Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Pluralis Majestaticus: An Amazing Hoax

Expand Messages
  • arbible
    Not only is a plural of majesty unattested for in Biblical Hebrew. According to Dr. Gleason Archer, Professor of Ancient and Semitic Languages, there is no
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 31, 2005
      "Not only is a plural of majesty unattested for in Biblical Hebrew.
      According to Dr. Gleason Archer, Professor of Ancient and Semitic
      Languages, there is no known ancient language of the BC period in
      which there is found the usage of a plural of majesty."

      An Amazing Hoax
      ---------------
      (Excerpt from Robert Morey, The Trinity: Evidences and Issues, World
      Publishing, Grand Rapids, 1996, ISBN 0-529-10692-2)

      During the nineteenth century debates between Unitarians and
      Trinitarians, the principle of pluralis majestaticus was revealed to
      be a hoax popularized by the famous Jewish scholar Gesenius. It
      became clear that he used it as a ruse de guerre against
      Christianity.

      The fundamental error resided in the attempt to take a modern
      monarchical idiosyncrasy and read it back into an ancient text when
      such an idiosyncrasy was unknown at that time. Richard Davies in
      1891 pointed out, "Indeed, this royal style is unknown in
      Scripture."[Richard Davies, Doctrine of the Trinity (New York:
      Cranston & Stowe, 1891), 227]

      What is astounding is that, one hundred years later, the anti-
      Trinitarians are still using this hoax to dodge the significance of
      the use of plural pronouns in reference to God. They seem to be
      totally ignorant of the fact that it is a recent grammatical
      invention and, thus, cannot be read back into ancient times or texts.

      We must also point out that anti-Trinitarians now apply the
      principle of pluralis majestaticus to all plural words of God when
      the principle really only relates to direct discourse, i.e., "Us"
      and "Our" passages. It is even invoked as a way to explain away the
      significance of the plural word elohim in such places as Genesis
      1:1. But since Genesis 1:1 is not a direct discourse, the appeal to
      a supposed "plurality of majesty" is nothing more than a ruse.

      -------------------------------------------------------------
      Read the whole chapter from which the above excerpt is quoted:

      A Multi-Personal God
      Trinitarians believe that while there is only one God, numerically
      speaking, yet, within this one God, there exists more than one
      person, ego, intellect or self. This is the fundamental principle
      underlying the doctrine of the Trinity. Thus it does not make much
      sense to discuss how many Persons there are in the Godhead and how
      They relate to each other until you have first established the multi-
      personal nature of God.

      What to Expect
      If the authors of the Bible believed that God was multi-personal,
      then we would expect to find that they would write about God in such
      a way as to indicate this idea to their readers. Thus, we must
      ask, "What would we expect to find in the Bible, if its authors
      believed that God was multi personal?"

      On the other hand, if the authors of the Bible believed that God was
      only one person, i.e., they were classic Unitarians, then they would
      write about God in such a way as to indicate that idea. Thus, we are
      also warranted to ask, "What would we expect to find in the Bible,
      if Unitarians wrote it?"

      We will at times use the term "Unitarian" in its generic sense of
      anyone who denies the Trinity because he believes that God is only
      one person. This would include Jews, Muslims, Arians, and Modalists.

      Let us examine the Old Testament to see whose position is verified
      by the Hebrew text keeping in mind the basic question, "What must be
      in order for what is to be what it is?"

      The Oneness of God
      The first question is how did the biblical authors, under the
      inspiration of God, conceive of the oneness of God? There are nine
      different Hebrew Words which at times are translated as the
      word "one:"

      ish, ishah, nephesh, yachid, almoni, echad, gam, badad, chad (Chal.)
      While such words as ish (man) or ishah (woman) are sometimes
      translated "one," they are never applied to God. Since God is not a
      man or a woman (Num. 23:19), this is what we would expect to find.
      The same applies to the word nephesh (soul) which is never used to
      speak of the oneness of God.

      The question that comes to mind at this point is, if Unitarians
      wrote the Bible, which word for oneness would they apply to God? Out
      of all the words above, there is only one word which would indicate
      that God is one solitary person. If this word is applied to God in
      the Bible, this would be quite damaging to the Trinitarian position.

