The Doctrine of the Trinity and Jesus
Why did Jesus come?
Before we enter a discussion about Jesus and His relationship to God, we will discuss through scripture why Jesus came.
Moses and Blood Sacrifices
The time of Moses was the first time that God revealed Himself to man in a real way, regulating laws, and instituting feasts, and setting down the way that man could be forgiven sin. Because we are dealing with Jesus we need to look back at a few things that point to His sacrificial death in the future. Specifically we are going to look at two things the Passover feast, and animal sacrifices. The Passover was described in the following way:
Exo 12:21-23 Moses called the leaders of Israel together and said: Each family is to pick out a sheep and kill it for Passover. Make a brush from a few small branches of a hyssop plant and dip the brush in the bowl that has the blood of the animal in it. Then brush some of the blood above the door and on the posts at each side of the door of your house. After this, everyone is to stay inside. During that night the LORD will go through the country of Egypt and kill the first-born son in every Egyptian family. He will see where you have put the blood, and he will not come into your house. His angel that brings death will pass over and not kill your first-born sons.
The blood of a lamb prevented God from destroying the Israelite families. While anyone without the blood protection suffered loss. When Moses entered the wilderness God instituted sacrifices for sins. These had to be blood sacrifices, animals were put to death to atone for sin. To make people right with God when they sinned. One such example follows:
Lev 14:10-12 On the eighth day you must bring to the priest two rams and a year-old female lamb that have nothing wrong with them; also bring a half pint of olive oil and six pounds of your finest flour mixed with oil. Then the priest will present you and your offerings to me at the entrance to my sacred tent. There he will offer one of the rams, together with the pint of oil, as a sacrifice to make things right.
Move forward to the New Testament, when Jesus came. John the Baptist announced Him in this way:
Joh 1:29 The next day, John saw Jesus coming toward him and said: Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
John the Baptist said that Jesus was the Lamb of God, that would take away the sin of the world. This was a reference to the animal sacrifices of the past.
Christ Prophecied in Past Scriptures
One of the apostles said what John said in the following way:
1Co 15:3-4 I told you the most important part of the message exactly as it was told to me. That part is: Christ died for our sins, as the Scriptures say. He was buried, and three days later he was raised to life, as the Scriptures say.
So the apostles say the scriptures say Jesus must die. We will show one of these from the Old Testament, taken from the book of Isaiah written approximately 700 years before Christ came, it is a prophecy of His coming.
Isa 53:1-12 Has anyone believed us or seen the mighty power of the LORD in action? Like a young plant or a root that sprouts in dry ground, the servant grew up obeying the LORD. He wasn't some handsome king. Nothing about the way he looked made him attractive to us. He was hated and rejected; his life was filled with sorrow and terrible suffering. No one wanted to look at him. We despised him and said, "He is a nobody!" He suffered and endured great pain for us, but we thought his suffering was punishment from God. He was wounded and crushed because of our sins; by taking our punishment, he made us completely well. All of us were like sheep that had wandered off. We had each gone our own way, but the LORD gave him the punishment we deserved. He was painfully abused, but he did not complain. He was silent like a lamb being led to the butcher, as quiet as a sheep having its wool cut off. He was condemned to death without a fair trial. Who could have imagined what would happen to him? His life was taken away because of the sinful things my people had done. He wasn't dishonest or violent, but he was buried in a tomb of cruel and rich people. The LORD decided his servant would suffer as a sacrifice to take away the sin and guilt of others. Now the servant will live to see his own descendants. He did everything the LORD had planned. By suffering, the servant will learn the true meaning of obeying the LORD. Although he is innocent, he will take the punishment for the sins of others, so that many of them will no longer be guilty. The LORD will reward him with honor and power for sacrificing his life. Others thought he was a sinner, but he suffered for our sins and asked God to forgive us.
It is interesting to note that Jesus died during the Passover feast, the feast representing the blood protecting God’s people. Jesus died as a sacrifice for sins. But who was Jesus?
Jesus Equal to God
Christ with God, and is a part of God
Joh 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made.
John 1:1 shows us that Jesus was with God in the beginning, and that what we know of as God, Jesus was that, Jesus was God.
This comes to a very complex part of the doctrine of God, the multifaceted nature of God. That God is not an individual being, but rather a complex entity, who for simplicity has presented himself as a single God. So we should see this multifaceted nature in scripture, and we do.
Jesus defined who we worship when he said the following:
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:
Jesus depicted three parts to God, the Father, who is over all in authority, the Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, these all being equal of worship, although differing in authority among themselves. But it does not stop there, the Holy Spirit is a seven fold Spirit not a single entity. The Holy Spirit is depicted as being a part of the LORD in the OT. This is why miracles occur in units of seven, and why the days of creation were seven in number. So where do we see this doctrine. It is in the OT but also the new.
