TRUTH OR ERROR –
FACT OR FIGMENT ?
Mark 12:28 “And one of the scribes came and asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel;
The Lord our God is one Lord:
30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”
That a true understanding of the Godhead is essential to being granted Eternal Life by the Grace of our God is forced upon our consciousness by the words expressed in the Gospel of John:
JOHN 17:3 “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
Therefore we are obliged to come to a correct knowledge of (a) the only true God, and (b) Jesus Christ who was sent by that “only true God”.
That others have been “sent by God” is evident from a number of Scriptures:
JOHN 1:6 “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.”
There has been only One sent by God through whom man may receive eternal life.
That One was once a man. He came in fulfillment of hundreds of Old Testament prophecies to “take away the sin of the world.” To do this He was “born of a woman, born under the Law.” As such he experienced all that Adam’s race experiences and, having overcome sin and destroyed its power God exalted him to be High Priest for the race…. “Mediator between God and man” (1 Timothy 2:5).
HEBREWS 4:14 “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
Being raised from the dead, His Father bestowed on Him “the divine nature” (1 Peter 1:4) and took Him into heaven where He now waits until he returns to rule this world in fulfillment of hundreds of both Old and New Testament prophecies.
HEBREWS 9:27 “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”
To say that Jesus was God, of divine nature before his birth and his life of tribulation, trial and affliction, is to falsify the evidence and suggest that he had merely acted out a pantomime which is the record in the four Gospels. Jesus victory was a triumph over self and serves as an example to all who would follow him as true disciples. Contrary to the doctrine of the Trinity, we are distinctly told that it was “for the joy which was set before him” that he “endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2).
It was a joy which had been pre-ordained “before the world was”, but which he had not experienced before. He is now at the right hand of his Father.
THE ONE TRUE GOD
We have already referred to Jesus’ words: “…to know thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent”. But there are other statements just as emphatic in demonstrating that Jesus and the apostles served THE FATHER and not a trinity.
The discussion which Jesus had with the Samaritan woman at the well of Jacob is but one example.
JOHN 4:19 “The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.”
If we analyse that conversation we see that:
- Jesus tells the woman that she should worship the Father, not a trinity.
- That Jesus was a Jew….(“we know what WE worship”).
- If “Salvation is of the Jews”……did the Jews believe in a trinity?
- Jesus claimed to be Messiah, but claimed that he, as a loyal Jew, worshipped the Father, and laid no claim to be God.
- Jesus claimed that God was Spirit, but always referred to himself as either “son of Man” or “Son of God” but never “God the Son”.
The Jewish belief has always been in One God whom Jesus referred to as “the only true God”. This doctrine is stated clearly in the first commandment….Deuteronomy 6:4 (Isaiah 43:8-13).
4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
When Jesus quoted these very words to the scribe who asked him, “Which is the greatest commandment of all?”, He used the exact words found in the Septuagint Version, literally translated into English as “Lord, the God of us, Lord is one”.
From the Greek it cannot be made to mean anything but that God is ONE, the Greek word “eis” being used in the Septuagint for the Hebrew word “echad” (God is alone, apart, solitary). (Note: The Septuagint was the version of the Scriptures which was used in the time Jesus and His disciples preached). If the translators of the Septuagint had been wrong, then that was the time for Jesus to explain it. He did not, and that commandment remains the greatest of ALL the Lord God’s commandments.
“The Hebrew word “echad” occurs approximately 500 times in the Old Testament, and no single instance can be produced where the word in any sense loses its numerical value; nor can it be denied that it is the basis from which all other numerals have their value. (Judd, R. H. One God: the God of the Ages. Oregon, Illinois: National Bible Institution, 1949, pp. 29, 30).
The nation of Israel was the only nation chosen by God to receive His Laws and to have a direct revelation of His character and glory revealed to them. The prophet Isaiah makes this very evident when he records the direct words of God Himself in chapter 43:
Isaiah 43: 10 “Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. 11 I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour. 12 I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God. 13 Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it? 14 Thus saith the LORD, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and have brought down all their nobles, and the Chaldeans, whose cry is in the ships. 15 I am the LORD, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King.”
