How many are aware that there is no need for any one to seek out an interpreter of God's Word from among men? God has forbidden it. God's truths are simple and plain without the mystery of man-designed dogmas. How long will self serving Christians honor teachings that have come down through the centuries shackling the soul, blinding the eye, assaulting reason through violence, and limiting the Holy One of Israel?
Jesus said He is the Light for those who will leave the darkness. He counsels all to search the Scripture, rather than the volumes upon volumes of man' s thoughts about the Scripture. Search the Scripture that you may enter into that precious heritage purchased for you by the life-blood of countless thousands of martyrs. They were wantonly murdered by rulers in the Church in the hope of retaining power over the masses. The Father of light has spoken to His children in language they can understand -if they will. Hear His Word!
THE INDIVIDUALITY OF FATHER,
SON AND HOLY SPIRIT
Although the Bible says God is One (Gal.3:20), man's theology often teaches God as three persons. The first teachings of God is One Being in.three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the equality of the Trinity, came into existence historically early in the 4th century and was proclaimed at the Council of Nice in 325 AD. It was not until 100 years later, however, that the doctrine received its most complete elaboration and its most carefully grounded statement (by Augustine). The determining impulse was the church's profound conviction of the absolute diety of Christ. The guiding principle in the formulation of the doctrine was supplied by what is termed the baptismal formula spoken by Jesus (Matt.28:l9).We should remember, however, that earlier, before the start of the 2nd century, Jesus Christ sent a letter to the apostolic Church of that time (through John in about 96 AD), warning that He was about to take the lampstand away, if the church did not return to its first love (Rev.2:4-5). This He did and again, as with the Pharisees, the keys of understanding were lost (Luke 11:52) But again, the keys of understanding were now being returned through prophecy to those living close in time to the 2nd coming of our Lord and who are returning to the first love. This method of revelation is the Lord's pattern, for He has commanded man not to place his own interpretation on Scripture (2 Pet.1:20-21).
It was during the same period of time, in the early centuries during which the doctrine of the Trinity was being formulated, that the man-established church was busily incorporating pagan customs 'in order to Christianize the pagan peoples'. It was during this time that pagan holidays such as Easter and Saturnalia (Christmas) were made part of Christian celebrations. Therefore, although there is much of man's good thought in the doctrine of the Trinity, there is reason to take an evaluative look in the light of the Lord's revealing (IJohn 4:1, I Thess.5:21). Research has shown that nearly all polytheistic religions feature triads of divinities, including those of Egypt, the Hindu and, of course, those of ancient Babylon which was the mother of all unfaithful religions (Rev.17:5).
We need not examine at length the initial motivating principle that brought forth the doctrine of the Trinity, because Jesus Christ need not be defended as being divine through man's intellectual analysis. Jesus is Lord and God in both Old and New Testament times. He said so (John 1:1, 14). So let us examine the guiding principle during the establishment of the doctrine of the Trinity. Jesus commanded a baptizing into (not in) the name (singular) of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matt.28:19), an immersion into something. And note the repetition of the something of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, a singular quality or attribute which was common to the three and into which Christians could be immersed. What could the word 'name' mean?
What does the word 'name' mean in Scripture? In Rev.3:12, we see that all overcomers are to be sealed with 3 'names'. There it has nothing to do with outward inscription on a person, but has to do with preparation and inward changes which are necessary to take on the new responsibilities that come with each forward and upward step. Neither 'God' nor 'Father' are names, but rather titles. For example, a youngster during an Episcopal congregational meeting may call out, "Father, help me". Who should respond to the call? Perhaps he calls to his mother's husband who sits a few pews away with the adults, perhaps he calls to the parish priest who bears the title of Father, or he could be calling upon his Creator who is also a Father. Paul claimed to be the father of the Corinthians after they were brought to new life (ICor.4:15). The word God, as a title, also indicates a relationship and a function, describing one who is a 'keeper' over another.
