The Triune God: God the Son and the Holy Spirit
1 Peter 1:3
1 Peter Lesson #016
April 14, 2015
“Father, it’s a great privilege that we can come together to focus upon Your Word this evening. We just thank You for another opportunity to study, to learn, and to grow that we may under the teaching ministry of God the Holy Spirit to be challenged in our own Christian life to walk more faithfully and consistently with You that we might be reminded of Your grace, be reminded of the way in which You sustain us and provide for us, and the way in which You are able to enable us to face and surmount every situation, every circumstance, every problem, and every adversity which we face in life. Father we’re here to glorify You. We’re here to be a witness both in terms of our life as well as verbally to those around us. We’re here to tell others the good news, the great news about Jesus Christ, that our sins are forgiven, that Christ died on the cross, and that we can have eternal life through faith in Him. Father we pray that you might give us opportunities to give the gospel to those around us, to help them understand more and more about who Jesus is and what He did for us that we might be a faithful witness. Father, as we study tonight and as we continue to study, strengthen us, and help us to be more prepared as spiritual warriors in the angelic conflict, for Your glory. We pray in Christ’s name. Amen.”
Okay, we are in 1 Peter and we’re studying about the Trinity, taking a few lessons to deal with this topically because of the beginning of 1 Peter 1:3. (Slide 3) We’ve looked at the doctrine of the Father. We looked last time at the Son in the Old Testament and we’re going to continue that tonight a little bit and I hope we’re going to get into the Holy Spirit and focus on how all three Members of the Trinity are revealed in the Old Testament.
When we look at 1st Peter, I don’t want this to be simply a lesson in going through various verses looking at the Trinity but I want to tie this together in a way for each of us to make it a little more usable. There are people you may witness to or have opportunities to witness to who have come out of the Unitarian background, maybe someone out of a Jewish background, or maybe someone coming out of an Islamic background where this concept of the Trinity has been distorted for them.
We need to have a few places in our Bible where we’ve underlined verses and we’ve marked the text so we can go back and move through these verses and help show how the idea of multiple Persons in the Trinity is not something unique to the New Testament but is something found throughout the Old Testament. It’s not a Christian doctrine. It was there in Old Testament Judaism and it was expunged or reinterpreted out of Judaism after the destruction of the 2nd Temple and basically the appearance of Jesus who claimed to be God. We went through this last time.
The passage we’re looking at in 1 Peter 1:3 begins with the statement, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”. This is important whenever you read the Bible. One of the things I’m trying to prepare you to do is to read the Bible intelligently as well as to think your way through the Scripture so you’re not completely dependent upon a pastor in teaching you. When we see phrases like this, even though this phrase, as I pointed out a couple of times, shows up a three or four times in the New Testament, it’s not just some formulaic statement. It’s easy for us to read, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Now let’s move on. No, there’s a reason for that.
There’s something significant about emphasizing the Fatherhood of God and the relationship of the 1st Person of the Trinity to the 2nd Person of the Trinity in terms of what Peter is going to be saying in this epistle. Now what is it this epistle is focusing on? It’s focusing on present adversity, difficulties, challenges, facing the fiery trial as it’s mentioned when we get down to 1 Peter 1:9. And in 1 Peter 1:6, “Though now you’ve been grieved by various trials.” Later on it talks about facing the fiery trial. This is within the context of encouraging these believers as they face adversity. His starting point is with God Himself, with understanding the relationship of the Son to the Father.
As we go through this the Son plays a significant role in strengthening the believer. We see this from the very beginning. He’s making this connection and it emphasizes for us the deity of Jesus Christ and it means He is omnipotent just as the Father is omnipotent. No more and no less. Therefore as we are in Christ and He is the head of the body, He has provided for the body. (Slide 4) We see this when we get down in verses 6 through 8 as Peter says, “Even though now you’ve been grieved by various trials [verse 6] that the genuineness of your faith is tested by fire to be found to the praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ whom you have not seen, you love.” How do we come to love someone we have not seen? We have to know them.