To this day, Israel believes in this God, the Holy ONE of Israel. It is they who “know what (they) worship,” as Jesus said to the woman at the well. But “blindness in part is happened unto Israel” in that they have failed to recognize Jesus as the Son of God. Romans 11:11-15, 25-27 and Daniel 9:24 and others tell of Israel’s blindness being taken away, their iniquity forgiven and reconciliation with God achieved.
The early disciples believed in the Father as the only true God as Paul declares:
1 Corinthians 8:6. “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.”
Again in Ephesians 4
Ephesians 4: 4 “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
When the apostle says that God is above all, this includes His Son, Jesus Christ.
JESUS IS NOT PART OF A “TRIUNE GOD”
Throughout the Old Testament there are numerous prophecies that foretold the coming of Messiah. Each of these proclaimed Jesus as being a man.
Promises of a deliverer were made to Eve, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In each case it is one of their descendants who is to bring the blessing.
Moses wrote that Messiah would come from “among their brethren”.
DEUTERONOMY 18:17 “And the LORD said unto me, “They have well spoken that which they have spoken. 18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. 19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.”
This clearly shows that Messiah would be an Israelite and that, like Moses, the message He brought would not be his own, but that he would speak as God directed him!
However, He would not be a mere man, for the promise made later to king David implies that He would also be Son of God.
2 SAMUEL 7:12 “And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. 14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:….”
Messiah is spoken of numerous times as “my servant” (Isaiah 53, Zechariah 3:8) and as “the branch (“Ben” – son) that thou madest strong for thyself” (Psalm 80:15).
A few verses later in Psalm 80 we read:
Psalm 80:17 “Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself. 18 So will not we go back from thee: quicken us, and we will call upon thy name. 19 Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.”
In fulfillment of this Jesus always claimed that he came to do the will of Him who sent him. (John 4:34, 5:30, 6:38, 8:29, Luke 22:42, etc).
Jesus always put God first (“the Father is greater than I”) John 14:28, 10:29, Matthew 20:23) and claimed that “the Son can do nothing of himself” (John 5:19, 5:30, 8:28, 14:10). Yet he claimed also that “With God all things are possible”.
Speaking of the signs which would precede His second coming Jesus said,
“But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” (Mark 13:32).
These statements do not support a co-equal, co-eternal, second person of a trinity. On the contrary, they clearly show that Jesus was fully dependent on His Father and had yet some learning to do, especially in relation to his second coming. (We will see that this knowledge had been received by the time Jesus gave the Book of the Apocalypse to John).
Trinitarians argue that divine attributes are given to Jesus and that this therefore declares him to be God, very God. But the foregoing shows that Jesus was inferior to God in a number of divine attributes including power and foreknowledge. In fact the scriptures teach us that, as a child, “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” (Luke 2:52).
That Jesus is the Son of God is testified by the words which He spoke and the miracles which He performed. All of these were witness that He was no ordinary man but that He was who He proclaimed to be, “the only begotten of the Father”. To have such a title as “begotten” immediately quells the notion that He is co-equal or co-eternal with the Father. He always did the will of His Father, and the consequent demonstration of His love for God serves as an example for those who would be His disciples.
THE ORDER OF HEAVEN
The divine chain of command is given to us quite clearly in the opening chapter of the Book of Revelation:
“1.1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: 1.2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. 1.3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.”
That introduction to Revelation gives a detailed summary of the order of Heaven when we perceive that:
- The Book originated from God.
- It was given to Jesus Christ.
- He sent it via his angel.
- The angel delivered it to the apostle John by signs.
- John wrote it down as a record, but it was still “The Word of God”.
- It was given to the disciples to read, hear and keep.
The Word of God has lost none of its power by passing down this divine “chain of command” and the “Yahweh” sense of the Name of God (“I will be manifest in whom I will be manifest”) comes into bright relief.
Throughout the Old Testament there are many instances where the angels are spoken of as God, and moreover, they carried the full authority of God with them.
