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John 14:22-24 – Summarizing the Previous Two Topics: Building an Intimate Relationship with the Father and the Son. The Benefits of Guarding Your Soul; the Teaching Ministry of the Spirit.
Chapter 14 Outline thus far:
- Vs. 1-3, The Promise of Eternal Security.
- Vs. 4-6, The Way, Truth and Life.
- Vs. 7-11, Faith Application – The Fellowship of the Father and the Son.
- Vs. 12, The Church Age Believer Will Accomplish Greater Things.
- Vs. 13-14, Prayer as an Example of Confidence in our Spiritual Life.
- Vs. 15, Occupation with the Lord Jesus Christ,
- Vs. 16-17, Promised Indwelling of the Helper (God the Holy Spirit).
- Vs. 18-21, The Indwelling Spirit as the Basis for Our Fellowship with the Father and the Son and Understanding of the Word of God.
- Vs. 22-24, Summarizing the Previous Two Topics: Building an Intimate Relationship with the Father and the Son. The Benefits of Guarding Your Soul; the Teaching Ministry of the Spirit.
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Vs. 22-24, Summarizing the Previous Two Topics: Building an Intimate Relationship with the Father and the Son. The Benefits of Guarding Your Soul; the Teaching Ministry of the Spirit.
John 14:22, “Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?””
It begins with:
John 14:22, “Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him,”
Greek Transliteration: LEGEI AUTO IOUDAS OUX HO ISKARIOTES,
Greek: Λέγει αὐτῷ Ἰούδας οὐκ ὁ Ἰσκαριώτης.
LEGEI is the Present, Active, Indicative, Third Person, Singular of LEGO – λέγω (leg’-o) a primary verb that means, “to say or addressing,” and is translated, “he said.” In English, we don’t say “he say,” we translate it as a Past Tense, “he said,” noted by the asterisk in the NASB Ryrie Study Bible.
AUTO is a Pronoun in the Dative of Indirect Object of AUTOS – αὐτός (ow-tos’), “he, she, it” that is also in the Third Person, Singular for “to Him.” This is the one Judas is addressing; the Lord Jesus Christ
IOUDAS is the name “Judas,” as the subject Nominative. Judas is the one asking the questions.
OUX HO ISKARIOTES in the Nominative Singular which means, “not the Iscariot”, as a way to distinguish this Judas from the one who is in the process of betraying our Lord, see John 13:26-30.
In our recent study of the Apostles, we noted that this is a reference to Thaddaeus also called Lebbaeus in the KJV, also called “Son of James.” The surname Thaddaeus is used in Mat 10:3 and Mark 3:18, where the KJV uses Lebbaeus in Mat 10:3, and Luke calls the Apostle, “Judas of James,” in Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13.
He was one of the Twelve Apostles, Mat 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:16; Act 1:13. In Matthew and Mark, he is listed 10th before Simon and in Luke’s accounts, Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13, he is listed 11th after Simon.
His only recorded words are found in our passage, John 14:22. He was the last of the four questioners of our Lord in John 13:36-14:23, following Peter, Thomas, and Philip.
He was perplexed at our Lord’s statements in verse 1-21, but specifically verse 19. Having been in a very public ministry for 3.5 years, he now understands the Lord to be saying, “I am going to disclose myself to you all only, and not to the world,” verse 21. He too did not understand the Lord’s statements in regards to His death, resurrection, and ascension, as well as the sending of the Holy Spirit and His own indwelling of every Church Age believer. His understanding of our Lord to be removing Himself from the public eye and going into recluse, gave our Lord the opportunity to expand on the relationship of the believer with the Lord during the Church Age by means of the Word and the Holy Spirit in verses 23-26.
Next, we have the question:
“Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?”
Greek Transliteration: KURIE TI KAI GEGONEN HOTI HEMIN MELLEIS EMPHANIZEIN SEAUTON KAI OUCHI TO KOSMO
Greek: Κύριε, τί καὶ γέγονεν ὅτι ἡμῖν μέλλεις ἐμφανίζειν σεαυτὸν καὶ οὐχὶ τῷ κόσμῳ;
It begins with KURIE which is the Vocative Masculine Singular of KURIOS – κύριος (koo’-ree-os) the proper title for Jesus Christ. It means, “lord or master,” indicating authority and supremacy, also indicating His Deity and the fact that Thaddaeus is a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.
TI is the Interrogative meaning, “what.”
KAI is used here as an Adverb meaning, “then.”
GEGONEN is the Perfect, Active, Indicative, Third Person, Singular of GINOMAI – γίνομαι (ghin’-om-ahee) that means, “to come into being, to happen, to become.”
The Perfect Tense describes a process that took place in the past, with the results continuing to the present. It is usually translated in English by using the auxiliary verbs “has or have.” So, we have “what then has happened.”
HOTI is the Superordinating Conjunction for “that,” leading to the meat of the question.
HEMIN is the Dative, First Person, Plural, Pronoun of EGO – ἐγώ (eg-o’) – “I” that means, “to us.”
MELLEIS is the Present, Active, Indicative, Second Person, Singular of MELLO – μέλλω (mel’-lo) that means, “to be about to, or about.” So, we say, “you are about to.” This is closely linked to the following verb.
EMPHANIZEIN in the Present, Active, Infinitive of EMPANIZO – ἐμφανίζω (em-fan-id’-zo) meaning, “inform, make known, report, disclose, reveal, or manifest.” We saw this verb in verse 21. Thaddaeus is using Jesus’ own words in this question. Yet, he does not yet understand the close and intimate relationship our Lord was referring to. He is still thinking in terms of manifestation – a pillar of fire.
SEAUTON is a compound word from SU – σύ (soo), “you,” and AUTOS – αὐτός (ow-tos’), “self,” in the Accusative, Masculine, Second Person, Singular, Reflexive Pronoun of SEAUTOU – σεαυτοῦ (seh-ow-too’) meaning, “of (to, for) yourself.”
So, we could say, “What then has happened that to us you are about to make yourself known” or better yet, “What then has happened that you are about to make yourself known to us?”
The question is completed with KAI for “and,” OUCHI for “not,” TO the article “the,” and KOSMO for “world” in the Dative Masculine Singular.
So, we have, “and not to the world.”
Here Thaddaeus was most likely not picking up on the analogy of the world speaking of unbelievers, but was taking it too literally and only distinguishing between the apostles and everyone else.
This literally did occur in Acts 10:40-41, “God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, 41not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.
Yet, our Lord meant for, “and not to the world,” to mean unbelievers. That is to make Himself personally known to believers and not to those who are unbelievers. Unbelievers cannot understand the ministry of God the Holy Spirit in teaching the reality of Jesus Christ.
At this point, we have a parenthetical principle before Jesus answers which is, “Attitude toward Bible doctrine determines the believer’s attitude toward the Lord.” That is the principle we will see in verses 23-25, and that also is the principle which answers the question of Thaddaeus. How is it possible that we can understand what Jesus Christ is really like, and yet, the world cannot? In order to bring out just exactly how this is going to be answered, love is used as the background.
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So, in verse 23 we have “Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.””
ἀπεκρίθε Ἰησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ Ἐάν τις ἀγαπᾷ, με τὸν λόγον μου τηρήσει, καὶ ὁ Πατήρ μου ἀγαπήσει αὐτόν, καὶ πρὸς αὐτὸν ἐλευσόμεθα καὶ μονὴν παρ’ αὐτῷ ποιησόμεθα.
APEKRITHE is the Aorist, Passive Deponent, Indicative, Third Person, Singular of APOKRINOMAI – ἀποκρίνομαι (ap-ok-ree’-nom-ahee). It is a compound word from the Preposition APO – ἀπό (apo’), meaning “from or away from” and KRINO – κρίνω (kree’-no) meaning, “to judge or decide.” So, it comes to mean, “to answer.”
The Aorist Tense views the entirety of Jesus’ response and treats it as past action, “answered.”
The Passive Deponent acts like an active voice, “Jesus answered,” but also indicates He had received this information. In other words, He is answering this question based on Bible Doctrine resident in His soul by means of the Grace Apparatus for Perception, (GAP).
IESOUS is the subject for Jesus which means, “Jehovah is Salvation.” This is emphasizing His humanity which also tells us that in His humanity He had to learn this doctrine in order to teach it.
EIPEN is the Aorist, Active, Indicative, Third Person, Singular of LEGO – λέγω (leg’-o) meaning, “said.” Jesus is about to teach a point of doctrine.
AUTO is the Dative, Third Person, Singular, Pronoun meaning, “to him,” in reference to Thaddaeus.
Now, we begin the lesson.
EAN is the 3rd class conditional “if, maybe you will and maybe you won’t.”
TIS is an Indefinite, Pronominal Adjective meaning, “anyone” in the Nominative, Singular.
AGAPA is the Present, Active, Subjunctive, Third Person, Singular of AGAPAO – ἀγαπάω (ag-ap-ah’-o) meaning, “loves.”
The Customary Present Tense is linear aktionsart for Category #1 Love (towards God), in Phase Two (the Christian life).
The Active Voice tells us the believer filled with the Spirit and taking in Bible doctrine on a daily basis finally comes to the point of Occupation with the Person of Jesus Christ. But this occupation with the person of Christ is first of all a Relaxed Mental Attitude.
