There is no doubt that a proper knowledge of the God we worship is essential. (Ex. 20:2, 3, 5; Is. 45:22; Jn 17:3; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Jn 4:24, NIV; Ro. 1:18-21, 25, NIV) Trinitarians, of course, agree (see the KNOW study). But they insist that we must have the "true" knowledge of the "three persons-in-one God" (in contrast to the knowledge that God is one person alone, the Father, whose only personal name is Jehovah).
This would mean, then, if the trinity doctrine were really true, that God's chosen people never worshiped God in truth (see the ISRAEL study) - Jn 4:24. This would mean, of course, that Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, King David, Daniel, Isaiah, Elijah, and all the rest of the inspired prophets of God, inspired writers of scripture, etc. never knew the true God!
How is it that all these faithful people, beloved by God Himself, never taught a 3-in-one God (or a 'multiple-person God' of any kind)?
Why was this most elementary, basic, and essential information (if the trinity is true) about God not taught to His people for thousands of years?
Why was it not carefully and clearly taught by those who wrote the New Testament?
Look how carefully and clearly they taught the knowledge of the Christ in the NT. That, too, means eternal life (John 17:3), so it was taught clearly and repeatedly throughout the New Testament that Jesus alone is the Christ, the Messiah! 
One might argue that the knowledge of the Christ was not clearly and abundantly revealed in the Old Testament, and that is very true. But when the time came that such knowledge became necessary for one's very eternal life (John 17:3), it was simply, clearly, repeatedly, and unmistakably declared throughout the NT!
Such knowledge was not necessary to eternal life for those who lived and died before the Messiah came to earth!
But the knowledge of who is the only true God whom you must worship in truth has always been necessary to eternal life for God's people.
And though revealed to his people clearly and abundantly in the OT, the knowledge of God is still at least as essential as the knowledge of the Christ for those who wrote the NT (John 17:3).
So where is the scriptural deluge of statements that are equally clear and repeated (as are those identifying the one true Christ) which declare the life-saving knowledge that "God is one and is three;" or "In the one God there are three persons;" or "God is one: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit;" etc.?
There are no such statements (nor anything even remotely like them) anywhere in the entire body of Inspired Scriptures! We don't even see a clear statement of "God, the Son" or "God the Holy Spirit" Why? Because only the Father (Jehovah alone) is God! We don't even see the word "three" applied to God at all! Surely, if true, we would find many statements as simple as "God is three"!
If it is essential for Christians to know God (and it is - and always has been), and if a basic part of that essential knowledge includes, of course, exactly who He is (and it does - and always has), then why were the first (1st and 2nd centuries A.D., at least) Christians unaware of a 3-in-one God? (See the CREEDS and HIST studies.)
Why did this trinity doctrine have to be developed using non-scriptural terminology and pagan philosophy/religion concepts long after the death of the last Apostle? (see the HIST study) Why was this "three-in-one" knowledge of God which finally developed not actually adopted by the Church until the 4th century A.D. (Council of Nicaea, 325 A. D. first declared "Jesus and the Father are God"; and the Council of Constantinople, 381 A. D. finally declared "Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Father are God")? Remember, this is essential information for any worshiper of the TRUE God.
Exactly how should this essential knowledge (if true) have been revealed to us? How could God have revealed this life-saving knowledge to his worshipers?
I am aware of 5 ways the invisible God could (and did) show Himself to us:
(1) Clear, straightforward statements recorded in Scripture
(2) Through God's own creation itself
(3) Actual physical representations in Scripture
(4) Figurative descriptions ("Rock," "Fortress," etc.) in Scripture
(5) Visions of God revealed in Scripture
(If there are any other honest, conclusive ways He has revealed Himself, please let me know.)
All of these (except the examples found in God's creation) must be found in the inspired scriptures. A vision by St. Augustine himself, for example, (400 years after the death of Jesus) would be absolutely meaningless as honest evidence for the knowledge of God! Nor should the "inspiration of the Holy Spirit speaking within me" be of any value as meaningful proof to others. Otherwise we would have to somehow reconcile the thousands of different concepts found in thousands of different sects which all (usually very sincerely and unshakably) "know" contradictory "truths" by means of the "Spirit testifying within them."
Let's look at these 5 ways God could (and did) reveal Himself:
(1) Clear, straightforward statements recorded in Scripture
If there is ever any number associated with a straightforward description of God, what is it?
"Jehovah God is our God, Jehovah is one." - Deut. 6:4, ASV f.n. (This is a literal translation of both Hebrew OT manuscripts and ancient Greek Septuagint OT manuscripts.)
This scripture is part of the very keystone of the religion of Israel. It was understood from the beginning down until today to mean that God is one person only: the Father, Jehovah! Judaism has never had a different belief! - see the ISRAEL study.
Even Jesus quoted Deut. 6:4 at Mark 12:28-29 when asked which is the most important commandment of all. " 'The most important one,' Jesus answered, 'is this: "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one." ' " - NIV, 1984.
Jesus also declared at John 17:1, 3: "Father, .... This is eternal life: to know thee who alone [the only one] art truly God...." - NEB, 1971. The Father in this trinitarian translation is the only one who is God!
Paul says at 1 Cor. 8:6, "yet for us there is but one God, the Father...." - NIV.
So what number (exclusively) is associated with God in straightforward statements of his identity and person?
