De Moor V:15: Old Testament Confirmation of the Doctrine of the Trinity, Part 3



In the next place, we set forth those Pronounements of the Old Testament, in which the Trinity of Persons is determinately noted. To which pertain, 1. Passages, in which is found a Threefold appellation either of the Divine Name, or of an Essential Attribute: Perhaps not all things pertain to this, says our AUTHOR, that are wont to be alleged, since in some places another reason of the repetition is possible: for example, in Daniel 9:19, in which Daniel addresses God three times under the Name אֲדֹנָי/Adonai/Lord; but in verse 17, God, whom he is addressing, he has distinguished from the Lord, for whose sake he was seeking audience, לְמַ֖עַן אֲדֹנָֽי׃, for the Lord’s/Adonai’s sake, and concerning whose Advent at a definite time Gabriel was then rendering more certain, verses 24 and following. Nevertheless, ALPHEN is worthy of a look on verse 19, Commentario on Daniel 9, pages 235-238, who is completely convinced that we are led to the Trinity by the three fold repetition of the name אֲדֹנָי/Adonai in verse 19, with which Daniel addresses God in prayer; for, if this repetition of the divine Name is to be attributed to the zeal of the one praying, the same could be done at least four times. And so, since no other more agreeable reason of this threefold repetition is able to be given, than what is fetched from the mystery of the Trinity; he asserts that certainly to be preferred is that exegesis which gives an agreeable reason for this matter, than that which lacks the same. Certainly the prayers poured out in verse 19 are able to be considered distinct enough from those that occur in verse 17, that a somewhat different use of the word אֲדֹנָי/Adonai in verse 17 is not at all inappropriate here.


Johannes a Marck

Our AUTHOR judges that Zechariah 1:3 hardly pertains to this in like manner, in which we read three times: וְאָמַרְתָּ֣ אֲלֵהֶ֗ם כֹּ֤ה אָמַר֙ יְהוָ֣ה צְבָא֔וֹת שׁ֣וּבוּ אֵלַ֔י נְאֻ֖ם יְהוָ֣ה צְבָא֑וֹת וְאָשׁ֣וּב אֲלֵיכֶ֔ם אָמַ֖ר יְהוָ֥ה צְבָאֽוֹת׃, Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith Jehovah of hosts; Turn ye unto me, saith Jehovah of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith Jehovah of hosts. VITRINGA the Elder, in his Commentario on Zechariah, pages 89-91, writes: “I judge, that it is not absurdly thought that the τρίπλωσιν/tripling of the Lord’s name, Jehovah of Hosts, in this place is referred to the μυστηριον/mystery of the Sacred Trinity…. Yet I would not dare confidently to subscribe to this meditation on this passage…. If one should indulge in this pious meditation on this place also, I gladly allow it to be done, neither would I wish or dare obstinately to refute it.” COCCEIUS subtly distinguishes in this way, that the saying, Jehovah God of hosts said, is on one occasion the word of the Prophet about to set forth the Word of God, and twice occurs in the very words of God, where he maintains that one divine Person speaks in the name of two Persons, for example, the Holy Spirit speaking in the Prophets in the name of the Father, who commands the Jews to return to Him, and of the Son, who promises His own Advent. On which things MARCKIUS, in his Commentario ad Prophetas minores on this passage, observes: 1. That saying, thus Jehovah of hosts hath said, is found similarly everywhere in this text in the setting forth of the words of the Prophet in the name of God, and it is not found that any one distinguished with the Name Jehovah speaks in the name of another addressed in this way. 2. The same is regarded as about to return, to whom the Israelites were obliged to return; rather than that He is another, even indeed regarded in His Advent. While MARCKIUS himself observes that this description of God speaking, after it had once preceded in a general way, is repeated, first for words of commandment, then for words of promise, so that the obedience of the people toward God, more than toward the King of the Persians, might be urged, and its faith in God might be so much more urged against all human power.


