Judaism And Trinity: A Messianic Christian View
GRACE AND PEACE TO YOU.
Most modern Jewish people seem to have made their “peace” with Jesus of Nazareth. Some consider Him to be a great Jew, or even the greatest Jew who ever lived. Two of our Jewish leaders, Dr. Heinrich Graetz and Dr. Joseph Klausner, compliment Him on His teaching. Some admire His parables and purity, as Moses Montefiore; Sholem Asch and others, even consider Him to be the Messiah of the Gentiles. Today we often meet Jewish people who acknowledge that Jesus is the Messiah for Jew and Gentile alike; and some are even willing to share these convictions with other Jewish people. What then holds such Jewish people back from joining with us and accepting Jesus as their personal L-rd and Savior?
The hindrance some have expressed to the writer of this article is the reluctance to accept the fact that the L-rd Jesus is supernatural. Moreover, from childhood we have been inculcated with Maimonides’ Thirteen Principles one of which is:
I firmly believe that the Creator, blessed be His name, is One; that there is no oneness in any form like His; and that He alone was, is and ever will be our G-d.
We have been thus brought up to think that if we believe that G-d is One, then this idea excludes any idea of G-d’s triunity and any possibility that G-d in the latter time manifested Himself through the L-rd Jesus the Messiah. This Christian concept of G-d’s triunity seemed to us to be a Gentile and pagan idea. NOT SO! Christians, as well as Jewish people, must believe in One G-d. There is no other. The G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the G-d of the Jewish people and of the Christians. The Hebrew Scriptures of the Old Testament are authoritative for the Jew and for the Christian. In them is found the confession that is authoritative for all of us.
“Hear, O Israel, the L-rd our G-d, the L-rd is One”
(Deut. 6:4) NIV
TRIUNITY IN TORAH AND TALMUD
While it is universally admitted by both Jews and Christians that G-d is One and that there is no One beside Him, we are also compelled to acknowledge that the triunity of G-d is clearly taught in the Torah, the Prophets, and in the Writings — that is in the whole Tanakh, the Hebrew Scriptures of the Old Testament and the New Testament. Not only in the Rabbinical writings is this concept well known. Space does no permit us to present proofs from all the sources in this short article. We invite you to write requesting more literature on this subject. Here we present just a few challenging proofs:
THE TORAH: When G-d Elohim created the world, He wanted to make absolutely clear to His creation that He is not some abstract mathematical unitarian principle with no analogy in all creation, as some of our philosphers tried to present Him under Aristotelian influence. Instead, we read in the holy Torah these words:
And G-d Elohim said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth.”
(Genesis 1:26 NIV)
G-d Elohim made man, a being composed of a triunity — body, soul and spirit, in the image of G-d; and to make this more clear G-d reveals himself in His plural form of Elohim and says, “Let Us make man.”
Even those of our rabbis who do not accept as yet the triunity of G-d, realize that this verse is clear support for such teaching. Thus in Midrash Rabbah on Genesis we find the following comments on the verse:
Rabbi Samuel bar Nahman in the name of Rabbi Johathan said, at the time when Moses wrote the Torah, writing a portion of it daily, when he came to this verse which says, “And Elohim said, let Us make man in Our image after Our Likness,” Moses said, “Master of the Universe why do You give herewith an excuse to the sectarians (who believe in the triunity of G-d)?” G-d answered Moses, “You write and whoever wants to err let him err.”
But surely G-d did not make Moses to write the whole Scriptures in order to make people err, but rather to show them the right way and the right revelation, namely that the One G-d is a triune G-d who calls Himself Elohim and who says, Let Us make man.”
THE PROPHETS: There are many Scripture verses which show clearly that G-d manifested Himself also as the Word by which He created heaven and earth and by which He leads and directs creation. He also manifested Himself as the Ruakh Hakodesh, the Holy Spirit, who inspired the prophets of G-d and who did mighty miracles through the great judges of Israel, Gideon, Samson, and David. We want to point out one Scripture which compels us to admit the triunity of G-d. Isaiah the prophet speaks in the name of G-d and says:
“Come near unto Me, hear this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I; and now the L-rd G-d, and His Spirit, hath sent Me.” (Isaiah 48:16 NIV)
Here G-d calls the people to come to Him, but He is sent by the L-rd G-d and His Spirit. Exactly the same teaching as we have found in the Torah, we find also in the teachings of G-d’s prophets. How else can it be: The same G-d who commanded Moses to manifest His triune commands also the Hebrew Prophets to do the same.