But if there were really a 2 or 3-person God, what word, above all others, would we expect to find in the inspired Scriptures describing (or at least commonly and clearly used in connection with) God? But is the number "two" or "three" ever used in Scripture to identify or describe God? Ever? No!!
This simply could not be if that knowledge of God, the trinity, were true!
And certainly if 2 other (or even just one other) persons were also God, we would see many clear, repeated statements of it. For example, the Father is clearly, indisputably called "God the Father" repeatedly throughout the scriptures. So, how many times is the Son clearly, indisputably called "God the Son"? And how many times is the Holy Spirit called "God the Holy Spirit"?
If God were also the Son, the inspired Holy Scriptures would simply not be so shamefully disrespectful as to repeatedly call the Father "God the Father" and totally ignore "God the Son," etc. But that is exactly what has happened: The Son of God is never called "God the Son"! The Holy Spirit is never called "God the Holy Spirit"!
There simply are no honest, clear, conclusive statements that should be there if God were truly a multiple-person God!
(2) Through His creation
"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." - Ro. 1:18-20, NIV.
So, even without Scriptures, men are held accountable for the essential truths about God. How should they know the essential knowledge of God?: "What may be known about God .... being understood from what has been made...." We can see the essential truths about the invisible God from His creation itself. Since our knowing God is the difference between eternal life and eternal destruction (Jn 17:3; 2 Th. 1:7-9) for us, what could be more essential and more basic knowledge than the knowledge of exactly whom we should actually worship as God (Father alone or Father and two other persons)? And since "what may be known about ...God" may be obtained from his creation, then we should be able to discern something as basic as "oneness" or "three-in-oneness" as a clear, basic, important pattern in his very creation!
The Bible tells us there is no excuse for failing to know the essential truths about God because everyone can even see them clearly in His creation. But we see absolutely no sign of a 3-in-one God (or a clear representation of a 3-in-one anything of significance) in Creation! (Prov. 14:12, ASV)
And even many trinitarians will admit that there is nothing comparable to the trinity in all creation that has been clearly seen by all men:
"As the doctrine of the Trinity is indiscoverable by reason, so it is incapable of proof from reason. There are no analogies to it in Nature, not even in the spiritual nature of man, who is made in the image of God. In His trinitarian mode of being, God is unique; and, as there is nothing in the universe like Him in this respect, so there is nothing which can help us comprehend Him." - p. 3013, Vol. 4, The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (trinitarian), Eerdmans, 1984 printing.
"Scholars across the millennia of the Christian Era have spent their ingenuity to no avail in attempting to explain the Trinity of God .... a relationship contradicting human reason at the a priori level." - p. 630, Today's Dictionary of the Bible (trinitarian), Bethany House Publ., 1982.
"God is one, and God is three. Since there is nothing like this in creation, we cannot understand it, but only accept it." - Monsignor Eugene Clark (trinitarian).
"... he that denies this fundamental article [the trinity doctrine] of the Christian religion may lose his soul, so he that much strives to understand it may lose his wits." - Dr. South (Sermon XLIII) as quoted by Dr. W. G. T. Shedd (trinitarian) in his Dogmatic Theology.
Well, then, what has man clearly seen in creation from the beginning?
We see unlimited POWER. We see LOVE. We see incredible WISDOM, etc. And what do we see when we examine the "numerical" qualities of the most important features of creation?
We see a single universe. A single earth. A single Sun. A single Moon. Even the very building block of the universe (a single element), the hydrogen atom, is composed of one tiny electron orbiting one relatively enormous proton. Man was created as a single man (Adam). The significant testimony of creation itself is singleness, one !
And what about that great creation of God's which He Himself calls the "image of God"? Surely, if God reveals the essentials about Himself in His creation, it would be evident here in His very "image"!
Gen. 1:27 "God created man in his own image, in the image [eikon, Sept.] of God he created him" - NIV.
Gen. 9:6 "for in the image [eikon, Sept.] of God has God made man" - NIV.
1 Cor. 11:7 "a man ... is the image [eikon] and glory of God" - NIV; NASB.
We know that God, being an invisible (to men) spirit person, does not actually look like men. So how is it that men are made in his image? Well, they reflect his qualities: Love, Wisdom, etc. To know God we must know He has these qualities, and to understand these qualities we need to see them (in men and, certainly, in Jesus)! Likewise, if God has the quality of being three persons (all of whom must be recognized and worshiped if we are to worship God in truth - as we must - John 4:22-24), surely he would reveal this essential, life-saving knowledge to us through the example of his very "image"!
Even if they reflected those qualities perfectly, they still wouldn't be God - they are an image of God. Even if they were composed of the same spirit "substance" as God and even "physically" looked like him, they still wouldn't be God because they are an image of God. (This is the major reason that God would not allow men to worship an image of God - no matter how perfect that image: they would invariably, in time, begin to consider that image as actually being God.)
Yes, some of mankind are to be resurrected to heaven, shed their fleshly bodies, put on spirit bodies, be heavenly brothers of Christ, higher than the angels (1 Cor. 6:3). They still won't be God. They will always be an image of God. An image, likeness, reflection (no matter how perfect) is still only an image - - it's not the real thing! It's not even equal to the real thing!
So what must we believe about the resurrected Jesus Christ seated at the right hand of God in heaven? He is described this way in the inspired Scriptures:
Col. 1:15 - The heavenly Christ "is the image [eikon] of the invisible God."
