"Not only does Jesus relate the Holy Spirit with the Father and the Son as True God at Matt. 28:19, but he shows there is only one personal name (singular) for all three persons!"
Or as trinitarian author Robert Reymond was quoted as saying in his book Jesus the Divine Messiah,
"what [Jesus] does say is this ... 'into the name [singular] of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,' first asserting the unity of the three by combining them all within the bounds of the single Name, and then throwing into emphasis the distinctness of each by introducing them in turn with the repeated article [the word 'the']."
Sure enough, when we read Matt. 28:19, we find,
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name [singular in the Greek] of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." - RSV.
It is true that "name" (onoma in NT Greek) can mean "authority," "power," etc., but it is "in general of the name by which a person or thing is called" - p. 771, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, W. E. Vine.
New Testament language experts tell us that "name" (onoma) usually refers to a personal name (or proper noun for a thing). So why do even some very trinitarian NT language experts (who certainly want it to mean a single personal name for three "persons"!) say that it really isn't being used that way in Matt. 28:19?
Because that same NT language expert who is so highly respected by trinitarians tells us that Bible phrases beginning "in the name of..." indicate that the secondary meaning of "authority" or "power" was intended by the Bible writer. - p. 772, Vine. Therefore, Matt. 28:19 actually means: "baptizing them in recognition of the power [or the authority] of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy spirit."
That W. E. Vine specifically includes Matt. 28:19 in this category can be further shown by his statement on p. 772 of his reference work. When discussing the secondary meaning of "name" ("authority," "power") he says that it is used
"in recognition of the authority of (sometimes combined with the thought of relying on or resting on), Matt. 18:20; cp. 28:19; Acts 8:16...."
Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol. 1, p. 245, makes the same admission when discussing Matt. 28:19:
"The use of name (onoma) here is a common one in the Septuagint and the papyri for power or authority."
Noted trinitarian scholars McClintock and Strong say in their Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature concerning Matthew 28:18-20:"This text, however, taken by itself, would not prove decisively either the personality of the three subjects mentioned, or their equality or divinity." (1981 reprint, Vol. X, p. 552)
And trinitarian scholar Kittel in his Theological Dictionary of the New Testament:
"The N[ew] T[estament] does not actually speak of triunity. We seek this in vain in the triadic formulae [including Matthew 28:19] of the NT."
It shouldn't be surprising, then, if the holy spirit is not a person, to find this single instance of the word "name" being used with "the holy spirit" where it is used in the phrase beginning with "in the name of..." which is specifically linked to the minority meaning of "authority," "power," etc.
What should be surprising (beyond all credibility, in fact) would be that the holy spirit is a person, equally God, who never has the word onoma ("name") used for "Him" in its most-used sense of "personal name" (as do the Father and the Son-hundreds of times).
Yes, as we have already seen, the holy spirit is never called by a personal name, and Matt. 28:19 is the only instance of onoma being applied to the holy spirit at all!
Let's look at a couple of verses that obviously do use the word onoma with its primary meaning (that of personal names) for the Father and Son together: Rev. 3:12 and 14:1.
These scriptures speak of names (onoma) figuratively written on the foreheads of a number of Christians. What is the meaning of this figurative expression?
"Among non-Israelites...slaves were branded with a mark as an indication of ownership. ...such property marks were placed on a conspicuous part of the body, such as the forehead. Worshipers...at times identified themselves as such by having the mark of their deity on their foreheads." - Insight on the Scriptures, Vol. 2, p. 320, 1988.
The worshipers of the Babylonian god Tammuz, for example, marked a Tau ("T" or "X"), which represented the first letter of Tammuz' personal name on their foreheads so all could see who was their lord and master -- Two Babylons, Hislop, pp. 197-198.
So it is clear what is being represented by the writing on the foreheads of those Christians who stand with Christ at Rev. 14:1 "who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads." - NIV. As a mark of identification, the Lamb's personal name ("Jesus") and the Father's personal name ("Jehovah") were figuratively written upon the foreheads of these Christians.
In other words, they have left absolutely no doubt whatsoever about whose slaves they are. Everyone knows the personal names they proclaim as belonging to their masters. They proclaim the Father's personal name as Almighty God and the Christ's personal name as their king and savior who does everything for the glory of his God and Father.
To further corroborate this understanding, carefully examine Rev. 3:12. Jesus himself, speaking of these Christians, says: "I will write on him the name of my God ... and I will also write on him my new name." - NIV. Again we see that these Christians will be known as servants of the Father who is Jehovah God and servants of their King and Savior who is Jesus and who does everything in behalf of his God (the only true God - John 17:1, 3), the Father, Jehovah! (Notice how well this corresponds to the knowledge necessary to eternal life - John 17:3.)
