The Holy Spirit
This is the final presentation in a series of three. Before reading this paper it is advisable to read the following two presentations also located on this website: (1) The Alpha and the Omega of Deadly Heresies in Seventh Day Adventism and (2) The Personality of God and of Christ
This presentation will identify the Holy Spirit and its relationship to the Father and His only-begotten Son. Note that it is the identity and not the nature of the Holy Spirit that will be presented here. Are there any Seventh Day Adventisits who are in doubt as to whether we can know the identity of the Holy Spirit? If they are trinitarians, particularly tritheist in their belief, let them consider that that they have already identified the Holy Spirit as a third Divine Being.
And please make sure that you read this entire presentation as you will see Biblical testimony from the Holy Spirit itself that it is not a third independent co-equal and co-eternal Divine Being as tritheists maintain. I’ll repeat that again. Make sure that you read this entire presentation as you will see Biblical testimony from the Holy Spirit itself that it is not a third independent co-equal and co-eternal Divine Being.
We begin by travelling back to the time of the emergence of the Seventh Day Adventist church. At that time, fanatical teachings were obscuring the personality of God and of Christ. To correct the influence of these false teachings, God gave a vision to Ellen Harmon in February of 1845. This vision re-established the Bible teaching of the personality of God and of Christ and served as a foundation pillar for the advent people.
By examining the vision given to Ellen Harmon in February of 1845, we will also see the identity of the Holy Spirit revealed. Turning to page 54 of the book Early Writings we read a partial account of the vision sufficient for this purpose:
I saw a throne, and on it sat the Father and the Son. I gazed on Jesus' countenance and admired His lovely person. The Father's person I could not behold, for a cloud of glorious light covered Him. I asked Jesus if His Father had a form like Himself. He said He had, but I could not behold it ...Those who were bowed before the throne would offer up their prayers and look to Jesus; then He would look to His Father, and appear to be pleading with Him. A light would come from the Father to the Son and from the Son to the praying company. Then I saw an exceeding bright light come from the Father to the Son, and from the Son it waved over the people before the throne ... This company all received the light and rejoiced in it, and their countenances shone with its glory. 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 a cloudy chariot, with wheels like flaming fire, surrounded by angels, came to where Jesus was. He stepped into the chariot and was borne to the holiest, where the Father sat. There I beheld Jesus, a great High Priest, standing before the Father....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. EW 54,55
Please note carefully what Mrs. White saw in vision:
(1)There are only two personal beings described sitting on the throne: the Father and the Son. Where is the Holy Spirit if it is a third co-equal personal God? Note also that she does not ask Jesus if the Holy Spirit has a form like Himself. Why not? From this evidence it is apparent that she understood that there are only two personal Divine Beings, the Father and His Son.
(2) Next note that when God's people pray “My Father, give us Thy Spirit” Jesus then breathes upon them the Holy Ghost. It is the Father’s Spirit that Jesus breathes. The fact that the Holy Ghost is breathed by Jesus gives it some more identification.
Now note the light coming from the Father to the Son and then to the praying company. Then notice that to those who prayed “My Father, give us Thy Spirit” was the Holy Ghost breathed upon them by Jesus. These are two parallel descriptions of the same sequence of events. The breathing of the Holy Ghost from Christ gave the company of believers light, power, and much love, joy, and peace. Thus the identity of the Holy Spirit is made plainer from this part of the vision.
(3) The Holy Spirit is not shown to be a third co-equal personal Divine Being like the Father and His Son. Instead, the Holy Spirit is seen to be light from the Father given first to Jesus, then breathed upon the praying company by Christ. In that breath there is much light, power, love, joy, and peace. The Holy Spirit IS THE VERY LIFE OF GOD THE FATHER and not a third Divine Being called God the Holy Spirit. This true identity of the Holy Spirit will now be confirmed from other Bible and Spirit of Prophecy quotes. We will see that:
THE HOLY SPIRIT, THE BREATH OF LIFE, IS THE LIFE OF GOD THE FATHER AND THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD.
THE HOLY SPIRIT IS THE PERSONAL PRESENCE AND OMNIPRESENCE OF GOD THE FATHER.
THE HOLY SPIRIT IS ALSO THE PERSONAL PRESENCE AND OMNIPRESENCE OF JESUS CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD.
