The TRINITY Doctrine
We have received emails requesting we share our understanding of this crucial topic, so we decided to put together this study for the benefit of our readers. This study is very detailed, so it will require your patience and time.
Notice: Although the Seventh Day Adventist church believes in what many describe as the Trinity, and that Jesus is God, and that the Holy Spirit is also God, some individual Adventists have been convinced through their own research that either or all of these beliefs are incorrect. For this reason, sometimes you will find us quote from the writings of Ellen. G. White, because this article is also aimed towards them. However, our position will be backed up only by scripture, and when we do quote her, we will let the reader know that this is specifically for our Adventist brethren. Before quoting her, however, scripture will first prove the point being made. This article is targeted towards people of every faith, that all may see the truth regarding the Trinity as it is revealed in the Holy Bible.
Yet, we also believe that we do not have the full understanding of the heavenly Godhead, or specifically of the Holy Spirit, nor can we as humans fully comprehend this mystery. We only have what the scriptures reveal, that's it. Although Ellen G. White said man can not explain the nature of the Holy Spirit (Acts of the Apostles, page 52, para. 1, (1911)), she also said that we are in danger of not moving forward with new light on any subject (Gospel Workers, page 310). Paul tells us the following in Romans chapter 1:
(20) For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.
So although the Godhead can not fully and completely be understood, enough has been revealed to us to make a conscience decision on the Godhead and its heavenly members.
This article will include the following sections:
(2) What the Godhead means
(3) There are three that bear record in heaven
(4) Is the Holy Spirit God?
(5) Who is Melchisedec?
(6) Three separate beings, yet one in unity
(7) Is the comforter Jesus himself?
(8) Isn't the Holy Spirit an "it?"
(9) Is Jesus Christ God the Father?
(10) Did Jesus have a beginning? Is he divine?
(11) Proverbs 8
We've been told that the trinity is pagan and that it should not be used to refer to the Godhead at all. While we have seen that this term "trinity" is indeed connected with paganism in history, we believe that the concept of their being three that bear record in heaven is nevertheless found in scripture, thus revealing a trinity, or three. The word "trinity" simply means "three united." Therefore if the bible reveals three beings which are united, then we have a trinity. It's that simple. We plead with our friends and Adventist brethren who disagree with us to take a close look at the evidence provided here before making any decisions:
(13) He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.
Is Jesus Christ divine? Is the Holy Spirit divine? Are there three beings in heaven? One? Two? Did Jesus have a beginning? Was he created? Is the Holy Spirit simply a breath, or active force? Who is the comforter of John 17? What about those verses which people claim had been added to scripture? Let's begin by first defining...
There are three references to the "Godhead" in scripture, each translated from a slightly different word from the next:
Acts 17:29 - Greek: theios (Strong's 2304)
Romans 1:20 Greek: theiotes (Strong's 2305)
Colossians 2:9 Greek: theotes (Strong's 2320)
The word theios as it is used in Acts 17:29 is also translated "divine" in 2 Peter 1:3-4. According to Strong's, the meaning here is "godlike, divinity." Theiotes is only used in Romans 1:20 and only means "divinity." Strong's also says that theiotes comes from theios, so the definition "godlike" may probably be used for this word as well. Theiotes, along with theotes are defined with the word "abstractly" (difficult to understand) and theotes (Colossians 2:9) comes from the Greek word "theos" which simply means "a deity, supreme, very." What does all this tell us? We need more information! One way or the other, each one of these words find their way back to the Greek word theos. So we will have to look for "theos" (normally translated god, gods) as well as Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit and see what connections, if any, can be made. And although one should not expect to understand fully the divine Godhead, we are told that it can somewhat be understood, for it was revealed (Romans 1:20). But before doing this, let us note a couple of verses which makes it clear that...
Notice the following few texts:
(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.
Notice that these three texts clearly show that there is "one" of each... there is one Spirit, one Lord which we know is Jesus Christ, and one God the Father. Already, without going to 1 John 5:7 (a text our opponents claim was later added to the canon of scripture) we here confirm that there are three, one of each. Note the graphic below:
We believe that God protected his word, and preserved it till this day. As Christians we feel that if God's word were altered to the point where we can not read our bible without worrying if whether this verse or that verse were really part of the originals, then he failed at preserving his word. Such a notion could cause the honest Christian to be so discouraged to even read the bible at all, thus causing him to lose faith and abandon Christ. For this reason we accept and appreciate the research done by other dedicated Christians in regards to texts like 1 John 5:7 where they show evidence that this text is authentic. For your own research, visit:
-1john57.com (highly recommended)
-Jesus is Lord
Disclaimer: There are other sections of these sites we do not agree with. Serf at your own risk.
We will leave that issue there for now, and proceed with this very text:
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.
It's John's style to use the word "WORD" to refer to Jesus, as this is how he refers to Jesus in his gospel, John 1:1, 14 and in Revelation 19:13-16. Such provides more evidence of its authenticity, compiled with that as provided in the above websites. This text is clear as are our texts in Ephesians 4:4-6. How many bear record in heaven? The answer is three (treis in greek).
Then we have this next verse, spoken by Jesus Christ himself:
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 text reads in a way which tells the reader that each one of these has a name (and of, and of). Since the word "name" has the definite article "the" before it, this means that the other two names are "the name." Therefore, the text can read, "In the name of the Father, and in the name of the Son, and in the name of the Holy Ghost." Some worry that the name of the Holy Spirit is unknown, therefore, how can one baptize in his name? His name is revealed, it's just not enough for some people:
(26) But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
More on the comforter on another section below (will be an important read).
Now as an objection against Matthew 28:19 some claim that Paul did not baptize in the manner Jesus specified, but rather simply in the name of Jesus (Acts 19:5). There are a couple of responses given by those in support of this text, one of them being that Paul was not present with Jesus when Jesus said to baptize in this way, but that since it was in the name of Jesus, it was legit, since Jesus represents the Father's name, and the Holy Spirit represents Jesus' name:
-I am come in my father's name -John 5:43, 14:10
-The comforter which is the Holy Ghost, whom the father will send in my name" -John 14:26
In Jesus, also, dwells "all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." -Colossians 2:9. The bible says there is only ONE baptism (Ephesians 4:5), and since God protects his word both from corruption and contradiction, we therefore agree with this response.
Furthermore, Peter was present with Christ, yet his way of baptizing was in one accord to Christ command:
Acts 2:38, 39
(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. (39) For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call."
Here we find mention of all three, just as Christ commanded:
(1) Jesus Christ - for the remission of sins.
(Matthew 26:28 Acts 10:43, Rom 3:25).
(2) Holy Ghost - the bearer of "the gift."
(I Corinthians 12:4, 8, 9, 10, 11, 28, 29, 30, Gal 5:22, 23).
(3) Lord our God - the giver of "the gift."
(James 1:17, Heb. 6:4, I Co 7:7, Rom 6:23)
Being an obedient disciple of Christ Jesus, Peter baptized his fellow Israelites in the name of Jesus Christ for the remissions of their sins, and the name of the Holy Ghost who is the bearer of "the gift", and the name of the Father (Lord our God) who giveth "every good gift and every perfect gift." - James 1:17.
