3 For I will proclaim the name of the Lord; ascribe greatness to our God! 4 The Rock, his work is perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God, without deceit, just and upright is he; Deut. 32:4 NRSV
47 The Lord lives! Blessed be my rock, and exalted be my God, the rock of my salvation, 2 Samuel 22:47 NRSVNotice in the Scriptures above that the "Rock" has a "work" that is "perfect" and "ways" that are "just." God/Yahweh here is the Rock and He is a living personal and acting creator. 2 Samuel even says Yahweh "lives!" Deuteronomy goes on to even describe Yahweh as a "he"; "faithful"; "without deceit"; "just" and "upright". God is not a "what" but a "who" that speaks as a "he".
Daniel L. Segraves notes that "we are to read the Old Testament as did the writers of the New Testament: the events found in the Hebrew Scriptures anticipate and represent greater realities that will be brought to light in the messianic age, with the coming of Jesus Christ."(1) It is indeed the coming of Jesus, and not a Trinity, that the Old Testament foretells. In Jewish homes the song "The Rock From Which We Have Eaten" is sung around Shabbat. Messianic Jewish scholar David Stern suggests “One of the best known zmirot (songs) sung in Jewish homes on Shabbat is “Tzur Mishelo Achalnu” (“The Rock From Which We Have Eaten”). Since it may date back to as early as the second century, and because so many of its ideas parallel those of these verses, I quote two stanzas:”
In this song Jews have no problem calling the "Rock" a "He" who is a "Shepherd" and a "Father". Emil Schurer in his voluminous work on the Jewish People says that the Shema and the Shemoneh Esreh “occupy...so prominent position in the Jewish liturgy”. Shurer suggests that the Shema (Jewish confession of faith, consisting of Deut. 6:4-9, 11:13-21, Num. 15:37-31) is cited, preceeded by prayers, so that they would be in “constant remembrance of Him.” The Shemoneh Esreh is the “chief prayer, which every Israelite, even women, slaves and children, had to repeat three times a day...it is so much the chief prayer of the Israelite, that it is also called merely ‘the prayer.’”(3) Here are parts of the prayer I would like to consider closer. Notice how they echo that of Stern's Jewish song.The Rock, from whom we have eaten—Bless him, my faithful friends!We have eaten our fill without exhausting the supply,Which accords with the Word of Adonai.He nourishes his world, our Shepherd, our Father;We have eaten his bread and drunk his wine ….With nourishment and sustenance he has sated our souls ….May the Merciful One be blessed and exalted! (2)
We praise Thee, for Thou art the Lord our God and the God of our fathers for ever and ever; the Rock of our life, the Shield of our salvation, Thou art for ever and ever...Cause us to turn, O our Father, to Thy law, and draw us near, O our King, to Thy service, and restore us in perfect repentance to Thy presence. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who delightest in repentance. 6. Forgive us, our Father, for we have sinned; pardon us, our King, for we have transgressed; ready to pardon and forgive Thou art.
Isaiah 44:8, Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.” ESV
I Samuel 2:2, There is none holy like the LORD; there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God. ESV
II Samuel 22:2-3, He said: “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; 3 my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—from violent men you save me. ESV
II Samuel 22:32, For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God? ESV
II Samuel 23:3, The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel said to me: ‘When one rules over men in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God, ESV
Psalm 18:2, The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. ESV
Psalms 62:1-2, For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. 2 He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. ESVIn the previous passages we can make some important conclusions. 1) no God or Rock besides "me" 2) no other God or Rock is known 3) this Rock is God or Yahweh of the Old Testament 4) God is our rock, refuge, shield, holy, stronghold, and savior. 5) The God of Israel, the Rock of Israel, even speaks. 6) God is a who and is described as a "him" and a "He". The Hebrew word הוּא appears which typically is a referent of whom or what is spoken about. In this case the whom is "He" and is referring to Yahweh. The New Bible Dictionary makes an important concession in light of popular trinitarian apologetics,
"Without the titanic disclosure of the Christ event, no one would have taken the OT to affirm anything but the exclusive, i.e. unipersonal monotheism that is the hallmark of Judaism and Islam."(4)This well known fact is overlooked and still ignored by Trinitarians. The Old Testament is unipersonal and that is why Judaism is unipersonal. The "Christ event" however did not introduce another person no more than it revealed another, even lesser, Yahweh. God comes. He is Jesus.
