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Monday, March 16, 2009

Old Testament Concept of God

The following section contains writings on the Old Testament Concept of God which show how the Trinity is indeed thoroughly soaked within the language of the Old Testament. There God reveals Himself like no other!

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Blogger B. W. Melvin said...

Old Testament and the Trinity: The Old Testament Concept of God

Back during the early 1980’s as a new Christian, I discovered that the Old Testament (OT) used several Hebrew words in the bible for God such as Elohim, Yahweh, Eloah and El. These Hebrew words were translated into English as either God or Lord. So as an experiment in bible reading, with no agenda to prove anything, I began reading through the Old Testament one book at a time, accompanied with a Strong’s Concordance and began marking these words with circles whenever Elohim, Yahweh, and El was translated into God or Lord.

I then color coded these so I could see which of these Hebrew words for God was used. A blue ink circle was around Eloah and Yaweh. Elohim was circled in orange and El circled in brown. I did the same for the word lord – adoni whenever these were used denoting God. After doing this, I was amazed at what I was reading.

As I began to study Hebrew, I discovered that there were variations of the spellings for the words that were translated God in the OT such as haElohim along with the uses of personal pronouns (I, us, my, me, thy, thine, and the use of I am) and other words associated or attached to these Hebrew words for God (such as El-yon – God Most High, El Shaddai, Yahweh Elohim, Malek Yahweh, Ruach, Panim etc) This caused me to add more highlighted colors in various ways to identify these quickly.

Along with this came learning of basic Hebrew grammar and I discovered, by accident, that the Old Testament, in its usages of these words described God in complete Trinitarian terms. In other words, God was revealing that there 'is' truly and absolutely none like him!

Isaiah 46:9. “Remember the former things of old: that I am God (EL), and there is none else; I am God (Elohim), and there is none like Me…” JPS

Jeremiah 10:6, “There is none like unto Thee, O LORD (Yahweh); Thou art great, and Thy name is great in might.” JPS

Psalms 86:8, “There is none like unto Thee among the gods, O Lord (Adonai), and there are no works like Thine.” JPS

I discovered and began seeing Jesus within the pages of the OT speaking as well as the Father and Holy Spirit. I saw that Moses understood this as well as the Patriarchs. After doing this color coded method, I am still amazed when I read the OT, how it reveals God as One essence in three persons! Truly there is none like the Lord!!

So, the purpose of this series is to share with the reader a few of my findings. This will be a study on the Jewish Trinity of God as revealed in the OT. I know that there are those that when they hear the word 'Trinity' mentioned, they desire nothing more than to attack it with venom.

If that is you, then I suggest that before you do, please use the color coded method for the names of God that I used (this will take 6 months to a year to complete) within the Old Testament. So please sit back, relax, take a chill pill, and look at what I write with unbiased innocence keeping your thoughts to yourself.

If you would but listen and read, many of your objections towards the doctrine of the Trinity will answered all without you having to ask. Such is the power of the Word of God (Malek Yahweh ha-EL Shaddai)

So for the reader...


(Yahweh) The LORD bless thee, and keep thee;

(Yahweh) The LORD make His face (Panim) to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee;

(Yahweh) The LORD lift up His countenance (Panim) upon thee, and give thee peace.

So shall they put My name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them.'

Numbers 6:24-27

Sunday, 18 January, 2009  
Blogger B. W. Melvin said...

Before we continue this study, one must remember that our modern English Translations of the bible were translated from ancient Hebrew and Greek biblical text. For example, the words Lord/God in our English texts are just two words translated from several words that the biblical writers used to describe God.

Since we are primarily focusing on the Old Testament (OT), it is important to know several basic word meanings that the ancient Hebrew people used for the word ‘God.’ After this, we will have the basic understanding to begin this study in more detail.

Below is a basic list of such words as well as their basic meanings. Please do not try to read into these more than they mean in the following sections:

El = means God, and it is used in the singular form for God. Basically it is used in a generic sense as we would in English the word ‘God’

Elohim = This is the plural form of El and is capitalized when referring to the one true God. Actually this is a plural form translated as gods. It is in the plural form much as how in English we add a ‘s’ at the end of a word. More on this word a bit later.

Yahweh = Name for God with the vowels of Adoni add to it so it can be pronounced. It is what God calls himself. (in some translations translated as Jehovah). In the Septuagint, the Greek word ‘Kurios’ is used, which means Lord. That is why, when you see in bible OT translations with LORD in caps – it is using Yahweh.

Ruach = Spirit when referring to God, as in Genesis 1:2 (Rauch of Elohim brooded over…), think of this as the Holy Spirit. When used generically – it means simply spirit.