Being in the 3rd class “if,” it is conditional, “maybe yes and maybe no.” It depends on whether they take in Bible doctrine or not.
ME is the Accusative, First Person, Singular, Pronoun of EGO – ἐγώ (eg-o’) for “Me;” Jesus referring to Himself.
TON the article “the,” and…
LOGON from LOGOS – λόγος (log’-os) are in the Accusative Singular meaning, “the word,” along with the Pronoun MOU in the Genitive, First Person, Singular meaning, “of Me or My” is speaking of Bible doctrine, the mind of Jesus Christ, “My Word”. Notice He does not use ENTOLE for commands here but is getting right down to it – Bible Doctrine.
TERESEI is the Future, Active, Indicative, Third Person, Singular of TEREO – τηρέω (tay-reh’-o) meaning, “to watch over or to guard.”
We also noted this word in verse 21, where the believer is to guard the ENTOLE of Jesus Christ, and here the LOGOS of Jesus Christ, both pointing to guarding the doctrine that is resident within your soul.
The Gnomic Future indicates something which is a timeless, general, absolute fact. This is axiomatic. He will guard something that belongs to Himself; ‘My words’ referring to Bible doctrine. How do you guard the words of God? By taking it in daily and consistently. None of us can afford to go more than 24 hours without spiritual food.
Remember that TEREO means, “to guard what belongs to you,” and the only doctrine that belongs to the believer is what he GAPs into the right lobe or the heart; the doctrine he has in his Edification Complex of the Soul (ESC). So, we say, “he will guard.”
So far, we have, “Jesus answered and said to him, “if (maybe you will and maybe you won’t) anyone loves Me (Jesus Christ) He will guard (in his soul) my word (Bible Doctrine).”
Now, we are given the results of what happens to the believer who guards Bible Doctrine in their soul.
KAI – “and”
HO PATER in the Nominative Singular “the Father” speaking to God the Father.
MOU is the Genitive Pronoun in the First Person, Singular of EGO for, “of Me or My.” So, we say “and My Father.” This is spoken from the humanity of Jesus Christ.
AGAPESEI is the Future, Active, Indicative Third Person Singular of AGAPAO that comes to mean, “He will love.”
The Indicative replaces the Subjunctive. In other words, God the Father does love us. It is not conditional. It stands for the reality of the Father’s love, and emphasizes our understanding of God’s love in our lives, “when we have doctrine in our souls.”
Once again, we have a Gnomic Future Tense for a timeless general fact.
The Active Voice indicates that the Father loves every believer in the Church Age with maximum love; we have all passed the point of propitiation.
AUTON is the Accusative Pronoun in the Third Person, Singular for “him.”
So, we say, “and My (Jesus’) Father (God the Father) will love him (believer).”
The positive believer who guards the Word of God in his soul will know intimately the Love of God the Father working in his life.
KAI – “and”
PROS is the Accusative Preposition meaning, “to or towards, or face to face,” identifying the close intimate relationship the positive believer has with the Father and Son.
AUTON is the Accusative, Third Person, Singular, Pronoun for “to Him” (the believer).
ELEUSOMETHA is the Future, Middle Deponent, Indicative, First Person, Plural, of ERCHOMAI – ἔρχομαι (er’-khom-ahee) that means, “We will come.” It is a reference to the Deity of the Father, plus Christ (His deity), a reference to the fact that both of them are going to indwell the believer.
The Middle Deponent is Reflexive, having a benefit back to the Father and the Son, when they indwell the believer. The believer ultimately glorifies God by being indwelt.
So, we have “and We, (the Father and Son), will come face to face with him (the believer).”
The positive believer who guards the Word of God in his soul will experience that intimate relationship of God the Father and God the Son. We could say, he will be “a friend of God.”
James 2:22-23, “You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; 23and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God.” w/ Gen 15:6
John 3:29, “He who has the bride (Church) is the bridegroom (Jesus Christ); but the friend of the bridegroom (mature believers of the Church Age), who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made full.”
This joy is not possible unless you hear the words of Jesus Christ, which means taking in Bible Doctrine and guarding it within your soul.
And Jesus will tell the disciples a little later on in, John 15:15, “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.”
KAI – “and”
MONEN is the Accusative, Singular of MONE – μονή (mon-ay’) that means, “an abiding, an abode, or dwelling place.” This is the same root word Jesus used in John 14:2, translated “mansion” in the KJV. When He departed to be in the Father’s House, Throne Room, He would prepare living quarters for us in that place. In verse 23, the living place for the Father and Son is in the believer. If the Holy Spirit “abides” MENEI, John 14:17 in you, that body becomes a “temple”— [NAOS – ναός (nah-os’)] of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 3:16-17), and so a fit dwelling place for the Father and the Son. This is a glorious and uplifting reality for the Church Age believer.
PAR is the Dative Preposition of PARA, and means, “with, in the presence of, before, in the judgment of, near, beside, or by the side of,” all indicating a close and intimate relationship.
AUTO is the Dative Pronoun in the Third Person, Singular for “him.”
POIESOMETHA is the Future, Middle, Indicative, First Person, Plural of POIEO – ποιέω (poy-eh’-o) that means, “we will make.” It is used for the Hebrew word ASAH – (aw-saw’) עָשָׂה. It means, “to make something out of something.” We will come face to face with Him and manufacture something out of something.
What? “Our abode,” MONE, “mansion.” The mansion here is the Edification Complex of the Soul (ECS). It is in the soul and it comes from keeping His Word on a daily basis; the daily function of GAP. So, the something out of something is an Edification Complex of the Soul (ECS) out of the temple of God that is your body.
So, we have, “and We (God the Father and Son), will make our abode (an ECS out of the temple of God) with him (by means of an intimate relationship).
The positive believer who guards the Word of God in his soul will have their temple adorned (by means of the indwelling Father and Son) with the Edification Complex of the Soul.
Our complete translation is, “Jesus answered and said to him, “If (maybe you will and maybe you won’t) anyone loves Me, he will guard (in his soul) my word (Bible Doctrine); and My (Jesus’) Father (God the Father) will love him (believer) and We, (the Father and Son), will come face to face with him (the believer) and We (God the Father and Son), will make our abode (an ECS out of the temple of God) with him (by means of an intimate relationship).”
In this verse, we also have the promise of the Indwelling of God the Father.
2 Cor 6:16, “Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
1 John 2:24, “As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.”
“In John 14, vv. 21-26, Christ speaks of a deeper relationship the disciples will have with the Father and the Son through the Spirit.
They thought they would be “orphans” (literal meaning of “comfortless” in v. 18), when actually, Jesus’ going to the Father made possible a deeper relationship between the saint and his Savior.
This relationship involves obedience to the Word (v. 21) and a love for the Word (v. 24).
It also involves the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit (v. 26).
The Christian who spends time learning the Word, then goes out to live the Word, will enjoy a close, satisfying communion with the Father and the Son. Love for Christ is not a shallow emotion to be talked about; it means loving and obeying His Word by the power of the Holy Spirit.
In John 14:1-3, Jesus talked about the saint going to heaven to abide with the Father and Son; but here He talks about the Father and Son coming to abide with the saint.” (Warren Wiersbe, Expository Outlines of the N.T.)
Positionally, we are the temple of God from the moment of our salvation, 1 Cor 3:16. We are God’s building for indwelling. We cannot make the temple bigger or smaller, and we cannot lose the temple. The temple is the temple. Likewise, we are in union with Christ and the Father from the day of our salvation.
When 1 Cor 3:17 speaks of destroying the temple, it is better translated as “corrupting.” For we cannot destroy what God has created in us. That is why it says at the end of verse 17, “it (the temple of God – the believer) is holy and that is what you are.” That is speaking about your position.
Nevertheless, experientially, we can ignore the temple, abuse the temple, and bring it to the garbage dump of life – Satan’s Cosmic System. We do this by not guarding the Word in our souls.
On the other hand, we can beautify or adorn the temple of God with the Word of God, when we take it in and guard it judiciously. We guard the Word in our souls by taking in the Word on a daily basis.
Therefore, we have the principle: The Word Guards the Word.
Daily intake and application of God’s Word guards and protects the Word of God that was previously resident in our souls. And as always, we do so through the filling of God the Holy Spirit, our true teacher of God’s Word. So, the temple is the temple, and the Word guards the Word.
When we guard the temple of God, we understand and walk in that relationship God has given to us, but, only when we guard Bible Doctrine that is already resident within our souls.
“We will come to him,” means that the Father and Son will do all that is necessary to close any gaps or distances in our relationship with them. They come to us! Therefore, the Word brings us closer to God, not our feelings or emotions.
The Father’s and Christ’s fellowship with the believer is constant, for all times and all difficulties, until you are taken up to be with Him forever.
Now, let’s view verse 23 in the light of one more analogy, that of human relationships between the right man and right woman.
In human relationships, the first thing that happens is:
- You meet your right man or right woman.
- As a result of the “chemistry” between the two of you, you determine to find out more about each other, by learning who they are, by understanding how they think.
- As a result, you not only fall in love with them, but you also experience the love they have for you by visiting each other and spending time together.
- At the next stage, you want to spend more and more time together so your visits become more frequent.
- As a result, you determine that this relationship is more important than any others in your life, and you get married so that you can spend a maximum amount of time with them by living together.
