We don’t know the depths and mysteries of God’s nature unless he reveals this to us. Thus, we must look to God’s revelation—the Scriptures—to understand what he is like. We can summarize our analysis of the biblical data in this way: The concept of the Trinity is the most accurate description of what Scripture teaches regarding God’s nature. It explains the most amount of the data (i.e. explanatory scope), and it explains it convincingly (i.e. explanatory power). To make a case for the Trinity, we will defend three central propositions:
- There is only ONE GOD
- The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all DISTINCT PERSONS
- The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all TRULY GOD
If these three propositions are true, what are we left with? The Trinity! There is one God, who exists in three distinct persons. Consider the first proposition.
PROPOSITION #1: There is only ONE GOD
The Bible clearly and repeatedly teaches monotheism. The Israelites repeated the Shema which states, “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!” (Deut. 6:4). This monotheistic teaching exists throughout the OT. Isaiah states, “Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me” (Isa. 43:10). Later, he writes, “There is no one besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other” (Isa. 45:6; cf. Isa. 44:6-8; 45:18, 21-22; 1 Kings 8:60; Deut. 4:39; Ps. 96:5).
Monotheism isn’t isolated to the OT, however. Strong affirmations of monotheism occur throughout the NT as well. For instance, Jesus affirmed the Shema when he said, “Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord” (Mk. 12:29; citing Deut. 6:4). Jesus prayed that his followers would know the “only true God” (Jn. 17:3). Likewise, Paul writes, “There is one God” (1 Tim. 2:5), “God… is one” (Rom. 3:30), and “there is no God but one” (1 Cor. 8:4). Likewise, James writes, “You believe that God is one. You do well” (Jas. 2:19).
All three persons of the Trinity are distinct centers of consciousness, and yet, they all agree in their decisions and actions. All three persons worked together in the creation of the universe (Gen. 1:1-2; Jn. 1:1-3), the resurrection of Jesus (Gal. 1:1; Acts 2:24, 32; Rom. 1:4; Jn. 2:19; 10:18), and the indwelling of believers (Jn. 14:16, 18, 23; Rom. 8:9).
If we reject this proposition, we adopt Tritheism. Tritheism is the belief in three gods. Yet very “few persons have held this view in the history of the church.” Therefore, virtually all readers of the Bible affirm this first proposition.
PROPOSITION #2: The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all DISTINCT PERSONS
In Scripture, all three members of the Trinity possess distinct personhood. That is, each person of the Trinity possesses a separate center of consciousness and a distinct “intellect, feelings, and will.”
The Father is a distinct person. He has an intellect (Mt. 6:32), feelings (Gen. 6:6), and a will (Mt. 6:9-10). He can communicate (Mt. 11:25) and teach (Jn. 7:16-17).
The Son is a distinct person. He has an intellect (Jn. 2:25), feelings (Jn. 11:35), and a will (Jn. 6:38).
The Holy Spirit is a distinct person. The Holy Spirit should not be compared to “electricity,” which is “a force that can be adapted to perform a great variety of operations.” Rather, the Holy Spirit is a distinct personal being.
The Holy Spirit possesses an intellect (1 Cor. 2:11; Jn. 14:26), feelings (Eph. 4:30), volition (1 Cor. 12:11), and communication (Acts 8:29; Jn. 14:26; Lk. 12:12; 2 Pet. 1:21). He also possesses the ability to be lied to (Acts 5:3), tested (Acts 5:9), resisted (Lk. 7:51), grieved (Isa. 63:10; Eph. 4:30), and blasphemed (Mt. 12:31). All of these qualities imply personhood.
Moreover, Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as “another Helper” (Jn. 14:16; cf. 14:26; 15:26). Feinberg writes, “If Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not distinct persons, this promise makes no sense… It makes no sense to promise another Helper, for unless Jesus, the Father, and Spirit are distinct, there is no other Helper.”
In Greek, the word “Spirit” (pneuma) is neuter. However, the Holy Spirit is often referred to as a “he” (ekeinos, e.g. 14:26; 15:26; 16:13-14). This is something “which one would not expect from the rules of Greek grammar.” To be grammatically consistent, John should’ve called the Holy Spirit an “it” (ekeino), rather than a “he” (ekeinos).
Jesus called the Holy Spirit the “comforter” (paraklētos). This too describes a personal being because no one was ever comforted by an impersonal force.
Further evidence of distinct personhood
Jesus spoke of God as existing in three distinct persons. He spoke of the Father and the Holy Spirit as distinct persons (Lk. 11:13; Jn. 14:26; 15:26). Indeed, Jesus told us to baptize new believers “in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Mt. 28:19).
The NT authors spoke of God as existing in three distinct persons. Paul spoke of all three persons of the Trinity. He wrote, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all” (2 Cor. 13:14). Peter spoke of believers being chosen by “God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood” (1 Pet. 1:2).
At Jesus’ baptism, Mark records, “Jesus saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Jesus, 11 and a voice [the Father] came out of the heavens: ‘You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased’” (Mk. 1:10-11). Many other “triadic patterns” occur in the NT.
The persons of the Trinity speak to one another. Jesus spoke to the Father as a separate being (Mt. 11:27; 26:39; Lk. 23:46; Jn. 11:41-42; 14:16-17; Jn. 17:1ff). Likewise, the Father speaks to the Son (Mt. 3:17; 17:5; Jn. 12:28). This was not playacting. If we take these texts seriously, it describes communication between persons.
OT passages describe that God exists in distinct persons. The author of Hebrews cites Psalm 2 and 2 Samuel 7 to show that God the Father is distinct from God the Son: “You are My Son, today I have begotten You… I will be a Father to Him and He shall be a Son to Me” (Heb. 1:5). The same author cites Psalm 45 to demonstrate the same point: “Of the Son He says, ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever… Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You’” (Heb. 1:8-9).
Jesus cited Psalm 110 to show that God the Father was speaking to God the Son. Jesus asked, “‘What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?’ They said to Him, ‘The son of David.’ 43 He said to them, ‘Then how does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying, 44 ‘The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, until I put Your enemies beneath Your feet’ ‘? 45 ‘If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?’ (Mt. 22:42-46).
