The Trinity doctrine is very important to know about because there are a lot of groups that deny the Trinity. Some, like the Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs), would say that Jesus Christ is not God and that the Holy Spirit is not a person. Other groups like the Jesus-Only people or the Apostolics, also known as the United Pentecostals, believe that Jesus is God, but they believe that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are different modes of the same person. So hopefully I can give you enough information from the Word of God that you can counter these heresies, because that's exactly what they are.
The Doctrine of the Trinity Is Biblical and NOT Pagan
Trinity Doctrine DefinitionFirst I'll give you the definition of the Trinity doctrine, and then we'll work from there. The Bible teaches that within the nature of the one true God exists three separate and distinct persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. They are co-equal in nature and co-eternal. The Trinity doctrine is NOT three gods in one. The Jehovah's Witnesses would say that the Trinity doctrine is defined as three gods in one. Christians definitely do not believe that the Trinity doctrine is three gods in one. All through the Old Testament and many times in the New, we clearly see there is but one true God.
PROOF That The Holy Spirit Is Deity!
For about one year, because of my brother, who used to be a Jehovah's Witness, I studied essentially nothing at all but the doctrine of the Trinity and the deity of Christ. When I found out about Gal. 4:8, all of a sudden I heard bells and saw stars, so to speak. It all came together, thank God. Gal. 4:8 is a very important, key Scripture in understanding the doctrine of the Trinity. The Bible says:"Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods."By implication, we now know that there is one true God by nature. That true God which exists is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. All three persons are eternal, all-knowing, all-powerful and everywhere present. Some people have their car as their god. Of course, that's a false god because that car is not eternal. That car is not all-powerful, all-knowing; and it's not everywhere present. Only the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit that we read of in the Holy Bible possess these four unique attributes. Therefore, they alone are by nature God. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that this God that we call the true God, that Christians worship and serve, is just the Father, or a single person known as the Father. And I'll show you many reasons why Jesus is God and why he was worshiped, and he was prayed to, and also why the Holy Spirit is God as well.
Now when we deal with any group that denies any Biblical teaching, it's always good, if possible, to offer a natural illustration to better bring across exactly what we are talking about. And a good way to illustrate the Trinity doctrine would be with H2O, which is common water-two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen. You can freeze H2O and you would have the solid, or ice. You can turn on your faucet and you would have the liquid H2O. You can hear the whistle of H2O that comes out of the tea kettle spout which is steam, but it would still be H2O. H2O can and does exist in solid, liquid and gas. The solid is not the liquid; the liquid is not the gas; and yet all three are of one nature: H2O. And that is exactly how it is with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Father is not the Son, the Father is not the Holy Spirit, and Jesus is not the Holy Spirit. And I'll show you from the Bible proof of why I said that regarding the three distinctions between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Plurality in the GodheadIf you're dealing with a Jehovah's Witness, you have to deal with three issues to prove to that person that the Bible really does teach the doctrine of the Trinity. Number one, you have to show that there is plurality in the Godhead. If you must deal with the Trinity doctrine, I recommend that you start off showing them that the Bible teaches there is plurality in the Godhead, since they don't think the Bible teaches that. The second thing you have to deal with is the persons of the Godhead, namely the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. And of course, the JWs certainly won't deny, argue or contest that the Father and the Son are persons, but they will contest our statement that the Holy Spirit is a person. So you have to have answers. And thirdly, are they all God? And again, they will not argue at all regarding the Father. They know the Father is God. But they certainly do not believe that Jesus is God and the Holy Spirit is God, since they think the Holy Spirit is an impersonal, active force likened unto a radar beam. If you can show them what the Bible teaches on these three areas, you can prove to a Jehovah's Witness that the Bible really does teach the Holy Trinity.
Implying The Trinity Doctrine
First of all, I mentioned the fact that we need to convey to the Jehovah's Witness plurality in the Godhead, and I think the very best way to start off trying to prove this point would be from the book of Genesis, chapter 1 verses 26 and 27:"Then [Elohim or] God said, ‘Let us [notice that plural pronoun] make man in our [there's that plural word again] image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.' So [Elohim] God created man in his own image."Notice the singular pronoun his. The verse before we saw the plural pronoun us and also the plural word our. Our image and our likeness, and then in verse 27 we have the word Elohim which is plural. And it states in his image, that is, singular].