Now if we continue our reading of the second chapter of Acts we will find the astounding result of this act:
Verse 41: Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls."
Verse 47: Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
Dare we say they did it the wrong way? The gifts of the Spirit and of the Father followed the baptism which took place with Peter. I don't know if it gets any clearer then this.
Now the above texts have shown us that there is indeed a plurality of beings in heaven. But are they separate, or one? Well, as 1 John 5:7 says, they are one. But let's add to this understanding another text from the gospel of Matthew:
(16) And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him.
(17) And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
(see also the parallel passage of Luke 3:22, which says that this Spirit was the Holy Ghost)
The careful bible student will notice the "locations" of each individual described in this text. Jesus Christ is in the water, the Holy Ghost is not in the water, but above it upon Jesus, and the voice of God is heard "from heaven." Once again, we have "three" present in the text, but this time these three are in three separate locations, making them separate individuals. Why then does 1 John 5:7 say that they are one? We believe the following verse will help us answer this question:
2 Corinthians 13:14
(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.
We can see from this text that each individual member has a duty they perform. And for what? For the benefit of mankind. Jesus provides the grace, especially by his death upon the cross of Calvary. God provides his love, which draws us to him, and by which he sent his only begotten Son to die for us (John 3:16). And the Holy Ghost provide communion, offering us the comfort and presence of Jesus Christ and the Father in our lives, just as Jesus promised in John 17. Yes, they are all one... in unity, in purpose, and in agreement. Yet, adding to this our texts in Matthew 3:16-17 and Ephesians 4:4-6, they are also three separate beings, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
There is evidence of this in the Old Testament as well. Moses told the listening Israelites:
(4) Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
Let's exegete this verse closely. The word "Lord" is the Hebrew word y'hovah translated "Jehovah" or "the Lord" elsewhere in scripture. The word God is the Hebrew word elohiym which is a plural word translated "gods" elsewhere in scripture. The word "one" is the Hebrew word echad which properly means "united" or "unity." Now that we have some definitions, we can rightly translate this verse as follows:
"Hear, O Israel, Jehovah our gods are a united Jehovah"
Now some have claimed that the word "echad" must also mean one, and not "unity" every time. They will bring up verses like Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 to support this. Well, we agree it also means simply "one." But in the case of Deuteronomy 6:4, it must mean "united" because this same verse uses the word elohiym to refer to the Lord, which we know is a plural word (more then one) meaning "gods."
This is also the case with the following two verses:
(23) And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one (echad) cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff; and they brought of the pomegranates, and of the figs.
The Hebrew word translated "cluster" holds a plural meaning. Strong's says it means, "a bunch of grapes." Yet the word "one" here is also echad. Therefore, when they picked from the tree, they picked a branched which had a cluster of more then one grapes (or, a unity of grapes on one cluster).
Our second verse also uses the word echad but this time with respect to our first parents:
(24) Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one (echad) flesh.
Here we have two separate individuals, yet these two are to be "one" flesh. This does not mean they were some kind of weird, monstrous looking being with two heads but one flesh. No, this means they were to be one in unity.
The word elohiym is the same plural word used in Genesis 1:26 where the plural word "our" is also used:
(26) And God (plural, gods) said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness
Yet notice the next verse:
(27) So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
In the next verse we find the singular words "his" and "he" used to describe God, unlike the verse just before, where the plural "our" is used. Then verse 27 once again mentions elohiym (gods), making them a unity of ONE God. Isaiah's account describes a similar situation:
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
God speaks, using the singular "I." Then continues with the plural "us" saying "who will go for us." Obviously, when one of them speaks, it's as if all three are speaking, or all three are involved, for they are one in unity. Why the move from plural pronouns to singular? Because they are a united!
Now it is true that elohiym can sometimes hold a singular meaning. Brown Driver Briggs says that its second meaning can also be "plural intensive," holding a "singular meaning." The case is supported by a verse in Exodus where God told Moses he would make him a god (elohiym) to Pharaoh (Exodus 7:1). Yet, this is only in some cases. When we return to verses like Genesis 1:26-27, we find plural words coupled with elohiym in the same text. This is not the case in Exodus 7:1. Here it is merely a single person, Moses, who would be as a god. Plural words such as "our, us" are not used here. Therefore its second meaning is what's in view. Not only that, we determined above that there are definitely "three" in the heavens. This will be further proven as we continue below. If then there are three, which is plural, and the words "our, us" are use to describe these three, then the plural meaning is what's in view when it comes to God.
Then we find y'hovah described with the plural word "us" in these next verses:
(22) And the LORD (y'hovah) God (elohiym) said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever.
(6) And the LORD (y'hovah) said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
(7) Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.
We continue to find verses, even in the Old Testament, which testify to the fact that there is a plurality within the theos, or Godhead. Now these verses do not tell us that there are three in this plurality, it simply shows that there is a plurality. We will show the Old Testament trio below. But first, notice this interesting fact. Jesus grabbed Deuteronomy 6:4 to make a point in the New Testament. But notice the words used when translating this into the Greek language:
(29) And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God (theos) is one Lord:
The plural word elohiym is translated by Jesus as theos, the word from which all the words translated "Godhead" find their root! There is a connection, therefore, with the plurality of God and this word theos. Could this be the reason why its extended words (theios, theiotes, theotes) were translated as Godhead? We believe so. Furthermore, this comparison shows that these elohiym were indeed... one. Here's why. This word "theos" can hold both a singular meaning and also a plural meaning. For proof of it holding a singular meaning, we refer you back to Mark 12:29, which uses the word "one" which is the Greek numeral heis, literally meaning one. But in the following text, Jesus uses it to means more then one:
(34) Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods (theos)?
Who else is better in explaining grammar then our Lord Jesus himself? Note carefully, here Jesus used this same word to refer to people as gods. In other words, Jesus establishes the fact even more, that elohiym is a plural word that teaches us the unity within the heavenly Godhead, both that they are three, yet united as one.
Now notice how, as with Matthew 3:16-17, the Old Testament also shows a clear "separation" between the three; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit:
(12) Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last.
(13) Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together.
(14) All ye, assemble yourselves, and hear; which among them hath declared these things? The LORD hath loved him: he will do his pleasure on Babylon, and his arm shall be on the Chaldeans.
(15) I, even I, have spoken; yea, I have called him: I have brought him, and he shall make his way prosperous.
Clearly, the person speaking here is the one who "laid the foundation of the earth" and who's right hand "spanned the heavens." Who was this?
(16) For by him (the Son - verse 13) were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
(17) And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
It's Jesus Christ. Now go back to Isaiah 48, but look at verse 16:
(16) Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me.