      The word is "yachid" and means an absolute or solitary oneness.[1]
      It is even translated "solitary" in Psalm 68:6 and refers to someone
      who is absolutely alone. This is its general meaning throughout
      Scripture.[2]

      Unitarians should naturally expect to find that the word yachid was
      applied to God in the Bible. On the other hand, Trinitarians would
      not expect to find yachid used of God because they believe that
      there are three Persons within the Godhead.

      Whose Expectations Are Fulfilled?
      When we turn to the Bible, what do we find? The authors of Scripture
      never applied yachid to God. They never described God as a solitary
      person. This is quite damaging to the Unitarian position.


      The Word Echad
      In the list of Hebrew words which speak of oneness, the word echad
      [often] refers to a compound oneness in which a number of things
      together are described as "one".[3] The following sample passages
      illustrate this compound meaning of oneness:

      1. Gen. 1:5: The yom echad (first day) is a combination of two
      things - the evening and the morning.
      2. Gen. 2:24: Adam and Eve became l-visar echad (one flesh). They
      were one, but two and two, but one.

      3. Gen. 3:22: Adam and Eve became "one" (echad) with God. But they
      did not lose their personhood when they became "one" with God.

      4. Gen. 11:6: The people were one (echad). They were, thus, "one"
      and "many" at the same time.

      5. Gen. 34:16, 22: The Shechemites wanted to become "one people" (l-
      `am echad) with the Jews.

      6. II Chron. 30:12: God gave the people "one heart" (lev echad).
      Obviously, the thousands of individual hearts were "one" in a
      compound or composite sense.

      7. Ezra 2:64: The "congregation" (kol-haqahal) of forty two
      thousand, three hundred and sixty persons was described as "one" (k-
      echad).

      8. Jer. 32:39: Under the New Covenant, God will give His people "one
      heart" (lev echad).

      The passages above are just a small sample of the many times echad
      is used of compound oneness. But it is enough to demonstrate beyond
      all doubt that the Old Testament, from the Law to the Prophets, used
      echad to express a unified or compound oneness.

      Who Would Use Echad
      A Unitarian would never apply the Hebrew word echad to God because
      it means a compound or unified oneness. If the authors of the Bible
      were Unitarians, we would not expect to find echad applied to God.

      On the other hand, if the writers of Scripture believed that God was
      multi-personal, then we would expect to find that they would apply
      echad to God because this would mean that God is "one" in a
      composite or compound sense. As a matter of fact, echad is the only
      available Hebrew word they could use to express this idea.

      When we open the Bible, what do we find? We find that echad is
      applied to God. He is "one" in the sense of compound oneness. This
      is so central to the Old Testament concept of God that it is found
      in Israel's Great Confession:

      "Hear, O Israel, [Yahweh] our God, Yahwehis one!" (Deut. 6:4)

      The use of echad in Deut. 6:4 is exactly what Trinitarians expect to
      find in the Bible because it is the only way in the Hebrew language
      to indicate to the reader that God is a composite unity of several
      Persons and not just a solitary person. There are no other words in
      the Hebrew language by which such an idea could be expressed.

      But how can this be the true understanding of echad when the Jews
      today reject the doctrine of the Trinity? The noted Hebrew scholar,
      David Cooper, explains:

      Prior to the days of Moses Maimonides, the unity of God was
      expressed by echad which, as has been proved beyond a doubt, has as
      its primary meaning that of a compound unity. Maimonides, who
      drafted the thirteen articles of faith, in the second one sets forth
      the unity of God, using the word yachid which in the Tenach is never
      used to express God's unity. From these facts it is evident that a
      new idea was injected into this confession by substituting yachid
      which in every passage carries the primary idea of oneness in the
      absolute sense for echad which primarily means a compound unity.
      Hence from the days of Maimonides on, an interpretation different
      from the ancient one was placed upon this most important passage.[4]

      When you consider the use of echad in reference to God and the fact
      that yachid are never applied to God, the implication is obvious.
      God is a compound unity, i.e., multi-personal.
      Singular and Plural Words
      If the authors of Scripture believed there was only one God, how
      could they express this idea in the Hebrew language? The only way,
      in terms of Hebrew grammar, was to use singular nouns, pronouns,
      adjectives, verbs and adverbs in reference to God. Thus, they would
      refer to God as "He," "Him," and "His" and describe God as
      saying, "I," "Myself," and "Me." Both Unitarians and Trinitarians
      would expect to find the authors of Scripture using such words in
      reference to God.

