The Aaronic Priestly Blessing – A Trinitarian Invocation

Sam Shamoun

The readers of A-I may well know that we have written many articles seeking to demonstrate from both the Hebrew Bible and the NT Scriptures that Yahweh is a tri-Personal God. In specific articles (the links to which will be provided at the end) we have shown how the Hebrew prophets used plural pronouns, verbs, adjectives etc. to describe Yahweh and further documented how these inspired emissaries of God knew that there were three, and only three, Divine Persons within the Godhead.

Here we want to continue our examination of the OT books in order to provide further evidence that the prophets like Aaron knew that God is tri-Personal.

The specific passage that we want to direct our attention to is God’s command to Aaron to bless the people by invoking the name of Yahweh three times:

"The LORD said to Moses, ‘Tell Aaron and his sons, "This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace."’" Numbers 6:22-26

It is our contention that this is another example of Yahweh letting his people know that he is Triune in nature.

Yet before embarking on the reasons why we believe this to be so we first would like to discuss the meaning of the passage. The word which the above translation rendered as face and countenance is the Hebrew word paniym, a term variously translated as presence all throughout the OT Scriptures. This conveys the idea that God’s Face/Countenance is synonymous with his Presence.

Yahweh is basically instructing Aaron and all subsequent priests to invoke Israel’s covenant God to bless his people by being present with them in order to guard/save/protect them. The following Psalm wonderfully brings out this point:

"Restore us, O God; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved… Restore us, O God Almighty; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved… Restore us, O LORD God Almighty; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved." Psalm 80:3, 7, 19

The Hebrews knew that for God to turn his Face away from someone meant that God was angry with that individual and, unless s/he repented, would eventually come in judgment against him/her.

Hence, God turning his Face away meant that God would no longer watch over his people in order to deliver and protect them:

"Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear." Isaiah 59:1-2

"Then they will cry out to the LORD, but he will not answer them. At that time he will hide his face from them because of the evil they have done." Micah 3:4

This explains Moses’ request that God send his Presence/Face to go with his people as they make their way into the promise land:

"The LORD replied, ‘My Presence/Face will go with you, and I will give you rest.’ Then Moses said to him, ‘If your Presence/Face does not go with us, do not send us up from here.’" Exodus 33:14-15

Moses knew that unless God’s Face was with the covenant community Israel wouldn’t stand a chance against her enemies.

Now the question before us is why is the Aaronic prayer a triple invocation? Why does Yahweh instruct Aaron to pronounce a triple blessing, beseeching Yahweh on behalf of his people not once or twice, but thrice? Could it be that this threefold benediction is a hint that Yahweh is Tri-Personal, e.g. Aaron’s threefold request is an invocation to all three Persons of the Godhead to guard and deliver God’s people?

It is to this question that we turn our attention, venturing to find answers from the Hebrew Bible whether the Israelites were aware that their salvation and preservation came from the work of the Triune God.

The Angel of Yahweh as Israel’s Protector and Savior

According to the book of Numbers itself, as well as the other books of the Pentateuch, Yahweh sent forth an Angel to guide and deliver Israel:

"Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom, saying: ‘This is what your brother Israel says: You know about all the hardships that have come upon us. Our forefathers went down into Egypt, and we lived there many years. The Egyptians mistreated us and our fathers, but when we cried out to the LORD, he heard our cry and sent an angel and brought us out of Egypt. Now we are here at Kadesh, a town on the edge of your territory.’" Numbers 20:14-16

"Moses answered the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.’ … Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel's army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long." Exodus 14:13-14, 19-20

What makes this specific Angel rather amazing is that Yahweh claims that this particular Messenger has the very nature and essential attributes of God:

"See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. Pay attention to him and listen to what he says. Do not rebel against him; he will not forgive your rebellion, since my Name is in him. If you listen carefully to what he says and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you. My angel will go ahead of you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites, and I will wipe them out." Exodus 23:20-23

Two things are to be noted here. First, it is rather interesting how the pronouns "I" and "he" are running basically parallel as if the angel and the Lord are synonymous:

"If you listen carefully to what he says and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you. My angel [i.e., he] will go ahead of you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites, and I will wipe them out."

