12. The Riddle of the Trinity Revealed
By Jingmo, Malaysia
I was fortunate in 1997 to accept the gospel of the Lord Jesus and, when I was baptized, the pastor prayed and baptized me in the name of the Trinity—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. From then on, whenever I prayed, I offered up my prayer in the name of the Trinity, the loving heavenly Father, the Savior Lord Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. But there was always some uncertainty within my heart: How could three become one? I could never fully articulate or understand what the Trinity was all about.
Two years later, I became a deacon in my church, and when I would accompany prospective believers in their religious studies, there would often be someone asking me what the Trinity meant. People would often ask about the Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit during confession as well. As I didn’t understand this mystery either, I was never able to answer them, and this distressed me a great deal. I very much wanted to gain clarity on this issue, and so I asked the pastor and preachers to explain it to me, in the hope of getting a definitive answer. Their response, however, basically consisted of: “God is a Trinity, comprising the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Father lays the plans for our salvation, the Son concludes it, while it is the Holy Spirit who carries out the plan. The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, too—three persons, which together form the one, true God.” This explanation only left me even more puzzled, and I asked, “But if He is three persons, how can He be one God?” They then said to me, “The Trinity is a mystery. Don’t think too deeply on it. Just rely on your faith and believe in it, and that’s all you need to do.” Although I still felt very perplexed by this, I forced myself to accept it, thinking: “Don’t think about it anymore. Just believe in it!” When I prayed, I still prayed to the Trinity: the loving heavenly Father, the Savior Lord Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. I felt as though only by praying in that way would God hear my prayers, and I was afraid that, if I only prayed to one of God’s persons, then He wouldn’t hear me. And so, I carried on in such confusion for years, believing in the Trinity of my own imagination. After that whenever brothers and sisters in the church would ask me what was meant by the Trinity, I still didn’t know how to respond. All I could do was answer them according to what the pastor had told me, though I could tell from their faces that they didn’t really understand. This gave me a feeling of helplessness, and all I could do was come before the Lord in prayer: “I give thanks to You, dear heavenly Father! When the brothers and sisters and the prospective believers ask me questions about the Trinity, I don’t know how to answer them. I ask You to help me. May the Holy Spirit guide me so that I may come to understand what is meant by the Trinity, so that I am no longer confused by this issue, and may more people come to know You.”
In May of 2017, I met a sister on Facebook. She was very loving and patient, and after we had shared and discussed a few passages of Scripture, I found that there was light in her fellowships. I derived a great deal from them, and I was keen to exchange ideas with her. She later took me and a few other brothers and sisters to some gatherings. Through the fellowships shared at these meetings, I came to understand some truths I had never understood before, such as what the incarnation was and the way in which the Lord will come, and so on. I benefited a great deal from them and gained a much clearer understanding of some passages of Scripture. When I asked the sister how come she was able to understand so much from reading the Bible, whereas I couldn’t, she told me, “Everything I understand has come from reading God’s words. Our Lord Jesus has already returned. He has incarnated as the Son of man to express His words and perform new work in the last days….” I was astonished and thrilled at this news, and I asked the sister a flurry of questions: “Is it true? Has the Lord truly returned?” She replied with certainty, “Yes, it’s true!” She went on to say that the Lord had returned in incarnate form in the last days, but that God’s name had changed. God was now called Almighty God, being “the Almighty” who was prophesied in the Book of Revelation. The moment I heard the name “Almighty God,” my heart skipped a beat, and I thought to myself: “Almighty God? Isn’t that Eastern Lightning? Our pastor asked us to be on our guard against Eastern Lightning and told us not to have anything to do with them. What’s more, we believe in the Lord Jesus, but this sister is saying that the Lord Jesus has returned and has taken the name of Almighty God, so how come His name is different? Will I end up going astray?” But then I thought: “Since I’ve known this sister, I’ve found that not only do her fellowships accord with the Bible, but that they are also very illuminating, and they clearly contain the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. If this way is wrong, how could it have the work of the Holy Spirit? Should I keep listening to her, or not?”