      But, if they also believed that God was multi-personal, the only way
      this idea could be indicated in the Hebrew was to use plural nouns,
      pronouns, adjectives, and verbs. They would also refer to God
      as "They," "Them," and "Theirs" and describe God as
      saying, "We," "Us," and "Ours."


      Singular Words
      While both Trinitarians and Unitarians expect to find singular words
      applied to God, because they both believe there is only one God
      numerically speaking, only Trinitarians expect to find plural words
      used of God as well. We have yet to see a Unitarian book in which
      God is referred to as "They" or "Them." But this is standard
      practice in Trinitarian books.

      An example of a singular name for God is found in Numbers 23:19:

      "God (el) is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that
      He should repent; has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He
      spoken, and will He not make it good?"
      In this verse, God is given the name El which is a singular noun.
      All the verbs which modify El in this verse are singular as well.
      The divine name El is transliterated in such places as Gen. 33:20
      (EL-Elohe-Israel).

      God is called boreh (Creator) in Isaiah 40:28, which is the singular
      form of the verb bara. He is also called vyitsro (Maker) in Isaiah
      45:11, which is the singular form of yatsar. Since there is only one
      God, we are not surprised to find singular nouns and verbs used of
      God.

      Plural Words
      But when it comes to plural nouns, pronouns, adjectives and verbs,
      this is not something which a Unitarian would expect to be applied
      to God in the Bible. We have yet to hear a Unitarian refer to God
      as "Them." But this would be exactly what a Trinitarian would expect
      to find in the Bible.

      If God is multi-personal, then we would expect to find God
      saying, "We," "Us," or "Our" as well as "I," "Myself," or "Me"
      because God is One and Three at the same time. The doctrine of the
      Trinity requires the plural as well as the singular while
      Unitarianism only requires the singular.

      Who Is Right?
      Did the authors of the Bible use plural words for God? Yes, they
      did. The plural form of El is elohim which is the most frequently
      used word for "God" in the Bible (i.e., Gen. 1:1).

      The word elohim is translated as "gods" over four hundred times in
      the Bible. That it is a true plural is seen from the fact that it
      has plural verbs and plural adjectives modifying it. Several
      examples will suffice to demonstrate this point:

      1. In Genesis 20:13a, we read:
      And it came about, when God caused me to wander from my father's
      house...

      The divine name is elohim and the verb which modifies it is hit`u
      (cause to wander) which is the plural form of ta`u. It can be
      translated, "When they, i.e., God, caused me to wander from my
      father's house."


      2. In Genesis 35:7 we read, "They, i.e., God, revealed themselves to
      him."
      The verb niglu (revealed) is the plural form of gla and modifies
      elohim (God)


      3. The word elohim in Exodus 21:6; 22:7-8, 27-28 refers to
      the "judges" of Israel. It is impossible to deny the composite
      nature of these judges.
      4. In Deuteronomy 4:7 we read: ...

      The word qrovim (coming near) in Deut. 4:7 is a plural form of the
      word qarav and modifies elohim.


      5. In Joshua 24:19 the word qdoshim ("holy") is a plural adjective
      which modifies elohim and can be translated, "God, i.e., the Holy
      Ones."
      6. David said in Psalm 58:11 (v.12 in Heb.):

      Surely there is a God who judges on earth!

      David used the verb shephmim "judges" in its plural form. A literal
      translation would be, "They, i.e., God, who judges the earth."