What the angel says and what the Lord says are both to be obeyed in the same way, presupposing their equality. Also, the angel and the Lord work hand in hand in bringing the Israelites into the land and wiping out its current inhabitants.

Second, Yahweh says that the Angel will not only insure that Israel arrives to the promised land safely, but that he also has the ability to actually forgive sins since he has Yahweh’s own name within him!

According to the biblical worldview an individual’s name signifies the authority, nature and essential characteristics of a person. Hence, to speak of a person’s name is to speak about the person, about his very character and personality.

This indicates that the Angel must be Divine in order for him to embody the very covenant name, which explains why he can perform an exclusively divine function such as forgiving sins:

"Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea." Micah 7:18-19

Nor is this the only text which speaks of the Angel having the power to forgive sins:

"Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. And the LORD said to Satan, ‘The LORD rebuke you, O Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?’ Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. And the Angel said to those who were standing before him, ‘Remove the filthy garments from him.’ And to him he said, ‘Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.’" Zechariah 3:1-4 ESV

Moreover, Israel failed to heed God’s warning to not rebel against this Angel and this is what happened:

"Now the angel of the LORD went up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, ‘I brought you up from Egypt and brought you into the land that I swore to give to your fathers. I said, "I will never break MY covenant with you, and you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall break down their altars." But you have not obeyed my voice. What is this you have done? So now I say, I will not drive them out before you, but they shall become thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you.’ As soon as the angel of the LORD spoke these words to all the people of Israel, the people lifted up their voices and wept. And they called the name of that place Bochim. And they sacrificed there to the LORD." Judges 2:1-5 ESV

Note how the Angel speaks as if he is God since he refers to his covenant that he made with Israel, his swearing to the patriarchs to give their seed the land of promise, and that he brought them out of Egypt!

Here is another time where the Angel speaks this way:

"When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, ‘Abraham! Abraham!’ ‘Here I am,’ he replied. ‘Do not lay a hand on the boy,’ he said. ‘Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld FROM ME your son, your only son.’ … The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, ‘I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.’" Genesis 22:9-12, 15-18

Here the Angel promises to bless Abraham by making his offspring as numerous as the stars and sand since the latter didn’t hesitate to sacrifice his son for the Angel!(1)

This isn’t the only reference where the Angel promised to bless a person with descendants too numerous to count:

"The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. And he said, ‘Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?’ ‘I'm running away from my mistress Sarai,’ she answered. Then the angel of the LORD told her, ‘Go back to your mistress and submit to her.’ The angel added, ‘I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count.’ The angel of the LORD also said to her: ‘You are now with child and you will have a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the LORD has heard of your misery. He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.’ She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me.’ That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered." Genesis 16:7-14

There are several key points to glean from this text:

Having God’s name embodied within him explains why the Angel could speak in this manner, making promises that only God can make, since he is God! In fact, here is a text where the Angel even claims to be God:

"In breeding season I once had a dream in which I looked up and saw that the male goats mating with the flock were streaked, speckled or spotted. The angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob.’ I answered, ‘Here I am.’ And he said, ‘Look up and see that all the male goats mating with the flock are streaked, speckled or spotted, for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you. I am the God of Bethel (house of God), where you anointed a pillar and where you made a vow to me. Now leave this land at once and go back to your native land.’" Genesis 31:10-13

Despite Jacob knowing that this was God’s Angel who appeared to him the latter still goes on to identify himself as the very God of the house of God (literal translation of Bethel)! As if this weren’t amazing enough the patriarch Jacob actually invokes this very same Angel to bless his grandchildren, the sons of Joseph:

"Then he blessed Joseph and said, ‘May the God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, the Angel who has delivered me from all harm —may he bless these boys. May they be called by my name and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac, and may they increase greatly upon the earth." Genesis 48:15-16

Jacob wasn’t the only prophet who refers to this Angel as the One who protects and delivers those who fear him:

"This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them." Psalm 34:6-7

The foregoing presupposes that this Angel is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent. After all, the Angel must know who truly fears him and must have the ability to be present with every single of one of these believers in order to save them from harm.

Truly, an amazing Angel indeed.