In this text we have three individuals... the Lord God, the Spirit, and Jesus Christ (sent me). The construction of this sentence shows that each one of these are separate (the Lord God and... sent...). There is no doubt, therefore, that there are three in the heavenly Godhead. For our Adventist brethren, Ellen White calls this the "heavenly trio:
"The Comforter that Christ promised to send after He ascended to heaven, is the Spirit in all the fullness of the Godhead, making manifest the power of divine grace to all who receive and believe in Christ as a personal Saviour. There are three living persons of the heavenly trio; in the name of these three great powers --the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit--those who receive Christ by living faith are baptized, and these powers will co-operate with the obedient subjects of heaven in their efforts to live the new life in Christ." -Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 7, pp. 62, 63. (1905)
Here's another verse:
(6) Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.
(7) Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
Compare verse 6 with Hebrews 1:8. The God here is the Son, Jesus Christ. When verse 7 says "thy God" it then speaks of God the Father, for Jesus always referred to God as the Father (ex. John 17:11). So far, we have God the Father, and Jesus Christ, who by the way is here called "God" (more on Jesus as God below). Where's the Holy Spirit? Towards the end. It reads... "thy God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness..." Oil, we know, represents the Holy Spirit (1 Samuel 10:1, 6; 16:13-14, Isaiah 61:1). Of course he brings gladness... and joy. Once again, we find three. But these next verses should make this even clearer:
(24) The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
(25) The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
(26) The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
As with Isaiah 6:3, where the seraphim's cry, "Holy Holy Holy" three times, so here in this text we have mention of y'hovah three times. Coupled with the verses we have seen above in both the Old and New Testament, it's clear that we are dealing with three separate and divine beings, each described as y'hovah or holy, yet they are also described as ONE God.
There is a divine God-head therefore; a plurality of gods or elohiym in the scriptures, and these are only three. This is not Polytheism, for these three are also one both in essence and in agreement, purpose and truth. Polytheism is a belief in many separate gods who are different either in essence or nature (ex. Hercules) and/or purpose and agreement (ex. Zeus verses Hades).
What we have not seen in this plurality, however, is who, of the three, is God, and who, if any, is not God. Normally there is no question as to whether the Father is God. The arguments of our opponents are usually with reference to the Holy Spirit first, then at times with respect to Jesus Christ, if whether he is truly God or no. So we will begin our examination of each of these in this order, beginning with the Holy Spirit.
To answer this question, we will begin from the beginning. Genesis chapter one says:
(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.
We already saw how the three described in the heavenly Godhead are, while one in unity, three separate beings. The above verse will give us more information about one of those beings, the Holy Spirit. It says that God's Spirit "moved" upon the face of the waters. The word "moved" is the Hebrew verb rachaph which can mean, according to Brown Driver Briggs Hebrew Definition, either to "be relaxed" or to "hover." This is very important to know, because some have claimed that this Spirit is some active force, guided in every way by God. They liken it to electricity, an element needing human assistance. But, notice what we found. The following text shows that it is used as a verb which is active by itself, without any assistance from anyone whatsoever:
(10) He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.
(11) As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth (rachaph) over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings:
(12) So the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.
An eagle does not need any assistance in hovering over her nest. She has this ability built in her already. And like such an animal the Lord is likened, saying that he "alone did lead them, and there was no strange god with him." The only other passage where this word is found is in Jeremiah 23:9, and there it is translated "shake." A man's heart does not literally brake, neither do his bones literally shake, yet no one in this context, grabbed this gentlemen, and shook his bones. His body did this on its own.
Although we find verses that show God leading the Spirit (which we believe is an example of his humbleness and his willingness to give the Father all the glory, as did Christ, who also moved only as the Father led him -John 5:19, 8:28, 12:49), we also find verses that show the Spirit is active on his own. For example:
2 Samuel 23:2
(2) The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.
(29) Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
(13) And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
(16) The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
(1) And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness
(14) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
In these texts, we see the Holy Spirit speaking, bearing witness and leading. None show him being forced to do this. Rather then being led... he leads.
The bible amazingly provides for us more information as to the activities of those present before the foundation of the world. Since the Spirit is active on his own in our Genesis 1:2 passage, notice what he was doing while hovering over the waters:
(13) By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent.
In the Hebrew, garnished means to "bright, brightness, clearness, fairness." In other words, the Spirit of God had a part he played in creation. He brightened up the sky, and made it fair.
Then we discover this next verse:
(4) The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.
This same word make (Hebrew: asah) is translated "make" in this verse:
"... God said, let us make man in our image..." Genesis 1:26.
It's clear that the Spirit also took part in the creation of man. Now notice this. The Hebrew words translated "Spirit" and "breath" in Job 33:4 are two separate Hebrew words... ruach for Spirit, and n'shamah for breath. The word n'shamah is also translated breath in this next verse:
(7) And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
The words "and the Lord God formed man" in this verse and the words "The Spirit of God hath made me" in Job 33:4 parallel each other. Then, in Job 33:4 we are told that it was the "almighty" which breathed the n'shamah into the man. But when we return to Genesis 2:7, it was "the Lord God" who breathed into the man's nostrils the breath of life. Now the word "God" here is again elohiym, which is plural for gods. Well it would make sense that this is the word used here, for the bible also says that it was both God and Jesus who created man (Psalm 100:3, Colossians 1:16). Therefore, we have three that created man, the Spirit of God, God the Father, and Jesus Christ. No wonder elohiym said in Genesis 1:26... "let US make man in OUR image!"
What do we have so far? We've got the following points:
(1) The Spirit is a separate being as part of the triune Godhead
(2) The Spirit is active by himself
(3) The Spirit took part in creating the universe
(4) The Spirit took part in creating man
(5) The Spirit leads, speaks and bears witness
(6) The Spirit, while one in unity, is also separate from the Father and from the Son (as seen above)
The confusion our critics have, is in their understanding of the unity of the Godhead. They think that, because some verses say God led the Spirit to do something, that the Spirit is not active on his own. Yet when we consider verses like the ones we have seen so far, it becomes evident that the truth of the matter is that they, the Spirit, God and the Son, are united for this very purpose... the salvation of mankind (see 2 Corinthians 13:14 and for our Adventist brethren, see once again the last section of Special Testimonies Series B, No. 7, pp. 62, 63). So it shouldn't come as a surprise when we see texts that show either the Spirit or the Son being led by the Father. He is the great judge, whose love moves him in unity with the grace of Jesus and the communion of the Holy Spirit to save his people and provide eternal happiness for the entire universe.
There is a 7th point the bible adds. Note carefully:
(2) That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ.
Once again, we have the "three that bear record..." But, did you see how Paul mentions the Father and Christ by name (or title if you wish) in this verse? Who then is the other individual mentioned in this verse? Who is this "God?" I believe the answer is clear enough that it's the other member of the heavenly trio, the Holy Spirit. What other option can our critics come up with? While showing the Spirit as God, Paul at the same time constructs his sentence in a manner which gives the reader the idea of a trinity, or three separate beings.
Note what Peter said:
(1) But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,
(2) And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet.
(3) 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?
The story is simple, they kept part of the price, and in doing so they lied to "the Holy Ghost." The next verse reads:
(4) 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.
It was against the Holy Spirit that they committed this sin according to verse 3, yet in verse 4. Peter tells us that the one they lied to was "God." The Holy Spirit is here called God by Peter himself! Any argument against this would be an argument against and apostle of Christ.