So we connect this back to what he says at the beginning (Slide 3) that we have to understand the identity of the Lord Jesus Christ and His person because the more real He is to us, the more we love Him. The more we love Him, we more we obey Him. The more we obey Him, the more we grow and mature as believers and we see His strength manifest in our lives. As Paul says in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.” Notice he doesn’t say that he can do all things through the Holy Spirit that strengthens him. The Holy Spirit strengthens us just as He strengthens the Lord but strengthening is not limited to the role of the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus Christ also strengthens us. He does that through the Word. He does that through the Holy Spirit but this is what Paul is emphasizing.
It’s important to understand the role and the significance of these Members of the Trinity (Slide 5). We started off looking at the Fatherhood of God as it’s revealed in the Old Testament. We saw that was not a huge doctrine but it is emphasized several times, mostly with reference to God as the Father of Israel. There are a few passages that broaden that, recognizing that God is the Father of all believers and the Father in relation to the Trinity, particularly when it talks about the Son. If you have the Son, as we’ve seen in these Old Testament passages, that assumes that there is a Father. So those two personages are clearly emphasized in the Old Testament.
Last time we looked at God the Son. (Slide 6) Tonight if we get there we’ll begin to look at the role of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament. (Slide 7) When I was finishing up last time we were in Psalm 2:7. Psalm 2 is one of the most significant psalms in the Old Testament. I just want to review a few things very briefly here because this passage talks about the Messiah as the Son of God. Now that’s an important connection and if you’re in evangelism with someone of Jewish background (not a believer) or a Moslem, then this is an important passage to look at. It says that God has a Son. It’s clearly established in the Old Testament.
We looked at Proverbs 30:4 and that led us to the passage in Psalm 2:7 (Slide 8) where the Lord declares of the Son who is earlier identified as the Messiah; he identifies Him as His Son. (Slide 9) The first three verses identify this conflict between God and the kings of the earth. The nations are raging and they are conspiring against God. They want to throw off His sovereign reign and rule. They are raising their hand against the Lord [that’s one personage] and His Anointed (Hebrew Meshiach). It’s a critical verse. You have two Persons there in the passage, which clearly indicates that they are both divine. So the Messiah of verse 2 is the Son in verse 7.
(Slide 10). This is important to make those connections. Psalm 2:7, “I [Messiah talking] will declare the decree: The Lord [God the Father] has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You’ ”. This is connected to inheritance. As we look at verse 7 here’s the thing I really wanted to focus on. It’s another aspect in Psalm 2:9 (slide 11). We see the statement, “You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Who is that talking about? That is the Father talking to the Son.
In the English you have these two words, break and dash. (Slide 12) I wanted to clarify this a little bit. The Hebrew word for break is ra’a’ and the Hebrew word for dash, or shatter or smash as it’s translated in some places is the Hebrew naphatz. I’ve color coded this for you so you can follow it. What is going on here is that you have these two other verses, Job 34:24 and Jeremiah 51:20. These same verbs are used in these verses. The word “break” talking about God the Messiah breaking them with a rod of iron. The one who breaks uses that verb ra’a’ in Job 34:24 is God. That means that Psalm 2:9 is attributing to the Son, the Messiah, the actions of deity. That’s really important to understand because what we’re looking at in this whole little study is emphasizing that the Old Testament sees this personage of the Son and attributes to Him the attributes, the actions, and the names that belong to God the Father.
So He breaks [ra’a’] which is what God does in breaking men (Job 34:24). Then the second verb dash [naphatz] is used in Jeremiah 51:20 of a future eschatological victory of God that He will break the nation in pieces. So these two verbs that are each used of God the Father’s actions or the Lord’s actions in Job 34:24 and Jeremiah 51:20 are used of the actions of the Messiah in Psalm 2:9. That tells us that Psalm 2:9 understands the Messiah to be fully God and doing what only God can do.
Then we went on from there to the next point in Psalm 2:12 (Slide 14). We read, “Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.” Now this verb that is translated “trust” here really shouldn’t be translated trust. The better translation is that they take their refuge in Him. That is a verb that is only used in relation to God in the Psalms. Man is never to take refuge in other human beings. We don’t take refuge in political parties. We don’t take refuge in other nations. We don’t take refuge in human beings. We can only take refuge in God.