If we reject this proposition, we adopt Modalism. If we deny this biblical teaching, we fall into the heresy of Modalism. This view teaches that God appears as different modes of being. That is, God appears as a Father, Son, and Spirit sequentially. But God doesn’t exist as these distinct persons simultaneously.
Consider a man who plays three different roles in his life: He is a coach for the little league team, a lawyer in court, and a father at home. But he is still the same person who functions in all three roles. Likewise, Modalists often state that God revealed himself as the Father in creation, the Son in redemption, and the Holy Spirit in the Church Age. This view is rejected by Pentecostalism, but it is alive and well in a sect that split off the Pentecostal church called “Oneness Pentecostalism.”
PROPOSITION #3: The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all TRULY GOD
The Father is truly God. Hardly anyone disputes that the Father is God. The psalmist writes, “You are my Father, my God” (Ps. 89:26). Isaiah writes, “You, O LORD, are our Father” (Isa. 63:16). Jesus said, “God the Father has given me the seal of his approval” (Jn. 6:27 NLT). Paul repeatedly refers to “God the Father” (Rom. 1:7; cf. Gal. 1:1; Eph. 6:23; Phil. 2:11; Col. 3:17; 1 Thess. 1:1; 2 Thess. 1:2, etc.).
The Son is TRULY GOD. Paul tells us that Jesus “existed in the form of God” (Phil. 2:6), and “in Jesus all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Col. 2:9). John writes, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Jn. 1:1). Even non-believing scholars agree that the NT affirms the deity of Christ in John’s gospel. For a robust treatment of the deity of Christ, see our earlier article “Defending the Deity of Christ.”
The Holy Spirit is TRULY GOD. The Holy Spirit doesn’t receive as many claims to his deity as the other two persons of the Trinity. In eternal humility, the Holy Spirit desires to direct our focus to Jesus—not himself. Jesus said, “The Holy Spirit will testify about Me” and “He will glorify Me” (Jn. 15:26; 16:14). That being said, the NT teaches that the Holy Spirit is truly God.
First, the Holy Spirit possesses essential attributes of deity. He is eternal (Heb. 9:14; Jn. 14:16), omnipresent (Ps. 139:7-8), and omniscient (1 Cor. 2:10-11). Paul writes, “The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17). Feinberg writes, “It would be hard to say more directly than this that the Holy Spirit is God.”
Second, Jesus held that the Holy Spirit was equal to himself. Indeed, he said, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper” (Jn. 14:16). By saying “another Helper,” Jesus implied that the Spirit would be similar to himself. Indeed, Jesus went on to say that it was to the “advantage” of the disciples to have this other person: “It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you” (Jn. 16:7). How could it possibly be an “advantage” for Jesus to leave, unless someone equal to him was coming to take his place?
Third, the NT authors interchangeably equate the Holy Spirit with God. Consider a several examples of this phenomenon:
- Peter asked Ananias, “Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit? …You have not lied to men but to God” (Acts 5:3-4). Here Peter equates lying to the Holy Spirit with lying to God himself.
- John writes of those who are “born of God” (1 Jn. 3:9), but elsewhere, he says we need to be born “of the Holy Spirit” (Jn. 3:5).
- Paul writes, “All Scripture is inspired by God” (2 Tim. 3:16). Elsewhere, Peter writes that “men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Pet. 1:21).
- Paul refers to believers being the “temple of God” (1 Cor. 3:16-17), and later, he refers to them as the “temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 6:19).
- Stephen said that the religious leaders “are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did” (Acts 7:51). Feinberg observes, “But whom did their fathers resist? The OT shows that they resisted God.”
- The angel told Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you” (Lk. 1:35). This is case of synonymous parallelism, where the second expression corresponds to the first. That is, the Holy Spirit is equated with the power of God.
Additionally, the NT authors equate God’s words with the Holy Spirit’s words. The author of Hebrews writes, “The Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying…” (Heb. 10:15). The author goes on to cite Jeremiah 31:31-34. In its original context, however, God says this (cf. Heb. 3:7-9 and Exodus 17:7).
Finally, the NT authors place the Holy Spirit alongside other known persons in the Trinity. This strongly implies equality with the other persons (Mt. 28:19; 1 Cor. 12:4-6; 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 Pet. 1:2). Surely, we would cringe in horror if we placed the name of any created being alongside God the Father and God the Son!
If we reject this proposition, we adopt Arianism. This false teaching gets its origin from Arius who claimed that Jesus was a created being (AD 319). This prompted Athanasius—the bishop of Alexandria—to publicly refute him. Within a few years, a council was held at Nicea affirming the deity of Christ. The ancient heresy of Arianism still lives on today in religions that have splintered off from Christianity. Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and Oneness Pentecostals are all modern proponents of Arianism.
If all three of these propositions are true, it would logically follow that the Trinity is true. Those who reject the Trinity need to either (1) reject one of these propositions above or (2) offer a better explanatory model for explaining the Trinity.
Before looking at the biblical data, ask yourself a question: What is at stake if the Trinity wasn’t revealed until the person of Jesus? Would that make this doctrine false?
Not at all. Quite frequently, the NT reveals what the OT conceals (1 Pet. 1:10-12). The Bible is a book of progressive revelation. That is, it continually reveals more and more about God’s character and plan over time (Heb. 1:1-2). For instance, while heaven and hell are taught in the OT (Dan. 12:2; Isa. 26:19), Jesus taught on these subjects more than any other person in Scripture by a long shot. Tabernacles, temples, animal sacrifices, and priests were par for the course in the OT. It wasn’t revealed until later that these would become obsolete (Heb. 8:13), because these forms of worship merely foreshadowed Jesus (Col. 2:16-17).
Unitarians demand that God should’ve revealed the Trinity in the OT. Yet, how many of these Unitarian groups continue to worship with animal sacrifices, temples, and priests? They simply cannot hold this objection consistently in view of progressive revelation. Thus, if Jesus was the one to reveal the doctrine of the Trinity, this shouldn’t surprise us in the slightest.