Here are few other words often associated with the one true God that helps us understand and reveal who he is a bit better.

Malek – means messenger – one who bears a word and/or task. This actually is a generic word for ‘messenger’ which is sent on a task. The messenger can be anybody or any thing. It is often translated as angel because angels bear tasks for the Lord. IT DOES NOT MEAN ANGELIC BEINGS IN EVERY CASE IT IS USED. The context of scripture in which ‘Malek’ is used reveals what type of messenger (Malek) is being referred too: either human, angelic or divine.

Ha – Hebrew word form attached to a word that expresses - THE or Something that is all inclusive about what it is attached to. Example: haElohim = THE God…Hint – The majestic unique God or ‘The Godhead’ expressing all that God is in his entire being, all the totality of God, or in the case when used in a sentence describing false gods it usually reads all the gods.

Panim = means Presence or Face. It is a unique word written in a dual grammar form. In other words, it can be used as either as a singular or as a plural form.

Adoni = means generically - Lord. When referring to God, it is capitalized. It is also a plural form but again there are rules of grammar that makes it mean either Lord or lords.

These are important word meanings to note as in our English translations we only use two words – Lord, God, while the ancient Hebrew people used several words for God.

Please use this second post as a reference to refer too. The study will continue below in next post:

Sunday, 18 January, 2009  
Blogger B. W. Melvin said...

Continued from above

Now let us look at the Word Elohim and some basic in grammar

Elohim is the plural noun form of God and thus reads as Gods. However, there is a rule of grammar called the Majestic Plural (I am not here to prove or disprove if Majestic Plurals exist, The Majestic Plural rule is good in that it avoids the error of tri-theism).

The Majestic Plural rule basically summed up like this: When a plural noun word is followed by another word in the singular case (verb, adverb, adjective, etc) the Plural Word is used in a Singular Form i.e. without the ‘s’ attached.

However, this rule unravels because it is also used in conjunction with other plural words connected to the Majestic Plural form for the one true God. When a Plural noun such as Elohim is used with plural verb, adj, etc, the plural noun remains a plural and should not be used in the Majestic Plural case.

However, the Majestic Plural rule has exceptions to it when plurals are used with other plurals only when these refer to the Lord God of all heaven and earth. These exceptions were passed on to us by anti-Trinitarian scholars who do not believe in Christ and this is worthy of note for your own records as we explore this further later on but for now, let us continue.

Basically these scholars state that the majestic plural used in the case of Elohim was used to denote God’s Majesty, Excellency – hence a majestic plural. However, what traditional rabbinic scholars failed to note in this definition is to include God’s own uniqueness as spoken of by none other than God himself in the Old Testament into their definition:

Below is what the Lord says about himself. Why this is left out of the definition is unknown to me.

Isaiah 46:9. “Remember the former things of old: that I am God (EL), and there is none else; I am God (Elohim), and there is none like Me…” JPS

Jeremiah 10:6, “There is none like unto Thee, O LORD (Yahweh); Thou art great, and Thy name is great in might.” JPS

Psalms 86:8, “There is none like unto Thee among the gods, O Lord (Adonai), and there are no works like Thine.” JPS

Traditional rabbinic scholars recognized God’s majesty and excellence in the use of the Majestic Plural but left out his uniqueness in the definition. It makes me wonder if this was done in order to do away with any hint of the Trinity in the Old Testament.

However, by keeping ‘uniqueness’ out of the definition of the majestic plural use for ‘Elohim,’ Elohim is reduced to just mean majesty of excellence. But the Bible declares God is indeed unique and unlike anything one can comprehend! That should be added to the Majestic Plural use of Elohim but for anti-Trinitarians to do this would cause their belief system to begin to unravel.

God is one and He is also unlike all other gods – a Trinity. Bible translators capitalize the word God, when plural noun Elohim is used, without the ‘s’ attached to God when Elohim is used along with other singular parts of speech (verbs, adverbs, adj, etc). This also helps is stick to the facts concerning God being one God whose nature is itself a Trinity echaud. (Read the Shema in Deuteronomy 6 sometime)

God is Incomprehensible

The bible teaches that God is ‘incomprehensible’ in Job 11:7-9, and Job 36:26,and as it is written in Job 37:23, “The Almighty, whom we cannot find out… ” JPS

God himself declares in Isaiah 46:9, “Remember the former things of old: that I am God (EL (Singular noun), and there is none else; I am God (Elohim – Plural noun), and there is none like Me…” JPS

There is none like the Lord! This should cause our hearts to rise in wonderment concerning God. So let me pose these simple questions to any anti-Trinitarian:

If God is simply a solitary singular one – then He has become comprehensible as One. How can that be when the bible states:

Great is the LORD (Yahweh), and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable…Psalms 145:3 JPS

If God is simply a singular one then would this not reduce him to the same level as a false god say, like Zeus? Thus would this not be you comprehending God as you would any other (false) singular deity with majestic excellence?