Now thinking about the believer’s relationship with God:
- Our first encounter is meeting Him at the Cross of Jesus Christ for our salvation.
- At that point, you want to learn more about Him so we study His Word, the mind of Christ, and guard it in our souls as we fall in love with Him, “He who loves Me will guard My Word.”
- As a result of your love for God, you experience His love for you, “and My Father will love him.”
- Then you spend more and more time in fellowship with God, allowing Him to reveal Himself to you while experiencing His grace blessings for you, “and We will come to him.”
- As a result, your relationship with God is more important than any others in your life, and you spend a maximum amount of time together, “and make our abode with Him.”
Just like our human relationships, verse 24 uses the analogy to describe the positive believer’s relationship with God.
- You first meet.
- You learn about each other.
- You experience each other’s love.
- You spend more and more time together.
- You live together (via marriage).
Now, notice the progression of relationship with God, promised to those who love Jesus Christ.
- You meet Him at the Cross.
- You learn and guard His Word in your soul.
- You experience His love for you.
- He reveals Himself to you.
- He dwells with you.
As verse 24 says:
- “If anyone loves Me,” (a positive answer says you do by believing in Him for salvation).
- “He will guard My word, (in his soul).”
- “And My Father will love him.”
- “And We will come to him.”
- “And make our abode with him.”
Here God’s promises to the positive believer are three-fold:
- “He will love you,”
- “Come to you”, and
- “Make His abode with you.”
As three is the number of Divine Perfection, these are God’s promises to the believer who takes in and applies Bible doctrine on a daily basis. Their relationship with God will be perfected.
As a new believer, you are in fellowship for brief periods of time. As you grow, you spend more time in fellowship with God; and when you reach spiritual maturity, you are spending a maximum amount of time in fellowship with Him.
So just as in human relationships, (you first visit briefly, then over time you spend more and more time together, until you are spending a majority of your time together), so is our relationship with God when we are guarding His Word in our souls. And don’t forget that your experience of that fellowship is dependent on whether you are guarding your soul or not.
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John 14:24, “He who does not love Me does not keep My words, and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent me.”
That’s why is says in verse 24a, “He who does not love Me does not keep My words.”
Which is: HO ME AGAPON ME TOUS LOGOUS MOU OU TEREI,
ὁ μὴ ἀγαπῶνìå με τοὺς λόγους μου οὐ τηρεῖ.
HO is the Subject Nominative Article used as a Relative Personal Pronoun for “He who.”
ME (may) is a Greek negative for “not or does not.”
AGAPON is the Present, Active, Singular, Nominative Participle of AGAPAO the word for “love.” This is still talking about a believer.
The Customary Present, is linear aktionsart – ongoing / repeated action, and with the negative means constantly not doing something. That is the ongoing or repeated action of not loving Jesus Christ, “he that keeps on not loving me.” This is the believer in reversionism. When the believer gets into reversionism, the last thing he wants to hear is Bible doctrine. This is the believer who does not love Jesus Christ.
ME (meh) is Accusative, First Person, Singular, Pronoun of EGO for “Me.” Here Jesus is referring to Himself.
TOUS is the Accusative Article in the Masculine Plural LOGOS that is not translated.
LOGOUS which is the Accusative, Masculine, Plural, Direct Object of LOGOS – λόγος (log’-os) meaning, “words,” speaking of the mind of Jesus Christ, Bible doctrine.
MOU is the Genitive of Possession Pronoun in the First-Person Singular of EGO for “of, me, or “My”
OU is the other Greek negative meaning “does not,” that goes with the Indicative mood.
TEREI is our pivotal verb throughout this passage for “to guard, protect, or keep,” from TEREO – τηρέω (tay-reh’-o) in the Present, Active, Indicative, Third Person, Singular.
So literally, we say, “He who keeps on not loving Me, the words of me he does not guard.”
But we translate it as, “He who keeps on not loving Me— [The Lord Jesus Christ (TLJC)], does not guard My words (in his soul).”
Principles of Reversionism:
- Reversionism is an act of reversing or turning in the opposite direction. As believers, we were designed to execute God’s Plan for our lives, but in reversionism, we turn the other way and cannot be distinguished from our pre-salvation status. They are believers thinking human viewpoint.
- Reversionism is the act of reverting to a former state, habit, belief, or practice of post-salvation sinning, failing to execute the Plan of God for the Church Age. He returns to his pre-salvation mode of operation, way of thinking and lifestyle.
- Reversionism is a technical theological term used for rejecting absolute truth, and drawing into your mind or accepting relative truth.
- Reversionism is a reversal of your priorities, your attitudes, your affections, the object of your personal love accompanied by the destruction of your impersonal love, resulting in a change of your personality.
- Reversionism is maximum control of the Old Sin Nature over the life of the believer so that the believer functions under the dictates of the Sin Nature exactly as he did as an unbeliever.
- Reversionism is a series of related failures in the spiritual life which results in failure to execute the Plan of God, terminating in Christian degeneracy.
- Reversionism is also recession from any stage of spiritual growth through negative volition toward Bible Doctrine.
Therefore, it is characterized by negative volition to doctrine, being influenced by evil, and results in perpetual carnality, causing a life of perpetual discipline and spiritual decline.
The reversionistic believer is classified as a loser in the Christian life or degenerate. He doesn’t lose his salvation; that’s impossible. But by failing to execute the Plan of God, the loser loses his escrow blessings for time and eternity.
Christian degeneracy is defined as the decline from the normal standards of the Plan of God for the Church Age (i.e. Grace), through the process of implosion, explosion, and reversion. In this process, the Church Age believer remains unchecked by the utilization of the Rebound Technique, and by other post-salvation Problem-Solving Devices found inside God’s Portfolio of Invisible Assets for the believer.
The process of reverting begins with implosion or exploding within by yielding to the temptations of the Sin Nature. Implosion leads to explosion or fragmentation. Fragmentation unchecked leads to reversionism.
Reversion is a technical theological term for the results of fragmentation. Fragmentation results in eight stages of reversionism.
- Reaction and distraction.
- Frantic search for happiness.
- Operation boomerang.
- Emotional revolt of the soul.
- Permanent negative volition.
- Blackout of the soul.
- Scar tissue of the soul.
- Reverse process reversionism.
The profile of the reversionist is found in, Psa 7:14-16.
The mandate to avoid reversionism is found in Rom 12:21; 1 John 2:15; 2 John 1:7-9.
1 John 2:15, “Stop loving the cosmic system, or anything pertaining to the cosmic system. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
2 John 1:7-9, “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. 9Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.”
Rom 12:21, “Stop being overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Illustrations of Reversionism:
- In Rev 3:14‑21, believers became involved in Gnosticism and grew lukewarm toward the Lord.
- In the story of Hosea and Gomer, Gomer ran off with a prince of Israel in her reversionism.
- Jeremiah had to buy his right woman from slavery after she had become a prostitute.
- James 2:1‑5 presents the case of the short-sighted usher who gave the rich man the best seat.
- In 2 Cor 10:10‑11, the Corinthians rejected Paul, their right pastor, for the Judaizers.
- Paul’s reversionism occurred when he went to Jerusalem, even though he was warned by the spirit not to go. This cost him four years in prison.
- David’s reversionism with Bathsheba and murder of her husband, Uriah the Hittite, cost him the death of a child, the rape of a daughter, the death of his favorite Son, and a revolution in his kingdom.
- Elijah’s fear of being murdered and not trusting in the protection of the Lord was his manifestation of reversionism.
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Continuing with the second half of verse 24 we have, “and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me,”
KAI HO LOGOS HON AKOUETE OUK ESTIN EMOS ALLA TOU PEMPSANTOS ME PATROS,
καὶ ὁ λόγος ὃν ἀκούετε οὐκ ἔστιν ἐμὸς ἀλλὰ τοῦ πέμψαντός με Πατρός.
KAI is the conjunction “and, even or also.”
HO LOGOS meaning, “the Word,” referring to Bible doctrine. Through Bible doctrine, Christ will manifest Himself to believers and not to the world. This answers the question of Judas.
HON is the Relative Pronominal Adjective in the Accusative, Masculine, Singular of HOS – ὅς (hos) that means, “which, who, or that.”
AKOUETE is the Present, Active, Indicative, Second Person, Plural of AKOUO – ἀκούω (ak-oo’-o) that means, “hearing, to hear, or listen.” In the Second-Person Plural, it means, “you all hear.”
The Instantaneous Present Tense has an aoristic force indicating He has been and is currently teaching them doctrine. It says that the action of hearing Bible doctrine is completed at the moment Jesus speaks it. In other words, they are taking in Bible doctrine right now in the Upper Room through the G.A.P.
The Active Voice says that the disciples are the ones taking in Bible doctrine through the ear gate, one form of perception.
The Indicative Mood is declarative for the reality of the disciples perceiving God’s Word by listening to Jesus Christ.
OUK is our Greek negative used with Indicative Mood that means, “not or does not.”
ESTIN is the Present, Active, Indicative, Third Person, Singular of EIMI that means, “he, she, or it is.” With the negative OUK we say, “Is not.”
EMOS is an Adjective in the Subject Nominative, Masculine, First Person, Singular used as a possessive and means, “my or mine.” Christ is the communicator of this doctrine but the source is God the Father as indicated in the last phrase.