That being said, many OT teachings support the concept of the Trinity.
Unitarians often complain about the concept of the incarnation. Yet why isn’t God free to enter into his creation if he chooses to do so? What is stopping God from doing what he wants?
According to various OT passages, nothing stops God from entering his creation in theophanies. The term theophany comes from two Greek words that mean “God” (theos) and “revealed” (phaneroō). Throughout the OT, God takes the physical form of a man. He walks, talks, and touches material objects in the world. These examples demonstrate that God can enter the world anytime he chooses, and consequently, it raises the plausibility of the incarnation.
Unitarians have major problems with these OT theophanies. After all, John writes, “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him” (Jn. 1:18). How can humans see God throughout the OT if “no one has seen God at any time” and “no one can see [God] and live”? Under a Trinitarian view, John is referring to seeing God the Father, while these various theophanies refer to seeing the preincarnate Christ.
Quite often, God appears through the “angel of the LORD.” This is a messenger who speaks for God, and in some mysterious way, he possesses discrete attributes of God. Thus, we agree with Kaiser that the “angel of the LORD” is likely the preincarnate Son of God. At the very least, these are examples of “God himself as seen in human form.” Consider several OT theophanies of this kind.
(Gen. 3:8) “They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.”
In the opening chapters of the Bible, we encounter the transcendent Cosmic Creator. By chapter three, however, we find him “walking in the garden in the cool of the day.”
Did God appear with a physical appearance? Yes. For one, God was “walking” in a specific location. Second, the first humans hid in the trees to escape God precisely because he was walking in a specific location. If God wasn’t spatially located, then why hide in the trees? Third, the first humans could hear the “sound” of God walking. This implies that he was interacting with the physical world, making noise as he walked.
(Gen. 16:13) Hagar called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God who sees”; for she said, “Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?”
The “angel of the LORD” appeared to Hagar in the wilderness. Yet, Hagar associates this angel with Yahweh. She says to the angel, “You are a God who sees” (v.13). Then, she wonders why she hasn’t died after seeing God face to face. She asks, “Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?’” (v.13) This fear makes sense in light of the fact that “no one can see God and live” (Ex. 33:20). It makes no sense if she was encountering an angel because no such warning is ever given regarding seeing angelic beings.
(Gen. 18:1-3) “The LORD appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, while he was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day. 2 When he lifted up his eyes and looked, behold, three men were standing opposite him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth, 3 and said, “My Lord, if now I have found favor in Your sight, please do not pass Your servant by.”
At first glance, we might think that all three men are merely angels. Yet, look closer.
Yahweh himself encountered Abraham. Yahweh “appeared” (wayyērāʾ) to Abraham (Gen. 18:1; cf. 12:7; 17:1). Later, Yahweh asks himself, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?” (v.17)
Yahweh was accompanied by two angels. A total of three men appeared to Abraham (v.2). Yet, two men are angels, and one is Yahweh: “The men rose up,” but “the LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?” (vv.16-17) Later, one of the figures is explicitly called Yahweh: “Abraham was still standing before the LORD” (Gen. 18:22). But the other figures are explicitly called “the two angels” (Gen. 19:1). Moreover, God promises to return alone (Gen. 18:10), not accompanied by the two angels.
After Abraham speaks to God, the “LORD departed” (Gen. 18:33), but the remaining two men (angels) go to Sodom (Gen. 19:1). These two angels state that they were sent by Yahweh: “We are about to destroy this place, because their outcry has become so great before the LORD that the LORD has sent us to destroy it” (Gen. 19:13). This strongly implies that these two angels were not Yahweh. Only the person speaking to Abraham refers to himself as Yahweh—not the two angels.
Yahweh could be physically touched. Yahweh had feet that Abraham washed (v.4). Yahweh ate bread (v.5) and meat (v.7). Yahweh drank milk (v.8). For these reasons, we agree with Hamilton and Currid that this is indeed a theophany of Yahweh.
Before Abraham can sacrifice Isaac, the “angel of the LORD” states, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me” (v.12). We shouldn’t offer sacrifices to angels or worship angels (Col. 2:18). Yet, the “angel of the LORD” considered this a sacrifice to himself.
(Gen. 32:24-30) Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. 25 When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 He said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.” 29 Then Jacob asked him and said, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And he blessed him there. 30 So Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved.”
Whom did Jacob wrestle? A superficial reading of the text states that Jacob merely wrestled with a “man” (ʾîš, v.24). Yet, there’s several problems with such a superficial reading.
To begin, all interpreters should agree that this figure is enigmatic and mysterious. He appears into the story just as quickly as he disappears. This seems to preclude a mere man.
Second, the greater context of Jacob’s life describes him wrestling with God. Jacob schemes and lies to get the blessing from God (see Gen. 25-31). By demanding a blessing while wrestling with God, we find a quite literal culmination of this greater theme. This explains why Jacob demands a blessing (v.26). He could see that he was encountering God himself.
Third, the text gives implicit and explicit declarations that this is God. The narrative concludes with Jacob saying, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved” (v.30). Why would Jacob be worried about dying from seeing a man or an angel? For this fear to be warranted, Jacob must’ve believed that he encountered God himself (Ex. 33:20).
Moreover, this mysterious figure gives Jacob a new name. The name “Israel” (yiśrāʾēl) means “you have struggled with God.” Indeed, the mysterious figure states, “You have striven with God” (v.28). Matthews states, “The name ‘Israel’ emphasizes that it was God who initiated the struggle.” Finally, Jacob called the place “Peniel” which means “face of God.” Indeed, it is an abbreviation of the statement, “I have seen God face to face.” Again, Matthews writes, “By this the reader learns from Jacob that the ‘man’ was indeed deity, as we had come to expect from earlier hints.”
