The Holy Spirit of God
Alvin Toffler, in his book Future Shock, wrote: "In 1965, in an article in Horizon, I coined the term ĎFuture Shock,í to describe the shattering stress and disorientation that we induce in individuals by subjecting them to too much change in too short a time." (p. 4) Perhaps the material in this book has been very shocking. The Bible truth about God and His Son has shattered the false concepts many had previously held. History however, tells us that the concept of the Trinity was not a "future shock" program. This satanic falsehood, like Sunday sacredness, was introduced to Christians over a period of several years so that the people could gradually accept it.
An example of the effectiveness of this slow approach is clearly seen in the history of Sunday as a day of worship. History tells us that Sunday was so deeply entrenched in the Protestant reformersí minds that most never considered changing from Sunday to Sabbath, even though its origin was acknowledged in the Augsburg Confession to be of Catholic tradition rather than Scriptural authority! The same was true about the Trinity doctrine. This false teaching came into the church over a period of time and was not at first universally received, but gradually came to be accepted as fact.
The doctrine of the Trinity was not taught by the patriarchs and prophets; it was unknown to the apostles and early Christians. This doctrine, as we have noted, is in fact the establishing doctrine of the papacy! A. T. Jones, in his voluminous book, The Two Republics, entitles the chapter on the acceptance of the Trinity, "Establishment of the Catholic Faith." (pages 329-354) The framework of the Trinity doctrine was laid in the Council of Nicæa in 325 A. D. This Catholic Council, presided over by the sun-worshipping Constantine, declared God and Christ to be co-equal and co-eternal. However, this Council did not deal with the subject of the Holy Spirit. The Catholic understanding of the Holy Spirit was formulated at the Council of Constantinople in 381 A. D. This Council elevated the Holy Spirit to personhood, co-equal and co-eternal with God and Christ. This teaching is the central pillar of Catholicism. Notice their claim.
The mystery of the Trinity is the central doctrine of the Catholic Faith. Upon it are based all the other teachings of the Church. (Handbook for Todayís Catholic, p. 11)
What are some of the teachings of the Catholic Church? Tradition instead of the Bible, Sunday instead of the Sabbath, immortality of man, eternal hell, and instead of the Lordís supper there is the idolatrous mass (transubstantiation). Other blasphemous falsehoods include papal infallibility, prayers to the saints, the immaculate conception, Mary as the mother of God, idol worship and a host of other pagan satanic teachings. All of these pagan teachings are based on the doctrine of the Trinity!
An evaluation of the Catholic faith reveals not a thread of truth in the whole fabric. Sadly, most of the Protestant churches have accepted many of the false doctrines of Rome and nearly every one of them has accepted the centerpiece of the whole system of falsehood: the Trinity. A. T. Jones quotes the historian Schaff concerning the acceptance by the Protestant Church of the Catholic faith and then comments as to the results of the Councils that formed that faith.
But as the faith of Leo which was established by the Council of Chalcedon, "substantially completes the orthodox Christology of the ancient church," and has "passed into all the confessions of the Protestant churches" (Schaff- History of the Christian Church, Vol. iii, ß 142, par. 1, 2); and as the work of these four general councils ó Nice, Constantinople, first of Ephesus, and Chalcedon ó was to put dead human formulas in the place of the living oracles of God, a woman in the place of Christ, and a MAN IN THE PLACE OF GOD, it is not necessary to follow any farther the course of ambitious strife and contentious deviltry. (The Two Republics, p. 482)
Inspiration Predicted a Falling Away
A falling away from the truth was predicted by the apostle Paul. Speaking to the elders of Ephesus he said: "For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.(Acts 20:29, 30) He also wrote: "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition." (2 Thessalonians 2:3) In fact, he went on to say, "For the mystery of iniquity doth already work." (Verse 7) This verse should warn us not to trust the writings of the ante-Nicene Fathers, but to base all our teaching on the Bible alone. No matter how ancient the teaching of some church leaders may be, they are not to be placed above the Bible!
