The Deity of Jesus and the Trinity

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How clear is the biblical witness to the deity of Jesus and God’s triune nature? And is it essential for someone to believe in these doctrines in order to be saved? Listen live here 2-4 pm EST, and call into the show at (866) 348 7884 with your questions and comments.

 

Hour 1:

Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: We must exalt Jesus to His full stature as the eternal divine Son of God if we are to rightly relate to God Himself.

 

Hour 2:

Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: Never ever be afraid of the truth, because all truth is ultimately God’s truth and there is no fear in the truth of God.

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117 Comments
  1. I liked Dr. Brown’s answer regarding contemplative prayer.

    I think some Evangelical Christians are afraid of such things because they seem like Eastern mysticism.

    While it is true that Christian mysticism can outwardly look like Eastern mysticism, there is a HUGE difference — who you are worshipping.

    If you are being quiet before the true and living God, then it’s good. Very good.

    As for me personally, the “quiet” forms of prayer are a nice counter-balance to all the “gimme” prayers that are so common Evangelicalism.

    There is nothing wrong with asking God for things. But we do it so much!

    As a father, sometimes I just like being quiet with my child. I think our relationship with God can use some of that, too.

  2. I believe it’s good to meditate on God. Many people have received revelations, found things they had not considered, things that open up parts of scripture to them, because they thought upon something they read, even picturing in their mind’s “eye”.

    I believe God enjoys our seeking after him, seeking after the truth, seeking to understand more about Jesus, and he may reach out to us and meet us there, wherever we are at, at the time.

  3. Today’s broadcast was uplifting and edifying. Jesus is God! We were so blessed while listening, there was a special anointing as Jesus was magnified. Praise His holy name – JESUS!!!

  4. I felt like Amy.There is always a great anointing when Jesus is lifted up as Lord and God.
    I agree with Dr Brown that we cannot overstate the deity of Jesus or be too sold out to Him or give Him too much glory. I get the impression that the Protestant church is sometimes afraid of stating that Jesus is God. We like to say that He is the Son of God (which He is of course), but in many people’s minds that is like stopping just short of full divinity. They place the Holy Trinity on an Olympic dais with with first, second and third place. The Father is first, the Son is second and the Holy Spirit comes third.
    Coming from a Messianic context, I also see that this is one thing that characterizes many of those believers. They are afraid of giving Jesus His full glory in the fear of compromising their witness to Jews, or of being seen as too much in support of the ecumenical councils that formulated or clarified the Trinity, because they see them as too much a part of Christendom and not Jewish enough. It is playing into the hands of the devil if we make Jesus anything less than what He is.

  5. Ray,

    >>I believe it’s good to meditate on God. Many people have received revelations, found things they had not considered,…

    I was little surprised to hear Dr. Brown say that we shouldn’t medicate to find God within us. (I’m paraphrasing)

    Even us non-Pentecostals believe in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. I think being quiet before God allows us to hear His “still small voice.”

    I may be on thinner biblical ice, but I think this is true for non-Christians too. I’ve heard more salvation testimonies than I can count, and so many include hearing the voice of God (later known as the Holy Spirit) comes from _within_ them.

  6. I believe it’s good to meditate upon God’s word, and OK to picture Jesus when we read about him.

    So many artists have painted Jesus, and whenever I see a picture of Christ portrayed, I always seem to recognize it as him. Something of Christ always seems to come through.

  7. I have a feeling this thread will heat up here shortly. Unless it goes unnoticed…and that might be a first.

    I’m preparing myself, just in case.

  8. Ray,

    I never thought about that, but I guess it’s true for me as well. Pictures of Jesus usually seem like Jesus, to me, even when not labeled.

    There are some Medieval icons of Jesus that I might not recognize except that those old icons always give lots of clues that it is Jesus.

    The most unrecognizable portrayals of Jesus?
    Church Easter plays! Seriously, some of those guy don’t seem like Jesus, at all, to me.