Just as I was feeling torn by conflicting feelings, I suddenly remembered a passage the sister had previously shared with me: “God become flesh is called Christ, and so the Christ that can give people the truth is called God. There is nothing excessive about this” (“Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). This passage mentions Christ and says that Christ can give people the truth. In the Gospel of John, chapter 14, verse 6, the Lord Jesus says: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by Me.” The Lord Jesus is Christ, God become flesh, and He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Both Almighty God’s and Jesus’ words mention Christ and the truth. “If Almighty God is Christ,” I thought, “then He can surely express the truth and provide sustenance for people’s lives.” I thought about the many words of Almighty God which the sister had recently read to me. As I’d listened to them, I’d felt them to possess authority and power, and I’d felt that Almighty God’s words were indeed the truth and that they’d come from the Holy Spirit! I therefore realized that this way must be the true way, and that it could not be wrong. It says in the Bible: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). If Almighty God was the Lord Jesus returned and I failed to seek or investigate this way, but just blindly believed in what the pastors and elders said, then wouldn’t I miss out on the Lord’s salvation and be unable to welcome His return? Thinking this, I decided to attend a few more gatherings so that I could better understand Almighty God’s work of the last days.
At another gathering, the sister shared this passage of God’s words with us: “The work of today has pushed forward the work of the Age of Grace; that is, the work under the entire six-thousand-year management plan has moved forward. Though the Age of Grace has ended, there has been progress in God’s work. Why do I say time and again that this stage of work builds upon the Age of Grace and the Age of Law? Because the work of this day is a continuation of the work done in the Age of Grace, and an advance over that done in the Age of Law. The three stages are tightly interconnected, with each link in the chain closely tied to the next. Why do I also say that this stage of work builds on that done by Jesus? Supposing that this stage did not build on the work done by Jesus, another crucifixion would have to take place in this stage, and the redemptive work of the previous stage would have to be done all over again. This would be meaningless. And so it is not that the work is completely finished, but that the age has moved forward and the level of the work has been raised higher than before. It can be said that this stage of work is built on the foundation of the Age of Law and upon the rock of Jesus’ work. God’s work is built stage by stage, and this stage is not a new beginning. Only the combination of the three stages of work may be deemed the six-thousand-year management plan” (“The Two Incarnations Complete the Significance of the Incarnation” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). The sister then gave fellowship, saying, “God’s work moves ever onward, and He performs different work and takes on different names in different ages in accordance with the needs of man. But no matter what stage of work God performs with what name, in essence, it is always God Himself performing the work to save mankind. In the Age of Law, God took the name Jehovah to perform His work: He proclaimed the law and the commandments to guide man’s life on earth, and He allowed man to know what sin was, what rules they should follow, how they should worship God, and so on; in the Age of Grace, God became flesh and took the name Jesus and, upon the foundation of the work of the Age of Law, He performed the work of being crucified to redeem mankind, the result of which was that man’s sins were forgiven. Now, in the final Age of Kingdom, God has become flesh for the second time and, taking the name Almighty God, He performs His work of judging and purifying man upon the foundation of the work of redemption. The result of this is that the sinful nature and corrupt dispositions which man harbors within are eliminated, and the root cause of man committing sins and resisting God is uprooted once and for all. The three stages of work complement each other perfectly, with each stage of work higher and more profound than the last. No stage of God’s work can stand alone—only the three stages of work interwoven together form the complete work to save mankind that is performed by God, and together they form God’s six-thousand-year management plan for mankind. God merely uses His name to demarcate the ages and to change the ages, and that is why we see that God’s name always changes along with the age. But no matter how God’s name may change, God is still one God.” After listening to God’s words and the sister’s fellowship, I was amazed. I had believed in the Lord all that time and never had I met anyone who was able to explain God’s six-thousand-year management work, and yet the words of Almighty God had unveiled this mystery—these words truly were the voice of God! I had not gone astray in my belief: Almighty God truly is the Lord Jesus returned. It is just that God changes His name from one age to another, that’s all. But He is still one God.
