The practical application of a theoretical truth

Posted Nov 28, 2012 by Dejan Andov in General Hits: 1,392

The practical application of a theoretical truth

The last years have brought great debates in the middle of God’s Church on the Godhead subject. The people are torn apart and the crisis seems to grow in intensity. In the middle of these debates one may ask a logical question: how does knowing this subject help me in my personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ? What is the use of believing the right thing about God and what is the loss of being wrong on this subject? Personally, I have been asked these kinds of questions and, indeed they require a clear answer. Is this such an important matter?

In this article we will look at a single aspect of this subject from which we will see what the practical application of knowing the matter of the godhead in a right way is.

We will start with the last two verses from the second chapter of Hebrews. In the verses 17 and 18 of this chapter we read:

"(17) Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. (18) For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted." Hebrew 2, 17.18

In the 17th verse, Paul tells us that the Lord Jesus had to be made like his brethren (that would be us) in every aspect so that He could be a trustful Great Priest in the presence of God the Father. That refers to the ministry the Lord Jesus Christ fulfills in the heavenly sanctuary in front of God’s throne.   

In the 18th verse, Paul tells us that the Lord Jesus was tempted in every manner, just like us (also see Hebrews 4, 15), and from these temptations He learned how He could help those tempted (that is us). Now, those who are tempted can be found all over the face of the Earth. The 17th verse, like I said, refers to the ministry of the Lord Jesus, in His human nature, in heaven, in the presence of God in the heavenly sanctuary. The 18th verse, on the other hand, makes a reference to another ministry of the Lord Jesus, which is fulfilled in those tempted, that is His children on Earth.

This means that the Lord Jesus Christ fulfills two distinct ministries at the same time, one in Heaven and the other on Earth. Now, we know that He rose to heaven in His human nature and in this nature He fulfills His High Priest work, but what is the form in which He fulfills His work on Earth? Obviously this can’t be the human nature because this can’t be present in multiple places at the same time.

Now, the popular doctrine of the Trinity sustains that the one who serves on Earth, after our Lord’s elevation, is someone else than the Lord Jesus Christ. According to this doctrine, the Holy Spirit is a separate being from the Lord Jesus, who was sent to replace Him and to continue His work on Earth.

However, Paul in the 18th verse of Hebrews 2 says that the only one who can help those who are tempted is someone who has been tempted himself, because only someone who has been tempted can understand the experience of being tempted. Here is the problem of the doctrine of the Trinity! The Holy Spirit, a distinct being from Jesus Christ according to this doctrine, has never been on Earth as a human and never was he tempted in every aspect like us, so he hasn’t learned from experience how he can help those in need. The question is: how can a being who doesn’t know anything regarding the temptations we have to deal with every day help? Besides that, Paul seems to be very clear, so he can’t be misunderstood. He says that the Lord Jesus was tempted so that He could help those in need! He comes to help and no one else, says Paul.

Let us read now what the Lord’s servant says in “The Desire of Ages”, page 166:

"While Jesus ministers in the sanctuary above, He is still by His Spirit the minister of the church on earth. He is withdrawn from the eye of sense, but His parting promise is fulfilled, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Matthew 28:20. While He delegates His power to inferior ministers, His energizing presence is still with His church." (DA 166)

Read carefully the first sentence. Sister White says that, while the Lord Jesus serves in the heavenly sanctuary, He is at the same time and no one else, through His Holy Spirit, serving in His Church on Earth. Through that He fulfills His promise to His apostles in Mathew 28, 20: "I am with you alway (it’s Him, not somebody else!) even unto the end of the world".The last sentence tells that His Church has His strengthening presence and not the presence of someone else. Sister White actually says the same thing as Paul in the verses 17 and 18 from Hebrews 2. He is a servant in His Church, not somebody else.

The next passage makes this thing even clearer:

"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." (14MR, 23,24)

Read carefully brethren: Sister White tells us here that the Holy Spirit is the Lord Himself! It is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, not somebody else. But notice, in His work on Earth, He is by His Spirit divested of human personality. That means that, while in the heavenly sanctuary, the Lord Jesus serves as a person in human nature, at the same time He serves in His Church on Earth as a spiritual person through His Holy Spirit. There is a single Being or a single individual, but two distinct personalities, a physical one and a spiritual one.

