The Trinity in the Old Testament


By Dr. Ken Matto


There are many Christians out there that deny the Trinity, that is, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost as three separate distinct persons.  I have always lived under the belief that a true Christian will not deny or reject any teachings in Scripture no matter how much they want to disagree with them.  Many are guilty of something called Modalism which espouses the belief that God the Father was active in the Old Testament, then He manifested himself as God the Son for the three and a half years He walked this earth, and then after He returned to Heaven He now manifests Himself as the Holy Ghost.  Modalism is a false teaching which stems from a man named Sabellius who taught it in the third century so this teaching has been around for 1700 years.  It is as heretical today as it was when it was first taught.  Some who believe this heresy is TD Jakes, The United Pentecostal Church known as Oneness Pentecostals, The United Apostolic Church, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, Unitarians and there may be others who reject the biblical teaching of the Trinity.


The problem is that these people deny the Trinity which is taught so openly in the New Testament never mind the Old Testament. Here are three sets of Scripture that one must completely ignore and reject if they are to deny the teachings of the Trinity.  Each of these scripture sets show plainly that the Trinity exists and no one need stumble over it by means of these heretical preachers and organizations who deny it.  Stay with the teachings of Scripture and let them stay with the teachers of Satan.


{16} And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:  {17} And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.  (Matthew 3:16-17)


{10} And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:  {11} And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.  (Mark 1:10-11)


{21} Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,  {22} And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.  (Luke 3:21-22)


These three sets of verses set forth the truth of the Trinity as we see them all together at the baptism of Christ in the Jordan by John the Baptizer.  Now the focus of this article is not seeing the Trinity in the New Testament but seeing it in the Old Testament.  Remember the Old Testament has many of its teachings explained in the New Testament.


The Holy Spirit

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.  (Genesis 1:2)


{10} Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:  {11} Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.  (1 Peter 1:10-11)


Here we have the Holy Spirit active in two ways.  First, He was active in the creation of the world as we read in Genesis 1:2.  Then He was active in the salvation of the Old Testament Saints.  So many preachers teach that the Holy Spirit was among them or just temporarily came on someone and then left.  Those in the Old Testament were saved by the sacrifice of Christ just like those in the New Testament and beyond.  We read in 1 Peter 1:11 that the Spirit of Christ was “in” the Old Testament Prophets not among or by them.  It is also a biblical truth that the doctrine of election was alive and well in the Old Testament.  Amos was an Old Testament prophet and was a herdsman and gatherer of Sycomore fruit.  God chose him to bring a message to the ten northern tribes.  He didn’t go looking for the position of prophet.  If he was not inspired by the Holy Spirit then what did he do, make a bunch of “lucky guesses?”  Moses was the author of the first five books of the Bible, David penned the Psalms, Solomon wrote the book of Proverbs, then there was Joshua, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Zechariah, Malachi, Micah, Jonah, Obadiah, Daniel all penned books of the Bible because they were indwelled by the Holy Spirit.


Just as the New Testament Books were divinely inspired, so were the books of the Old Testament.  If you deny the fact that the writers were indwelled by the Holy Spirit as Peter states, then you must also deny the inspiration of the books of the Old Testament.  The bottom line is that those who believed God in the Old Testament did so because they were indwelled by the Holy Spirit which means they were qualified to hear and understand God to be able to follow him.  Abraham is called the “father of faith or faithful” and we know from Galatians 5:22 that “faith” is imparted to the believer only after they become saved and indwelled by the Holy Spirit.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  (Galatians 5:22)  How could Abraham be the father of faith or faithful without the Holy Spirit indwelling him and giving him the gift of faith to believe God?  If the Holy Spirit did not indwell him, then he was still spiritually dead and could not be the father of anyone except dead religion which God freed him from by saving him.  1 Peter 1:11 removes all doubt concerning the fact that the Holy Spirit indwelled the Old Testament Believer.  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.  (Romans 8:9)  Romans 8:9 puts the icing on the cake that if one does not have the “Spirit of Christ” (same description as 1 Peter 1:11) they are not his, meaning they are not saved and still in the kingdom of Satan. 


The Lord Jesus Christ

Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.  (Exodus 3:6)  {14} And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.  {15} And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.  (Exodus 3:14-15)


Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.  (John 8:58)


Moses had turned aside to see the burning bush on Mt. Horeb called the mountain of God.  God had made him take off his shoes because he was standing on holy ground and he feared to look upon the face of God.  Then after some time of conversation, Moses asks God what his name was and God responds that he is to tell the children of Israel that his name is “I AM.” Then in Exodus 3:15, we read where God tells Moses that “this is my name forever.”  Then about 1480 years later Jesus comes into the world and in one of his discourses with the Pharisees, he is talking about Abraham with them and then he stuns them with the statement “Before Abraham was, I am.”  They knew exactly what he meant because that is how God identified himself to Moses.  That is why they wanted to stone him because here was a declaration that Jesus was God, he was the Great I AM of Sinai.  So here is the second person of the Godhead named in the Old Testament.


God the Father

Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven;  (Genesis 19:24)


The word “LORD” in all capitals is speaking about Jehovah who is God the Father.  The word is used 6519 times in 5521 verses. 


So we have plainly seen that the entire Trinity is taught in the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament.  Now let us look at a word that puts the death knell to the belief that the Trinity is not taught in the Old Testament.



The word “Elohim” is a plural word meaning three or more which is used 2606 times in 2249 verses.  The word “el” is a singular word meaning “God” and is used 245 times in 235 verses.  Then the word that means two is “elohiam” which is not used in the Hebrew of the Old Testament.  So we see that the word “Elohim” meaning three or more is the predominant word used to describe the plurality of God in the Old Testament.  So those who deny the Trinity in the Old Testament are intentionally rejecting the plain teaching of Scripture.