In Genesis chapter 5 verse 1 we read:"This is the written account of Adam's line. When [Elohim] God created man, he made him in the likeness of God."I want you to see that it says that he, singular, made man in his likeness. In Gen. 1:27, he was made in his image. Verse 26 of Genesis 1 says let us make man in our image and our likeness. Now man is not made in the image of God and angels. I would like to bring that out immediately because our Jehovah's Witness friends would say, well really God was talking to the angels when he said let us make man in our image. And of course, there's no possible way that can be shown in the Scriptures. In fact, just the opposite is shown. If you use these verses and you meditate on them, I guarantee that a Jehovah's Witness won't have anywhere to go. You can back him or her in a corner and just keep them there and show them the Bible teaches that there is plurality in the Godhead.
Now I mentioned that the word Elohim is used here in the book of Genesis. In fact, it's used over 2,000 times in the Old Testament. It's not only used in regard to the True and Living God, it's also used in regard to judges and angels. So it's not an air-tight argument that there is plurality in the Godhead, but it certainly does imply that there is. It alludes to plurality in the Godhead. And after we get done with all of the other evidence, I think it should be clear to you, that is exactly what the word Elohim is getting across-that is, there is plurality in the Godhead, namely the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. They are the one true God that the Bible speaks of.
Still trying to get across to the Jehovah's Witnesses the fact that there is plurality in the Godhead, I would then take them to the book of Daniel 7:13, 14:"In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed."The New International Version reads, "worshiped him." The KJV or the King James Version of the Bible states that they served him. The word in the Hebrew is worshiped. They worshiped the one that's called Son of Man. And this is Jesus. So not only is the Ancient of Days worshiped, we see that there is someone else that's separate and distinct from the Ancient of Days, according to these two verses that is likewise worshiped. Therefore, there must be plurality in the Godhead. There has to be, because only the True and the Living God of the Bible can be worshiped. To worship anything or anyone else would be idolatry.
YHWH Elohim is One (Compound Unity)Deut. 6:4 is a verse that the Jehovah's Witnesses will bring up to you in their effort to disprove the doctrine of the Trinity, but you can turn the tables on them and show just the opposite. That verse reads:"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God [there's that word Elohim again], the LORD is one."So here we find out that YHWH Elohim is one. Now this is a very important thing to listen to, because this word one shows compound unity. And you can draw a little circle around the word one and put off into the margin of your Bible, Gen. 2:24. And under that reference write, echod, because that's the Hebrew word. This word one as used in Gen. 2:24 is compound unity. Gen. 2:24 is a verse that certainly most of us are acquainted with:"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh."There's the compound unity. The same exact thing that YHWH is, compound unity, husband and wife become.
So we see again in Deuteronomy 6:4 that the one true God of the Bible, YHWH, is compound unity because of the comparison from Gen. 2:24 and Deut. 6:4. So that's the very first thing I would try to get across and just lay down to somebody that would be like a Jehovah's Witness, that the Bible teaches certainly from these verses, the possibility of at least compound unity. And I think from Daniel chapter 7, it should be crystal clear there has to be compound unity in the Godhead. There must be plurality in the Godhead.
Are All Persons In The Trinity Doctrine With Intellect, Emotion And Will?The second thing you are going to have to deal with when you are dealing with a Jehovah's Witness is, are all three persons defined in the Trinity doctrine really a person? The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Now JWs certainly will not quibble over the Father or the Son but they will over the Holy Spirit. So the next thing you need to do is to define exactly what you mean by a person. A person possesses intellect, emotion and will. The Father possesses intellect, he possesses emotion and he possesses will. And so does the Son, and so do all of us. And that's because we're all persons or personalities. And you can say to that Jehovah's Witness, if I can show you in the Bible where the Holy Spirit possesses intellect, emotion and will, the only thing we can rationally conclude is, that the Holy Spirit, like it or not, is indeed a person as is the Father and the Son. So then you would take them to Jn. 14:26 and start off there. You're trying to establish the fact that the Holy Spirit has an intellect. Jn. 14:26 reads:"But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you."For someone to teach, they must possess intellect. So if the Holy Spirit teaches, he has an intellect. And it's also shown that the Holy Spirit does teach in other verses as well such as 1 Cor. 2:13 and Neh. 9:20.
