‘ Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all
which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.’
P. O. Box 7137
Kariong, NSW 2250
Restitution Ministries is run by Seventh-day Adventist lay members who
are committed to the proclamation of the Everlasting Gospel. Restitution
Ministries is fully supportive of the SDA church in truth and love. ‘Therefore
seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But
have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness,
nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth
commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. We having
the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore
have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak.’
2 Corinthians 4:1, 2, 13
How much do you know about shrimp? I have discovered that these little creatures have a very intriguing habit. Shrimp go through a process of shedding their "clothes" three or four times a year, called "molting." This in itself is not so unusual, but how they achieve this change of dress is fascinating. It seems that every time a shrimp gets ready to put on a new layer of skin, it places a little grain of sand on top of its head, and the new layer of skin grows over it. This "status stone" as some call it, helps the little shrimp to know whether it is upside down or right side up in the turbulent ocean waters. The shrimp can tell by the pull of gravity.
You may be wondering how scientists found out about this odd behavior of the shrimp. It seems that the scientists placed some shrimp in an aquarium with steel filings on the bottom of it. When it came time to molt, the shrimp placed one of the steel filings on their heads, and the new layer of skin grew over this. Then the scientists placed a strong electro-magnet on top of the aquarium and immediately all of the shrimp flipped over and began swimming upside down. To add a little humor, the scientists then placed a shrimp from the ocean into this aquarium with the steel-in-the-head shrimp. This must have been an interesting experiment to watch, with all but one of the shrimp swimming upside down, and one lone shrimp "paddling" around right side up.
If shrimp could think and talk as we do, I wonder what they would have said about that "oddball" shrimp? "Look at that fellow swimming upside down! What is the matter with him anyway?" You see, the shrimp who had the steel filings in their heads really thought they were right because their "status stone" told them that down was really up and up was down. The majority were swimming upside down so they thought they must be right. That one lone fellow out there had to be wrong.
As a Christian, my "status stone" must be the Bible. Man's thinking, or even what the majority may believe to be correct, can never take the place of the unfailing word of God. History bears out the fact that the thinking of the majority has often been wrong, especially when it comes to religion. A short time ago I read a statement that has become more meaningful to me and that emphasizes this truth:
"There is absolutely no safeguard against evil but truth.... There are many in the church who take it for granted that they understand what they believe; but, until controversy arises, they do not know their own weakness." (God's Amazing Grace, p. 30)
About two years ago I began to understand more fully what this statement was really saying. It was late spring, and I had driven north to visit a close friend. Upon arriving at her home and exchanging greetings, she immediately began sharing with me her concern over one of the major teachings of Christianity. The teaching she was having trouble with was the concept of the "Trinity." How could three persons really be one God? "The teaching of the Trinity is false," she said. My immediate response was one of frustration and anger. How could it be "false"? The Bible talks of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; isn't that a Trinity? Besides, all of Christianity believes in the Trinity so it has to be right!! Despite my apparent frustration she invited me to sit down and go through some texts with her. Reluctantly I obliged, thinking I would set my friend straight. Imagine my surprise when God began to take portions of the Scriptures that had been dark and obscure to my mind, and bring understanding to me. Questions began to flood my mind. Was my belief that God is a "Trinity" really correct? Doesn't truth have to make sense? Can three really be one?
I recalled all the times I had attempted to teach my children about God. Invariably I would go to the refrigerator and pull out an apple. Then I would sit down between the boys and proceed to tell them God was like that apple. God was the family name, so the whole apple represented God. The Father could be represented by the core, the Son by the white fleshy part, and the Holy Spirit by the skin. Then I would ask my boys if they understood. The response was always the same: They would look at me with bewildered eyes and shake their heads "no." My response, too, was always the same: "That's all right, boys, nobody really understands because ‘God is a mystery.’" Now I was beginning to wonder! Was God really that mysterious? How can we serve God when we don't even know who He is? I had to know the answers to the torrent of questions that were now racing through my mind. That day my husband and I began a search that has brought us the most abundant joy we have ever known. As we attempted to put aside all of our preconceived ideas and diligently search the Scriptures, a peace and joy filled our hearts like we had never experienced before. The God of Heaven has become very real to us, and His love in giving up His Son has filled our lives.
Bob and I would like to share with you what we have found in our study. It is not our desire to raise controversy or to cause division, but simply to share an understanding that has helped us see more clearly the wondrous love of God for mankind. We pray that you might see the simple truth about God and Christ that is so clearly revealed in His Holy Word, and understand more clearly the rightful and elevated position that they hold. Each of us must study the Bible for ourselves. We must form our beliefs, not based on what others have told us the Bible says, or on what everyone else is doing, but based soundly on God's sure Word.
Until someone challenged our belief, we didn't realize our weakness. We challenge you to search the Scriptures as you never have before. Study for yourselves; prove all things and, like the Bereans of old, test to see if "these things are so." May a better understanding of God fill your hearts with as deep a sense of joy and gratitude as it has ours! God bless you in your search.
The teaching of the Trinity is the foundational teaching upon which almost all of professed Christianity rests. To be a member of the World Council of Churches an organization must profess belief in this doctrine. Let's take a look at what the Trinity actually teaches and where this doctrine came from. As I have discussed this teaching with Christians of many faiths it has become increasingly clear to me that very few people actually realize what it says.
If we were to refer to any one of the summaries of beliefs of the various major denominations existing today, we would find that they espouse the idea that there is one God consisting of three distinct persons. As we look at the various descriptions we find that this doctrine of a "Trinity" teaches:
Three beings who are co-eternal
Three beings who are immortal
Three beings who are all-powerful, all-knowing, etc.
Three beings who are worthy of worship and praise
Three beings, each acting out a different role
For example, the Catholic Encyclopedia says:
"...the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and yet there are not three Gods but one God... the Persons are co-eternal and co-equal: all alike are uncreated and omnipotent."
Nearly all churches in Christianity have the same concept of the Trinity; some with slight modifications.
Looking at this a little closer, we begin to see what is really being said. If all three members of the Godhead are eternal, it means that they have all existed throughout eternity as distinct persons. They must then be all the same age. If it is true that they are all the same age, then the titles which they possess must merely reflect roles taken to act out the plan of redemption. These titles cannot be taken in a literal sense. For example: the Son of God then, is not really God's Son; He is the member of the Godhead playing the role of the Son. The Father is not really the father of Jesus; He is the member of the Godhead playing the role of the Father.
The implications of this teaching are profound when you think about it. The Scriptures tell us over and over again that God gave His Son to die for you and me, but the doctrine of the Trinity says Jesus was not really the Son. The Trinitarian would say that Jesus was "called" the Son because of His birth in Bethlehem but was not really God's Son in Heaven before He came to this earth.
This, in abbreviated form, is the teaching of the Trinity:
" There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." Three questions we want to ask ourselves are, "Has this teaching about God been from the beginning of time, is it biblical, and does it matter?"
Where Did it Come From?
If you were to go to any reputable encyclopedia you would find that this teaching began to be formulated, to become a part of Christianity, at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. It continued to take on its present form some sixty years later at the Council of Constantinople. Those who have studied into church history will recall that this was during the time the Church in Rome was rising to a controlling power over the Christian world. Bible scholars have noted that in the book of Revelation, chapters 2 and 3, God gives us a picture of the different periods in the history of the Christian Church. The Nicean Council, 325 AD, came during the period of the church represented by Pergamos. The church which started out pure (represented by Ephesus), went through much persecution (Smyrna), but was now deteriorating due to compromise with paganism (Pergamos).
We need to remember that the Christian world was surrounded by pagan religions, and these pagans worshipped multiple gods. History reveals a church who, because of a desire to make herself more attractive to her pagan neighbors, eventually adopted an understanding of God that was steeped in paganism itself. As has been noted by one author, the Trinity has its origin in the Persian trident. Other authors have noted that in the Indian religion we meet the Trinitarian group of Brahma, Siva, and Visnu; in the religion of Egypt we have the Trinity of Osiris, Isis, and Horus. The point that these researchers are making is that this doctrine of the Trinity has its origin in paganism. If we study back into much of the ancient world, we find over and over again that the pagan gods were worshipped in multiples of three, or a Trinity.