In the Book of the Revelation and in the Epistle to Hebrews we see, interposed between God and the angels, the Son of God who has been “exalted to God’s right hand”. The scene of this exaltation is depicted in Revelation chapters 4 and 5. Chapter 4 ends with the assembly doing homage to “Him who lives for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne”, saying: “11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
There can be little doubt that this is God Himself, yet a Lamb (Jesus) is presented who is described as “the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David” to open the Seals.
Throughout the Book of Revelation Jesus is referred to as “the Lamb”. Eventually we read of “the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Revelation 22:1) with no mention of the Holy Spirit. Even when then Kingdom of God is established and the earth is at last at peace, the apostle Paul tells us that the divine chain of authority will remain the same: with no mention of the Holy Spirit. Even when then Kingdom of God is established and the earth is at last at peace, the apostle Paul tells us that the divine chain of authority will remain the same: with no mention of the Holy Spirit. Even when then Kingdom of God is established and the earth is at last at peace, the apostle Paul tells us that the divine chain of authority will remain the same: with no mention of the Holy Spirit. Even when then Kingdom of God is established and the earth is at last at peace, the apostle Paul tells us that the divine chain of authority will remain the same:
1 Corinthians 15:26 “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 27 For he (God) hath put all things under his (Jesus’) feet. But when he (God) saith all things are put under him (Jesus), it is manifest that he (God) is excepted, which did put all things under him (Jesus). 28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him (Jesus), then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him (God) that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.”
JESUS AS THE WORD
The writer to the Hebrews illustrates the interposition of Jesus between God and men as High Priest and mediator. The purpose of that book (Hebrews) was to show the Jews that the Law of Moses was only a shadow of that which was to come. The Law merely pointed forward to what was accomplished in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Yet the plan and purpose of God was already established. It had been shown to Moses in the Mt Sinai and Moses was instructed to “make all things according to the pattern shown thee in the mount.” In this sense therefore, Jesus pre-dated the “world that then was” and he could truly say, “before Abraham was, I am he.” Not that He existed before Abraham, but that He was the Logos – that is – “the Word or IDEA” of God which would “not return unto (God) void but would accomplish that whereunto (God) sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11).
When that Word (or IDEA) of God materialized and Jesus was born of Mary by the power of God, we have what is termed in the New Testament as “The Beginning” because it was the plan of God established before He performed the works of creation. He created this world to fill it with His Glory (Numbers 14:21) which was to come by the work of His Grace. This in turn would be brought about by the work of Jesus Christ. Jesus was therefore “the Beginning”.
1John:1:1 “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 3 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.”
2:24 “Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.”
3:11 “For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.”
And in the Gospel of John chapter 1 the apostle shows us clearly that God always had Jesus in mind, even at creation. The promises were made to Eve, Abraham and David as prophecies of the time when “the Logos” (the idea expressed as the Word of God and confirmed by an oath) would materialize as a babe born in Bethlehem of Judea.
GALATIANS 4:4 “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”
THE HOLY SPIRIT
The spirit or power of God is the substance of which God is made as we saw in Jesus’ discourse with the woman at the well recorded in John 4:24. “God is Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
Here Jesus used the Greek word “pneuma” to translate the Hebrew word “ruach”.
When we think of the sun we automatically think of sunlight. We cannot think of sunlight without also thinking of its source, the sun. Similarly, we cannot think of God without thinking of the Spirit. We cannot think of the Spirit without its source, which is God. If we wish to intensify the sunlight, we use a magnifying glass to concentrate the sunlight onto the object we wish to heat.
When God wished to use His Spirit in a special or Holy way, He concentrated that power on the object, be it a person or thing, and performed miracles. This was (and is) usually done through the medium of angels.
This was the understanding of the Roman centurion who sent Jewish rabbis to Jesus who asked Him to heal his servant.
LUKE 7:6 “Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof: 7 Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word (Greek – “Logos”), and my servant shall be healed. 8 For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.”
The motive for the centurion’s reasoning was that the Scriptures give many instances where the word of God was carried out by the angels. John Baptist’s testimony of Jesus was that “he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.” (JOHN 3:34). God had “given his angels charge concerning Him…..” and, following Old Testament precedent, they responded to the words of Jesus, the Son of God their Maker.