Then you need to show the Jehovah's Witness that the Holy Spirit has emotion. So how can you prove that from the Scriptures? Rom. 15:30 says something along those lines. Paul is writing and he said to the church at Rome:"I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me."So he referred to the love of the Spirit. Love is an emotion, and the Holy Spirit has love. Therefore, the Holy Spirit has an emotion.
The third and final point that you need to drive home in showing that the Holy Spirit is a person is the fact that he has a will. And that's shown in 1 Cor. 12:11:"All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines" or just as he wills says the KJV.So the Holy Spirit has intellect, he has emotion, and he has will, just like the Father and just like the Son. And not only that, there are other indications that the Holy Spirit is indeed a person.
Let me cite a few other facts regarding the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit guides, he speaks and he hears (Jn. 16:13). The Holy Spirit intercedes (Rom. 8:26). The Holy Spirit forbids certain actions (Acts 16:6,7). The Holy Spirit sends into service (Acts 13:4). The Holy Spirit can be grieved (Eph. 4:30). The Holy Spirit may be blasphemed (Mt. 12:31). He can be lied to (Acts 5:3). The Holy Spirit can be insulted or outraged (Heb. 10:29). And the Holy Spirit can be resisted (Acts 7:51). These are all traits of a person. And again, we see from all these verses that the Holy Spirit is indeed a person as is the Father and the Son.
One final point I would try to drive home and that's found in Acts 13:1, 2:"In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.' "Here we see the personal pronoun I. So this again shows that the Holy Spirit is not an active force, but instead a person. He possesses intellect, emotion and will and here he refers to himself with the personal pronoun. It's the Holy Spirit that is speaking here through this unnamed prophet. Therefore in the light of all this evidence, the Holy Spirit cannot be an active force.
Jesus And The Holy Spirit: God By NatureThe third thing you need to drive home to a Jehovah's Witness in your effort to teach the Trinity doctrine is that both Jesus and the Holy Spirit are God by nature. And you might have to repeat this a few times because they were taught that we think Jesus is the Father. And you need to tell them right up front, as a Trinitarian, I do not believe that Jesus is the Father. He is a separate and distinct person from the Father. He is not the Father, but he is God by nature. His essence is God. His substance is God. But he is not the person of the Father. He's a separate and distinct person from the Father.
So how do you go about showing that Jesus is God? In John 20:28, we find out where one of the apostles called Jesus his Lord and his God. He did not just call Jesus his Lord, but also called Jesus his God. His name was Thomas, one of the original Twelve. I like to say to a Jehovah's Witness, are you in the same light, in the same truth as the apostles? If you are, then you should be able to call Jesus the same as the Apostle Thomas called him. I can call Jesus both my Lord and my God. Can you? And they usually say, well Jesus is my Lord. And I say at that point, well I'm asking you, Can you say he is both your Lord and your God? And of course they try to dodge the point you are trying to make. They try to evade the issue you are trying to drive home. And you can take them, if you have the Kingdom Interlinear, right to the Greek where it says The God. But the issue is, Thomas called him God, and believed that Jesus was his God. Now he's a strict monotheistic Jew. He believed in only one God, and yet he thought that Jesus was his God.
Another very important truth along these lines showing that Jesus is deity is found in Heb. 1:8. The speaker in Heb. 1:8 is the Heavenly Father. Certainly the Heavenly Father would know who Jesus is. And in Heb. 1:8, the Heavenly Father calls Jesus The God says the Greek. He identifies Jesus as God.
And by the way, there are eight reasons in Hebrews 1 why Jesus is not an angel -- the very thing the Jehovah's Witnesses say that he is. They want you to prove from the Bible that Jesus is God. You should turn the tables on them and say, Prove to me that Jesus is an angel. And take them to Hebrews chapter 1 and go over those verses slowly. And I can guarantee they'll get frustrated quickly because they are so clear.