Now, can we find more evidence in the Scripture and in the Spirit of Prophesy that the Lord Jesus really is the One who comes through the Holy Spirit? Let’s read what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15, 45:

"And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a life giving (quickening) spirit." (1 Corintians 15: 45)

The apostle affirms here that the second Adam, who, of course, is Jesus Christ, was made a life giving spirit. What does that mean? When was He made a life giving spirit? And another question: why was He made a life giving spirit?

In order to answer these questions we will have to turn back to the moment of the incarnation. Two thousand years ago, the divine Son of God became a man taking the human nature, which He would keep forever. We know this thing from the Spirit of Prophesy:

"To assure us of His immutable counsel of peace, God gave His only-begotten Son to become one of the human family, forever to retain His human nature." (DA 25)

At the time of His incarnation, the Son of God gave up His omnipresence so He couldn’t be in but one place at the same time. Now, John 7: 38.39:

"He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified." John 7: 38.39

Here, the apostle John tells us that when Jesus said those words the Holy Spirit had not been given and the reason was because Jesus had not been glorified yet. Notice the idea! The Holy Spirit sending was in connection with Jesus’ glorifying. In other words, if Jesus hadn’t been glorified, the Holy Spirit couldn’t have been given. Why? What is the connection between the glorifying of Jesus and the giving of the Holy Spirit?   

In order to give an answer to this question we must understand what it means that Jesus should be glorified and when He was glorified. To this glorification He refers in His prayer in John 17 verse 5:

"And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." John 17: 5

So, in this verse, the Lord Jesus asks His Father to glorify Him with the glory which He had had before the world was made. So, the glory we are talking about here with which Jesus had to be glorified, it is something that the Lord Jesus had before, but for a certain amount of time He left aside and now, at the end of His mission on Earth, He asks for this glory back from His Father. Is this thing clear?

The Spirit of Prophesy makes a clear statement through which is revealed which is this glory asked by the Lord Jesus, but also is reveal to us the reason for which He asked to be glorified. Let’s read:

"Jesus is waiting to breathe upon all his disciples, and give them the inspiration of his sanctifying spirit, and transfuse the vital influence from himself to his people. He would have them understand that henceforth they cannot serve two masters. Their lives cannot be divided. Christ is to live in His human agents, and work through their faculties, and act through their capabilities. Their will must be submitted to his will, they must act with his spirit, that it may be no more they that live, but Christ that liveth in them. Jesus is seeking to impress upon them the thought that in giving his Holy Spirit he is giving to them the glory which the Father has given him, that he and his people may be one in God."  {ST, October 3, 1892)

I think that this quote is clear enough without adding any commentary. The Lord’s servant says that the glory that the Lord Jesus prayed for asking it from His Father is actually the Holy Spirit and the reason why He asked for it was that He could "live in His human agents". In other words, that means His omnipresence. In a human body He was limited to a single place and it was impossible for Him to live in His followers. That’s why He asked His Father to give Him back the omnipresence He had before the incarnation but which was left aside so that He could experience temptations and struggles of human beings. And the reason why He asked for it was so He could "live in His human agents" and could come “to succour them that are tempted”.

Now, when He has received this glory what was the result of it? Ellen White says:

"Christ's ascension to heaven was the signal that His followers were to receive the promised blessing.  For this they were to wait before they entered upon their work. When Christ passed within the heavenly gates, He was enthroned amidst the adoration of the angels. As soon as this ceremony was completed, the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples in rich currents, and Christ was indeed glorified, even with the glory which He had with the Father from all eternity. The Pentecostal outpouring was Heaven's communication that the Redeemer's inauguration was accomplished. According to His promise He had sent the Holy Spirit from heaven to His followers as a token that He had, as priest and king, received all authority in heaven and on earth, and was the Anointed One over His people." (AA 38)

The day of Pentecost! This is the day of Jesus’ glorifying and of His enthronement as a High Priest. It is the day when the Lord Jesus received His omnipresence from His Father, which is the Holy Spirit. Now, this day in the Old Testament is symbolized by the anointing of the priests and of the high priest of which we read in the next verses:

"And thou shalt take the garments, and put upon Aaron the coat, and the robe of the ephod, and the ephod, and the breastplate, and gird him with the curious girdle of the ephod: And thou shalt put the mitre upon his head, and put the holy crown upon the mitre. Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him." Exodus 29: 5-7

When the high priest was due to start his ministry he was anointed with oil on his head. What was happening with this oil afterwards? We read about this in Psalms 133: 2,