ALLA is a Contrasting Conjunction setting up the last phrase that means, “but, rather, or on the contrary.”
TOU is the Genitive, Masculine, Singular Article, “the.” This article goes with the last word in the Greek sentence PATROS for Father, which is also in the Genitive of Possession, indicating whose Word it is that Jesus speaks. So, we say, “of the Father, or the Father’s.”
PEMPSANTOS is the Aorist, Active, Participle in the Genitive, Masculine, Singular of PEMPO – πέμπω (pem’-po) that means, “to send or dispatch.”
We saw this word used of the Father in John 13:16, “Truly, truly (listen intently to this point of doctrine), I say to you all (the disciples), a slave (student, disciple under academic discipline) is not greater than his lord (the one with teaching authority), neither is the one sent (APOSTOLOS – Jesus Christ in Hypostatic Union) greater than the sender (PEMPO – God the Father).”
The Culminative Aorist views the entirety of the action of the Father sending Jesus Christ to be His witness and ambassador. It views the Predesigned Plan of God through His Virgin birth and hypostatic union right up to this point in time.
The Active Voice tells us that the Father performs the action of sending Jesus Christ. It is the Father’s Plan, and by His authority Jesus is teaching the Word of God.
The Aorist, Active, Participle precedes the action of the main verb, that is, Jesus doesn’t reveal the Father until He comes and speaks about Him. PEMPSANTOS means, “having sent,” but as a relative clause in the Genitive of Source, we translate it with a personal pronoun for, “who sent.”
ME is the Accusative Pronoun in the First Person, Singular or EGO that means, “I or Me.” Jesus is referring to Himself.
PATROS is a Noun in the Predicate Genitive of Possession, Masculine, Singular of PATER – πατήρ (pat-ayr’) that means, “Father.” Here it is God the Father who sent His Son and whose Word Jesus teaches. So, we say “the Father’s who sent Me.”
Our complete translation is, John 14:24, “And the Word which you all hear, (GAP through the ear gate), is not Mine, (Jesus’), but the Father’s who sent me.”
Notice that Jesus does not answer Judas’s question directly, but instead, repeats the doctrine He was previously teaching them. By doing so, He is changing their focus off of “everyone else” in the world and back onto themselves and their own personal relationship with God.
The source of Bible doctrine is God, that’s why it is called “the Word of God,” Rom 9:6; 1 Cor 14:6; Eph 6:17; Col 1:25.
Jesus Christ and God the Father are co-equal as members of the Godhead / Trinity, John 10:30; 14:9b-10.
Bible doctrine is the thinking of Jesus Christ, John 14:21, 23-24, “My commandments and My word(s),” with 1 Cor 2:16; Col 3:16; 1 Tim 6:3.
Col 3:16, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual Songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
- In hypostatic union Jesus reveals His submission to the Father’s Plan. God the Father is the One who dispatched Jesus to planet earth to fulfill His Plan, John 13:16; 14:24, and Jesus submitted to the Father’s Plan, John 8:42; 13:3b.
John 8:42, “Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me.””
- In hypostatic union, Jesus reveals His authority orientation to God the Father. Even though the Word He was teaching to the disciples is rightfully His own, in humility and authority orientation, He gives all the credit to God the Father, John 7:16-18; 12:49; 14:10.
- In hypostatic union, Jesus reveals His authority orientation to the Word of God in the Prototype Spiritual life, John 8:54-55.
To rebel against Jesus’ Word (Bible doctrine) is not just rejecting the word of a mere man but God Himself. It is to rebel against God the Father who sent Him. Rejecting Christ’s Word is not just casting contempt on Him but on His Father likewise.
Disobedience to Christ’s Word (Bible doctrine) and a lack of love for Him are inseparable. If you have one you have the other.
This is why the “world” (see Judas’ question in verse 22) will never sense the reality of Jesus. The world does not love Jesus, and thus will not be moved from the heart to obey Christ’s Word. But you and I who do love Jesus, and who want to please Him, will sense His presence as we obey.
Obedience to His mandates is not just a simple expression of love and courtesy towards God, but a testimony of your life in subjection to His Divine authority; living inside GPS, the operational type spiritual life.
How You Treat His Word is How You Treat God Himself.
These verses note that love for Christ motivates obedience to Christ’s teaching which is God’s Word. For those who are motivated by Personal Love for God and respond in obedience to His teaching, Jesus Christ will reveal Himself; make Himself known.
All who rightly know anything of Christ, earnestly desire to know more of Him.
Our authority orientation to God’s Word both guards our soul on a daily basis and demonstrates our love for Him.
Stop worrying about how bad everyone else is, and start focusing on your own personal relationship with the Lord, Mat 7:3-5; Luke 6:41-45.
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John 14:25-26, The Teaching Ministry of the Spirit. The Trinity.
Chapter 14 Outline thus far:
- Vs. 1-3, The Promise of Eternal Security. Pt 13
- Vs. 4-6, The Way, Truth and Life. Pt 14
- Vs. 7-11, Faith Application – The Fellowship of the Father and the Son. Pt 15
- Vs. 12, The Church Age Believer Will Accomplish Greater Things. Pt 16
- Vs. 13-14, Prayer as an Example of Confidence in our Spiritual Life. Pt 17
- Vs. 15, Occupation with the Lord Jesus Christ, Pt. 18
- Vs. 16-17, Promised Indwelling of the Helper (God the Holy Spirit). Pt 19
- Vs. 18-21, The Indwelling Spirit as the Basis for our Fellowship with the Father and the Son and Understanding of the Word of God. Pt 20
- Vs. 22-24, Summarizing the Previous Two Topics; Building an Intimate Relationship with the Father and the Son. The Benefits of Guarding Your Soul. Pt 21
- Vs. 25-26, The Teaching Ministry of the Spirit. The Trinity. Pt 22
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Vs. 25-26, The Teaching Ministry of the Spirit. The Trinity.
John 14:25-26, “These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”
Verse 25, Jesus’ teaching ministry, “These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you.”
Greek Transliteration: TAUTA LELALEKA HUMIN PAR HUMIN MENON
Greek: Ταῦτα λελάληκα ὑμῖν παρ’ ὑμῖν μένων
TAUTA is an Adjective in the Demonstrative Pronominal, Accusative, Neuter, Plural of HOUTOS – οὗτος (hoo’-tos). It first refers specifically to what He has taught them that night in the Upper room including His responses to the four questions asked by the disciples. In addition, it refers to all of the doctrines He has taught them during His incarnation, while abiding with them. Therefore, as a Pronoun, we say “these things,” referring to doctrines Jesus has taught the disciples.
LELALEKA is the Perfect, Active, Indicative, First Person of LALEO – λαλέω (lal-eh’-o) that means, “to speak, talk, or communicate.”
The Perfect Tense tells of completed past action, where the results continue into the present. That means that doctrine endures forever and that Bible doctrine taught in the past has results in the present.
The Active Voice: Jesus produces the action of teaching them Bible Doctrine.
The Indicative Mood is for the fact of occurrence. So, we say, “I have spoken.”
HUMIN is the Pronoun SU – σύ (soo) in the Dative case, Second Person, Plural that means, “to you all” in the Dative of Advantage. It is referring to the disciples. It was to their advantage to have learned Bible Doctrine from the Lord. The Church Age is a radical departure from the Dispensation of Israel, and they have and are going to find out some things they never knew before. So, it is to the disciples’ advantage to be briefed about the Mystery Doctrine for the Church Age, just as it is to your advantage to learn these things too.
PAR or PARA – παράis (par-ah’) a Preposition in the Dative Case that can mean, “with, in the presence of, before (as in the judgment of), near, beside, or for.” As you can see, it has the connotation of being in close proximity to someone or something. It is a reference to the three-and-a-half-year ministry of our Lord, when He was with the disciples, and personally teaching them. So, we say “in the presence of or while with you.”
HUMIN is once again “you” in the Dative Case referring to the disciples.
MENON or MENO – μένω (men’-o) is actually linked with PARA. It is a Verb Participle in the Present, Active, Nominative, Masculine, First Person, Singular. It means, “to stay, abide, endure, or remain.”
Jesus used this word in verse 17 in regard to the Holy Spirit abiding with the disciples. So, here too, Jesus is emphasizing His abiding with them during His incarnation that is soon to end. As a Participle, it not only speaks of the action Jesus is performing at the present time, but speaks to the status of His relationship with the disciples during His incarnation.
So, with PAR HUMIN MENON we say, “while abiding with you.” Note that He continues to use the word of John 14:2 & 17 speaking of relationship versus a spiritual indwelling, emphasizing His three and a-half year ministry.
This also answers the question of Judas in verse 22. How will Christ manifest Himself to believers and not be in the world? Through the Word of God, Bible doctrine. All we know about God is contained in writing.
As you know, it is one thing to have the Word of God in writing, but it is something else to learn it, and Jesus wants them and us to learn it. So, we see Jesus here in the role of Pastor-Teacher / Rabbi. Now He is going to introduce the means for learning Bible Doctrine in verse 26.
Our translation of verse 25 is, “These things (doctrines) I have spoken (teachings during His incarnation), to you all (His disciples) while abiding with you (3 ½ year ministry).”
