Sunday, November 21

The Holy Trinity (Part Two)

In the previous entry, we discussed the Trinity - and the biblical basis for this concept. There is sufficient evidence in God's Word to support the existence of the Holy Trinity - God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. This entry we will be taking a look at an important question: Are Jesus and the Holy Spirit found in the Old Testament?

The answer is yes. Both personalities make several, distinct appearances in the Old Testament. So let us take a look at the Holy Trinity - and the appearances found in the Old Testament, though this entry will focus more on Jesus and the next on the Holy Spirit's appearances. In an entry I had done months ago, the topic covered was the elusive "Angel of the Lord." (See entry: "Who is 'The Angel of the Lord?'") The word "angel" also essentially means "messenger."

In other words, this "Messenger of the Lord" appears to people throughout the Old Testament - and almost every instance, is referred to as a messenger, and in the following verses, is referred to as God. How is this possible? By examining each passage this mysterious Messenger appears in, we can find that the messenger is either God the Father himself - or Jesus Christ, pre-incarnate. If you wish to better understand this figure, take a look at the aforementioned entry.

Assuming that the messenger is Christ, we will look at the following passages with that context. Jesus visits Hagar in the desert after she has ran into the desert, to tell her that she would give birth to a son whom she would name Ishmael. (Genesis 16:7-12) He also speaks to Hagar years later when she has just left Ishmael, to encourage her, and to promise that he would be the ancestor of a great people. (Genesis 21:17-18)

The Messenger appears again not long after, in Genesis 22:11-18, where Abraham is tested - and proves faithful. (See entry: The Faithfulness of Abraham) There are several other appearances made by the Messenger, or Angel, of the Lord, found in: Exodus 3:2, where he tells Moses that he is God, appearing as a Burning Bush but identifying himself first as the Angel of the Lord then as God, and in Numbers 22:21-41, in which he appears to Balaam and his donkey. (See Book Overview: Numbers)

Jesus also appears in Judges 2:1-4;5:23;6:11-24;13:3-22, in which he appears to Gideon, as well as Manoah - to tell him of his son, Samson. Jesus appears again as the Messenger of the Lord in 2nd Samuel 24:16, where he speaks with King David, who is his future incarnation's ancestor. The Messenger appears again in Zechariah 1:12;3:1;12:8. (See entry: The Faithfulness of Gideon

The appearance of the Angel of the Lord in Exodus 3 is particularly mysterious. It does not appear to be expounded upon in popular media based on the Exodus, such as films - but each film refers to the being in the Bush as God, just as He claims. However, this same entity in the Burning Bush is the one who says not long after that he is God. If it were God the Father, he would not have been referred to as "The Angel of the Lord" directly before.

Now, yes, it is true that all appearances made by this Messenger in the Hebrew Bible could have merely been God the Father. Regardless, in the case of the Burning Bush, it was still God who was speaking to Moses - the question is, which part of the Godhead? Many scholars think it plausible for Christ to appear in a manifestation before his incarnation on the Earth. John 8:58, "'Very truly I tell you,' Jesus answered, 'before Abraham was born, I am!'"

In this way, along with verses discussed in the previous entry, we know that Jesus, like God the Father, also known as Yahweh, and the Holy Spirit, have been around since before time began, since before the creation of the universe. Is there any reference made to the Son of God? Actually, yes - in Daniel 3:25.

After the Babylonian exile began, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into the Fiery Furnace. King  Nebuchadnezzar notices a fourth man, whom he describes as a "son of gods." Most assume the fourth man to be Jesus. "He said, 'Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods."

Now, understand that as earlier mentioned, there is such a figure in the Hebrew Bible as the "Angel of the Lord." It may be Christ or it may be Yahweh, but scholars tend to agree it was either one or the other - this Messenger never appears after the Incarnation of Jesus. This is called Christophany (pre-incarnate appearance from Jesus Christ) and Theophany (appearance of God the Father).