2 Cor. 4:4 - "Christ, who is the image [eikon] of God".
Notice, this is no longer the fleshly Jesus on earth. This is the resurrected, glorious, heavenly Christ. But he still is not God. He is the image of God! He is seated (or standing) beside God (Acts 2:33-36; Ro. 8:34; Heb. 10:12, 13; 1 Pet. 3:22). He is not God. The Father alone, beside whom Jesus is seated, is Jehovah God (Eph. 1:17, 20; Rev. 3:21; Ps. 110:1). In fact God (the Father alone) is the God of Jesus (Eph. 1:3, 17; Rev. 3:12; Micah 5:4, ASV).
Yes, Jesus is the image of God. And how should we consider the worship of an image of God as being God? (Ex. 20:4, 5; Lev. 26:1)
In spite of a man (and the heavenly Christ) being in the image of God, we don't know exactly what God looks like. ("No man has seen God at any time" [but many men have seen Christ, even after his resurrection] - Jn 1:18; 1 John 4:20). We know, however, that the man created by God to be in God's image and likeness (Adam), the son of God (Luke 3:38), was a single person. He could have easily been created as three separate persons. He could have been created with three faces. But God expressly made him (in his image) with one body, one head, one face, one mind, one personality: one person.
"...it is the whole of man, rather than some part or aspect of him, that is the image of God. The whole man, body and soul, is the image of God." - p. 508, New Bible Dictionary, Dr. J. D. Douglas, Ed., (Editor-at-large, Christianity Today), Tyndale House Publ., 1984.
Jesus, too, being an image of God, had those very same qualities. Surely God, the one in whose image we are, is one person. Surely the God who Jesus perfectly reflects, then, is one person. (In spite of numerous rationalizations designed to show the "plurality" of God. Using such "evidence" we could even find many trinitarian-like generalizations and allegorical "proofs" to show that Christ himself is actually composed of many persons: a 'three-in-one' Christ, for example - See the TRIN-TYPE study.)
The fact that a man is in God's image tells us (1) that a man cannot possibly be that God, and (2) that God is a single person also (to correspond with a man being in His image). In the same manner, but more perfectly, we see (1) that Jesus, the image of God, cannot be God, and (2) that, again, as represented by the single-person Christ himself (God's perfect image), God must also be one, single person (the Father alone, Jehovah).
It is highly significant that we never see Jehovah (or the Father, who alone is Jehovah) described as being in the image of God. He is God (alone)!
Would the inspired Bible writers (who knew the scriptures and knew that an image of God was not to be worshiped as God) really call Jesus an "image of God" if they believed he actually was God? Would those same inspired writers who tell us to worship the Father in truth really believe we should worship Jesus as God and then call him the image of God?
- You must not worship an image of God. - Lev. 26:1, NIV.
- Jesus is the image of God. - 2 Cor. 4:4
- The Father is the only true God. - Jn 17:3
- We must worship the Father in truth. - Jn 4:24
"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him." - Ro. 1:18-21, NIV.
(3) Actual physical "representations"
God has, on occasion, "appeared" to men by choosing to speak from some physical, material object. For example, in Exodus: on a mountain "the angel of the LORD appeared to [Moses] in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush" - Ex. 3:2, KJV. "God called unto him out of the midst of the bush" - Ex. 3:4. a single angel - a single flame - a single bush - a single mountain.
"The LORD [Jehovah] went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud ... and by night in a pillar of fire." - Ex. 13:21.
"for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat." - Ex. 16:2. As with all other examples God chooses a single form to "appear" in. It would have been incredibly simple for the God of the universe to "appear" simultaneously on three mountain tops, in three flames, three bushes, three pillars of three clouds, three pillars of fire. Or more significant yet, perhaps, speaking from three flames of fire in the midst of the one bush (or three pillars of one cloud), etc. But this never happens anywhere in all of the inspired Holy Scriptures.
"But," some trinitarians will say, "In Gen. 18 God appeared to Abraham in the form of three men."
This is one of the generally-accepted "proofs" of some trinitarians. But it is in reality incredibly poor. Only someone who has already convinced himself that the trinity is true would accept such non-evidence as "proof"! Yes, for anyone to accept the "three men" who talked and ate with Abraham in Gen. 18 as being the 'three persons' of the "Godhead" we would have to deny John's inspired testimony: "No man hath seen God at any time" Jn 1:18; 1 Jn 4:12, KJV.
If all three persons of the trinitarian "Godhead" were actually seen by Abraham, then trinitarians couldn't say, as some have, that whenever God was "seen" on earth it was always "God the Son" who had been seen. Therefore, they say, John could say no man has seen God because he was really saying "No man has seen God (the Father)." But that poor excuse won't work for those who insist that the "three men" seen by Abraham were really all the persons of the Godhead! If that were so, then Abraham would have had to have seen "God the Father" also!
Gen. 18:1-19:1 tells of three "men" who meet Abraham. These three turned out to be angels of Jehovah, and only one of them speaks for God (as in the burning bush of Exodus). Again God is properly represented by one, single individual even though it would have been incredibly easy (and appropriate, if true) for God to have used all three persons here to represent him equally as God.
