NOTE: A follow-up to the early Trintype study, the following is my attempt at showing how terribly poor trinitarian evidence actually is. My tongue-in-cheek "proofs" of a "Quadrinity" are certainly as good as most trinitarian "evidence." Although I believe it would be in general agreement with what I have written, The Watchtower Society does not specifically teach nor endorse (nor, as far as I know, is even aware of) any of the following. - RDB.
DAVID and the "HOLY QUADRINITY"
(From the RDB Files)
Bible translations are greatly influenced by the background, traditions, associations, and desires of the translators themselves. The original manuscripts of the Bible were written in a language which is no longer perfectly understood. Most Greek and Hebrew words had more than one meaning. (Some had a lot of different meanings.) The writing was entirely without capitalization or punctuation of any kind. The words were often abbreviated (especially in the OT Hebrew manuscripts) and usually one word ran into another with no spacing in between. (Like this:
[cf. John 1:1], except, of course, it was also in a different language that isn't completely understood today.)
So the modern Bible translator adds all punctuation as he sees fit. He capitalizes as he sees fit. He chooses the particular meaning for each word as he sees fit. He even adds words to bring out the meaning for modern readers as he sees fit. Obviously his own prejudices and values greatly color the translation he produces. If he is a trinitarian (as 99% are) or if he is translating a Bible for a trinitarian audience (as 99% are), it would be very strange if he did not capitalize, punctuate, choose word meanings, and add words that bring out a trinitarian interpretation.
For example, some trinitarian translators are so convinced (or are at least are producing a translation for an audience that is so convinced) that Jesus is Jehovah God that they translate Jehovah's statement at Exodus 3:14 as "the one who is called I AM [Jehovah God] has sent me..." and Jesus' statement at John 8:58 as "Before Abraham was born, 'I Am'." - Good News Bible.
They have chosen the meaning of "I am" at Ex. 3:14 in spite of the fact that it is an unlikely interpretation of the actual Hebrew (and Septuagint Greek) words used - (see the I AM study, "Exodus 3:14" sections). They have done this to back up their (or their readers') desires for a trinitarian interpretation for this passage (Jehovah is the "I Am" and Jesus is the "I Am" so they are both the same God) and to stick with the KJV tradition.
Some other trinitarian translators, however, are not willing to stretch honesty quite so thin in their attempts to back up their pre-conceived belief in a trinity. Trinitarian Dr. James Moffatt ("probably the greatest biblical scholar of our day"), for example, translated Ex. 3:14 as "I-will-be has sent you to them" and Jn 8:58 as "I have existed before Abraham was born." - See the I AM study.
To help show the truth-altering effect of the pre-conceived beliefs of many Bible translators I offer the following example. I will "prove" (using many of the very same techniques used by trinitarian translators and interpreters to "prove" that Jesus is equally God) that King David (who was born 1000 years before Jesus) is equally Christ and equally Jehovah God (just as trinitarians say Jesus is). Yes, we will "prove" David is the fourth person of the trinity (Quadrinity)!
Such techniques work better the more highly-regarded the person is by the original inspired Bible writers and the more writing they have devoted to that person. Since King David is reasonably high in both categories (though not nearly as high as Jesus), we can expect to find a number of places where the language and idioms of the Bible writers are not completely clear to us today and a number of other places where the translator can choose a word definition that backs his interpretation (and ignore all the other meanings). Such places can be capitalized, punctuated, and "interpreted" in such a way that the translation will appear to modern readers to prove that David is the Christ (Messiah) and even God Himself!
I have chosen King David because there are enough words written about him in the scriptures (I could have just as well chosen Moses, Solomon, the Apostles, or a few others - see TRINTYPE study) to allow a few typical trinitarian-style "proofs" to be found.
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'Quadrinarian' proof that David is equally God
First, David is equally Christ with Jesus himself: Luke 9:20 tells us that Peter declared Jesus to be "The Christ [christon] of God." But 2 Samuel 23:1 also declares David to be "The Christ [christon in the Septuagint] of God"! Yes, Jesus and David are the one "Christ of God." Since the Christ is also God, as trinitarians know, then David, too, is God!