" If Paganism was conquered by Christianity, it is equally true that Christianity was corrupted by Paganism. The pure Deism of the first Christians...was changed, by the Church of Rome, into the incomprehensible dogma of the Trinity...." (History of Christianity, Edward Gibbons)
One might also ask if the Jewish nation of Christ's time, or any time for that matter, believed that the true God of Heaven was a Trinity. Please note this statement:
"...But this is all assumed, for it is certain that the Jewish Church held no such doctrine. Says Mr. Summerbell; 'A friend of mine who was present in a New York Synagogue, asked the Rabbi for an explanation of the word 'Elohim.' A Trinitarian clergyman who stood by replied, 'Why that has reference to the three persons in the Trinity,' when a Jew stepped forward and said he must not mention that word again, or they would have to compel him to leave the house; for it was not permitted to mention the name of any strange god in the synagogue." (Review and Herald, Nov. 5, 1861)
The point is simply that the Jews do not see the doctrine of the Trinity as a biblical truth, but rather as a pagan understanding. It is interesting to note that one can read the Bible through from Genesis to Revelation and never come across the word "Trinity." It is also interesting to find that many agree that the Old Testament portion of the Scriptures does not teach a Trinity.
The Encyclopedia of Religion says:
"Theologians today are in agreement that the Hebrew Bible does not contain a doctrine of the Trinity."
Even the New Catholic Encyclopedia admits:
"The doctrine of the Trinity is not taught in the Old Testament."
This presents us with a very interesting problem: If theologians admit that the Old Testament does not teach a Trinity, then did God somehow change? When Jesus came to this earth and quoted the Scriptures (the Old Testament) extensively, did He ever speak of God as a Trinity? The truth is that you can follow the life of Christ from the manger to the grave, and He never once gave an indication that God was a Trinity. Neither do any of the writers of the New Testament.
In the New Encyclopedia Britannica it states:
"Neither the word Trinity nor the explicit doctrine appears in the New Testament."
As a matter of fact, if we were to go to the early Christian writers of the first three centuries—from the time of the apostles to the early fourth century—we would find that religious teachers of prominence, such as Justin Martyr, Origen, and Ireneus, never taught a Trinity either.
This doctrine of a triune god, which has its roots in paganism, was adopted into Christianity through the Church of Rome. As we have stated, it found its beginnings at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD, when the Emperor Constantine brought paganism into the church through compromise. This doctrine has become the central doctrine of the Roman Catholic faith, and indeed, is the basis of almost all professed Christianity today.
" The mystery of the Trinity is the central doctrine of the Catholic faith. Upon it are based all the other teachings of the church." (Handbook for Today's Catholic, p. 11)
This statement should raise an alarm in our thinking! If the doctrine of the Trinity is indeed rooted in paganism and is not specifically taught in either the Old or New Testaments, should we not sincerely question this doctrine that is declared to be the central and pivotal point of all teachings of Catholicism? In fact, most of Christianity today would make a similar declaration in regard to the doctrine of the Trinity.
It is interesting to realize that every major denomination received its start by reformers who were protesting against Catholicism. Most even went so far as to call the Catholic system of worship the antichrist system, and the Pope the antichrist. Martin Luther was one of these reformers. Yet today, nearly all of Christianity follows after Rome in many areas of their teachings. The doctrine of the Trinity is one of these areas. It was the Church of Rome that brought into existence this doctrine which is now the basis for the whole system of Catholicism.
What are some of the teachings of the Catholic faith that are rooted in the doctrine of the Trinity? A casual look reveals such teachings as: natural immortality of the soul, the mass, purgatory, the infallibility of the Pope, praying to saints, eternal hell, the priest's ability to forgive sins, the immaculate conception, the Eucharist, salvation by works, and Sunday sacredness. This should raise some very serious questions in our minds. Are these teachings found in the Bible?
Is it at all possible that we in Christianity have accepted as a doctrine, a teaching about God that is not correct just because it has been handed down through the years? Have we been like those shrimp that thought they were swimming right side up but were really swimming upside down? Let's now take a close look at what the Bible does say about the wondrous love of God. You decide.
When our mighty God had delivered the Israelites from Egyptian bondage, led them through the Red Sea and brought them to the foot of Mt. Sinai, He told the people to sanctify themselves for He had something very important to tell them. It was then that Moses climbed to the top of Mt. Sinai to receive instruction for the people. God gave to Moses tables of stone upon which He had engraved, with His own finger, the law that His people should live by. In Exodus 20 we read:
"And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me." (Exodus 20:1-3)
Israel had just been delivered from a land where multiple gods were worshipped, so the God of Heaven immediately reminded His people that there is only one true God. The truth that there is only one God was the very first of God's loving commandments to His people. It would form the basis for all their other worship.
During Israel's wanderings in the wilderness, it seems that God kept reminding them of this vital point over and over, and when they were at last ready to enter the promised land, the Lord again reminded them of this fact:
"Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the Lord he is God; there is none else beside him." (Deuteronomy 4:35)
Then again, just before Moses related God's command to conquer Canaan He said:
"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord." (Deuteronomy 6:4)
It seems that this idea of multiple gods was of deep concern to the Lord; so much so that He lovingly reminded His people, over and over again, that there is but one God. He wanted to keep his people from falling into the same heathen-type worship of multiple deities that surrounded them. Note this statement:
"So utterly idolatrous was the Babylonian recognition of the Divine unity, that Jehovah, the Living God, severely condemned His own people for giving any countenance to it. … In the unity of that one Only God of the Babylonians, there were three persons, and to symbolize that doctrine of the Trinity they employed, as the discoveries of Layard prove, the equilateral triangle, just as it is well known the Romish Church does at this day." (The Two Babylons, p. 16)
The Lord knew that all around His chosen people were heathen teachings about multiple gods; thus the reminders, "There is only one God." To the Jewish mind even today, there is one God. The concept of one God made up of three individual persons was, and still is, foreign to their thinking.
Let's take a look at some texts in the New Testament. Surely the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament must be the same!!!
"...Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord.... And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:" (Mark 12:28-32)
Jesus, Himself, tells us that there is only one God! The great Apostle Paul tells us this same truth:
"But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him." (1 Corinthians 8:6)
"There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope
of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father
of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all"
"For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;" (1 Timothy 2:5)
What is the Apostle Paul trying to reveal to us? First of all he states emphatically that there is one God—the Father. He goes on to tell us that everything that exists comes ultimately from this one God, the Father! This one God is the source of all life and power. He further states that there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom He has done everything. This Jesus, is the link between Heaven and earth—our mediator. It is through Jesus that God and man are reunited.
Jesus also states this emphatic truth that there is only one God—the Father—and that eternal life is to know this God and Jesus whom He sent. In the famous prayer of John 17 we read:
"And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." (John 17:3)
James says: "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." (James 2:19)
Even the devils know there is only one God. The Scriptures plainly state that there is only one God. There is not a mention by any of the Bible writers that this God is made up of three different persons. The Trinitarian says there is "one God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." The Scriptures say there is one God, the Father.
THE SON OF GOD
If there is one God, the Father, "of whom are all things," as the Scriptures teach, then who is Jesus? What is His relationship to the Father? Is He Deity, or is He some lesser being as some teach? Is He simply a great teacher?
These must have been some of the questions that plagued the mind of a man named Nicodemus, a Pharisee. In John 3, we have the story related to us. It was in the dead of night that this leader of the church stole silently to the garden where he knew he would find Jesus. Nicodemus feared to be seen with this popular teacher, yet something in this man Jesus was different. He longed to know who He really was. Thus Nicodemus opens the conversation:
"Rabbi, we know thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him." (John 3:2)
It was as if Nicodemus was saying to Jesus, "Tell me who you really are!" Who is this teacher sent from God and why is He here? Who is this man who can turn water into the purest grape juice anyone has ever tasted? Who is this man who dared to rebuke the abominations performed in the temple courts? Who is this man who can heal the sick and raise the dead? Who is this man who spoke so beautifully about Heaven, as if He had been there Himself? Who is this man who called God His Father? Who is He and why was He here?
As we begin to answer these questions, let's go back through the eons of eternity to a place called Heaven. The key to understanding who Jesus is, necessitates that we understand the controversy that took place in Heaven before this world was created.
All was peaceful among the inhabitants of this magnificent place until one day something very troubling began to show itself. One of the angels that God had created began to show signs of rebellion. Clearly, it is a mystery how a being, created perfect by the hand of God, could sin; but the Scriptures tell us it did indeed happen.
"Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was thy covering... the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness...." (Ezekiel 28:12-17)
We learn some astounding facts about how sin began from this portion of Scripture. We see that the "cherub that covereth," the one that stood next to God, was the very being who began to cherish thoughts of sin. Lucifer, as he was called, began to cherish seeds of pride that grew into outright rebellion against the Creator.