Therefore, our AUTHOR judges that an argument is not to be sought from a bare repetition of this sort, unless the Context itself also leads us to Distinct Persons. He considers this to be done in Numbers 6:24-26, where the threefold repetition of the Name יְהוָה/Jehovah/Lord is not to be attributed merely to the Zeal of the Priest setting forth the blessing: since, 1. the formula of the blessing is prescribed to him by Jehovah; and, 2. if this were to be attributed to the Zeal of the one asking the blessing from Jehovah, the Name יְהוָה/Jehovah could have been used even six times in this formula. But we most agreeably represent to ourselves the Triune God here as the Author of the blessing, being of which sort, He has been abundantly revealed to us elsewhere; while attentive consideration of this formula teaches that those things that are here sought from Jehovah, thrice invoked, are able very suitably to be referred, according to the order kept here, to the three distinct Persons of the Diety, as they follow each other in natural order: and that also the actual argument of it completely agrees with the Pauline benedication, 2 Corinthians 13:13, although the Persons of the Deity are set forth there in a different order: see my Dutch Sermon on this passage, printed in the volume that is called Gedachtenis, etc., pages 93-117.


Herman Witsius

In Isaiah 6:1-3, according to John 12:39-41, Isaiah here saw the Glory of God the Son, not only as future, but as already present; and he spake of Him, not of God the Father alone: see ARNOLDI’S Refutationem Catecheseos Racovianæ on chapter I, de Cognitione Personæ Christi, questions 49, 50, pages 88, 89, § I-VIII, pages 269-271; our AUTHOR’S Exercitationes Textuales XIV, § 4, Part VI, page 444. According to Paul in Acts 28:25-27, the Holy Spirit, from whom every Prophetic Word flowed forth, and through whom the Son works, spake the things that are found in Isaiah 6:9 and following. But the One that appears and speaks is called אֲדֹנָי/Adonai/Lord in verses 1, 8; indeed, the Seraphim in their acclamation, verse 3, but also the Prophet himself in verse 5, call this One יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת, Jehovah/Lord of hosts: both are divine Names, but the latter, יְהוָה/Jehovah, is also altogether incommunicable to creatures. While there is now no doubt concerning the Deity of the Father; and the Deity of the Son and of the Spirit is manifestly confirmed, both from the Names attributed to them here, and from the Works and Worship assigned to them in this Chapter; the Trinity of Divine Persons is also expressly proven from this Chapter. Whether the one Triune God is now immediately represented to us; or actually God the Son in appearance occurs immediately to us, but as representing the entire Trinity; since to Him the kingdom and all judgment has been committed by the Father, John 5:22, 27, in the administration of which He also operates by the Spirit. In any event, the Unity of Essence brings it to pass that, when one of the Persons is seen, the others also are seen through their infinitely close Union, since the divine Glory of all is one and the same, John 14:8-10: compare WITSIUS, Miscellaneorum sacrorum, tome 2, Exercitation I, § 10; and his De Œconomia Fœderum, book IV, chapter III, § 5.


The Plurality of Persons in the One divine Essence the Lord Himself, here speaking, indicates in Isaiah 6:8. Certainly in the plural pronoun, לָנוּ, for us, the Lord does not join Himself with the Seraphim, as the Anti-Trinitarians maintain, and Grotius wrote, He speaks as concerning the sentence of the council of Angels. But, 1. our AUTHOR rightly observes in his Dissertation on this passage, which is Exercitation XIV, Part VI, Exercitationibus Textualibus, § 8: “In the preceding context, the distinction observed between the Lord sitting upon the Throne in such majesty, and the Seraphim attending Him with such reverence, and acclaiming Him alone with such praise, was too great, than that the Lord, at the beginning speaking of Himself alone as about to sent to an impure people, then immediately in the fulfillment of that sending by the going of the one sent, should join the Seraphim with Himself in one pronoun and in equal authority.” To which, 2. the observation of WITSIUS is added, Miscellaneorum sacrorum, tome 2, Exercitation I, § 34: “The Prophets do not go for the Angels, in the name of the Angels, or for the ministry of Angels, but for God alone.”