Here are a couple of passages (Slide 15). Psalm 18:2, “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock…” We saw this reference to God as a rock in Hannah’s song in 1st Samuel 2 the other night, and there are various passages with that. We’ll get back to that more fully next Tuesday night where God is referred to only as The Rock. This is like an alternate name or a nickname for God. He’s The Rock. We see that “God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.” Psalm 57:1, “Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, for my soul takes refuge in You.” So the takeaway point from Psalm 18:2 and Psalm 57:1 is that our only refuge is in God. When the storms of life assail, then we take refuge in our Rock, who is the Lord. These are some great verses to memorize, by the way.
So back to Psalm 2:7 (Slide 16) God decrees that, “You are My Son.” Actually the way this is constructed in the Hebrew is that this is an eternal decree. This is restated several times during the life of Christ and it is the resurrection itself, which is the focal point of this begottenness. This begottenness is merely a way of expressing this relationship to God and that God the Son, is the Eternally Begotten One. That expresses this description of the relationship of the Son to the Father.
(Slide 17) In Acts 13:33–34 we read, “God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You’. And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus: ‘I will give you the sure mercies of David.’ ” This statement that the Son is the Begotten of the Father lays this foundation. That is who He is and His identity. It’s not talking about something that happens in time or something that happened in eternity past but this is expressing the eternal relationship of the Son to the Father.
So we looked at Psalm 2 and Proverbs 30. These are verses that indicate that God has a Son. They demonstrate by looking at the context that the Son that the Father has, that God has, is fully divine. He is fully divine and He is uniquely related to the Father. As we look at that, then we want to go on to see if there are other places in the Old Testament, other places in the Hebrew Scripture that emphasize the deity of this other personage. That if He is divine, He has all the attributes of the divine. He is eternal. He is omniscient. He is omnipresent and has all the attributes. He is immutable; He is righteous; He is just; He is loving; He is equal in essence to the Father. All these things.
We find these especially in Isaiah. So I want to look specifically at two verses here. We’ll look at Isaiah 9:6 and then Isaiah 7:14, two verses we’ve spent a lot of time on. These verses are crucial to understand. (Slide 18) In Isaiah 9:6 we have this section that actually begins back in Isaiah 7. All of these passages link together giving an encouragement to the southern kingdom of Judah under Ahab, that God has a plan and a future for the Davidic dynasty. Ahab is in the Davidic dynasty and God is promising them that even though there are going to be military conflicts, the Davidic dynasty is not going to be overthrown. Eventually God will fulfill His covenant with David and establish His Son on the Throne.
We see this emphasis in Isaiah 9:6 on the Son. “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given.” There we have this title. He’s already a Son. That’s the point from Psalm 2:7. He is eternally begotten. He’s already a Son when He comes. “And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father [Eternal Father] and Prince of Peace.” So we have a Son who is born as a child. That’s really important to think that through. How is that Son born as a child? He’s already a Son and He’s going to be born as a child.
Now the Jewish Targum (Slide 19) on Isaiah has an explanation on this verse. I put this up on the screen so you can see this. After citing the verse, they inserted a statement in the Targum, which I have in italics that “The Messiah in whose days peace shall increase upon us.” The idea that creeps into modern Judaism later on [post 2nd Temple Judaism by about 900 or 1000 B.C.] is that this passage is referring to a historical king or historical figure is not in line with the Targum of Isaiah or other more ancient of rabbinical writings. They understood this to be a Messianic prophecy related to the descendant of David who would bring in His kingdom and establish peace upon the earth.
As this starts off we have the first two lines that are in parallelism in the Hebrew. Hebrew poetry parallels ideas, not rhyming words. It parallels ideas and sometimes it’s a synonymous parallelism where the language of the first line is just mirrored in the second line. Sometimes the second line is antithetical. It says the opposite of what the first line says. Sometimes the second line establishes or says something more than the first line. (Slide 20). Here we have a parallel. The Child and the Son are parallel. They’re talking about the same Person. One is viewed as a Child and one is already viewed as a Son. The Child is born and the word born is parallel to “given”. You see there’s a certain parallelism here. The first line is emphasizing the fact that the Child enters into the human race the normal way. He is born through the normal birth process. That emphasizes that this Messiah is human. He is fully human.