How can God’s incomprehensibility remain intact if he is reduced to a ‘yachid’ (singular one) instead of as ‘echaud’ (one, one of unity, a united one)?”

The bible blatantly states that there are none like the Lord God, so then how can God be a unique singular solitary one in the same comprehensible frame as say – Zeus and still remain incomprehensible? Have you not made him comprehensible by making him a solitary singular diety? You say ‘No’ but I would like you to consider this: if comprehensible as a solitary single-alone-one then how can that be incomprehensible?

However, if God is, as we Trinitarians believe then:

God’s incomprehensibleness is preserved and God's own statement that – “there are none else and none like him” is likewise preserved!

Read again:

“Remember the former things of old: that I am God (EL – singular), and there is none else; I am God (Elohim – plural), and there is none like Me…Isaiah 46:9- JPS.

Yes, it is most difficult to simply define the Trinity in terms to completely understand and there is good reason for this – is there not?

Job 36:26
, “Behold, God is great, beyond our knowledge….” JPS

Reducing God to an easily defined oneness is not beyond our knowledge, is it? The Trinitarian concept of God is true to what the text in Job 32:26 states!

In fact, it appears that the ancient OT bible text are indeed thoroughly Trinitarian as revealed by the use of El, Elohim, Yahweh, Malek, Panim, etc! We will look further into how the bible uses the words Yahweh, Elohim, El, etc to express the majestic excellent uniqueness of the Lord.

We will also see how the incomprehensible God reveals himself and in doing so you’ll discover the incomprehensibleness of God being one essence in three persons in the upcoming discourses…

Monday, 19 January, 2009  
Blogger B. W. Melvin said...

The Orthodox Doctrine of the Trinity leaves the incomprehensibility and unique majesty of God intact. This doctrine is, indeed, found in the Old Testament discovered by how God reveals himself and also by the uses names such as El, Elohim, Yahweh, and other words associated with these names.

Elohim (Gods) is the Plural noun form of the singular noun El (God) and/or Eloah (singular). These are generic words used in their ancient days for God much as we would use the word God in English today. God's name Yahweh is unique as it describes and assigns a distinct name for God.

According to bible software, elohim is used 2601 times in 2247 verses describing both God and gods using a plural. El is used about 219 times in 212 verses and Eloah is used 58 times in 57 verses in the singular.

The ancient Hebrew word elohim was used to describe false gods (plural) but its primary use was to describe God – the God the Bible speaks of. Using computer bible software it looks like elohim when referring to false gods was used about 235 times in 207 verses. This would mean that Elohim was used approximately 2366 times to mean the God of the Bible. That is a lot of times for a plural noun for the word ‘God’ to be used!

This is extraordinary considering the Elohim is a true plural noun. The question arises, why would Elohim (a plural noun) be used approximately 2366 times to describe God when El or Eloah (singular) would have sufficed and also have been just as grammatically sound? Doing so would have avoided all prospects of error.

Scholars came up with the rule called the Majestic Plural to explain why. Basically the majestic plural rules states: When a plural word is followed by another word used in the singular case (verb, adverb, adjective, etc) the Plural Word is used in a Singular Form i.e. without the ‘s’ attached. Therefore a majestic plural was used in the case of Elohim to denote God’s Majesty, Excellency – hence a Majestic Plural. For example, Genesis should read something like this, “The Majestic God said let there be…”

This rule seems to fall apart when it is used with other Plural grammar forms when speaking of God. I am not here to debate if Majestic Plurals are real are not: just pointing out a few facts. The Majestic Plural does avoid the error of tri-theism. However, the use of the word El would have done that and we would not be having this conversation.

The point is that Elohim (a Plural noun), when referring to God Almighty was used about 2366 times when the singular El (singular noun) could have been used instead with the same thought of majesty conveyed. So the question is why?

Why describe God using a plural noun? Why did God himself use this word about himself? Was it to convey that when Elohim was used it should be translated as Majestic God? A Hebrew singular form of the word we translate as ‘Holy’ used with the word EL would have done that far better.

Approx 2366 times in the entire Old Testament is a lot of times to use a Plural noun when the singular noun form would have sufficed unless what God declares about himself is true – He is Majestically Unique as there are none like Him.