Compare the following two verses:
2 Peter 1:21
(21) For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
2 Timothy 3:16
(16) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
Peter tells us that the authors of the bible were moved to speak by the Holy Ghost, yet Paul in 2 Timothy says that it was God who inspired the writings of these holy authors.
Our seventh point is that the Spirit is called "God" in scripture. But our next section will prove points 1, 2, 5 and 6 even more, leaving our opponents with no room to budge.
Let's notice a few points about this individual called Melchisedec:
(1) He met Abraham while he was returning from the slaughter of the Kings - verse 1
(2) He has no Father and no Mother - verse 3
(3) He is without descent, or without record, genealogy - verse 3
(4) He has no beginning or end of days; he lives forever - verse 3
(5) He is "like" (similar) unto the Son of God - verse 3
(6) He is a person: "consider how great this man was" -verse 4
(7) Once again, he had no genealogy - verse 6
(8) It is witnessed that he still lives - verse 8
We are trying to determine who this gentlemen really is. Paul gives us a lot of information in the first 8 verses. But notice verses 15-16:
(15) And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest,
(16) Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.
In other words, there arose another priest besides Melchisedec the Priest of the most high God. The word "another" in the Greek means "different." This means that this other priest who arose was different from Mel. Who was this other priest?
(17) For he testifieth, Thou (Jesus) art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
(See also Hebrews 5:5-6)
That other Priest was Jesus. Note that it says Jesus came after the order "of" Melchisedec. Jesus was not Melchisedec; rather he came after Melchisedec's order. Verse 3 tells us this as well, saying that Jesus, the Son of God, was "like" or similar to Melchisedec. More proof is listed in the above list:
-Jesus had a mother, Melchisedec did not.
-Jesus' genealogy is recorded in Matthew 1 and Luke 3, Melchisedec's is not recorded.
How is he similar to Jesus? Well both are Priest's, and both have no beginning and no ending. Could it be that Melchisedec was God the Father? Not likely, for verse 1 told us that Melchisedec met Abraham after the slaughter. Yet, no man has ever seen God:
(18) No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
Was Abraham a man? Why yes, he was. So he likewise never saw God the Father. Who are we left with? We learned above that there are three that bear record in the heavenly Godhead, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. If in this chapter we have one who, like God, has no beginning and no ending, it must therefore be the Holy Spirit. If it not the Holy Spirit, yet as seen it is neither Jesus nor God the Father, who was he?
(2) Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.
Only God is from everlasting to everlasting, having no beginning and no ending. He is "eternal." Now verse 4 tells he is was a "man" meaning he was a person. A person, we know, has a personality, else he could not, by definition, be a "person." This means that he is an eternal person. And since Melchisedec is clearly not God the Father and not Jesus Christ, he must be GOD the Holy Spirit, for only God is an eternal person (no beginning and not ending).
By the way, he is not an angel either, because verse 3 says he has no beginning, but we know angels had a beginning, for they were created.
This, along with our previous two sections, would settle once and for all who the Holy Spirit really is. Since the individual called Melchisedec is the Holy Spirit, we are left with the following logical conclusions:
(a) The Holy Spirit is a separate being from the Father and from the Son, not just some active force.
(b) The Holy Spirit also has a body himself while being separate from the Father and from the Son.
(c) The Holy Spirit has no beginning and no ending, a quality only a God can posses. Therefore he also is God, as seen also in our previous section.
The name "Melchisedec" literally means:
-King of Righteousness
-King of Peace
This fits perfectly with the Holy Spirit. He convicts the world of righteousness:
(7) 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.
(8) And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
And he brings forth peace:
(22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith...
(17) For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
The following quote is for our Adventist brethren to consider:
"It was Christ that spoke through Melchisedec, the priest of the most high God. Melchisedec was not Christ, but he was the voice of God in the world, the representative of the Father. And all through the generations of the past, Christ has spoken; Christ has led his people, and has been the light of the world." -The Review and Herald, Feb 18, 1890, How to Meet a Controverted Point of Doctrine.
As promised, our case was first proven by scripture. Now we further confirm these points in the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy for our Adventist brothers and sisters. It's clear, according to the above quote, that Melchisedec was not Christ himself. Rather, Melchisedec was one by which Christ spoke through. Then we are shown that Melchisedec is not the Father, rather, he is the "representative" of the Father upon the earth, the "voice of God in the world." Need I say more? If he is not either of these two, yet he had no beginning and no ending, something which belongs to God alone, he must be the Spirit of God... the Holy Ghost, separate, divine and a being himself.
This section is dedicated to only one chapter in the New Testament, 1 Corinthians chapter 12. Here we will further prove that the Holy Spirit is separate from the Father, yet one in unity with him and with his Son Jesus Christ. I have seen this chapter greatly misinterpreted by those who are against our position, so I decided to add it within this article. We will share our thoughts, and let you judge for yourself.
In the context of this chapter, Paul is speaking about the various gifts the Holy Spirit gives to God's people within the church. Yet within this context, he uses the Godhead to help them understand this work. Notice:
1 Corinthians 12:4-6
(4) Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
(5) And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
(6) And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
In each verse, we have each member of the Godhead. Each is "the same." We have, the Spirit, the Lord whom we know is Jesus Christ, and God the Father. Verse 6 tells us that it is God who is "active" (per the Greek word translated "worketh") in all things. But it's the Spirit which causes the "effect" (different Greek word translated "working" with different meaning) of these gifts in verse 10. Look at verse 11 closely:
1 Corinthians 12:11
(11) But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
The word "one" is that Greek numeral/singular word again, which means just that... one. So there is one Spirit. Then it says he is the "selfsame" Spirit. There is a reason why it reads... self-same. Because he is him-self that same Spirit. The Greek word translated "selfsame" is a pronoun which includes the word "self" in its definition. Now its not always translated him-self in scripture, but in this verse the word "self" is very significant. Why? Because of how the verse ends:
"... dividing to every man severally as he will." -verse 11.
The Greek word translated "severally" means "pertaining to one's self" according to Thayer's Greek Definitions. It's translated "own" 76 times in the New Testament, privately 8 times, and apart 7 times. Then the verse ends with the words "as he will." Saw what just happened? The Holy Spirit him-self separates the gifts to God's people as he wills. He has his own will of doing this work. What does God do? The answer to this will come shortly. Let's keep reading:
1 Corinthians 12:12
(12) For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
Note how Paul explains the gifts that each individual member of the church can possess. He says that as the body has many members, yet is ONE body, so it is with Christ! Compare this last part to the following verse:
(9) For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
See, in Christ dwells all the fulness of the Godhead. In Christ dwells both the Father (John 14:10) and the Holy Spirit. So as there are many in the body... there are many, or more then one, in Christ. Though as the body is ONE, so Christ, the Father and the Holy Spirit is one!
