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Table of Contents

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

Part VI

Part VII


Part IX


Part V: The Trinity in the Old Testament

Chapter 7

Specific Old Testament References to the Trinity

     THE ASSUMPTION that the writers of the Old Testament used such phrases deliberately is based on the further assumption that by revelation they had come to understand that there were three Persons in the Godhead. I think we have established the fact that the Old Testament recognized more than one Person in the Godhead, but are there any passages which distinctly identify three Persons in a single context? There definitely are, and a consideration of such passages brings out the further fact that Scripture has provided a means whereby one may distinguish where it is essential to do so between God the Father and God the Son. Consider, for example, Isaiah 48:16 and 17. Here it is written:

     Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it [the beginning] was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me.
     Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.

     This passage will bear very careful examination. It is clear that the last phrase of verse 16 involves three Persons. The reader should turn at this point to the text of the Authorized Version for an understanding of what follows. It will be noted that in verse 16 the term "Lord GOD" is written with a capital L followed by three lower-case letters, o, r, and d, and then by GOD spelled with a capital G and followed by smaller but still capital letters, O and D. The second Person is titled "his Spirit." The third Person is the One sent, who refers to Himself as "me." Verse 17 tells us that this "me," the Speaker, is the Lord the Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. He further refers to Himself as the LORD (thy) God: but in this case the word "Lord" is written differently

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from the way it was above in verse 16; also the word "God." This is an important point. It will be seen that LORD is written with a large capital L followed by three smaller capitals, O, R and D: and "God" is written with a large capital G followed by 2 lower-case letters, o and d. To make this perfectly clear, these two different forms of a phrase which when read aloud would appear to the listener to be exactly the same, are printed in larger type below:

Lord GOD

     Setting aside the reasons why this device was used by the translators of the Authorized Version, the point which I wish to make here is that the original Hebrew differs in the two cases and fully justifies the adoption of some such typographical device, because the first phrase Lord GOD refers to God the Father, and the second LORD God to God the Son. Whether the saintly men who left us the King James Version did so intentionally or not, is hard to say, but it seems highly proper that where God the Father was in view the capitals should have been reserved for the second word in the phrase, i.e., GOD; whereas when the Lord Jesus was in view capitals should have been reserved for the first word in the phrase, i.e., LORD. This passage, therefore, not only distinctly reveals the presence of three Persons in the Godhead but provides us also with a means whereby we may identify in other passages whether it is God the Son or God the Father who is speaking or acting at any particular time.
     Thus, turning to Isaiah 61:1 and 2, it is written:

     The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings
unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the
opening of the prison to them that are bound;
     To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort
all that mourn.

     Everyone who is familiar with the New Testament will remember that this is the passage which Jesus Christ read in the Synagogue (Luke 4:18,19) to an audience spellbound by the graciousness of His words. When He had finished reading, He closed the Book, returned it to the minister and sat down. And then He said (verse 21), "This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears." There

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is, therefore, no doubt as to the identity of the "me" in Isaiah 61:1. It is also clear that the Lord GOD is the Father, and note should be taken of the way this is printed in the Authorized Version.
     However, it may be asked immediately, How does it come about that the speaker in this verse claims that the Lord has anointed Him to preach? Did He anoint Himself? In a sense, yes. But I do not think this is really what is meant here. It may be remembered that the title "Lord" is applied to all three Persons of the Godhead, either as the name of each Person individually or as the name of the Whole Godhead as One. In this passage the Lord Jesus Christ is, I think declaring that He has come by appointment of the whole Godhead. He was sent as much by the Holy Spirit as by the Father, and He came equally of His own free will.
     We may refer briefly to just a few other passages in the Old Testament in which the distinction between the Father and the Son is appropriately made in the Authorized Version by this special use of type. For example, in Isaiah 49:22 it is written, "Thus saith the Lord G
OD, Behold, I will lift up my hand to the Gentiles and set up my standard to the people." This standard was undoubtedly the Lord Jesus Christ and therefore the Lord GOD is quite properly the Father, as indicated by the type used.
     Attention has already been drawn to Hosea 12:3-5, and in verse 5 which is without a doubt a reference to the Lord Jesus by equation with the Angel of verse 4, it will be noted that the type used for the words L
ORD God is appropriate to the identification.
    For an occasion on which the speaker is clearly God the Father note the precision in Isaiah 56:8: "The Lord G
OD [i.e., the Father] who gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him [i.e., the Lord Jesus Christ], beside those that are gathered unto him." This is surely a forecast of the promise made by Jesus Christ in John 10:16 and 29: "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold. . . . My Father, which gave them me. . . ."
    In Isaiah 50:4-9 it is perfectly clear that God the Son is the Speaker and that He is recounting what God the Father has done for Him. This passage, of course, looks forward to the day when the Lord Jesus humbled Himself and became man. In verse 4, if we may be permitted to substitute the word "Father" for the title "Lord G
OD" as it is there written, the Lord Jesus says, "The Father hath given me the tongue of the learned. . . . The Father hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious. . . . I gave my back to the smiters and my cheeks to them that pluck off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. For the Father will help me; therefore shall I not

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be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint. . . . Behold, the Father will help me." In all these instances it is, surely, clearly the Lord Jesus who is speaking. Who else set His face like a flint -- to go up to Jerusalem? And in all these cases the title Lord GOD is written as we have shown, to make it clear that the reference is to God the Father.
     However, in this Paper the phrase "Lord God" has appeared prior to the reference in Isaiah 48:16,17, with no distinctions being made in the actual text in order not to introduce too many complications until the proper time.

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Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights reserved

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