Notice the following few texts:
(4) There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
(5) One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
(6) One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Notice that these three texts clearly show that there is "one" of each... there is one Spirit, one Lord which we know is Jesus Christ, and one God the Father. Already, without going to 1 John 5:7 (a text our opponents claim was later added to the canon of scripture) we here confirm that there are three, one of each. Note the graphic below:
We believe that God protected his word, and preserved it till this day. As Christians we feel that if God's word were altered to the point where we can not read our bible without worrying if whether this verse or that verse were really part of the originals, then he failed at preserving his word. Such a notion could cause the honest Christian to be so discouraged to even read the bible at all, thus causing him to lose faith and abandon Christ. For this reason we accept and appreciate the research done by other dedicated Christians in regards to texts like 1 John 5:7 where they show evidence that this text is authentic. For your own research, visit:
-1john57.com (highly recommended)
-Jesus is Lord
Disclaimer: These links are to specific sections in their respective sites. However, there are other sections in these sites we do not endorse.
We will leave that issue there for now, and proceed with this very text:
1 John 5:7
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
It's John's style to use the word "WORD" to refer to Jesus, as this is how he refers to Jesus in his gospel, John 1:1, 14 and in Revelation 19:13-16. Such provides more evidence of its authenticity, compiled with that as provided in the above websites. This text is clear as are our texts in Ephesians 4:4-6. How many bear record in heaven? The answer is three (treis in greek).
Then we have this next verse, spoken by Jesus Christ himself:
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 text reads in a way which tells the reader that each one of these has a name (and of, and of). Since the word "name" has the definite article "the" before it, this means that the other two names are "the name." Therefore, the text can read, "In the name of the Father, and in the name of the Son, and in the name of the Holy Ghost." Some worry that the name of the Holy Spirit is unknown, therefore, how can one baptize in his name? His name is revealed, it's just not enough for some people:
(26) 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.
More on the comforter on another section below (will be an important read).
Now as an objection against Matthew 28:19 some claim that Paul did not baptize in the manner Jesus specified, but rather simply in the name of Jesus (Acts 19:5). There are a couple of responses given by those in support of this text, one of them being that Paul was not present with Jesus when Jesus said to baptize in this way, but that since it was in the name of Jesus, it was legit, since Jesus represents the Father's name, and the Holy Spirit represents Jesus' name:
-I am come in my father's name -John 5:43, 14:10
-The comforter which is the Holy Ghost, whom the father will send in my name" -John 14:26
In Jesus, also, dwells "all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." -Colossians 2:9. The bible says there is only ONE baptism (Ephesians 4:5), and since God protects his word both from corruption and contradiction, we therefore agree with this response.
Furthermore, Peter was present with Christ, yet his way of baptizing was in one accord to Christ command:
Acts 2:38, 39
(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. (39) For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call."
Here we find mention of all three, just as Christ commanded:
(1) Jesus Christ - for the remission of sins.
(Matthew 26:28 Acts 10:43, Rom 3:25).
(2) Holy Ghost - the bearer of "the gift."
(I Corinthians 12:4, 8, 9, 10, 11, 28, 29, 30, Gal 5:22, 23).
(3) Lord our God - the giver of "the gift."
(James 1:17, Heb. 6:4, I Co 7:7, Rom 6:23)
Being an obedient disciple of Christ Jesus, Peter baptized his fellow Israelites in the name of Jesus Christ for the remissions of their sins, and the name of the Holy Ghost who is the bearer of "the gift", and the name of the Father (Lord our God) who giveth "every good gift and every perfect gift." - James 1:17.
Now if we continue our reading of the second chapter of Acts we will find the astounding result of this act:
Verse 41: Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls."
Verse 47: Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
Dare we say they did it the wrong way? The gifts of the Spirit and of the Father followed the baptism which took place with Peter. I don't know if it gets any clearer then this.
Now the above texts have shown us that there is indeed a plurality of beings in heaven. But are they separate, or one? Well, as 1 John 5:7 says, they are one. But let's add to this understanding another text from the gospel of Matthew:
(16) 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.