Godís people in the last days are to be reformers. When some people think of reform, they consider the food we should eat and the type of clothing to be worn. While these reforms are needed by the people of God, the most important reform needed is mind reform. True mind reform will result in reform in doctrine and worship. The three angelsí messages give a call to reform in worship. That reform means leaving off the worship and practices of Babylon to worship the Creator God. "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters." (Revelation 14:6, 7)
For man to worship "the only true God," (John 17:3) he must come out of Babylon. "And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication." (Revelation 14:8) Coming out of Babylon, however, is not just changing churches! It involves a whole change of thought patterns. It means having the mind and character of God - "Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 2:5) This mind and character is the opposite of the mind and character of Babylon, revealed in Isaiah 14:12-14 where Satan wished to exalt himself to the position of God. In fact, the false Trinity has been Satanís plan to find a place for himself in the council of God.
Babylonís way of thinking, and all the doctrines and lifestyles that go with it are denounced by God in the strongest of terms; and the follower of Christ is commanded to come out of her. God says this is serious: "And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." (Revelation 18:4) If we fail to heed the call of Christ, we shall be lost eternally.
The doctrine of the Trinity is the central pillar of the beast of Revelation 13 and the central pillar of the image as well. Revelation 17:5 calls the great harlot, "MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH." This false religion is a mother of harlots, and in Godís eyes they receive the same name as the mother (Babylon) because they have the same mind and character.
The Advent Movement was
Raised up for Worship Reform
If we are to give the last day reform message to the world and tell them to come out of Babylon, we had better know what we are to tell them to come out of. Godís three-fold warning does not tell us to get people from one church to another, but from one movement to another. This is especially true today when all the mainline churches have "so much in common"! God raised up the Advent movement to give His message of worship reform. The Advent movement rejected all the false abominations of worship that the Catholic Church bequeathed to Protestants. As noted earlier, James White wrote:
The greatest fault we can find in the Reformation is, the Reformers stopped reforming. Had they gone on, and onward, till they had left the last vestige of Papacy behind, such as natural immortality, sprinkling, the trinity, and Sunday-keeping, the church would now be free from her unscriptural errors. (Review & Herald, February 7, 1856)
God did raise up a people who were free from the pagan-papal errors mentioned by Elder White. Sadly, today we find a situation of apostasy (a falling away) from that truth which God gave to His people.
Two Contrasting Movements
In 1973, the World Council of Churches (WCC) published a book entitled, So Much In Common.1 This book contained, "Documents of interest in the conversations between the World Council of Churches and the Seventh-day Adventist Church." (p. 1) On page seven we find the following statement:
The Council came into existence in 1948 after centuries of unsuccessful attempts to find an effective tool for Christian unity. Most major theologians and reforms tried to recover the unity of Christís Church lost in the spiritual battles among the confessions, in the beginning without success. In the 19th century things started to change. Lay movements and missionary societies broke through denominational barriers. In the 20th, Christian missionary leaders, groups searching for a common Christian response to social problems of the times, and theologians seeking doctrinal unity, came together to establish the World Council of Churches."
At the very time that Satan was bringing about the beginning of the ecumenical movement, God was raising up the Advent movement. This movement was to be free from papal error and could only call people out of Babylon while she herself was free from it. The Satan-inspired ecumenical movement finds its unity in the Trinity doctrine. To be eligible for membership in the WCC, one must express agreement with the "Basis" upon which the Council was founded. (See So Much In Common, p. 40) That Basis is:
The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the Scriptures and therefore seek to fulfill together their common calling to the glory of the one God, Father, Son, Holy Spirit. (Constitution: World Council of Churches, quoted in So Much In Common, p. 40)
The basic foundation of the ecumenical movement has, during the 20th century, become a part of the corporate SDA Church belief. Fundamental Belief # 2 states in part: "There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons." (Seventh-day Adventists Believe ..., p. 16) This statement is a reflection of the creed from the Council of Constantinople and meets all the qualifications necessary for the SDA Church to join with the World Council of Churches.
To begin with, it would appear that the Seventh-Day Adventist Church is not in disagreement with the theological basis of the World Council of Churches, as voted at New Delhi in 1961: [Basis quoted.]