      Besides the plural noun elohim and all its plural modifiers, the
      authors of the Bible used other plural nouns as well:


      1. The second most popular name for God in the Old Testament is
      Adonai (i.e., "Lord") which is a plural noun. Thus, the two most
      frequently used names for God elohim and adonai in the Hebrew Bible
      are both plural nouns. This is not what we would expect if
      Unitarians wrote the Bible. But it is exactly what we would expect
      if the authors of the Bible believed that God was multi-personal.
      2. Job 35:10 refers to God as the "Makers" of mankind. The word `sa
      (Makers) is a plural participle of `asah.

      3. In Psalm 149:2, we read:

      Let Israel be glad in his Maker; Let the sons of Zion rejoice in
      their King.


      David uses the masculine plural b`osay "Makers" to refer to the God
      of Israel. What Unitarian would ever speak of God as his "Makers"?
      Only Trinitarians do this.


      4. Ecclesiastes 12:1 tells us ... ("Remember now your Creators").
      The word ... ("Creators") is a masculine plural participle.
      5. Isaiah 54:5 speaks of God as the "Makers" of Israel. The
      word "Makers" in the Hebrew is ... which is a plural participle.

      The Trinitarian has no problem whatsoever understanding how God can
      be described in the Bible as both the "Maker" and "Makers" of the
      universe at the same time because the Father, the Son, and the Holy
      Spirit were are involved in the work of creation. But the Unitarian
      is hard put to explain why the Bible speaks of a plurality of
      Creators.

      Gobbledygook
      Trinitarians are often accused of theological gobbledygook when they
      say that, since God is one and three at the same time, God is
      both "Creator" and "Creators" at the same time. But this is exactly
      what the Hebrew text does. The same words for "Creator" and "Maker"
      are used in both their singular and plural forms.

      Plural Pronouns
      What about plural pronouns? Does God ever speak in the first person
      plural by using such terms as "Us," "We," and "Our"? If the authors
      of the Bible were Unitarian in belief, then we would not expect to
      find God speaking in the plural. But if Trinitarianism is true, then
      that is exactly what we would expect to find in the Bible.

      The evidence is clear that plural pronouns are used in reference to
      God in the following passages:

      Then God said, "Let Us make man Our image, according to Our
      likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the
      birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and
      over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. And God created
      man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and
      female He created them. (Gen. 1:26- 27)
      First, the word "make" (...) in the phrase "Let us make man" is a
      plural verb. The Hebrew grammar cannot be ignored. The main verb as
      well as the pronouns are all plural. This would indicate that God is
      the "Us" and "Our" who is speaking.

      Second, that the plural pronouns refer to God and not to angels is
      clear from the singular nouns "image" and "likeness." Man is not
      created in the two images or two likenesses - God's and the angels.
      We are created in the image and likeness of God.

      Third, this is also demonstrated by the repetition of the
      word "image" in verse 27. If the "image" in which man was created
      was reflective of angels as well as God, it would not have been
      rendered in the singular, but in the plural.

      Fourth, some anti-Trinitarians have attempted to dismiss the passage
      as an example of the plural of majesty (pluralis majestaticus), much
      like Queen Victoria of England who is reported to have said, "We are
      not amused."

      The only problem with this argument is that there was no plural of
      majesty in the Hebrew language during biblical times. Rabbi Tzvi
      Nassi, a lecturer in Hebrew at Oxford University, explains:

      Every one who is acquainted with the rudiments of the Hebrew and
      Chaldee languages, must know that God, in the holy Writings, very
      often spoke of Himself in the plural. The passages are numerous, in
      which, instead of a grammatical agreement between the subject and
      predicate, we meet with a construction, which some modern
      grammarians, who possess more of the so-called philosophical than of
      the real knowledge of the Oriental languages, call a pluralis
      excellentiae. This helps them out of every apparent difficulty. Such
      a pluralis excellentiae was, however, a thing unknown to Moses and
      the prophets. Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, David, and all the other
      kings, throughout TeNaKh (the Law, the Prophets, and the
      Hagiographa) speak in the singular, and not as modern kings in the
      plural. They do not say we, but I, command; as in Gen. xli. 41; Dan.
      iii. 29; Ezra i. 2, etc.[5]

      An Amazing Hoax
      During the nineteenth century debates between Unitarians and
      Trinitarians, the principle of pluralis majestaticus was revealed to
      be a hoax popularized by the famous Jewish scholar Gesenius. It
      became clear that he used it as a ruse de guerre against
      Christianity.