The Spirit of Yahweh as Israel’s Protector and Savior

The Pentateuch speaks of another Divine entity that God used to bless and deliver Israel, namely his Holy Spirit.

When Moses complained about the great burden of having to lead the entire nation of Israel Yahweh told him that he would set apart 70 elders to lead his covenant people by giving them the Holy Spirit:

"Moses heard the people of every family wailing, each at the entrance to his tent. The LORD became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled. He asked the LORD, ‘Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their forefathers? Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, "Give us meat to eat!" I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.’ The LORD said to Moses: ‘Bring me seventy of Israel's elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the Tent of Meeting, that they may stand there with you. I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit that is on you and put the Spirit on them. They will help you carry the burden of the people so that you will not have to carry it alone.’ … So Moses went out and told the people what the LORD had said. He brought together seventy of their elders and had them stand around the Tent. Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took of the Spirit that was on him and put the Spirit on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied, but they did not do so again." Numbers 11:10-17, 24-25

God’s specific purpose in giving the Holy Spirit to these elders was to empower all of them to assist Moses in instructing and admonishing the community, a point reiterated elsewhere:

"You gave your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst… For many years you were patient with them. By your Spirit you admonished them through your prophets. Yet they paid no attention, so you handed them over to the neighboring peoples." Nehemiah 9:20, 30

The inspired prophets further speak of the Spirit in relation to the salvation and restoration of Israel, using language that is exclusively used for God’s activity in creation and redemption:

"The Spirit of God has made me, the breath of the Almighty gives me life." Job 33:4

"When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust. When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth." Psalm 104:29-30

"But now listen, O Jacob, my servant, Israel, whom I have chosen. This is what the LORD says— he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you: Do not be afraid, O Jacob, my servant, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen. For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams. One will say, ‘I belong to the LORD’'; another will call himself by the name of Jacob; still another will write on his hand, ‘The LORD’s,’ and will take the name Israel." Isaiah 44:1-5

Here the Spirit being poured out is a sign of God’s blessing upon the people. And:

"For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God." Ezekiel 36:24-28

Interestingly, the outpouring of the Spirit is not only a sign of God’s blessing but also of God not turning his Face away from the covenant community:

"When I have brought them back from the nations and have gathered them from the countries of their enemies, I will show myself holy through them in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind. I will no longer hide my face from them, FOR I will pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD." Ezekiel 39:27-29

God’s spokespersons also knew that it is the Holy Spirit who leads and keeps a person on the path of righteousness:

"Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground." Psalm 143:10

This explains why David begged God not to take the Holy Spirit away from him since he knew that without the Spirit he had no chance of remaining faithful to Yahweh:

"Do not cast me from your Presence/Face or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me." Psalm 51:11-12

An important point here… David equates the taking away of the Holy Spirit with God casting him from the Divine Presence/Face. This isn’t the only time where David equates God’s Presence/Face with the Holy Spirit:

"Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence/face? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you." Psalm 139:7-12

We will have more to say about the significance of these references in the next section.

The foregoing demonstrates how vitally important the Holy Spirit is in the protection and redemption of God’s people. In light of his centrality in saving and preserving creation it is little wonder that God’s Spirit is identified as the Spirit of favor or grace:

"And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son." Zechariah 12:10

The Trinity in Action

It is apparent from the foregoing biblical data that God’s prophets knew that the work of salvation and providence was a Divine function carried out by three distinct Persons, namely God, his Divine Angel, and his Holy Spirit. The prophet Isaiah brings out this fact quite emphatically as he reflected on Israel’s deliverance from Egypt:

"In all their distress he too was distressed, and the Angel of his Presence/Face saved them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them. Then his people recalled the days of old, the days of Moses and his people— where is he who brought them through the sea, with the shepherd of his flock? Where is he who set his Holy Spirit among them, who sent his glorious arm of power to be at Moses' right hand, who divided the waters before them, to gain for himself everlasting renown, who led them through the depths? Like a horse in open country, they did not stumble; like cattle that go down to the plain, they were given rest by the Spirit of the LORD. This is how you guided your people to make for yourself a glorious name. Look down from heaven and see from your lofty throne, holy and glorious. Where are your zeal and your might? Your tenderness and compassion are withheld from us. But you are our Father, though Abraham does not know us or Israel acknowledge us; you, O LORD, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name." Isaiah 63:9-16

The inspired writer expressly says that when God decided to save the community and give them rest he did so by sending forth the Angel of his Face and his Holy Spirit, i.e. the Trinity in action.

