Summary: The Trinity 9 - Shadows in the OT
THE TRINITY 9
Shadows in the OT
I found the following comic a few weeks ago. It has Moses with the ten commandments looking up saying “These are plenty complicated enough for now, why don’t we save the Trinity stuff for later.” I thought that was kind of cute of way of saying how God has revealed His triune nature.
After taking a little break for the holidays, today we continue our study into the doctrine of the Trinity. I want to remind you of the definition of the Trinity that is “Within the one being that is God, there exists eternally three coequal and coeternal persons, namely the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
We have discussed many things regarding the Trinity, today we begin to look at numerous Biblical passages that I believe will demonstrate the fact that the Trinity is indeed taught in the Bible. Today I want us to look some OT passages that are shadows of the Trinity that is revealed through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
As we are told in Col. 2:16-17; “Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.”
While in the OT we do not have the Trinity revealed to us, we do see shadows of it, we see hints of it.
I want to quote Benjamin Warfield once more regarding this topic, I used this quote a few weeks ago. This is from his article “The Biblical Doctrine of the Trinity”
“The Old Testament may be likened to a chamber richly furnished but dimly lighted; the introduction of light brings into it nothing which was not in it before; but it brings out into clearer view much of what is in it but was only dimly or even not at all perceived before. The mystery of the Trinity is not revealed in the Old Testament; but the mystery of the Trinity underlies the Old Testament revelation, and here and there almost comes into view. Thus the Old Testament revelation of God is not corrected by the fuller revelation which follows it, but only perfected, extended and enlarged.”
This is very true statement. Today I want us to look at some of the dimly lighted furnishings as it were and how when we look at them in the light that is Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, we see indeed that they do in fact point to the Triune nature of God. We will be looking at several OT passages today. None of these passage teach the trinity outright, but each one points in that direction.
I also want make note that I am very grateful for the 18th century preacher – theologian John Gill and his work Doctrinal Divinity, especially the 27th chapter. This material was very helpful in putting together this sermon.
There are five shadows that we will be covering today. The first shadow we see is in the fact that God uses plural names for Himself in the Old Testament. I want to preface what I am about to say about these names. As I stated these plural names that God uses for himself are but shadows of a greater revelation. We cannot point to these names as say, “see there is proof of the trinity by the fact that God uses a plural form of singular noun as a name for Himself.”
Some point out that these are what are called “majestic plurals”, they are used to emphasis a person status or majesty, it is used as a figure of speech in the Hebrew language. There are two that we will look at that are used of God, but they are also used of men in other places is the Bible, yet never are they used by the men or rulers themselves, to describe themselves. I point that out because while they may be seen by some as majestic plurals, I believe that when we see them in the revelation and in the light that is Jesus Christ, they do in fact point to triune God.
The first name is “Elohim”. In the OT this word is used over 2500 times. It is the plural form of “el”. What is of interest is that this is the word used in the very first sentence of the Bible for God. Gen. 1:1; “In the beginning, God (Elohim) created the heavens and the earth.”
It is obvious that this word is used for a purpose. Certainly this word for God could have the singular, but the author, that is Moses, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit chooses to use a plural form of this word. As I stated, perhaps he is a “majestic plural” that is to show the majesty of God, but I believe it goes deeper than that. And one of the reason I believe that is because when the fuller revelation comes, we see there are three divine person involved in creation.