Second, God Himself calls Jesus "My Servant" [literally "the servant of me"] - Matt. 12:18; cf. Acts 3:13, RSV. He also calls David "My Servant" [literally "the servant of me"] - 2 Kings 19:34; Ps. 89:3. The person God calls "My Servant" is well-known to Bible scholars as The Messiah ("Christ" in the Greek translations),e.g., Is. 53:11 - see New Bible Dictionary (2nd ed.), p. 1093, Tyndale House Publ . Therefore David is equally Christ (and, therefore, also equally God).
Third, David claims the exclusive title of Christ (and God) by declaring himself to be the great "I Am" [Ego Eimi] at 2 Kings 15:26, Septuagint (2 Sam.15:26 in English Bibles) which when translated literally says: "Behold! I AM." (idou Ego Eimi). This is the very same exclusive title of God, as trinitarians well know, that Jesus claimed for himself at John 8:58: "Before Abraham was born, I Am [Ego Eimi]." David is Christ and God!
Fourth, David is actually addressed as Jehovah God!
1 Sam. 20:12 actually, literally says in all the ancient Hebrew manuscripts: "Then Jonathan said to David: 'Jehovah God of Israel, I will certainly sound out my father....'" (Compare KJV and JPS). Most Bible translators who are not Quadrinarians actually add to the inspired word of God at this verse to make it say: "By the LORD God of Israel" (NIV) or "I promise you in the sight of the LORD the God of Israel" (NEB) or "Jehovah, the God of Israel, be witness" (ASV, cf. NASB, RSV). But these translations are distorting and actually adding to the inspired word of God which clearly calls David "Jehovah God"!
Fifth, In 2 Sam. 14:20-22 we find David called "My Lord" - the title for Jesus and Jehovah. (cf. Acts 2:34; Jn 20:28; Ps. 8:1).
Sixth , also in this same highly significant passage David is being declared omniscient or all-knowing (which trinitarians well know is one of the exclusive, untransferrable qualities of God alone) - 2 Sam 14:20.
Seventh, 1 Kings 1:43 - "Jonathan answered Adonijah, 'No, for our lord king David has made Solomon king.'" - NRSV.
2 Chronicles 1:8 - "And Solomon said to God, 'Thou hast shown great and steadfast love to David my father, and hast made me king in his stead.'"
Eighth, and, again, to show the absolute equality of Jehovah God and King David we find David the King receiving equal worship with Jehovah God at 1 Chron. 29:20. Yes, the actual Hebrew of the original God-inspired scriptures says: "so the entire assembly praised Jehovah, the God of their fathers: they bowed low and worshiped [shachah] Jehovah AND THE KING." - cf. KJV.
The word 'worshiped' (shachah) used here is exactly the same word as used at 2 Chron. 7:3 (see The NIV Interlinear Hebrew-English Old Testament, Zondervan, 1982). The praise of Jehovah included worship [shachah] of God and David! There is no separation of the two found here. They are inseparably bonded together in the very same expression of faith ("Jehovah and the king") and adoringly bathed in the same single united act of worship which recognizes and celebrates their one essence!
We also find David being worshiped at 2 Sam. 14:22. The Israelite Joab (whose name means 'Jehovah is the Father') actually worshiped David. The word used in the ancient Hebrew scriptures is shachah - the very same word translated "worship" at 2 Sam. 12:20 and 15:32 - see Strong's Concordance. This is also the same word used at 1 Kings 1:31 where the inspired word of God tells us that Bathsheba also worshiped David! - see Strong's.
Ninth, the King's throne in Israel was known as "the throne of Jehovah" - 1 Chron. 29:23. This very same throne was called (and continues to be called through the ages) "the throne of David." - Jer. 17:25. David is Jehovah God. Even at the end time when the Messiah sits down on Jehovah's throne, that very throne is called (not Jesus' throne, but) the throne of David! - Is. 9:7. The eternal throne of Jehovah is at the same time the eternal throne of David! David is Jehovah God.