  9. >>I have a feeling this thread will heat up here shortly. Unless it goes unnoticed…and that might be a first.

    Was it something I said?

    It’s usually something I say.

    I think, today, the only controversial thing I’ve said is that people seem to hear the Holy Spirit even before they are saved.

    Have you not heard similar testimonies?

  10. Oh no, Greg! Nothing you did or said. I was referring to Sir Anthony and others that deny the deity of Christ. Sorry, nothing about you!

  11. Greg,

    Yes I have heard similiar testimonies… unsaved ppl stating they were called by God or heard the HS.

    Im alwasy worreid about those ppl, because many cults & false religions are started based on these type of premises. Ex. Mormon & Muslims.

    I think John Weslsey sumed it up:
    “How many have mistaken the voice of their own imagination for this witness of the Spirit of God, and thence idly presumed they were the children of God while they were doing the works of the devil!”

  12. Sheila,

    Im almost sure buzzard will be here soon typing…

    “One means One….” “Uno mean one….its not simple”… etc…

    Im sure he’ll be here soon… and it will heat up…but i do think that if Buzzard doesnt show up… Im sure… Greg will say something

  13. Ty,

    I will candidly admit that what I say is from observation rather than from the Bible. Maybe somebody can think of a verse that says the Holy Spirit can “dwell” within a non-believer.

    Yes, some people hear an external calling of God (audible voice or whatever) but far more commonly seems to be the voice of the Holy Spirit coming from within them… even when they are not Christians.

    It’s a rather uncomfortable theology of the Spirit. It doesn’t strike me a cult-like but I can’t disagree with you.

    PS: I am not speaking for myself, I should note. In my born-again experience, I did sense a drawing of the spirit but I can’t say he spoke to me.

  14. Dr. Brown, you are on record as saying that ONE in Hebrew means some sort of plurality because ONE day has an evening and morning. This is false!
    The semantic value of ONE is the same in ONE nose, one Abraham and one family! Would you be willing to withdraw at least that argument about echad?
    No linguist will agree with you.
    Jesus made an easy unitarian statement in John 17:3 “You Father are the only (monos) one who is true GOD (theos).” Why is that so hard especially when 1300 times in the NT God (theos) = the Father and not Jesus!

  15. Sir Anthony,

    Hi, hope you’ve been well.

    I hear Jesus saying the same thing as we find in Deut. 6; nothing less, nothing more:

    Deu 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:

    Mar 12:29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:

    שָׁמַע shama`
    יִשְׂרָאֵל Yisra’el
    יְהֹוָה Yĕhovah
    אֱלֹהִים ‘elohiym
    אֶחָד ‘echad
    יְהֹוָה Yĕhovah

    Why do you think God felt the need to say that He was “one” YHWH? I mean, no other pretender god ever claimed to be more than one so why say it like that? I have my thoughts on it but would like to hear yours.

    Thanks.

  16. Another question, Sir Anthony. Is the Holy Spirit fully God?

    I’ve asked the question of many people now but haven’t gotten an answer yet.

    I’m trying to work some things out.

    Thanks.

  17. Sheila, the spirit is the operational presence of God or of Jesus (“the spirit of Jesus”). Not a third Person. Spirit is never worshiped or prayed to.

    Absolutely right Jesus never ever deviated from the One GOD of Israel. That YHVH is one Person, no other but HE, is very clear. The Greek has “the Lord our GOD is one Lord” not two or more YHVHs.

    People hardly understand this today.

  18. Anthony, In one sense you are correct as to how the Spirit operates. However the prayer, come Holy Spirit, as a direct invitation is certainly practiced in the Acts of the Apostles by gatherings, and in worship in Corinthians, Romans, and Ephesians. Ever read the Revelation???

