30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. 31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. 32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. 33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. 34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. 35 Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; 36 And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!
There is a combination here of eyewitness testimony and revelation from God. John acknowledges Jesus’ physical presence and admits that he has seen the Holy Spirit descend on Him* and that God Himself, which would be God the Father, told John that Jesus would baptize people with the Holy Ghost whereas John baptized with water. John’s baptism was symbolic while Jesus’ baptism would be of an effectual nature. John’s baptism signified the intentions of a Jew’s heart while Jesus’ baptism represented the transformation of His followers into new creatures. The Baptism of the Holy Ghost is our entrance into the body of Christ and water has nothing to do with it other than as an outward expression.
2Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Galatians 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
*(“like a dove,” a simile, as no actual dove was present. Compare in type the actual dove that brought the olive leaf to Noah in Genesis 8, representing a regeneration, among other things.)
John then made this clear to two of his disciples who then followed Jesus. As I am not trying to write a harmonization of the gospels I have not included parallel events in the other Gospels. I believe this would interrupt the narrative unnecessarily and there are many good commentaries filling books about which events in one Gospel line up with which verses in others.
Here, we see signs of what the church supported by the Roman Empire called the Trinity, three persons in one; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. However, the Bible never uses the word Trinity. In the Bible, the Godhead is not three persons but one person, like human beings and the higher animals, with three distinct parts all connected by one will and purpose. I have explained this before in my commentaries and will do so briefly here.
First, to establish a fundamental principle;
Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
Even though here the Psalmist speaks of God the Father referring to the Son.
Psalm 110:1 « A Psalm of David. » The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
God’s three parts are reflected in the three parts of a human being.
1Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The body reference is how we move about in the world, how we know the world. The soul is the seat of self-identity and will, how we know ourselves as distinct from others. The spirit is how we know and are known by God. But, it is still one person.
(For the three parts existing in beasts see Numbers 31:28; Job 12:10; & Ecclesiastes 3:21)
The three parts, not three persons, of God are evidenced by;
Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
2Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.
1John 5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. (Verse 7 is disputed by modern translators but is alluded to or quoted in every century of early Christianity, is found in the Old Latin, the Syriac, and in numerous early church lectionaries, and is referenced by Tatian in the middle of the second century. There is no serious doubt as to the validity of this verse.)
God the Father would be the soul of God, the seat of will and self-identity. The Holy Ghost is the Spirit of God, acting upon and moving in His creation. The Lord Jesus Christ is the body of God, the visible image of the invisible God.
Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
(Image is appearance, see Genesis 1:26)
And yet, all three are one.
John 10:30 I and my Father are one.