Tenth, another, similar proof is that "the Son of God," Jesus, is also called "the Son of David"! (Luke 4:41; 18:38) The one Father of Jesus has both the title "God" and the name "David"! David is God!
Eleventh, we find 1 Chron. 29:29 literally saying that David is "THE FIRST AND THE LAST"! Strong's Concordance shows that the same Hebrew words used to identify Jehovah as the "First and Last" at Is. 44:6 are also used here to describe David. As trinitarians know, this is one of the prime identifiers for God (Is. 44:6) and also for Jesus as being equal to God (Rev. 1:17). So when we see David also called the "First and Last" (cf. Young's; LITV; KJV; NKJV; ASV; NAB; JPS 1917), we know absolutely that he is one of the Persons of the Holy Christhead and, therefore, also one of the Persons of the Holy Godhead!
And, Twelfth, in a final and conclusive confirmation we have proof of a Quadrinity (Jehovah, Jesus, Holy Spirit, and David):
Whereas the number three is never used in Scripture in any way that could reasonably be construed as proper evidence for a trinity (see the IMAGE study, note #8), the number four is clearly given in scripture as evidence of the Holy Quadrinity.
Some examples are listed in the trinitarian New Bible Dictionary (NBD):
"Four ... is one of the symbols of completion in the Bible." [So the complete identity of God will not be perfected until the four (complete) persons are known. - RDB.] "The divine name Yahweh has four letters in Heb. (YHWH)." - p. 845, second ed., Tyndale House Publ., 1984.
What could be more clear as to the four-person composition of God than the evidence found in the composition of his very own personal name? And what could be plainer than the evidence of David's place as the fourth member of this Quadrinity as shown by the four letters of his name (DWYD) in Hebrew. The very first letter of this significant name is the fourth letter of the Hebrew alphabet; the very last letter is the fourth letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
Thus, the "First and the Last" (see #11 above) of the composition of his name show his place in the composition of the four-fold God!]
"There were four rivers flowing out of the garden of Eden (Gn 2:10)." - NBD.
The living waters, the source of life flowing from God's Paradise is four. And God Himself is the source of life and the fountain of living waters (Jer. 2:13; 17:13).
"in his vision of the glory of God, Ezekiel saw four living creatures (ch. 1), and with these we may compare the four living creatures of Rev. 4:6." - NBD.
Yes, in the first chapter of Ezekiel we find a vision of God. And in this vision the single unitary God is represented by the one person who is seated on the throne at the top of the vision. But that is merely the upper part of the vision and is the part which represents the "Oneness" of God. The other half of the vision (the very foundation or structure of that "One" God) is composed strictly of four: The four "Living Beings" (NASB) upholding or composing that solitary God not only have four wings but each one also has four faces: a man's, an eagle's, a bull's, and a lion's.
Therefore we have a single person (symbolic of the oneness of the only true God) supported by four persons (symbolic of the four persons within that one Godhead). There can be no other reasonable explanation (since we discarded the "ridiculous" concept that God is a single person over 1600 years ago with the establishment of the trinity doctrine)!
Furthermore, each of the "Living Beings" (representative of the "Living God") in himself further symbolizes the Holy Quadrinity since each is described as having four faces. Yes, each person is represented with four faces. There is nothing more representative of a four-in-one God than a "Living Being" with four faces! Christendom itself in its 1600-year effort to symbolically represent a three-in-one God has frequently used a three-faced person (although there is absolutely no scriptural support for doing so).
Notice that these four faces of God are (1) an Eagle, (2) a Lion, (3) a Bull, and (4) a Man.
An Eagle represents the Person of the Father, Jehovah: Deut. 32:11, 12.
A Lion, of course can only represent Jesus: Rev. 5:5.
A Bull is figurative of power in the Holy Scriptures. ("Among an agricultural people [Israel] there could be no more natural symbol of strength and vital energy than the young bull." - p. 342, Vol. 1, A Dictionary of the Bible, Hastings, Hendrickson Publ.) And the Holy Spirit is most often represented as power or vital energy - p. 269, The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1976; pp. 1136, 1137, 1139, New Bible Dictionary, Tyndale House, 1984; p. 344, An Encyclopedia of Religion, Ferm (ed.), 1945 ed. (Also see the BOWHS study). Therefore the Bull is obviously the Holy Spirit.