"It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments". Psalm 133: 2

So the oil poured on the priest’s head flowed on his beard and on his garments, that is on his body. This is only an illustration of the great event of the coronation of our High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary. The oil used for the anointment of the high priest represents the Holy Spirit or the glory with which the Father had anointed the Son on the day of the Pentecost. What happened when the Lord Jesus was anointed? As in the illustration the oil flowed down from the high priest’s head on his body, the Holy Spirit poured on the Head of the Church, the Lord Jesus Christ, came down on His body, the Church. The Lord Jesus Christ lives from this moment in His human agents not limited by His human body in which he serves in the presence of God in the heavenly sanctuary. That’s why, in Bethlehem the Son of God became flesh (John 1: 14), but at Pentecost the Son of God was made a life giving spirit (1 Corintians 15: 45), one person but two distinct personalities. This truth is clearly presented in Mark 16: 19.20:

"So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen." Mark 16: 19.20

Verse 19 refers to the moment of the Lord Jesus’ elevation. We are told that after He talked to His disciples, the Lord Jesus was elevated and the disciples left and spread the word everywhere. Now, pay attention, the last part says: the Lord worked with them and strengthened the word through signs and miracles. The Lord Himself worked through them, not anyone else!

About this same truth spoke Jesus in His parable in John 15:

"I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." John 15: 5

In this parable the Lord Jesus and His disciples are compared to the vine and its braches. The branches receive life from the vine and if they are split from the vine they dry and can’t bring fruits. Likewise, says Jesus, His disciples must remain in Him and receive life from Him so that they could live and bring more fruits. Now, let’s read the next quote from the Spirit of Prophesy in which we can see in a clear manner which life it is that unites the true Vine (the Lord Jesus) with its branches (His disciples):

"There are today many as ignorant of the Holy Spirit's work upon the heart as were those believers in Ephesus; yet no truth is more clearly taught in the word of God. Prophets and apostles have dwelt upon this theme. Christ Himself calls our attention to the growth of the vegetable world as an illustration of the agency of His Spirit in sustaining spiritual life. The sap of the vine, ascending from the root, is diffused to the branches, sustaining growth and producing blossoms and fruit. So the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit, proceeding from the Saviour, pervades the soul, renews the motives and affections, and brings even the thoughts into obedience to the will of God, enabling the receiver to bear the precious fruit of holy deeds." (AA 284)              

Notice the emphasized part. The Holy Spirit is the true sap of the Vine, which comes from the Vine (the Lord Jesus) and pervades the soul of His followers and brings even their thoughts into obedience to the will of God. The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a part of Him, not a separate being. Let’s read another quote:

"The Holy Spirit, which proceeds from the only begotten Son of God, binds the human agent, body, soul, and spirit, to the perfect, divine-human nature of Christ. This union is represented by the union of the vine and the branches. Finite man is united to the manhood of Christ. Through faith human nature is assimilated with Christ's nature. We are made one with God in Christ." (RH, April 5, 1906)

Let’s continue with Romans 8: 26:

"Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."

This verse tells us that we are so weak that we can’t even pray the right way. That is why the Holy Spirit comes in our aid and it “intercedes for us with groanings which cannot be uttered”. For many people this verse is a proof that the Holy Spirit is a separate being from the Lord Jesus, but again it may be asked the same question as above. How can a being that has never experienced the temptation we go through help us in our prayers? However, the Scripture is clear regarding the one who intercedes for us because in 1 Timothy 2: 5 it tells us that there is only one mediator between God and man, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit can’t be a separate being from Jesus because in this case we would have two mediators and that is contradicting the Word of God.

However, not to be doubtful, here is what the servant of God says regarding Romans 8,26:

"We have only one channel of approach to God. Our prayers can come to him through one name only,--that of the Lord Jesus our advocate. His Spirit must inspire our petitions. No strange fire was to be used in the censers that were waved before God in the sanctuary. So the Lord himself must kindle in our hearts the burning desire, if our prayers are acceptable to him. The Holy Spirit within must make intercessions for us, with groanings that cannot be uttered." (RH, February 9, 1897)

Notice how in this quote sister White talks about the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit interchangeably. There is only one channel through which we can approach to God and that is the Lord Jesus. He Himself must kindle in us the burning desire that our prayers be accepted by God. And He makes this through His Holy Spirit or by His omnipresence. In this context let’s read the next quote also:

"Let those who bear responsibilities remember that it is the Holy Spirit who is to do the fashioning. It is the Lord who controls. We are not to try to mold, according to our own ideas, those for whom we work, but to let Christ do the molding. He follows no human pattern. He works according to His own mind and Spirit." (9T, 135)

Who is the one who is fashioning? It is clear, the Lord Jesus Christ through His Holy Spirit. Not anybody else separate from Him.