    Saying then that God is three in One is not divisive at all by the notion of the Trinity. Look at the active manifestations at Jesus’ baptism. Father above with an affirming voice for the Son, below, with the Dove spirit descending the calling, ministry, connection, and affirmation. None is separated entirely, but may be orchestrated distinctly. There is nothing wrong with worshiping all three for you cannot have one without the other. It is a mystery of godliness, for sure. This next year you will certainly notice the activity of all as our planet is challenged.

    Shela, time to update the website, e-mail me.

  19. Sir Anthony,

    To read the shama the way it was originally written would be a completely different statement that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me:

    “…YHWH our God is one YHWH.”

    I don’t understand why God would say that unless He wanted us to know that the same One who ate lunch with Abraham and who was identified as God is also YHWH. To give us that revelation makes good sense!

  20. Sheila,

    Thanks but note what got lost in the discussion. Do you or do you not believe in NT Scripture?

    It is NT Scripture which gives us kurios mou and kurios mou is exactly ADONI– so then this just confirms that the Hebrew was adoni.

    Anthony

  21. Sir Anthony,

    Thanks. What I’m seeing in the shema is the tetragrammaton for Yahweh. That the tradition was in place in the NT period, of not pronouncing the NAME, speaks to the omission of God’s proper Name and that it was replaced with Adoni in the NT, doesn’t it? God has a proper NAME and His Name is YHWH not “the LORD.” Right?

    Of course I believe in all of Scripture.

    Thanks.

  22. Maybe it was Jesus who appeared unto Abraham, who also took with him two angels as witnesses against the city of Sodom, for Jesus said concerning the Father, “…for you have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.” (John 5:37)

    Perhaps it was the voice of God’s messenger that they heard from heaven, who said, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” (Matt 3:17)

  23. Hi Ray,

    “Maybe it was Jesus who appeared unto Abraham, who also took with him two angels as witnesses against the city of Sodom, for Jesus said concerning the Father, “…for you have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.” (John 5:37)”

    I believe it was Jesus who appeared to Abraham. (Genesis 18, Jhn 8:56,58) And I’ve always thought on John 5:37 too. So whose voice was it they heard at Mt. Sinai?!

  24. But then I considered that Jesus was talking to a specific audience and could have been directing his statement in John 5 to that generation. I don’t know though. God was eating and communing with the 70-72-74 (?) elders on the mountain Exd 24:10 “and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. 11 And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank.”

  25. I believe Jesus was the God of Israel, just as God the Father was and is also. When the word says they saw the God of Israel, or something like that, it may be that they saw Jesus, for he is the Word of God.

    I think about the voice they heard from heaven.
    Could it have been the Holy Spirit,(as God’s messenger) as the voice of God?

  26. Jesus said, “…if you do not believe I am He, ye shall die in your sins.” (John 8:24) The question is – believe Jesus is Who? The answer is, “The Son of God – the Messiah.” Jesus told the woman at the well in John 4 that He is the Messiah. Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:16. Jesus revealed He is the Son of God to the blind man in John 9:35-37.

    You cannot believe in Jesus for your salvation and not believe He is the Son of God – the Messiah. Islam believes in Jesus, but their belief is that He is merely another prophet of God, and not the Son of God (God in the flesh).

    The bottom line is that the Trinity is merely a means to convey the deity of Jesus and the Holy Spirit in reference to the Father. The Bible was not meant to promote the Trinity in either NT or OT passages, because the purpose for Jesus’ coming to earth was TO DIE FOR HUMANITY’S SINS. If they understood who He was, they would have made Him a King instead of crucifying Him, thereby defeating the very purpose for His coming to earth.

  27. Tom B,

    I notice in your book that you don’t touch upon the preexistence or preincarnation of the Son. Why is that? I think the FT has some fine examples of the deity of the Son, who, as far as I can tell, is also seen to be YHWH.

  28. Or, I’ll say you gloss over the verses, grouping a few with showing Jesus as the Word of God. I wish you’d spent some more time on the other. I do pray many are blessed by your endeavor. It takes courage to put our faith out there for others.

    God Bless!