It was said by God, "I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob". He is the God of the living, not of the dead (Matt.22:31-32, Ex.3;6). The word 'God' does not mean 'Creator', for He would not have said, "I am the Creator of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob", but "I was the Creator of Abraham....." Neither does 'God' mean 'Placer'. He would not have said "I am the Placer of Abraham", but "I was the Placer of Abraham". The word 'God' is not a proper noun; it would be unreasonable to substitute a proper noun in the statement Jesus made about God being the God of the living. For example, we would not say that George is the George of the living. Scripture says of the One who is God that He is your shield or protector (Gen.l5:l), and that He will save and deliver you (Jer.15:20). Therefore, it is fitting to describe the title 'God' in this way: "I am the Keeper of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I am the Keeper of the living." He said, "I am with you and will keep you (Gen.28:l5), and I am Yahweh, the God (Keeper) of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?" (Jer.32:27). "They shall be My people and I will be their God or Keeper" (Jer.32:38). Jesus said He is the good Shepherd (John 10:11), keeping the sheep. He is the vine (John 15:1) which provides for the branches. In this context, men are also described as gods (John 10:35, Ps.82:l-6), and are to care for, build up and protect one another, acting as keepers of the brothers. Jesus also said not to be anxious for tomorrow, for He will keep you (Matt.6:30-3l). He said even the very hairs of your head are numbered; He watches over you (Matt.10:25-31).
The God of Israel was Yahweh and Yahweh was the Creator (Jer.10:12), but the God of the Old Testament also is the God of spiritual Israel and of the New Testament, and He became the man Jesus Christ (John 1:1,3,10,11,14; Col.l:13-17; Rev.19:13,16). Jesus also said that even before Abraham, was I Am (John 8:58). Yahweh of the Old Testament said, "My price is thirty of silver... I am priced by them (Zech.ll:12-13...., and they shall look upon Me whom they pierced" (Zech. l2:l0). Note that Yahweh was here Himself speaking, but through the mouth of a prophet (Zech.11:6,12:1). Later, Yahweh (the Lord) emptied Himself of His reigning power and authority and took on the form of a slave. Yahweh who was in the form of Cod, who had the office of Keeper of all flesh, divested Himself of His glory, in order to Me whom they pierced (Zech.12:10). Note that Yahweh was here Himself speaking, but through the mouth of & prophet (Zech.11:6, 12:1). Later, Yahweh (the Lord) emptied Himself of His reigning power and authority and took on the form of a slave. Yahweh who was in the form of God, who had the office of Keeper of all flesh, divested Himself of His glory, in order to manifest in the form of a slave (Phil. 2:6-7). When the terms 'God'"and 'Father' are used, they can refer to either Jesus Christ or to His Father (Col.1:15-19, Heb.1:8), for Jesus Christ (Yahweh in the Old Testament) is our active Keeper and our Source.
During the Exodus, the Lord (Yahweh) promised to send an angel before the Israelites to keep them and bring them into the promised land. The Lord warned them to obey the angel, 'for My name is in him' (Ex.23:20-21), and the pillar of cloud and fire went before them and the angel spoke to them through Moses. We cannot separate the Lord's 'name' from what He is and from what He manifests and so the Lord's name in the angel indicates that the nature of His own being, as well as His power-presence, was in the angel, making him equal to the occasion. In another example, the Lord (Yahweh) said He would choose a place where He would put His name, or where He would cause His name to dwell Deut.12;5,11,21; 14:23-24; 16:2,6,11). He was referring to a future temple which would be built (IKings 8:16,29; 9:3; 11:36), but there is no record of the Lord having written or inscribed His name in the temple. The only logical conclusion is that He was talking about a living reality within the temple. His Name in the temple was the Shekinah Glory which dwelt in the Holy of Holies and which was & true representation of His own nature, His being and His power. He was also looking forward to the temple which would be built of living stones, Christians (ICor. 3:16-17; 6:19), in which that nature, that character, that vibration, would necessarily be present, in order to enable Christians to demonstrate the glorified bodies whicgical conclusion is that He was talking about a living reality within the temple. His Name in the temple was the Shekinah Glory which dwelt in the Holy of Holies and which was & true representation of His own nature, His being and His power. He was also looking forward to the temple which would be built of living stones, Christians (ICor. 3:16-17; 6:19), in which that nature, that character, that vibration, would necessw__]__]__]__]__]__]__]_and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. The commonality has to do with an attunement to the identical desires, engaging in the same plans, and a working for the same objectives as those of Jesus Christ's Father - and only within His enablement (John 8:26-29). The immersion into that commonality is a vital necessity for all who would become like Jesus (Rom. 8:29; ICor.15:49). It is written, all Christians must become like Him. It is in this same sense that we must learn to pray in His 'name', bless in His name. ask in His 'name', and call upon His 'name', learning to allow His nature, character and influence to be expressed.