"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High." (Isaiah 14:12-14)
This Scripture is pretty plain as to what Lucifer desired: He wanted to be equal with God. He wanted to sit in the counsels of Heaven as if he were Deity. It is an astounding thought that a being, created by God, would want to be worshipped as God Himself! Actually things haven't changed a lot since then. Even today, through the New Age teachings, men strive to become gods. Yet, this is the thinking that brought about all the misery we now see on this earth. Why wasn't Lucifer content to be the highest of the angels? What made him want to be worshipped as God? I believe it's important for us to understand exactly what Lucifer's problem was, because that controversy, begun in Heaven, is the same one that is raging today. So let's look now at another person who was in Heaven with God during the time Lucifer began to cherish seeds of rebellion—God's Son, called Michael (means "one like God"). (See Jude 9; Revelation 12:7-9) Michael was called Jesus during His life on earth. What does the Bible say about Him?
John 1:1-3 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made."
The Scriptures tell us that Jesus, as Michael, existed with God before all creation. He is the "Word," or the "audibleness," of God. What speech is to thought, that is what Christ is to the Father. Jesus is Deity revealed to us. He is the manifestation, or the evidence, of the Father and is called the "Word." Jesus was God's Son in Heaven before He ever came to this earth. It was Jesus (Michael) who, by the power of God, created all things.
Proverbs 30:4 "Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell?"
God has a Son, and that Son existed with Him in the eons of time before the creation of this world. The Great Creator (the Father) had a partner in the creation of our world; it was His Son.
Proverbs 8:22-30 "The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth.... Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him."
Jesus, God's own Son, stood by the Father in the creation of the world. In the NKJV it says, "Then I was by him as a master craftsman." (v.30) Jesus was brought forth as God's Son in the eons of eternity past. The Scripture does not say how this was accomplished, but simply that it was so. The word rendered "brought forth," in the Hebrew, means to "twist or whirl," "to bear," "bring forth," "to form," "to travail." Many have felt that this passage refers to "wisdom" and should not be taken as literally talking of Jesus' existence. However, we need to remember that Jesus is Wisdom.
"But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God." (1 Corinthians 1:24)
The controversy that began in Heaven was over this very issue. Christ, the Son of God, was the only being in all of the universe that was taken into counsel with the Father. It was Christ only who created the world in conjunction with God. Lucifer, who, you will remember, thought he should be included in the decisions of Deity, was angry that God's Son was taken into counsel but he, Lucifer, was not consulted. In effect, Lucifer had denied the thought that Jesus was the very literal Son of God. Jesus was Divine; He was God's Son. No other being could carry out the work of Christ. Lucifer wanted to be brought into that counsel to make a "Trinity" of three beings worthy of worship and praise, but how could a created being ever be equal to his Creator? The answer is simple; he can't be! Friends, let's keep that thought in mind as we continue our study because it is the very root of the whole issue on the concept of the Godhead. Let's continue with our study about Jesus and see what else the Scriptures have to say about Him.
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Please note that the Father gave His begotten Son to die for us. Jesus did not become the begotten Son, as the Trinitarians teach, when He was born as a babe in Bethlehem. Jesus existed in Heaven as God's only-begotten Son before He came to earth.
1 John 4:9 "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him."
Once again the same thought is given—that God sent His "only begotten Son."
John 1:14 "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."
The Word, the Wisdom of God, took on human flesh and dwelt among us! This was God's one and only Son who came to do this; the same Son that Lucifer was jealous over, feeling he should be treated as Jesus was treated.
Many have wondered just what "only begotten" means.
Begotten: comes from the Greek word "monogenes." According to Strong's concordance the word means "only born," "only (begotten, child)." There are those who believe that Jesus was a "created" being, which in effect would mean He is not Deity, because He would be on the same level as the angels. But the Bible does not say Jesus was "created," it says he was "begotten." Do these two words mean the same thing? The answer is an unquestionable "no." To create means "to make a thing which has not been made before." (World Book Dictionary) The angels were created, the whole world was created, man was created; and the Creator was the Father, working through His Son. The Bible says that Jesus was a begotten Son, meaning that he came from the very being of the Father. Christ was of the very same substance as the Father—thus He is Divine. Divinity does not mean that Christ must be as old as the Father, but simply that He has the attributes of Deity. There is a vast difference between the words "created" and "begotten." Some have tried to deny the literal Sonship of Christ by saying that this word "begotten" means "unique." Thus the Trinitarian would state that Christ was the "unique One," because he was born in Bethlehem. However, we need to remember that the Scriptures tell us that it was the begotten Son who was given. This would indicate that Jesus was begotten in Heaven and existed before He ever came to this earth. Certainly, no one would disagree that Jesus is the "unique One," for surely He is the only Son of the God of the whole Universe.
Over and over again I have heard it said that the gospel is so simple a child can understand it. I believe that, don't you? Well, if it is so simple a child can understand, then doesn't that throw some question upon the teaching of the Trinity? Not only do children not understand it; our best theologians can't even explain it. However, the thought that God sent His Son to this earth to die for you and me is easy to comprehend when we believe the simple Bible statement that Jesus is truly the Son of God; not one of three mysterious beings making up "one God." One of the biggest problems that our missionaries have faced in the past, is trying to share the gospel in the Muslim countries around the globe. One leader of a division of workers was perplexed by the slow progress Christianity seemed to be making among these people. As he analyzed the problem, he realized that it was very difficult for the Muslim mind to accept the teaching that God is a "Trinity," because to them, as to the Jews, there is one God. The Trinity teaching was confusing. This started a search through the Scriptures for this missionary, which led him to realize that there is indeed, one God and His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
Let's take a look now and see who the disciples believed Jesus to be.
John 6:69 "And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ the Son of the living God."
Matthew 14:33 "Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God."
John 11:27 "She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world."
The disciples clearly believed that Jesus was the Son of God! The Apostle Paul shares the same thoughts in his many references to God as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:3 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ..."
2 Corinthians 11:31 "The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ..."
This is a very common expression of Paul's which is used numerous times throughout his writings. Please notice that he calls God (the Father) both Christ's Father and His God.
Christ always talked of God as His Father and also as His God!
John 20:17 "Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God."
Mark 15:34 "And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
Revelation 3:12 "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name."
Jesus called God His Father and His God!! The Father called Christ His Son but never called Him His God! We will see why as we go on.
Jesus declares Himself to be the Son of God.
John 10:36 "Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?"
Jesus was declaring Himself to be the Son of God and the Jews considered that blasphemy! You see, Jesus could never deny who He really was. It would be just like you or me declaring who we are. He did not say that He was one of the three members of a Trinity who took on the role of the Son of God. He said He was the Son of God!
Matthew 3:17 "And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
As Jesus was baptized God spoke words of affirmation declaring that this was indeed the Son that He had sent into the world to be our Saviour. Again, at the transfiguration, God spoke these words:
Matthew 17:5 "While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him."
So, the Father tells us who this man was; it was His Son! Even the demons knew who Jesus was.
Matthew 8:29 "And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? "
How is it that the demons called Jesus the Son of God? They had met Him before hadn't they? These very demons had lived in Heaven at one time, remember? When Satan (Lucifer) was cast out of Heaven he took a third of the angels with him. (Revelation 12:9) They knew who Jesus was; He was the only Son of God!! Remember that the controversy was initially over Satan's resentment of this Son who was exalted by the Father while he was not. It was this seed of discontent that turned into a full-scale war, attacking the character of God as seen in His law.
What else do the Scriptures say about Jesus?
Hebrews 1:1-3 "God... hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 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."
Here we put a few more pieces of the puzzle together. It says that Christ was "appointed heir" of all things. An heir is someone who receives an inheritance from someone. In this case Christ, the Son, received His inheritance from His Father. What did He receive: His name, His authority and His power! In other words Christ, being the one and only begotten Son of the living God, received, by virtue of His birth, all of the attributes that His Father possessed. This text also declares that Christ was the "express image" of His Father. He was exactly like Him. That is why Jesus could say, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." (John 14:9)
John 5:26 "For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;"
Please note here that the Father hath given to the Son to have life in Himself. Christ received all things from His Father by virtue of who He was, God's own Son.