(17) And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
(see also the parallel passage of Luke 3:22, which says that this Spirit was the Holy Ghost)
The careful bible student will notice the "locations" of each individual described in this text. Jesus Christ is in the water, the Holy Ghost is not in the water, but above it upon Jesus, and the voice of God is heard "from heaven." Once again, we have "three" present in the text, but this time these three are in three separate locations, making them separate individuals. Why then does 1 John 5:7 say that they are one? We believe the following verse will help us answer this question:
2 Corinthians 13:14
(14) The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.
We can see from this text that each individual member has a duty they perform. And for what? For the benefit of mankind. Jesus provides the grace, especially by his death upon the cross of Calvary. God provides his love, which draws us to him, and by which he sent his only begotten Son to die for us (John 3:16). And the Holy Ghost provide communion, offering us the comfort and presence of Jesus Christ and the Father in our lives, just as Jesus promised in John 17. Yes, they are all one... in unity, in purpose, and in agreement. Yet, adding to this our texts in Matthew 3:16-17 and Ephesians 4:4-6, they are also three separate beings, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
There is evidence of this in the Old Testament as well. Moses told the listening Israelites:
(4) Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
Let's exegete this verse closely. The word "Lord" is the Hebrew word y'hovah translated "Jehovah" or "the Lord" elsewhere in scripture. The word God is the Hebrew word elohiym which is a plural word translated "gods" elsewhere in scripture. The word "one" is the Hebrew word echad which properly means "united" or "unity." Now that we have some definitions, we can rightly translate this verse as follows:
"Hear, O Israel, Jehovah our gods are a united Jehovah"
Now some have claimed that the word "echad" must also mean one, and not "unity" every time. They will bring up verses like Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 to support this. Well, we agree it also means simply "one." But in the case of Deuteronomy 6:4, it must mean "united" because this same verse uses the word elohiym to refer to the Lord, which we know is a plural word (more then one) meaning "gods."
This is also the case with the following two verses:
(23) And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one (echad) cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff; and they brought of the pomegranates, and of the figs.
The Hebrew word translated "cluster" holds a plural meaning. Strong's says it means, "a bunch of grapes." Yet the word "one" here is also echad. Therefore, when they picked from the tree, they picked a branched which had a cluster of more then one grapes (or, a unity of grapes on one cluster).
Our second verse also uses the word echad but this time with respect to our first parents:
(24) Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one (echad) flesh.
Here we have two separate individuals, yet these two are to be "one" flesh. This does not mean they were some kind of weird, monstrous looking being with two heads but one flesh. No, this means they were to be one in unity.
The word elohiym is the same plural word used in Genesis 1:26 where the plural word "our" is also used:
(26) And God (plural, gods) said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness
Yet notice the next verse:
(27) So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
In the next verse we find the singular words "his" and "he" used to describe God, unlike the verse just before, where the plural "our" is used. Then verse 27 once again mentions elohiym (gods), making them a unity of ONE God. Isaiah's account describes a similar situation:
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
God speaks, using the singular "I." Then continues with the plural "us" saying "who will go for us." Obviously, when one of them speaks, it's as if all three are speaking, or all three are involved, for they are one in unity. Why the move from plural pronouns to singular? Because they are a united!
Now it is true that elohiym can sometimes hold a singular meaning. Brown Driver Briggs says that its second meaning can also be "plural intensive," holding a "singular meaning." The case is supported by a verse in Exodus where God told Moses he would make him a god (elohiym) to Pharaoh (Exodus 7:1). Yet, this is only in some cases. When we return to verses like Genesis 1:26-27, we find plural words coupled with elohiym in the same text. This is not the case in Exodus 7:1. Here it is merely a single person, Moses, who would be as a god. Plural words such as "our, us" are not used here. Therefore its second meaning is what's in view. Not only that, we determined above that there are definitely "three" in the heavens. This will be further proven as we continue below. If then there are three, which is plural, and the words "our, us" are use to describe these three, then the plural meaning is what's in view when it comes to God.
Then we find y'hovah described with the plural word "us" in these next verses:
(22) And the LORD (y'hovah) God (elohiym) said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever.
(6) And the LORD (y'hovah) said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
(7) Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.
