The Trinity in the Old Testament

In OT291 The Jewish Trinity: How the Old Testament Reveals the Christian Godhead, Dr. Michael Heiser explores the identity and role of the Godhead in the Old Testament. He discusses the notion that “Two Powers in heaven”—Yahweh and the “second Yahweh figure”—are present throughout the Old Testament, with this second Yahweh figure referred to as the Angel of the Lord, the Name, and the Presence.

Dr. Heiser comments, “There are certain passages in the Old Testament that sounded to the ear like the God of Israel was two. There was this two-ness but yet one sort of idea going on. Rabbis took note of this and referred to the idea as Two Powers being in heaven.” While the Two Powers are evident throughout the Old Testament, there are also hints of the Trinity.

Watch Dr. Heiser introduce the idea of the Godhead in the Old Testament.

Isaiah 63 and Psalm 78

Throughout the Old Testament there are passages where the Angel of the Lord and the Spirit are described using the same motifs and language. Dr. Heiser points out that there are “some cases … where the Spirit is present along with God in the second figure in some way, and you actually have three right in the same passage. … We get the three-in-one and one-but-three idea that is more familiar in the New Testament.”

Psalm 78 recounts the journey through the wilderness on the way to the promised land. In verse 40 we read, “How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved him in the desert! They tested God again and again and provoked the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 63 is a parallel passage also depicting the wilderness wanderings. In Isaiah 63:10 we read, “But they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit; therefore he turned to be their enemy.”

Dr. Heiser explains the correspondence between these accounts of the wilderness wanderings and connects the passages to the Trinity, noting that, when compared, it seems that there is a “blurring of distinction between the Spirit and God Himself. They’re spoken of the same way. They overlap. We already have the Lord and the Angel in the one scene. So if you superimpose or—pardon the pun—triangulate between Isa 63 and Psa 78, the Spirit becomes part of this picture. … You look at a passage like this, and you get the impression that the Spirit is also in a very tight relationship to God and this second Yahweh. So the Spirit sort of becomes a third Yahweh figure when we look at these passages all together.”

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To learn more about the role of the Godhead in Jewish monotheism, get Dr. Michael Heiser’s course OT291 The Jewish Trinity: How the Old Testament Reveals the Christian Godhead. For a limited time only, OT291 is available for a 20% discount. Order yours today!

For more from Mike Heiser, check out his latest book, The Unseen Realm. To receive an update as soon as it’s available, Sign-up here.
 

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Written by
Liz Melton
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Written by Liz Melton