You see, all of these verses keep telling us over and over the same story. The God of the whole Universe (the Father) is the ultimate source of all life and power. All things proceed from the Father; even Christ Himself was begotten of the Father. The Father is the one true God of Heaven; and Christ, the Son, the express image of the Father, acknowledges that fact. The Scriptures teach us that while the Son shares an equality of nature, power and honor with the Father, these attributes of Deity were inherited from the Father. It is for this reason that the Scriptures show us that the Son is always in subjection to His Father. Please look at this verse:
John 14:28 "Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father; for my Father is greater than I."
Now what did Jesus mean by this? We just discovered that the Son was given all the same power, honor and names of the Father. How then is the Father greater than Jesus? The answer is very simple: The word "greater" in the Greek is "meizon" which means "elder or more encompassing." In other words, Jesus was acknowledging that His Father was the source of all life. One man explained it this way: "The Father is greatest in that He was first." Jesus, throughout His life on earth, always acknowledged that He was simply carrying out the will of His Father.
John 6:38 "For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me."
John 5:30 "I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me."
Jesus clearly states that His power comes from His Father. It is not His will that He seeks to do, but the Father's. Why? The answer is, simply, that Jesus was in subjection to His Father. You will find Christ making similar statements throughout the Scriptures. Paul states this relationship this way:
1 Corinthians 11:3 "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God."
1 Corinthians 15:28 "And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all."
Many believe that Christ's statements about being subject to his Father only pertain to His life as a man on earth. However, this verse plainly tells us that when this controversy is ended, Christ will still be subject to the Father!! It is the Father who has desired the Son to be worshipped just as He is worshipped.
Hebrews 1:8, 9 "But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom....therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows."
The Father called the Son, "God," for He is truly Deity, and truly possesses all the attributes of His Father. Notice, however, that the Father made it plain that it was He who anointed Christ and made Him to receive the praise of angels and men.
John 5:22, 23 "For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him."
John 3:35 "The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand."
What a beautiful picture we get of the God of all creation. "The Father loveth the Son:" that's why He has told us to give honor and glory to Him. Christ, the Son of the living God, left His privilege of being at the side of His Father in Heaven, and willingly came to this earth to be our sacrifice. No angel could have paid the price; only the literal Son of the living God could have died for lost mankind! Nor was it a "part" of a triune god that came. It is so important that we realize that this was not a role-play where one of three equal "Gods" decided who would play the part of the Son. This was truly the very life of God, in the form of His Son, who came to this earth for you and me! What a sacrifice! "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." (Philippians 2:5-8) It is so sad to see how the concept which is portrayed by the Trinity teaching obscures this great gift. What wondrous love the Father and Son have for us!
There is an intriguing story in the Bible that gives us a glimpse of the depth of the sacrifice made in our behalf. It is the story of Abraham and Isaac. You remember that Abraham had been promised that he would be the father of a great nation. You can refresh your memory about the story by reading it in Genesis (Ch. 22); but let's concentrate on a most unusual request made by God to this man of faith:
" And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of." (Genesis 22:1, 2)
God told Abraham to take his Son, his only son Isaac, and offer him as a sacrifice. Now Isaac was not the only son of Abraham, but he was the heir of promise. It was this son that Abraham was to sacrifice. Did you notice that the Lord said, the son "whom thou lovest?" As we read on in the story we realize the struggle that must have gone on in the mind of Abraham. Why did he have to give his son? This lad was an obedient son, why did he have to die? In verses 7 and 8 we read:
" And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together." (Genesis 22:7, 8)
Abraham built an altar and bound Isaac hand and foot and laid him on the altar. Was this an obedient son? Isaac was certainly able to overpower his father, who was well stricken in years, if he had wanted to do so; but Isaac willingly offered his life. Then, just as Abraham was raising his knife to slay his son, an angel of the Lord called out to Abraham:
"… Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me." (Genesis 22:11, 12)
Abraham looked up and saw a ram stuck in a thicket, and Abraham went and took the ram and offered that for a sacrifice to God. What a test for Abraham!! But friends, what a test of love for the God of the universe, our Heavenly Father, to willingly give His only Son, His heir, "the son that he loveth," for a lost world. I'm sure Abraham caught a glimpse that day, of the sacrifice that was going to be made on behalf of the whole human race; the sacrifice of the heir, the only Son of the living God, in our behalf. He caught a glimpse of the wondrous love of God.
It was this "heir" whom the world would reject when He came to save them. It was this "heir" whom Satan fought so hard against while Jesus was on this earth, in order to destroy the truth that He was, indeed, the Son of the living God, sent from Heaven to redeem fallen mankind. The controversy, begun in Heaven, was brought to this world; and the battle still rages today. Satan is still trying to convince people that Jesus is not really the Son of God. In every way possible Satan tries to take away from Christ his rightful position and mission. In a most vivid parable found in Matthew 21, Jesus foretold what man would do to Him. It says:
" Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him." (Matthew 21:33-39)
God planted a vineyard. The Jewish nation was the chosen of God. They had been given the commission to tell the world about the great God of Heaven; to herald the coming Messiah. Every time God raised up prophets and sent them to tell Israel that they were wandering from God, they killed them. At last the Father sent His Son to His people. Surely they would reverence the Son, the heir. But the people, who had become blinded with their own righteousness, seized Christ and nailed Him to the cross of Calvary. Truly this was the Son of God.
Does it matter whether or not you believe that Jesus is the literal, true Son of God, or whether you believe He is the one, of a Trinity, playing the part of the Son in a great drama? Consider these texts:
John 17:3 "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."
John 3:36 "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."
John 20:31 "But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."
1 John 5:13 "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."
The fact that Jesus Christ is the literal "only-begotten" Son of God is the very heart of the Christian faith. When we are building a house we have to lay a strong foundation or the building will collapse. At the heart of Christianity is this teaching that holds up and supports every other teaching of the Christian faith. When we began our study we showed that the Catholic faith claims that their teaching of the Trinity is the central doctrine upon which all of their other doctrines rest, and most of Christianity has followed them in that belief. Brothers and sisters, you can't build a strong house on a faulty foundation.
Matthew 7:24-27 "Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it."
If the foundation is right, the rest of the house will be strong. If it is faulty, the house will fall. For too long, the teaching of the Trinity which obscures the true beauty of the Father/Son relationship between God and Jesus, has been robbing people of a clearer picture of the infinite sacrifice made for all mankind! We respond to our Saviour just in proportion to our understanding of what was done in our behalf. No wonder our depth of commitment to God is so small. May the knowledge of God our Father, and the beauty of the Son that He loves, stir your heart to a deeper and more wonderful relationship with the two of them. Christ our Mediator, is the connecting link between lost mankind and the God of Heaven. He is our wonderful, merciful Saviour. He is the Son of the living God!!
Before we leave this section on the Son of God, I want to share with you some very interesting portions of Scripture that I believe shed a vast amount of light on why it is so important who we believe Christ to be, and why we must have the Father and Son in their rightful positions in our thinking. The first passage is found in the book of Matthew, chapter 16:
Matthew 16:13-17 "When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven."
Jesus had just fed the 4,000, called the Pharisees hypocrites and cautioned the disciples not to listen to their leaven. He then proceeded to ask the disciples a very pointed question: "Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?" They responded by naming some of the people that various ones had thought Jesus to be. Jesus then pointedly asked the disciples, "But whom say ye that I am?" This was a very interesting question for these professed followers of the Lord to ask— did they really know who Jesus was? Immediately Peter replied with the right answer: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Peter had no doubt who this man Jesus was, and the Lord called him blessed because the Father had revealed that to him. Now let's leave this section of Scripture for just a minute and turn to the book of 1 John:
1 John 2:18 "Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time."
The word "antichrist," according to Strong's concordance, means "an opponent of Christ's." John then goes on to make a very interesting observation about the antichrist that is to come. He gives us one of the identifying marks of this opponent of Christ. (The second identifying mark can be found in 1 John 4:3.)
1 John 2:22 "Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son."
John plainly states that to deny that Jesus is the Son of God, the anointed one, is a lie. Then he says that antichrist denies the Father and the Son. Could it be that the way the antichrist power denies the Father and Son is by introducing the Trinity teaching into Christianity, which destroys their true relationship? Please remember that the antichrist power, according to the Scriptures, is not a secular power, but one that claims to be religious, yet destroys the true essence of the gospel. Now let's go back to our text in Matthew 16 and read on a little further:
Matthew 16:18 "And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
Upon what rock will Christ build his church?? Peter has just confessed that
Jesus is the Son of the living God and Jesus called him blessed because he
knew this. It was upon that rock (foundation) that Christ was going to build
his church. Christ, the true Son of God, is the Rock. Isn't it interesting
that some have taken those verses to mean that Peter was the rock upon which
the church was to be built, thus beginning a succession of Popes? You see,
if you take out the true foundation, the house begins to crumble. The reason
there are so many doctrinal errors floating around Christianity today is because
many have built on a faulty foundation. Do you remember our "status stone" in
our opening story about the shrimp? The majority of shrimp had a faulty "status
stone" and thus when they were swimming upside down they thought they
were right side up. It is the same in Christianity today. So many believe that
their faith is well grounded on the doctrine of the Trinity; yet this teaching
is a false "status stone"—the foundational teaching of the
antichrist—which makes it impossible to build on the true: Christ, the
Rock, the Son of the living God. The antichrist power has built on the premise
that Jesus is not the literal Son of God, thus denying the Father/Son relationship.
