin." He was perfect Man and perfect God. As a man, He hungered; as God, He fed the 5000. As man, He became tired and weary; as God He stilled the stormy seas. As man, He wept at the tomb of Lazarus; as God He called him forth from the dead. As man, He was tempted by Satan; as God He resisted that temptation when He said "It is written". As man, He felt compassion; as God, He sent the Comforter. As man, He suffered and died on the Cross; as God He rose from the dead victorious over death, hell and the grave. Hallelujah, what a Savior! Colossians says that God exalted His Name above every Name. "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him."
We believe that God has expressed Himself in three distinct personalities. Some use the term “persons” for this but there is a definite difference. By definition from the original Hebrew, a person is “an actor’s face which identifies him as a character or personality; a bodily form of an expression.” There is absolutely NO use of the word “person” in the Bible referring to this relationship in the Godhead other than about Jesus Himself. See Hebrews 1:3. Jesus is “the express image of His (God’s) person.” Jesus said “he that hath seen ME hath seen the Father.” The personality relationship of God is easily understood by His character expressing His personalities. He is NOT “the Father” in the Old Testament. He is the Father of all mankind in that He is Creator. He is only referred to as Father (capital F) once in the Old Testament (Isaiah 9:6) and that is in prophesy about Jesus being the Everlasting Father. Only in the New Testament, after Jesus’ birth, is God referred to as “Father”. There is a reason for that. God did not become a “Father” until He manifested Himself in the Person Jesus Christ. By the way, Biblically, Mary conceived of the Holy Ghost, not the Father. He is the Spiritual expression of God’s personality to us. And Jesus did not become a “Son” until He was born in Bethlehem. Of course, Jesus existed before Creation because He is God. See John 1:1-3. Just as the Holy Spirit lives in us today, He is God’s Spiritual manifestation in His Church. In simpler terms, a man is born as a son. He may father a child. He will take on some work or occupation during his lifetime. So that he may be father, son and farmer or preacher or businessman. Man is a trinity because he was made in the image of God. What a wonderful revelation it is to know Who God is and how He expresses Himself in these three-in-one personalities. May we accept and exalt this concept before men. All other cults express confusion about their God and His manifest person. Only Christians can show God’s true nature and Person thru Jesus Christ.
Rev Don Matthews
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