What about Hosea’s interpretation? Hosea writes that Jacob “wrestled with the angel and prevailed” (Hos. 12:4). But keep reading. Hosea goes on to describe an encounter with God—not a mere angel. Hosea writes, “He spoke with us, even the LORD, the God of hosts, the LORD is His name” (Ex. 12:4b-5). Moreover, God often appears as the so-called “Angel of the LORD.”
How can God be called a man? As we have already seen, the description of a “man” doesn’t preclude that he is also God. Earlier in Genesis Abraham encountered “three men” (Gen. 18:2), but one of them was Yahweh (Gen. 18:1).
Needless to say, this was no mere vision. It was truly an encounter with God. Indeed, Jacob walked with a limp for the rest of his life. What dream can cause your hip joint to dislocate? All of this shows that Yahweh himself entered into the world in the form of a “man” (v.24), and he could be experienced through the five senses.
The “angel of the LORD” and “Yahweh” and “God” are all used interchangeably in this passage. The “angel of the LORD” appears in the burning bush (v.2), but then, “the LORD saw that he turned aside to look [and] God called to him from the midst of the bush” (Ex. 3:4). Who was in the burning bush? The angel of the LORD or Yahweh himself? The angel of the LORD is Yahweh. Later, we read that Yahweh himself “appeared” to Moses (Ex. 4:5).
(Num. 22:31) The LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way with his drawn sword in his hand; and he bowed all the way to the ground.
Balaam worships the “angel of the LORD.” It was normal to bow before kings, but this is different. This is not a king. He is an angel. But the Bible forbids prostrating before angels (Rev. 19:10; 22:8-9) or worshipping them (Col. 2:18). Indeed, God alone should be worshipped (Ex. 20:5; 34:14; Deut. 5:8-9; 6:13; 8:19; 11:16, etc.).
The “angel of the LORD” had words that were equal in authority to God. God told Balaam, “Only [speak] the word which I speak to you” (Num. 22:20). Consequently, Balaam states, “The word that God puts in my mouth, that I shall speak” (v.38). Later, he states, “Must I not be careful to speak what the LORD puts in my mouth?” (Num. 23:12) So, Balaam can only speak what God told him. And yet, the angel of the Lord says, “You shall speak only the word which I tell you” (v.35). This explains why Balaam stated that he had seen a vision of God himself (Num. 24:3-4).
(Josh. 5:13-15) Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” 14 He said, “No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the LORD.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, “What has my lord to say to his servant?” 15 The captain of the LORD’S host said to Joshua, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.
This is a “manifestation of the divine presence, and therefore more than an angelic visitation.” Several observations support this view.
First, this mysterious figure commands God’s heavenly army. He states that he is the “captain of the host of the LORD.” This figure never leads the Israelites into battle. Indeed, as the narrative progresses, this mysterious figure evaporates from the text, and Yahweh leads the Israelites into battle (Josh. 6:2). Therefore, it’s plausible that this figure is Yahweh, commanding the angels (1 Kin. 22:19; Ps. 103:20-21; 148:2) as well as the Israelites.
Second, this mysterious figure is “the angel of the LORD.” Joshua sees “a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn.” This description appears in only two other instances in the entirety of the OT, and both refer to “the angel of the LORD.” In Numbers, this language describes “the angel of the LORD standing in the way with his drawn sword in his hand” (Num. 22:23). Likewise, “David lifted up his eyes and saw the angel of the LORD standing between earth and heaven, with his drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem” (1 Chron. 21:16). This strongly implies that this mysterious figure is “the angel of the LORD.”
Third, this mysterious figure receives worship. The text states, “Joshua fell on his face to the earth and bowed down.” Thus, Joshua “worshipped” this figure. Of course, it was normal to bow before kings, but this situation is quite different. This man is not a king. He identifies himself as the “captain of the host of the LORD.” Surely this is an angelic figure. But why then is Joshua worshipping an angel, and why does the angel accept his worship? The Bible forbids prostrating before angels (Rev. 19:10; 22:8-9) or worshipping them (Col. 2:18). Indeed, God alone should be worshipped (Ex. 20:5; 34:14; Deut. 5:8-9; 6:13; 8:19; 11:16, etc.). This leads Richard Hess to write, “There can be no doubt who this is.”
Fourth, this mysterious figure uses identical language to Yahweh. When Yahweh spoke to Moses at the burning bush, he said, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy” (cf. Ex. 3:5). Could a mere man or angel make a statement like this?
(Judg. 2:1-2) The angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land which I have sworn to your fathers; and I said, ‘I will never break My covenant with you, 2 and as for you, you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed Me; what is this you have done?”
Does this refer to a human messenger? Some commentators think that the title “angel of the LORD” simply refers to a human prophet. After all, the word “angel” (malʾaḵ) simply refers to a messenger, and this can refer to either a human or an angelic messenger.
This perspective faces serious difficulties, however. For one, biblical prophets regularly prefaced their words by saying, “Thus says the Lord…” (e.g. Judg. 6:8) Here, however, the “angel of the LORD” speaks for God in the first person, claiming that he himself rescued the people from Egypt and made a covenant with them. The angel of the LORD is “regularly used in the Old Testament to denote the manifestation of the Lord himself in a theophany.” He might have been a “preincarnate form of the Second Person of the Trinity.”
(Judg. 6:22-23) When Gideon saw that he was the angel of the LORD, he said, “Alas, O Lord GOD! For now I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face.” 23 The LORD said to him, “Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die.”
The text identifies “the angel of the LORD” with God himself. Earlier, the text switches back and forth between “the angel of the LORD” (vv.11-12, 20-21) and Yahweh himself (v.14, 16, 23). In this text, Gideon calls this figure the “Lord God,” and even the author states that “The LORD” spoke to Gideon. At this point, Gideon is “no longer in any doubt that the messenger is Yahweh himself.”
Moreover, Gideon was afraid of dying when he saw the angel of the LORD, crying out, “Alas!” (NASB) or “Oh no!” (NET, CSB) or “Ah!” (TNIV) or “I am doomed!” (NLT) Why was Gideon so afraid? Surely he was afraid because he thought that he had seen God himself, and God had told Moses, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!” (Ex. 33:20; cf. Gen. 16:13; 32:30; Exod. 20:19; Isa. 6:5).