The concept that each part of the body has a function applies equally to the heavenly trio as well. Christ, we know, provides for us grace (see 2 Corinthians 12:9). The Holy Spirit does not only provide Comfort, as does the Father and the Son, he also is the one who spiritually baptizes us into the church, according to the next verse:
1 Corinthians 12:13
(13) For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
God the Father is the one who places the people into the body of Christ:
1 Corinthians 12:18
(18) But now hath God set (Greek: places) the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
Compare with verse 24, which says that God "tempered" the body "together..." Tempered means to "combine" in the Greek. God places the people in the church, and combines them, allowing the Holy Spirit to effect the gifts of the Spirit through them. Just as the body has many parts, but all work together, and just as the church has many people yet all are combined and work together, so also IN CHRIST (verse 12) the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, each being "many" combine themselves and work "together" for the salvation of the benefit of the church!
I don't believe there would have been a better way for Paul to teach them about the gifts of the Spirit except in this manner.
We've quoted some verses that speak of the Comforter which we believe refers to the Holy Spirit. But some have said that rather then the Comforter, or Holy Spirit, being a third being in the heavenly Godhead, is actually Jesus Christ himself. Those who believe this should consider the following two points:
If Jesus is that Comforter (the Holy Spirit) which was promised to come:
Point 1: Then Jesus is not mediating in the Most Holy Place of the heavenly Sanctuary.
This effects both Adventists and non Adventists alike, whether you believe Jesus entered into the heavenly sanctuary in 1844 or before. (We don't believe it was before. See our bible proof for this in our article The phrase within the vail in Hebrews 6:19).
Now why do we make this claim? Because Jesus said the comforter would come when he leaves (John 14:26). We know the comforter was to stay with us, bearing witness with our spirits that we are the children of God (Romans 8:16) and helping us to manifest the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). If Jesus were here on earth, then he could not be a High Priest:
(4) For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law.
And if Jesus were not a Priest because he is here on the earth, then we have no advocate, mediator, which means there if no forgiveness of sins (1 John 2:1). And if there is no forgiveness of sins, we will all die in our sins. See how dangerous this belief really is?
Point 2: Then Jesus is divided into two, body and Spirit.
In order to refute the first point, my opponents claim that Jesus is both in heaven and on earth. In heaven in body, and on earth as a spirit. This is also very dangerous. The bible teaches we are not divided into two or three conscience parts, body, soul and spirit. The bible clearly states that the body is the soul:
(7) And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
See, we were not given a soul, we became one. The spirit that was given to us was simply the "breath" of God. Note this text:
(4) His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.
When one dies, the spirit goes to God who gave it. Rather then the conscience of this individual continuing on into eternity, his thoughts "perish" and will return only when Jesus resurrects the dead. This is similar to when Jesus resurrected the young girl:
(55) And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.
As with Lazarus, there is no indication of these recounting what they experienced in heaven, nor did they show any emotions as to why they were brought back down from above.
Now Jesus, when he became a man, he was also made the same way, for he was in every way like unto us:
(14) Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.
His spirit, as with the young girl, also returned unto God when he died:
(30) When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
This is the biblical doctrine called "soul sleep" or "the state of the dead" which is vigorously defended and taught in both Seventh Day Adventist and other denominational circles (see our study: The Achiles Heel of the Eternal Torment Doctrine).
If Jesus was not really "made like unto his brethren," meaning that he is a living Soul like we are, and not a body and soul or spirit, then this too will remove him from being our High Priest:
(17) Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that (Greek: for this purpose) he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
If our opponents respond in this manner, they will remove him from being our High Priest, and from making "reconciliation" for their sins. They will die lost! Not only that, but they would invite Spiritualism into our midst by claiming that there is a conscience spirit apart from the body.
Since Jesus was made like unto us, then he is not divided into two parts, he is, as we are, a living Soul. He is either in heaven mediating on our behalf, or here on earth. And if here on earth, then we might as well eat, drink and be merry... for tomorrow we die.
Furthermore, if Jesus is the Holy Spirit, then the following verse would contradict itself:
(32) And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
Let's for a moment say that Jesus is the promised Holy Spirit. Let's rewrite this verse again, but this time with "Son of man" replaced with Holy Ghost:
(32) And whosoever speaketh a word against the Holy Ghost, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
Does this make any sense to our critics???
Our opposing friends and brethren should seriously consider this idea of theirs, for if they are right, we are all, Adventist or not, in big trouble, for not only is Jesus not mediating on our behalf, he also has a problem with contradicting himself.
Let's find out who the Comforter really is:
(26) But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
This is so plain a 12 year old could see this. Who is the Comforter? Jesus said it's the Holy Ghost. Some tell us that because of verse 18, it would be Jesus who would come unto them; therefore, he is the Holy Ghost. Well, the Father was to come to them also (see John 14:23), is he the Holy Ghost also?
Why did Jesus say that he and the Father would be with them after he left? Because the Holy Spirit would represent them!
"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name..." -verse 26
And heres a quote for my Adventist friends:
"The Lord Jesus acts through the Holy Spirit; for it is His representative." -Messages to Young People, 55.
If I can't make it to my appointment with bank company so and so, I will send my associate in my name. He is perfectly eligible to go in my place and conduct the meeting for me. He is not me... rather he represents me. Simple. Also, my associate will not speak his own words. I will direct him in what to say. Everything I have taught him, he will speak:
"... he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you... he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you" -verse 26 continued, and John 16:14.
Once again, my associate is not me... he is another banker:
(16) And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.
The word "another" is the Greek word "allos" which means "else, different." Just as my associate is someone else and a different person, yet he also is a banker, so the Holy Spirit is someone else, different, and separate from Christ, yet he is also, as is Christ, a Comforter. Even the Father is a Comforter (see Psalm 23:4, Isaiah 40:1)
One gentleman tried to twist this word "another" this way. He showed me a text in 1 Samuel which says that Saul would be turned into another man, then said "see, Soul is not another man, he was always the same." This is the verse:
1 Samuel 10:6
(6) And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.
But when we read this in its proper context, we get "another" picture. The previous chapter tells us that Saul was simply a rich man's son (verse 1). But in verse 1 of the 10th chapter, God through Samuel promises to make Saul a different man, one who is "captain over his inheritance." If we then read down the context, verse 9 says that the Spirit of God would make him another man, and verse 9 says that to Saul was given "another heart." The words "another man" and "another heart" parallel. When it reads that he would become another man, it meant his heart which be changed to minding the things of this world to minding and working for the things of God. He would go from being a rich mans son, to becoming the spiritual leader of the kingdom of almighty God. He indeed became a different person that day!
Now back to the gospel of John, notice this about the coming Comforter (Holy Ghost):
(14) He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
Here the Comforter would glorify Christ. This means that if Jesus is the Comforter, that he would glorify himself. But this is a problem:
(50) And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth.
Jesus does not glorify himself! If he were the Comforter, then we have another contradiction. That would mean he contradicted himself at least twice.
Let's gather the problems caused by our opponents:
(1) Jesus is no longer mediator
(2) Jesus did not really come in the same flesh as us. Thus plan of redemption destroyed.
(3) Jesus double talks. Causes confusion saying someone "else" would come, then saying he's coming. God is not the author of confusion.