Then the second line indicates there is something more than that. He is also God. He is the Son who is mentioned in Proverbs 30. He is the Son who is mentioned in Psalm 2. He is a Son who is given to the Jewish people as their Messiah. And what will be His role? This will be developed in the next line. But first we need to understand why it is He enters into history. We have this fulfillment in the New Testament.
(Slide 21) Hebrews 2:17 says that regarding Jesus, the Messiah, the Christ, that He had to be made like His brethren. His mission is ultimately to die as a substitute for mankind; He has to become a human being. Hebrews says, “He had to be made like His brethren.” Philippians 2:7–8 says that “He came in the likeness of men”. He is like men. There’s one difference. He didn’t have a sin nature. He is found in appearance as a man, which means he has all of the features of a human being. So He enters into the human race as a man, but He is also God. He is also eternal. This is emphasized by the fact that He is divine.
We’ll go to Isaiah 7:14 in a minute but this is emphasized because a virgin is going to conceive and give birth and she’s going to name her Son Immanuel, which is Hebrew that means “God with us”. So she understands that this child is God with man. (Slide 22) So the Son is given. This emphasizes His dual origin as both human and as God. Then when we look at the names, the titles that are given to Him that are developed in the latter part of verse 7, we see that all of these are terms that are applied to deity. They are not terms that are applied to human beings.
First of all He is called Wonderful. The way some of your translations may punctuate this, some separate these as two different attributes…Wonderful, Counselor. Others put them together. Wonderful Counselor. They should be separated. He’s called Wonderful. The Hebrew word that’s translated wonderful here is pele and it’s one of those words that is only used to describe God. Throughout the Scripture this word never is used to describe a human being. It’s used in places such as Judges 13:18, Isaiah 25:1 and Isaiah 28:29. He is Wonderful in the Judges passages.
Manoah, the father of Sampson, says to the Messenger of Yahweh, the Angel of the Lord, the Messenger of the Lord, and Manoah asks what is His name so that when your words come to pass we may honor you. But the Angel of the Lord or Messenger of the Lord said to him, “Why do you ask my name seeing it is Wonderful.” This is another name applied to God. It’s the same word pele. When this Son is given a title, Wonderful is that title.
Added to that is a second term used there and that is the word Counselor, which is someone who provides wisdom for others. God is the source for wisdom. So both of these are terms that relate to deity. The third title that we see in that line is the title Mighty God. It’s the term El Gibbor. It’s unusual here because we just have the word El. We don’t have the word Elohim. Elohim is typically translated God but Elohim is a Hebrew word that has that im ending which indicates a plurality. He’s not a plurality here. He’s talking about the singular Person of the 2nd Person of the Trinity so it’s very precise in using the term El rather than the term Elohim. He’s the Mighty God, El Gibbor.
What’s interesting is that word Gibbor is also the word for a warrior. It can be the word for a man. In fact, if you go over to Israel and most of the people can’t read what’s written in Hebrew outside the men’s restroom, it says its gibborim. That’s how men know they’re going in the right room. It refers to a man, a male, a warrior, someone of that stature. It has a broader meaning in modern Hebrew than it had in the ancient world. But it is El Gibbor, the Mighty God. The emphasis is that this Son, the Child who is born, is called God. That’s not a mistake. That’s not just being hyperbolic. It’s stating His character. So you have the term Wonderful, which is uniquely applied to God. You have the term Counselor which is not unique to God but it is distinct in that it applies to one who gives wisdom and God is the source of wisdom.
He is called Mighty God and then the next line identifies him as Father of Eternity. Actually I’ve discovered as I’ve done more research on this translation because it’s an odd phrase in the Hebrew that there are also some who believe this should be translated Father of eternal life. Again, it’s not talking about Him being the Father because the Son is not the Father, but if you’re the Father of eternal life, that’s a way of saying you’re the source of eternal life. And that eternal life would come through the Son. I believe a better translation is the Father of eternity, indicating that He is eternal. It’s attributing to the Son eternal life and that He is the Eternal One. This is also a term indicating that He is fully God.