      The fundamental error resided in the attempt to take a modern
      monarchical idiosyncrasy and read it back into an ancient text when
      such an idiosyncrasy was unknown at that time. Richard Davies in
      1891 pointed out, "Indeed, this royal style is unknown in
      Scripture."[6]

      What is astounding is that, one hundred years later, the anti-
      Trinitarians are still using this hoax to dodge the significance of
      the use of plural pronouns in reference to God. They seem to be
      totally ignorant of the fact that it is a recent grammatical
      invention and, thus, cannot be read back into ancient times or texts.

      We must also point out that anti-Trinitarians now apply the
      principle of pluralis majestaticus to all plural words of God when
      the principle really only relates to direct discourse, i.e., "Us"
      and "Our" passages. It is even invoked as a way to explain away the
      significance of the plural word elohim in such places as Genesis
      1:1. But since Genesis 1:1 is not a direct discourse, the appeal to
      a supposed "plurality of majesty" is nothing more than a ruse.

      The Fall of Man
      Then [Yahweh] God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us."
      (Gen. 3:22)
      God said that men "has become one with Us." There is nothing in the
      context to indicate that God was speaking to angels. Thus the "Us"
      is God and reveals His multi-personal nature.


      The Tower of Babel

      "Come, let Us go down and, confuse their language, that they may not
      understand one another's speech." So [Yahweh] scattered them abroad
      from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped
      building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because
      there [Yahweh] confused the language of the whole earth; and from
      there [Yahweh] scattered them abroad over the face of the whole
      earth. (Gen. 11:7-9)
      The words "come" and "confuse" are both plural verbs. This fact,
      when combined with the plural pronouns and the identification of
      the "Us" as none other than Yahweh in the subsequent verses, makes
      the attempt to introduce angels as the ones to whom God is speaking,
      highly unlikely. When angels do have a hand in punishing man, they
      are given due credit (Gen. 19:1-26, etc.). No credit is given to the
      angels because they were not involved.

      The Call of Isaiah
      Then I heard the voice of [Yahweh], saying, "Whom shall I send, and
      who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here am I. Send me!" (Isa 6:8)
      Isaiah was called and sent by the Divine UUs." Nowhere are angels
      introduced in the context. The "Us" is Yahweh speaking as a
      multipersonal Being. There is not a single text in all of Scripture
      where a prophet is described as a spokesman of angels.

      Plural Persons
      Another thing which Trinitarians expect to find in the Bible is that
      there will be places where it is clear that more than one person is
      God. This is decidedly not what Unitarians expect to find.

      There are several passages where two divine persons are both
      called "God" in the sense of both being the one true God. The first
      passage is found in Genesis 19:24:

      Then Yahweh rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from
      Yahweh out of heaven.

      This passage is remarkable regardless of how you deal with it. It
      simply states that there are two divine Persons: One on the earth
      and One in the heavens. Each Person is called ... (Yahweh).

      The first ... (Yahweh) who is on earth brings down brimstone and
      fire from the second ... (Yahweh) who is in the heavens. It is easy
      to see why this passage has irritated anti-Trinitarians for
      centuries.

      What are we to make of it? The Council of Sirmium decreed, "the Son
      of God brought down the rain from God the Father."[7] This was the
      clear interpretation of the Early Church.

      The great German Reformer Martin Luther commented:

      We may note also the fact that Moses here says that the Lord
      (Jehovah) rained fire and brimstone from the Lord (Jehovah). This
      mode of speaking greatly irks the Jews and they try in vain to
      explain it. But Moses mentions Jehovah twice to show that there is
      but one God, but that in this one God there are three distinct
      persons.[8]
      One alternate interpretation is that the second Yahweh is simply a
      repetition for emphasis sake.[9] But this interpretation has several
      insurmountable problems.

      First, is it not clear that Moses is contrasting heaven and earth?
      Yes! Can anyone deny that they are juxtaposed? The fire comes down
      from the heavens to the earth below.