God's true church will build on the foundation that Peter declared:
" Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."
To believe the Trinity teaching is to be walking in the footsteps of the antichrist power. The Scriptures tell us that in the very end of time, the Lord will give a call for everyone to come out of all false teaching and unite under Christ and His truth.
"And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." (Revelation 18:4)
THE HOLY SPIRT
If there is only one God; one eternal, supreme being of the universe—the Father, and if Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the express image of the Father, One equal in power and authority with Him; then who or what is the Holy Spirit?
As we embark on this part of our study let's keep in mind that there are many things about God that are beyond our understanding. However, the things that are revealed to us we may know and are admonished to understand. As we study on the subject of the Holy Spirit, let's look at exactly what the Scriptures do and do not say.
First of all, I found it very interesting that the Bible never uses the term, "God the Spirit" in talking of the Holy Spirit, which is what a Trinitarian would do. Terms such as "God's Spirit," the "Spirit of God," the "Spirit of Christ," "My Spirit," "His Spirit," and the "Holy Spirit" are used, to name just a few. This becomes a very important observation, as we shall see.
Another observation that we can quickly make is that the Scriptures never tell us to "pray to" or "worship" the Spirit. Why, if He is a third "God" of a Trinity, would the Bible neglect that? We are told to pray "for" the Spirit, but not "to" the Spirit. We shall see that there are very good reasons for this.
In the book of Zechariah there is a very interesting verse we need to look at:
Zechariah 6:13 "Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both."
The counsel of peace referred to is the one in which the plan of salvation for lost mankind was formulated. How many individuals were present there? It was "between them both." That is two. From our previous study we know that this was the Father and the Son. If the Holy Spirit was a separate person in the Godhead, why was He not included?
John 5:22, 23 "For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him."
It is the Father and the Son who deserve honor and praise. This thought leaves us with some other questions that must be answered:
1. Why do we see only two thrones in Heaven?
2. Why are only the Father and Son mentioned as living among us in Heaven after Christ comes to take us home?
3. Why does the Bible never call God a "Trinity"?
4. Why are the pronouns "He" and "It" both used in Scripture when referring to the Holy Spirit?
5. Why are only the Father and the Son to be worshipped?
These are some very important questions that we must answer in order to begin to understand the Holy Spirit. The Trinitarian view makes it difficult to answer these questions from the Scriptures. Remember, our own thinking is not what is important. We must see what the Scriptures actually say, and not try to philosophize away the meaning. Let's take a deeper look now.
Genesis 1:2 "And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."
Question: Did a separate person called the Holy Spirit move on the face of the water or did God through His Spirit, His creative power and personal presence move upon the face of the water?
Before you answer that question let's look at some other verses.
John 1:1-3 "In the beginning was the Word… All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."
All creation was done by Christ. We learned earlier that Christ did everything through the power of the Father didn't we? Now, notice what else the Scriptures say:
Jeremiah 10:12 "He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion."
Psalm 33:6 "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth."
In the first chapter of Genesis you can read that with each creation God spoke and it was done. Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26.
Job 26:13 "By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent."
Was there a third person involved in the creation or was it the power of God, His very personal presence—His Spirit—that was there to flow through His Son? If we insist on the thought that the Holy Spirit is a separate god in a Trinity, how do we then reconcile the clear statements that, first of all, say Christ created everything, and also that "His spirit garnished the Heavens?"
Perhaps we can bring some harmony to all of this. You remember that we talked of Christ's declaration about Himself in Proverbs. It said:
Proverbs 8:23 "I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was."
The word "set up" is listed as number 5258 in Strong's concordance and means to "pour out" or "to anoint." The word "everlasting" is number 5769 and means "concealed," "vanishing point," or "time out of mind." This word most often refers to a time far distant in the past, before we ever began to keep a record of time. In other words, this verse is simply telling us that Christ was anointed somewhere in the far distant past before our world was ever created. It was so far back in time that you and I cannot even begin to conceive of it.
Psalm 2:6 "Yet have I set my king upon Zion, the hill of my holiness." Margin. (see also Psalm 3:4)
The word "set" in this verse is the same word used in Proverbs 8:23 (# 5258), which we have found to mean "anointed". So Christ, the Son of God, was anointed in heaven. (Note: this anointing took place in heaven, in the eons of time past)
The next logical question then is how was Christ anointed? What was He anointed with?
Hebrews 1:9 "Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows."
(Note: this anointing occurred after the ascension of Christ. But notice what was used for the anointing)
If we were to take the time to study the meaning of oil in the Scriptures we would readily find that the oil represented the Spirit of God. (Zechariah 4:12; Matthew 25:3, 4, 8) Jesus, God's only-begotten Son, was anointed with the oil (the Holy Spirit) of God from everlasting; in the eons of time past. To Christ (which means the anointed One) the Father gave of His Spirit, His very life and power. He did not give Him another person, He gave Christ the same life and power that existed in Himself. Christ received it by virtue of being the only Son of the living God. It is this very life, power, or personal presence of God that flows through Christ to you and me. We are not talking about merely a "force" here. We are dealing with the very life, personal presence, character or mind of God. Our God is a very personal being. What a thrilling thought that He desires to live within us.
John 5:26 "For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself"
The Bible says there is only one Spirit:
Ephesians 4:4 "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling."
The Bible talks of God's Spirit, and of Christ's Spirit. How then is there only one Spirit?
John 15:26 "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me."
Galatians 4:6 "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father."
It is the Spirit—the mind, power, character, personal presence, very life of God—that the Father sends through the Son to us. This is not a separate person of the Godhead who is being sent, it is the very life of God coming to us through Christ (the anointed One). There is only one Spirit the Scriptures say, and it proceeds from the Father.
In the Old Testament book of Exodus there is an interesting illustration of this. The Israelites had been wandering in the desert and were very thirsty. They began murmuring and complaining to Moses about their terrible plight. Moses cried unto the Lord and the Lord told him to do a very strange thing. Notice what the Lord says:
Exodus: 17:6 "Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink..."
Where did the water come from? Yes, it came from the rock. It didn't come from the side of it, or under it, but out of it. That is a very interesting point. Who is represented by the rock? Christ is represented as the rock isn't He?
1 Corinthians 10:4 "And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and the Rock was Christ."
Please don't miss the point that the water flowed out of the rock just as the Spirit flows from the Father to the Son to us. You can also notice that in the Heavenly courts the water of life flows from the throne of God and the Lamb.
Revelation 22:1 "And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb."
The river of water also represents the Spirit of God, and again it comes from the Father and the Son. This is what unites the two of them. This is why Jesus could make these statements:
John 10:30 "I and my Father are one."
John 17:21 "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me."
The Father and Son are one because they share the same Spirit; the Spirit which proceeds from the Father. It is this Spirit that we then receive from Christ!
Romans 8:9-11 "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.... But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you."
It is easy to see here that the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ are used interchangeably. That is because it is the same Spirit. Notice that the verse goes on to say that it was through the Spirit of God, His power, that Christ was raised from the dead. That same power and personal presence of God can live and dwell in us.
Let's go now to a portion of Scripture that is often misunderstood and used to try to show a Trinity. I'm referring to John 14 where the Lord promises to send the Comforter. Jesus has just announced to the disciples that He is going to be leaving them, and predicts Peter's denial. Then, as chapter 14 begins, He tells them not to worry because even though He is going to leave and go to the Father, He will be back. Jesus says that they can be with Him there also. They wonder how this can be, and Jesus replies:
John 14:6, 7 "…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him."
Then Philip asks Jesus to show them the Father. Jesus gently rebukes the disciples and tells them that He and the Father are one. (vs. 10, 11) He goes on to promise to send another Comforter to be with them in His absence.
John 14:16-18 "And I will pray the Father, and he [the Father] shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you."