Even the highly trinitarian NIVSB admits in its footnote for Gen. 18:2 -
"three men. At least two of the 'men' were angels (see 19:1; see also note on 16:7). The third may have been the Lord himself..." [And the NIVSB footnote on Gen. 16:7 referred to above says:] ".... It may be, however, that as the Lord's personal messenger who represented him and bore his credentials, the [single] angel could speak on behalf of (and so be identified with) the One who sent him" - The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan Publ., 1985.
And the extremely trinitarian ISBE admits:
"Gen 18-- Abraham intercedes with the angel for Sodom" - p. 133, Vol. 1, The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1984 printing.
Yes, truly, here was a perfect opportunity to show at least a hint of a 3-person God. But, instead, as always,  the inspired Bible writer shows the solitary figure of a single angel representing Jehovah, the only true God! God is one person only, the Father - Jehovah!
(4) Figurative (Symbolic) descriptions of God
God is frequently called figuratively "a Rock;" "a Fortress;" "a Shepherd;" "a Father;" and "the Father;" etc. He is never called "three rocks;" "three shepherds;" "a plural-oneness shield;" etc. All examples are SINGLE in form!
(5) Visions of God
Finally, how else does God clearly reveal his identity to us? (Besides telling us he is one, he is the Father, and that he has a singular personal name: Jehovah - and Jehovah alone is God.) Well his person (or "persons") can be shown to us in dreams and visions of the inspired prophets and Scripture writers.
But even though God has caused a representation of himself to be "seen" in dreams and visions, we still don¡¯t know exactly what he "physically" looks like. Still, we should get some idea of the essential knowledge he wants us to know about himself from these inspired visions. We know that he always represents himself as a single person seated on a throne.
For example, at Ezekiel 1:5, 6, 26-28 we see God as he showed himself to Ezekiel in a vision.
"and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures. In appearance their form was that of a man, but each of them had four faces..." - Ezek. 1:5-6, NIV.
Now if this had actually been the description of God, "multiple-oneness God" fans would have had the best proof ever for their passion: we would finally have some real evidence for a multiple-oneness God: a four-in-one God (a "Quadrinity")! But these four persons, each with four faces, represent God's attendants (cherubim), not God. Each one represents 4 different aspects by its 4 faces. Can you imagine what would be said by trinitarians if God were similarly described as three persons each with three faces?!
The point is that God could (and did) show a clear representation of "multiple-oneness" in vision to his inspired prophet, but he never represented himself in such a manner!
Notice that each of these living creatures was in appearance like a man. And every aspect that differed from that of "a man" was carefully described.
Now notice the rest of the vision:
"Above the expanse over their heads was what looked like a [single] throne of sapphire, and high above on the throne was a [single] figure like that of a [single] man. I saw that from what appeared to be his waist [singular] up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of [Jehovah]." - Ezek. 1:26-28, NIV.
Remember, we just had a description of spirit persons each of whom looked like a man (except for having four faces). Now we have a description of another person who looks like a man. The differences from the appearance of a man are noted but do not include anything that would make us think he was, in any way, anything more than a single person! Not three persons, not three heads, not three faces, etc. (In fact, nowhere in the entire Bible is the word "three" associated with a description of God! This simply would not be if God were truly three persons!) God is a single person, the Father alone, Jehovah.
Now let's see Daniel's vision of God:
"the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head [singular] was white like wool. His throne [singular] was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze." - Dan. 7:9, NIV.
Notice that, again, he looks like a single person.
"one, like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days [seated on the throne] and was led into his presence." - Dan. 7:13, NIV.
So we see a single person seated on God's throne and another person (the Messiah) being led into God's presence.
Now let's see the Apostle John's vision which parallels Daniel's vision:
"At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper.... In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures.... Day and night they never stop saying: 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty...' [and] 'You are worthy, our Lord and God, ... for you created all things, and by your WILL they were created....' Then I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides.... Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain.... He came and took the scroll from the right hand of Him who sat on the throne." - Rev. 4:2, 3, 6, 8, 11; 5:1, 6, 7, NIV.
Again we see a single person on the throne who is God Almighty (Jehovah). And, again, we see the Christ approach God on his throne. And we see this one on the throne again at Rev. 19:4.
"The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God, who was seated on the throne. And they cried: 'Amen, Hallelujah! ["praise Jehovah "]' " - NIV.
Another important vision of God is that of Stephen.
"But Stephen, full of Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 'Look,' he said, 'I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.'" - Acts 7:55, 56, NIV.
Again we see God (not "God the Father," or "the Father," but God) as a single person and Jesus as another person (not God, however). And never (in any vision, dream, etc.) do we see the "person" of the Holy Spirit! God is the Father alone - a single person - Jehovah.
God simply has not revealed himself in scripture as anything but a single person, the Father. The Jews never understood him in any other way. Jesus did not reveal him in any other way. The NT writers did not reveal him in any other way (other than through generalizations, "mystery" solving, and allegorical interpretations which allow a reader to find whatever he is looking for - see the DAVID study). And the very first Christians (up into the second century at least) did not understand God in any other way.
If God were three persons, it would have been revealed clearly and repeatedly from the beginning. This is essential knowledge of God, and all worshipers of the true God have needed such knowledge from the beginning. God would not have withheld it from his chosen people throughout the thousands of years of his Prophets and inspired scripture writers.
