Numbers 6:24-26—Old Testament Trinity Proof?

As we probe deeper into the foundation of the trinity doctrine, you are seeing that its “proofs” are questionable at best—that it is built entirely on “logical” quicksand, created by scholars and religionists who propose to explain Scripture with no greater tool than human reasoning.

Consider the following explanation from Unger’s Bible Dictionary (UBD): “Although the doctrine of the Trinity is implicit rather than explicit in the Old Testament, at the same time, it is properly held that with the accompanying light of the New Testament this truth can be found in the Old (e.g., Num. 6:24-26; Isa. 6:3; 63:9, 10, the sanctity of the symbolical number three)” (p. 1118).

Besides the fact that the New Testament does not, in fact, offer anything that helps bring the trinity to light in the Old Testament, another problem in the above argument is the misuse of symbolism associated with the number three. Throughout Scripture, we see a pattern of three used to denote completion of time and events—but never in reference to God.

Consider these. God uses three annual Holy Day seasons to depict His Plan of salvation (Deut. 16:16), punctuated by three resurrections (I Thes. 4:16; Rev. 20:5-15). Jonah was in the belly of a great fish three days and three nights (Jonah 1:17). Christ pointed to Jonah, giving as the only sign that He was the Messiah the fact that He would be three days and three nights in the grave (Matt. 12:39-40). Notice that these are all time-related events!

By examining just one of the scriptures cited in the UBD, one can see the invalidity of the argument presented—and the mentioned quicksand on which trinitarian illogic stands. Notice: “The Lord bless you, and keep you: The Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace” (Num. 6:24-26). Merely because it references three things that the Lord does, trinitarian theologians and scholars actually claim this verse as one proof that ancient Israel recognized a triune godhead. Before we explain why they believe this, do you see any part of this passage that espouses a triune godhead? Of course not! And it is “the Lord,” not the Father or the Holy Spirit, who is mentioned in all three places.

It should be a source of embarrassment for trinitarian theologians when they use such silly illogic to hold to what they call a mystery. Why not just let it stand as a mystery without pretending through use of such nonsense as the above that it comes from the Bible?

Then this: How can theologians attest that ancient Israel believed in the trinity when they laterrejected Christ, accusing Him of blasphemy when He claimed to be God’s Son? And, as Acts 19:2 shows, some had not even “so much as heard whether there be any Holy Spirit.” If ancient Israel as a whole had recognized (in form or principle) the existence of the Holy Spirit as a third member of a supposed triune godhead, how could these Jews have no knowledge of it whatsoever?

Under plain and thorough examination, such “proofs” disintegrate.

If a belief in a trinity had been at the core of ancient Israel’s worship of God, and if Numbers 6:24-26 is a blueprint for it, why is it not explicit? If Numbers 6 constitutes a supposed trinitarian “deific formula,” as some assert, why would God hide its meaning in a cryptic and coded message, instead of clearly showing three members of the godhead in this passage?

God’s Name

The second problem with the argument, referenced above, is the claim that three separate members of the Godhead are each bestowing a blessing on Israel. But Deuteronomy 6:4 makes plain that “The Lord our God is one Lord.” Here, and in Numbers 6, the Hebrew word translated “Lord” (KJV) is YHVH, meaning the “self-Existent or Eternal,” not the “Eternal three-in-one.” This scripture will be discussed in greater detail in the next chapter.

YHVH is first found in Genesis 2:7, where we find the record of the Lord God (YHVH) forming man “of the dust of the ground.” It was the Lord God who was in the Garden of Eden, the same One with whom Adam and Eve directly communicated. This was the same Being referred to as “the Word” in John 1:1.

This can be proven by examining and understanding the Hebrew root words from which YHVH is derived: HYH means “was,” HVH means “is” (actually, the present tense because the Hebrew language does not incorporate the verb “is”) and YHYH means “will continue to be.”

Do not be confused. By simply assembling the parts, the definition of YHVH becomes clear. It means literally “Was-Is-Will Continue to Be.” Scholars of the Hebrew language agree that YHVH is a derivation of the infinitive verb “to be.” This is seen in Exodus 3, where the One speaking to Moses identifies Himself as “I AM” (vs. 6), and “I AM THAT I AM” (vs. 14). We will see that this was the same Being who later became Christ!

Through His very name, God demonstrates that His existence and presence is not limited by time constraints—He has always existed and always will. Malachi 3:6 further shows this: “For I am the Lord [YHVH], I change not…” It is also expounded by the phrase, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever” (Heb. 13:8); and by the declarative statement, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, says the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” (Rev. 1:8).