But who is the fourth "Living Being" composing the one Godhead? Well, the information in the first part of this paper proves it is David. He alone (of the four) has been represented throughout the Holy Scriptures as a man! So the fourth face (that of a man) can only represent David! (You cannot actually disprove this "proof," and it is certainly as good as the very best trinitarian "proof" of this kind!)
Oh there are a few instances of a word being repeated three times (used for emphasis as it is sometimes even today: "mine, mine, mine!") or some other such usage that, by a great stretch of wishful imagination, somehow indicates to the believer that God is three-in-one (see the MINOR study, "Holy, Holy, Holy"). However, none are as clear and pointed as the following four fold declarations.
A. The word "Hallelujah" (and its Greek form "Alleluia") is a common OT Biblical praise of God and literally means "Praise Ye Jehovah" (pp. 29, 276, Today's Dictionary of the Bible, Bethany House Publ., 1982). This exclusive praise was always directed to Jehovah God only. So, when we find a single person seated on God's throne in Rev. 19:4, we need some other indication as to the "composition" of that "multiple" God (just as we did with the single person sitting on God's throne in Ezekiel's vision - see the "Four Living Beings" above).
The needed information is supplied when the exclusive four-syllabled praise ("Hallelujah") is deliberately stated four times in this very significant passage (Rev. 19:4-6) in the last book of Scripture. It is used nowhere else in the NT. But here in a book significantly called Revelation this common praise of Jehovah (only) of the OT is appropriately used in a significant fourfold way that clearly helps clear up the "Mystery" of the identification of the single True God!
B. Four times in his psalm of praise to God (Ps. 86) he (David) "confesses His name" (Jehovah). Obviously this also represents a four-fold Jehovah!
So, if you accept these trinitarian-type "proofs," the multiple-in-one God we must worship in truth is not three but four. Only Quadrinarians know the one true God (and eternal life)!
There is also the historical statement made by the very homes the Israelites built and lived within. Yes from about 1200 B.C. until the Babylonian destruction and exile, the Israelites built four-room houses. They could have built one-room houses signifying their living within the protection of a one-person God. Or they could have built three-room houses to figuratively show a trinity. But, no, the pre-dominant building, by far, which Israelites chose to cover and protect themselves was the four-room building.
For a different slant on trinitarian 'evidence' examine Redefinition (REDEF)
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Obviously I have not been able in a few hours on my own to produce as much "evidence" as thousands (at least) of trinitarian scholars have managed to create in thousands of years. And even though David is not as important a person (certainly not as much extravagant praise, symbolism, figurative language, and glorifying for him as for the Christ) and didn't have as many words written about him in the scriptures (less opportunity for coincidental title/description confusion and misunderstood usages/definitions, etc.) as we find for Jesus, I have still found a significant number of "proofs" and certainly could find many more.
Isn't it obvious from the testimony of the Jewish people throughout history that they never (and still don't) believed David was either the Messiah or God? Isn't that the reason the Scriptures don't (and don't need to) tell us outright that "David is not God Almighty"? There would have been absolutely no reason for such a statement until such time that "Quadrinarians" would have begun developing their new doctrine! The same thing holds true for the trinity doctrine which is not stated anywhere in scripture!
Is it really proper to assume (no matter how much we might want to believe such a thing) that the bits of evidence we can patch together to indicate David is part of a four-in-one God are a revelation from God to us at this later date? That we somehow have a better grasp on the Holy Spirit than did Moses, Isaiah, John, Paul, and even Jesus himself?
What we must keep in mind is that "wondrous mysteries" and marvelous "deep things" of all kinds can be "found" by anyone looking for them if they are allowed to use improper evidence. If we truly believe the entire Bible is God's word to us, we must make a great effort to use the entire Bible (not be "Cafeteria Christians") in determining an essential truth.
