TRINITARIANISM WAS not originally accepted because its arguments were not in its favor, but the power of Emperor Constantine and his successors forced the Trinity doctrine upon the Christian world. Its opponents were banished and degraded even though they had the better argument in their favor. The majority of Christian people at first sided with its opponents and recognized the Trinity teaching as opposed to the belief that had prevailed from the days of Christ and the Apostles; but they had to bow to the might of the emperors who forced their subjects to receive this error. Though the controversy lasted for several centuries, its opponents were forced to give up.
As mentioned before, the word trinity is not found anywhere in the Bible; in fact, it does not even appear in Christian literature until the beginning of the third century A.D. and it was not prevalent until the fourth century. The Jews, God’s Old Testament Covenant people and custodians of the Old Testament (Romans 3: 1, 2), never held any Trinity teaching, nor is there any hint of it in the Talmud or the other rabbinical writings on the Old Testament.
But despite these considerations, Trinitarians insist that the Trinity is taught in the Old and New Testaments. Some passages may seem to favor their teaching, in some cases because of having been mistranslated by those who held the Trinity doctrine; but, rightly understood, these passages do not so teach. All important matters of doctrine and practice must be determined on the basis of Scriptures (Isaiah 8: 20) (Acts 17: 11), in harmony with sanctified reason and facts (Isaiah 1: 18). Therefore, we will now examine the Scripture teachings on the subject, including those claimed by Trinitarians to teach their doctrine. We begin by considering Bible passages that show there is only one supreme God, Jehovah.
Only One Supreme God
The Bible clearly teaches that there is but one Eternal God and Father, Jehovah – who is “from everlasting to everlasting” (Psalm 90: 2) (Romans 16: 26, 27); and but one “only begotten Son” of the Father (John 1: 18; 3: 16).
The word “god” is used as a common noun when referring to the many gods in heaven and earth, and as a proper noun when referring to the “one God, the Father.” This is the one God, Jehovah, spoken of in Deuteronomy 6: 4: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD”; or more literally: “Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one – Jehovah,” or “Jehovah is our God; Jehovah is one.” “There is none other but he” (Mark 12: 29, 32).
The word “god” signifies “mighty one, but not always the All-Mighty One – Jehovah. It is used as the translation of each of four Hebrew words – el, elah, eloah and elohim – all of which signify the mighty, or great. It is a general name, often and properly applied to our Heavenly Father, as well as to our Lord Jesus (prophetically), to angels, and to mighty ones among men.
In Deuteronomy 10: 17 elohim – a mighty or great one – is used in referring to Jehovah, the Almighty God, as well as to other gods: “Jehovah your God is God of gods.” Though the Hebrew word elohim is plural in form, it is used to apply in either a singular or plural sense, for example, we may apply our word “we” to one person as the editorial “we” in the case of an editor of a newspaper or magazine.
Thus, the plural form elohim applies to Jehovah as the plural of majesty. In Genesis 32: 30 and Judges 13: 21, 22 an angel, an individual, as a messenger from Jehovah, is called elohim, and in Exodus 7: 1 this term is applied to Moses. Old Testament writers used the plural elohim regularly with singular verbs and adjectives to denote a singular idea. Like our word “sheep,” elohim is used for both singular and plural designations.
In Exodus 12: 12 the princes of Israel are referred to as gods – elohim. And in Exodus 21: 6; 22: 8, 9, 28, the word elohim is used to refer to the judges of Israel appointed by Moses, because they were mighty ones, persons in positions of considerable authority. In Genesis 3: 5 and in about 200 other places in the Old Testament, angels, as spirit beings, are called gods.
In Psalm 82: 1 the distinction of beings referred to by the word god is very marked: “God [elohim] standeth in the congregation of the mighty [el]; he judgeth among the gods [elohim].” Here the first word, “God,” evidently refers to Jehovah, the Almighty One, while “the mighty” and “the gods” refer to other mighty ones – the Gospel Age Church, the sons of God, of whom Jesus is the Head, and of whom it is written (v. 6), “I have said, Ye are gods [elohim]; and all of you are children of the most High [el yon, the highest God].”
The Heavenly Father is the mighty One over all other mighty ones – the One Supreme God over all. No others are mighty or great, except as they receive their greatness, as well as their existence, from Him. It is in this sense that Jesus said, “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God” (Matthew 19: 17). Thus, Jesus emphasized that Jehovah alone is the great Source of all that is good, and that whatever He had in Himself that was good (and all of it was good) was from His Father. Thus, He gave God, His Father, the credit for the good that was in Himself, even as we should do in respect to ourselves (1 Corinthians 15: 10) (Ephesians 3: 7).
Many other Scriptures teach: (1) that the Father in contrast with all others is the Supreme Being (John 17: 3) (1 Corinthians 8: 4-6) (1 Timothy 2: 5). These, contrasting the Father and the Son, call the Father alone the One God, therefore imply that He alone is the Supreme Being. A few of many passages in which Jesus and the Apostles testify to the Father’s sole supremacy include: (John 14: 28) (1 Corinthians 15: 28; 11: 3); and (2) all the passages that treat of God’s unity treat of Him as but one person or being, none ever mentioning Him as being three persons in one being.
Jehovah Alone is Almighty God
The name Jehovah is not a general term, like the word god, but is a proper name, the distinctive personal name of the Almighty Father, and is never in the Scriptures applied to any other being. The name Jehovah, Yahveh, or Yahweh (depending on how many and which vowels are supplied to the Tetragrammaton, JHVH), like other proper names, should not be translated. In many translations of the Old Testament, its distinctiveness as a name is lost by being generally translated Lord. The name JHVH (Jehovah) occurs 6,823 times in the Old Testament.
Some erroneously suppose that the name Jehovah applies at times also to Jesus. We will therefore cite a few of many Scriptures proving that this name belongs exclusively to Jehovah, the great First Cause of all things:
“That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all” (Psalm 83: 18).
“I am the LORD [Jehovah]: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another” (Isaiah 42: 8). Not only is the name Jehovah applied to the Supreme Being as His exclusive name; but as Jehovah He is shown not to be the Son, who is here represented as being called, held, kept, given by Jehovah. Jehovah is the Hebrew name used in the text always where we have the title “Lord” written in small capitals in the King James Version, as is the case with the title “LORD” used in Isaiah 42: 6-8.
Jeremiah 23: 6, when properly translated, clearly distinguishes between God as Jehovah exclusively, and Christ. Trinitarians have grossly mistranslated and miscapitalized this passage to read their Trinitarianism into it. The proper translation shows that Christ is not Jehovah: “This is the name which Jehovah shall call him [Christ], Our Righteousness.” Please compare this with 1 Corinthians 1: 30. Thus He is Jehovah’s appointed Savior for the world, not Jehovah Himself.
Psalm 110: 1 also demonstrates that Jesus is not Jehovah: “The LORD [Jehovah, in the Hebrew] said unto my [David’s] Lord [adon, not Jehovah, in the Hebrew], Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” Here Jehovah and Jesus are clearly distinguished from each other, with Jehovah promising to exalt Jesus (David’s Lord): (Matthew 22: 41-46) (Hebrews 1: 13) to His right hand during the Thousand-year Reign (Revelation 20: 4, 6) (Daniel 7: 13, 14), when all enemies shall be put under His feet (1 Corinthians 15: 25).
(to be continued)