Zec 4:1-14 And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep. And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have seen, and, behold, a candlestick all of gold, with its bowl upon the top of it, and its seven lamps thereon; there are seven pipes to each of the lamps, which are upon the top thereof; and two olive-trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. And I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these are? And I said, No, my lord. Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of Jehovah unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith Jehovah of hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain; and he shall bring forth the top stone with shoutings of Grace, grace, unto it. Moreover the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that Jehovah of hosts hath sent me unto you. For who hath despised the day of small things? for these seven shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel; these are the eyes of Jehovah, which run to and fro through the whole earth. Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive-trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? And I answered the second time, and said unto him, What are these two olive-branches, which are beside the two golden spouts, that empty the golden oil out of themselves? And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these are? And I said, No, my lord. Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.
In reading the above passage we see a candle stick with seven lamps, which is called the LORD. These seven are called the seven spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. We see from this passage God is not one entity.
There is other proof of this: One of the earliest Church Fathers and writer apart from the apostles was Justin Martyr, he was a philosopher who turned to Christ, living approximately 60 years after the apostles states - "These things, I think, Plato having learned from the prophets regarding the Holy Ghost, he has manifestly transferred to what he calls virtue. For as the sacred prophets say that one and the same spirit is divided into seven spirits, so he also, naming it one and the same virtue, says this is divided into four virtues;"
So why is the Holy Spirit, as seven members, important to the doctrine of the trinity? If we go to the book of Revelation we see Jesus is depicted in the same way as the LORD in Zachariah, He is depicted as having the same eyes as the Father.
Rev 5:6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
So Jesus is depicted in the same way as the OT Father. But what other proof do we have that Jesus was God, or a part of the Godhead.
Jesus called God His Father
Jesus called God His father, in the same way we say our dad was our father.
John 5:17-18 But Jesus said, "My Father has never stopped working, and that is why I keep on working." Now the leaders wanted to kill Jesus for two reasons. First, he had broken the law of the Sabbath. But even worse, he had said that God was his Father, which made him equal with God.
John 10:33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.
The jews were sure Jesus was calling Himself equal to God.
On the day before His crucifixion Jesus stated that “Yes” God was His Father.
Mark 14:60-64 And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death.
Jesus said His body was the temple (where God dwells)
Joh 2:19-21 Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." Then the Jews said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?" But He was speaking of the temple of His body.
To the Jews the temple was the place where God dwelt, to say His body was the temple was to suggest that God lived in Jesus.
Other times Jesus made Himself Equal to God
Joh 14:1 "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.
Jon 14:9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
John 12:45 He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me.
Joh 5:21 Just as the Father raises the dead and gives life, so the Son gives life to anyone he wants to.
Joh 5:25-29 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
Joh 8:56-58“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” So the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”
Joh 14:8-11 Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us." Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.
The Apostles called Jesus God
The fact is that the apostles, people who knew Jesus and walked with Him. State that Jesus was God. There are many places where Christ is shown to be God. But we will quote a few here.
Col 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
Col 1:15-17 Christ is exactly like God, who cannot be seen. He is the first-born Son, superior to all creation. Everything was created by him, everything in heaven and on earth, everything seen and unseen, including all forces and powers, and all rulers and authorities. All things were created by God's Son, and everything was made for him. God's Son was before all else, and by him everything is held together.
Phi 2:5-6 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God
John 20:27-28 “Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
The OT also has statements that we see were prophesying God coming in the flesh.
Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Mat 1:21-23 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.
Church Fathers say Jesus was God
The church fathers the earliest writers apart from the apostles state Jesus is God.
Ignatius – Epistle to the Trallians Mary then did truly conceive a body which had God inhabiting it. And God the Word was truly born of the Virgin, having clothed Himself with a body of like passions with our own. He who forms all men in the womb, was Himself really in the womb, and made for Himself a body of the seed of the Virgin, but without any intercourse of man. He was carried in the womb, even as we are, for the usual period of time; and was really born, as we also are; and was in reality nourished with milk, and partook of common meat and drink, even as we do. And when He had lived among men for thirty years, He was baptized by John, really and not in appearance; and when He had preached the Gospel three years, and done signs and wonders, He who was Himself the Judge was judged by the Jews, falsely so called, and by Pilate the governor; was scourged, was smitten on the cheek, was spit upon; He wore a crown of thorns and a purple robe; He was condemned: He was crucified in reality, and not in appearance, not in imagination, not in deceit. He really died, and was buried, and rose from the dead
God suffered so He could Understand Us
So why did God cloth Himself in human flesh, and suffer for us. One reason is He wanted to experience humanity so he could understand what it was like to be human.
Heb 4:14-15 Having then a great high priest, who hath passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but one that hath been in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace to help us in time of need.
We also know from the OT that every sacrifice had to be perfect, without defect. The priests also had to be without defect. This shows us that the sacrifice for sins had to be pure only God is pure.
Jesus was offered as a pure sacrificial lamb, to enable Him to both understand us, and offer forgiveness to take away our sins.