But, while here in context the Plurality of divine Persons is observed so expressly, even optimally, that already of old by ATHANASIUS, contra Arium et Samosatenum, opera, tome I, pages 216, 601, 602, and also by EPIPHANIUS, Ancorato, § X, opera, tome 2, page 15, it was noted, the Seraphim are believed to have had regard to the Trinity in their joyous and awe-filled acclamation through the thrice repeated epithet קָדוֹשׁ/holy, קָד֧וֹשׁ׀ קָד֛וֹשׁ קָד֖וֹשׁ יְהוָ֣ה צְבָא֑וֹת, holy, holy, holy is Jehovah of hosts. In which repetition, according to our AUTHOR in Exercitation XIV, Part VI, Exercitationibus Textualibus, § VI, pages 451, 452, you would not incorrectly think of the variety and certainty of the matter signified, of the consummate Excellence of Holiness, of the various times or place of Holiness demonstrated, of the greatest and indefatigable Zeal of those crying out: but, above all these things, on account of the context and citation in the New Testament, he thinks a more common and exceedingly ancient observation of the Trinity of Persons in the one God to prevail; as if it were said, the Father is Holy, the Son Holy, the Spirit Holy, that Triune Jehovah, God of Hosts: compare CHRISTIAN BECMANN’S Exercitationes Theologicas, XV, pages 234-241.


And so, since in the Passages cited we argue, not from the bare ternary repetition, but at the same time from the context; our AUTHOR rightly concludes that “what things elsewhere are simple repetitions of various things made three times, like the Temple, Jeremiah 7:4; Earth, Jeremiah 22:29; Overturning, Ezekiel 21:27; etc., do not at all enervate our argument.” Apart from the fact that others on these passages want the ternary number to be taken, not indefinitely or merely according to the number of perfection, but precisely. Thus, in the thrice repeated name of Temple, they think that regard is had to three distinct places in the Temple, the Courtyard, the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies. In Jeremiah 22:29, 30, regard is had, say they, to the time following the Babylonian Captivity; and so, they maintain that in the thrice repeated address, Earth, there is an allusion to the division of the Holy Land into three principal parts, which at that time obtained, namely, into Judea, Samaria, and Galilee. Finally, they say that in Ezekiel the crown is pronounced to be three overturned, relatively to the threefold notable importance of the Time, in which this overturning was done by degrees, 1. in the deportation of King Zedekiah to Babylon;[1] 2. in the removal of Archelaus, son of Herod the Great, to Vienna of Gaul,[2] and the converstion of Judea into the form of a Province; 3. in the total destruction of the City and Polity of the Jews by the Romans.



2. Passages, in which the Three Persons are distinctly mentioned; as in Psalm 33:6, in which there is express mention of Jehovah the Father, the Word, and the Spirit of His mouth,[3] as Three concurring in Creation; since it is a Work distinctly divine, because it agrees with no one, unless furnished with altogether divine and infinite Wisdom and Power, with good reason is the Deity of the Word and of the Spirit, no less than of Jehovah Father, concluded from this passage, and indeed the Trinity of Persons in the Deity. This Word will be no other than that substantial Word, through which John also relates all things were made at the Creation, John 1:3. Neither ought it to be thought concerning a wordπροφορικῷ/uttered, since in Psalm 33:6 the Creator is described; but in verse 9 that most powerful mode is subjoined, whereby He is wont to work through the mere command of His Will, both in Creation, and in Providence: see Chapter I, § 3. But the Spirit of His mouth will be the same as the one that occurs in Genesis 1:2 as brooding over the waters, concerning which § 26 of this Chapter: compare the Confessionem Fidei presented by the African Bishops to King Huneric,[4] in the Bibliotheca Patrum, published at Paris in 1644, tome 4, part I, column 406; DAVID PAREUS’ Calvinum Orthodoxum, book II, chapter XII, pages 127-130; VRIEMOET’S Adnotationes ad Dicta classica Veteris Testamenti, tome I, chapter IV, pages 172-177.