THE HOLY SPIRIT, THE BREATH OF LIFE, IS THE LIFE OF GOD THE FATHER AND THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD.
To understand this truth we will first read of God’s original purpose in the creation.
From eternal ages it was God's purpose that every created being, from the bright and holy seraph to man, should be a temple for the indwelling of the Creator. All created beings live by the will and power of God. They are dependent recipients of the life of God. From the highest seraph to the humblest animate being, all are replenished from the Source of life. DA 785
First note that it is God the Father Himself who would live in all His created beings. Next note that it was God’s purpose that every created being and not every created thing should be a temple for His indwelling. This is an important truth to note as it does away the doctrine of pantheism. We next read of the creation of man.
When God had made man in His image, the human form was perfect in all its arrangements, but it was without life. Then a personal, self-existing God breathed into that form the breath of life, and man became a living, breathing, intelligent being. All parts of the human organism were put in action. The heart, the arteries, the veins, the tongue, the hands, the feet, the senses, the perceptions of the mind--all began their work, and all were placed under law. Man became a living soul. Through Jesus Christ a personal God created man and endowed him with intelligence and power. 8T 264
The First man, Adam, was made in God’s image. Note that the first man was made out of the dust of the ground.Then the breath of God’s life was breathed into him making him a living soul. However, through sin, man cut himself off from God, the source of all life. And thus, from His original purpose:
God is the fountain of life; and when one chooses the service of sin, he separates from God, and thus cuts himself off from life. He is “alienated from the life of God.” … God gives them existence for a time that they may develop their character and reveal their principles. This accomplished, they receive the results of their own choice. DA 764
But it is the purpose of the gospel to restore to fallen man the life of God, the life that he lost when he sinned.
When the gospel is received in its purity and power, it is a cure for the maladies that originated in sin. The Sun of righteousness arises "with healing in His wings" (Malachi 4:2). Not all that this world bestows can heal a broken heart, or impart peace of mind, or remove care, or banish disease. Fame, genius, talent--all are powerless to gladden the sorrowful heart or to restore the wasted life. The life of God in the soul is man's only hope. MH 115,1905
Heaven's plan of salvation is broad enough to embrace the whole world. God longs to breathe into prostrate humanity the breath of life. RH, June 24, 1915
Here we ask this question: What is the life of God, the breath of life that He longs to breathe into prostrate humanity and thus restore man to God’s original purpose?
Answer: Without the Holy Spirit, without the breath of God, there is torpidity of conscience, loss of spiritual life. Unless there is genuine conversion of the soul to God; unless the vital breath of God quickens the soul to spiritual life; unless the professors of truth are actuated by heaven-born principles, they are not born of the incorruptible seed, which liveth and abideth forever. RH, Dec 3, 1908
The Bible and Spirit of Prophecy are very plain when harmonized correctly. The Holy Spirit is the breath of God which is also the life of God. And we see this same truth from the Review and Herald in different words:
It is the Spirit of God in the soul that quickens its otherwise lifeless faculties, and attracts the soul to God and to the truth. The intellectual talents owe all their advancement to God, and our religious life is dead and spiritless, unless the living Spirit is received from God the life-giving power. Without the enlightenment of his Spirit, we cannot appreciate the things of the heavenly world, and cannot have a relish for communion with God. RH, July 19, 1887
The quickening of our souls with the Spirit of God will be accomplished for all who will receive Christ by faith as their personal Saviour. We read of this truth contained in the plan of salvation in the following words:
God has sent His Son to communicate His own life to humanity. Christ declares, “I live by the Father,” My life and His being one. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him. “For as the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself… LUH, Dec 2, 1908
In Christ the cry of humanity reached the Father of infinite pity. As a man He supplicated the throne of God till His humanity was charged with a heavenly current that should connect humanity with divinity. Through continual communion He received life from God, that He might impart life to the world. His experience is to be ours. DA 363(1898)
Here Jesus tells us that He lives by His Father’s life; their life being one. Also note that His experience is to be ours. That means that when we commune with our Father in heaven through Christ, we receive life from Him just as Jesus does. This life that we receive is the Holy Spirit of the Father given to Christ and then to us. We do not receive a third divine Being called God the Holy Spirit. The following passages make this truth plain:
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... 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, Oct 3, 1892
Christ gives them the breath of his own spirit, the life of his own life. RH, Nov 19, 1908
The Holy Spirit that Jesus breathes upon all his disciples here is described as a vital influence. The word “vital” means pertaining to life, contributing to life, containing life or being the seat of life. [See Webster’s 1828 dictionary] Thus the breath of God, the Holy Spirit, is shown in this passage to be the life of God the Father first given to His Son and from Christ to His people. Also note carefully now what Jesus is seeking to impress upon his disciples. Mrs. White did not say that by Christ giving his Holy Spirit that he was giving them a third personal Divine Being, God the Holy Spirit. No, instead she says that in giving his Holy Spirit, Christ is giving to them the glory [that is character] which the Father has given him that he and his people may be one in God; not part of a trinity of three co-equal and co-eternal Gods!