In the end, let’s look at the problem of the Comforter. If all these things we have revealed until now are true, then it is expected that the Lord Jesus Christ is also the Comforter whom He promised Himself in John 14. The servant of God makes this thing very clear. Let’s read a couple of affirmations:

“Christ tells us that the Holy Spirit is the Comforter, and the Comforter is the Holy Ghost… This refers to the omnipresence of the Spirit of Christ, called the Comforter.” (14MR 179)

"Christ comes as a Comforter to all who believe. He invites your confidence." (8MR 57)

"As by faith we look to Jesus, our faith pierces the shadow, and we adore God for His wondrous love in giving Jesus the Comforter.” (19MR 297)

"O how precious are these words to every bereaved soul! Christ is our Guide and Comforter, who comforts us in all our tribulations.” (6BC 1076)

"Let them study the seventeenth of John, and learn how to pray and how to live the prayer of Christ. He is the Comforter. He will abide in their hearts, making their joy full." (RH, January 27, 1903)

"There is no comforter like Christ, so tender and so true. He is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. His Spirit speaks to the heart." (RH, October 26, 1897)

I think it is clear enough.

Now, how does this truth affect us in a personal manner. To answer this question we will read a quote from the book „Early Writings”, pages 55, 56:

"I saw the Father rise from the throne and in a flaming chariot go into the holy of holies within the veil, and sit down. Then Jesus rose up from the throne, and the most of those who were bowed down arose with Him... Those who rose up with Jesus would send up their faith to Him in the holiest, and pray, "My Father, give us Thy Spirit." Then Jesus would breathe upon them the Holy Ghost. In that breath was light, power, and much love, joy, and peace.

I turned to look at the company who were still bowed before the throne; they did not know that Jesus had left it. Satan appeared to be by the throne, trying to carry on the work of God. I saw them look up to the throne, and pray, "Father, give us Thy Spirit." Satan would then breathe upon them an unholy influence; in it there was light and much power, but no sweet love, joy, and peace. Satan's object was to keep them deceived and to draw back and deceive God's children." (EW 55, 56)

In this prophetic vision we have two groups of people praying to God. Both groups use the same words and ask for the same thing, but receive a different answer. The first group is answered by the Lord Jesus and He sends His Holy Spirit, while the second group is answered by Satan and he sends them an unholy influence. Now, they use the same words and ask for the same thing, that is the Holy Spirit. But why do they receive a different answer? Where is the difference? The answer is clear, the difference is in their mind and their understanding regarding what they would receive. Those who believe in the Trinity and pray for the Holy Spirit, who are they going to receive? Not the Lord Jesus for sure because they don’t believe that He is the Holy Spirit. They expect to receive someone else who took His place after His elevation. That is why, they receive someone else, but this one, whom they receive, like we have proved, doesn’t know the temptations suffered by people and that is why he is not able to come and help when we are tempted. That is the work of the devil who wants to weaken the Church of God hiding the true Comforter, the only one who can help. The servant of God warned us regarding this work:

"The reason why the churches are weak and sickly and ready to die, is that the enemy has brought influences of a discouraging nature to bear upon trembling souls. He has sought to shut Jesus from their view as the Comforter, as one who reproves, who warns, who admonishes them, saying, "This is the way, walk ye in it."." (RH, August 26, 1890)

My prayer is that everyone who reads to understand the importance of this subject and through faith to accept the Lord Jesus, the One who has been tempted in every aspect, just like us and the only One who can help us when we are besieged by temptations. Amen!

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Christian unity consists in the branches being in the same parent stock, the vitalizing power of the center supporting the grafts that have united to the Vine. In thoughts and desires, in words and actions, there must be an identity with Christ, a constant partaking of his spiritual life." (RH Nov. 9, 1897)

All professions of Christianity are but lifeless expressions of faith until Jesus imbues the believer with his spiritual life, which is the Holy Ghost. The evangelist is not prepared to teach the truth, and to be the representative of Christ, till he has received this heavenly gift.  (3SP 242)

"The Holy Spirit is the breath of life in the soul. The breathing of Christ upon his disciples was the breath of true spiritual life... The impartation of the Spirit was the impartation of the very life of Christ, which was to qualify the disciples for their mission... But the Holy Spirit was not yet fully manifested, because Christ had not yet been glorified."  (RH, June 13, 1899)