I continued to look into it for a few more days. The sister gave us fellowship on aspects of the truth such as the work of judgment God performs in the last days and the significance of God’s names, and the more I heard, the more clarity I gained. One day, she said, “God’s words have revealed all the mysteries of the Bible,” and when I heard this, my heart instantly brightened; I told her about the Trinity issue that had been causing me such consternation for so many years. The sister then read to me a passage of God’s words. Almighty God says: “If any among you says that the Trinity indeed exists, then explain what exactly this one God in three persons is. What is the Holy Father? What is the Son? What is the Holy Spirit? Is Jehovah the Holy Father? Is Jesus the Son? Then what of the Holy Spirit? Is not the Father a Spirit? Is not the essence of the Son also a Spirit? Was not the work of Jesus the work of the Holy Spirit? Was not the work of Jehovah at the time carried out by a Spirit the same as Jesus’? How many Spirits can God have? According to your explanation, the three persons of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one; if this be so, then there are three Spirits, but to have three Spirits means there are three Gods. This means that there is no one true God; how can this kind of God still have the inherent essence of God? If you accept that there is only one God, then how can He have a son and be a father? Are these not all simply your notions? There is only one God, only one person in this God, and only one Spirit of God, much as it is written down in the Bible that ‘There is only one Holy Spirit and only one God.’ Regardless of whether the Father and the Son of which you speak exist, there is only one God after all, and the essence of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit you believe in is the essence of the Holy Spirit. In other words, God is a Spirit, but He is able to become flesh and live among men, as well as to be above all things. His Spirit is all-inclusive and omnipresent. He can simultaneously be in the flesh and in and above the universe. Since all people say that God is the only one true God, then there is a single God, divisible at will by none! God is only one Spirit, and only one person; and that is the Spirit of God” (“Does the Trinity Exist?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
The sister gave fellowship, saying, “God’s words are very clear. God is unique and there is only one God. There is also only one Holy Spirit. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are of one essence, which is that of the Spirit. God is able to work in the Spirit, like Jehovah, but He can also work by incarnating as the Son of man, like Jesus and Almighty God. But whether God works in the Spirit or in the flesh, in essence, it is still God’s Spirit performing His own work. Therefore, the concept of the Trinity pertains to the notions and imaginings of man and is wholly untenable. Actually, the concept of the Trinity was established over 300 years after the Lord, at the ecumenical council of Nicaea. At that council, religious experts from all over Christendom engaged in a lively debate about the unitary and manifold natures of God until finally they established the concept of the Trinity based on their notions, imaginings, and logical inferences. From then on, people defined the one, true God who created the heavens and earth and all things as a Trinity, in the belief that, besides the Holy Son the Lord Jesus, there is a Holy Father in heaven and also a tool used by both the Father and the Son, which is the Holy Spirit. This is just too preposterous. If we go by the interpretation of the religious world and believe in the Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, then that means that there are three Spirits and three Gods, and doesn’t that contradict the fact that there is one, unique God? In truth, the Trinity does not exist. This is an interpretation born wholly from the mind of man and is a conclusion made by corrupt mankind based on our notions and imaginings. God never said such a thing, no prophet or apostle inspired by God ever said such a thing, and there is no record of such a thing anywhere in the Bible.”
Some confusion still remained within my heart as I listened to God’s words and the sister’s fellowship, and so I asked, “The Bible states that after Jesus was baptized, the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit came like a dove and alighted upon Jesus, and a voice from heaven said: ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’ (Matthew 3:17). Also, before He was crucified, the Lord Jesus prayed and said: ‘O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as You will’ (Matthew 26:39). The scriptures say that the God in heaven called Jesus His beloved Son, and Jesus called the God in heaven His Father when He prayed. So, here we have the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—doesn’t this show that God is a Trinity? Why does it say in Almighty God’s words that the Trinity doesn’t exist and that it is nothing more than man’s notion and imagining? What does all this mean?”