So it appears that God is saying something about himself as being One God majestically unique because he exist in plural form as it is written:

Remember the former things of old: that I am God (EL - singular), and there is none else; I am God (Elohim – Plural), and there is none like Me…Isaiah 46:9 - JPS

God even appeared many times to the Patriarchs, Moses, and the children of Israel in the form of threes (more on this later). Also, God speaks in the OT of sending his Right Hand to aid or that his arms will come forth to do some great thing. His eyes see. When these phrases are used, they are used in plural forms denoting two hands, two arms, two eyes and thus are metaphors describing One God that exists in plural form incomprehensible for the human mind to fully grasp.

Remember the former things of old: that I am God (EL - singular), and there is none else; I am God (Elohim – Plural), and there is none like Me…

Let s continue and look at the name Yahweh

Next, comes the uses of Yahweh. Yahweh is the name God gave himself. The ancient Hebrew scholars removed the vowels from this name and it looked something like this translated into English: Yhwh. They added the vowels from Adoni to this spelling and that is how we came to the word – Yahweh. Since we really do not know what the true vowels were, we use the name Yahweh to describe God’s proper name.

Yahweh is an interesting word as it is often associated and used with other words such as: Yahweh Elohim, Panim of Yahweh, Malek of Yahweh. Such uses indicated a revelation of God’s plural incomprehensible uniqueness. They describe the Person’s of the Godhead as well as reveal each of their personal attributes and characteristics that mark them as distinct persons.

Therefore the name Yahweh is most often associated with the Father, and can also refer to the Son, or the Holy Spirit according to its use with other words like Elohim, Malek, Panim. Yahweh can also refer to God in his entire majestic unique entirety of oneness, yet expresses three distinct persons of one essence.

Closing Comments

Let me state – the Orthodox doctrine of the Trinity is anti-tri-theism. We do not believe in three gods but rather that God is One God in three persons all of one essence as God himself revealed himself to be from the very pages of the bible.

This fulfills what He himself says about himself. The doctrine of the Trinity examines the incomprehensibleness of God and admits to this incomprehensibleness after examination: God is one and majestically unique unlike anything the human mind could ever conceive.

On the other hand, those that oppose the doctrine of Trinity reduce God into a singular deity form just as Zeus is described as a being a singular deity of one. Those who oppose, need to ask themselves why the temple was destroy in 70 AD. Why that religious system was completely destroyed. Examine the tragic history of a people that ensued from 70 AD to current date.

Please read Deuteronomy 5:6-11 and ask yourself what really was done that caused such a tragic history….Ah - however a brighter future awaits when they look upon the one whom they pierced…seeing who the Malek of Yahewh really is: El Shaddai!

Deuteronomy 32:2, "They have made me jealous with what is no god (el); they have provoked me to anger with their idols. So I will make them jealous with those who are no people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.

Remember the former things of old: that I am God (EL - singular), and there is none else; I am God (Elohim – Plural), and there is none like Me…” Isaiah 46:9 - JPS

Next post, well look at Panim of Yahweh...

To be continued…

Tuesday, 20 January, 2009  
Blogger B. W. Melvin said...

Post 4

Panim of Yahweh

Now we come to the ancient Hebrew word – Panim used in (OT) Old Testament times. Panim is a unique word because it is written in a dual grammar form. In other words, it can be used as either in singular or in plural form according to the context of scripture it is found in.

Panim (6440 strongs) = means Presence, Countenance or Face - or Presences, Countenances, or Faces. Depending if usage is plural or singular.

There is a singular form pronounced ‘Paneh.’ I cannot find it used in the OT and I heard that it is not used either in the OT. That is something one should note. Altogether Panim is used in about 1884 verses about 2119 times in a variety of ways and contexts. I will be looking at how it was used pertaining to God.

Often this word has been miss-translated as it pertains to God and a personal pronoun – me, I, etc, was used in its place. (English translations do use other words in its place so we miss its usage) Sometimes the word Panim is even ignored in some of our English translations (note - Jonah 1:3 in the NIV translation has it worded – from the Lord). This is something to be aware of as we shall soon see.

The Pamin of God

The Pamin of God are described in the OT as God’s Presence, Countenance, or Face and/or as Presences, Countenances, or Faces. The Panim(s) of God are also symbolized as the Arms, Hands, and Eyes of God in the bible. Notice that these symbols, metaphors, are in pairs – twos: Two hands, Two arms, Two eyes - used in Plural forms when describing how God describes how he gets something done. This is also important to note as you read the OT. There will be more on this at a later date.

Now, let us take a look at one passage of scripture so you can see that God himself speaks of having two Presences (panim). Numbers 6:24-27 records the blessing the priesthood used to bless the children of Israel. I will use the name Yahweh as it was used in the text instead of the English wording – The LORD.