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Next is, “The Means of Learning and Applying Bible Doctrine.”
Verse 26, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”
Greek Transliteration: HO DE PARAKLETOS, TO PNEUMA TO HAGION HO PEMPSEI HO PATER EN TO ONOMATI MOU, EKEINOS HUMAS DIDAXEI PANTA KAI HUPOMENSEI HUMAS PANTA HA EIPON HUMIN (EGO).
Greek: ὁ δὲ Παράκλητος, τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον ὃ πέμψει ὁ Πατὴρ ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου, ἐκεῖνος ὑμᾶς διδάξει πάντα καὶ ὑπομνήσει ὑμᾶς πάντα ἃ εἶπον ὑμᾶς [ἐγώ].
HO DE is the article plus the conjunction for “the and but,” yet, we say “but the.” Here Jesus begins a contrast between His teaching of the disciples in the past and present to the Holy Spirit taking on that role.
PARAKLETOS is in the subject Nominative, Masculine, Singular, and literally means, “called to one’s aid, an advocate, helper, or intercessor.” It is used here as a title for God the Holy Spirit as it is linked with our next word.
TO PNEUMA is the article plus noun PNEUMA in the Nominative, Neuter, Singular literally means, “breath, wind, or spirit.” It stands for God the Holy Spirit as also seen in the next word HAGIOS – ἅγιος (hag’-ee-os).
TO HAGION is the Emphatic Restrictive Attributive Adjective HAGIOS in the Accusative, Masculine, Singular that means, “sacred or holy.” It emphatically attributes the quality of holiness to the third member of the Trinity.
So, we say, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit.”
HO or HOS – ὅς (hos) is a Relative Pronominal Adjective in the Accusative, Neuter, Singular that means, “who or which.”
PEMPSEI, is the Future, Active, Indicative, Third Person, Singular of PEMPTO – πέμπω (pem’-po), which means, “to dispatch or send.”
This is the same word we saw in verse 24 and in 13:16, where Jesus spoke of the Father sending Him for our benefit. Now we see that God the Father will dispatch His Spirit, as noted in the following words, to benefit the believer.
Just as the Father sent the Son, so He is going to send the Holy Spirit, John 14:16. The Holy Spirit is also said to be sent by the Son, John 15:26.
The Future Active Indicative says that God the Father will send the Holy Spirit subsequent to Jesus speaking here. As we know, this will occur on Pentecost and continue throughout the Church Age.
So, we say “He will send.”
HO PATER is the article plus the Nominative, Masculine, Singular that means, “the Father,” referring to the first member of the Trinity.
EN is the Preposition meaning, “in.”
TO ONOMATI is the Dative, Neuter, Singular of ONOMA – ὄνομα (on’-om-ah) that means, “a name, authority, or cause.”
So, we say “the name.”
MOU is the Genitive, Masculine, Singular of EGO – ἐγώ (eg-o’) that means, “of me or my.” Jesus is referring to Himself as the second member of the Trinity. Therefore, we see all three members of the Trinity in view in one passage. This also means that Jesus Christ is absent from the earth but does not leave us as orphans, as He provides the ministry of the Holy Spirit for the intensified stage of the Angelic Conflict. So, the Spirit will be sent by authority of God the Father and the authority of Jesus Christ, co-equality of the Trinity. Jesus is co-equal in sovereignty with the Father and Spirit.
Combined we say, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name.”
Here we have the First Advent of God the Holy Spirit. He has a ministry in three dispensations: The Age of Israel, the Age of the Church, and the Age of the Millennium.
This precludes the fact that God the Holy Spirit has a ministry all throughout human history to all unbelievers. He is the agent of making the gospel a reality. This is called His “Common Grace Ministry.”
But, here we have a specialized ministry to believers.
Luke 11:13 describes the ministry of the Holy Spirit to the dispensation of Israel; it was a specialized ministry to a few people.
Ephesians 5:18 describes the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Church Age.
In the Millennium, we have yet a different ministry of the Holy Spirit, because Jesus Christ returns to the earth. He is present and reigns on the earth under perfect environment.
In view, here is the Permanent Indwelling and temporal filling of God the Holy Spirit as sent by God the Father in the name of God the Son.
Now that the action of God has been established, “God the Father sending the Helper / Holy Spirit to believers in the Name of Jesus Christ,” we see what function the Spirit will perform.
EKEINOS is our next word which is a Demonstrative Pronominal Adjective in the Nominative, Masculine, Singular which means, “that or that one.” Here in the Subject Nominative (substantive), it refers back to the Holy Spirit so we say, “that one (the Holy Spirit) or simply He.”
HUMAS is the Accusative, Second Person, Plural, Pronoun of SU – σύ (soo) that comes to mean, “you all,” referring to the disciples and by extension the Church Age believer.
DIDAXEI is the Future, Active, Indicative, Third Person, Singular of DIDASKO – διδάσκω (did-as’-ko) that means, “teach or instruct.”
The continual use of the Predictive Future says that during the Church Age, the Spirit will teach the believer.
The Active Voice; the Holy Spirit will perform the action of teaching the believer.
The Declarative Indicative stands for the reality of God the Holy Spirit’s teaching ministry called the Grace Apparatus for Perception, (GAP).
So, we say, “will teach.”
The ministry of God the Holy Spirit is a teaching ministry and DIDASKO means, “to teach in a public assembly, to teach a group.” It means that the Holy Spirit teaches through the ministry of the Pastor-Teacher. The Holy Spirit teaches the MUSTERION – μυστήριον (moos-tay’-ree-on) Mystery Doctrine of the Church Age to believers, John 16:12-15; 1 Cor 2:9-14; 1 John 2:27.
PANTA or PAS – πᾶς (pas) is a Pronominal Adjective in the object Accusative, Neuter, Plural that means, “all or every.” This is the object of the Holy Spirit’s teachings, “all things,” again referring to Bible Doctrine, the mind of Jesus Christ. In comparison to what our Lord said in verse 25, “These things I have spoken.” He now takes it up a notch. The Spirit won’t just repeat what Jesus has taught them, but will reveal the entire portfolio of the Mystery Doctrine for the Church Age.
KAI is the connecting conjunction “and.” It connects the “all things,” doctrines that the Spirit will teach in the future Church Age with the doctrines Jesus has already taught the disciples.
HUPOMENSEI is a compound verb from the Preposition HUPO – ὑπό (hoop-o’) that means, “under,” as in under the authority of someone, and MIMNESKO – μιμνήσκω (mim-nace’-ko) that means, “to remind or remember.” Here it is the Future, Active, Indicative, Third Person, Singular of HUPOMINSEKO – ὑπομιμνῄσκω (hoop-om-im-nace’-ko) that means, “to cause (one) to remember or to remind.”
The Predictive Future Tense tells us that during the Church Age, the Spirit will not only teach us Bible doctrine but cause us to remember doctrine for application. Therefore, not only is perception in view but application as well.
The Active Voice; the Holy Spirit performs the action of recalling doctrine that is resident within your soul.
The Indicative Mood declares the promise of the God’s Power System (GPS).
So, we say, “He will cause to remember.” This includes Perception, Metabolization, and Application of Bible Doctrine, (PMA).
This tells us how we learn doctrine; it refers to authority. To learn something, you have to hear it again and again and again. Repetition of doctrine lodges itself in the frame of reference where it becomes a category, a part of the norms and standards of your soul and doctrine in the launching pad. As this is communicated again and again, God the Holy Spirit brings these things to your remembrance under the authority of the one who teaches.
HUMAS is used once again as a Pronoun in the Accusative, Second Person, Plural of SU for “you all,” referring to the disciples and by extension all believers who are filled with the Spirit during the Church Age.
Therefore, we have, “He will cause you all to remember.”
What they are to remember is given in the last phrase:
PANTA once again for “all”
HA is the Relative Pronominal Adjective of HOS in the Accusative, Neuter, Plural which means “who, which, what, or that.”
EIPON is the Verb LEGO – λέγω (leg’-o) in the Aorist, Active, Indicative, First Person, Singular that means, “I said,” referring to Jesus’ teaching while in Hypostatic Union. It is used here for teaching.
The Constative Aorist views what Jesus taught over a period of three years as a whole. They don’t remember all the things He said at this time, but later on when they receive the Spirit, it will finally take hold in the memory center of their souls and be applied to life.
HUMIN is the Dative Pronoun of SU in the Second Person, Plural which means, “to you all,” in reference to the advantage it is for the disciples to have personally been taught the Word of God.
The principle is: You don’t learn something the first time you hear it. You may understand it or have some concept of it, but you have to hear it again and again so that eventually it will take hold in your soul. All of this is the teaching ministry of God the Holy Spirit.
Our complete translation is:
Verse 25, “These things (doctrines) I have spoken (teaching during His incarnation), to you all (His disciples) while abiding with you (3 ½ year ministry).”
Verse 26, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name (all three members of the Trinity in view), He will teach (GAP) you all (the disciples) all things (Mystery Doctrine of the Church Age) and cause you to remember (launching pad of your soul) all that I taught you (during His incarnation).”
In these verses, we see a clear distinction between all three members of the Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Therefore, we will note the:
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Doctrine of the Trinity
The word “Trinity” is not found in the Bible. It is a technical theological term coined in the fourth century A.D. to describe a theological concept.