(Judg. 13:22) Manoah said to his wife, “We will surely die, for we have seen God.”
In context, the “angel of the LORD” spoke to Manoah and his wife (v.3, 13), predicting the birth of Samson. Like Gideon, Manoah believed that he would die for seeing God (Ex. 33:20).
The angel of the LORD states that his name is “wonderful” (v.18, p̱eliʾy). This word is used to describe God’s “wonderful” knowledge (Ps. 139:6), and Isaiah uses it to describe Jesus as the “Wonderful Counselor” (Isa. 9:6). In these contexts, the term refers to being “ineffable” or “beyond human comprehension.” This is “a clear indication of his divine nature.”
These various passages depict a human figure who appears on Earth and speaks with divine rights and authority. Humans see this mysterious figure, and he can interact with the physical world. This demonstrates that God has the freedom to enter his creation, and therefore, this raises the plausibility that God can exist in multiple persons.
(Gen. 1:26-27) God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness… God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
The name of “God” is plural, rather than singular (ʾĕlōhîm). OT authors sometimes use the singular form to refer to God (ʾĕlōah), but they usually use the plural (ʾĕlōhîm). Consequently, “unless the intent is to make a point about plurality, why not just use the singular?”
Furthermore, God uses plural pronouns to refer to himself (“Us… Our”), and he uses a plural verb (“make”). Yet, there is only one God who “said” (singular). Grammatically, therefore, this speaks to some sort of unity and diversity within God (c.f. Gen. 3:22; 11:7; Isa. 6:8).
Does this refer to the angelic host? This view lacks plausibility. For one, angels occur nowhere in the context. Indeed, they don’t appear until two chapters later (Gen. 3:24). Commentators rightly point out that God is the sole actor in Genesis 1, being mentioned 35 times in this opening section. In fact, God is mentioned “in as many verses of the story.” How odd it would be for (unmentioned!) angels to be the focus at the end of this chapter.
Second, the Bible nowhere teaches that humans are made in the image of angels, nor does it teach that angels are made in the image of God. While angels can appear as humans (Gen. 18:2), they can manifest in various different forms. The creation of humans is simply “never attributed to angels elsewhere in the Bible.” Therefore, if this passage refers to it, then it is the only one.
Third, the Hebrew grammar requires that we are created in God’s image alone. In verse 27, God created humans “in his own image” (beṣalmô) and “in the image of God” (beṣelem ʾelōhîm). Consequently, the use of the singular would “rule out… that the plural refers to a heavenly court of angels, since in the immediate context man’s creation is said to be ‘in his image’ with no mention of man in the image of the angels.”
Does this refer to the “plural of majesty”? In the ancient world, kings would speak of themselves in the plural from time to time. This is known as the “royal we” or the “plural of majesty.” For instance, the Queen of England was quoted as saying, “We are not amused.” Moreover, even the Quran contains the “plural of majesty” to refer to Allah (Surah 6:55, 76; 7:117, 138, etc.). In fact, it was “common to refer to the deity in the compound plural,” and even when speaking to a human owner, it was “often the rule to speak of him in such terms.” For instance, David is spoken of as the “lord” (1 Kin. 1:11). English translations gloss over this, but the Hebrew uses the plural “lords” here (c.f. Isa. 1:3; 19:4).
That being the case, these are all examples of Hebrew nouns—not pronouns. In Hebrew, “pronouns are always countable plurals.” Therefore, “grammatically the ‘us’ cannot be a plural of majesty or intensification.” Consequently, the plural pronouns in this section are unique for biblical Hebrew.
Finally, if the “plural of majesty” was such a clear reading of the text, why did Jewish theologians have such difficulty with these passages? (e.g. Gen. 1:26; 3:22; 11:7; Isa. 6:8) The Book of Jubilees (2nd c. BC) altered the text and omitted Genesis 3:22. Philo held that this referred to the angelic host, whom he called God’s “assistants” (On the Creation of the World 24).
Where does this leave us? At the very least, Brown is surely right when he states, “While these references to God or Lord in the plural do not in any way prove Trinitarian beliefs, they are certainly in perfect harmony with everything we are trying to say here, namely, that in some way the Lord’s unity is complex.” Indeed, we are inclined to hold that this is our first reference to God’s highly complex nature that consists of both unity and diversity.
(Ps. 45:6-7) Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom. 7 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of joy above Your fellows.
At the heart of interpreting this passage is whether this passage should be rendered in the “vocative.” The “vocative” (Latin vocare) refers to “calling out” to someone. In this case, the psalmist is “calling out” to God: “Your throne, O God…” Murray J. Harris defends the “vocative” translations extensively, and we draw on his scholarship to defend this longstanding historical translation. Consider several reasons to support this translation:
First, the context supports this translation. In the next verse, the context directly addresses God (“God, Your God, has anointed You”).
Second, the earlier title might be an allusion to King Messiah. The writer addresses Psalm 45 to the King of Israel (v.1). Yet the psalmist this figure the “Mighty One” (gibbôr), which is a descriptor of Jesus (Isa. 9:6) and of God (Isa. 10:21 el gibbôr). We run the risk of mere word association. But this does seem somewhat significant given the messianic context. Moreover, the translation of the Targum supports the messianic interpretation (see below).
Third, the grammar supports this translation. The word “God” (ʾĕlōhîm) doesn’t require the article before it. For one, in “poetry and elevated prose it is quite often omitted.” Moreover, the article doesn’t appear in the greater context of the psalm: “Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One… Listen, O daughter, give attention and incline your ear” (vv.3, 10). Neither passage contains the article before the vocative.
Fourth, English translations support this translation. Indeed, virtually all major English translations render this as a vocative: “Your throne, O God” (NASB, NIV, ESV, NRSV, KJV, LEB, NET). Two translations are outliers:
- (RSV) “Your divine throne endures for ever and ever.” Yet, this construction is “probably unparalleled in the OT.”