"But Jehovah is the true God; he is the living God .... O Jehovah, correct me ... Pour out thy wrath upon the nations that know thee not, and upon the families that call not on thy name...." - Jer. 10:10, 25, ASV. Cf. Ps. 79:5, 6.
"Father, .... this is life eternal that they should know thee the only true God" - John 17:1,3, ASV (cf. NEB).
"Know therefore this day, and lay it to thy heart, that Jehovah he is God in heaven above and upon the earth beneath; there is none else." - Deut. 4:39 ASV.
"You, Jehovah, are our Father" - Is. 63:16, The Interlinear Bible, Baker Book House.
"Fill their faces with confusion, that they may seek thy name, O Jehovah. Let them be put to shame and dismayed for ever; Yea, let them be confounded and perish; That they may know that thou alone, whose name is Jehovah, art the Most High over all the earth." - Ps. 83:18, ASV.
"...if thou shalt forget Jehovah thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish." - Deut. 8:19, ASV.
The identity of God is absolutely essential to true worshipers! We may have the freedom to be wrong in many non-essential areas, but if we are wrong in this area it may mean our eternal lives. - Jn 17:3; 2 Thess. 1:8. We are also told in scripture that it means our very lives to not worship any image of God. Therefore, to worship a person (who is the image of God) as God himself could mean a loss of eternal life. This very same term ("image of God") identifies Jesus as not being God. Therefore to worship this image of God as the most high God himself (as trinitarians do) also means the loss of eternal life.
The God who wants no one to be lost would not trick us by revealing his image as a single person (if He were really multiple persons) nor by revealing in all his visions of Himself that He is one person (if he were really three). His prophets would surely have revealed it in clear language (if He were really two, three, etc.). The Bible writers would have been inspired to use "three-form" examples in descriptions of God. The first Christians would have made this the primary issue (if they had received new understanding that God was three), and the Jews would have talked of nothing else since this would be the very worst of all blasphemies according to their understanding of God. (Instead, the Jewish writings object only to Jesus being called the Messiah by this new Christian sect of Judaism. It was not until centuries later that Jewish writings began objecting to the "three-in-one" God that Christendom had developed during the 4th century A. D. - see the ISRAEL and HIST studies.)
The word "three" (or "two", etc.) would be frequently used in scriptural descriptions and titles for God if he were really three (or "two," etc.) persons, instead it is never used! Jehovah is a singular masculine personal name. It belongs to a single person: the Father - Deut. 32:6; Is. 64:8. The Messiah is NOT Jehovah - Ps. 110:1 (cf. Acts 2:34-36); Micah 5:4; Ps. 2:2 (cf. Acts 4:26, 27); Ps. 2:7 (cf. Heb. 1:5). And yet Jehovah alone is God.
In short, God has never been represented (in any of the 5 possible ways He could properly reveal Himself to us) as three or "three-in one" (or any other multiple number)! But He has, in every conceivable way, always revealed Himself as one single person! The trinity (or "multiple-person" God) doctrine is clearly false!
[All the above information, I believe, is completely in accord with Watchtower teachings. However, any errors to be found are undoubtedly from my own reasonings which are based on my research in reference books and papers published by non-Watchtower sources - RDB.]
Among the hundreds of times that Jesus is clearly called the Christ or Messiah in the NT are: Matt. 16:16; Mark 8:29; 14:61, 62; Lu. 2:11; 4:41; John 20:31; Acts 2:36; 18:5, 28; 1 Jn 5:1. There is absolutely no doubt about the meaning of these scriptures. They are not "hints" or allusions or elements on which to construct a doctrine. They are absolutely clear, unmistakable many-times-repeated statements of fact: "Jesus is Christ!"
We even see an incredible number of sincere individuals within sects who have contradictory 'truths' in important areas of God's word for us. And most of them "know" these contradictory "truths" by the 'spirit' confirming that knowledge for them!
The only God of the Bible is clearly and frequently identified as Jehovah in the following trinitarian-translated Bibles: Ps. 83:18, King James Version (KJV); Deut. 6:4, Living Bible (LB); Ex. 3:15, New English Bible (NEB), MLB, LB, MKJV (Green), Young's, and Darby; Is. 45:5, American Standard Version (ASV), LB; etc.] (The respected trinitarian Today's Dictionary of the Bible, Bethany House Publ., 1982, also frequently identifies God as Jehovah - e.g. p. 330).
Not only does the Bible repeatedly identify Jehovah as the Father in direct statements (e.g., Is. 64:8 - '... O Jehovah, thou art our Father' - ASV; Deut. 32:6; Ps. 89:26; Jer. 3:4, 19, 20; etc.), but the very names of many Israelites identified Jehovah as the Father (Abia, Abiah, Abijah, and Joab, for example, literally say "Jehovah is Father"). Just as you will never find a clear direct statement anywhere in the Bible that Jehovah is the Son, the Messiah, the Only-begotten, etc., you will never find a Bible name that declares Jehovah to be anyone but the Father!
Certainly the sun is the most important thing in all the visible creation for mankind (and all life on earth)! We know now (in the last 50 years) that multiple stars ("suns") are very common throughout the universe. Why do you suppose that God chose a single star (the Sun) to rule the visible heavens by day for us? If God had so desired, we could have easily had a 2 or 3-sun system for the earth. Imagine, the very literal life-giving "light of the earth" could have been "one light" emanating from three individual suns! But God deliberately chose, instead, to give us only one sun to rule the day by itself as the visible origin of light and life for the earth! Remember, creation itself reveals "what may be known about God .... being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God, nor gave thanks to him"!! - Ro 1:19-21, NIV.
