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Revelation 14:1 states (ESV translation):

Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.

Now, the non-trinitarians I know (binitarians) use this verse as evidence that the Spirit is not a distinct person to be worshipped, apart from the Father and Son. They say that if the Spirit were God, then His name would also be on the forehead of the believer (I don't exactly have sources for this since it is coming from people I know personally). This is one of the best arguments they have, and I have not encountered a good answer to it, however I still think the weight of evidence leans in favor of the Trinity.

My question, to put it simply, according to Trinitarians why isn't the Spirit's name on the believer's forehead in Revelation 14:1?

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    Welcome to C.SE. Good first question. Since C.SE accommodates many groups with different theologies but an answer in StackExchange needs to be objective, when different answers can be provided from multiple perspectives we require the question to specify the requested perspective. From your wording, I assume you request a Trinitarian answer, so I edited your question slightly to make this Q more expicit. To make your Q even better, please provide a source for the non-trinitarian interpretation (which will have more details) so that the Trinitarian answer can better address it. Aug 8, 2023 at 3:01

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I'm breaking my answer down into two sub-answers:

  1. Why the passage in Rev. isn't that weighty
  2. How the Bible speaks about the persons within the Trinity

Rev. 14: An argument from silence

If the thesis is that we shouldn't worship the Holy Spirit since he isn't specifically mentioned in Rev. 14:1, then, (as with all arguments from silence) the burden of proof is on them to find passages within the Bible that demand worshipping only two persons instead of three.

Also, Revelation is the last place to start when it comes to matters like this, since it's so replete with visual and figurative language.

It should not shock or surprise us that the Holy Spirit is not mentioned here, since there are many other places in the Bible where the Father and Son are mentioned but the Spirit is not. Here's a brief sampling:

  • 1Pet. 1:1
  • 2Pet. 1:2
  • 2John 3
  • Rom. 1:7

It gets a little embarrassing to list all these passages since they appear so frequently throughout scripture.

Even though the burden of proof lies on those who deny the Trinity here, it should not shock us to see the absence of the Holy Spirit specifically, since the Holy Spirit is most content to shine the spotlight on Jesus and his work. In that sense, emphasizing Jesus and his salvific work is the best way to emphasize the Holy Spirit.

How does the Holy Spirit reveal the persons within the Trinity?

Two persons, not just one: There are numerous places in the Bible where two persons are mentioned and not all three. it's absolutely absurd to conclude that when these two persons are emphasized in context that only those two exist. Examples:

  • Father and Son.: Gn 19:24; Ps 2:2,7; 45:6,7; 110:1; Jr 23:5,6; Ho 1:7; Mic 5:2.
  • Father and Spirit.: Is 63:10,14
  • Son and Spirit.: Zch 12:10
  • Lord (God) and Spirit.: Nu 11:25,29; 1 Sam 10:6; Is 44:1–3; Jl 2:28;—Nu 24:2; Job 33:4; Ps 51:11.

Equality and personality of the Holy Spirit affirmed in scripture:

a)  Personality.
    He is not an abstract power or influence emanating from God.
    1)  He is coordinated with the Father and Son.
        cf  Mt 28:19; 2 Cor 13:14;—Mt 12:31,32; Jn 14:16,26; 15:26 coll 1 Jn 2:1.
    2)  Personal activities are ascribed to Him.
        cf  Ro 8:27; 1 Cor 12:11.
        cf  Mt 1:18; 4:1; 10:20; Lk 4:18; 12:12; Jn 14:26; 15:26; 16:7,8,13; Ac 8:29; 20:28; Ro 8:26; 1 Cor 2:10; 3:16; 1 Jn 5:6; Re 2:7.
        cf  Ac 5:3; 7:51; Ro 15:30; Eph 4:30; Is 63:10.

b)  Divinity.
    By ascribing to Him
    1)  Divine names.
        cf  Ac 5:3,4; 28:25 coll Is 6:8; 1 Cor 3:16; 2 Sam 23:2,3.
    2)  Divine attributes.
        cf  Ps 139:7;—1 Cor 1:10,11;—He 9:14.
    3)  Divine works.
        -a) Creation.
            cf  Gn 1:2; Job 33:4; Ps 33:6; 104:30.
        -b) Redemption.
            cf  Mt 3:16; 4:1; Lk 1:35; 4:18; He 9:14; 1 Pe 3:18 (?).
            cf  2 Cor 13:4; 1 Tim 3:16.
        -c) Directing God's ministers.
            cf  Ne 9:30; Zch 7:12; Mt 10:20; Jn 15:26,27; 20:22,23; Ac 2:4; 13:2–4; 20:28; 1 Pe 1:11,12.
        -d) Administration of the Church. 
            cf  Jn 3:5; Ac 15:28; 1 Cor 3:16; 12:1–11; Eph 2:22; 4:3,4.
    4)  Divine honor.
        Coordinating Him with the Father and the Son.
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  • One thing I thought of is this: the Spirit is the seal of God/downpayment of our salvation, and a seal upon the forehead of the believer represents ownership (as does a downpayment), therefore, if the Father and Son give the Spirit to the believer, that implies that they "own" the believer, and so it makes sense for only those names to be on the foreheads. Aug 13, 2023 at 14:48

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