In answer to my question, the sister gave fellowship, saying, “There is simply no such concept as the Trinity in the Old Testament. It was only after the Lord Jesus became flesh and came upon the earth to perform His work that we had the interpretation of ‘the Father and the Son.’ It is recorded in the Gospel of John that Philip did not know God and believed that, besides the Lord Jesus on earth, there was also a Holy Father in heaven, and so he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, show us the Father.’ The Lord Jesus corrected his erroneous view and uncovered this mystery, saying to Philip, ‘Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known Me, Philip? he that has seen Me has seen the Father; and how say you then, Show us the Father?’ (John 14:9). He also said, ‘I am in the Father, and the Father in Me’ (John 14:10). ‘I and My Father are one’ (John 10:30). The Father is the Son, and the Son is the Father; the Father and the Son are one, They are of one Spirit. By saying this, the Lord Jesus was telling us that He and the Father are one God, not two.”
The sister then showed me a wonderful movie clip entitled Revealing the Mystery of “the Father and the Son.” Afterward, we went on to read a passage of Almighty God’s words: “There are still those who say, ‘Did not God expressly state that Jesus was His beloved Son?’ Jesus is the beloved Son of God, in whom He is well pleased—this was certainly spoken by God Himself. That was God bearing witness to Himself, but merely from a different perspective, that of the Spirit in heaven bearing witness to His own incarnation. Jesus is His incarnation, not His Son in heaven. Do you understand? Do not the words of Jesus, ‘I am in the Father, and the Father in Me,’ indicate that They are one Spirit? And is it not because of the incarnation that They were separated between heaven and earth? In reality, They are still one; no matter what, it is simply God bearing witness to Himself. … Because He was the incarnation, He was called the beloved Son of God, and, from this, came the relationship between Father and Son. It was simply because of the separation between heaven and earth. Jesus prayed from the perspective of the flesh. Since He had put on a flesh of such normal humanity, it is from the perspective of the flesh that He said: ‘My outer shell is that of a created being. Since I put on a flesh to come to this earth, I am now a long, long way from heaven.’ For this reason, He could only pray to God the Father from the perspective of the flesh. This was His duty, and it was that which the incarnate Spirit of God should be furnished with. It cannot be said that He was not God simply because He prayed to the Father from the perspective of the flesh. Though He was called the beloved Son of God, He was still God Himself, for He was but the incarnation of the Spirit, and His essence was still the Spirit” (“Does the Trinity Exist?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
The sister said, “When God became flesh the first time as the Lord Jesus and came to perform His work, no one knew God, they didn’t understand the truth of the incarnation, and they didn’t know what the incarnation was. If the Lord Jesus had said to them directly that He was Jehovah God whom they worshiped, they wouldn’t have been able to accept it due to their statures at that time, and the Lord Jesus would have been condemned and rejected by mankind before He’d even begun to perform His work. God’s work to redeem mankind would then have been impossible, and mankind would never have gained Jesus as a sin offering. So that mankind would accept the Lord Jesus, believe in Him, and attain God’s salvation, before Jesus formally began His work, God bore witness to Himself from the standpoint of His Spirit and called His fleshly self His Son, so that people could see that Jesus truly came from God; this helped to facilitate our acceptance of the Lord Jesus’ salvation. And when the Lord Jesus prayed and called the God in heaven His Father, this was the incarnated Son of man calling the Spirit within Himself Father from the standpoint of the flesh. This was done on the basis of the difference between the Spirit and the flesh; it did not mean that there was a separate Father and Son. In fact, the interpretation of the Father and the Son was only appropriate during the time of God’s incarnation. When God’s work on earth was concluded, that is, when the Lord Jesus completed the work of redemption, was resurrected, and ascended to heaven, there was no longer any need for the interpretation of the Father and the Son. We cannot therefore use the interpretation of the Father and the Son cooked up by the notions of mankind and apply it wholesale to God, saying in God there is a Father and a Son, and that there is also a tool used by both the Father and the Son—the Holy Spirit—and that God is a Trinity. To say such a thing is at odds with the word of God and at odds with the facts. We did not understand the truth before, and so when we said such a thing, God did not condemn us. But now God has completely revealed this truth and mystery, and we must accept the truth and know God in the light of His words. Only this is correct, and only this accords with God’s will.”