      Is it not also clear that the two Yahwehs are part of this contrast?
      Yes. Are not the two Yahwehs clearly juxtaposed in the text? Yes.
      Just as the heavens cannot be interpreted as a repetition of the
      earth, neither can the first Yahweh be interpreted as a repetition
      of the second Yahweh.

      The second problem with this interpretation is that there are no
      other passages in the Pentateuch where a name is repeated once at
      the beginning and again at the end for emphasis sake. Thus there is
      no evidence that Moses ever used such a literary device.

      Dr. Herbert Leupold, who wrote one of the best commentaries on the
      book of Genesis in the 20th century, stated:

      We believe that the view which the church held on this problem from
      days of old is still the simplest and the best: Pluit Deus filius a
      Deo patre = "God the Son brought down the rain from God the Father,"
      as the Council of Sirmium worded the statement. To devaluate the
      statement of the text to mean less necessitates a similar process of
      devaluation of a number of other texts like 1:26, and only by such a
      process can the claim be supported that there are no indications of
      the doctrine of the Trinity in Genesis. We believe the combined
      weight of these passages, including Genesis 1:1,2, makes the
      conclusion inevitable that the doctrine of the Holy Trinity is in a
      measure revealed in the Old Testament, and especially in Genesis.
      Why should not so fundamental a doctrine made manifest from the
      beginning? We may see more of this truth than did the Old Testament
      saints, but the Church has through the ages always held one and the
      same truth. Luther says: "This expression indicates two persons in
      the Godhead."[10]
      This is exactly the kind of text that the Trinitarian expects to
      find in the Bible.

      Psalm 45:6-7 is another passage which bears close attention:

      Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of uprightness is
      the scepter of Thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated
      wickedness; Therefore God, Thy God, has anointed Thee with the oil
      of joy above Thy fellows.
      David is clearly addressing the one true God when he says, "Thy
      throne, O God," because the throne of the person being addressed
      is "for ever and ever," i.e., eternal. Eternity is an attribute of
      deity.

      Also, in other psalms, David identifies that throne as Yahweh's
      throne (Ps. 11:4) from which in heaven He rules over all things (Ps.
      103:19) for eternity (Ps. 93:2). This cannot be applied to David or
      to Solomon or to any other earthly king.

      If this is all the passage said, no one would have the least
      difficulty in identifying God as the One to whom David is praying.
      The problem for the anti-Trinitarian is that David goes on to speak
      of God as being anointed by God!

      How can the God of Israel sitting on His throne ruling the universe
      be anointed by God? For the Trinitarian, this is no problem at all.
      But for the Unitarian, this text represents a huge problem.

      The historic Christian interpretation is that "it is clear from this
      passage that there are at least two Divine Personalities who are
      eternal and omnipotent."[11] This was the ancient Jewish view as
      well. The classic German commentator, Franz Delitzsch, explains:

      The Epistle to the Hebrew (ch. i. 8) proceeds on the assumption that
      it is the future Christ, the Son of God. It is supported in this
      view by a tradition of the ancient synagogue, in accordance with
      which the Targumist renders ver. 3, "Thy beauty, O King Messiah, is
      greater than those of the children of men." This Messianic
      interpretation must be very ancient.[12]
      The greatest of the classic commentaries on the Psalms was written
      by the German scholar Hengstenberg. He pointed out:

      The Messianic expositors take Elohim as the vocative, O God, in
      unison with: O hero, in ver. 3. That this exposition must be one
      that most readily and naturally occurs, appears even from the fact,
      that all the old translators, with whom also concurs the Ep. to the
      Hebrews, express the vocative.[13]
      The Inescapable Vocative
      The anti-Trinitarians have attempted to escape this passage by
      translating kimacha elohim not as the vocative "Your throne O God,"
      but as "God is your throne" in order to avoid the obvious truth that
      there are two persons in this passage who are both called elohim.