This next quote will also show that the Holy Spirit, the breath of God’s life, is also the impartation of His glory or character to His disciples:
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 disciples were to interpret this as imbuing them with the attributes of their Saviour, that in purity, faith, and obedience, they might exalt the law, and make it honorable. God's law is the expression of his character. By obedience to its requirements we meet God's standard of character. Thus the disciples were to witness for Christ. The impartation of the Spirit was the impartation of the very life of Christ, which was to qualify the disciples for their mission. RH, June 13, 1899
The Holy Spirit is the breath of life in the soul and the very impartation of the life of Christ. This Divine life imbues its receiver with the attributes or character of Christ.
Another way to say this truth is that the soul’s spiritual life is the Holy Spirit, the very life of God the Father given to Christ. Jesus then imparts this life to His disciple clothing the disciple with the righteousness of Christ. We see how the righteousness of Christ is obtained in the following words:
God is your Master, and you are his employed servants. The Holy Spirit must come in contact with your spirit, that it may divinely restore your soul, working your sanctification, and giving life and power to your efforts. When the life of God is restored to the soul, we rest in God, and are clothed with the righteousness of Christ. RH, May 20, 1890
Jesus said, Be perfect as your Father is perfect. If you are the children of God you are partakers of His nature, and you cannot but be like Him. Every child lives by the life of his father. If you are God's children, begotten by His Spirit, you live by the life of God. In Christ dwells "all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Col. 2:9); and the life of Jesus is made manifest "in our mortal flesh" (2 Cor. 4:11). That life in you will produce the same character and manifest the same works as it did in Him. Thus you will be in harmony with every precept of His law; for "the law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul" (Ps. 19:7, margin). Through love "the righteousness of the law" will be "fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Rom. 8:4). RC 73; Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 76-78
All of these quotes harmonized together, reveal the same truth that Mrs. White was shown in vision so many years before in 1845. The Holy Spirit is the breath of life, the life of God the Father given to His Son and then to His people. This life of God the Father will produce the same character and manifest the same works as it did in Christ bringing us into harmony with every precept of the Father’s law and thus, clothing us with the righteousness of Christ. In these words quoted above as well as in the passage to follow, is also presented the third angel’s message of Revelation 14.
The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones. This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God.
Many had lost sight of Jesus. They needed to have their eyes directed to His divine person, His merits, and His changeless love for the human family. All power is given into His hands, that He may dispense rich gifts unto men, imparting the priceless gift of His own righteousness to the helpless human agent. This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the third angel's message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure. TM 91, 92 (1895).
The life of God the Father is His Holy Spirit. This is the life that Christ lives by and is given to the helpless human agent who believes in Christ as his personal saviour. The human agent who is imbued with this life receives the very righteousness of Christ and reveals it by obedience to all the commandments of God. This is the substance of the third angel’s message.
