Many people when reading Scripture are confused by the above terms, especially in many of the Old Testament references.
Adding to the confusion are the many Groups/Churches that deliberately teach that God (Elohim) is not made up of 3 parts; i.e. God the Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit; which is partially true in the sense that Elohim (Almighty, All Powerful, All Knowing) takes on the Forms that suit His Plans, at any Administration Purpose.
The three mentioned above are of the same entity (El); therefore Divine.
The following are Scripture references often used by some people to try and make the opposite case. They often are not using more than one Bible, or do not have facility for Translation comparisons; although these days that is rare.
In the worst cases, i.e. The Jehovah’s Witnesses, they have their own translation; although in their door to door work, they often carry a KJV.
Some popular Scripture references used to try to prove their erroneous teachings are the following:
The erroneous definitions are not given, as they are very varied; but the definitions of the famous Dr. David Ginsburg (Jewish scholar, of Rabbinical training, who converted to Christ Jesus; and Dr. E. Bullinger) are; as their scholarship exceeds much that is available today. (Dr. Ginsburg worked for the British Museum and British Library for many years upon moving from Poland).
References that follow, are the ones frequently used to argue against the Compound Godhead.
Gen. 1:26; God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, to Our likeness”. This clearly refers to the Godhead, and not to angels, as the definite articles show. The same applies to Gen. 11:7.
Ex. 7:1; Moses is told that he “will be as God to Pharaoh”. He was thus empowered to compete (successfully) against Pharaoh and his sorcerers! This is considered to be a figure of Christ/God competing with Satan and his demons.
Ex. 15:15; refers to “dukes” or “chiefs” in human beings.
Ex. 32:8; refers to idolatry, in this case the “golden calf”.
1Sam. 28:13; “elohims (gods) rising out of the Earth”. In this example, Saul was again defying God, in consorting with “familiar spirits” or demonic entities; which Saul, and all Israel had been told not to do. See Duet. 18; and Saul’s lip service in vs 3 and 7! The term “elohims” in the Hebrew, without the definite article refers to any supernatural entity, but especially those of Satan and his servants! With the definite article it always refers to The All Powerful God, Elohim!
1Sam. 2:25; Jehovah=Elohim in Covenant relationship with Israel in this case; but can apply to any of His created beings.
Psm. 45:6-7; v7 “God=Elohim Creator; anointed=Christ”.
Psm. 82:1-6; “gods”=judges or mighty ones on Earth, they will die as men.
Psm. 97:7-9; “Lord” (KJV)=Jehovah (Covenanted with Israel). Verses 7 and 9=idols!
Psm. 136:2; “God”=Elohim, gods=elohim=Earthly rulers, see 135:5.
John 10:33-35; “God”=Theos Grk.=Elohim=Creator. In the New Testament means “Father as the revealed God”.
Gen. 3:5; “like God, knowing good and evil”.
Deut. 10:17; “God of gods”. El.= Elohim in all strength and power; omnipotent, Creator, knows all.
IJohn 5:7, and Eph. 2:18 are conclusively self-explanatory!
The major reference to The Godhead, is the very reference that the antagonists of the “three in one” use to try to prove their point! Moses spoke of this in Deuteronomy.
Deut. 6:4 is the definitive point to the whole argument.
“Hear O Israel: Jehovah our God is One Jehovah”!
The “antagonists” say that this statement proves One not “three in One” is proven by the statement of Moses!
What in fact is being emphasised by the "One" statement is that Jehovah is the One and only God!
When the Old Testament is viewed in the context of the "Shema" position; Moses is giving the children of Israel the prayer to which they must resort frequently; to remind them of their "Golden calf" idolatry at the beginning of their freedom from Egypt. Also, the same prayer was to be referred to continually to try to avoid future idolatry!
Dr. David Ginsburg, comments:
Quote by Dr. David (Christian) Ginsburg; Hebrew and Greek scholar, Jewish academic and antiquities expert. For Encyclopaedic Ref. see: Dr. David Ginsburg: (Hebrew scholar, Jewish academic, Jewish language scholar for the British Library, and Museum).
Deut. 6:4: (KJV) " Hear O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord":
The corrected to manuscript is: " Hear (observe, heed) O Israel: Jehovah our Elohim is one Jehovah":
Ginsberg comment: "Hear" in the Hebrew text this word (sham'a) has the last letter majuscular (i.e. larger than the others) as also the last letter of the last word (echad), to emphasis "the first and great commandment" (Matt. 22:33 & Mark 12:29-30). These two letters taken together make (ed="a witness", because God is a witness and "looketh on the heart" (1Sam.16:7).
One: "Hebrew (ehad=a compound unity; i.e. one made up of others"; Gen. 1:5; 2:11; 2:21; 2:24 & 3:22 one of the Trinity (capital U "Us"); 49:16; Num.13:23 & Psm.34:20";
These are some of the incidents of the use of (ehad) "compound unity".
"If it was intended to be understood as singular or unique, the Hebrew word is (yahid)".
So; the original hand written shows that God was pointing to "a witness", by the use of the majuscular, giving (ed=a witness).
A witness to what? To correct understanding of the given phrase; especially the compound word (ehad)!
In the original Hebrew, the word translated “One” above is “ehad” which has the meaning “a compound unity”. The equivalent in Latin is “unus”. So; even at that early stage the revealing of the Godhead, the hints in Genesis were being confirmed!
Despite this firm Scriptural and Holy Spirit evidence, most will not change their minds, and accept the truth!