      After surveying all the attempts to translate the words in some
      other way than "O God," Hengstenberg states that "they have not been
      able to bring forward anything grammatically tenable."[14] He
      concludes that "the Construction of Elohim as vocative is the only
      one which can be grammatically justified."[15] As Prof. Plumer
      pointed out in his classic commentary on the Psalms:

      Strenuous efforts have been made to turn aside this passage from its
      obvious and inspired interpretation.[16]
      The underlying reason as to why anti-Trinitarians try so hard to
      escape the obvious meaning of the text is pointed out by
      Hengstenberg:

      We can only ascribe it to the power which a prejudice, having once
      obtained a firm footing for itself at the beginning of rationalism,
      even now exerts over the minds of men, when a more impartial view of
      things is wont to be taken.[17]
      We are once again thrown back to the issue of a priori assumptions.
      The liberal and the cultist assume that the Bible cannot speak of
      God as multi-personal. Thus, they always end up in circular
      reasoning instead of being open to the evidence.

      The Lord Sent Me
      Another passage which should be noted is Isaiah 48:12-17:

      "Listen to Me, O Jacob, even Israel whom I called; I am He, I am the
      first, I am also the last. Surely My hand founded the earth, and My
      right hand spread out the heavens; When I call to them, they stand
      together. Assemble, all of you, and listen! Who among them has
      declared these things? [Yahweh] or the LORD loves him; he shall
      carry out His good pleasure on Babylon, and His arm shall be against
      the Chaldeans. I, even I, have spoken; indeed I have called him, I
      have brought him, and He will make his ways successful. Come near to
      Me, listen to this: From the first I have not spoken in secret, from
      the time it took place, I was there. And now the Lord GOD has sent
      Me, and His Spirit."
      The identity of the speaker is clearly the God of Israel because He
      calls Himself "the first and last" in verse 12. This title had
      already been used of Yahweh of Hosts in Isaiah 44:6:

      "Thus says [Yahweh], the King of Israel and his Redeemer, [Yahweh]
      of hosts: 'I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God
      besides Me.'"
      The Hebrew for "I am the first and I am the last" is the same in
      Isaiah 44:6 and 48:12: .... This God is further identified as "the
      Yahweh of armies" in Isaiah 44:6.

      The divine title "the first and the last" means that He is the first
      God and the last God because there are no other gods before or after
      Him. He alone is God.

      The speaker in Isa. 48 is further identified by doing things which
      only God can do such as absolute foreknowledge (vs. 3,5,6), creation
      (v.13), sovereignty (v. 15), and omnipresence (v. 16).

      Who else but the one true God could say:

      "For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; For how can My name
      be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another." (Isa. 48:11)
      No one should have the slightest difficulty in identifying the
      speaker as God. The context of the passage and the grammar of the
      text are both very clear. But prejudiced anti-Trinitarians must
      object because the God who is speaking says that He, along with the
      Holy Spirit, are sent by God.[18]

      "Come near to Me, listen to this: From the first I have not spoken
      in secret, from the time it took place, I was there. And now the
      Lord GOD has sent Me, and His Spirit. " (Isa 48:16)
      If the passage is interpreted in its natural and normal meaning,
      there are three persons in this passage who are all God! But how can
      God be sent by God unless there are several Persons within the
      Godhead? Since the Father sent the Son and the Spirit in Trinitarian
      theology, this is exactly the kind of passage which we expect to
      find.

      How can non-Trinitarians handle a passage like this? They can't. So
      they deny that the speaker is God and claim that it is actually
      Isaiah who is speaking in either verse 16b or the whole of verse 16!

      The attempt to interject Isaiah into verse 16 falls before the
      following questions:

      Is there anything in the Hebrew text to indicate a break in the
      speech of Jehovah? No.
      Does Isaiah elsewhere in his book dare to interrupt the Almighty and
      to insert himself? No.
      Is there any evidence whatsoever in the text to indicate that anyone
      else besides God is speaking? No.
      Has any translation ever separated verse 16 from the rest of
      Jehovah's speech? No.
      Does the Septuagint make a break in verse 16? No.
      Do the Targums? No.
      This passage is clear proof that the authors of the Bible believed
      that God was multi-personal. A Trinitarian would not have the least
      hesitation to write the text as it stands. But Unitarians, Arians,
      Modalists, and Muslims could never do so.