Jesus Is Shown To Be God In Other VersesOther verses show that Jesus is called God. If you compare Jn. 1:1 with verse 14 of the same chapter, you would find out that Jesus is the Word and the Word was God. The Greek grammar rule known as The Grandville Sharp Greek Grammar Rule teaches that Jesus is called God in Titus 2:13 and 2 Pet. 1:1. So in Jn. 1:1; Jn. 20:28; Rom. 9:5; Phil. 2:6; Titus 2:13; Heb. 1:8 and 2 Pet. 1:1, Jesus is called God. That should be good enough. But in case it's not, there are other verses that you can go to. The equivalent is shown elsewhere in the Bible, even though the word God is not found. In Jn. 8:58, Jesus said "Before Abraham was, I am." He's citing the fact, that truth, that he is eternal without beginning. And in verse 59, the Jews perfectly understood what he had said. They picked up stones to stone him for blasphemy. Blasphemy is claiming the attributes of God. And that's exactly what Jesus was claiming for himself. And if he claimed that for himself by saying, "before Abraham was, I am," then he's saying, in essence, that he would have to be God. He did not say, "before Abraham was I have been." There are only two categories in this universe: God and his creation. If you're not part of creation, then you must be God. If you're God, you're eternal.
Not only in Jn. 8:58 do we see the equivalent of Jesus being called God, but we see the same in the book of Revelation.
Jesus is YHWH AlmightyIn chapter 1, verse 8 we see that the Alpha and Omega is Almighty. In Rev. 1:17,18 Jesus identifies himself. He said to John:"Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades."So clearly this is Jesus, since he was dead. Note: He said that he is the First and the Last. There is a third verse you need with Rev. 1:8 and Rev. 1:17,18 to show from the book of Revelation that Jesus is God or that he's Almighty. That Scripture is Rev. 22:13. There Jesus, who is speaking, said:"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End."The JWs might contest that it is Jesus speaking. Don't be upset if they do argue or refuse to accept that it's the Lord. The point is that the Alpha and the Omega is the same as the First and the Last. If the Alpha and the Omega is the same as the First and the Last, and he has to be according to Rev. 22:13, and Jesus is the First and the Last (Rev. 1:17,18), and the Alpha and Omega is Almighty (Rev. 1:8), then Jesus is Almighty. Jesus has to be Almighty if you follow all three of these verses all the way through.
In the Jehovah's Witness commentary, they say Rev. 22:13 is the Father speaking there and not Jesus. In the red letter edition of the NIV, it's in red print. So if you have someone that would not know what the official stand of the Watchtower is, you won't have any difficulty with them, but if it's a more experienced Jehovah's Witness, of course they're going to contest everything they can. Again, all you need to just drive it home is the point that Rev. 22:13 is stating, like it or not, that the First and the Last is the same as the Alpha and Omega. That's all you need to show from this verse. And since Jesus is the First and the Last, and the Alpha and Omega is the Almighty One, then Jesus is YHWH the Almighty One.
Matthew 28:18 is as clear as a crystal. Jesus said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me." Some translations say, all power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Same word: power, authority. I ask the Jehovah's Witnesses, "Who has all power or all authority in heaven?" And they look at that and they say, it was given to Jesus. And I usually say, well you're right, it was given to him but tell me, Who has all of the authority and all of the power in heaven, the Father or the Son, according to this verse? And like it or not, if they're going to answer, they're going to have to say that this verse is teaching that Jesus, and not the Father, has all power in heaven. Ask them if they are worshiping the one with all power in heaven. Now does it make sense that Jesus is an angel? Can an angel have all power in heaven? (Col. 2:9 likewise shows that Jesus is God by nature.)
Old and New Testament ComparisonsAt one point in time, I was doubtful about the deity of Christ because of my brother. And when I learned about the comparison between Isaiah 40:3 and Matthew 3:1-3, all doubt vanished once and for all. Isaiah 40:3 teaches that the voice of one crying in the wilderness will prepare the way before YHWH or God. Matthew 3:1-3 teach that John the Baptist is that voice. And if you read on down in Matthew chapter 3, John was the forerunner of the Lord Jesus. So according to Isaiah the prophet, in chapter 40 verse 3 of his book, John the Baptist is the voice who prepared the way for YHWH, identified as the Lord Jesus Christ. That's the only way that reason can come up with an answer or a solution to that comparison. Jesus must be the YHWH spoken of in Isaiah 40:3, since the voice of one crying in the wilderness is John the Baptist and John prepared the way for Jesus.