(Slide 24) In Isaiah 10:21, it talks about the remnant will return to the Mighty God, El Gibbor. So Mighty God is clearly a synonym for deity because you look at Isaiah 10:20 in context, “And it shall come to pass in that day that the remnant of Israel, and such as have escaped of the house of Jacob [at the end of the Tribulation], will never again depend on him who defeated them but will depend on Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.” Then expressing that in a further sense, “The remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the Mighty God [El Gibbor].” So El Gibbor is identified contextually as Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel. So again, this is an attribution that the phrase Mighty God applied to God indicates true deity.
Now back to the last point there (Slide 25), The Prince of Peace. He’s the Prince of Peace because He is the One who will establish peace on the earth when He comes and will establish His rule of iron, that rod of iron talked about over in Psalm 2:12 where He breaks the nations into pieces and establishes His rule upon the earth. He will establish peace and there will be peace on the earth. This is when the swords are beaten into plowshares and the spears into pruning hooks. That is the time when there is world peace. Not until then.
The U.N. has tried to co-opt that title and co-opt that verse. They’ve got it chiseled out in the stone over the entryway into the U.N. building so they are clearly making a Messianic claim. You may never have thought about that before. The U.N. by its very existence claims to be able to do what only the Messiah of Israel can do. Which means that, what do you call that? Blasphemy. Right? It is blasphemy. It is a slander against God. It is a form of self-idolatry. In some form it’s a shadow fulfillment of the nations raging against God in Psalm 2:1. This is just an abomination before God. What we’ve said here is that we look at Isaiah 9:6, it’s a clear statement that the One who will come and establish His kingdom is the Messiah, the Son of David, and He’s fully God.
Now go back a couple of chapters to Isaiah 7:14 (Slide 26) and we see the same thing mentioned there. Now I’ve gone through Isaiah 7:14 a couple of times in detail but the point of this study is not to fully exegete Isaiah 7 but to point out that what is being said is distinctive. “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign:” There are a couple of signs going on here and the sign that we have here is a sign that is being given to the house of David. It’s a plural “you”. God is talking to the House of David. This is a sign that the House of David will continue.
The context here is that there’s a conspiracy between the King of Syria, Resin, and Pika, the King of Israel to join together and to wipe out Ahaz and to replace him with a non-Davidic king. So the Lord is going to give a sign. I checked the other day. There’s a Jewish annotated New Testament which I find to be fairly interesting because it’s not Messianic Jewish. It’s just a Jewish annotated New Testament. It’s always interesting to go there to see how they explain different things. They say that the problem you have here is that the word here you have for virgin which is the Hebrew word alma refers at various times to young ladies but it doesn’t mean specifically virgin, which is true.
However, the context of every usage is that it is referring to a young woman of marriageable age who would be a virgin. They point out that this should just be translated “a young woman shall conceive and give birth to a Son…” In this particular article it says that this is just an everyday thing. My question was, you missed the point. This says it’s a sign. It means it is not an everyday thing by context. It clearly states this is something unique and distinct. It is miraculous. That is why the rabbis in the 2nd and 3rd centuries B.C., when they were translating the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek of the day in Alexandria in Northern Egypt because the Jewish community there no longer had facility in Hebrew so they needed the have the Bible in their own language, which was Greek. When the rabbis translated it into Greek, they used PARTHENOS to translate alma. Now PARTHENOS is a Greek word that specifically means virgin. Before Jesus came along and muddied the water for everyone, the rabbis understood that alma meant virgin and they translated it that way. This is an accurate translation and communicates the thrust of the passage. “The virgin shall conceive and bear a Son.”
Again we have that term Son. This is so important. We have one divine Person indicated as the Father in the Old Testament. Now this other is identified as the Son. This Son who is given birth is to be called Immanuel, which is the Hebrew word meaning God with us. We see that this birth is so unusual, it’s called a sign. That indicates that no normal birth is going to fit. It has to be something unique and distinctive and grabs everyone’s attention. That could only happen if it was a virgin who conceives. Then this child is going to be named by the mother as “God with us”. This indicates deity again. This, again, is not something that is just a New Testament concept.