The prophet Isaiah saw a vision of Jesus sitting on heaven’s throne (Isaiah 6:1ff.), with such a robe that its train filled the temple. Clearly no other person is on the right nor the left of God, and His throne. The seraphim present identifies what Isaiah saw as Yahweh. Isaiah later points out that it would be His birth of a virgin (7:14) from David’s lineage that would qualify Him to sit on David’s throne, fulfilling the ancient prophecy of Nathan. But this descendant of David would also be the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father Himself.
The Rock was Christ : Jesus is Yahweh
Paul, speaking of the Israelites in the days of Moses, said, “They drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ” (I Corinthians 10:4). The Rock is a type of Christ but also identifies Jesus as Yahweh. Jews and Trintarians will stumble here. Jesus, the everlasting Father, is also the Son, who is also the Mighty God (See Isa. 9:6). The only God the Father in the either Covenants is Jesus, the Son. Jesus then is the True God (1 John 5:20). Fundamentally, the One who existed prior to the Incarnation is the same One who existed after the Incarnation but in a different form.
It was not the human Son of God, the seed of the woman, that was with the Israelites on that day. Yet, the one eternal personal Spirit of God preexisted the Incarnation. In his book Jesus and the God of Israel: God Crucified and Other Studies on the New Testament's Christology of Divine Identity Richard Bauckham notes:
The implication for Jewish monotheism and Christology is remarkable: the exclusive devotion that YHWH's jealously requires of his people is required of Christians by Jesus Christ. Effectively he assumes the unique identity of YHWH. This is coherent with the suggestion that Paul already has the Song of Moses in mind in 10:4 ('the rock was Christ'), alluding to the description of YHWH as Israel's Rock that is characteristic of the Song (Dent. 32:4, 15, 18, 31; note the close association with the theme of Israel's idolatry in v. 18).(5)James D.G. Dunn, in his book New Testament Theology notes:
...in the Gospels it is typically Jesus who heals or saves, or through whom God saves. And it is noticeable that, in the Pastorals in particular, the title of Savior is used of God as much as of Christ.(6)Not a verse of Scripture even hints of any other Rock or significant Savior other than Yahweh. (See also Deuteronomy 32:4, 15, 18, 30-31; Psalm 28:1; 42:9; 61:2; 71:3; 94:22; 95:1, Isaiah 51:1.) With Jesus now understood to be included in the identity of Yahweh does not introduce another Rock, Savior or Yahweh. If so, the closest possible explanation would be polytheism and not Trinitarianism (i.e. more than one divine person can be called Rock, Savior, Yahweh).
Yahweh is a who that speaks as a he. Such self utterances and reflections by others on Yahweh as a he or him certainly reflect the indivisible nature of God's being as well as His inexhaustible person (esp. in contrast to worship of Baal(s)). For Israel Yahweh is an eternal undivided self. Notice these passages. Well before Christ was ever born the Old Testament prophet Isaiah states:
In the Acts of the Apostles Luke records Peter’s affirmation in the clearest way possible:
The Apostle Paul, in Romans 9:32-33, also says “They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 as it is written, “See, I am laying in Zion a stone that will make people stumble, a rock that will make them fall, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” NRSV
In even clearer terms Paul states: 1 Corinthians 3:11, For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ. NRSV
1) Segraves, Daniel L. (2008). Reading Between the Lines (Kindle Locations 2920-2933). Word Aflame Press. Kindle Edition.
2) Stern, D. H. (1996). Jewish New Testament Commentary : A companion volume to the Jewish New Testament (electronic ed.) (1 Co 10:3). Clarksville: Jewish New Testament Publications.
3) Schürer, E. (1890). Vol. 4: A history of the Jewish people in the time of Jesus Christ, second division, Vol. II. (86, 87). Edinburgh: T&T Clark.
4) Wood, D. R. W., & Marshall, I. H. (1996). New Bible dictionary (3rd ed.) (1209). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.
5) Richard Bauckham. Jesus and the God of Israel: God Crucified and Other Studies on the New Testament's Christology of Divine Identity (Kindle Locations 1362-1366). Kindle Edition.
6) James D. G. Dunn (2009). New Testament Theology (Library of Biblical Theology) (Kindle Locations 1533-1537). Abingdon Press. Kindle Edition.