Similarly, In Zechariah 12:10 we read:"And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son."Now if you would read John chapter 19 starting at around verse 34 on down to verse 37, you would find out that the same verse is referred to in the New Testament and it is applied to none other than Jesus Christ. By the way, the piercing here refers to the Roman soldier pushing the spear up into the side of the Lord (Jn. 19:34). Also, it was never the Father who was pierced by the Roman spear. It could have only been the Son. In Zechariah 12:10, YHWH is speaking. He said it was me that they pierced. How could that be, unless Jesus is God? And that's exactly what Thomas believed (Jn. 20:28). And that's exactly how the Heavenly Father identified him in Hebrews 1:8.
A final comparison is found in Isaiah 8:13, 14. And I think this is a very good one to remember:"The LORD Almighty [you might underline the word almighty] is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread, and he will be a sanctuary; but for both houses of Israel he will be a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall."Who is the he referring to? The LORD Almighty. This same passage is referred to by the Apostle Peter in his first epistle, chapter 2 verses 6-8. The context is Jesus:"For in Scripture it says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.' Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone,' and ‘A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.' "Peter applies those verses in Isaiah to Jesus. Isaiah said it's the LORD Almighty. Peter must have believed Jesus is YHWH Almighty. Did he not call Jesus, "God" in 2 Peter 1:1? Wasn't he an apostle? He was in the truth. He was in the light. Mr. Jehovah's Witness, why can't you say the same about Jesus?
Four Unique Attributes That Only God PossessesLet me cite another proof regarding the deity of Christ. I pointed out before the fact that if Jesus is God by nature, he would have to be eternal, all-knowing, all-powerful and everywhere present. Let me cite a few verses that show Jesus possesses these four unique attributes that only God possesses. And if you or me or anyone else in this universe would possess these four unique attributes, that person or thing would be part of the Godhead. Obviously, it's uniquely held by the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit because those three persons alone are eternal, all-knowing, all-powerful and everywhere present.
First, Jesus is eternal. Micah 5:2 says he is from everlasting. Col. 1:16 states that he created everything. If Jesus created everything, he can't be part of his own creation. So he would have to be eternal.
In 1 Jn. 1:2, we find out that Jesus is called eternal life. Now how could eternal life have a beginning? Eternal life cannot have a beginning because it's eternal. And that is what Jesus is identified as in 1 Jn. 1:2. Jesus, therefore, is eternal. He's not created. All the verses the JWs would use to say that he was created mean something else, as can be proven.
Jesus is also known as all-knowing or omniscient. That is found in John 14:14 where it's certainly alluded to because Jesus said whatever you ask me, I will do it. Jesus said we could pray to him. For us to pray to him, we are really saying that Jesus would have to be all-knowing because if there's a group of us here in the USA praying to the Lord Jesus, and another group over in Canada, and another group down in Mexico, Jesus would have to be all-knowing to hear all of our prayers at the same point in time.
And there is still more indirect proof that he is all-knowing. In John 16:29, 30 we read:"Then Jesus' disciples said, ‘Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.' "And this same truth is reiterated again in John 21:17. Jesus said the third time to Simon, do you love me? And then we read:"Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?' He said, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.' "So we see that Jesus is eternal; he's all-knowing.
Is he all-powerful? Absolutely. I already referred to the Scripture in Matthew 28:18 where he said, all authority or all power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. So he is all-powerful.
Is Jesus everywhere present? Matthew 18:20 teaches he is because Jesus said he promises where two or three are gathered in my name there am I in the midst of them. Jesus is where Christian brothers and sisters are gathered, two or three of them. So he's everywhere present. Did not Jesus say in Rev. 3:20, behold here I am. I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice and open the door, I'll come in and eat with him and he with me? For him to make that promise, he would have to be everywhere present, and therefore God.
So Jesus is called God and there are comparisons between the Old and the New Testament that show the same. He is eternal, all-knowing, all-powerful and everywhere present. Therefore Jesus Christ is God. There's no question about that.