Because of the repetition of teachings from all sides over long periods of time, and because mental habits in thinking patterns are so firmly established, it may take a considerable time of seeing and testing, seeing a bit more and testing more, before some of the confusing elements of the doctrine of the Trinity can be cleared in our minds. It will be necessary in the reading of Scripture passages to remember again and again, until it is retained in the mind, that God is a title, not a personal name, and Father is a title, not a name. In fact, Yahweh is a title, not a name. Only by context can it be determined whose title it is in that verse.
The Bible makes very, very clear distinctions between Jesus (a word associated with one specific human) and His Father and the Holy Spirit. Again and again, Jesus speaks of His Father and his God and of standing beside Him. The letters of the New Testament also differentiate. But there are places where our reading out a differentiation is not at all clear, in most cases because of having accepted teaching from man's mind. All of Scripture is given by divine inspiration and is given for our instruction and building up, - today (2Tim.3:16-17). God illustrates His truths in living drama so that we may see more clearly (IPet.1:11-13; ICor.12:11).
In the Old Testament's first book (first in time as well as in its position among the books), Abram was a type of God, the Father of the Son. Abram means high or exalted father. He had an 'on1y' son, Isaac, which means joy or laughter, who was a type of Yahweh-Jesus (Gen.22:2; Matt.17:5). "In Isaac shall your seed be called" (Gen.21:12). The Bible teaches that Yahweh-Jesus was the one through or by whom all things were brought into being (Jer.10:10-12; Zech.12:l; John 1:3,10; Col. 1:16; Heb.1:2). It was through Isaac that Abram (high father) became Abraham (father of a multitude). But Abram also had a steward over his house by the name of Eliezer, which means my God is help or God is help (Gen.15:2; 24:2). Eliezer is a type of the Holy Spirit. The very name Eliezer (my God is help) and his servant-steward relationship to Abram and to Isaac suggests the limitation on the Holy Spirit. I know of no Scripture in which the Holy Spirit is called 'God' or in which the powers of God-hood are attributed to him. The Holy Spirit is a mighty being, but not God, just as Eliezer was mighty in the house of' Abram, but he was neither Isaac nor Abram. Jesus says the Holy Spirit will "take of what is mine and transmit it to you", and "all that the Father has is mine" (John 16:14-15). This is in harmony with Gen.25:5; Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac, but Eliezer was the steward in charge of all that belonged to Abraham and Isaac (Gen.24:2). In the same pattern, the Holy Spirit (the steward placed in charge) is to "take of mine" and transmit that to those ready to receive. Eliezer took silver (a type for redemption) and jewels of gold (a type of the Spirit's impartations and gifts) and garments (righteous clothing for the soul) to Rebecca and her family (the Bride company and the Body of Christ) (Gen.24:53). Eliezer was sent to bring a wife for Isaac, just as the Holy Spirit is sent to take out a people for Christ's 'name' (John 14:26; l5:26; Acts 15:14). In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit is called the angel (messenger) of the Lord, an angel sent before you by Yahweh, to keep you in the way, an angel (messenger) of Yahweh's presence who is called His Holy Spirit and who turned and fought against those in rebellion (Ex.23:2O-21; Isa.63:9-10). In the wilderness, God warned them to beware of him, obey his voice and provoke him not, for he will not pardon your transgressions (Ex.23:21). Jesus also said the sin against the Holy Spirit would not be forgiven in that era or in the next, although a sin against Himself would be forgiven (Matt.12:31-32). How can Yahweh-Jesus and the Holy Spirit be pictured as the same being? The Holy Spirit cannot forgive sins, but the Son does have the power to forgive any and every sin (Mk.2:10). The annulling of sins requires exercise of a previously developed power in order to blot them out (Isa.44:22).