A single moon such as we have is actually a rarity among the known planets. Why do you suppose that God chose a single moon to rule the night for us? If God had so desired, we could easily have had no moon like our "twin" planet Venus. We could have had two moons like our neighbor Mars. We could have had any number of multiple moons like Jupiter and Saturn. Certainly it would have been simple for God to have given us three (or two) equal-sized, equally light-reflecting moons! But he deliberately chose, instead, to give us only one, large moon to dominate the visible night heavens by itself! Remember, creation itself reveals "what may be known about God .... being understood from what has been made"!
A trinitarian correspondent has responded to this:
'The point is made that an image of God cannot be the reality of God because the image is a representation apart from the reality. But a look at the Septuagint clarifies this point. See Psalm 73:20 where reference is made to the image of the wicked, which is not distinguished as something separate and apart. See also Hebrews 10:1 & Col. 3:10.'
I had been making the point that an image may represent the reality of a thing, but it cannot actually be the thing it represents. We never see an object actually being its own image. It would be hard to find anything clearer than the concept that an image cannot be the thing it represents! It is an inherent part of the actual definition of the word "image"! To call anything "the image of God" automatically means that it is not God!
Philo also "differentiates the Logos from God as his work or image]." Philo's Logos is also "first-born son....divine ['a god'] but not God, is with God [Jn 1:1], is light [Jn 1:4],...manna [Jn 6:31-51],...and shepherd [Jn 10:11]." - Encyclopedia Britannica, p. 251, Vol. 14, 1968. (Cf. Hastings Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Vol. 8, p.135.) And the New Catholic Encyclopedia also tells us about Philo's Logos:
" 'The divine Logos is Himself the Image of God, chiefest of all beings intellectually perceived, placed nearest, with no intermediary distance, to the truly Existent One [The Father]' (De fuga et inventione 101); 'it well befits those who have entered into comradeship with knowledge to desire to see the Existent [the Father] if they may, but, if they cannot, to see at least his Image, the most holy Logos' (De confusione linguarum 97). The Logos, then, is the image of God." - New Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 8, p. 967, 1967 ed.
Yes, the world famous first century A. D. Jewish scholar, Philo, wrote about the Word (cf. John 1:14), the image of God, being the Angel of God and being mistaken for God:
For just as those who are unable to see the sun itself see the gleam of the parhelion [a 'mock sun' - an optical illusion, not the true sun - RDB] and [erroneously] take it for the sun, ... so some regard the image of God, His angel the Word, as His very self." - p. 423, Philo, vol. V, "On Flight and Finding," Harvard University Press, Loeb Classical Library, 1988 printing.
The word eikon itself means "that which resembles an object and represents it, as a copy represents the original" and "it is derived from ..., eiko, ..., eoika, 'to be like,' 'resemble.' " - p. 1451, Vol. 3, The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Eerdmans, 1984 printing.
And The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology also tells us that eikon "is derived from eoika, which has a present force, meaning to be similar, like (from the rare eike, attested by Homer, meaning it seemed good, it appeared) means image, copy" - pp. 286, 287, Vol. 2, Zondervan, 1986.
As for the translation of Psalm 73:20, it boils down to an interpretation of what the reader thinks was really intended. Many, if not most, trinitarian scholars interpret this passage like this quote from the NIV Study Bible:
"When God arouses himself as from sleep (see note on 7:6) and deals with the wicked, they vanish like the shadowy characters of a dream." - footnote for Ps. 73:20.
We have here, then the meaning of eikon as characters in a dream, which corresponds to the number II meaning for eikon in Liddell and Scott's An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon: "...an image in the mind" - p. 228, Oxford, 1994 printing.
This interpretation does not confuse the image of the wicked with the actual persons of the wicked. An image in one's mind is still merely an image. The real person or thing which is being represented is certainly not actually in your brain.
"Like a dream when a man rouses himself, O Lord, like images in sleep which are dismissed on waking!" - NEB.
"...like images dismissed when one rouses from sleep!" - REB.
"...dismissed like shadows when you arise." - NAB ('91).
"Like a dream upon waking, Lord, when you awake, you dismiss their image." - NJB.
"...as one awakens from a dream of things that never really were!" - LB.
"...you shrug them off like the phantoms of a morning dream." - JB.
"...You will make those people disappear like the monsters in our dreams." - ETRV.
"... like a dream that goes away in the morning...." - GNB.
"... despise the very thought of them." - Beck.
"They are like a dream when one awakes, on awaking you despise their phantoms." - RSV.
"For the law having a shadow (skia) of good things to come, and not the very image (eikon) of the things..." - KJV.
The word for "shadow" denotes something that has extremely few details to show the object which it represents. It may, in addition to lacking detail, even be quite distorted. The word for "image," however, denotes a very detailed and accurate representation.
Trinitarian Dr. William Barclay writes about Heb. 10:1:
"[The writer of Hebrews] uses two words to indicate what he means. He says that these things are a pale shadow. The word he uses is skia, the Greek for a shadow, and it means a nebulous reflection, a mere silhouette, a form without reality. He says that they do not give a real image. The word he uses is eikon, which means a complete representation, a detailed reproduction. It actually does mean a portrait, and would mean a photograph, if there had been such a thing in those days." - pp. 112-113, The Letter to the Hebrews, Rev. ed., The Daily Study Bible Series, 1976.
