The Three Persons of the God Head
In our time in history, every type of error is being foisted on our people. At the same time that men are teaching a false view of the human nature of Christ, other men are presenting false concepts about the divine nature of Christ and the existence of the Holy Spirit!
Down through the centuries, the most controverted Biblical facts have been those which directly affect our salvation, facts such as these:
Christ is fully equal to the Father in every way. He has existed from all eternity. He became fully man, like us. He was fully tempted, but never sinned. He really died on the cross. He ministers for us in the Sanctuary above. It required His life, death, and heavenly mediation to provide an atonement for us. There is a coming judgment, and we must now obey God, by the enabling grace of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Godhead. The Holy Spirit is working to bring us to repentance. There is a real devil and actual demons. The Bible accurately instructs us in the way of salvation. Sincere prayer is heard and answered by Heaven.
Satan wants to eradicate from our minds any or all of the above great truths.
Two crucial facts in the working out of the great plan of redemption is the truth that Christ is fully God and has existed from all eternity, and the truth that the Holy Spirit is a distinct Personage, and the Third Person of the Godhead.
It is vital that you have a personal understanding of these truths, for they affect you salvation.
OF THE GODHEAD
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three distinct, divine Personages. Yet they work in such perfect unity that their objectives and activities are as one.
The following passages will provide you with a view of the interworking of these three distinct Persons:
THE GODHEAD IN THE BIBLE
1 Several times in the Old Testament, God speaks of Himself as "Us." Note Genesis 1:26, where the ones who do the creating of man are plural. Created beings do not create, so the "Us" can only refer to the Godhead. Also see Genesis 11:7.
2 Elohim is one of the Old Testament words for "God." This Hebrew word is a plural ("Gods," not "God"). Jewish scholars have never been able to explain this fact.
3 The Angel of Jehovah is mentioned several times in the Old Testament. This Angel is not only identified with the Father, but is also distinguished from Him. Thus, we find here a reference to two persons of the Godhead (Gen 16:7-13;18:1-21; 19:1-28; Mal 3:1).
4 In a similar manner, the Word, or Wisdom, is personified, indicating a divine duality (Ps 33:4, 6; Prov 8:12-31).
5 Still elsewhere, God is the speaker, and He mentions both the Messiah and the Spirit or, the Messiah is the speaker who mentions both God and the Spirit (Isa 48:16; 61:1).
6 In the New Testament we find a clearer revelation of the Godhead. In the Old Testament, the Redeemer and Saviour is Jehovah (Job 19:25; Ps 78:35; 106:21; Isa 41:14; 43:3, 11, 14; 47:4; 49:7, 26; 60:16). In the New Testament, this individual is clearly Jesus (Matt 1:21; Lk 1:76-79; 2:17; Jn 4:42; Gal 3:13; 4:5; Titus 2:13-14).
7 In the Old Testament, it is Jehovah that dwells among Israel and in the hearts of those that fear Him (Ps 135:21; Isa 8:18; 57:15; Eze 43:7-9; Joel 3:17-21; Zech 2:10-11). In the New Testament, it is the Holy Spirit that dwells among Gods people (Rom 8:9; 11:1 Cor 3:17; Gal 4:6; Eph 2:22; James 4:5; 57:15; Eze 43:7-9; Joel 3:17-21; Zech 2:10-11). In the New Testament, it is the Holy Spirit that dwells among Gods people (Eph 2:22; James 4:5). [We are not here defining whom all the "Jehovah" passages refer to.]
8 The New Testament represents God as sending His Son into the world (Jn 3:16; Gal 4:4; Heb 1:6; 1 Jn 4:9).
9 In the New Testament, both the Father and the Son send the Spirit (Jn 14:26; 15:26; 16:7; Gal 4:6).
10 The Father speaks to the Son (Mk 1:11; Lk 3:22).
11 The Son communes with the Father (Matt 11:25-26; 26:39; Jn 11:41; 12:27-28).
12 The Holy Spirit intercedes for believers, and through them prays to God (Rom 8:26).
13 The Father speaks from heaven at the baptism of the Son, and the Holy Spirit descends in the form of a dove (Matt 3:16-17).
14 In the Great Commission, Jesus mentions the three Persons (Matt 28:19-20).
15 In addition, the Three are named alongside of each other in these passages (1 Cor 12:4-6; 1 Peter 1:2).
16 We find "I," "Thou," and "He" in several passages which indicate separate Persons, yet interpersonal relations between them (Matt 3:16; 14:26; 15:26; 16:13-15).
17 In 1 John 5:7, in the King James Version, the Three are also mentioned. But there are those who question the validity of this passage (whether or not it really is genuine). Yet, as we are observing elsewhere in this present study, the great truth of the triune Godhead stands sure, regardless of the validity of 1 John 5:7.
IN THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY
The following quotations speak of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit:
"The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" are "the Godhead," "the three Persons of the Godhead," "the three powers of the Godhead," "the three highest powers in heaven" or "in the universe," "the eternal Godhead," "the three holy dignitaries of heaven," "the three living Persons of the heavenly Trio," "the three holiest Beings in heaven," "the three great Worthies in heaven."
