THE PURE REVELATION OF THE BIBLE CONCERNING THE TRIUNE GOD
We all acknowledge that the matter of God’s being triune is a mystery, and it is also a difficult subject. In order to speak it accurately, we must study the Scriptures in a deep and thorough way. The degree of thoroughness you have in knowing the Scriptures determines the degree of your accurateness. In studying this matter, we have stood on the shoulders of our predecessors, but we also have seen something further. Therefore, our study is more advanced, thorough, and accurate.
To know the Triune God, first we must understand the word hupostases, which refers to the three substances of the Divine Trinity. These three substances are the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. In the entire Bible, Matthew 28:19 is the only verse that clearly puts the Father, the Son, and the Spirit together. As the incarnated God, the Lord Jesus lived a human life on the earth, died on the cross, and resurrected after three days; then in resurrection He came to His disciples and said, “Go therefore and disciple all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Although the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are three, the word name in Greek is singular. This means that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are three substantially, yet They are one essentially.
We dare not say that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are three persons, nor do we dare say that They are not, because this is truly a mystery. In John 14:16 the Father, the Son, and the Spirit all have Their respective pronouns. This verse says, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter, that He may be with you forever.” The three pronouns I, He, and He refer to the Son, the Father, and the Spirit respectively. Now we have to go back and look at Genesis 1:26. There it tells us that in creating man, God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” The pronouns used in this verse are plural: Us and Our. To say, based upon these pronouns, that there are three Gods becomes another extreme, which is also a heresy, since both the Old Testament and the New Testament strongly reiterate that there is only one God. Isaiah 45:5 says, “I am Jehovah and there is no one else; / Besides Me there is no God.” Also, 1 Corinthians 8:4 says, “There is no God but one.”
Moreover, Exodus 3:14-15 says, “And God said to Moses, I AM WHO I AM ...Jehovah, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.…This is My name.” Here, Jehovah denotes the Triune God. God is Jehovah; this name also means the One “who is and who was and who is coming” (Rev. 1:4), implying three periods of time. Yet, in Exodus 3:14-15 the pronoun used is not the plural We but the singular I. Therefore, we cannot say that there are three Gods; rather, we should say that God is triune. Not only so, “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” also implies that God is triune, that God has the aspect of being three.
The most important thing about the Triune God’s being one is that God is one in His essence. John 4:24 says, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truthfulness.” God here is the complete Triune God—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit; Spirit in this verse refers to the divine essence. This is just like saying that wood is the nature, the essence, of a table. Therefore, if we want to worship God, who is Spirit, we must worship Him with our spirit, which has the same nature as His.
THE NECESSITY OF BEING EQUIPPED WITH THE TRUTH
The foregoing fellowship only gives you some knowledge as a foundation. Although I cannot speak in detail, I hope that you will try your best to remember the various expressions used in the theological studies concerning the Trinity throughout the ages. Then, when you go to speak to others, you will have a solid foundation. During our lawsuit in America, whenever the opposing party came to depose me, I always presented the truth in a clear way; eventually, they had to concede defeat. The situation in today’s Christianity is confusing and full of all kinds of mixtures, such as Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witnesses. As you begin to learn to serve the Lord and touch His work, you must have a clear idea of some of the contents of Christianity and a thorough study of the pure truth. Only then will you be able to present the truth clearly and answer questions properly when you preach to people.
After the training in Anaheim last summer, while I was resting on a nearby mountain, I met someone who belongs to the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Although he has a regular job, he is a zealous believer; he received a two-week training by the Jehovah’s Witnesses and studied six thousand Scripture verses. When I saw him, I asked, “Among your people, do you recognize that Jesus is God?” He told me, “Jesus is not the eternal God; He is another kind of God.” Therefore, I showed him Romans 9:5: “Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever.” Eventually, he conceded defeat, but he brought another person who produced a copy of their book and said, “Yes, Romans 9:5 says that Jesus Christ is God, but this is different from the eternal God.” I did not want to waste my time to continue the debate with them, since it is obvious that there cannot be two eternal Gods.
Today, in a sense, Christianity has spread to the whole earth. Wherever you go, you will meet some missionaries and encounter some obstacles. Therefore, you must understand the truth that you may be able to help and preserve the lambs who are under your leading. Otherwise, you will have brought people to salvation, but eventually when they are blown by any wind of teaching, they will begin to doubt and be carried away by the wind. For this reason, you must be equipped in the truth so that when the need arises, not only you yourself can stand and not be carried away by any wind of teaching, but you can also protect those who are under your leading by defending and confirming on their behalf.
I am not proud; I am just presenting the facts. I challenged Christianity over twenty years ago. Until today, however, no one among them has been able to refute me. This is because the truth is the truth. Now I have passed on to you a summary of the crucial points of the truths, and I hope that you will continue to propagate what you have received. As those who serve the Lord, you must be clear about the basic truths. Ephesians 6:14 says that we should gird our loins with truth and not be loose that we may protect ourselves and preserve others as well. Therefore, I have briefly put before you the crystallization of my studies for many decades, hoping that you will be established, equipped, and perfected.
(The Revelation and Vision of God, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)