The member churches of the World Council of Churches and Seventh-Day Adventists are in agreement on the fundamental articles of the Christian faith as set forth in the three ancient symbols (Apostolicum, Nicaeno-Constantinopolitum, Athanasium). This agreement finds expression in unqualified acceptance of the doctrine of the Trinity and the Two-Natures. (So Much In Common, p. 107)
With the acceptance of the Trinity doctrine so ingrained within the Adventist Church, it is very difficult for some to be objective when studying this issue. This is especially true in relationship to the understanding of the Holy Spirit. However, God is calling for mind and worship reform in these last days and disastrous will be the result of those who neglect to comply. Since God raised up the Advent movement to counter the last great false revival of Satan, it would be illogical for God not to give these men, who must combat every false form of worship, the truth about the Holy Spirit. Let us notice, in a nutshell, what the Advent pioneers believed, and then we can begin an extensive study from the Bible as to why they could come to the conclusions they did. Researcher Fred Allaback gives a concise view:
The early Adventist pioneers understood the biblical term, "Holy Spirit of God," to refer to His life or inner nature, (His thoughts, feelings, mind, personality, omnipresence etc.). They understood that Godís Spirit was a contradistinction to His outer body, physical form and features.
They understood the Holy Spirit of God to be a personal influence or power from God. They also understood the Holy Spirit to be a "person" when referred to in the context of the "divine nature," "personality," or "presence" of God the Father and/or His Son ó but never as a separate divine being (i.e. God the Holy Spirit).
The pioneer understanding about the Holy Spirit concludes with the belief that when God gives us His Spirit, instead of giving us someone other than Himself; He is giving us His very self, His inner divine nature. (Fred Allaback, Holland 95, pp. 23, 24)
The Meaning of Spirit
The word "spirit" appears to many as a rather vague term. The problem is compounded by the translators of the King James Version using "ghost" for the same word translated "spirit" 98 times. Let us first look at the term "spirit" in the Old Testament. The word "spirit" almost always comes from the Hebrew, ruwach. Ruwach is defined in Strongís as: "wind; by resemblance breath, i.e. a sensible (or even violent) exhalation; figuratively, life, anger, unsubstantiality; by extension, a region of the sky; by resemblance spirit, but only of a rational being (including its expression and functions)." Besides "spirit," some other translations of ruwach are: air, anger, blast, breath, cool, courage, mind, quarter, side, tempest, wind, whirlwind. The lexiconist Gesenius devotes nearly a page and a half of his lexicon defining ruwach and giving the various nuances. (See Genseniusí Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament, pp. 760, 761.)
The majority of cases involving ruwach relate it to breath or life. A word closely related to ruwach thatís translated "breath" is neshamah. Neshamah is used in Genesis 2:7 where we read, "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath (neshamah) of life; and man became a living soul." Neshamah is also twice translated "spirit" and "souls" once. Neshamah is used interchangeably with ruwach. Notice the parallelism:
"By the blast (neshamah) of God they perish, and by the breath (ruwach) of his nostrils are they consumed." (Job 4:9)
"All the while my breath (neshamah) is in me, and the spirit (ruwach) of God is in my nostrils." (Job 27:3)
"The Spirit (ruwach) of God hath made me, and the breath (neshamah) of the Almighty hath given me life. (Job 33:4)
Other parallel usages show these terms to be synonymous: the breath (neshamah) of life, Genesis 2:7; the breath (ruwach) of life, Genesis 6:17. These verses show "spirit" to be living, active, and full of life.
Spirit and Mind
The Greek word usually translated "spirit" is pneuma. It is defined in Strongís as: "a current of air, i.e. breath (blast) or a breeze; by analogy or figuratively, a spirit, i.e. (human) the rational soul, (by implication) vital principle, mental disposition, etc., or (superhuman) an angel, demon, or (divine) God, Christís spirit, the Holy Spirit." This is very similar in concept to the Hebrew ruwach.
Both ruwach and pneuma carry the concept of mind or intellect. Isaiah 40:13 states: "Who hath directed the Spirit (ruwach) of the LORD, or being his counselor hath taught him?" The Septuagint (LXX) reads: "Who has known the mind (Greek: nous) of the Lord? and who has been his counselor, to instruct him?" Paul quotes this verse in Romans 11:34: "For who hath known the mind (nous) of the Lord? or who hath been his counselor?" Here we see that both the translators of the LXX and Paul understood the concept of spirit and mind to be closely related.