The doctrine of the Trinity recognizes God as being one in essence but three persons who possess equal, perfect, eternal, and infinite identical essence. Trinity means one God subsisting in three modes of existence.
Therefore, Trinity is used to describe three persons in one Godhead. There is only one Divine nature or being. The truth is that the Bible is monotheistic to the last degree, contending, as it does, that there is one God and only one; yet as certainly it asserts that this one God subsists in three definite and identified Persons.
In its teaching, the Bible is neither Polytheistic, (many gods), nor Tritheistic, (three gods), nor Unitarianone, (god who exercises his interests and powers in various ways). The monotheistic doctrine of one God subsisting in a plurality of Persons, (three, no less and no more), is what agrees with all Scripture, the oneness and onlyness of God.
Webster’s dictionary gives the following definition of Trinity: “The union of three Divine persons (or hypostases), the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in one Divinity, so that all the three are one God as to substance, but three Persons (or hypostases as to individuality).” Hypostases is the plural of hypostasis which means, “the substance, the underlying reality, or essence.”
Synonyms for Trinity include: Triunity, Trine, Triality. The term “Trinity” is formed from “tri,” three, and unity.” Triunity is a better term than “Trinity,” because it better expresses the idea of three in one. God is three in one.
This Divine being is Tri-personal, involving distinctions between the Father, Son, and Spirit. These three persons are joint partakers of exactly the same nature and majesty of God. There is one true God, but in the unity of the Godhead there are three coequal, coeternal persons. They are the same in substance or essence, but distinct in subsistence or continuing in existence. The Trinity is a revealed doctrine. It embodies truth never discovered; it is undiscoverable by natural reason. Since each person of the Trinity has the same essence, God is described as one. But they are different as persons.
Distinctions are made between the members of the Trinity, as described in 2 Cor 13:14. “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God (the Father) and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.”
The word “Trinity” was first used by Tertullian in the second century to designate a Biblical doctrine. The doctrine of the Trinity was confirmed by the council of Nicea in A.D. 325. After much controversy, including the heresy of Arius, Sabellius, and Paul of Samosata, they finally came to a correct understanding of the doctrine. Therefore, the doctrine of the Trinity is defined as: God is one in essence but three coequal, coeternal, and co-infinite persons.
When Divine essence is the subject, God is said to be one. When Divine persons are the subject, distinction is made between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. For this reason, we have different Hebrew names for God.
- The plural noun Elohim – אֱלֹהִים (el-o-heem’) implies more than one person in the Godhead.
- The singular noun JHWH – יְהֹוָה (Adonai, Jahweh, or Jehovah) is used to distinguish between the persons.
- Elohim emphasizes the one essence of God.
- Jehovah – (yeh-ho-vaw’) emphasizes one person in the Trinity, usually God the Son.
Gen 1:26; 3:22, “…Let us make man…,” “…the man has become like one of Us…” and in Isa 6:8, “…Whom shall I send and who will go for us? …”
In these passages, the plural pronoun for God, Elohim is used.
Psa 110:1, “The Lord (God the Father) said to my (David’s) Lord (God the Son).”
Psa 2:7, “I “” will announce the decree of the Lord (God the Father). He said to me (God the Son). `You are my Son (Deity of Jesus Christ). This day (day of incarnation) I have begotten you.’”
- This is quoted three times in the New Testament delineating the distinction, in Acts 13:33, Heb 1:5, and 5:5.
Isa 48:16, “Come near to Me; listen to this. From the first, I have not spoken in secret. From the time it took place, I was there. And now the Lord God (God the Father) has sent me (God the Son), and His Spirit (God the Holy Spirit).”
Mat 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples (Bible students) of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
- This is a reference to the pre-canon period of the Church Age in which water baptism was practiced to illustrate the baptism of the Holy Spirit by the use of ritual.
John 10:30, Jesus said to the crowd, “I and the Father are One.”
- He was referring to Divine essence. The Father and the Son are two distinct persons in the Godhead, but they have identical essence.
John 14:16, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (PARAKLETOS) to be with you forever.”
John 14:26, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” See also John 15:26.
John 20:28, “Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘my Lord, my God.’”
- Thomas called Jesus both Lord and God when he saw Him in His resurrection body.
1 Cor 12:4-6, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.”
2 Cor 13:14, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
1 Peter 1:2, “According to the foreknowledge of God (the Father) by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ.”
Rev 1:4-6, “John, to the seven churches that are in Asia: grace to you and prosperity from Him who is (present state of the glorified Christ at the right hand of the Father), who has always existed (Jesus Christ as eternal God prior to the hypostatic union), who is to come (Second Advent), and from the seven spirits before the throne (God the Holy Spirit as the power system in both Christocentric dispensations), and from Jesus Christ, the dependable witness, the first formed from the dead, also the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and has liberated us from our sins by means of His blood, and He has provided for us a royal power as priests to God, even the Father.”
Though One in Essence, God is Three in Persons:
There are two errors we must avoided when describing the Trinity:
- That the Godhead is composed of three distinct Persons, (i.e. Peter, James, and John, who are related to each other, in the loose fashion, by which men associate themselves together relative to certain ideals and principles). That supposition in the case of God would be Tritheism – three gods.
- That the Godhead is one Person only and that the triune aspect of His Being is no more than three fields of interests, activities, and manifestations.
The term “personality” as applied to God is not to be understood or taken in its strict philosophical sense, in which case, wholly distinct beings are indicated. God is one Being, but He is more than one Being in three relations.
Well-defined acts which are personal in character are ascribed to each Person of the Trinity. These acts unequivocally establish personality. Our language has tremendous difficulties in describing this.
The Persons are not separate, but distinct. The Trinity is composed of three united Persons without separate existence so completely united as to form One God. As such, the Divine nature subsists in three distinctions; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Personality is expressed in such terms as I, You, and He. As such, this is how the Persons of the Godhead address each other and indicates each Person’s personal acts.
Charles Hodge states, “The Scriptural facts are:
- The Father says I; the Son says I; the Spirit says I.
- The Father says You to the Son, and the Son says You to the Father; and in like manner, the Father and the Son use the pronouns He and Him in reference to the Spirit.
- The Father loves the Son; the Son loves the Father; the Spirit testifies of the Son. The Father, Son, and Spirit are severally subject and object. They act and are acted upon, or are the objects of action. Nothing is added to these facts when it is said that the Father, Son, and Spirit are distinct persons; for a person is an intelligent subject who can say I, who can be addressed as You, and who can act and can be the object of action.”
The term “person” is not generally employed in the Bible, though all that constitutes personality is repeatedly predicated of each member of the Trinity.
In the doctrine of the Unity of God, there is only one essence or substance.
In the doctrine of the Persons of the Godhead, the individuality of the Father, Son, and Spirit is preserved against the notion that there are only modes of God.
The idea of modes of God is a false doctrine dating back to the fourth century. It implies that one God has various modes for various purposes in dealing with man, whether in creation or at salvation. That is a false doctrine.
Scriptural Proof for the Trinity Begins in Genesis with the Use of Plural Pronouns for God:
- Gen 1:26, “Let Us make man in Our image.” Therefore, more than one person in the Godhead is involved.
- Gen 3:22, “Then the Lord God said, ‘Behold, man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil.”
- Isa 6:8, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘whom shall I (God the Father) send, and who will go for Us?’'”
When a Distinction is Made Between the Persons of the Trinity, it Refers to a Specific Activity of Specific Persons in the Godhead:
1 Thes 1:2-5, “We give thanks to God (God the Father) always for you, making mention of you in our prayers, 3constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of God our father.”
- Distinction is made between the Father and Son. They have identical essence, but they are two separate and distinct persons.
“4knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you; 5for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.”
1 Peter 1:2, “According to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ.”
- Distinction is made between all three members of the Trinity.
Titus 3:5, “He (Jesus Christ) saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit.”
- Distinction is made between our Lord Jesus Christ and God the Holy Spirit.
Titus 3:6, “Whom (the Holy Spirit) He (God the Father) poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior.”
2 Tim 1:13-14, “Retain the standard of sound doctrine which you have heard from me in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us the treasures which have been entrusted to you (the deposit of Bible teaching).”
The Distinctive Function of the Trinity:
Jesus Christ is the only visible member of the Trinity, John 1:18; 6:46; 1 Tim 3:16; 1 John 4:12.
While the Bible distinguishes between the members of the Trinity, it refers to the activity of specific persons in the Godhead.
All Three Members of the Trinity Provided Salvation:
- God the Father planned salvation according to: Isa 14:27; John 4:34; 5:17; 12:44; 1 Cor 8:6; Eph 3:11.
- God the Son executed salvation on the Cross: John 4:34; 5:17; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18; Rom 5:8; Heb 10:7.
- God the Holy Spirit sustained Jesus Christ while on the Cross: Heb 9:14.
Heb 9:14, “How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
The Holy Spirit also reveals the message of salvation, under the doctrine of Common Grace. He makes the gospel perspicuous, (clearly expressed and therefore easily understood), John 16:8‑11.
Scofield states in his Reference Bible: “God is one… He subsists in a personality which is threefold, indicated by relationship as Father and Son; by a mode of being as Spirit; and by the different parts taken by the Godhead in manifestation and in the work of redemption.”