The Angels themselves are often referred to as God’s Holy Spirit.
THE ANGELS AS GOD
Take for example the Exodus. There we are told, God sent an Angel to lead them:
EXODUS 23:20 “Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. 21 Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: FOR MY NAME IS IN HIM. 22 But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries. 23 For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off.”
From just this one instance we can see the principle upon which the Deity is manifested to sinful man. “No man hath seen God at any time” the apostle told us. But men did come face to face with angels and survived!
Throughout the Book of Exodus, we are told that Moses met Yahweh, the LORD God, at the burning bush and that he received instructions from the LORD God, including the giving of the Law at Mt Sinai. For example:
EXODUS 20:1 “And God spake all these words, saying, 2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.…………………”
Yet in his defence, the martyr Stephen said to the Jews about to stone him:
ACTS 7:35 “This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of THE ANGEL which appeared to him in the bush. ……53 (you Jews) Who have received the law by THE DISPOSITION OF ANGELS, and have not kept it.”
Joshua met this angel who greeted him with the identical words used by the angel who declared God’s Name to Moses at the burning bush:
JOSHUA 5:13 “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? 14 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? 15 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.”
Isaiah describes this angel in two most important ways:
ISAIAH 63:9 “In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old. 10 But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.”
Verse 14 in the Septuagint Version reads: 14 “….:the Spirit came down from the Lord, and guided them: thus thou leddest thy people, to make for thyself a glorious name.”
From these Scriptures we can see that the angels were God’s ambassadors bearing the full authority of God. They speak only God’s words and to disobey them is to rebel against God.
They bear the Name of God. They are sometimes called Spirits and even Holy Spirit.
It was the angels acting in obedience to God’s command that created the world.
The use of the plural form of the Hebrew word “Eloha” which is “Elohim” is found throughout the Old Testament, and notably in Genesis 1, refers to the angels.
Man was made in the image of the Elohim and for this reason we are told: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” (Hebrews 13:2).
It is evident then that the Angels are the “Elohim” of the Old Testament.
JESUS THE SON OF GOD
When the angel came to Mary, she was told:
LUKE 1:31 “And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”
When Mary asked how this would be achieved, the angel’s reply was:
LUKE 1:35 “The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”
The Hebraism of repeating a thing twice to confirm the veracity of the matter reveals that “the Holy Spirit” and “the Power of the Highest” are one and the same. God concentrated His Spirit or Power upon Mary, this power being controlled by the angels, so that Mary conceived a special child who, when born, would be “the Son of God”.
If the Holy Spirit is a person, then Jesus would be the “son of the Holy Spirit” and not the Son of the Father.
Trinitarians point to Philippians 2:5-11 as supporting their contention that Jesus was indeed God. The King James version reads: “Let this mind be in you which also was in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God…..”
The literal translation of verse 6 is: “Who, though being in God’s form, yet did not meditate a usurpation to be like God….” or, as later translations have rendered it: “thought it not a thing to be grasped to be equal with God”.
These verses do NOT support a trinity, but rather the very opposite! Paul is stressing the point that though Son of God, Jesus humbled Himself that He might become servant of all.
These beautiful verses have their origins deeply rooted in allegorical language from the Old Testament and cannot be glossed over by superficial western interpretation. Those origins go back to the Garden of Eden and the consequences of the sin of Adam and Eve which condemned them to the grave.
The Creator of Heaven and Earth had promised the He would provide a Saviour in the seed of the woman. He confirmed this by covering Adam and Eve with the skins of animals, sacrificed to hide their shame and then He provided a way to the tree of life.
That way was guarded by CHERUBIM armed with a flaming sword.
GENESIS 3:24 “So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”
In Exodus and Ezekiel the cherubim had four faces which faces were the same as the four standards of Israel; i.e. the man, the ox the lion and the eagle:
EZEKIEL 1:10 “As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle. 11 Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies.”