Remember, Christ has just been telling the disciples that He is leaving them and going to the Father, and they have been asking how to get there too. Christ says not to worry because the Father is going to send another Comforter. Is this a different person that is being sent to take over the job when Christ goes back to Heaven? Is Jesus leaving his disciples for someone else to take care of? Did you notice verse 18? He says: "I will come to you." Christ was physically going to leave the earth, but He was still going to be present with the disciples through the Spirit, which was His very own inner life. The life, once again, that He received from the Father; thus the words that the Father would send Him. Christ would personally direct His followers through the one Spirit that flowed through Him to them.
There is another interesting part to this: The Greek word for "Comforter" is "Parakletos."
In 1 John 2:1 we read: "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. "
The word for "Advocate" in the Greek is also "Parakletos." Is this telling us that our Comforter and our Advocate are one in the same? Yes. Christ is the Comforter and Christ is our Advocate or our "go-between" between God and man. It is Christ who works in us and lives in us by means of the Spirit that proceeds ultimately from the Father.
Romans 8:16 "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”
Romans 8:26 "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."
I want you to notice that in each of these verses the Spirit is categorized as "it" instead of "He" as it is in other places. The Spirit is often referred to as "He" because of the personal characteristics it has, not because it is a separate person from the Father and the Son. The Spirit makes intercession for us. Who did we just learn was our Advocate, our intercessor between God and man? Jesus is our Advocate, Comforter and intercessor. (Note also Hebrews 7:25, 2 Corinthians 3:17, 18 and 1Timothy 2:5.)
1 Corinthians 3:16 "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”
Colossians 1:27 "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."
Revelation 3:20 "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."
Matthew 28:20 "...and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen"
Christ promised His disciples he would not leave them without a Comforter. He promised them that He personally would come to them and live in them, and dwell in them even to the end of the world. Isn't it wonderful to know that Jesus didn't leave us to someone else, but our Saviour is so closely linked with us that through His very Spirit, through His own personal presence, He continues to live and abide with us as long as we let Him.
There is one Spirit - Ephesians 4:4
The Comforter is the Spirit - John 14:26
The Spirit is the Lord - 2 Corinthians 3:17, 18
The Lord is Jesus -1 Corinthians 8:6
The Scriptures are so plain about the Holy Spirit that it is hard to understand how we could wrestle from them the doctrine of the Trinity. There is one Spirit. It is the very life of God flowing through Christ to us; His very personal presence with us. In Psalm 51:10, 11 David says:
" Create in me a clean heart, O God: and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me."
How is the Holy Spirit present within us? How does God work in our lives to make us once again into the image of our Maker?
John 3:5 "Verily, Verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
The Greek word for Spirit is "pneuma" which means "breath," "breeze," "God," "life," "mind." The new birth consists of receiving the inner life or the mind of God.
Romans 12:2 "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind..."
Ephesians 4:23 "And be renewed in the spirit of your mind."
Ephesians 3:16, 17 "That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith..."
It is through the mind that the Spirit lives within us. It is our minds, our thinking that is changed to conform to the will of God. That is why it says in Philippians 2:5:
" Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus."
This indwelling of the Spirit of God is a gift from our Heavenly Father to you and me.
Acts 2:38 "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."
Truly it is a gift. The Supreme Ruler of the whole universe is offering to us the mind of Christ. He is offering to give us a new heart, a new mind, recreated in the image of God; His personal presence with us. What wondrous love God has for us!
Perhaps there is no more beautiful way to explain how God desires our union with Him to be formed and maintained, than by the parable of the vine and the branches. This parable was given to the disciples directly following the promise spoken by Christ that the Father would send the Comforter to take care of them. Remember that in chapter 14 of John we saw that Christ promised to come to them as the Comforter. Jesus goes on to tell His disciples that if they are His, they will keep the commandments of God and that He, Christ, will manifest Himself to them. Judas asks how He is going to do that. Note His reply:
John 14:23 "...If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him."
Isn't it interesting that Jesus says that "we," meaning the Father and Son, will make their abode with us? After a few more verses Christ relates the parable of the vine and the branches to help us see how this is done.
John 15:1-11 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.... Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.... These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. "
The Father is the husbandman. He is the one who directs the growth of everything. He waters the vine and keeps it alive. Christ is the vine and we are the branches. What is it that keeps the vine alive? It is the water and nourishment that come up through the roots and pass up the vine and out to the branches. If a branch is cut off from the vine it will die, won't it? Christ is telling us that as long as we stay connected to Him we have life, because the water and sap that bring life (the Holy Spirit), flow through the vine to the branches. In parable form, Christ was trying to explain to His disciples just how the Holy Spirit is given and how the very presence of God can fill them. All life comes ultimately from the Father, the God of all creation, through the Son (the vine) by means of their shared Spirit, to us (the branches), so that our "joy may be full." What a marvelous representation of the work of God in our life! What wondrous love the Father and Son have, They desire to implant in us Their divine nature so that we can become "partakers of the divine nature."
2 Peter 1:3, 4 "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."
Truly the Holy Spirit is a gift from God. How sad it would be to "grieve" away this Spirit.
Ephesians 4:30 "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption."
Many have claimed that to deny that the Holy Spirit is a separate God is "grieving the Holy Spirit." From all the Scriptures we have shared it is clear that to grieve the Spirit means to push away the promptings of God speaking to us. Certainly it doesn't make sense at all that it is okay to grieve the Father and Son, just not this third person (as many teach); the Holy Spirit. To grieve the Spirit means to reject the drawing of God and Christ in our lives, because it is their very life and power that we are rejecting.
The Holy Spirit is the very life of God coming from the Father and shared by the Son. It is the personal presence of the Father and the Son given to us. Those who partake of this divine presence and power within, the life of God, and allow Him to transform their characters into the likeness of His Son, will someday get to meet personally this wondrous God of love.
Who will we communicate with in Heaven when we get there? Will there be three beings whom we will worship and adore or, as we have been learning, will there be two; the Father and His Son?
Revelation 21:22 "And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it."
Revelation 22:1 "And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb."
There is no mention of a third person to visit with us in Heaven, only the Father, the God of all; and His Son, our Lord and Saviour. May the Spirit of the living God dwell in our hearts continually, renewing our minds, and transforming us into the very image of our Creator.
Does it Matter?
Does it really make a difference whether you believe the Holy Spirit to be one of three persons making up the Godhead or whether you believe the Spirit to be the personal presence of the Father and Son with us? Isn't it just a theological technicality that isn't really of any value? The answer is; it definitely does matter. It is not just a theological technicality.
We need to ever keep in mind what Satan's original desire was from the beginning. He desired to be worshipped as God, didn't he? You recall that he was upset because he couldn't be included in the counsels of Heaven with the Father and His Son. Has he now succeeded with his desire by implanting in the heart of the church the doctrine of the Trinity? Let me explain.
From the time of the Council of Nicea in 325 AD to the time of the Council of Constantinople in AD 381, Satan was active in swaying the church to misinterpret two things. It was at these councils that the church accepted Sunday as a day of worship in place of the Bible Sabbath, giving us "another day." Also, the Trinity doctrine was made the foundational teaching of the church, giving us "another Comforter," adopting the Holy Spirit as a separate personage making three "Divine" beings.
We talked about Christ being our mediator between God and man, the only go-between there is. However, by bringing in the Trinity doctrine we have now been set up to place another "go-between" linking God to man—the "Holy Spirit." This "Holy Spirit" is being prayed to, which is in direct contradiction to the Scriptures. There we are taught to pray to the Father in the name of Jesus. Let me ask you a question: Assuming we are correct, and the Holy Spirit is not a distinct person—a separate God—then who is it that is answering our prayers when we pray to the "Spirit"? Who is it that is setting himself up as a third "God" worthy of worship and praise???? Has Satan succeeded in accomplishing his goal of being included as Deity. If we now believe that the Holy Spirit can be worshipped and prayed to just like the Father and the Son, where are we being led? What an opening this is for the Devil to mislead even professed Christians, drawing them away from the Father, the one true God, to a false god. It is a fact that in Christianity today you hear very little mention of the Father, whom the Bible calls the one and only true God. It seems that the hub of Christian activity centers around this third person of the Trinity, as they believe. The honor due the Father and the Son seems now to take a back seat to the "Holy Spirit."
