Rev Stephen Brooks provides a biblical exposition on the personhood of Jesus, and explores the concept of the Trinity
Judaism and Christianity are called monotheistic religions. They are also known as Abrahamic religions, because they accept Abraham as the ‘father’ of their faith. The fundamental difference between Judaism and Christianity is how they relate to Jesus. Christians believe that Jesus is the promised Messiah; Jews believe that God made a covenant with Abraham, and they are still waiting for a messiah.
This article is an attempt to understand the true nature of Jesus Christ, who was born during the reign of Augustus Caesar in the 1st century, and was alive during the reign of King Herod ofJudea. Tiberius was emperor during the three years that Jesus preached. The Apostle Paul is considered responsible for primarily spreading Christianity to non-Jews. Jews and Christians worshiped together up until 70 AD, until the sacking of the second temple by Titus. This event is called the Great Diaspora, and it would be after this that Judaism and Christianity permanently split apart.
By the end of the 4th century, Christianity had become the official religion ofRome. Ironically, one of the most misunderstood of Bible truths today is who Jesus is in relationship to the Godhead. The most universally accepted view of the Godhead is the teaching of the Trinity; a view originally adopted by the Catholic Church in 325 AD, which states that God is three distinct Persons, who are co-equal, ie. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost.
‘’Repent, and be baptised every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:28).
A key Scripture, used to explain the Trinity, is Genesis 1:26, “And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness,” but the Scripture goes on to say in verse 27, “So God created man in His own image.” Does the Bible contradict itself? No. So, how do we explain this portion of Scripture, which refers to a plural “Us” and a singular “Him”? We know the Bible says that God is a Spirit. While Adam was made in the image of God, Jesus is ‘the image of the invisible God’ (Colossians 1:15). New Testament Scriptures – Matthew 1:21-23, 1 Timothy 3:16 and Colossians 2:8-11 – let us know that God came to earth in the form of a man. It says God was manifested, which means He was made visible. The Name ‘Jesus’ described the new role that God would play in relationship to mankind’s need. God said that blood was the only thing that could buy the remission of our sin.
“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without the shedding of blood there is no remission” (Hebrews9:22). Since the Spirit of God had no blood to shed, God formed a body for Himself by overshadowing the Virgin Mary. That body was made for the purpose of our Redeemer. In Old Testament law, only a near relative could redeem a person when they were sold. God became one of us so that He could buy our salvation. The Name ‘Jesus’ is a combination of ‘Jehovah’ and ‘our salvation’. Only by dying and shedding His blood could that happen.
John 10:30, Ephesians 4:5-6, Revelation 1:8 and Revelation 4:2 – All of these listed New Testament Scriptures refer to only one God. John only saw one God sitting on the throne of Heaven. So why is there so much confusion about the idea of a Trinity of Persons in the Godhead? Let’s look at a verse of Scripture for the answer.
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19). This verse is the foundation of Trinitarian teaching. It would appear to refer to God as consisting of three Persons. So let’s look at the command, and how it was obeyed.
Then Peter said unto them, “Repent, and be baptised every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts2:28).
Since Jehovah is one of the Father’s names, and Jesus (Jehovah is salvation) came in that name, the Father’s name must be Jesus. Since Isaiah said that the Son would be called “The everlasting Father”, Jesus must be the Father. Jesus told Philip that He was the Father. But, what is the name of the Holy Ghost? Jesus said to His disciples, “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (John14:17, 18).
Can there be any doubt that the Holy Spirit that dwells in us is Jesus? All the fullness of the Godhead is in Jesus. One God manifested in three offices, even as water can come in three states: liquid, steam and ice. He was the Father in creation, the Son in redemption, and the Holy Spirit in habitation.
What a privilege to know who Jesus is, and that He is the one true God! We must always look to the Scriptures for an accurate account of who Jesus really is.
Stephen Brooks is National Development Manager for Excell 3 (National Black Boys Can Association). For more details, visit www.blackboyscan.co.uk