We must take into consideration the background of those who wrote the scriptures and those whom they were writing for at that time and place to understand their writing to the best of our ability. We must analyze other early writings of the Jews and of those who wrote about them (not as inspired scripture, but as insight into how that scripture should be understood). We must investigate the grammar and word definitions of NT Greek as used by those first Christians. And, above all, we must not use a type of reasoning (or "evidence") that can be used to "prove" nearly anything. Such reasoning has led to the myriad different faiths (divisions - hairetikos) so strongly condemned in the Bible. The one Faith cannot stand divided (Matt. 12:25) anymore than the one Lord, and the one God and Father of all (Eph. 4:5, 6) can stand divided. Speculation is great fun, but the essential truths that lead to eternal life must not be determined by it.
This means that we must not accept the King David/Quadrinity evidence or anything like it, whether we "believe it in our hearts" or not. The thousands of sects (both in Christendom and other religions) which contradict each other's "Truths" simply cannot all have the essential truths any more than they can be called the "one Faith," but they all have the strong belief "in their hearts," and most use this very same improper type of "evidence" to convince others and to help retain the faith they have.
Real evidence to counteract this counterfeit type evidence can also be illustrated with the King David/Quadrinity example. Even if all the fudge factors used by trinitarians (e.g. "God" and "Jehovah" sometimes means all three persons in the "Godhead," and sometimes only one of them, etc.; "In this scripture David is being spoken of in his role as a man, but in that scripture he is in his role of God"; etc.) are used by "Quadrinitarians," we have enough real evidence to convince any unbiased, objective jury. (The fudge factors, of course, make it impossible to absolutely prove the Quadrinity is false. Most objective, well-informed juries would reject such reasoning anyway and discard the "fudge factors, but even if they didn't, the preponderance of real, concrete, proper evidence should prevail.)
We know that God's people never believed anything like it for thousands of years. The Jews who revered David never considered him God. The first Christians never considered him God. The Jews never believed in a multiple-oneness god of any kind (we can't even find that they were even aware of the similar three-in-one concept found in some early pagan religions - see the ISRAEL study). The Holy-Spirit-guided first Christians never believed in a multiple god of any kind (see the CREEDS study). Again, it appears that the very concept may have been unknown to them during the first century. This evidence from all the scriptures and all the writings of all the Jews and all the writings of very first Christians and all the writings about the Christians by their non-Christian contemporaries is overwhelming when compared to the type of evidence (no matter what the quantity of it) of the Quadrinitarians!
A proper analysis of the entire Bible shows there are alternate understandings to all the Quadrinitarian "evidence." These alternate understandings are more in line with the teaching of the entire Bible, Jewish and first Christian teachings, and Bible language, usage, and customs of the time and people involved. (Some of these alternate understandings do not appear to fit the scriptures quite as well - or be quite as pleasing/fascinating to the modern reader - but they, nevertheless, are not only possible interpretations but are, by far, the most probable interpretations.) There is no other way to disprove this doctrine which I just made up. Only adhering to proper evidence will assure proper understanding. Without it chaos, false doctrines, and division (hairetikos) triumph. Although we can't absolutely prove it to the satisfaction of those who accept "Quadrinity"-type evidence, David is still clearly not equally God.
It is exactly the same with the trinity doctrine. Throughout the history of the Jews and Judaism (which included first century Christians) one person alone was known as God: Jehovah, the Father (see the ISRAEL study). God was never 'God the Son,' 'the Messiah,' 'the Only-begotten,' etc. The Father alone was called Jehovah, a singular personal name. Anyone known as 'son of God' or 'son of man' was never considered to be God!
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Like scriptural "proof" for the Godhood of Jesus and the Holy Spirit the above "evidence" for the Godhood of David is frequently based in factual statements. It's the interpretation of those statements (and the ignoring of other important facts that would help find the proper interpretation) that erects the biggest barrier to truth.
I have, like many trinitarians, taken partial truths (and carefully avoided telling certain very important facts) to construct a "Quadrinity" doctrine of my own. I have (in most cases) told the truth, but not the whole truth. And then I have built a false doctrine on the base of those partial truths (with the help of a few outright lies also).