However, spirit goes much further than just the concept of mind, it is the very essence of being or the inner person. Suppose a person has become paralyzed and is lying in a bed unable to move or even speak, yet his mind and thoughts are clear. Is his paralyzed body the real essence of his person? Twice Luke records that Jesus "waxed strong in spirit." (Luke 1:80; 2:40) This is not speaking of a physical process but rather of a development of that aspect of a person that cannot be explained in physical terms. To illustrate this further, notice these words Paul wrote to the believers.
For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. (Colossians 2:5)
For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed. (1 Corinthians 5:3)
"Words ... are Spirit"
Words express the concepts of the mind and are defined by Jesus to be spirit. "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." (John 6:63) This truth is taught by parallelism in Proverbs 1:23: "Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you." The parallel is between spirit and words. Also in Ezekiel we read: "And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee. And the spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spake unto me." (Ezekiel 2:1, 2) Here Godís words that He speaks and His Spirit entering are synonymous with one another.
The pouring out of Godís Spirit is often referred to as rain. Deuteronomy 32:2 states: "My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass." Here Godís doctrine (words) comes as the rain (spirit). When God pours out His Spirit, He does it through words and concepts. This is why Ellen White describes the latter rain as "greater light" in Testimonies to Ministers, p. 507.
This complements the Scriptural teaching that calls Jesus the "word of God."2 Jesus stated that He came to deliver the word of God to men.
Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. (John 14:10)
Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. (John 8:28)
Man Made in the Image of God
Man was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26) "not only in character, but in form and feature." (Great Controversy p. 645) Does God have a physical form akin to man? Both Daniel and Ezekiel testify that He does:
I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.
I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. (Daniel 7:9, 13)
And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. (Ezekiel 1:26)
So while we read that God has a physical form, there is another aspect to God. Jesus said: "God is a Spirit." (John 4:24) Godís Spirit is His inner being, mind, thoughts, and personality which is not restricted to physical form. If God is a two-dimensional being, bodily form and spirit, then man, who is made in His image is a two-dimensional being. This is not to be confused with the concept of the immortal, undying soul. An important difference between the Creator and the creature must be noted. Godís inner spirit can consciously dwell apart from His physical form. Upon death, manís spirit (breath) returns to God and is never consciously separate from his physical form. Writing to the Corinthians, Paul compares the divine spirit with the human spirit:
But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which manís wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:10-16)
God is omnipresent by His Spirit
Even though God has a bodily presence, it is by His Spirit that God can be omnipresent. David wrote:
Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. (Psalm 139:7, 8)
Here we see Hebrew parallelism in verse 7 with the terms "spirit" and "presence" used interchangeably. The Spirit of God is not an extra God, but the essence of His inner person; that aspect of God that is not in any manner physical. The term "God the Holy Spirit" is nowhere to be found in inspiration. Neither the Bible nor Sister White ever used that term. It is a man-made term to promote the idea of a third being that is co-equal and co-eternal with God and Christ.
While the Bible does not speak of "God the Holy Spirit," it does speak of the "Spirit of God" and the "Spirit of Christ."
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (Genesis 1:2)
And the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard those tidings, and his anger was kindled greatly. (1 Samuel 11:6)
The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life. (Job 33:4)
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16)
Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. (1 Peter 1:11)
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)
These usages are in the possessive form with the last reference (Romans 8:9) using "Spirit of God" and "Spirit of Christ" interchangeably. God and His Son share the same Holy Spirit. Jesus said, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised." (Luke 4:18) Jesus said that the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him because He had been anointed to preach the gospel. Jesus was "set up [anointed] from everlasting." (Proverbs 8:23) The very term "Christ" means "the anointed one." God anointed Christ with His Spirit. This is why we are told in Philippians 2:5, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." The mind or spirit that was in Christ was the mind - spirit of the Father. In fact, Paul states that "the Lord is that Spirit." (2 Corinthians 3:17)