Here now are these statements:
"The three powers of the Godhead have pledged Their might to carry out the purpose that God had in mind when He gave to the world the unspeakable gift of His Son." 5 Review, 341.
"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. What line can measure the depth of this love?" Counsels on Health, 222.
"The three powers of the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit, are pledged to be their strength and their efficiency in their new life in Christ Jesus." Australian Union Conference Record, October 7, 1907.
"We are to co-operate with the three highest powers in heaven, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and these powers will work through us, making us workers together with God." Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 7, 51 (Evangelism, 617).
"The eternal heavenly dignitaries—God, and Christ, and the Holy Spirit—arming them [the disciples] with more than mortal energy . . would advance with them to the work and convince the world of sin." Manuscript 145, 1901 (Evangelism, 616).
"The work of salvation is not a small matter, but so vast that the highest authorities are taken hold of by the expressed faith of the human agent. The eternal Godhead—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost—is involved in the action required to make assurance to the human agent." Upward Look, 148.
"The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the three holy dignitaries of heaven, have declared that they will strengthen men to overcome the powers of darkness. All the facilities of heaven are pledged to those who by their baptismal vows have entered into a covenant with God." 5 Bible Commentary, 1110 (Manuscript 92,1901).
"The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, powers infinite and omniscient, receive those who truly enter into covenant relation with God. They are present at every baptism, to receive the candidates who have renounced the world and have received Christ into the soul temple. These candidates have entered into the family of God, and their names are inscribed in the Lambs book of life." 6 Bible Commentary, 1075 (Manuscript 27, 1900).
"When we have accepted Christ, and in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit have pledged ourselves to serve God, the Father, Christ, and the Holy Spirit—the three dignitaries and powers of heaven—pledge themselves that every facility shall be given to us if we carry out our baptismal vows to "come out from among them, and be . . separate . . and touch not the unclean thing." 6 Bible Commentary, 1075 (Manuscript 85, 1901).
"Our sanctification is the work of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit . . Have you been born again? Have you become a new being in Christ Jesus? Then cooperate with the three great powers of heaven who are working in your behalf." 7 Bible Commentary, 908; Signs, June 19, 1091 (Manuscript 11, 1901).
"The work is laid out before every soul that has acknowledged his faith in Jesus Christ by baptism, and has become a receiver of the pledge from the three Persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." 6 Bible Commentary, 1074.
"The prince of the power of evil can only be held in check by the power of God in the third Person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit." Series A, no. 10, 37 (Evangelism, 617).
"Evil had been accumulating for centuries, and could only be restrained and resisted by the mighty power of the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fullness of divine power."10 Manuscript Releases, 63 (Letter 8, February 6, 1896; Series A, No. 10, 25; Testimonies to Ministers, 392,)
"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, 63 (Evangelism, 615).
" If a man love Me. He will keep My words; and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him and make Our abode with him." Fundamentals of Christian Education, 125 (Manuscript Releases, 19, 153.
"Keep yourselves where the three great powers of heaven, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, can be your efficiency. These powers work with the one who gives himself unreservedly to God. The strength of heaven is at the command of Gods believing ones." In Heavenly Places, 176 (4 Signs, 512; Southern Watchman, February 23, 1904 ).
"The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost supply the power that makes him victorious in every conflict with the prince of darkness." 6 Manuscript Releases, 167 (Letter 200, December 15, 1902).
"They pledge themselves to devote their lives to Gods service; and the three great powers in heaven, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, pledge Themselves to cooperate with them, to work in and through them." 6 Manuscript Releases, 166 (Manuscript 118, October 6, 1902).
"The three highest powers in the universe are pledged to labor with those who will seek to save the lost." 5 Review, 533, col. 2.
"In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, man is laid in his watery grave, buried with Christ in baptism, and raised from the water to live the new life of loyalty to God The three great powers in heaven are witnesses; they are invisible but present." Manuscript 57, 1900 (6 Bible Commentary, 1074).
"If man, in acquiring the Christian graces, works on the plan of addition, God has pledged Himself to work in his behalf upon the plan of multiplication. "Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord." The work is laid out before every soul that has acknowledged his faith in Jesus Christ by baptism, and has become a receiver of the pledge from the three persons—The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." Manuscript 57, 1900 (6 Bible Commentary, 1074).
"At our baptism we pledged ourselves to break all connection with Satan and his agencies, and to put heart and mind and soul into the work of extending the kingdom of God. All heaven is working for this object. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are pledged to cooperate with sanctified human instrumentalities. If we are true to our vow, there is opened to us a door of communication with heaven—a door that no human hand or satanic agency can close." Review May 17, 1906 (6 Bible Commentary, 1075.
"On that occasion [baptism] we pledge ourselves, in the presence of the three great heavenly Powers, to come out from the world and be separate." 6 Manuscript Release 167 (Manuscript 130, October 27, 1902).
"When you took these vows, you pledged yourself, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, that you would live unto God, and you have no right to break this pledge. The help of the three great Powers is placed at your disposal." 5 Review, 143 (Receiving Christ, 178).