(4) Jesus contradicts himself at least twice.
Yet, if we would just take the time to try to understand the "unity" in the mighty Godhead, we would see that this very unity is the reason why Jesus spoke the way he did. God "sent" Jesus. Jesus would "send" the Holy Spirit in his name. Jesus brings forth "fruit" from within his people (John 15:5), the Holy Spirit brings forth fruit (Galatians 5:22). Both Jesus and the Father would come to their people (John 14:23) and so will the Holy Spirit (verse 26). God is a God of judgement, the bible speaks of the Spirit of judgment (Isaiah 4:4). See, they are all three united for the salvation of mankind, and thus they can be interchangeable in their work for us.
Why then does Jesus speak of the coming Comforter, yet we know he is also our Comforter? This is very simple. Notice the following:
(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 (pleading) for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Here the "spirit" pleads for the people of God. He makes "intercession" for us, and helps us in our infirmities, which provides comfort. But notice this next verse in this came chapter:
(34) Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
Verse 34 tells us that Christ "also" makes intercession for us. See, both intercede, and both provide comfort. This is why they both can hold the same title, because although they are separate, they both work in unity. Both intercede, thereby providing for us comfort. But the Holy Spirit is still a distinct person:
“The Holy Spirit is the Comforter, in Christ’s name. He [the Holy Spirit] personifies Christ, yet is a distinct personality.” -Manuscript Releases, vol. 20, 324
We've learned much about the Holy Spirit, and have thus far determined that he is indeed a separate being, equal with the Father and his Son, and united with them in every sense of the word, especially for the salvation of man. But theres more.
Because the bible sometimes refers to the Holy Spirit with the third person singular pronoun “it,” to them this means that the Holy Spirit is not a personal being as is God the Father and Jesus Christ. Here are some of the verses they will point to:
(32) And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.
1 Peter 1:11
(11) Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
Some of our Adventist brethren will also point to some of the writings of Sister White, like to the following quote:
"The Lord Jesus acts through the Holy Spirit; for it is His representative." -Messages to Young People, 55
Hence the claim that the Holy Spirit is merely an active force, or something to that effect.
Those who reason this way should consider a couple of points. First, the Dictionary tells us that the word “it” can also refer to living beings, even human beings:
Webster’s II Dictionary
it: pron. – Used to refer to non-human entity, an animal or human being of unknown sex, a group of persons, or an abstraction.
Have you ever said to a brand new mom's baby, “… it’s so cute!”? Or have you ever said, “that group won the super-bowl, it’s the best team ever!”? Or how about… “tag! Your it!”?
As funny as these examples may be, even the dictionary uses some of these to explain this word:
The Newbury House Dictionary of American English
it: pron. Third person singular pronoun… 7: to be “it”: in children’s games, to be the one who chases or finds others: In tag, children take turn being “it.”
Now let’s give some bible examples of the word “it” being used to refer to living, active people. In the first definition above, we read, “Used to refer to… a group of people.” Notice this verse:
(15) Lo, I will bring a nation upon you from far, O house of Israel, saith the LORD: it is a mighty nation, it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language thou knowest not, neither understandest what they say.
(15) Thou hast increased the nation, O LORD, thou hast increased the nation: thou art glorified: thou hadst removed it far unto all the ends of the earth.
Notice the following:
(28) When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not.
(29) (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.)
Here we have the case where Jesus met a man possessed by an evil spirit. Luke acknowledges that it is alive, active and intelligent, yet refers to him as an “it.” But notice the next two verses:
(30) And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him.
(31) And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep.
Here we notice something important. The “it” is a Legion of many spirits, and not just one. As in the verses above, we here have yet another example of the word “it” referring to “a group of persons.”
So we gather that the word “it” can be used to refer to living, intelligent human beings, either of a group of people, kids, or infants.
Now we will show a bible example of “it” being used for a single individual:
(38) And, behold, a man of the company cried out, saying, Master, I beseech thee, look upon my son: for he is mine only child.
(39) And, lo, a spirit taketh him, and he suddenly crieth out; and it teareth him that he foameth again, and bruising him hardly departeth from him.
The child of this man was possessed by “a” spirit, and, knowing that it is a real, living spirit, refers to it with this pronoun.
Now in Luke 8:28-29, we noticed that the spirit is referred to an “it,” yet in verse 30, Jesus applies to it the following pronoun… “And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? ...”
This same thing is done to the Holy Spirit. Although the bible uses the word “it” to refer to him, Jesus applied at least four pronouns when referring to him:
(17) 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.
Note: It was already proven that Jesus is not the promised comforter spoken of here. See the section called “Is the comforter Jesus himself?”
For our Adventist brethren, Ellen White also applies such pronouns to the Holy Spirit:
“The Holy Spirit, sent from heaven by the benevolence of infinite love, takes the things of God and reveals them to every soul that has an implicit faith in Christ. By His power the vital truths upon which the salvation of the soul depends are impressed upon the mind, and the way of life is made so plain that none need err therein.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, page 113.
And she is clear that the Holy Spirit is a personal, living being, and not just an it:
“We need to realize that the Holy Spirit, who is as much a person as God is a person, is walking through these grounds.” -Manuscript 66, 1899. (From a talk to the students at the Avondale School.)
“The Holy Spirit is a person, for He beareth witness with our spirits that we are the children of God. When this witness is borne, it carries with it its own evidence. At such times we believe and are sure that we are the children of God.
The Holy Spirit has a personality, else He could not bear witness to our spirits and with our spirits that we are the children of God. He must also be a divine person, else He could not search out the secrets which lie hidden in the mind of God. "For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." -Manuscript 20, 1906.” -Evangelism, page 616-617.
We can not base our beliefs merely on the word “it,” since it can be used in various ways. Just because an infant, a child, or a group of people can be referred to with the word “it,” does not mean they are not self-living, intelligent, personal beings. The same must be applied to the Holy Spirit, especially in the light of what has been revealed about him in the sections above. The Holy Spirit is a personal, eternal being. He is part of the heavenly Godhead, being called “God” himself in scripture, and is the very Melchizedek priest which met Abraham after the great slaughter of Genesis 14:17-20.
There are certain denominations which actually teach that Jesus is God the Father, and that there is no real difference between the two. I believe many call this “oneness,” which rejects the Godhead, replacing it with the idea that there are not three, or two… but simply one.
This too is dangerous. If Jesus is God the Father, and not separate (God the Son), then his argument in the following verse is voided out:
(16) And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.
His argument is that he is not alone. But the “oneness” doctrine teaches that he is. Therefore Jesus does not have a case.
Notice the next two verses:
(17) It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true.
(18) I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.
If Jesus is God the Father, then his defense is quickly dismissed, for in the law a case must be established “out of the mouth of two or three witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15). For Jesus to have a case… to even make sense, they must be two separate entities. The confusion with our opponents lies in the next verse:
(19) Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.
They say with this that, since if they had known him they would have also known the Father, that Jesus is the same as the Father. But does this rule out the logic Jesus himself used in the previous texts? Absolutely not! If the reader would have kept reading John gospel, they would have read:
(30) I and my Father are one.