The Holy Spirit: God By NatureWhat else do we need to know when trying to prove the Trinity doctrine to the Jehovah's Witnesses? The next thing you need to deal with is the Holy Spirit. You already showed the Jehovah's Witness that the Holy Spirit is not an active force. You showed the Jehovah's Witness that the Holy Spirit is a person, but is the person of the Holy Spirit God by nature? Well, let's find out. In Acts 5:3, 4 we read this:"Then Peter said, ‘Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.' "Verse 3 says he lied to the Holy Spirit. Verse 4 says he lied to God. Therefore the Holy Spirit must be God.
The Deity of The Holy SpiritI already shared a few comparisons between the Old and the New that show the deity of Christ. What about the deity of the Holy Spirit? Can it be shown the same way? Yes it can. I can show you more comparisons between the Old and the New Testaments that will show that the Holy Spirit is God.
In Exodus 17:2, 7 we read:"So they quarreled with Moses and said, ‘Give us water to drink.' Moses replied, ‘Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the LORD [that is, Jehovah] to the test?' " ... "And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the LORD [that is, Jehovah] saying, ‘Is the LORD [or is Jehovah] among us or not?' "Now this is referred to in the New Testament in Hebrews 3:9. I want you to see the comparison. In Hebrews 3:9 it is the Holy Spirit that is speaking from verse 7. In verse 9 the Holy Spirit is still speaking and he said, "where your fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did." So the Holy Spirit is the one they tested, but Exodus 17 says it was Jehovah. So the Holy Spirit must be Jehovah, or YHWH.
A second comparison is found in Jeremiah chapter 31:31-34. This is an Old Testament prophecy about the New Covenant, or the New Testament:" ‘The time is coming,' declares the LORD, ‘when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,' declares the LORD. ‘This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,' declares the LORD. ‘I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, "Know the LORD," because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,' declares the LORD. ‘For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.' "This is a prophecy in the Old Testament regarding the covenant that we're now under. Hebrews chapter 10:15-17 is where we need to go now. NOTE: The Holy Spirit is speaking:"The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: ‘This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.' Then he adds: ‘Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.' "So we see very clearly, by way of Old and New Testament comparisons, that this is again proof that the Holy Spirit is deity for the LORD is the one who forgives and remembers sins no more, yet the other passage says it's the Holy Spirit.
Another comparison would be Isaiah 6:8-10 and Acts 28:25-27. Please ponder these passages for yourself.
Is the Holy Spirit eternal, all-knowing, all-powerful and everywhere present? Let's look into the evidence.
Is he eternal? Hebrews 9:14 states that the Holy Spirit is indeed eternal. He's called the eternal Spirit.
Is he all-knowing? 1 Corinthians 2:10, 11 teach that the Holy Spirit is all-knowing. He knows everything:"but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God."So these verses show that the Holy Spirit is omniscient or all-knowing. Is he all powerful? Luke 1:35 teaches that he is. Is he everywhere present? Psalm 139:7, 8 teach that the Holy Spirit is everywhere present.
The Only Rational ConclusionLet me recap. The Holy Spirit is called God (Acts 5:3,4). The Holy Spirit, by way of comparisons between the Old and the New Testament, is shown to be deity (Ex. 17:2,7 cf. Heb. 3:9; Jer. 31:31-34 cf. Heb. 10:15-17; etc.) and the Holy Spirit is eternal, all-knowing, all-powerful and everywhere present. Therefore, Mr. and Mrs. Jehovah's Witness, the only rational thing to conclude is, that the Bible teaches the Trinity doctrine even though the word itself is not found in the Bible. By the way, many words are not found in the Bible, but they are taught. The word bible is not in the Bible. The word millennium is not found in the Bible, but it is certainly taught several times at least in Revelation chapter 20. Just because the word is not there does not mean it's not taught. The Trinity doctrine is taught in the Bible.
Hopefully, if you can share this information with an open Jehovah's Witness, and there are some, they will see just what these Scriptures are teaching and they'll cling to this truth. I would recommend that when you're dealing with a Jehovah's Witness that you avoid, if possible, the subject of the Trinity and go to the subject of salvation. But if you can't, and you must give an answer for the Trinity doctrine, then let me recommend the evidence that I just brought forth.
