▪ The Trinity doctrine is defined this way, although there are many variations: “Three divine Persons (the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost), each said to be eternal, each said to be almighty, none greater or less than another, each said to be God, and yet together being but one God.” Is this a Bible teaching?
Matthew 28:19 is usually cited to prove the doctrine. The text from the King James Version quotes Jesus: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” True, the Father, the Son, and the holy ghost (or spirit) are all mentioned in this text. However, nothing is said about their being one. Jesus was commissioning his Jewish followers to teach and baptize people in the name of the Father, the Son, and the holy spirit. As a nation, what did the Jews believe?
When the nation of Israel received the Law covenant, which forms part of the Bible, they were commanded: “You must never have any other gods against my face.” (Deuteronomy 5:7) How many persons were speaking here? Without any confusion, Deuteronomy 6:4 reads: “Listen, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah”—not three in one. Israel had just been liberated from Egypt, where Osiris, Isis, and Horus (shown at left)—one of a number of triads of gods—were worshipped. Therefore, Israel was commanded to worship just one God. How important was it for people to understand this command? According to Dr. J. H. Hertz, a rabbi: “This sublime pronouncement of absolute monotheism was a declaration of war against all polytheism . . . The Shema excludes the trinity of the Christian creed as a violation of the Unity of God.”*
Since Jesus was a Jew by birth, he was instructed to follow this same command. After his baptism, when tempted by the Devil, he said: “Go away, Satan! For it is written, ‘It is Jehovah your God you must worship, and it is to him alone you must render sacred service.’” (Matthew 4:10; Deuteronomy 6:13) We can learn at least two things from this incident. First, Satan was trying to entice Jesus to worship someone other than Jehovah, an attempt that would have been absurd if Jesus were part of the same God. Second, Jesus made it clear that there is just one God who must be worshipped when he said “him alone,” not “us,” which he would have said if he were part of a Trinity.
When people come to an accurate knowledge of God and want to serve him, they are baptized “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit.” (Matthew 28:19) They understand and accept the authority of Jehovah and the role of Jesus Christ in the outworking of Jehovah’s purpose. (Psalm 83:18; Matthew 28:18) They also comprehend the function and activity of God’s holy spirit, which is his active force.—Genesis 1:2; Galatians 5:22, 23; 2 Peter 1:21.
The Trinity doctrine has confused people for centuries. On the other hand, Jesus enlightened his followers and directed them to “the only true God,” Jehovah.—John 17:3.
The confession of the oneness of God as expressed in the Shema, a prayer based on Deuteronomy 6:4, forms a central part of synagogue worship.
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Musée du Louvre, Paris