It is interesting how Isaiah connects the Angel with Yahweh’s Face or Presence since this presupposes that this particular Messenger is not a creature. The late noted Bible expositor John Gill explained how this identification establishes the Deity of the Angel:

and the Angel of his presence saved them; not Michael, as Jarchi; but the Messiah is here meant; the Angel of the covenant, the Angel which went before the Israelites in the wilderness, (Exodus 23:20-23) not a created angel, or an angel by nature, but by office; being sent of God, as the word signifies, on the errand and business of salvation; called "the Angel of God's presence", or "face", because his face was seen in him; his name, and nature, and perfections were in him; he is the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person besides, the presence of God was always with him; he is the "Ithiel", the Word that was with God, and with whom God always was; who lay in the bosom of his Father, and was ever with him; and who also, as Mediator, introduces his people into the presence of God, and always appears in it for them as their advocate and intercessor: now to him salvation is ascribed; he saved Israel out of Egypt, and out of the hands of all their enemies in the wilderness; and which salvation was typical of the spiritual, eternal, and complete salvation, which is only by Christ, and issues in eternal glory: (The New John Gill Exposition on the Entire Bible; source; underline emphasis ours)

Thus, to behold the Angel was to behold God’s Face or Presence.

Now by tying this in with David’s statements in Psalm 51:11 and 139:7 where God’s Spirit is directly linked with Yahweh’s Face we are now in a better position to more fully appreciate the Trinitarian implications of the Aaronic blessing.

Seeing that we have established the fact that the prophets emphatically and unambiguously taught and believed that God saved his people by sending forth his Messenger and Spirit, and even connected these two distinct entities with Yahweh’s Face/Presence, it is therefore best to understand the threefold nature of Aaron’s blessing as an invocation to all three of these Divine Persons to bless and protect the covenant community.

The benediction is intended to beseech God to establish his Divine Presence among his people. The priests are praying that God, his Divine Angel and his Holy Spirit would continue to remain with the descendants of Jacob since the prophets knew that Israel would be destroyed if the Divine Face were to withdraw from their midst.

With the foregoing in perspective we next turn our attention to the teachings of the Christian Greek Scriptures to see if these documents also agree with the inspired Hebrew writings that all salvation and blessings flow from the work of the Trinity.

The NT on the work of the Trinity in Redeeming and Preserving the people of God

The NT writers speak of God’s grace and blessings being poured out through his beloved Son, the Lord Jesus, to all who believe in him:

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truthFrom the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." John 1:14, 16-17

"Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord… And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’ When God raised up his servant, he sent him [Jesus] first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways." Acts 3:19, 25-26

"No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are." Acts 15:11

Moreover, one of the signs of God’s grace upon a person is the giving of his Holy Spirit to the individual:

"Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’" Acts 2:38

"While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, ‘Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.’ So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days." Acts 10:44-48

"Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us."1 John 3:24

This, perhaps, accounts for why the Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of grace:

"How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?" Hebrews 10:29

The inspired NT authors also ascribe the work of salvation and preservation/protection to all three Divine Persons:

"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one." John 10:27-30

"You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children." Romans 8:9-16

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will." Romans 8:26-27

"Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord [Jesus] is able to make him stand… If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living." Romans 14:4, 8-9

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ AND by the Spirit of our God." 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

"For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink." 1 Corinthians 12:13

"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being," Ephesians 3:16

"And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption." Ephesians 4:30

"for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance." Philippians 1:19

"We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him." 1 John 5:18

"Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus ChristTo him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen." Jude 1:1, 24-25

We further find invocations being made all throughout the NT to specific Members of the Godhead to bless and protect the faithful:

"To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father AND from the Lord Jesus Christ." Romans 1:7

"Grace and peace to you from God our Father AND the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing IN Christ." Ephesians 1:2-3

"Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father AND FROM Jesus Christ, the Father's Son, will be with us in truth and love." 2 John 1:3

Some of these benedictions are actually Trinitarian prayers in that all three Persons are mentioned:

"May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." 2 Corinthians 13:14

"John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you FROM him who is, and who was, and who is to come, AND FROM the seven spirits before his throne, AND FROM Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen." Revelation 1:4-6

Amazingly, there are places where only Jesus is invoked!