Trinitarian Dr. A. T. Robertson writes about Heb. 10:1:
"The contrast here between skia (shadow, shade caused by interruption of light as by trees, Mark 4:32) and eikon (image or picture) is striking." - Word Pictures, p. 406, Vol. 5.
Notice these translations of Heb. 10:1:
"So, since the Law has no more than a reflection of these realities, and no finished picture [eikon] of them..." - JB.
"... a shadow of the good things to come, not the true picture. - REB.
"... only a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of them." - NAB ('91).
"... only a shadow of the good things to come, and no real image of them." - NAB ('70).
"...reflection of the good things ... to come, and no true image of them" - NJB.
"...The law is not a perfect picture of the real things." - ETRV.
"... not a full and faithful model of the real things" - GNB.
"...did not actually reproduce them." - Phillips.
The meaning of Heb. 10:1 is clear enough: The Law represents the "good things to come" only hazily. It does not present a clear, detailed image of them. Obviously anything written in the Law is only a representation of the real thing. They are, after all, written words which merely give us a mental picture or image of the real thing; they couldn't possibly actually be that which they represent!
"And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him" - KJV.
I'm sorry, but I don't see the point here. How does this indicate that the "image" of something actually is that thing?
Dr. Barclay writes of this verse:
"This new creation is a continual renewal. It makes a man grow continually in grace and knowledge until he reaches that which he was meant to be - manhood in the image of God." - The Letters to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians, Rev. Ed., 1975.
Dr. Robertson writes about Col. 3:10:
After the image (kat¡¯ eikona). An allusion to Gen. 1:26, 28. The restoration of the image of God in us is gradual and progressive (II Cor. 3:18), but will be complete in the final result (Rom. 8:29, I John 3:2). - Word Pictures, Vol. 4, p. 503.
Surely you don't mean that the man who is completely restored to the full image of God really is God.
Other translations of Col. 3:10:
"...put on the new nature, which is renewed in the likeness of its Creator" - Mo.
"...have put on that new self newly made in the likeness of its Creator" - AT.
"...have put on the new nature, which is being constantly renewed in the image of its Creator" - NEB.
"...new self which will progress toward true knowledge the more it is renewed in the image of its creator" - JB.
"... new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator." - RSV.
"...new self ... being made new in the likeness of its Creator" - CBW.
"...put on the new self, which is continually renewed in knowledge to be like Him who made him." - Beck.
"You are becoming like the One who made you. - ETRV.
"...as he is formed anew in the image of his Creator." - NAB ('70).
I really don't see a new meaning for "image" here which would make the one who bears that image into the one who is represented by that image, do you?
There is, however, another NT word sometimes translated "image." Some trinitarians try to redefine this word also to make Jesus into God. This is the word charakter which is found in Heb. 1:3.
- "Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image [charakter] of his person".
The word charakter definitely denotes an image instead of the actuality - see Thayer, #5481.
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
"In He 1 3 the word used is ... (charakter) .... It is derived from ... (charasso), 'to engrave,' .... hence, generally, the exact image or expression of any person or thing as corresponding to the original, the distinguished feature, or traits by which a person or thing is known." - p. 1451, Vol. 3, Eerdmans, 1984 printing.
Since this word is used only in this verse in the entire NT, we need to look at its usage by other Christians and Jews of this time period.
Clement of Rome (ca. 90 - 100 A.D.) used this term: "[God] formed man in the impress (charakter) of His own image" - 1 Clem. 33:4, The Apostolic Fathers, Lightfoot and Harmer.
Ignatius (ca. 70 - 117 A.D.) wrote: "there are two coinages ... and each of them hath its proper stamp (charakter) impressed upon it, the unbelievers the [stamp] of this world, but the faithful in love the stamp (charakter) of God the father" - Magnesians 5:2, Lightfoot and Harmer.
We can also see that the very popular Jewish religious philosopher of the first century, Philo, used this term. We know that he never intended to imply that The Logos (The Word) was actually God (see the study LOGOS). Nevertheless he described The Logos as "the charakter of God" - The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Vol. 2, p. 288, 1986. For Philo, then, charakter (stamp, image) certainly did not mean the image is itself the represented object.
Like eikon, there is no use of charakter by God's people that clearly means the image is itself the object that it represents!
We then have Christ being described here (Heb. 1:3) as the image of God's aupagasma (person or character, etc.). Therefore we are able to "see" what God is like by observing Christ! The wording here shows conclusively that Christ is not God, but that he simply reveals God more perfectly to us. - Cf. 2 Cor. 4:4; Col. 1:15.
The NT use of "image" obviously means a close likeness, a detailed representation of the original item or person. It's still impossible for an image to actually be that which it is representing! (Also see PHIL #9: homoioma & MINOR 13-14: charakter.)
Why even Tertullian himself (who most trinitarian scholars credit with being the first to formulate the doctrine of the Trinity which the Roman Church adopted officially over a hundred years later) taught (ca. 212 A.D.):
"Now the image is not in any case equal to the very thing. It is one thing to be like the reality, and another thing to be the reality itself."- ANF, Vol. 3, ('Against Marcion,' Bk 2, Ch. 8).