- (NEB) “Your throne is like God’s throne.” Harris writes, “The purported conflation of the two idioms in Psalm 45:7 lacks any unambiguous parallel in the OT and therefore remains an unconvincing explanation.”
Fifth, ancient translations support this translation. The Septuagint (250-132 BC) renders this as, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever… Therefore God, your God, anointed you.” The Targum states, “Thy throne of glory, O Lord, endures for ever and ever.” Earlier, the Targumist addresses the Messiah: “Your beauty, O King Messiah, surpasses that of ordinary men.”
Sixth, the New Testament supports this translation. The author of Hebrews writes, “Of the Son He says, ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom. 9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your companions’” (Heb. 1:8-9). This should clinch the argument for anyone who holds to the inspiration of Scripture.
The psalmist directly addresses the King as “God” (ʾĕlōhîm). he writes, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.” Furthermore, he seems to show diversity within God’s nature. He writes, “God, Your God, has anointed You” (Ps. 45:6-7). How can a human king carry the title “God”? And how can one “God” speak to another “God”? One Hebrew scholar tells this anecdote, regarding Psalm 45:
When I first started studying Hebrew in college, I asked my professor, a very friendly Israeli rabbi, to translate for me the words kis’aka ‘elohim ‘olam wa’ed. He replied immediately, ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,’ explaining, ‘These are praises to the Almighty.’ I then asked him to read the rest of the psalm, clearly addressed to the king, and his face dropped. How could this earthly king be called ‘elohim? To repeat: This is the most natural and obvious meaning of the Hebrew, and no one would have questioned such a rendering had the entire psalm been addressed to God.
In this text, we have the psalmist referring to an earthly king being called “God” (ʾĕlōhîm) and ruling on a throne “forever and ever.” Jesus fits this passage beautifully: He is both human and divine, and he will rule on Earth “forever and ever.” It’s no wonder that the NT cites this passage to refer to Jesus (Heb. 1:8-9).
(Isa. 48:12-13) “I am He, I am the first, I am also the last. 13 Surely My hand founded the earth, and My right hand spread out the heavens; when I call to them, they stand together.”
Who is speaking in this section? In context, the speaker possesses foreknowledge (vv.3-6), he creates the universe (v.13), and he calls himself “the first and the last.” Clearly this is God himself. Indeed, Yahweh uses this same language to describe himself earlier in the book (Isa. 44:6). Furthermore, he refuses to share his glory with anyone else (v.11). Isaiah records:
(Isa. 48:14-15) The LORD loves him; he shall carry out His good pleasure on Babylon, and His arm shall be against the Chaldeans. 15 I, even I, have spoken; indeed I have called him, I have brought him, and He will make his ways successful.
Commentators generally agree that God is speaking about King Cyrus, who was the ancient Persian king who destroyed the Babylonians. But then, Isaiah writes this:
(Isa. 48:16) 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 context states that this is God speaking. As we have already seen, God is speaking in the first person. Yet, without any shift in context, God states that God “sent Me and His Spirit.” Unless the speaker in vs. 16b is a new speaker (as some assert below), there are at least two persons who are identified as God. This passage does not prove that the Spirit is God. However, it strongly suggests that there are at least two persons who are both called God.
Commentators regularly marginalize this argument from context. This is mistaken: The first rule of hermeneutics is context, and any interpreter who sees a change of context shoulders the full burden of proof. Furthermore, if this contextual argument wasn’t strong, then there would be no need for critical scholars to posit a later interpolator (see below).
The language describes the Servant of the Lord. Up until this point, the only person who possessed the Holy Spirit was the so-called Servant of the Lord. Earlier, Isaiah wrote, “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations” (Isa. 42:1 NIV; cf. 61:1). Furthermore, the second “Servant Song” occurs just a few verses later, which would fit the context as well (Isa. 49:1-6; see “The Servant Songs”).
The context travels from the beginning of history (vv.12-13), to the present Persian King (vv.14-15), to the future plan of God in his Servant (v.16). Isaiah follows this pattern in his book as well.
Are these the words of Isaiah? Oswalt, Whybray, and Calvin argue that Isaiah spoke these words. Of course, the obvious problem is that the context contains no change whatsoever. Moreover, Isaiah doesn’t insert his voice into the text like this. Some argue that he nowhere does this. Possible exceptions could be Isaiah 40:6 and Isaiah 44:26. But even these texts are far from clear. Again, the interpreter who holds that the context has shifted need to shoulder the full burden of proof.
Are these the words of King Cyrus? McKenzie states that this is “the imagined response of Cyrus to the commission which has just been described.” The NET note also asserts this view. However, this faces numerous problems. First, context, context, context. The speaker has been God the entire time. The interpreter needs to give strong evidence that a break in context has occurred. Second, the text never states that these are Cyrus’ words. This is merely inferred from him being described in the verses 14-16. Third, it stretches our credulity to think that Cyrus interjects his “imagined response” into the text—especially when Isaiah refrains from doing this. the context shifts from the third-person (“The LORD loves him…”) to the first-person (“Come near to Me… the Lord GOD has sent Me”).
Are these the words of a later redactor? Westermann states that these words “cannot possibly be explained in their present context… They represent a fragment.” Schoors states, “Virtually no one accepts the authenticity of vs. 16c although it is very well attested in textual tradition.” What an admission! The manuscript evidence doesn’t support this theory. Rather, commentators don’t know what to do with this passage because it doesn’t fit their preconceived paradigm. Consequently, they punt to an ad hoc theory that a later scribe inserting this verse. Yet, no empirical evidence supports this theory.
Is it illegitimate to see the “Holy Spirit” in the OT? Some interpreters argue that the “Spirit” cannot refer to the Holy Spirit in the OT, because the Holy Spirit wasn’t identified as a separate person of the Trinity yet. Of course, this begs the question, assuming the conclusion that it is trying to prove. Furthermore, Joel wrote of God pouring out his “Spirit” on mankind, and Peter understood this to be an OT prediction of the “Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:17, 33, 38). Consequently, we are “justified in using the Old Testament references to God’s Spirit in formulating our understanding of the third person of the Trinity.” Indeed, the “Spirit of God” is mentioned roughly 90 times in the OT. Not all of these refer to the person of the Holy Spirit, but the concept of God’s Spirit exists throughout the OT Scriptures.