(Slide 27) Then we come to a third passage in Micah. Again this is a great prophetic passage related to the birth of the Messiah and that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Bethlehem of Ephrathah. Ephrathah is the founder of this city of Bethlehem. In this if you look at the last four lines here, it says, “Out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel. Whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.” Someone’s going to be born. He’s going to be born in Bethlehem but that’s not His beginning. Their goings forth is from eternity. So if you can just nail down these three passages, Isaiah 9:6, Isaiah 7:16, and Micah 5:2, you can have a pretty good conversation with someone to let them know that the Bible clearly shows a second divine Person in the Old Testament. He’s given the attributes, names, and performs the same actions as God. That means He has to be God.
All right! We’ve looked at the Father. We’ve looked at the Son. Now we need to look at the Holy Spirit. When we look at the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament we will actually discover that the term Spirit of God, Spirit of Yahweh, and even Holy Spirit are used more than references to the Father and the Son combined. So the Spirit of God shows up a lot in the Old Testament. What people do is they want to depersonalize the Spirit as some sort of force emanating from God, something that’s coming out of God.
One of the things we want to establish as we did when we first starting talking about this is that the Holy Spirit like all the references to God is referred to as a person and treated as a person. He is given attributes that can only apply to a person, not to a non-person. A non-person would be a tree, a rock, or an idol of metal or something like that or an impersonal force. We’re getting ready to see another Star Wars movie come out and the Force will be with everyone again. So that’s the idea. But the Bible emphasizes that the Holy Spirit is treated as a distinct Person even in the Old Testament.
Let’s look at a couple of passages that establish this. (Slide 28) Isaiah 63:10–11. When we think about Isaiah, anytime you see a number in Isaiah that’s larger than forty, you ought to think that this is Messianic and it’s talking more about, perhaps, the end times, especially after Isaiah 53. The last few chapters of Isaiah really focus a lot on the regathering of Israel. As you get into Isaiah, chapter 63, there’s a reminder of Israel’s past failure but an emphasis on their future forgiveness and their restoration to the land. This is going to be connected to the ministry of the Messiah and the ministry of God the Holy Spirit.
If you look at the beginning of Isaiah 63 we have one of the passages that talks about the return of Messiah to rescue the remnant of Israel from Bozrah, from down around Petra, from Edom. “Who is this who comes from Edom with dyed garments from Bozrah?” "Dyed garments" doesn’t communicate. He hasn’t taken His clothes to the local tailor or cleaning establishment to get them dyed. They are discolored by blood because He’s been slaughtering the enemies of Israel, the armies of the Antichrist. So He is covered in blood. “This One who is glorious in His apparel and traveling in the greatness of His strength. I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.” This is the statement of the Messiah.
In verse 2 the question is asked, “Why are your apparel red and your garments like the one who treads in the wine press?” That same imagery is picked up in Revelation, that God is the One who will be treading in His wine press, treading the grapes of wrath. What hymn uses that imagery? You know that awful hymn, The Battle Hymn of the Republic. It’s not awful because the Yankees used it, although that might be one reason. It’s awful because Revelation inspired the woman who wrote it but she’s applying it to what was going on in the War Between the States. That’s a total distortion. She was saying there was a present fulfillment of that imagery on the earth at that time, which is a complete distortion and misinterpretation of Revelation.
She also went on to become one of the early feminists. She became a pacifist and a number of other things. She was one of the first to found the practice of Mother’s Day and observing a Mother’s Day as a holiday as a time to emphasize pacifism because of all the mothers who lost their sons during the War Between the States. The whole observance of Mother’s Day traces its lineage back to a liberal pacifist who’s liberal in her theology, misuses the Bible, and distorts that in order to fulfill her progressive viewpoint. See, it’s all political and it’s all wrong. Just thought you’d like that for a little extra information at no charge.
So this is the imagery and it’s clear where it puts us. Where? The end time events. Verse 4, “The Day of Vengeance is in My heart.” This is the Messiah. He is coming to redeem Israel. Vengeance in the Bible talks about justice and righteousness. It is not a personal vendetta. We are not trying to get personal revenge. One of the things we often hear from very confused people today when discussions come up about the death penalty is they say, “Well, we don’t really need to have vengeance against them.” This is going on right now in the trial of the Boston bomber. You don’t really understand the concept. Justice is what happens in the courtroom. Vengeance is what would happen if you took a gun and do what Jack Ruby did to Oswald and you tried to kill him on your own. There’s a difference. The death penalty, which is fulfilled by a court of law, is not vengeance; it is justice. Make that distinction. The Bible uses the word vengeance, and you have to go back to the original text.