  29. So if we use the Bible to promote the Trinity, maybe we are misusing the Bible, and it may also go then that if we use the Bible to demote the Trinity, we also might be misusing the Bible.

  30. Can anyone explain why in all the translations of the English Bibles, Judges 13, verse 22 is rendered this way:

    “And Manoah said to his wife, ‘We shall surely die, because we have seen God!'”

    Yet in the Jewish Tanach, the verse is rendered “for we have seen a divine being.” Meaning they have seen a lesser elohim than God.

    Which is correct and how do we know?

  31. Sheila,

    In the Jewish Publication Society version it reads:

    22 And Manoah said unto his wife: ‘We shall surely die, because we have seen God.’

    The word in question is “elohim.” The representation of YHWH on earth in human form does seem to be Y’shua/The Son though. And many times people saw Him and lived. The idea that no man can see the Father and live is still upheld in this passage. Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and others did see YHWH, in the form of the Messenger/Angel of YHWH, and live. The translation that you reference is translating according to doctrine instead of basing doctrine on the texts, it seems. Manoah and his wife both thought that it was YHWH Elohim that they had seen according to the context…and the one that they saw did not seem to try to dissuade them from what they thought. Angels, when they appear, do seem to make it clear that they are not Elohim.

    Shalom

  32. Thanks Bo,

    One point being, though, is that there are lesser “gods” in the Bible referred to a “elohim”, lower case “e” but Hebrew doesn’t use capital letters so the fellow I was talking to said the identity of the one they saw and talked to was a lesser elohim–and angel.

    I’d never heard that interpretation before so I took out my Tanach, also JPS 1999 and it had his translation. “divine being.”

    Sound like bait and switch to you?

  33. Bo,

    Is there anyway we could know for sure which translation is correct, maybe from the sentence structure or verbs or such? I’m still looking for that information too. Wish Dr. Brown would jump in this time.

    I know the Angel-YHWH is the pre-incarnate Messiah but they won’t be admitting that.

  34. I’ll be outside as soon as the sun comes up because it’s so beautifully cool this morning–yesterday was gorgeous! I’ll keep checking in and should be finished up by about 10 am.

    Thanks!

  35. I wonder where Eliyahu Moshiach is hanging out these days? He might know the actual Hebrew grammar being used. There probably is no rule and that’s why it can be said to mean something else. It’s a long way from learning the “Aleph-Bet” and being able to read the words without knowing what they mean. Well, I do know some words but not anywhere’s near enough!

  36. Dr. Brown,

    Are you available to answer a quick question on this subject matter? It’s number 32 above.

    Anyone?

  37. Hi Brian,

    I’ve been cleaning house and packing up some things to head out to the lake for a few days tomorrow afternoon. It’ll be nice to get out of Dodge and do some fishing! I haven’t been able to type up all I’ve been thinking of discussing tonight and I’m not sure I’ll get to it all before tomorrow. I should have alerted you to that earlier. Sorry about that! I’ll be back Thursday night and will pick it up then.

    Thanks!

  38. Hi Brian,

    Too many thunderstorms drove me away from the lake!

    Concerning the deity of Jesus, being the One who is the second YHWH, I don’t see how we can get around the fact that an actual “person” who is said to be “the LORD (YHWH) wrote the commandments engraved on stone and “handed” them to Moses. That would require that person to be in possession of hands, I would think. Any rational person would think the same. Here are the verses that support that:

    Exo 24:12 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and be there; and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law and commandments which I have written, that you may teach them.”

    Exo 31:18 And when He had made an end of speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.

    Exo 32:15 And Moses turned and went down from the mountain, and the two tablets of the Testimony were in his hand. The tablets were written on both sides; on the one side and on the other they were written. 16 Now the tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God engraved on the tablets.

    Exo 34:1 And the LORD said to Moses, “Cut two tablets of stone like the first ones, and I will write on these tablets the words that were on the first tablets which you broke.

    Ex 34:28 So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.

    Deu 4:13 “So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone.