Do the Trinity appear collectively? They may. Genesis 18 describes something mysterious. Three visitors come to visit Abraham and Sarah. At least one of three was Yahweh himself, as the text clearly states, and Abraham speaks with him concerning a son that Abraham will have the same time the following year. The other two visitors appear not to speak, until Genesis 19. After the visit is concluded, the three visitors - notice there were three - take leave onto Sodom.

Genesis 18:16-19, 'When the men got up to leave, they looked towards Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. Then the Lord said, 'Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?' Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on the earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him."

The Lord goes on to tell Abraham that he and the other two are going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, as the outcry against the city is "so great and their sin so grievous." God and Abraham proceeded to discuss saving the city - God allowed that if Abraham could find ten righteous people in the city, he would spare it. He could not.

Genesis 19:1, "The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground." Lot invited the two men to his house, and after a group gathered outside telling Lot to bring them out so they could have sex with them, and he refused, the two men pulled Lot inside and struck the men outside with blindness.

The two told Lot to take his wife and two daughters and leave the city, and not to look back, because God was going to destroy the city. Who were these two men? Were they merely angels, or were they messengers, or, were they the other two halves of the Trinity? Some scholars believe that these two men were Jesus and the Holy Spirit, or that at least one was Jesus. Jesus himself spoke about Sodom and Gomorrah more than once. (Matthew 11:20-25, Luke 10:1-12, etc.)

On one occasion, God the Father allowed Moses to see him, but he could not see the face of God, for he would surely die, so he had to see his back. On other occasions in the Hebrew Bible, we are told that people spoke with God face to face. There seems to be an understanding that typically, if they spoke with God face to face, they were speaking to God the Son, to Jesus Christ pre-incarnate, though it is debatable.

Moses had asked in Exodus 33:18, "Now show me your glory." God replied that he would show himself, "'But,' he said, 'you cannot see my face, for one one may see me and live.'" (Exodus 33:20) "Then the Lord said, 'There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen." (Exodus 33:21-23)

Job saw the Lord, (Job 42:5) as did Isaiah. Isaiah 6:1, "In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple." If God himself said that he could not show himself to people, how is it that these people saw him? Manoah, father of Samson, had met with the Angel of the Lord concerning his future son, "When the angel of the Lord did not show himself again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized that it was the angel of the Lord. 'We are doomed to die!' he said to his wife. 'We have seen God!'"

His wife told him that if they were to die, God would not have accepted the offering. So who did all of these people see? They saw Jesus Christ, pre-incarnate. Jesus is the image of the Father, whom we can see. God the Father is light. But what does God the Father look like? Daniel 7:9 says, "'As I looked, 'thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was white as snow, the hair of his head was white like wool.'"

The Hebrew name for Jesus is Y'shua. "Y'shua" is found about 100 times in the Hebrew Bible. It means "thy salvation". There are also hundreds of prophecies regarding Jesus Christ. A famous one would be Psalm 2:2. "The kings of the earth rise up and rulers band together against the Lord and His anointed..." The words of Jesus appear throughout the Psalms as well as prophetic works. Psalm 22:1 opens with, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" (See entry: "The Messiah" for more on the prophecies concerning Christ)

But what of the Holy Spirit in the Hebrew Bible ("Old" Testament)? Since his appearances and mentions are many, He will be discussed in the next entry. As mentioned in the previous entry, the first appearance of the Holy Spirit is in Genesis 1:2. God spoke creation into existence, and the Holy Spirit acted. God says in Genesis 6:3, "My Spirit will not contend with human beings forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years." His Spirit again appears.

The Holy Spirit tends to be seen most frequently when it comes to prophecy. Numbers 11:25 says, "Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took some of the power of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied - but did not do so again." The Spirit is seen as resting on Christ in the New Testament as well, as a dove.

In the next entry, the appearances of the Holy Spirit in the Hebrew Bible along with the entering of the Creator into his creation will be discussed. Thank you for taking the time to read this entry of "The Truth." May God bless. Troy Hillman


  1. OUR GOD

    A trinity is our God:
    The heart, the body and the blood.
    As Father, Son and Holy Spirit
    God will and pleasure will exhibit.

    See The Trinity explained at

    Merry Christmas!

  2. Thank you very much for that. God bless, and have a Merry Christmas!