Yahweh bless thee, and keep thee;

Yahweh make His face (Panim) to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee;

Yahweh lift up His countenance (Panim) upon thee, and give thee peace.

So shall they put My name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them.'

Numbers 6:24-27

The Hebrew spelling of Panim is the spelled the same each time it is used. You could translate either as Face or Presence without changing a thing in its meaning in both places. The point to note is that it is used twice. Also since the proper name for God (Yahweh) is used in the first verse this indicates God is speaking. Look at it as the Father speaking. If you cannot read it that way then read it as God.

Yahweh (God) bless thee, and keep thee;

Yahweh (God) make His face (Panim) to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee;

Yahweh (God) lift up His countenance (Panim) upon thee, and give thee peace...

Remember translators used two different words for Pamin even when Panim was spelled the same: face, countenance. Did they do this to erase any idea of God having two faces/two countenances? I do not know and it does not really matter because the text says what it says plain enough. You do have two Panim mentioned and that is the point.

These Panim are from the Father – God – they proceed from him and are him and are also distinct from him. Think of Jesus’ words in John 15:26. John 8:42. These Panim mentioned in Numbers 6 are spoken by God as distinct persons of the same essence, if not, why mentioned twice? If one Face/presence was really emphasized why was not the singular form Paneh used instead of the dual form for clarity of doctrine?

In fact, throughout the Old Testament (OT) when panim was used in connection to God, panim are spoken of as having separate distinctions. For example, God told Moses his Panim would lead the children of Israel to the promise land. If panim is restricted to farcical gestures alone – how could these lead? More on Moses later, for now, we need to build a foundation so we can recognize the how the Trinity is revealed in the OT by the use of Panim when referring to God.

The ‘left out’ Panim in Exodus 23:3

Now look at Exodus 23:3: “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” JPS

How many of you realized that the word translated Me is Panim? Would you have guessed it? Below is the grammar forms added in translation for you reference and please do your own study on this as you do not have to take my word for it:

“You shall have no (singular verb) other (Plural adj - acherim) gods (plural noun –elohim) before ([preposition ‘al’] means before, above, beyond) me (plural noun - Panim).” Ex 20:3 – EVS

The word Panim is used in this verse along with other plurals making Panim read in plural form (means to add an ‘s’ at the ending of the word!) Remember – plurals used with other plurals makes a plural form of a word and likewise singulars used with other singulars makes a singular form of a word.

The Hebrew preposition ‘before’ is used here. This prep is also translated as above, beyond, upon, together with, etc all throughout the OT. The word Panim was used here in the plural form. You could use Presences or Faces here and also remain true to the meaning of the text.

“You shall have no other gods before (above, beyond, upon, together with, etc) my Presence(s) – Face(s).”

(Is it any wonder anti-Trinitarian translators used the word Me instead of Panim (Faces, Presences here?)

Now note Context:

Exodus 20:1-6
, “And God spoke all these words, saying, 2 "I am the LORD (Yahweh) your God (Elohim), who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 "You shall have no other gods before (above, beyond, upon, together with, etc) my Face(s), my Presence(s).”

Please look at the words again in verses one and two: “And God (Elohim - plural) spoke all these words, saying, 2 "I am the LORD (Yahweh) your God (Elohim - plural ), who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery."

Then note that God includes in verse three the word Panim – “You shall have no other gods before my Face(s) – Presence(s)." Note that in Numbers 6:24-27 Yahweh mentions two presences – not one single presence but two. Do the math.

Note in light of this, verses 4-6 make more sense:

4 "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD (Yahweh) your God (Elohim – Majestic plural one) am a jealous God (El - singular), visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” ESV

Look at verse 5, “You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I (Yahweh) your God (Elohim – Majestic plural one) am a jealous God (El – singular)."

The word El could have been used twice in the text for clarity to substantiate anti-Trinitarian doctrine as true; however, Elohim was used which indeed makes God unlike anything man could think of. In other words a Majestic Plural as understood by the critics of the Trinity does not make sense used here because a plural of majesty is still a plural.

Now let’s look at:

Isaiah 46:9: “Remember the former things of old: that I am God (EL - singular), and there is none else; I am God (Elohim - Plural), and there is none like Me…” JPS

Do you see what the scriptures are saying? To me, it sounds a lot like part of the Nicene Creed being spoken here...

We will continue in next post examining the use of Panim from Genesis 35. I know this may sound boring at first but we need to build a foundation due to the critic’s of the Trinity’s cart blanc monopoly of interpretation of the Old Testament (OT).

Tuesday, 17 March, 2009  

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