The image (eikon) of the emperor on a coin, for example, cannot actually be the emperor himself! - Matt. 22:20; Mk 12:16; Lk 20:24.
Any man who is in the image of Adam cannot possibly be Adam! - 1 Cor 15:49.
Any man who is in the image of Christ cannot possibly be Christ! - Ro. 8:29; 1 Cor 15:49.
Any man who is in the image of God cannot actually be God! - Gen 1:27; 1 Cor. 11:7.
Likewise, Jesus Christ, who is in the image of God, cannot actually be God! And no inspired writer would so describe him, if he were really God! - 2 Cor. 4:4; Col. 1:15.
Except for this single apparent exception concerning Abraham (which, when honestly analyzed, still proves to be only a single angel actually speaking for God) the "Angel of Jehovah" (or "the Angel of the LORD") was always a single person who acted as the representative of God. Even many trinitarian scholars admit that this primary representative of God may have been "the image of God," Jesus himself, in his heavenly pre-existence.
"The Angel of the LORD.... Traditional Christian interpretation has held that this 'angel' was a preincarnate manifestation of Christ as God's Messenger-Servant." - footnote for Gen. 16:7 in the highly trinitarian The NIV Study Bible [NIVSB] by Zondervan Publishing, 1985.
"Angel of the Lord - occurs many times in the Old Testament, where in almost every instance it means a supernatural personage to be distinguished from Jehovah .... Some feel the pre-incarnate Christ is meant." - p. 39, Today's Dictionary of the Bible, Bethany House Publ., 1982.
"Angel of the Lord. ... Christ's visible form before the incarnation." - p. 40, Smith's Bible Dictionary, Hendrickson Publ.
"The angel of the Lord, sometimes 'the angel of God' or 'my (or 'his') angel', is represented in Scripture as a heavenly being sent by God to deal with men as his personal spokesman." - New Bible Dictionary, Tyndale House, p. 38., 2nd ed., 1984.
"[The angel of Yahweh/Jehovah] is a heavenly being given a particular task by Yahweh, behind whom the angel's personality [temporarily] entirely disappears.... He is virtually a hypostatic appearance of Yahweh, the personified help of God for Israel .... Sometimes we cannot distinguish between Yahweh and his angel.... because Yahweh's holiness could have destroyed Israel, only his angel was to go with the people." [See 1 John 4:12; John 6:46.] - The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Vol. 1, p. 101, Zondervan Publ., 1986.
Yes, Jehovah, who could have selected any number of his millions of angels, always selected a single heavenly person, the 'Angel of Jehovah,' to represent himself to men! Why would he do this if God were really three persons? Wouldn't He always choose three angels speaking together (or even a three-headed angel) to represent Him?
Not only is the word "three" never used in conjunction with God anywhere in the Holy Scriptures (which simply could not be if God were really a "trinity"!), but it isn't even as scripturally important as many other numbers ("one," "seven," "twelve," for example)!
There are "very few traces of 'three' in the cultus and the religious conceptions of the Israelites .... This relative rarity of a connexion between 'three' and religious notions, which prevails in the OT, should not be [supplied] from other sources. The thunder call, 'Hear, O Israel, Jahweh (the?) one' (Dt 6:4 cf. Is 41:4 44:6 48:12), drowns the voice of those who refer us to the triads of gods that were adored by the Babylonians, Assyrians, (Anu, Bel, and Ea, etc. ...), and other nations of antiquity. .... But the original meaning of the OT text must not be modified to suit either heathen parallels or later stages in its own development." - pp. 565, 566, Vol. 3, A Dictionary of the Bible, Hastings (trinitarian), ed., Hendrickson Publ. (trinitarian), 1988 printing.
"Although three has widely been thought a sacred number [by trinitarians, of course], specifically religious uses of it in the Bible seem to be relatively few." - p. 687, Vol. 2, The New International Dictionary of the New Testament (trinitarian), Zondervan Publ. (trinitarian), 1986.
If there were even hints of a trinity to be found in Scripture, the one word we would see with religious significance would be "three." The fact that it is relatively insignificant in Scripture is enough in itself to refute any idea of a trinity!
Just the frequency of use of a term (including numbers, of course) in Holy Scripture would be an indication of the importance of it. For example, "Jehovah" is used far more than any other personal name in the Holy Scriptures. And, of course, "God" is used much more than "angel" or "priest, and "Christ" is used more than "apostle."
So how often are important numbers used in the Holy Scriptures?
Well, the number 'one' is by far the most-used number in all scripture. In the OT three other numbers are more prominent than 'three' (1, 2, and 7).
In the NT (where many trinitarians teach that the 'trinity' was actually revealed) four other numbers are more used than 'three' (1, 2, 7, and 12)! And the word 'one' was used more than 4 times (4.3) as often as the number 'three'!
In fact, in total uses of the actual Greek words involved (heis, 'one'/ treis, 'three') heis is used 4.7 times more often than treis in the New Testament!
The simple fact that the number 'three' is never used in a description of (or reference to) God anywhere in all the inspired Scriptures is enough to completely discredit a trinity idea!
This is in strong contrast to a frequent use of the number 'one' in Scripture to refer to God. (For example: Deut. 6:4; Zech. 14:9; Mal. 2:10; Mark 12:29, 32; 1 Cor. 8:6; Gal. 3:20; Eph. 4:6.)