When it’s applied to God it is a term that relates to the execution of justice. So this is a time when God will bring justice at the close of human history. In Isaiah 63:6 God says, “I have trodden down the people in my anger. I have made them drunk in my fury, and brought down their strength to the earth.” How does that connect to all we’ve studied tonight? Psalm 2. “The nations, the kings, rage against God and His Annointed.” This is the same time frame as we find in Isaiah 63.
Then in the midst of these six verses that emphasize the justice of God in destroying the nations against Him, then there’s a shift in verse 7, “I will mention the loving kindnesses of Yahweh” — a shift from justice to mercy. “And the praises of the Lord according to all that the Lord has bestowed on us and His goodness for the House of Israel which He has bestowed on them according to His mercy, according to the multitude of His loving kindness. For He said, ‘Surely they are My people, children who will not lie, so He became their Savior.’ ” This God of justice is said to become the Savior of Israel in verse 8.
In verse 9, “They were afflicted and the Angel of His Presence saved them.” What a great statement. Connect that back to those verses I talked about last week in terms of the Angel or Messenger of the Lord who saved them by His love and by His pity, He redeemed them and carried them in the days of old. But what? He has redeemed them and what did they do? Isaiah 63:10 [see, context is so helpful], “But they rebelled [against that salvation that the Messenger of His Presence, the Second Person of the Trinity, the Son of God] and grieved His Holy Spirit: so He turned Himself against them as an enemy, and He fought against them.”
That’s what happened in the judgment of A.D. 70. We read on in verse 11, “Then He remembered the days of old, Moses and his people saying: ‘Where is He who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of His flock? Where is He who put His Holy Spirit within [in their midst] them,’ ” You have the imagery there of Israel as a nation coming out of Egypt and God’s presence dwelling with them. It’s the presence of the Trinity and that includes the Holy Spirit. So we have two references here to God the Holy Spirit.
I just want to go back to the concept in verse 10. They rebelled against the Spirit and they grieved…” Now that’s the key term. The Hebrew word is atzav. It has a wide range of meaning. It means to displease someone, to offend someone, to rebuke, to grieve, to hurt, to sadden, and to provoke. Provoke is probably the best word to use here. It doesn’t matter which one of those words you use for our purposes, it shows that displeasing, offending, grieving, and hurting all things you can only do to a person. That’s my point. This shows the Holy Spirit is a person. You can’t provoke, displease, or grieve a rock or a piece of wood. You can only displease or provoke a person so the Holy Spirit is treated as a person, not an impersonal force.
(Slide 29) Another passage emphasizing the personhood of the Holy Spirit is Micah 2:7 which reads, “You who are named the house of Jacob: ‘Is the Spirit of the Lord annoyed?’ ” This is talking about the Holy Spirit again and indicating the Spirit is annoyed. Again this word may be translated impatient or a couple of other ways in your version but it probably has the best idea of this anthropopathism of annoying the Holy Spirit because you’ve disobeyed Him. You can’t annoy a rock or a piece of wood or a dirt clod or an electric current. You can only annoy a person. So again, the point is that the Holy Spirit is treated as a person.
(Slide 30) Then the third verse is Nehemiah 9:30, which says, “Yet for many years You had patience with them, and testified against them by Your Spirit in Your prophets.” God the Holy Spirit was working within the prophets, moving them along, as the New Testament says in 2 Peter, and it is done through God the Holy Spirit. But He testifies. That is the action of a person, not the action of a dirt clod or a rock or an electric current. It is the action of a person. What I’m saying here is that in all of these verses we see that God the Holy Spirit is treated as a person.
He is treated in other passages as the one who give wisdom and knowledge and understanding. He gave artistic talents to Bezaleel and Aholiab who designed the articles of furniture for the tabernacle in Exodus 31:3. It is the Holy Spirit who enabled the leaders, the judges of Israel during the period of the judges to have military victory over the enemies of Israel. It is through God the Holy Spirit that God works through His people, even in the Old Testament. Now the Holy Spirit wasn’t indwelling believers like He does in the New Testament. His was a different ministry but it’s the ministry of a person, not the ministry of a force.