They are one, not because they are not separate individuals, but because they are one in agreement, purpose and love, as shown in the previous sections of this study. They are “united.” That is why, when you know Jesus, you know the Father, because Jesus represents the father:
(43) I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.
There is One God, united as three co-eternal persons, each representing each other, agreeing with each other, et cetera.
The individuality of the Father and the Son is brought forth ever so clear in the following verses, spoken by Jesus Christ himself:
(20) Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
(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.
Ellen White explained this in no better terms:
“The unity that exists between Christ and His disciples does not destroy the personality of either. They are one in purpose, in mind, in character, but not in person. It is thus that God and Christ are one.” –The Ministry of Healing, page 422.
Furthermore, Jesus, we know, became a man “like unto his brethren” (Hebrews 2:17). Yet the Father is Spirit (John 4:22). No man has ever seen God at any time (1 John 4:12), yet Jesus, was seen (Acts 1:3).
No friends, Jesus was not praying to himself in John 17. He’s not crazy. He was praying to another person in the Godhead; to the Father. To claim otherwise would mean to go against the clear testimony of scripture, and cause Jesus to be both illogical and insane.
For our Adventist brethren… Ellen White is in agreement:
“The Scriptures clearly indicate the relation between God and Christ, and they bring to view as clearly the personality and individuality of each.” –The Ministry of Healing, page 421.
Did Jesus have a beginning? Is he divine?
We will divide this section into a few parts, each beginning with an argument made against him. These parts will be:
(a) Jesus is not God!
(b) Jesus had a beginning!
(c) Jesus is the only "begotten" of the Father!
(d) Jesus was created!
(e) Jesus said in John 17:3 that the Father is the only true God!
But before we address these, there is something important that must be understood.
In a messianic verse, it is said of Jesus that he is he whose...
"... goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." -Micah 5:2
Jesus' going forth is from everlasting to everlasting. The word "everlasting" holds the meaning of "vanishing point." His goings forth are from so far back that it can not be known. And neither is it for us to try to know when, for this is not revealed for us in scripture.
The words "goings forth" can hold the meaning of "descent" or "origin." In this text, the context is on the Messiah and his coming to his people. The origin the text is speaking of here is his origin as "messiah," not as a created being. The origin of Spider Man (excuse my kindergarten example) is when he was bitten by the spider. This is when he became "SpiderMan." Yet Peter Parker existed before this happened.
As will be shown below, Jesus always existed, but there was a point in time in history when the Father said of Jesus... "I will be (Greek: future tense) to him a Father and he shall be to me a Son." -Hebrews 1:5. The bible speaks of the lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). The origin of Jesus' as Messiah, therefore, is from everlasting. It is unknown when this plan was conceived or planed, but nevertheless, it was planned, and he was crowned as the coming Messiah.
For our Adventist brethren, this is why it seems like Ellen White speaks of Jesus as being "begotten" before the world came into existence. Because as Messiah he was begotten from everlasting. From of old this plan was set up, when and second person of the Heavenly Trio was chosen by the Father (Hebrews 1:5) to be the Son of God who would come and die for the world. But in order for our human minds to comprehend some of how this plan was established, or decided upon, she explains it in the following way:
"This work began in the heavenly courts...The Godhead was stirred with pity for the race, and the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit gave themselves to the working out of the plan of redemption. In order fully to carry out this plan, it was decided that Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, should give Himself an offering for sin." -Counsels on Health, 222.
The Godhead knew from of old, because God knows everything from the beginning, that man was going to fall. It was therefore decided that Jesus would become the lamb offering that would die for our sins. To try to get any deeper then this which is revealed to us from Holy Scriptures about Christ's existence before his Messiah hood would mean to speculate.
Now, does the bible teach that Jesus is God? Well, let's let the bible answer this question:
1 John 5:20
(20) And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
Who is he which is true? Jesus Christ. This is the true God. Some have had trouble with this text when compared with John 17:3, where God the Father is said to be the true God. But there is no contradiction. When John the author recorded those words, he understood the equality Jesus had with the Father as he made known before (John 10:30, 17:11, 21). These two texts only show us how both the Father is the true God, and how Jesus is the true God.
1 John 5:20 is rejected by some in order to claim that Jesus was "a" god, and not as true a God as was the Father. But this is not the case. The verse is crystal clear, and so is the following:
(8) 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.
The reader knows that in context, it is the Father himself calling Jesus God. Will we believe his report?
To claim that Jesus was created, or that he had some type of beginning as a being, yet say that he is God, is to go against the scriptures which make it clear that God would never give another his glory as God:
(8) I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.
God is establishing the point that he alone is to be worshiped as God, and nothing else, like those graven images. For God to then turn around and give another his glory, allow him to be worshiped and praised as God, and then call him God, would be for him to contradict himself. Since this verse is true, that means that, considering verses like Hebrews 1:8, there was never a point when Jesus was "not" God, for is there was, then he became God and the Lord through Isaiah lied to us.
Look at this:
(3) The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Here, it is the Lord (Hebrew: y'hovah) who is coming, and the verse finished telling us that he is "our God." This text was fulfilled in the New Testament in Jesus Christ:
(23) He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.
Jesus was just called Jehovah or y'hovah in these texts. Remember the three y'hovah's we read about in Numbers 6:24-26? Truly Jesus is the true God/y'hovah of ancient time!
Finally God comes as Messiah and is born in a manger. The angel commands that his name be Jesus:
(31) And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
As a man, Jesus was made:
(5) Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:
As a man, Jesus had to "learn obedience" through suffering:
(8) Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
As a man, Jesus had to grow in wisdom:
(52) And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
As a man, Jesus had the same sinful nature as us:
(3) For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness (Greek: form) of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
(16) For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham (not Adam).
2 Corinthians 5:21
(21) For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
As a man Jesus was sanctified:
(19) And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
(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?
As a man Jesus was justified:
1 Timothy 3:16
(16) And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
As a man he overcame the sinful desires of the flesh through abiding in the Father (John 14:10) and never sinning:
(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.
God can not be tempted (James 1:13), therefore Jesus was not tempted as God, but as a man. 1 Timothy 3:16 told us that it was "God" who was manifest in the flesh. Compare:
(14) And the Word (Jesus) 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.
Jesus was truly God! He came down, became a man, put his divinity aside, and relied only upon the Father for everything, especially in overcoming and condemning sin in the flesh. He relied so much upon God that upon his cross he called upon, not all three, but only two, God the Father and God the Holy Spirit:
(46) And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Numbers are important in scripture, especially when it comes to the Godhead, so this was no accident. Jesus was always God himself, separate yet united with the other two heavenly dignitaries. Yet his mission was to, not forsake his divinity, but put his divinity aside, not using it for himself, and becoming a man to be able to die, for God can not die. He called upon the two members of the Godhead, for the third was dieing upon the cross. O what mystery, yet majesty of our heavenly savoir! That he would do this for me, a wretched sinner!