United Pentecostals (Jesus Only) and the ApostolicsWhat about the United Pentecostals, also known as the Jesus Only people or the Apostolics? How do you deal with them? They believe in the deity of Christ. They believe that the Holy Spirit is God. But they believe that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are three different modes revealing the same divine person. And they will argue this way. They will say, I am a son, a husband and a father. Notice the comparison: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. So you see, it's possible. How would you answer? You are not your own father. That's the answer. You might be a father. You might be a son. You might be a husband, but you're not your own father. And Jesus is not the Father. And I'll show you why I say that. One of the reasons the Jehovah's Witnesses will refer to John 17 in their effort to disprove the Trinity doctrine is, as I pointed out before, because they were taught by the Watchtower that we Trinitarians believe Jesus is the Father-something we don't believe. But their argument is a good one to use with the Jesus Only people. And that argument is from John 17. Jesus prayed to the Father. Was he praying to himself? Ask a United Pentecostal that. In John 17, was Jesus praying to himself? How then could he be the Father?
There are a lot of other verses that show that there is plurality in the Godhead again, this time in distinct and separate persons. In John 14:23 we read:"Jesus replied, ‘If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.' "Notice the plural words we and our. The we and our refer to the Father and the Son.
2 John 9 is one of many verses that refute eternal security. But 2 Jn. 9 also shows plurality in the Godhead:"Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son."So with the plural word both we know that Jesus is not the Father. He can't be the Father, because the word both is plural.
Probably the best argument is John 8:17, 18. This is Jesus speaking and he said:"In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two men is valid. I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the one who sent me, the Father."He said, me and the Father are two. So Jesus cannot be the Father.
In Revelation 5:7, we see where the Lamb comes to the One seated on the throne, and takes the scroll from his hand. We see where one is seated and one is standing. One is stationary, one is moving. One is yielding and the other is taking. So they can't be the same. Clearly they are two distinct and separate persons.
Finally, Jn. 4:24 states that God is spirit. In contrast, the resurrected Jesus said regarding himself in Lk. 24:39, handle me and see because a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see me have. A spirit, like the Father, doesn't have flesh and bones. Yet Jesus has flesh and bones. So he can't be the Father.
Is Jesus The Holy Spirit?Is Jesus the Holy Spirit, like the United Pentecostals or the Jesus Only group or the Apostolics would say? John 14:16 gives us the answer. And really it's the Greek. If you know something about the Greek here, this is where it will really pay off. In John 14:16, Jesus said:"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever-the Spirit of truth."This word another in the Greek here means a numerical difference. So Jesus cannot be the Holy Spirit because it says another Counselor. So Jesus is a different Counselor than the Holy Spirit. They're distinct and separate.
Is The Father The Holy Spirit?Finally, I wonder if the Father is the Holy Spirit? If we can show that he is not, then we have shown that there are three separate and distinct persons in the Godhead. John 14:26 says:"But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you."Now notice, the Father is sending the Holy Spirit. Since it is impossible to send yourself, the Father can't be the Holy Spirit.
The Resurrection of Jesus ChristSo Jesus is not the Father. Jesus is not the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit is not the Father. One final bit of evidence for the Biblical teaching of the Godhead, also known as the Holy Trinity. And that is with the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Bible teaches that God raised Jesus from the dead (Acts 3:15 and Acts 13:30). And would you believe that elsewhere in the New Testament, we read that it was the Father who raised Jesus from the dead and it was the Son who raised himself from the dead. And finally, it was the Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead. So how could it say the Father raised him, the Son raised himself, and the Holy Spirit raised the Son, and yet at another place, it would say that God raised Jesus from the dead unless the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are the one true God by nature?
The verses are: The Father raised Jesus from the dead (Gal. 1:1). The Son raised himself from the dead (John 2:19-22; 10:17, 18). And finally, the Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8:11).
Is there a point in time in the Bible when all three appear individually at once? At Jesus' baptism, Jesus was there. The Holy Spirit in dove form was there. And the Father spoke from heaven.
A lot of people will brush aside the evidence, but that doesn't mean that the evidence is invalidated. All we can do is present the proof for these Biblical teachings and if they're a lover of the truth, they'll receive it. If not, they'll reject it. And you've done your part when you give them sound, irrefutable Biblical argumentation.