"Baptized into the threefold name . . at the very entrance of their Christian life . . the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, powers infinite and omniscient, receive those who truly enter into covenant relation with God. They are present at every baptism." 6 Bible Commentary, 1075.
"Those who submit to the solemn rite of baptism pledge themselves to devote their lives to Gods service; and the three great powers of heaven, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, pledge themselves to cooperate with them, to work in and through them." 4 Signs, 282 (March 11, 1903).
"The three great powers of heaven pledged Themselves to cooperate with you in your efforts to live the new life in Christ." 5 Review, 142
"As a Christian submits to the solemn rite of baptism, the three highest powers in the universe,—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,—place Their approval on this act, pledging Themselves to exert Their power in his behalf as he strives to honor God." 6 Manuscript Release, 26 (Letter 53, January 26, 1904; 4 Signs, 399, August 16, 1905).
"The presence of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the three highest powers in the universe and those in whose name the believer is baptized, is pledged to be with every striving soul." Pacific Union Recorder, September 2, 1908.
"The rite of baptism is administered in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. These three great powers of heaven pledge Themselves to be the efficiency of all who submit to this ordinance, and who faithfully keep the vow they then make." 6 Manuscript Release, 27 (Manuscript 78, 1905).
"When you went down into the water and were baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, these three great powers of heaven pledged Themselves to give you power and grace to resist every temptation to dishonor God." 19 Manuscript Releases, 235.
"When you gave yourself to Christ, you made a pledge in the presence of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,—the three great personal dignitaries of heaven." 7 Bible Commentary, 959 (Sons and Daughters of God, 351).
"No requirement is laid upon man that Christ has not obeyed. We can overcome as He overcame, if we will avail ourselves of the help of the three great powers of heaven, who are waiting to answer the demand made upon Them by Gods people for power to defeat satanic agencies." Notebook Leaflets, 124.
"Let us not forget our baptismal vow. In the presence of the three highest powers of the heaven, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we have pledged ourselves to do the will of Him who, over the rent sepulcher of Joseph, declared, I am the resurrection and the life. "5 Review, 45.
"There is to be the imprint of the . . threefold powers in the heavenly world . . The three great and glorious heavenly characters are present on the occasion of baptism. All the human capabilities are to be henceforth consecrated powers to do service for God in representing the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost upon whom they depend. All heaven is represented by these three in covenant relation with the new life." 6 Manuscript Releases, 389.
"I am instructed to say, The sentiments of those who are searching for advanced scientific ideas are not to be trusted. Such representations as the following are made: The Father is as the light invisible; the Son is as the light embodied; the Spirit is the light shed abroad. The Father is like the dew, invisible vapor; the Son is like the dew gathered in beauteous form; the Spirit is like the dew fallen to the seat of life. Another representation: The Father is like the invisible vapor; the Son is like the leaden cloud; the Spirit is rain fallen and working in refreshing power.
"All these spiritualistic representations are simply nothingness. They are imperfect, untrue. They weaken and diminish the Majesty which no earthly likeness can be compared to. God cannot be compared with the things His hands have made. These are mere earthly things, suffering under the curse of God because of the sins of man. The Father cannot be described by the things of earth. The Father is all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and is invisible to mortal sight.
"The Son is all the fullness of the Godhead manifested. The Word of God declares Him to be the express image of His person. God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Here is shown the personality of the Father.
"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." Evangelism, 614-615.
"God is a spirit; yet He is a personal being, for man was made in His image . . The greatness of God is to us incomprehensible. The Lords throne is in heaven (Psalm 11:4); yet by His Spirit He is everywhere present." Education, 132.
The following statements were transcribed as Ellen White spoke them in sermons.
"You are baptized in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. You are raised up out of the water to live henceforth in newness of life—to live a new life. You are born unto God, and you stand under the sanction and the power of the three holiest Beings in heaven, who are able to keep you from falling." Sermons and Talks, Vol. 1, 367.
"We are ordained unto God to bear fruit. Was this not our experience when we were led down into the water and baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost? What did that mean? It meant that the three great Powers in heaven were pledged to keep us so long as we remain one with Christ, united to the vine." 6 Manuscript Releases, 29 (Sermon given March 10, 1908).
"Those who have been baptized can claim the help of the three great Worthies in heaven, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost." Sermons and Talks, Vol. 1, 366.
"When I feel oppressed, and hardy know how to relate myself toward the work that God has given me to do, I just call upon the three great Worthies." 7 Manuscript Releases, 267-268; Manuscript Release 307, 2, 4 (Sermon given October 20, 1906).
"In whose name are we baptized? In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost—the three highest powers in the heavenly courts." Manuscript Release 135, 4 (Camp meeting sermon given June 27, 1907).
"We are baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost, and these three great, infinite powers are unitedly pledged to work in our behalf if we cooperate with them." 1901 General Conference Bulletin, 36-37 (Lift Him Up, 109).
"At our baptism we pledged ourselves to Him [Jesus], and received the ordinance in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. These three great powers of heaven pledged Themselves to work in our behalf, not only to begin, but to finish our faith." 1901 General Conference Bulletin, 215 (talk given April 14, 1901).