    Deu 5:22 “These words the LORD spoke to all your assembly, in the mountain from the midst of the fire, the cloud, and the thick darkness, with a loud voice; and He added no more. And He wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me.

    Deu 9:9 “When I went up into the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant which the LORD made with you, then I stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights. I neither ate bread nor drank water. 10 “Then the LORD delivered to me two tablets of stone written with the finger of God, and on them were all the words which the LORD had spoken to you on the mountain from the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly. 11 “And it came to pass, at the end of forty days and forty nights, that the LORD gave me the two tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant.

    Deu 10:1 “At that time the LORD said to me, ‘Hew for yourself two tablets of stone like the first, and come up to Me on the mountain and make yourself an ark of wood. 2 ‘And I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke; and you shall put them in the ark.’ 4 “And He wrote on the tablets according to the first writing, the Ten Commandments, which the LORD had spoken to you in the mountain from the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly; and the LORD gave them to me.

    Can you think of any good arguments against my reasoning?

  39. This is one of my fav topics. Of course, I would say that our safest bet is to “let the Church do the thinking for us.” Even so, it is always good to flesh these things out.

    The nature of God is like the flame of a candle. We can transfer the same flame to other candles, but the intrinsic substance of the fire is truly singular.

    I find this analogy to be the most helpful.

    The origin of the unique Deity is in the Father, who begets the Son in eternity, whose Spirit proceeds from Himself and from His Son.

  40. Hi Nicholas,

    I use the knowledge gathered as a witnessing tool to others, especially those who don’t subscribe to the deity of Jesus. I love the fact that others open up truths that I didn’t spy out myself and it makes me a better defender of my faith!

    Sometimes we find members of the Church who are in grave error and we need to be able to give a rational defense of the truth. I’ve come to appreciate Christian apologetics just by reading along for years on topics that I wasn’t really clear on. Sometimes I’m stuck between the two but will lean more one way or another. Whether or not justification meant unconditional absolution was one of them. It’s most difficult when two sides present very convincing arguments based on Scripture.

    Anyway, I’m getting off topic already! Welcome to the discussion!

  41. Nicholas,

    This was good: “The nature of God is like the flame of a candle. We can transfer the same flame to other candles, but the intrinsic substance of the fire is truly singular.”

    I’m still thinking on the other…”who begets the Son in eternity…”

    There was a time when I thought maybe the Holy Spirit was the emanation of the Father and the Son in union with each other. Then I discovered that couldn’t be true because while Jesus was on earth the Spirit was a separate entity.

  42. Hi Sheila,

    Regarding the emanation of the Holy Ghost, the Catholic Church teaches that the Spirit of God proceeds both from the Father and the Son. This is the “Filioque” principle. The Latin Church made an addendum to the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed of 381, adding the phrase “and the Son” (in Latin, “Filioque”), in reference to the eternal origin of the Spirit. The Eastern Orthodox teach that the Spirit proceeds from the Father only, as per John 15:26.

    Because the Father gives everything that he has to Christ, except the prerogative of being Father, the procession of the Spirit of God must necessarily find its origin in the Word of the Father, and not only in the Father himself.

    Bishop Fulton Sheen, the famous Catholic televangelist, put it this way: The Father gazes at the Son in love, and the Son gazes back at the Father in love. Their love, the breath of their mutual love, this is the Holy Spirit.

    The anti-Trinitarians do not comprehend that God is love. That God is love is fundamental to understanding the Trinity. If God is, in his essence, love, then we have to ask, to whom is his love directed, and who loves him? In eternity, the Father loved the Son, and the Son loved the Father. Without this seminal love, God would not have “loved” creation into being, and God could never be the origin of all love. If God were a solitary unit, his love would be deficient. It would be either vain, selfish love, or it would be non-existent altogether.

  43. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”

    Brings a whole new meaning to it.

  44. I second Sheila’s motion, “I’m still thinking on the other…”who begets the Son in eternity…””

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