THE WRITINGS (Kethubin): Very clearly we find the same teaching about G-d in the Psalms and in the other writings of the Heberw Scriptures. We read in Psalm 2 where the Holy Spirit, the Ruakh Hakodesh, speaks through David and says:
“I will proclaim the decree of the L-rd. He said to me, You are my son; today I have become your Father.” (Tehilim, Psalm 2:7 NIV)
Here is the Holy Spirit speaking through David and instructing David, that the L-rd, which is in Hebrew the ineffable name of G-d which we pronounce as Adonai, has a Son who is begotten of G-d in a most supernatural way. Maybe King David himself did not well understand the words that he was commanded to write by the Holy Spirit; but as Moses and Isaiah, he obeyed. He wrote this down for us so that there be no misunderstanding. G-d who is almighty manifests Himself as a triunity, leaving us in no doubt as to His nature.
IS THE TRINITY JEWISH?
But is such a concept Jewish? Is it not some gentile or pagan concept that has somehow crept into our Holy Scriptures as some extreme liberalists would like to tell us? No, this was and still is a Jewish concept of G-d creating and dealing with His creation and His people Israel in a triune way. This quotation bears it out:
Exodus 19 starts with the words, “In the third month.” This is explained by the words of Proverbs 22:20, “Have not I written to you excellent (Hebrew, threefold) things in counsels and knowlege.” On this Rabbi Joshua bar Nehemiah said that this is the Torah whose letters are threefold, alf, bet, g(i)ml, and everything is a trinity. The Torah is trinitarian, for it is composed of the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings. The Misha (talmudical learning) is a trinity composed of talmud (learning) halakhot (daily Jewish laws) and haggadot (Historical items). The mediator consisted of a trinity of Miriam, Moses, and Aaron. Prayers are a trinity of morning, afternoon, and evening prayers. Israel is a trinity consisting of priests, Levites and Israelites. The name Moses in Hebrew consists of three letters. He is of the tribe Levi, which again is in the Hebrew three letters, from the seed of the Patriarchs who are a trinity of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; in the third month which is Sivan, after Nisan and Iyar on mount Sinai whose letters are three as it is written, “And they rested in the wilderness of Sinai.”
If, according to our rabbis, G-d has made everything and arranged everything in a trinitarian way, then it must be also Jewish and biblical to know that G-d Himself is a Trinity. Thus He is and has manifested Himself as the Savior, Messiah and Son of G-d in the person of the L-rd Jesus Christ. He then sent down the Holy Spirit, the Ruakh Hakodesh on the Disciples in the third month, of the Feast of Shabuoth, the feast of perfection, celebrated after counting seven times seven.
TRINITY AND COMMON SENSE
But, can three be one? Does not common sense rebel against such a statement? Must we not state categorically that G-d is either One or Three? Not so. As a matter of fact everything you com in contact with is not a mathmatical concept of one, but usually an item composed of a trinity. The ancient Greek philosphers reasoned out the theory of atoms by simply watching a black cow, eating green grass, and then giving white milk. All things are composed of millions and billions of atoms; but the atom itself is a trinity of proton, electron and neutron. Perhaps we could best express it in the words of Dr. Henry Heydt:
In Romans 1:20 Paul uses the creation of the kosmos as demonstrating this G-dhead (thelotes). The universe (unus, one plus verterte, turn; turned into one, combined in one whole) is an absolute triunity. Space consists of length, breadth, and depth or height; time is future, present, and past; matter is energy, motion and phenomena. Here we have not merely an illustration of three in one — as in the case of light, heat, and ultra-violet rays of the sunbeam, or the manifestation of H20) as liquid, ice and steam — but an absolute triunity composed of three absolute triunities.
WHAT IS THE MEANING TO YOU?
We now have only to answer the question, “What does it all matter?” The answer is that it matters very much. It proves the truth of G-d’s Word. The most important thing is what a Jewish follower of the Messiah said, “For G-d so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (NIV). Are you concerned to have peace in your heart and peace with your Creator? Receive this gift of G-d; confess your sins and believe in G-d’s Son, the Korban for your sins. Then you will be saved and have perfect peace in your heart. “But as many as received Him to them gave He power to become the sons of G-d, even to them that believe on His name.” John 1:12 (NIV). Shalom.
By Rachmiel Frydland
This article is borrowed from the “Los Angeles Hebrew Witness” and distributed by “Lay Pastor Walter Schwartz”.