Ezekiel reports that the cherubim bore the glory of God, while Exodus 25 tells us that they were “over the mercy seat” on the “ark of the covenant”. As Jesus Christ is described by Paul in Romans 3:25 as our “propitiation” 0r “mercy seat” (as well as other places), then we can perceive that we have in the cherubim a representation of the character of the Son of God.
These faces represent:
1. The Eagle: He who was “sent from God”.
2. The Man: The seed of the woman.
3. The Ox: The servant of God as well as servant of mankind.
4. The Lion: The Resurrected and Glorified “Lion of the tribe of Judah”.
We can see now the beauty of Christ’s character in Philippians 2:5-11: 7
“But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant (the OX), and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a MAN, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (LION), to the glory of God the Father.”
In Hebrews we read a similar description of the humble dedication of the One, who though born to be King of the World submitted Himself to the will of His Father that He might become a worthy and exemplary High Priest:
Hebrews 5:7 “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; 8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; 10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.”
THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST
We met this power or Spirit of Christ earlier, in Galatians 4:6
“6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”
We also pointed out that “God is Spirit and those that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).
The word in Greek for Spirit is “pneuma” used also for “breath”. It carries with it the idea of an invisible force. The ancients could see the ships being blown along by that invisible force. They could see the trees being blown and bent, and those trees which grew in windy locations remained contorted, moulded by the prevailing “pneuma”, the word they now used to describe that invisible force of God which wrought His will.
“The seven spirits of God” (Revelation 4:5) are the characteristics of God which were revealed to Moses on Mt. Sinai:
EXODUS 34:6 “And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.”
In the New Testament we are introduced to The New Covenant in Christ Jesus which is remembered in the partaking of the bread and the wine, called by some “the sacraments”. Based on the two great commandments: Love of God and Love of neighbour, we find Jesus and his apostles directing the disciples to follow “the Spirit of Christ” which included the characteristics (spirits) of Jesus Christ which He manifest while on earth; characteristics which are essential to our recognition as His disciples. These characteristics are called “the fruit of the Spirit”.
GALATIANS 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
These are all attributes of the mind. They are the wholesome motivations which were manifest in the life of Christ and which will enable us to overcome “the works of the flesh”.
Paul previously had enumerated “the works of the flesh” which are a list of actions performed by those who are dominated by the laws of nature, sometimes called “law of sin in my members” (Romans 7:23) .
GALATIANS 5:19 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Those who are motivated by “the fruit of the Spirit” are said to have “the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16). This state of mind is also referred to by Paul as “the Spirit of Christ”:
ROMANS 8:9 “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. 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 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. 12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”
We can see that the Spirit which is being spoken of here is that which:
- Is opposed to the flesh.
2. Kills the deeds of the body (Gal. 5:19)
3. Leads us into God’s ways.
4. Should be “in us”, but also may not be, dependent on our state of mind.
5. Recommends us to God as His sons.
6. Is called “the Spirit of Christ”.
Compare this to Paul’s words:
Galatians 4:5, 6 “To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”
It is this same “Spirit of his Son” in our hearts which, by being in tune with Jesus Christ, beseeches Him to act as Mediator for us with our “Abba, Father”. We read again from Paul:
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. 27 And he that searcheth the hearts (Jesus) knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
It is not the Spirit itself which is the mediator but Jesus Christ Himself:
1 JOHN 2:1 “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate (mediator) with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. The Spirit of Christ is the resultant state of mind which comes from learning about Jesus from the Word of God and being gradually changed into His likeness. In this way we obtain “the mind of Christ” and can pray directly to the Father who loves us and will accept us through the work of Jesus our High Priest.”
2 CORINTHIANS 3:17 “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
HOLY SPIRIT is NOT the third person of the trinity.
It can readily be perceived that, in the New Testament, the Holy Spirit is:
- The power of God by which Jesus was conceived and performed other miracles.
- The angels who assisted in miracles and in rescuing the apostles from trouble.
- The mind or characteristics of Christ.
- The Word of God from which we gain the knowledge of the former and by which “we try the spirits.”
- The motivation of every true Christian….but NOT….the One True GOD….!!
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