Comments from Ed:
When you're dealing with the Trinity doctrine, remember that they're always going to try to get you on how and why questions. Always revert back to the what and where. When anybody asks you, or they begin to question you about your concept of the Trinity doctrine, notice the questions that they ask you. It's always, well, how could God be a Trinity? Why is God a Trinity? And you begin to pinpoint the how and the why questions. The how and the why questions, this half of the question or this half of the argument is definitely a mystery. I don't know how he is, nor do I know why he has chosen to reveal himself that way. What you want to do is zero in on the what and where. And Dan has given you a ton of what and where. So you can basically say: There is a Father, a Son and a Holy Spirit, all three separate persons.
And we can go through the Scriptures. You can say, if the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit all have the same attributes of each other, and it says that God did it, then the three are the one person. For example, you can do this. Ask a Jehovah's Witness, who created the universe? Now in Isaiah 44:24, and also in Job 9:8, it says God alone created the universe. But yet we have Isaiah 64:8 that says the Father created. Jn. 1:3, Col. 1:16, Heb. 1:2 and Rev. 3:14 says the Son created. It also says the Holy Spirit created (Job 26:13 and Job 33:4). So you have Father, Son and Holy Spirit all active and participating in the creation. So again, zero in on what and where. Don't worry about how and why. Tell him, I can't give you how and why, but I can definitely give you what and where.
Ed's comments end.
Closing CommentsThe Jehovah's Witnesses have an answer for Jn. 1:1, and there's not very much that you can say. You might be able to drive home a point if you would have the Kingdom Interlinear. You could show a comparison between Jn. 3:16 and Jn. 1:1 where they try to make a point with a big G and a little g. Well the same exact Greek word theos used in Jn. 1:1 is translated in Jn. 3:16 with a capital G. Ask them: Well why isn't The New World Translation consistent because in Jn. 1:1 it's a little g and in Jn. 3:16 it's a big G? But I would stay away from the Trinity and the deity of Christ and hammer away on the subject of salvation: that we're saved by grace through faith. We trust in Jesus alone, not any organization, not any denomination. Of course, we have to repent or we will perish. And if a Jehovah's Witness does that, I truly believe that they'll become a Christian without believing in the Trinity.
Ed comments again:
The deity of Christ and salvation dove tail. And the reason is, when you're stressing salvation, you're stressing that the person needs to come to Jesus Christ. If Jesus Christ is not God, and this is when it's confusing to a Jehovah's Witness, is because if Jesus Christ is not God and we are coming to him, then it's idolatry. But if Jesus Christ is God and they don't come to him, they dishonor the Father. In John 5:23, Jesus says honor me as you honor the Father. If you do not honor me as you honor the Father, you dishonor the Father. So as the creator is above the creation, so is Jesus above his creation. So if Jesus is coming down and saying, look I want you to worship me, I want you to honor me, and he is not God, it's idolatry because we should only worship one. Exodus 34:14 says we only are to worship him. But Jesus shows up on the scene and he says, worship me, honor me. So therefore, if Jesus is a creation, every Christian is an idolater because we have worshiped the creation. But if Jesus Christ is God, Jehovah's Witnesses have dishonored Jehovah because they have not come to him.
Ed's comments end.
There's a Scripture in Jn. 8:24 that a lot of learned Christians would use to base their contention that you must believe in the deity of Christ to be saved. And this verse does not say the very thing that they're saying it does. Jn. 8:24 Jesus said:"I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins."It says in the KJV unless you believe I am he, you will die in your sins. ("He" is italicized, that means it's not there.) When Paul went inside of a synagogue in Acts chapter 13, you can read of his detailed sermon. You can also read of Peter's sermon in Acts chapter 10. To heathen people that did not believe in the deity of Christ or the Trinity, Paul and Peter never mentioned the deity of Christ or the Trinity doctrine in their salvation sermons and in spite of this people were still saved. Now if they were saved without hearing about the Trinity doctrine, then people today can get saved today without hearing about it. Jn. 3:16, God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whosoever would trust on, cling to, rely on him would not perish but have everlasting life. And of course that implies submitting your will to him. I've talked to a number of former Jehovah's Witnesses, and 90% told me that after they were saved, then they learned about the deity of Christ and the Trinity. Rather than trying to teach something so hard to understand, so abstract as the Trinity doctrine, why not present salvation as Paul and Peter did.
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