And here also is another very important point to consider. The third angel’s message is to be attended with the outpouring of the Father’s Spirit in a large measure. How can God the Father pour out His Spirit in any measure on someone who professes to believe and teach that He is a trinity or that His own Spirit is a Divine Being separate from Himself? In other words, can a Holy God set the seal of His Holy Spirit of truth on a message or a messenger who promotes a false teaching concerning Himself? It is safe to say that such persons, whether they be trinitarians or tritheists, cannot be used by God to give the third angel’s message while they thus deny Him through their false representations of His personality and the personality of His Son. Passing from these momentous truths, we next see that:
THE HOLY SPIRIT IS THE PERSONAL PRESENCE AND OMNIPRESENCE OF GOD THE FATHER
The Holy Spirit of God the Father is not only His life and the life of Christ, but also the Father’s personal presence. We see this truth from the scriptures and Spirit of Prophecy:
Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Psalm 51:11
The divine Spirit that the world's Redeemer promised to send, is the presence and power of God. ST, Nov 23, 1891
David understood that the Father’s Holy Spirit was His very presence with him. We also read that the giving of the Father’s Spirit to us is the giving of Himself in the following passages:
In giving us His Spirit, God gives us Himself, making Himself a fountain of divine influences, to give health and life to the world. 7T 273
God calls upon all men to avail themselves of the blessings he has set before them, that they may co-operate with him in carrying forward the great work of redemption. He has given his Holy Spirit as a power sufficient to overcome all man's hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong. By yielding his capabilities to the control of this Spirit, man will be impressed with God's perfect character, and will become an instrument through which he can reveal his mercy, his goodness, and his love. ST, November 5, 1896
The Father Himself is given to the believer by His Holy Spirit. The believer is thus impressed with the Father’s perfect character and becomes an instrument through which the Father can reveal His mercy, goodness, and love. The Holy Spirit is the life and personal presence of God the Father. We see the omnipresence of God the Father from the following passages:
God is a spirit; yet He is a personal being, for man was made in His image. Ed 132
Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD. Jeremiah 23:23,24
Question: How does God the Father, a spirit; yet a personal Being, fill heaven and earth?
Answer:The Bible shows us God in His high and holy place, not in a state of inactivity, not in silence and solitude, but surrounded by ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of holy beings, all waiting to do His will. Through these messengers He is in active communication with every part of His dominion. By His Spirit He is everywhere present. Through the agency of His Spirit and His angels He ministers to the children of men. Above the distractions of the earth He sits enthroned; all things are open to His divine survey; and from His great and calm eternity He orders that which His providence sees best. MH 417
The greatness of God is to us incomprehensible. "The Lord's throne is in heaven" (Psalm 11:4); yet by His Spirit He is everywhere present. He has an intimate knowledge of, and a personal interest in, all the works of His hand. Ed 131
God the Father is not only present in every man who has accepted Him, but He is present everywhere by His Spirit. And so we have seen that the Holy Spirit is also the presence and omnipresence of God the Father. We will now see that:
THE HOLY SPIRIT IS ALSO THE PERSONAL PRESENCE AND OMNIPRESENCE OF JESUS CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD.
Jesus tells us that He lives by His Father [John chapter 6, verse 57] and that the Father has given His Spirit without measure to His Son [John chapter 3, verse 34] Thus it is that Christ lives by the Spirit or life of His Father. We see that the Spirit of the Father is also the Spirit of His Son from book of Romans:
But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Romans 8:9-11
The Holy Spirit of God the Father is also the Spirit of Christ. They have/share/live by the same Spirit of the Father. Thus, as two personal Divine Beings, “They are one in purpose, in mind, in character, but not in person. It is thus that God and Christ are one.” MH 422
We now pay particular attention to the truth that the Holy Spirit is also the personal presence of Christ.
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. John 14:16-18
Who is the Christian’s comforter? Before Jesus had spoken these words to his disciples, he told them that He would be going to prepare a place for them in His Father’s house. The disciples did not yet understand how Christ, who would be leaving them, would then be able to manifest Himself to them, and yet be invisible to the world. We read of this lack of understanding from one of Christ’s disciples:
Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? John 14:22
Mrs. White makes this comment on this verse:
That Christ should manifest Himself to them, and yet be invisible to the world, was a mystery to the disciples. They could not understand the words of Christ in their spiritual sense. They were thinking of the outward, visible manifestation. They could not take in the fact that they could have the presence of Christ with them, and yet He be unseen by the world. They did not understand the meaning of a spiritual manifestation.” The Southern Work, Sept 13, 1898
It is Christ who is the believer’s comforter by His Holy Spirit. After Christ was to leave his disciples, he would yet be present with them by His Spirit. The Bible and Spirit of Prophecy show this truth plainly:
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. And, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. John 14:18; Matthew 28:20
Christ is formed within, and by His Spirit He fulfils the promise, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." ST, Sept 27, 1899
If by His Holy Spirit Christ abides in the soul, our features, our attitude, our words will reveal Him to the world. ST, Jan 6, 1898
This Comforter is the Holy Spirit,--the soul of his life, the efficacy of his church, the light and life of the world. With his Spirit Christ sends a reconciling influence and a power that takes away sin. RH, May 19, 1904
…we adore God for His wondrous love in giving Jesus the Comforter. 19MR 297
Note from these texts who it is that will not leave His disciples comfortless. It is Jesus Himself who is the Christian’s comforter by His Holy Spirit.