That the Passage in Isaiah 61:1 ought to be referred to Messiah, the Lord Himself is the author, Luke 4:17-21. In this and the following verses the Messiah describes Himself by His Mediatorial Office, which it is certain no one is able to discharge, unless furnished with divine Wisdom, Power, Dignity, and Majesty. Moreover, the same expressly calls Himself יְהוָה/Jehovah/Lord in verse 8, if Messiah continues His speech to this point, as it is not at all improbable. But at the same time He distinguishes Himself from two other Persons, from יְהוָה/Jehovah, by whom He had been anointed and sent, or אֲדֹנָ֥י יְהוִ֖ה, Adonai Jehovah, the Lord God, whose Spirit was upon Him, that is, from God the Father, whose Deity comes not into question: and from ר֛וּחַ אֲדֹנָ֥י יְהוִ֖ה, the Spirit of the Lord God, who was upon Him, who with this is sufficiently distinguished from the Son as a distinct Person; at the same time His true Deity is evident from the Work assigned to Him in this passage, namely, because with its own gifts it sanctifies the Son of God, the θεάνθρωπον/God-man, with respect to His human Nature, for the Mediatorial Office and renders it fit, which is a work of divine virtue and honor.


In Isaiah 63:7-14, in which, after a threefold repetition of the Name יְהוָה/Jehovah/Lord in verse 7, Three distinct Persons are enumerated. For, in addition to Jehovah Father, the Savior, two others are mentioned, who are individually set forth to us as the true God in nature by their work and the worship presented to them. These are the וּמַלְאַ֤ךְ פָּנָיו֙, the Angel of the face, of the Father, intimately present, most familiarly enjoying the Father as the Man Associated with Jehovah; with perfect precision rendering the face of the Father, as ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης καὶ χαρακτὴρ τῆς ὑποστάσεως αὐτοῦ, the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, Hebrews 1:3: compare below, Chapter IX, § 2. The Angel of the Lord, who is expressly called יְהוָה/Jehovah, says that He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and calls Himself אֶֽהְיֶ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֶֽהְיֶ֑ה, I am that I am, Exodus 3:2, 6, 7, 14. That same one is found here, in Isaiah 63:9, as saving, liberating, and carrying Israel by divine providence and grace. Moreover, in verse 10, ר֣וּחַ קָדְשׁ֑וֹ, His Holy Spirit, is added, vexed by the sins of the Israelites, as the true God and only Law-giver; and as not only present with the Israelites, verse 11, but also giving rest to them, verse 14: VRIEMOET’S Adnotationes ad Dicta classica Veteris Testamenti, tome I, chapter IV, pages 177-188.


In Haggai 2:4-6, where with יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת, Jehovah of Hosts, is conjoined רוּחִי, my Spirit; and, when הַדָּבָר, the Word, is then mentioned in addition in the intermediate place, that is best explained of the ὑποστατικῷ/hypostatic Word, concerning whom, not only most truly, but also far ἐμφατικοτέρως, more emphatically, than concerning an προφορικῷ/uttered word, are declared whatever things occur in the passage cited concerning that Word; namely, that God was present with the Israelites with that Word and with His Spirit: אֲנִי אִתְּכֶם—אֶת־הַדָּבָר, I am with you with the Word: and that He had established the covenant with them through that Word in the time of the Israelite’s Exodus out of Egypt,אֲשֶׁר־כָּרַ֤תִּי אִתְּכֶם֙ בְּצֵאתְכֶ֣ם וגו״, that I cut with you when ye came out, etc., which verily pertains to to the Son, the Mediator and Angel of the covenant: compare our AUTHOR’S Commentarium on the passage.


So that I might pass over many other, similar things. All the passages of the Old Testament from which the Deity of the Son and of the Spirit is proven are also able to be referred to this, since the Deity of the Father is not called into question; a review of which sort of passages see below, § 21, 26.

From which testimonies, the degenerate Jews are αὐτοκατάκριτοι/ self-condemned: see MARESIUS, Systemate Theologico, locus III, § 41, note c, page 123b; VRIEMOET’S Adnotationes ad Dicta classica Veteris Testamenti, tome I, chapter IV, pages 166, 167, 214-216.

[1] See 2 Kings 25:6, 7. [2] Archelaus, son of Herod the Great, was ethnarch of Samaria, Judea, and Idumea from 4 BC to 6 AD. [3] Psalm 33:6: “By the word of the Lord (בִּדְבַ֣ר יְ֭הוָה) were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth (וּבְר֥וּחַ פִּ֜֗יו, by the Spirit of His mouth).” [4] Huneric was the King of the Vandal Kingdom of North Africa from 477 to 484. He was committed Arian.

135 views1 comment