Much confusion comes from not realizing and recognizing that the word 'God' is the title of a function in relation to man and not a personal name. We know that it is possible for titles to be worn by more than one person or being, if they are qualified to fulfill the responsibilities that go with the title. God spoke to Moses and described Himself and His function. "I am the Lord (Yahweh -the ever living One). I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty (El Shaddai), but by my name, Yahweh (or Jehovah), I was not known to them... and I will take you to Me for a people and I will be to you a God (or keeper) and you shall know that I am Yahweh, your God (Ex.6:2, 3,7; Isa.42:8). Yahweh also said, "Fear not, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you (I will be your keeper)" (Isa.41:10). It was that Yahweh, in person, who was to incarnate and redeem His people (Isa.9:6; 40:9-11; Zech.12:1,7-10; Mal 3:1-3). However, we must keep in mind that Israel lived in the midst of nations that worshipped many gods (so it still is with spiritual Israel - Christians) and Yahweh-Jesus had to keep reminding them not to turn to these other gods, for He was their only God; besides Him there is none other who is the Keeper of Israel, the first and the last (Isa.44:6,8; Rev.2:8).
In Gen. 1:26 we read, "God (Elohim, meaning the Gods) said, Let us make mankind in our image (after one likeness)". Image in Hebrew means resemblance, therefore, representative figure. The word 'God' here in the Hebrew is Elohim and is plural, meaning more than one, but when Jesus cried out on the cross (Mark 15:34), He said, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani", which translated means My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me? The Eloi here is singular. When the Elohim (Father and Son) planned together for creation, the word for God is plural; but when the Son cries out on the cross to His Father, the word for God is singular. In Gen.1:17, the verb 'created' is in the singular form. The Gods planned together and then they created through the agency of One, the Creator, Yahweh (Isa.40:28). The word God, being a title, is applied to both the Father and the Son (Heb. l:8-10). "Your throne, O God (speaking of the Son), is forever and ever..... Therefore, God, even your God (the Father) has anointed you....". Elsewhere, Jesus spoke of another being who was both his Father and His God (John 14:28; 20:17; Rev. 3:12; 14:1). And Jesus Christ can be called our Father (Isa.63:16,- 64:8; Jer.3:19-20; 31:7,9; IPet.1:17 with John 5:22 and Rev.19:11), just as well as the High Father (Majesty on High, Heb.1:3), because we were brought into being by Him. In the Old Testament, it was in Isaac that the seed was to be called and Isaac was the father of Israelite people just as much as was Abraham. Therefore, we usually associate the title of Father with Jesus Christ's Father God, rather than with Yahweh-Jesus, but truly Yahweh-Jesus is the Father of our spirits (Heb.12:9), because He brought us into being (Zech.12:l; Gen.l:26).
It might appear that here is an enigma: the Bible says there is only one God. But what is the answer to this question, "How many presidents does the United States have"? The answer is; one, -there should never be more than one. Here too, the word president is a title of a function in relation to this country and is not a personal name. If the present acting president stepped down temporarily for some reason, there is another man who is legally qualified to fill that office and he then is the acting president. There would still be only one president and this analogy is somewhat similar to the truth of the one God. Jesus did say, "I and My Father are one (John 10:30). But in the same sense, He prayed that all those who believe on Him may become one, in the same way that the Father and Son are one (John 17:21). There is no merger of individual identity here, but there is a total merging of desire, purpose and objective. Either this statement is to be accepted, or the 'Trinity' has to be enlarged far beyond three! Jesus said, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (John 14:9), and He also is described as the brightness of the Father's glory and the express image of the Father (Heb.1:3; Col.1:15). They who fully saw Jesus, therefore, saw exactly what they would have seen in His Father; He would have acted the same way, done the same things, spoken the same words, etc., for they were one in all these respects (John 5:19-21; 8:26-29).
God the Father is spirit, God the Son is spirit and the Holy Spirit is spirit and you are spirit. (Of course, God the Son also became flesh and dwelt among us and subsequently received a glorified physical body of flesh and bone - Luke 24:39). However, the Bible says there is one Spirit (Eph.. 4:4). The one Spirit here is undoubtedly the Holy Spirit, because his ministry in the Body of Christ is mentioned in the context and also because the Lord (Yahweh-Jesus) and then God the Father are mentioned (Eph.4:5-6). We should remember though that the word 'one' can also be used in the sense of unity, rather than of the identity of person. For example, Paul wrote that he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit (ICor.6:17), but this does not mean he is the same person as the Lord or that his human spirit has become the Holy Spirit. It does mean there has been a joining in a unity to the Lord for His thoughts, His desires, His purposes and His objectives. Every person or being that exists is a spirit; you and I are spirits begotten of the very substance of God and clothed in human flesh and soul tabernacles (IThess.5:23). Everything produces after its own kind, and Yahweh, who is spirit, could be the father only of other spirits (Heb.12:9).