      The Prophet Hosea
      Isaiah is not the only prophet to depict God as the divine speaker
      and have Him refer to another person as God. The prophet Hosea
      recorded Yahweh (from verse 2) as saying:

      "But I will have compassion on the house of Judah and deliver them
      by [Yahweh] their God, and will not deliver them by bow, sword,
      battle, horses, or horsemen." (Hosea 1:7)
      If I as the first person promise to do something for you as the
      second person through a third person, am I not implying that I am
      not the same as the third person? If grammar means anything, the
      answer is, "Yes".

      When Yahweh as the first person promised to deliver Israel as the
      second person by a third person called Yahweh, what other conclusion
      can we logically come to than that there are two persons each called
      Yahweh?

      The "classic" commentary on the Minor Prophets was written by E.B.
      Pusey. He noted that the "Yahweh their God" through whom the
      deliverance came was none other than the Angel of Yahweh when
      he "smote in one night 185,000 in the camp of the Asyrians."[19] How
      was the deliverance accomplished?

      The Father by the Son (in like way as it said, Yahweh rained upon
      Sodom fire from Yahweh.) They were saved in Christ, Yahweh and God
      of all, not by carnal weapons of warfare, but by the might of Him
      Who saved them, and shook thrones and dominions, and Who by His
      Cross triumphed over the hosts of the adversaries, and overcame the
      powers of evil.[20]
      The "Yahweh their God" was clearly a different person from
      the "Yahweh" who was speaking. Yet, they each were YaHWeH. While
      this is what Trinitarians expect to find in the Bible, Unitarians
      are continually frustrated by such passages.

      That the authors of Scripture believed that God was multi-personal
      can also be found in passages concerning the angel of Yahweh and the
      theophanies. This material is so vast that we must devote separate
      chapters to each subject.

      Conclusion
      The material presented in this chapter demonstrates that the one
      true God of Scripture was conceived of by the Patriarchs and the
      prophets as being multi-personal. The fundamental principle of the
      doctrine of the Trinity has been verified by the Old Testament.

      Notes
      1. Francis Brown, S. R. Driver, and Charles Briggs, A Hebrew and
      English Lexicon of the Old Testament (Oxford: Clarendon, 1966), 402.
      This book will be referred to as B.D.B. from now on.

      2. It is found in Gen. 22:2,12,16; Jud. 11:34; Ps. 22:22 (21);
      25:16; 35:17; 68:6 (7); Prov. 4:3; Jer. 6:26; Amos 8:10; Zech. 12:10.

      3. Francis Brown, S. R. Driver, and Charles Briggs, 25f.

      4. David L. Cooper, The Eternal God Revealing Himself (Harrisburg:
      Evangelical Press, 1928), 59-60.

      5. Tzvi Nassi, The Great Mystery (Jerusalem: Yanetz, 1970), 6.

      6. Richard Davies, Doctrine of the Trinity (New York: Cranston &
      Stowe, 1891), 227.

      7. John Peter Lange, Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
      (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1960), 1:438.

      8. Martin Luther, Luther's Commentary on Genesis (Grand Rapids:
      Zondervan, 1958), 354.

      9. John Calvin, Calvin's Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, n.d.),
      1:512.

      10. Herbert Carl Leupold, Exposition of Genesis (Grand Rapids:
      Baker, 1970), 570-571.

      11. Cooper, 47.

      12. Keil and Delitzsch, Psalms, 2:73-74.

      13. E. W. Hengstenberg, The Works of Hengstenberg (Cherry Hill, NJ:
      Mack, n.d.), 6:133.

      14. Ibid., 133.

      15. Ibid., 134.

      16. W.S. Plumer, Psalms (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1975), 516.

      17. Hengstenberg, 124.

      18. The issue of whether the Spirit is sent by God along with the
      Speaker or whether the Speaker is sent by God and the Spirit, is not
      germane at this point. The Hebrew text reads, "And now Yahweh has
      sent me and His Spirit."

      19. E.B. Pusey's commentary book, The Minor Prophets, was
      republished in Barnes' Notes on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids:
      Baker, 1965), Minor Prophets, 1:23.

      20. Ibid., 24.
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.