Each Person of the Trinity Indwells the Body of Every Church Age Believer:
Distinction is made between them:
- The indwelling of God the Father is found in John 14:23; Eph 4:6; 2 John 9.
- God the Son indwells us according to John 14:20; 17:22-23; Rom 8:10; 2 Cor 13:5; Gal 2:20; Col 1:27; 1 John 2:24.
- The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is found in Rom 8:11; 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19-20; 2 Cor 6:16.
- Only in this unique Church Age does God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit indwell the believer.
Each Person of the Godhead Provides Divine Power for the Function of the Predesigned Protocol Plan of God:
- The omnipotence of God the Father is related to our Portfolio of Invisible Assets. He is also the designer of GPS, Eph 1:3; 6-8; Phil 4:19; Col 1:27. The term “riches of glory” includes the Portfolio of Invisible Assets.
- The omnipotence of God the Son is related to the preservation of the universe, as well as the perpetuation of human history, Neh 9:6; Psa 102:25; Isa 42:5; Col 1:16-17; Heb 1:3, 10-12; 2 Peter 3:7.
- The omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit is related to residence, function, and momentum inside GPS, Rom 15:13, 19; 1 Cor 2:4-5; Eph 3:16-19.
As noted before, the Doctrine of the Trinity is a hard doctrine for man to understand, yet it is revealed to the believer by the Holy Spirit, and by faith, we come to learn and know it.
Dr. Robert South (1634-1716) has said of this doctrine: “As he that denies it, may lose his soul; so he that too much strives to understand it, may lose his wits.”
In Isaiah 55:8-9, God tells us about this and says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.’”
Kenneth Boa has an excellent word here concerning the concept of God’s thoughts being higher than ours:
“It follows from all this that we cannot and should not expect to understand the Bible exhaustively. If we could, the Bible would not be Divine but limited to human intelligence. A very important idea comes out of this, something over which many non-Christians and even Christians stumble: Since the Bible is an infinite revelation, it often brings the reader beyond the limit of his intelligence.
As simple as the Bible is in its message of sin and of free salvation in Christ, an incredible subtlety and profundity underlies all its doctrines. Even a child can receive Christ as his Savior, thereby appropriating the free gift of eternal life. Yet, no philosopher has more than scratched the surface regarding the things that happened at the Cross. The Bible forces any reader to crash into the ceiling of his own comprehension, beyond which he cannot go until he sees the Lord face-to-face.
Until a person recognizes that his own wisdom and intelligence are not enough, he is not ready to listen to God’s greater wisdom. Jesus alluded to this when He said to God, “you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.” (Luke 10:21). (Kenneth Boa, Unraveling the Big Questions About God, Lamplighter Books, p. 12., as cited by L.S. Chafer, Systematic Theology Volume 1)
God has communicated to men truly though not exhaustively. Moses expressed this to us in Deuteronomy 29:29, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our Sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.”
Scofield states, “Attributes being inseparable from substance, the Scriptures, in saying that the Father, Son, and Spirit possess the same attributes, say they are the same in substance.”
After our last Bible study on this topic, Debbie from our local assembly summarized what she learned regarding the Trinity as follows, “One Godhead, but three personas all of the same essence/substance to carry out three different ministries, yet walking in the same direction and fulfilling the same goal.”
In review of what we have learned, there is one God, yet three who possess every attribute of Deity equally, perfectly, and eternally. There is a unity of essence and a plurality of persons belonging to the same Divine being. The persons of the Godhead are not separate and independent beings, such as Peter, James, and John; but three persons with identical essence eternally and inseparably united as one in essence. They are three individuals, Father, Son, and Spirit, yet one God. God is one in essence, yet three distinct persons, and these persons have identical substance.
Illustrations of the Trinity:
The illustration given in the Bible is that God is light. The Trinity can perhaps best be understood by examining an analogy to light. While no analogy to nature can fully explain the Triunity of God, a simple example may clarify the concept. Light can be regarded from two different viewpoints.
1 John 1:5, “And this is the message which we have heard from Him and we announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.”
John 1:5, “The light shined in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend (overpower) it.”
John 8:12, “Again therefore Jesus spoke to them saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows me will not walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.’”
1 Tim 6:16, “Who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen nor can see, to him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.”
Definition of Light: Light is electromagnetic radiation, particularly radiation of a wavelength that is visible to the human eye. In physics, the term light sometimes refers to electromagnetic radiation of any wavelength, whether visible or not.
Light can be regarded from the standpoint of the colors in its spectrum which illustrate the essence of God.
- Every ray of light from the sun is pure white, and yet it contains all the colors of the spectrum in light waves or particles of light. Particles of light operate on different waves, which is how we see color.
- All color in the world depends on light. When all light is reflected from an object, the object is white. When light is absorbed in an object, the object is black.
- Every ray of light has three primary colors: red, yellow, and blue. When a ray of light strikes an object so that the red and yellow are absorbed, the color reflected is blue. If the yellow and blue are absorbed, its color is red.
- So, when a ray of light strikes any object, certain parts are absorbed and certain parts are reflected.
- The secondary colors are orange, green, and purple. Red plus yellow equal orange. Blue plus yellow equal green. Blue plus red equal purple.
- Therefore, every color is in every ray of light. What colors are absorbed determine the color of an object as it reflects that light.
- So, light from the standpoint of color illustrates the essence of God. For just as God is one, light is one. However, light has three colors, just as God is three in one.
- Light has many different attributes, some seen, some unseen, just as God has many different attributes in His essence. Under certain conditions, you see certain attributes of God.
From the standpoint of its electromagnetic spectrum, its entire range of frequencies or wavelengths.
- Ultraviolet is electromagnetic waves with frequencies a little higher and wavelengths shorter than human eyes can see this is Actinic light.
- What is typically referred to as Light is the range of electromagnetic frequencies that can be seen by humans, this is Luminiferous light.
- Infrared is electromagnetic waves with frequencies a little lower than the range of human vision (and with wavelengths correspondingly longer).
About half the energy of sunlight at Earth’s surface is visible electromagnetic waves, about 47 percent is infrared and about 3 percent is ultraviolet.
Light can also be regarded from the standpoint of its composition. Light is one substance, but it is composed of three different properties: Actinic, Luminiferous, and Calorific.
- Actinic is a ray of light of short wavelengths that produces photochemical effects. Actinic is neither seen nor felt, a perfect illustration of God the Father.
- Luminescence is light produced by chemical reactions, electrical energy, or subatomic motions, occurring at a temperature below that of incandescent bodies. Luminescence is both seen and felt, a perfect illustration of God the Son.
- Calorific means of heat and refers to the heat or energy from light (It is where we get calories from which is the energy stored in food.). This light is not seen but felt, a perfect illustration of God the Holy Spirit.
As stated above, the Trinity is perhaps best understood by examining the analogy to light. While no analogy to nature can fully explain the Triunity of God, this simple example may clarify the concept. Light is a single phenomenon with three distinct properties: actinic or radiating energy, especially in the ultraviolet spectrum; luminescence or illuminating; and calorific or heat-producing. Each property is distinct but all unite as light. The actinic property is like God the Father; He is neither seen nor felt. The luminescence property is like God the Son; both seen and felt. The calorific property is like God the Holy Spirit; felt but not seen. Therefore, we see how the composition of light is analogous to the three Persons in the Godhead who are One. Light is one with three properties. God is one in essence but three Persons.
Another illustration of the Trinity, not as good, is an egg. The yoke, white, shell are three parts, but there is only one egg.
Another analogy, (also from Debbie), is a bowl of cake batter. You have one bowl of batter that is poured out for three different dishes: Cupcakes for the buffet, Layer cake for the sit-down dinner, and Cookies for the kids, all from the same batter and for the same intention of dessert.
A final principle is that any member of the Trinity is not God without the others, and each with the others is God.
Eph 4:4-6, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called with reference to one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God, even the Father of all.”
The subject of this paragraph in Eph 4 is unity among the Royal Family of God.
Verses 4-6 teach that just as there is unity in the Trinity, so in principle, there is unity in the body of Christ.
- Verse 4 teaches there is “one Spirit.”
- Verse 5 teaches there is “one Lord.”
- Verse 6 teaches there is “one God, the Father of all.”
Summary of the Doctrine of the Trinity thus far.
Trinity is not a Biblical word, but a technical, theological term to designate the three-fold manifestation of one God as Father, Son, and Spirit. God is one in essence who exists eternally in three distinct, coequal, coeternal persons. God is one, Gal 3:20; James 2:19. The Son (John 1:1; 14:9; Col 2:9) and the Spirit (Acts 5:3-4; 1 Cor 3:16) are fully God, yet they are distinct from the Father and from each other. The unified equality and yet distinction is seen in the Triune references to three persons, as noted in 2 Cor 13:14; Eph 4:4-6; 1 Peter 1:2. Light is a good representation of how the Triunity is One God yet three in person, John 1:5; 8:12; 1 Tim 6:16; 1 John 1:5.
The Doctrine of the Trinity as Set Forth in the Old Testament:
The Old Testament reveals a plurality of persons in the Divine name of Elohim, yet the plural form of ELOHIM is not sufficient by itself or a final proof of the Triune mode of existence.