If I had seen the above "evidence" before I had made a careful extensive study of such methods, I might have been very impressed. And if I had grown up with such a belief (or fallen in with those I liked and respected who had such a belief), I probably would have swallowed it all hook, line, and sinker.
But I now know how this kind of deception works and can explain how each one of these David = Christ and David = God "proofs" is either clearly wrong or at least incredibly unlikely when compared with all the other honest interpretations (the whole truth) coupled with the overwhelming evidence of the rest of scripture (and other early evidence) concerning David.
But even if a person didn't have the opportunity to check out these "proofs," he should still be secure in the truth of God's word. After all, even if I and others like me translated most of the Bibles available today favoring the "Quadrinity," sincere God-seekers could still find the truth. The overwhelming, clear, often-repeated statement of the rest of the Bible about exactly who the God of the universe is and exactly who the Messiah is and exactly who King David was would still overwhelm the false message given by the places where I had interpreted and translated the above scriptures as evidence for a "Quadrinity"!
Even in trinitarian translations we find many clear statements of who God is. For example, John 17:1, 3 in the trinitarian New English Bible (jointly produced by England's Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Anglican Churches) is translated "Father,.... This is eternal life: to know thee who alone art truly God."
1 Cor. 8:6 tells us: "for us there is just one God, the Father who is the source of all things" - AT (see TC study).
1 Cor. 11:3 says: "the head of every man is Christ, the head of a woman is her husband, and the head of Christ is God." - RSV.
Gal. 3:20 in the highly trinitarian The Amplified Bible (Zondervan) says: "There can be no mediator with just one person. Yet God is [only] one PERSON." - (Bracketed word, "[only]", is in The Amplified Bible.)
Eph 1:17 - "I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom" - NIV.
Eph 4:5, 6 - "There is but one ... God and Father of all" - AT.
And, of course, there are hundreds of scriptures saying Jehovah alone is God. (e.g. "I am Jehovah and there is no one else. I alone am God." - Is. 45:6, Living Bible. And, "Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea let them be put to shame and perish: That men may know that thou whose name alone is Jehovah, art the most high over all the earth." - Ps. 83:17-18, KJV, and "until they learn that you alone, Jehovah, are the God above all gods in supreme charge of all the earth." - Ps. 83:18, Living Bible. Jehovah is the Father (Is. 64:8). but not the Messiah ("Jehovah saith unto my Lord [the heavenly resurrected Jesus], Sit thou at my right hand" - Ps 110:1, ASV, cf. Acts 2:34-36. And Micah 5:4, speaking of the Christ, says "And he [Jesus] shall stand, and shall feed his flock in the strength of Jehovah, in the majesty of the name of Jehovah his God." - ASV.).
And the testimony of many ancient writers, historians, official records, etc. all testify to the truth that the faithful Jews never considered God to be more than one person, the Father, Jehovah. And, of course, they never considered Jehovah to be more than one person. Even unfaithful Israelites who sometimes honored more than one god never considered Jehovah to be more than one God! This is the testimony of all who wrote of the Jews and their God, including all ancient Jewish writers (including the inspired Bible writers) themselves! See the ISRAEL study.
This very same truth is witnessed to by the very first Christians (1st and second centuries) and those ancient writers who wrote about them! See the CREEDS study. The burden of proof of a "trinity" falls squarely on the shoulders of those who insist that it is the truth that must be believed in by all Christians. The fact that it has come to dominate all Christendom since the late 4th century (because of the power and insistence of the pagan Roman Emperors in 325 A.D. and 381 A.D. - see HIST study) and, is therefore promoted in nearly all churches, Bible translations, study books, etc., does not make it part of the true worship Christians must have. Jn 4:24; 17:3.
We should also expect that the God who inspired the Bible in the first place might even send someone to our door who could provide a Bible properly translated to show the essential truths (John 17:3) and someone who would be able and willing to expose and explain that truth to us.
Of course the final requirement for the seeker of truth is for him to allow the whole truth to be heard. God does not force his truth but wants those who are willing to seek it. - Proverbs 2:3-5.
(An RDB File)