We continue to find verses, even in the Old Testament, which testify to the fact that there is a plurality within the theos, or Godhead. Now these verses do not tell us that there are three in this plurality, it simply shows that there is a plurality. We will show the Old Testament trio below. But first, notice this interesting fact. Jesus grabbed Deuteronomy 6:4 to make a point in the New Testament. But notice the words used when translating this into the Greek language:
(29) And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God (theos) is one Lord:
The plural word elohiym is translated by Jesus as theos, the word from which all the words translated "Godhead" find their root! There is a connection, therefore, with the plurality of God and this word theos. Could this be the reason why its extended words (theios, theiotes, theotes) were translated as Godhead? We believe so. Furthermore, this comparison shows that these elohiym were indeed... one. Here's why. This word "theos" can hold both a singular meaning and also a plural meaning. For proof of it holding a singular meaning, we refer you back to Mark 12:29, which uses the word "one" which is the Greek numeral heis, literally meaning one. But in the following text, Jesus uses it to means more then one:
(34) Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods (theos)?
Who else is better in explaining grammar then our Lord Jesus himself? Note carefully, here Jesus used this same word to refer to people as gods. In other words, Jesus establishes the fact even more, that elohiym is a plural word that teaches us the unity within the heavenly Godhead, both that they are three, yet united as one.
Now notice how, as with Matthew 3:16-17, the Old Testament also shows a clear "separation" between the three; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit:
(12) Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last.
(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.
(14) All ye, assemble yourselves, and hear; which among them hath declared these things? The LORD hath loved him: he will do his pleasure on Babylon, and his arm shall be on the Chaldeans.
(15) I, even I, have spoken; yea, I have called him: I have brought him, and he shall make his way prosperous.
Clearly, the person speaking here is the one who "laid the foundation of the earth" and who's right hand "spanned the heavens." Who was this?
(16) For by him (the Son - verse 13) 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:
(17) And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
It's Jesus Christ. Now go back to Isaiah 48, but look at verse 16:
(16) Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me.
In this text we have three individuals... the Lord God, the Spirit, and Jesus Christ (sent me). The construction of this sentence shows that each one of these are separate (the Lord God and... sent...). There is no doubt, therefore, that there are three in the heavenly Godhead. For our Adventist brethren, Ellen White calls this the "heavenly trio:
"The Comforter that Christ promised to send after He ascended to heaven, is the Spirit in all the fullness of the Godhead, making manifest the power of divine grace to all who receive and believe in Christ as a personal Saviour. There are three living persons of the heavenly trio; in the name of these three great powers --the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit--those who receive Christ by living faith are baptized, and these powers will co-operate with the obedient subjects of heaven in their efforts to live the new life in Christ." -Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 7, pp. 62, 63. (1905)
Here's another verse:
(6) Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.
(7) Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
Compare verse 6 with Hebrews 1:8. The God here is the Son, Jesus Christ. When verse 7 says "thy God" it then speaks of God the Father, for Jesus always referred to God as the Father (ex. John 17:11). So far, we have God the Father, and Jesus Christ, who by the way is here called "God" (more on Jesus as God below). Where's the Holy Spirit? Towards the end. It reads... "thy God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness..." Oil, we know, represents the Holy Spirit (1 Samuel 10:1, 6; 16:13-14, Isaiah 61:1). Of course he brings gladness... and joy. Once again, we find three. But these next verses should make this even clearer:
(24) The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
(25) The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
(26) The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
As with Isaiah 6:3, where the seraphim's cry, "Holy Holy Holy" three times, so here in this text we have mention of y'hovah three times. Coupled with the verses we have seen above in both the Old and New Testament, it's clear that we are dealing with three separate and divine beings, each described as y'hovah or holy, yet they are also described as ONE God.
There is a divine God-head therefore; a plurality of gods or elohiym in the scriptures, and these are only three. This is not Polytheism, for these three are also one both in essence and in agreement, purpose and truth. Polytheism is a belief in many separate gods who are different either in essence or nature (ex. Hercules) and/or purpose and agreement (ex. Zeus verses Hades).
What we have not seen in this plurality, however, is who, of the three, is God, and who, if any, is not God. Normally there is no question as to whether the Father is God. The arguments of our opponents are usually with reference to the Holy Spirit first, then at times with respect to Jesus Christ, if whether he is truly God or no. So we will begin our examination of each of these in this order, beginning with the Holy Spirit.
Is the Holy Spirit God?