So how do we know about the deity of the Holy Spirit? Just a couple of passages to look at before we wrap up. (Slide 31) Psalm 139:7 is a great passage, a great chapter to talk about God and to reflect upon the attributes of God. Psalm 139 is once again one of those critical passages in the Old Testament that is important for all of us to learn about who God is. David says, “O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up. You understand my thoughts afar off and you comprehend my path and my lying down.” What is he talking about there? What attribute of God? You have searched me and You have known me, You know my sitting down and my rising up, You understand my thoughts afar off and You comprehend my path and my lying down.” We’re talking about God’s omniscience. God knows everything. “You’re acquainted with all my ways. There’s not a word on my tongue but You know it altogether.” So again and again you have words for knowledge, understanding, and all of these things in the first six verses which emphasizes God’s omniscience.
Then in verse 6 there’s a shift. The shift is now talking about God’s presence and also about His Spirit. In Psalm 139:7 we read, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” Notice in the parallelism that “Your Spirit” and “Your presence” are synonymous. So God’s presence is manifested through His Spirit. His Spirit is omnipresent and this is indicated by the subsequent verses. “If I ascend into heaven, You are there. If I make My bed in sheol, behold You are there.” I can’t get away from You, God. I can’t run. I can’t hide. You are everywhere. You’re omnipresent. Specifically what we’re talking about here is the Spirit. The Spirit is parallel to God. Again this passage emphasizes the deity of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament.
(Slide 32) Another passage is Job 33:4 which is like Genesis 1:2. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Verse 2 says, “And the Spirit of God moved on the face of the deep.” So we see that part of the role of God the Holy Spirit is in the re-creation or regeneration of the planet after the judgment of Satan, which occurs between verse one and verse two. In Job 33:4 we learn more about the Holy Spirit’s role in creation. Job says, “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” N’shamah there shows the relationship between the Spirit of God and the breath of the Almighty. God is using God the Holy Spirit in the process of creating Adam back in Genesis 2. We don’t have time to go back and look at the creation of Adam as God breathed into man and he became a living, breathing spirit.
(Slide 33) In Psalm 104:30, we see a statement made about the Spirit, “You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; and You renew the face of the earth.” The point is that the Holy Spirit is attributed the works of God. That tells us, again, that just like the Son, the Holy Spirit has names that are related to God. He has attributes related to God and He has actions related to God. Therefore, God the Holy Spirit must be fully divine.
We’ve seen that the Father is divine. The Son is divine. The Spirit is divine. All three are mentioned in the Old Testament. How long have I been on this? Three times? We haven’t even gotten out of the Old Testament yet. We have a full-orbed doctrine of the Trinity just about and we haven’t gone through a New Testament passage yet. It all comes out of Old Testament revelation. How about that? It’s not something that just popped up when the Apostles decided to reinvent Judaism. They weren’t reinventing Judaism. They were bringing it to its fulfillment in the Messianic promises from the Old Testament.
Next time, what I want to do, is look at the New Testament. What we have to do is look at this idea of why the writers of the New Testament emphasized this relationship between the Father and the Son, referring to this relationship as the “God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” To find that answer we see it in terms of the doctrines that are going to be developed. Because the Son is the Son and because He’s fully divine, He, then, becomes the source of power for us in our Christian life, especially as Peter will deal with as we’re facing adversity. Let’s close in prayer.
“Father, thank you for this opportunity to reflect upon these things and to again go through the Old Testament passages that emphasize the Son and emphasize the Holy Spirit to realize that these ideas are not something generated when the Apostles wrote the New Testament. They were present throughout the Old Testament but they are just fully explained and fully developed in the New Testament. They come into focus even though they were there already. Help us to understand the significance of the Trinity, that this isn’t just a fact but a fact that has tremendous implications in our own lives, implications for creation, as we’ve seen, implications for our salvation, because all three Members of the Trinity are involved in our salvation, implications for our spiritual life. Father, strengthen us from the Word. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”