Does it make a difference? It makes all the difference in the world. The Bible foretells a time of trouble soon to come upon us like we have never seen in all the history of this world. (Daniel 12:1) We must be firmly grounded in our faith. We must know in whom we believe. The teaching of the Trinity obscures the wondrous love of the Father in giving up His only Son to die for you and me. It relegates this sacrifice to that of one partner giving another of his partners as a sacrifice. That certainly doesn't in any way match the glorious understanding that the God of the universe gave of His very life, in the form of His Son, for lost humanity. Remember, as humans we respond to our God in proportion to our understanding of the sacrifice we believe He has made.
We have found the Trinity doctrine to be confusing, nebulous, and contradictory to Scripture.
1. The Trinitarian tells us we must understand that when the term "Son of God" is used in talking of Christ prior to His birth in Bethlehem, this term is used only in the sense of pointing forward to the time He would be called the Son because of the incarnation. However, nowhere is such a statement made in the Scriptures. The pure and simple statement of Scripture is that Jesus is God's Son and existed as such before He ever came to this earth.
2. The Trinitarian tells us that three persons make up one God and because each is "God" in his own right, each is worthy of worship and praise, and each may be prayed to. However, the Scriptures tell us plainly that there are only two beings worthy of worship and praise, the Father who is the source of all life, and His Son who, by inheritance, received everything from His Father.
3. The Trinitarian view asserts that it was not really God's own Son who died, but the member of the Godhead who was playing the role of the Son. If we insert that thought into the famous text of John 3:16 it would read like this:
"For God [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] so loved the world, that he [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] gave his only begotten Son... "
That is a hard line of thinking to follow. It spells confusion, and God is not the author of confusion. The Scripture is so clear that there should be no mistake. "For God [the Father] so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son."
Have we philosophized away the plain and simple teachings of Scripture and adopted in their place man's ideas of what is right or wrong? Do you remember our shrimp at the beginning of this booklet? The shrimp with the wrong "status stones" were really swimming upside down when they thought they were right side up. Could it be possible, that all the confusion we find in Christianity today with all its various denominations, could be because we have set up a false status stone? When the foundation is weak, the building crumbles, doesn't it? It is interesting indeed that the Trinity teaching is the cord that holds all of "Christianity" together, yet from it the branches run in all directions. The Bible says that if you build on solid rock, your building will stand. In other words, if you build on the truth of Christ, you'll have a solid building. But if you build on the sand, the shifting sands of error, the house will fall, and great will be the fall. Is Christianity today so splintered because it has built on the sand?
I want to challenge you to study this issue. "Study to shew thyself approved unto God…" (2 Timothy 2:15) The only way to decide what is truth is to do what the Bereans of old did and test everything by the word of God in order to be convinced in your own mind. May God lead you and guide you into all truth. Our prayer is that the wondrous love of God will fill your heart and that your relationship with the Father and Son will grow day by day as you understand more fully the magnificent sacrifice made for all mankind.
Some Difficult Texts Considered
Many Trinitarians really think that the following verses actually support a Trinity doctrine. We will examine them in detail, and pray that the Lord would give us discernment to be ready always to give an answer.
Isn't Christ spoken of here as being God? This is possibly the most widely quoted verse by Trinitarians. Let's take a look at it in the original Greek:
en 1722 arch 746 hn 2258 o 3588 logov 3056
In beginning was the Word
kai 2532 o 3588 logov 3056 hn 2258 prov 4314
and the Word was with
ton 3588 yeon 2316 kai 2532 yeov 2316 hn 2258
the God and God was
o 3588 logov 3056 outov 3778 hn 2258 en 1722
the Word the same was in
arch 746 prov 4314 ton 3588 yeon 2316
beginning with the God
"In the beginning was the Word [the Son of God], and the Word was with [the] God [the Father], and the Word was God [the Son of God]. The same was in the beginning with [the] God [the Father]." (John 1:1, 2). Notice the distinction that is made when the word the is inserted in the proper places.
There is no question that this verse refers to Christ as God, but it does not refer to Him as the Most High God. Jesus is God, but He has a God. "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:" (Ephesians 1:17). Jesus Himself says, "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name." (Revelation 3:12). And also, "Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.” (John 20:17).
Jesus is God, but not the Most High God, whom He is the Son of. "And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not." (Mark 5:7). Jesus is not "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Ephesians 1:3).
Jesus Christ has a God, God the Father does not. Jesus Christ worships God the Father. "Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews." (John 4:22). God the Father never worships His Son. God the Father is Greater than Jesus Christ, "... for my Father is greater than I." (John 14:28). Jesus Christ is not greater than God the Father. Jesus Christ has a head over Him, God the Father does not. "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." (1 Corinthians 11:3).
John 1:1 says that in the beginning was the Word, and the word was with the God. The word was in the beginning, the beginning of what? It has to be the beginning of something. Was it the beginning of this world? Was it the beginning of the creation of the angels? Whichever beginning you place it at, it has to be the beginning of something. Many Trinitarians use this to say that Christ always was, and had no beginning. That is not what the verse says. Also the word with has to mean something. The Word was with God. They cannot be the same being, or one could not be with the other. You cannot walk to the corner with yourself.
What about Isaiah 9:6, where the Son of God is called the Father?
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting 5703 [for ever (of future time)] Father, The Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6).
Is Christ the Father? If so, how can He be the Son? And if He is both Father and Son, then how can there be a Trinity, for a Trinity is three individuals. This verse is obviously not supporting of a Trinity doctrine. Jesus is referred to as the Father, not the Father of Himself, but of the children which His Father gave Him.
" And again, I will put my trust in Him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me." (Hebrews 2:13).
Christ is called everlasting, which is appropriate, since He will last forever. He is called Father, not of Himself, but of the children which God has given Him. Many Trinitarians have said that the term everlasting that applies to Christ in this verse means that He always was, and that He never had a beginning. Yet when the term is applied to us, i.e. everlasting life, they all must admit that it means simply that we will live forever in the future, not that we always were in existence.
Notice also that Isaiah 9:6 says that "His name shall be called... The mighty God". Some may use this phrase to mean that Christ is the supreme God. This would be a good argument if the verse had referred to Christ as the Almighty God, however it uses the term mighty God. We read of mighty men, but never of Almighty men. It certainly is appropriate to refer to the Son as mighty, for He is powerful. It is also appropriate to refer to Him as God, for the Almighty God Himself refers to His Son as God in Hebrews 1:8. Therefore the terms everlasting Father and The mighty God can rightly apply to the Son.
1 John 5:7
What about 1 John 5:7? "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one." (1John 5:7). The highlighted part in this verse does not belong in Scripture, and this fact is so commonly known that it is left out of most, if not all, of the new versions.
" It is now generally held that this passage, called the Gomma Johanneum, is a gloss that crept into the text of the Old Latin and Vulgate at an early date, but found its way into the Greek text only in the 15th and 16th centuries" (A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1951, page 1186).
Clarke says, "Out of one hundred and thirteen manuscripts, the text is wanting in one hundred and twelve. It occurs in no MS. before the tenth century. And the first place the text occurs in Greek, is in the Greek translation of the acts of the Council of Lateran, held A. D. 1215." (Commentary on 1 John 5, and remarks at close of chapter).
This verse originated in the Latin Vulgate. It was never written in a Greek Manuscript before the 15th century. The early Greek manuscripts do not contain this verse. This fact is so widely known, that almost all of the newer translations leave it out entirely. The NIV leaves it out. The Young's literal translation (which is a very good translation) puts it in, but it is in italics, signifying that it was added in. The Jay P. Green's Greek and Hebrew Interlinear Bible tells us in the introduction that this particular verse is not considered Scripture.
Here is the exact quote from Jay P. Green. "This text retains a few readings from the Latin Vulgate, two or three without Greek-manuscript authority (e.g. Acts 9:5-6), and one from the Complutensian Bible (1 John 5:7). Although we do not accept these as true Scripture, we have allowed them to remain; the appendix must serve as the needed corrective." (The Interlinear Bible Preface).
I have much more documentation on this. One of the best is a Bible commentary that explains how it came into the King James Bible. Erasmus was preparing a Greek manuscript in about 1520. Certain men wanted Erasmus to include 1 John 5:7 from the Latin Vulgate. Erasmus refused, saying that there was no Greek manuscripts that had that verse in it. Erasmus finally said that if they could produce one Greek manuscript that had 1 John 5:7 in it, he would include it. Within a year one was produced. No one knows exactly how they produced it. Many believe that they wrote it up themselves. Erasmus, true to his word, included the spurious verse in his Greek manuscript. The translators of the King James Bible mainly used Erasmus' Greek text, so they included it in their translation in 1611.