See, our opponents constantly get all this confused. They emphasis Jesus as a man, but disregard those which present him as God. And like this they can't possibly see him as equal to his Father, despite him constantly telling us that he and the Father are one. The truth of the matter is that Jesus was fully man, yet before his origin as Messiah, he was always fully God as well! Thomas recognized this:
(28) And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
The risen savior appeared to him, still man, still flesh and bones (verse 27), and yet he is recognized as truly God, for he finally understood what God did for him. God himself 100% God, became 100% man, and gave himself for his sins. John the beloved apostle puts it in the perfect order:
(1) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
(2) The same was in the beginning with God.
(3) All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
No, verse one does not say that the word was "a" god; it says he "was" God, plain and simple. Then this Word becomes flesh. We know this was Jesus:
(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 "made" literally means "to cause to come into being." Notice this very carefully friends. First we are told in verse 1 that in the "beginning was the Word." The Word was always since the beginning. We are told this Word dwelt with God... "And the Word was with God..." Then, I said THEN we are told in verse 14 that this Word was "caused to come into being" as FLESH. Here's the order one more time:
(1) Jesus (the Word) was in the "beginning" with God.
(2) Jesus made all things (verse 3).
(3) Jesus became flesh.
Our critics get this order confused, but as we have seen before, John is only putting all this in its proper order. Jesus is and always was fully God. He was always "with" God. He made everything. Yet because man fell, the plan was established (when exactly we are not told) and Jesus was chosen to come to this miserable world and become 100% flesh like you and like me.
As for our five arguments, most of them were already addressed:
(a) Jesus is not God!
The only reason why some people say this is because they don't understand Jesus and fully God and fully man. They expect to have this divine mystery fully explained to their limited minds. All we have to go by is that which the bible reveals, and it reveals him as both God and man. These two concepts are not understood; therefore our opponents either get them mixed up or simply chose one side of the story.
(b) Jesus had a beginning!
No Jesus was "in" the "beginning" with the Father (John 1:1). His origins are that of his messiah hood.
(c) Jesus is the only "begotten" of the Father!
Yes. As to when this plan was established, and when it was confirmed (the point in which he became the begotten) is not revealed. However, he is "begotten" in the context of him being chosen by the Father to be the "lamb slain from the foundation of the world," not in the context of him as a created being. He was not a created being, for to have him called "God" by the Father as a created being would mean for the Father to contradict himself in Isaiah 40:3.
(d) Jesus was created!
Jesus was indeed created... as a man:
"... a body hath thou prepared me." -Hebrews 10:5.
As God, however, he always existed.
The only verse our critics can produce to claim that Jesus is both not God and is a created being is one in the book of Revelation:
(14) And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.
Should we accept this verse, but reject the tons of evidence just produced to the contrary (and there so much more which can not fit in this paper)? The word "beginning" holds the beginning of "chief" in its Greek form. Yes, Jesus indeed is the "chief" of the creations of God, for he created them all!
(16) For by him (Jesus Christ) were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
(e) Jesus said in John 17:3 that the Father is the only true God!
Yes, and as we have seen above, the same author said the same of the Son (1 John 5:20).
Our opponents don't stop there; they have one more thing to show us:
In this chapter we find "wisdom" personified as one who was brought up with the Lord before the creation of the heavens and the earth. Because of the words of this "wisdom" some have concluded that wisdom is Jesus Christ. For example, verses 35 and 36 tell us that the person who does not have wisdom loves death, yet he who does have wisdom "findeth life." We know that life is in Jesus Christ (John 14:6).
We agree that this chapter is speaking about Jesus in his preexistence. Yet there are some concerns brought up regarding this chapter:
1: Jesus was "possessed" by the Lord in the beginning -verse 22.
2: Jesus was "set up" from everlasting -verse 23.
3: Jesus was "brought forth" -verse 24.
And so because such words are used to describe him, they conclude, despite what the rest of scripture has to say on the matter, that Jesus had a beginning; that at some point in time "began." Those who hold this position should study what these words actually mean:
Possessed: The word here is the Hebrew word "qanah." According to Brown Driver Brigg's Hebrew Definitions, it can hold any of the following meanings:
- to get
-cause to possess
Most of the times it is translated either buy, bought or get in the bible, because this is its first definition.
How was Jesus bought? Why did the Lord buy him? Does this word specifically mean to "create?"
Set Up: This word is the Hebrew word "nasak" and literally means "to pour out, pour, offer, cast." Now this word is interesting. According to Strong's the meaning of this word is in the sense of "anointing as King." Well, we are getting a bigger picture. Jesus was "bought" and then chosen and anointed as King. Let's see the next word.
Brought Forth: The Hebrew word here is "chul, chyl." Here's the meaning:
-to twist, whirl, dance, writhe, fear, tremble, travail, be in anguish, be pained, to twist, to whirl, whirl about, to dance, to writhe (in travail with), bear, bring forth, to wait anxiously, be made to bear, to be born, writhing, suffering torture (participle), to wait longingly, to be distressed.
Amazing! We who understand the sanctuary know that a lamb was to be chosen and bought, then killed for the sin of the people. These texts in Proverbs 8 give us a description of the Lamb of God, chosen to be the Messiah, to be anointed, and to suffer in pain the death that we deserved upon the cross of Calvary!
Can "possessed" mean "create?" Sure, but how was he created? Not as God, for God has no beginning nor ending. This word is never even translated "create" anywhere in the Hebrew Old Testament. We have seen that Jesus is God, so when it says he was "possessed" it alludes to our first text in the previous section, Micah 5:2, which speaks about Christ's origin as Messiah!
From the beginning, before the worlds were created, Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God, was chosen by the Father ("I will be to him a Father, he shall be to me a Son" -Hebrews 1:5) to be anointed as King and to suffer; be twisted, tormented, whirled about, put to pain, anguish and fear for my sins and for your sins. In other words, these verses are speaking to us; once again, about the origins of Jesus as Messiah when he was chosen to be the suffering servant.
We pray that this was helpful in your studies and walk with the Lord. Know for a surety that their indeed is a divine Godhead in the heavens, which designed this plan to save mankind. Each, in his own separate ways, does their part in this work, yet they do it in unity, for they were always united, both in spirit, and in truth.
There is much more that can be said about the Godhead, about Jesus and about the Holy Spirit. We believe this 43 page article has provided enough proof. Yet if there are any questions, send them to us. And when we receive enough of them we will add our "Your Thoughts Questions answered" section below. God bless you.
For further study, see:
-Did Ellen White believe in a Three Person Godhead? (off site)
Note: This link analyzes many of the quotes our misinformed Adventist brethren use to prove Ellen White did not believe in a Godhead of three co-eternal persons. You'll find detailed explinations of some of the most famous quotes which they use. Including this quote:
“Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally; therefore it was altogether for their advantage that He should leave them, go to His father, and send the Holy Spirit to be His successor on earth. The Holy Spirit is Himself divested of the personality of humanity and independent thereof. He would represent Himself as present in all places by His Holy Spirit, as the Omnipresent.” -MR, No. 1084 – Manuscripts 5a, 1895).
We highly recommend our brethren visit this webpage.