We can also see the truth that Christ is our comforter more directly from the scriptures. The word translated “comforter” in John chapter 14, verse16 is “parakletos.” The word “parakletos” is also translated in 1 John chapter 2 and verse1 as “advocate.”
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter [parakletos], that he may abide with you for ever. John 14:16
My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate [parakletos] with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 1 John 2:1
The words “Comforter” and “Advocate” have exactly the same meaning in scripture. The text in 1 John then plainly identifies that it is Jesus Christ who is our advocate and comforter. Christ is personally present by His Holy Spirit with the believer.
And that Christ is omnipresent by His Spirit we see from the following:
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.” MR14, p. 23
We see the same truth from the following quote:
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." Matt. 28:20. While He delegates His power to inferior ministers, His energizing presence is still with His church. DA 166
The Holy Spirit is the one Spirit that proceeds from God the Father. The Holy Spirit is the Father’s life, presence, and omnipresence. The Holy Spirit has been given to Christ without measure [see John 3:34] and therefore is also the presence of Christ. The Father and His only begotten Son are omnipresent by their one Spirit which they share.
The nature of the Holy Spirit is a mystery. Just how a personal God, the Father can be seated on the throne of His universe and how Jesus, a personal Son, can minister in the sanctuary above and yet both Father and Son be everywhere present by their Holy Spirit, is a mystery not revealed to mortal minds.
And finally, as promised at the beginning of this presentation, we have this Bible testimony from the Holy Spirit itself that it is not a third co-equal and co-eternal God. We will see this truth revealed by the Holy Spirit as we apply the principle for searching the scriptures found in Isaiah chapter 28, verses 9 and10. We first read this verse from the gospel of John:
For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure [unto him]. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. John 3:34-35
We notice from this text that the Spirit was given to Jesus by His Father and that without measure. The following text confirms the one already quoted that the Holy Spirit comes from God the Father:
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: John 15:26
God the Father gave His Holy Spirit without measure to His Son. The Holy Spirit is also sent to Christ’s disciples as we noted from this passage and in the following experience of the apostle Paul:
… Brother Saul, the Lord, [even] Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. Acts 9:17
For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. John 3:34-35
And we already noted earlier that Christ received the Holy Spirit without measure from His Father. In this Bible verse as well as the one in the book of Acts, we see that both the Son of God and Paul the apostle were filled with the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is also known as the Spirit of truth. And here we ask this question, the answer to which is most revealing: What was the testimony of the Spirit of truth that moved the Son of God to speak and Paul the apostle to write concerning the God the Father?
Let us hear the testimony of Jesus first:
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. John 17:3
And of Paul:
But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. 1Corinthians 8:6
Now let everyone think carefully who still believes that the Holy Spirit is a third co-equal and co-eternal God with the Father and His Son. What is the Holy Spirit - the Spirit of truth doing here confessing in Christ and through Paul that there is but one God, the Father - the only true God if the Holy Spirit is a co-equal and co-eternal God Himself along with the Father and His Son? Instead, the Holy Spirit acknowledges that there is but one God, the Father - the only true God. This is certainly conclusive Bible testimony from the Holy Spirit itself that it is not a third Divine Being. Rather, as this presentation has shown, the Holy Spirit is the very life and presence of God the Father and of His only-begotten Son. By Christ giving the Holy Spirit to the human agent, He is giving the glory which His Father has given Him that He and His people may be one in God. A-men.
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. Romans 8:15
And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Galatians 4:6
One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. Ephesians 4:6