In Eph.4:5, it is written that there is one baptism. Since there are many different baptisms mentioned in the Bible, which one is this? Clearly it must be the inmersion into the 'name' of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, enabled by the Holy Spirit baptism, for there is to be no other immersion into any other 'name' for Christians (Matt.28:19). We are shown that Christians must have the Spirit of Christ in their possession and that the Spirit of His Father must dwell within them, if their mortal bodies are to be restored from death (Ro.8:9-11). Jesus promised that His Father would send another Comforter, the Holy Spirit, when Jesus had been glorified (John 14:16,26), but also we are told the Holy Spirit was sent by Jesus Christ (John 15:26, IJohn 3:24). The Holy Spirit is sent, therefore, by both the Father and the Son, they both being of the same mind, and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of (or from) the Son and is the Spirit of (or from) the Father.
If we accept the Bible for what it includes, the divinely inspired Word of God, we must accept Jesus' statement, "My Father is greater than I" (John 14:28). Certainly He was speaking from the consciousness of His own divine identity and being, not just as an ordinary human, for He also spoke of ascending to a position at the right hand of His Father, where He remained over 1900 years. For Jesus to emphasize that a God in heaven is greater than a hunan would be absolutely redundant, because of it being so obviously true. The statement of Jesus calling His Father, My God (Keeper), also indicates that in some way one is greater than the other. Beyond this, there is no indication that God, His Father, has one who is His keeper, for He is called the Majesty on High who appointed the Son as Heir and Owner of all things, by and through whom all things were created (Heb.1:3).
During the Old Testament period, it was Yahweh who was the only God (Keeper) of all who sought to learn His ways and follow them (Isa.44:6-8). He was the One who provided for them and gave encouragement and help and who rescued them (Isa.41:10). But when He emptied Himself and took on the form of man, being incarnated in human flesh (Phil.2:5-8), He necessarily had to temporarily vacate the responsibilities and the title of the one God over earth, until the redeemer responsibility had been fulfilled (Heb.10:5-10). It was during this interim time period that His mighty Father God took up the duties and responsibilities of the God office and became the active Keeper of all earth creation. Since the Father God gave His Son for humanity's redemption, it was incumbent upon Him to actively oversee and keep the creation His Son was in process of redeeming. When the redemption was completed, the Son resumed His God-role over the creation which He first brought into being and for which He subsequently gave Himself in totality as humanity's Redeemer (John 14:13-14). In His role as Redeemer, He is pictured as the Lamb of God (John 1:29,36; Rev.5:12) and, until the primary redemptive cycle is complete and the Kingdom fully established on earth, He will still be seen as the Lamb. This is why His throne, the focal point of the New Jerusalem, is called the throne (singular) of God and the throne of the Lamb (Rev.21:10, 22:3). He is both the God (Keeper) and the Lamb (Redeemer) of the earth creation, and so He rules the inhabitants of the earth both as Creator-God who brought all things into being (Heb.l:2; John 1:3; Col.l:16) and as Messiah-King, a glorified human of the house of David (Luke l:31-33). That throne which the great Yahweh-Jesus will occupy, when the New Jerusalem becomes the headquarters for rule over earth, is not the same throne as that upon which He has been seated. The throne which He has shared with His Father is in the highest heaven and is the focal point not only of the government and oversight of the earth, but of a vast universe. The New Jerusalem throne is the one which the mighty Yahweh-Jesus now occupies as that city descends into the earth's upper stratosphere during His second coming in power and great glory. That is the throne He has promised to share with the overcomers (Rev. 3.21). To those on earth, Yahweh-Jesus is the only Creator, God and Redeemer. It is He alone who is the acting God (Keeper) of earth life. He it is who, until 1970, has been on the right hand of the Father (Ro.8:34, Eph.1:17-23). Besides Him, there is no other who is God or Keeper of all the earth. What has been brought into being by and through Him (ICor.8:6), for all of that He is responsible (Neh.9:6; Isa.44:6-8; 43:11, 15-19).
C. Gordon Wolcott