There is no scripture in the Bible that says that God is composed of three persons. We know that Jehovah/Yahweh is the one true God and this was clearly taught in the Old Testament to distinguish the True God from false gods. This does not mean that Yahweh is the only “elohim” or “theos” (Hebrew and Greek words translated god).
Benjamin Breckenridge Warfield, The Person and Work of Christ, p. 53.: “As a word, “god” has a variety of applications. For example the Old Testament Hebrew word “elohim” (god) can describe any high dignitary (e.g. Abraham, Genesis 23:6). In the King James translation it is rendered variously: angels, God, gods, great, mighty, judges. Its Greek counterpart “theos” likewise has a broad usage. Strong’s Concordance defines it as: “a deity, especially … the supreme Divinity; fig. a magistrate.” If this word can describe a magistrate, then it can certainly describe Jesus, and it is so used six times in the New Testament (John 1:1, 18, 20:28, Titus 2:13, Hebrews 1:8, 2 Peter 1:1). It is used in John 10:35 of the worshippers of Jehovah. Once it even refers to Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4).”
It is simply a fact that the Greek word for “god,(” Strong’s 2316 “theos”), does not exclusively apply to Jehovah in the Bible”
1. “Theos” is applied to Satan in 2 Cor 4:4 (ASV), “the god [“theos”] of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving.”
2. The Jewish people called Herod “theos” in Acts 12:22 (ASV), “And the people kept crying out, “The voice of a god (“theos”) and not of a man!”
3. In John 10:34, Jesus quoting from Psa 82:6 said, “Is it not written in your law, `I said, You are gods’(“theos”)?” Jesus did not quote Psa 82:6, using “theos” as if it were referring to false gods. The Jews wanted to stone Jesus, because they claimed, “You, being a man, make Yourself out to be god (“theos,” John 10:33). Jesus defends himself by quoting Psa 82:6, “you are gods.” If Jesus thought this was referring to false gods, he would have never quoted it to show that he was a false god. This verse actually prophetically applies to Christ’s Bride, earths future judges, priests and kings (Rev 1:6; 20:6; 1 Cor 6:2)
As a matter of fact the Hebrew word for gods in Psa 82:6 is elohiym, a variation of ELOHIM. So Jesus is using “theos” as a translation of “elohiym.” We know that angels, Abraham, the judges, etc. were called ELOHIM. So we can conclude that “theos” as a translation of Psa 82:6 does not apply to false gods.
This Hebrew word ELOHIM is found in Ex 7:1 where Jehovah told Moses, “I have made you a god (elohim) to Pharaoh.” Here the word “god” does not mean false god.
The assertion by Trinitarians that, because Jesus and the Father are both called elohim, they are, therefore, the same Being, is a very poor argument, displaying only the weakness of the position they are trying to defend. Notice the usage of this word in Scripture:
ANGELS CALLED ELOHIM
You have: made him a little lower than the angels (elohim), and have crowned him with glory and honor.—Ps 8:5
ABRAHAM CALLED ELOHIM
And the children of Heth answered Abraham, saying to him, Hear us, my lord: you are a mighty (elohim) prince among us.—Ge 23:5,6
MOSES CALLED ELOHIM
I have made you a god (elohim) to Pharaoh.—Ex 7:1
JUDGES CALLED ELOHIM
His master shall bring him to the judges ( elohim ).—Ex 21:6
GODS (JESUS & ANGESLS) CALLED ELOHIM
Deut. 10:17, “For Jehovah your God, he is God of gods [elohim), and Lord of lords, the great God, the mighty, and the awesome, who regardeth not persons, nor taketh bribes.”
Note: This cannot mean that Jehovah (Yahweh) is the God of false gods.
IS JESUS THE GREAT “I AM?”
John 8:58 (World English Bible), “Jesus said to them, “Most certainly, I tell you, before Abraham came into existence, I AM.””
Many Christians have been deceived by modern translators who dishonestly place the words “I am” in capital letters. Included in these are, World English Bible (above), The New King James Version, The Amplified Bible, and The New Living Translation. This is done in an attempt to make it appear that Jesus was quoting from Exodus 3:14 when Jehovah appeared to Moses at the burning bush, saying “I AM who I AM.”
Below are the Strong #s for the Greek expression “I am” from John 8:58.
“I <1473> am <1510> (5748).”
The Septuagint is the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament. The Greek words for “I AM” in Exodus 3:14 are very different from the Greek words for “I am” in John 8:58. Hence Jesus was not quoting Exodus 3:14 and using the words “I am” as a title for Jehovah and Himself.
Notice Acts 21:39 (AV), says, “But Paul said, I <1473> am <1510> (5748) a man which am a Jew of Tarsus, a city in Cilicia.” Paul used the exact same Greek words as Jesus to say “I am.” Should we then take this to mean that the Apostle Paul too is Jehovah, the great “I AM?” Of course not. Even John the Baptist’s father said, “I am an old man” (Luke 1:18). Nor is he Jehovah. So the expression “I am” is used in Greek that same way as we use it in English. For example, if you were to say, “I am going to the store.” That doesn’t mean that you believe that you are Jehovah. “I am” simply describes that it is you who is going to the store.
The following comments are contributed by Dupin:
Fiest, in the case of the New Testament “I am” it is by noi means clear that εγο ειμι can be taken as “I am.” There is something in Greek referred to by linguists as the “Perfect Indicative” tense which is used when an action began in the past and is continuing. This is acknowledged in a backhand way in the definition available at http://biblelexicon.org/john/8-58.htm, where the definitions include “have been” and “was.” The Peshitta interlinear, which you can go to here: http://www.peshitta.org/ , translates the Aramaic literally as “I was.” so if Jesus spoke in Aramaic on the occasion, as some believe and certainly was possible, then we see Jesus only made a claim of a prior existence, something the Pharisees considered blasphemous anyway.
The verse in Exodus is mistranslated, many believe, because there is no present indicative tense in Hebrew for the verb “to be.” It is either inferred by the context of sometimes in God’s word supplied with the particle “yesh bo,” which enjoys more use and currency in modern Hebrew.
Those who study the issue deeply believe the word “ehyeh” in the clause “ehyeh asher ehyeh” means something more akin to the way the NWT translates it “I shall prove to be what I shall prove to be.” That form of the verb is considered causative with many several translators along the way favoring “I will be” ove I am.”
What is so interesting is the point you brought up, the use in the LXX of ο ων. What is happening here is the use of a verb as a noun instead of it’s usual use. The implication of this is that the translators understood God to be declaring that he is the existing one, the only one who owes his existence to no one as he has life unto himself. That, my friends is a really loaded claim with lots of implications as to God and his power.
As you pointed out, John had access to the LXX and probably knew this verse well. So the fact he didn’t use the same words in reporting Jesus’ words is very significant and seems to be carefully done to make it clear Jesus’ was not claiming to be God, as the context of the story clearly indicatesif one reads it objectively.