Conclusion. Both the context and the language describe the Servant of the Lord as the speaker in verse 16. If this is the case, then it demonstrates that the OT Scriptures revealed God in multiple persons in the OT.
Isaiah 61:1-2, 8
(Isa. 61:1-2) The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners; 2 to proclaim the favorable year of the LORD and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn.
The speaker identifies himself as separate from Yahweh. He says that the “Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,” and he refers to Yahweh in the third person. This language fits the earlier Servant Songs. The Servant will:
- Possess God’s Spirit: “I have put My Spirit upon Him” (Isa. 42:1).
- Bring justice to the nations: “He will bring forth justice to the nations… He will faithfully bring forth justice” (Isa. 42:1, 3).
It’s no wonder that Jesus quoted this passage and claimed that he was the one who was anointed by Yahweh (Lk. 4:18-19; 7:22). Yet, without any shift in context, Isaiah writes:
(Isa. 61:8-9) I, the LORD, love justice, I hate robbery in the burnt offering; And I will faithfully give them their recompense and make an everlasting covenant with them. 9 Then their offspring will be known among the nations, and their descendants in the midst of the peoples. All who see them will recognize them because they are the offspring whom the LORD has blessed.
If this is the same speaker as verses 1-2, then this means that the speaker is distinct from Yahweh (vv.1-2), but he also is Yahweh (v.8). But is this the same speaker, or has the narrator changed? We hold that this is the same speaker for a number of reasons:
For one, we do not see any break in context in this chapter. The same speaker from verses 1-2 identifies himself as Yahweh.
Second, the text begins with the connecting word “for” (kî), showing a continuity of context with what preceded it.
Third, the concept of God loving “justice” and dispensing “recompense” to the wicked forms an inclusio with the opening verses that describe “the day of vengeance of our God” (v.2). Consequently, the person speaking in verse 8 (i.e. Yahweh) is the same person speaking in verses 1-2 (i.e. someone distinct from Yahweh).
(Isa. 6:10-11) I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 11 For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes the things sown in it to spring up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.
The speaker switches to describing God in the third person once again (“I will rejoice greatly in the LORD”).
For one, the speaker states that he is “clothed in garments of salvation” and “righteousness.” This is a “concept that would only be applicable to Zion if its salvation were already accomplished.”
Second, Israel didn’t bring salvation to itself; rather, One was coming who would save the nation (and the world). In our estimation, this refers to the Servant who will take up the mantle of God’s salvation for his people.
Third, the focus of this section is not on Zion, but on the nations. God will cause righteousness to spring up “before all the nations” (Isa. 61:11).
Some Jewish scholars hold that ancient rabbis held to a binitarian view of God (i.e. two persons in the one God) before the time of Jesus. It was only after the spread of Christianity that later rabbis rejected this notion. From these texts, at the very least, this view seems plausible.
 Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI. Zondervan Publishing House, 1994), 248.
 Norman L. Geisler, Systematic Theology (Arlington, TX: Bastion Books, 2021), 541.
 Should you Believe in the Trinity? (Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1989). 20.
 John Feinberg, No One Like Him: The Doctrine of God (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2001), 466.
 John uses the “neuters ho and auto in John 14:16-18 but this is due to the fact that pneuma intervenes.” L. Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans publishing co., 1938), 96.
 Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI. Zondervan Publishing House, 1994), 232.
 Robert Letham, The Holy Trinity (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2004), 72.
 Romans 1:1-4; 5:1, 5; 7:4-6; 8:1-4; 14:17-18; 15:16, 30; 1 Corinthians 2:1-5; 12:4-6; Ephesians 4:4-6; Galatians 4:4-6; 1 Thessalonians 1:3-5; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 9:14; 1 Peter 1:1-2; 1 John 3:21-24; Revelation 1:4-5.
 Modalism is also referred to as “Monarchianism” from the root words “one” (mono) and “beginning” or “origin” (archē). Applied to God, it means that there is only one person within God. Modalism is also called “Sabellianism,” which is named after the false teacher Sabellius (who lived in the 3rd century AD). Sabellius opposed the growing consensus of Trinitarian teaching, and Callixtus removed him from the church in AD 220.
 This is also called the United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI). This sect was removed from mainline Pentecostalism (the Assemblies of God) in 1916.
 John Feinberg, No One Like Him: The Doctrine of God (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2001), 468.
 John Feinberg, No One Like Him: The Doctrine of God (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2001), 468.
 Millard J. Erickson, Making Sense of the Trinity, 3 Crucial Questions (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2000), 27.
 Origen (AD 250) affirmed the distinct persons (or hypostaseis) of the Trinity, but he depreciated the divine essence of the Son and the Holy Spirit. This doesn’t refer to a functional subordination, but an ontological subordination. Moreover, Origen compromised on the unifying essence of the persons of the Trinity. He held that they were united in their will, but not their essence. This led to practical Tritheism. Arius reacted to this heretical view by espousing that there is only one God—the Father—and the Son and the Spirit are not truly God.
 Walter C. Kaiser Jr. et al., Hard Sayings of the Bible (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1996), 192.
 Derek Kidner, Genesis: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 1, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1967), 36.
 This doesn’t refer to the voice of the Lord, but to the sound he was making as he was walking. Derek Kidner, Genesis: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 1, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1967), 74.
 We shouldn’t place a lot of weight on this text because the Hebrew is very confusing. Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis 16-50, vol. 2, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1994), 11.
 Sailhamer holds that all three men are physical manifestations of Yahweh. Yet, he doesn’t explain the crucial shift in language from Abraham talking to “Yahweh” (18:22) with the “two angels” leaving (19:1). John H. Sailhamer, “Genesis,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1990), 145-146.
 Victor P. Hamilton, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 18-50, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1995), 7.