It is highly significant that Jehovah's Witnesses alone have both the personal name of the Father (their only true God and Jesus' only true God: Jehovah - Jn 17:1, 3; Jer. 10:10 ASV) and the personal name of the Lamb (their king and savior: Jesus) figuratively written on their foreheads where it is so obvious to the entire world!
It is also important to note that the personal name of the Father (Rev. 14:1) is clearly assigned to God (Rev. 3:12) whereas the personal name of Christ is not! And the Father is the God of the Son!
But even more significant (for the topic of this paper) in these scriptures which show the importance of the personal name of God and the personal name of Christ (two distinctly separate names) is the fact that no mention whatsoever is made of the personal name of the holy spirit!
This would be an unforgivable slighting of the True God if the holy spirit were truly a person who is God (or 1/3 God, or anything else trinitarians want it to be), but it would be exactly what would be expected if the only true God were the Father alone (Jehovah alone), and if the Christ and savior were Jesus alone, and if the holy spirit were not a person but God's active force and therefore had no personal name to be written on a Christian's forehead!
The fact that "name" is singular at Matt. 28:19 is only further proof that "authority" or "power" was meant and not a personal name. If more than one person is involved, then the plural "names" would be used (compare Rev. 21:12). Even trinitarians admit that their God is composed of 3 separate persons. And each one of those "persons" has his own personal name (except, as we have seen, the holy spirit really does not)! Therefore, if personal names were intended here for these three different "persons," the plural "names" would have been used in this scripture.
Since it clearly means "in recognition of the power, or authority of," it is perfectly correct to use "name" in the singular. In fact, it must be used that way. We even recognize this in our own language today. We say, for example, "I did it in the name [singular] of love, humanity, and justice."
There is a famous statement in United States history that perfectly illustrates this use of the singular "name" when it is being used to mean "in recognition of power or authority." Ethan Allen, writing about his capture of Fort Ticonderoga in 1775, quoted the words he spoke when the British commander of that fort asked him by what authority Allen had captured it.
Ethan Allen replied:
"In the name [singular] of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress." - p. 100, A Book About American History, Stimpson, Fawcett Publ., 1962 printing. (Also see Rebels and Redcoats, p. 54, Scheer and Rankin, Mentor Books, 1959 printing; and p. 167, Vol. 1, Universal Standard Encyclopedia, the 1955 abridgment of the New Funk and Wagnalls Encyclopedia.)
How ludicrous it would be to conclude that Allen really meant that Jehovah and the Continental Congress had the same personal name and were both equally God!
To paraphrase the quote credited to trinitarian writer Reymond at the beginning of this section above:
"What Ethan Allen does say is this ... 'in the name [singular] of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress,' first asserting the unity of the two by combining them within the bounds of the single Name, and then throwing into emphasis the distinctness of each by introducing them in turn with the repeated article ['the']."
According to this desperate attempt by trinitarians to make trinitarian evidence from Matt. 28:19, then, the same kind of statement by Ethan Allen is evidence (because of the singular "Name" and the repeated article) that The Continental Congress is equally God! (We might also consider a British expression: "in the name of God, king and country.")
Also notice how Luke 9:26 (which actually says, "when [Jesus] comes in the glory [singular] of him [Jesus] and of the Father and of the holy angels") is "first asserting the unity of the three by combining them all within the bounds of the single [glory], and then throwing into emphasis the distinctness of each by introducing them in turn with the repeated article." But, here, of course, the angels, too, make up the "trinity." We have, then, God the Father, God the Son, and God the holy angels!
If Jesus were really saying that Jehovah, Jesus, and the holy spirit had personal names and these names must be used during baptism, he would have used the plural word "names" at Matt. 28:19. And we would see the Father's personal name ("Jehovah" - Is. 63:16; 64:8 - Ps. 83:18 and Luke 1:32 - Exodus 3:15 and Acts 3:13) and the Son's personal name ("Jesus" - Luke 1:31, 32) and the holy spirit's personal name ("?") all being used in Christian baptism ceremonies for the past 1900 years.
Honestly now, how many religions actually use the personal names "Jehovah," "Jesus," and "(??)" when baptizing? - ("We baptize you in the names of 'Jehovah,' 'Jesus,' and '???'.") Or, since a few anti-Watchtower trinitarians even claim that the singular "name" at Matt. 28:19 is really "Jehovah," how many religions really use the personal name "Jehovah" (or "Yahweh") when baptizing? ("We baptize you in Jehovah's name.") Any church that does not do so, must be admitting, in effect, that "name" in this scripture does not mean personal name!
In spite of the extreme weakness of the trinitarian "evidence" for Matt. 28:19, it is nearly always cited by trinitarians because, incredibly poor as it is, it is one of their very best trinitarian "proofs"! And it is generally hailed by trinitarians as the best evidence for the deity of the holy spirit! This certainly shows how extremely weak the scriptural evidence is for a trinity!