That is where 1 John 5:7 came from. It is not reliable at all to build a doctrine upon. By the way, the Latin Vulgate is a Catholic originated version of the Bible, and contains many such deletions and additions. It cannot be trusted completely. Neither can their two Greek manuscripts, Vaticanus, and Siniaticus. Two manuscripts that Wescott and Hort used extensively in their new Greek manuscript in the 1800's. Most of the new versions of the Bible are based on Wescott and Hort's translation.
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:"
The word name is singular, both in English and in Greek. The word "name" is used over and over again to signify "character", as Jacob had a conversion, and was no longer called Jacob (deceiver), but was called Israel (he shall rule with God). Baptize them in the character of the Father, and His Son, and their Holy Spirit.
God wants His people to know about the character of the Father, and the character of His Son, and the character of their Spirit. The word "name" means character. Jesus wasn't referring to three separate names, or characters, or He would have said so. He said "name" singular not plural. God wants us to know that He brought forth His only begotten Son, and sent Him into the world so that He could redeem us from our sins. God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts after Jesus suffered being tempted, so that we could overcome sin completely.
"For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted." (Hebrews 2:18). Since Jesus suffered being tempted, now He is able to help us who are tempted, in a different way than He could throughout the entire Old Testament times. This was the expected promise.
"(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)" (John 7:39). The Holy Spirit was not yet given because Jesus was not yet glorified. Jesus had to experience what it was like to be tempted so He could properly help us who are tempted. This was the promise that the disciples were instructed to wait for in Acts 1.
"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you." (John 16:7). Why was it so necessary for Jesus to go away, because the Holy Spirit could not be given to them unless He went away. If the Holy Spirit was a third separate God, this would make no sense at all.
Let's look at the words of Jesus. "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. [Jesus said that His disciples knew the Spirit, because He dwelt with them at that time, and would soon be in them. Who was it that was dwelling with them?] I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." (John 14:16-18).
"Christ in you, the hope of glory:" (Colossians 1:27). The hope of Glory is that Christ is in you, not someone else, but Christ Himself. He said He would come to us. "Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities." (Acts 3:26). After God Raised up His Son from the dead, He sent Him into your hearts to turn you from your iniquity. "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." (Galatians 4:6). It is the very Spirit of Jesus that is in us, not a third God, not one who is unfamiliar with the trials and temptations that we go through.
2 Corinthians 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." (2 Corinthians 13:14). Many suppose that this verse means that there are three Gods. Let's examine the facts.
God the Father has a Spirit. "For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you." (Matthew 10:20). The Son of God has a Spirit. "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." (Galatians 4:6). The Father has a Spirit, the Son has a Spirit, does the Holy Spirit have a Spirit? We never read about the Spirit of the Holy Spirit. Could it be that the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of God are the same thing? If the Holy Spirit was a third God, completely equal with God the Father, and His Son, then he would have to have a Spirit also. Yet the Bible is completely silent on this, and it even sounds ridiculous to say that the Holy Spirit has a Spirit.
Have you ever asked yourself, if they all are equal, then why is it forgivable to blaspheme the Father, or His Son, but not the Holy Spirit? From this, it would seem that the Holy Spirit is greater, or has a higher rank than the other two. Maybe the Holy Spirit is not a third being, but rather the Spirit of God, and blaspheming the Holy Spirit is not calling the Holy Spirit some bad name, but rather it is continually rejecting the prompting of the Spirit of God, until there is no return.
Ask yourself a couple of simple questions. Why did the Father never speak to the Holy Spirit? Why did Jesus never speak to the Holy Spirit? Why didn't the Holy Spirit ever speak to Jesus? Why didn't the Holy Spirit ever speak to the Father? Yet the Father spoke to His Son over and over again all throughout the Bible, and Jesus spoke to His Father over and over again all throughout the Bible.
Why isn't the Holy Spirit mentioned when Jesus was reasoning with the Jews, and claimed that He had a witness to the things He was telling them? "It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. 1 am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me." (John 8:17, 18). Certainly if Jesus had another witness to mention, He would have done it here.
" That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ." (1 John 1:3). We have fellowship with two beings. "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son." (2 John 9). He hath BOTH the Father and His Son. Think about it!
Who was involved in the council of peace? "And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both." (Zechariah 6:12, 13). Certainly if there was a third God-being, he would want to have been included in the council of peace. But no third being is mentioned.
"Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell?" (Proverbs 30:4). Here we have mentioned the Father and His Son, no one else.
" Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord," (2 Peter 1:2). If Peter knew of a third God-being, he certainly would have included him in this salutation.
''Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love." (2 John 3). Why didn't John mention a third being in this verse?
"To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 1:7). Surely Paul wouldn't pass up this opportunity to give glory to all three God's, if indeed there are three God's. In fact Paul wrote a similar greeting in every one of His letters, but never included a third being. Could it be that Paul believed what he himself wrote? "But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him." (1 Corinthians 8:6). Paul knew there was only one God the Father, and one Lord Jesus Christ, so he certainly wouldn't try to add another god.
"Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am." (John 8:58).
Many Trinitarians use this as conclusive evidence that Christ is the Most High God. Is this the case? "Jesus, thou Son of the most high God?" (Mark 5:7). Jesus is the Son of the Most High God, not the Most High God Himself. Let's look at Exodus, the only place that term is used in the Old Testament. "And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in aflame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed." (Exodus 3:2). Who was it that appeared to Moses? "The angel of the LORD." Who is that? "And He said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground." (Exodus 3:5). This is quite reminiscent.
"And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant? And the captain of the LORD'S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so." (Joshua 5:13-15).
Here the Captain of the LORD'S host appeared to Joshua and told him to loose the shoes from off his feet, because the ground where he was standing was holy. We know this was not an angel, because an angel would not accept worship. "And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." (Revelation 19:10). We know that the Captain here is not God the Father, for "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." (John 1:18). The only one left that this could possibly be is Christ.
Christ appeared to Joshua and told him to take the shoes off of his feet, for the ground whereon he stood was holy. "Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of Him, and obey His voice, provoke Him not; for He will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in Him." (Exodus 23:20, 21). "And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:" (Exodus 14:9). Christ was the one that went before the children of Israel. "And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ." (1 Corinthians 10:4).
So we see that the only time the term "I AM" is used in the Old Testament, it refers to Christ. How then can one say that because He used the same term in the New Testament that He all of a sudden was claiming to be the Most High God?
Acts 5:3, 8
"But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God." (Acts 5:3, 4).
Many Trinitarians use this as conclusive evidence that the Holy Spirit is God, therefore being a third separate being, God the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God. "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." (Ephesians 4:30). The word holy is an adjective in every instance. God has a Spirit, and His Spirit is holy. To lie to God's Spirit is to lie to God, that is because His Spirit is Himself. If I were to lie to your spirit, you would not suppose that I lied to someone other than yourself.
I pray that these verses will be of some help to you. We must be ready always to give an answer to everyone that asks us a reason of the hope that is within us. May we always be ready. 1 John 4:7-16
Other Available Titles,
‘ Christ And His Righteousness’ E. J. Waggoner’s classic treatise on Righteousness by Faith, first printed in 1890.
‘The Formulation Of The Doctrine Of The Trinity’ A History of the formulation of the doctrine of the Trinity within Orthodox Christianity
‘Who Is God’s Spirit?’ A Complete Biblical study on the Holy Spirit (covers every text that mentions the word ‘spirit’. For the serious and sincere student)
‘His Own Representative’ The relationship between Jesus & the Holy Spirit
‘Truly, This Man Is The Son of God’ Evidence of Jesus being the Son of God prior to Bethlehem.
‘The Wondrous Love of God’ The Love that God has for man can only be rightly understood in light of the sacrifice of the Father and the Son. A Biblical exposition suitable for all Christians.
‘ Immanuel God with us’ The gift of Christ.
P. O. Box 7137
Kariong, NSW 2250
The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell
The guilty pair bowed down with care
And God gave His Son to win
His erring child He reconciled
And pardoned from His sin
O love of God how rich thou art
How measureless and strong
It shall for evermore endure
With saints and angel’s song
When men who here refuse to pray
When hoary times shall pass away
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall
God’s love so sure shall still endure
All measureless and strong
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race
The saints and angel’s song
Could we with ink all oceans fill
And were the skies of parchment made
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade
To write the love of God above
Would drain the oceans dry
Nor could the scroll contain the scripts
Though stretched from sky to sky