"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you." 1 Thessalonians 5:28

"He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people. Amen." Revelation 22:20-21

This presupposes Christ’s absolute Deity since the only way that he can both hear and answer these prayers is if he is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent, e.g. Jesus must know who is praying to him and must be able to bless and favor all who call upon him. This would also apply to both the Father and the Spirit, i.e. they too would have to be all-knowing and all-powerful in order to know and grant the requests of those calling upon them.

The above data once again shows how the NT perfectly agrees with the Hebrew Scriptures concerning the Tri-Personal nature of God. The inspired Christian Scriptures, in agreement with the prophetic writings, expressly teach that the deliverance and preservation of the covenant people is the work of all three Members of the Godhead – the Father, the Son (his Divine Messenger/Angel), and the Holy Spirit.

With the foregoing in perspective is it any surprise to discover that the Aaronic priestly benediction perfectly comports with and implicitly supports that God is Trinitarian in nature?

Unless noted otherwise all quotations are taken from the New International Version (NIV) of the Holy Bible.

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(1) Someone may interject and state that the Angel doesn’t claim that Abraham offered up his son to him since he clearly mentions the words spoken by Yahweh, e.g. the Angel is simply narrating what Yahweh is saying to Abraham:

"The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, ‘I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son,’" Genesis 22:15-16

The problem with this objection is that all throughout the Hebrew Scriptures Yahweh uses third person speech in reference to himself, just as in the following examples:

"Then the LORD said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh and say, "Will I really have a child, now that I am old?" Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son.’" Genesis 18:13-14

"The LORD said to Moses, ‘I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear me speaking with you and will always put their trust in you.’ Then Moses told the LORD what the people had said. And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes and be ready by the third day, because on that day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.’ … The LORD descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses went up and the LORD said to him, ‘Go down and warn the people so they do not force their way through to see the LORD and many of them perish. Even the priests, who approach the LORD, must consecrate themselves, or the LORD will break out against them.’ Moses said to the LORD, ‘The people cannot come up Mount Sinai, because you yourself warned us, "Put limits around the mountain and set it apart as holy."’ The LORD replied, ‘Go down and bring Aaron up with you. But the priests and the people must not force their way through to come up to the LORD, or HE will break out against them.’" Exodus 19:9-11, 20-24

"‘Hear this word, you cows of Bashan, who are on the mountain of Samaria, who oppress the poor, who crush the needy, who say to your husbands, "Bring, that we may drink!" The Lord GOD has sworn by his holiness that, behold, the days are coming upon you, when they shall take you away with hooks, even the last of you with fishhooks. And you shall go out through the breaches, each one straight ahead; and you shall be cast out into Harmon,’ declares the LORD … ‘I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and lack of bread in all your places, yet you did not return to me,’ declares the LORD. ‘I also withheld the rain from you when there were yet three months to the harvest; I would send rain on one city, and send no rain on another city; one field would have rain, and the field on which it did not rain would wither; so two or three cities would wander to another city to drink water, and would not be satisfied; yet you did not return to me,’ declares the LORD. ‘I struck you with blight and mildew; your many gardens and your vineyards, your fig trees and your olive trees the locust devoured; yet you did not return to me,’ declares the LORD. ‘I sent among you a pestilence after the manner of Egypt; I killed your young men with the sword, and carried away your horses, and I made the stench of your camp go up into your nostrils; yet you did not return to me,’ declares the LORD. ‘I overthrew some of you, as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and you were as a brand plucked out of the burning; yet you did not return to me,’ declares the LORD." Amos 4:1-3, 6-11 ESV

Hence, the Angel speaking of Yahweh in the third person no more disproves that he was identifying himself as Yahweh, or as the One to whom Abraham offered Isaac, than Yahweh speaking in the third person disproves that he is Yahweh as well.

Articles by Sam Shamoun
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