 John D. Currid, A Study Commentary on Genesis: Genesis 1:1-25:18, vol. 1, EP Study Commentary (Darlington, England: Evangelical Press, n.d.), 324.
 John H. Sailhamer, “Genesis,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1990), 210.
 K. A. Mathews, Genesis 11:27-50:26, vol. 1B, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2005), 559.
 Derek Kidner, Genesis: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 1, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1967), 181.
 Bruce K. Waltke and Cathi J. Fredricks, Genesis: A Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2001), 447.
 K. A. Mathews, Genesis 11:27-50:26, vol. 1B, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2005), 560.
 Richard S. Hess, Joshua: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 6, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 140.
 David M. Howard Jr., Joshua, vol. 5, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), 158.
 Richard S. Hess, Joshua: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 6, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 140.
 The wording is nearly identical in these two passages. The only difference is one word and spelling differences. David M. Howard Jr., Joshua, vol. 5, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), 158.
 Webb states that the identity of this figure emerges more clearly in chapters 6 and 13 as an angelic messenger. Here, however, he seems to think the evidence favors a human messenger. Barry G. Webb, The Book of Judges, ed. R. K. Harrison and Robert L. Hubbard Jr., The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2012), 129.
 Arthur E. Cundall and Leon Morris, Judges and Ruth: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 7, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1968), 64.
 Herbert Wolf, “Judges,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, vol. 3 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992), 392.
 Barry G. Webb, The Book of Judges, ed. R. K. Harrison and Robert L. Hubbard Jr., The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2012), 232.
 Arthur E. Cundall and Leon Morris, Judges and Ruth: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 7, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1968), 154.
 Barry G. Webb, The Book of Judges, ed. R. K. Harrison and Robert L. Hubbard Jr., The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2012), 356.
 Herbert Wolf, “Judges,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, vol. 3 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992), 464.
 Deuteronomy 32:15; Psalm 18:31; 114:7; Habakkuk 3:3, etc.
 John Feinberg, No One Like Him: The Doctrine of God (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2001), 449.
 Bruce K. Waltke, Genesis: A Commentary (Zondervan: Grand Rapids, MI, 2001), p.64. Gordon Wenham, Genesis 1-15 (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1998), p.28. They offer a number of exegetical arguments. First, the plural pronoun occurs later in the text (Gen. 3:22) in close proximity with the cherubim who guard the Garden (Gen. 3:24). Second, Job 38:7 states that angels were present at creation. Finally, when angels later appear in the book of Genesis, they look like humans (Gen. 18:2).
 Derek Kidner, Genesis (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1967), p.47.
 Robert Letham, The Holy Trinity (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2004), 34.
 John H. Sailhamer, Genesis (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1990), p.37.
 Michael L. Brown, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus: Theological Objections. Vol. 2. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2003), 9.
 Emphasis mine. Bruce K. Waltke, Genesis: A Commentary (Zondervan: Grand Rapids, MI, 2001).
 Millard J. Erickson, Making Sense of the Trinity, 3 Crucial Questions (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2000), 32.
 Michael L. Brown, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus: Theological Objections. Vol. 2. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2003), 10.
 Murray J. Harris, “The Translation of Elohim in Psalm 45:7-8,” (Tyndale Bulletin 35, 1984), pp. 65-89.
 Murray J. Harris, “The Translation of Elohim in Psalm 45:7-8,” (Tyndale Bulletin 35, 1984), p.80.
 Murray J. Harris, “The Translation of Elohim in Psalm 45:7-8,” (Tyndale Bulletin 35, 1984), p.71.
 Murray J. Harris, “The Translation of Elohim in Psalm 45:7-8,” (Tyndale Bulletin 35, 1984), p.77.
 A New English Translation of the Septuagint (tr. Albert Pietersma, Oxford University Press, 2009).
 Michael Brown, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus: Theological Objections. Volume 2. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2003), 43.
 Brevard Childs, Isaiah (OTL. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2001), 378.
 C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament (Pub. Hendrickson Publishers), in loc.
 Berkhof writes, “God is the speaker, and mentions both the Messiah and the Spirit, or the Messiah is the speaker who mentions both God and the Spirit, Isa. 48:16; 61:1; 63:9, 10. Thus the Old Testament contains a clear anticipation of the fuller revelation of the Trinity in the New Testament.” L. Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans publishing co., 1938), 86.
 John N. Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 40–66, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1998), 278.
 R. N. Whybray, Isaiah 40-66, NCBC (London: Marshall, Morgan, and Scott, 1975), 132.
 Calvin states that the final line is Isaiah (in loc.). He writes, “Isaiah now begins to speak of himself, and applies this statement to the preceding doctrine, and testifies that that God, who hath spoken from the beginning, now speaketh by him, and consequently that we ought to believe those things which God now speaketh by him, in the same manner as if he were visibly present.”
 J.L. McKenzie, Second Isaiah (AB 20. Garden City: Doubleday, 1968), 99.
 Claus Westermann, Isaiah 40-66 (OTL. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1969), 203.
 Emphasis mine. A. Schoors, I Am God Your Saviour: A Form-Critical Study of the Main Genres in Is. 40–55 (VTSup 24; Leiden: Brill, 1973), 281. Cited in Klaus Baltzer, Deutero-Isaiah: A Commentary on Isaiah 40–55, ed. Peter Machinist, Hermeneia—a Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2001), 293.
 Millard J. Erickson, Making Sense of the Trinity, 3 Crucial Questions (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2000), 29.
 Robert Letham, The Holy Trinity (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2004), 66.
 Geoffrey W. Grogan, “Isaiah,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, vol. 6 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1986), 334.
 John N. Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 40–66, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1998), 574.
 Gary Smith, Isaiah 40-66, vol. 15B, The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2009), 642.
 Alan F. Segal, Two Powers in Heaven: Early Rabbinic Reports about Christianity and Gnosticism (Waco, TX: Baylor Univ. Press, 2012), 150; Daniel Boyarin, Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity (Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania, 2004), 89-111.