Through this sister’s fellowship, I came to understand why the Lord Jesus would call the God in heaven His Father. It was because He had incarnated as the Son of man and was praying to the heavenly Father from the standpoint of a man. God bore witness to Jesus as His beloved Son, and this was God bearing witness to His own incarnated flesh from the standpoint of the Spirit. One was in heaven and One on earth but They, in essence, were of one Spirit. It was just that God was saying these things from different standpoints, and thus the interpretation of “the Father and the Son” arose. God is the one, true God, He is one Spirit, all-encompassing and omnipresent. He can be in heaven, He can be on earth, and He can become flesh. Once I’d understood all of this, everything suddenly became clear, the confusion that had been my constant companion for years was gone in an instant, and I felt an incredible sense of illumination and release.
Afterward, the sister showed me a gospel testimony movie called Exploration of the “Trinity” in which I saw these words from God: “Throughout these many years, God has been split by you in this way, being split finer and finer with each generation, to the extent that one God has been openly split into three Gods. And now it is simply impossible for man to rejoin God as one, for you have split Him up too finely! If not for My prompt work before it was too late, it is hard to say how long you would have brazenly continued this way! To continue splitting God in this way, how can He still be your God? Would you still recognize God? Would you still acknowledge Him as your father and return to Him? If I had arrived any later, it is likely that you would have sent the ‘Father and Son,’ Jehovah and Jesus, back to Israel and claimed that you yourselves are a part of God. Fortunately, it is now the last days. Finally, this day I have long awaited has come, and only after I carried out this stage of work by My own hand has your splitting of God Himself been halted. If not for this, you would have escalated, even placing all the Satans among you onto your tables for worship. This is your artifice! This is your means of splitting God! Will you continue to do so now? Let Me ask you: How many Gods are there? Which God will bring you salvation? Is it the first God, the second, or the third that you always pray to? Which of Them do you always believe in? Is it the Father? Or the Son? Or is it the Spirit? Tell Me who it is that you believe in. Though with every word you say you believe in God, what you actually believe is your own brain! You simply do not have God in your hearts! And yet in your minds are a number of such ‘Trinities’! Do you not agree?” (“Does the Trinity Exist?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
After we finished the movie I felt happy, but I also felt upset and I felt some self-reproach. I was happy because the confusion that had been with me for years had been resolved at last: God is one, and the interpretation of the Trinity simply doesn’t exist. Only believing in the one, true God accords with God’s will, and I no longer had to pray to the Father one minute, and then to the Holy Spirit or the Son the next like I had before—I felt very much at ease. But I felt upset and reproachful of myself because I had believed in God for so many years and yet had not known God. What I’d been believing in was nothing more than a God invented by my notions and imaginings—a vague God of legend. I had not been believing in the real God and, what’s more, I had been resisting God and fragmenting God—I had actually been blaspheming against God! Thanks be to God, for it is the coming of Almighty God that has revealed all the absurdities of corrupt mankind’s faith, and it is Almighty God who has unveiled this mystery that has always stumped the religious world. Almighty God is without a doubt the Lord Jesus returned, the Lord who created the heavens and earth and all things. He is the one, true God!
Later, through reading the words of Almighty God, I saw that all of God’s words are the truth and that they are the voice of God. Without hesitation, I accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days and began to keep pace with the footsteps of the Lamb. Now when I pray, I have no need to pray to three Gods. I just pray in the name of Almighty God, and this makes me feel very much at ease, peaceful, and joyful. I no longer have to worry when I pray that I’m not praying enough to one or another of God’s persons, and that God therefore won’t hear my prayers. I have truly experienced the release, the freedom, the joy and the happiness that come from understanding the truth and knowing God. Thanks be to God!