We also are given the plural pronouns for God in Gen 1:26 and 11:7, the plural verbs for God’s acts in Gen 11:7 and 35:7, the identity of the Angel of the Lord as God in Exo 3:2-6 and Judges 13:21-22, and the references to the Spirit in Gen 1:2 and Isa 63:10-14. These all add up to the fact that God is one in essence but three separate and distinct personalities.
Distinction is made in Psalm 2:2 between Jehovah and His Messiah. In verse 6 Jehovah states, “I have set My King upon Zion, My holy mountain.” In verse 7, the Son, who is the King, declares, “Jehovah said unto me, You are My Son, today I have begotten You.”
Distinction is drawn in many passages between Jehovah and Jehovah’s Servant, or the Angel of Jehovah. The Angel of Jehovah is at times One other than Jehovah, and at other times He is Jehovah Himself, Gen 22:15; Exo 3:2; Num 22:22-35; Judges 6:11-24; 1 Kings 19:7.
In Psalm 22:1, (the prayer of Christ addressed to His Father when Christ was on the cross), He said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (This is interpreted two ways, a) as addressing the Father and Spirit, and, b) as addressing only the Father with Hebrew like emphasis. The latter is preferred based on Heb 9:14.) So also in verse 15, “and You have brought me into the dust of death.” Scripture tells us it was the Holy Spirit who escorted Jesus’ soul to Hades, Acts 2:24; Rom 1:4; 8:11; 1 Peter 3:18.
Likewise, the name Immanuel means, “God with us,” which indicates that God has entered the human sphere in the incarnation of the Son, who became flesh and dwelt among us, Isa 7:14; Mat 1:23.
The three primary names of Deity in the Old Testament are directly ascribed to each of the three Persons.
The First Person is Jehovah, Elohim, and Adonai. Yet, it is equally true that these names are applied to the Second Person. He is also called El (Isa 9:6), and Jehovah (Psa 68:18; Isa 6:1-3; 45:21).
Isa 9:6, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God.”
Psa 68:18, “You have ascended on high, You have led captive Your captives; You have received gifts among men, even among the rebellious also, that the LORD, (YAH), God, (ELOHIM), may dwell there.”
Isa 6:3, “And one (Seraphim) called out to another and said, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory’.”
The Spirit is called Jehovah (Isa 11:2), literally Spirit of Jehovah; cf. (Judges 15:14), and the Spirit is Elohim (Ex. 31:3, literally, Spirit of Elohim).
Judges 15:14, “When he (Samson) came to Lehi, the Philistines shouted as they met him. And the Spirit (RUACH) of the LORD (YHVH) came upon him mightily so that the ropes that were on his arms were as flax that is burned with fire, and his bonds dropped from his hands.”
In Num. 6:24-27 the high priest gives a benediction to invoke a blessing upon the people of Israel, “The LORD bless you, and keep you: the LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: the LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace. So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel; and I will bless them.”
The three parts of this benediction are consistent with the ministries of the three Persons in the Godhead. The following from J. Pye Smith’s “Person of Christ” states: “The first member of the formula expresses the benevolent ‘love of God; I the Father of mercies and fountain of all good: the second well agrees with the redeeming and reconciling ‘grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; ‘and the last is appropriate to the purity, consolation, and joy, which are received from the ‘communion of the Holy Spirit’” (cited by Watson, Institutes, 1,470, and Chafer Systematic Theology,1).
There is a striking resemblance with the benedictions of the epistles of the New Testament, which name the Persons of the Godhead and assign to them their respective ministries, for example 2 Cor 13:14, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.”
If Isaiah 6:3 stood alone, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory,” it might be missed that this is evidence of the Triunity by saying that this act of Divine adoration is merely emphatic or in the Hebrew mode of expressing a superlative. But a closer look does reveal the Trinity.
This distinct triple act of adoration, which is often supposed to mark a plurality of persons, is answered by a single voice, responding in the same language of plurality in which the Seraphim’s doxology expressed saying, “Who shall I send, and who will go for Us?” The being addressed is the “LORD of Hosts.” This all-encompassing acknowledgment includes the Father.
John’s reference to this in John 12:41 observes, “These things Isaiah said because he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him.” The “His” and “Him” in this passage refers to Jesus Christ.
In Acts 28:25, Paul determines that there was also the presence of the Holy Spirit, “The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers.” The Apostle Paul declares these words to have been spoken by the Holy Spirit, and Isaiah declares them to have been spoken by the “LORD of Hosts.”
Placed together as we have done:
- The place of glorification is God’s throne room, the Holy Place in heaven of the Holy Ones.
- The repetition of the homage, THREE times, “Holy, Holy, Holy” refers to ONE Jehovah of Hosts, to whom it was addressed.
- The plural pronoun used by this ONE Jehovah was, “US.”
- The declaration of John that on this occasion Isaiah saw the glory of Christ.
- The declaration of Paul, that the Lord of Hosts who spoke was the Holy Spirit.
You can only come to the conclusion that the adoration, “Holy, Holy, Holy” refers to the Divine THREE, in the ONE essence of the Lord of Hosts.
In like fashion, the Seraph Living Creatures of Rev 4:8 state the glorification of the Lamb as, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come.”
Three distinct Persons are indicated in 2 Sam 23:2-4a and Isa 48:16; 63:7-10.
Isa 48:16 prophesying the sending of both the Son and Spirit.
The threefold blessing of Jacob on the sons of Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) shows the Trinity, Gen 48:15-16.
Gen 48:15-16, “He blessed Joseph, and said, “The God (the Father) before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, The God (Holy Spirit) who has been my shepherd (has fed me) all my life to this day, 16The Angel (of the Lord – Jesus Christ) who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads.””
Creation is predicated of each Person of the Godhead separately, as well as of ELOHIM by the words, “And God (ELOHIM) said, ‘Let Us make man in our image’” in Gen 1:26. The plural use of both noun and pronoun is a strong confirmation of the Triunity of God.
The same truth is seen in:
- Eccl 12:1 which uses the plural form of BARA, the Hebrew word “creator.” “Remember also your Creator (Creators) in the days of your youth.”
- Isa 54:5, which uses the plural form of BAAL and ASAH. “For your Husband (Husbands – BAAL) is your Maker (Makers – ASAH), whose name is the LORD (YHWH) of hosts; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God (ELOHIM) of all the earth.”
As a summarization of the doctrine of the Trinity as found in the Old Testament, Dr. W. H. Griffith Thomas states in his Principles of Theology (pp. 25, 26), and under the heading, “The Doctrine Anticipated:”
At this stage, and only here, we may seek another support for the doctrine. In the light of the facts of the New Testament, we cannot refrain from asking whether there may not have been some adumbrations (faint indications) of it in the Old Testament. As the doctrine arises directly out of the facts of the New Testament, we do not look for any full discovery of it in the Old Testament. We must not expect too much, because, as Israel’s function was to emphasize the unity of God (Dent. vi. 4), any premature revelation might have been disastrous. But if the doctrine be true, we might expect that Christian Jews, at any rate, would seek for some anticipation of it in the Old Testament. We believe we find it there, (a) The use of the plural “Elohim” with the singular verb, “bara,” is at least noteworthy, and seems to call for some recognition, especially as the same grammatical solecism is found used by St. Paul (1 Thess. iii. 11, Greek). Then, too, the use of the plurals “our” (Gen.i. 26), “us” (iii. 22), “us” (xi. 7), seems to indicate some self-converse in God. It is not satisfactory to refer this to angels because they were not associated with God in creation. Whatever may be the meaning of this usage, it seems, at any rate, to imply that Hebrew Monotheism was an intensely living reality, (b) The references to the “Angel of Jehovah” prepare the way for the Christian doctrine of a distinction in the Godhead (Gen. xviii. 2, 17; xviii. 22 with xix. 1; Josh. v. 13-15 with vi. 2; Jud. xiii. 8-21; Zech. xiii. 7). (c) Allusions to the “Spirit of Jehovah” form another line of Old Testament teaching. In Genesis i. 2 the Spirit is an energy only, but in subsequent books an agent (Isa. xi. 13; xlviii. 16; lix. 19; lxiii. 10 f.). (d) The personification of Divine Wisdom is also to be observed, for the connection between the personification of Wisdom in Prov. viii, the Logos of John i. 1-18, and the “wisdom” of 1 Cor. i. 24 can hardly be accidental, (e) There are also other hints, such as the Triplicity of the Divine Names (Numb. vi. 24-27; Psa. xxix. 3-5; Isa. vi. 1-3), which, while they may not be pressed, cannot be overlooked. Hints are all that were to be expected until the fullness of time should have come. The special work of Israel was to guard God’s transcendence and omnipresence; it was for Christianity to develop the doctrine of the Godhead into the fullness, depth, and richness that we find in the revelation of the Incarnate Son of God.”
As the song goes:
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. —Amen.
Early Church Creeds Regarding the Trinity:
In the past, we have on occasion discussed early church creeds developed by various committees to solidify the faith and beliefs of Christians. These were developed to refute the various attacks by some against the true doctrines found in Scriptures. We will note two which specifically point out the doctrine of the Trinity.
The Nicene Creed, also called the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan Creed, is a statement of the orthodox faith of the early Christian Church, in opposition to certain heresies, especially Arianism. These heresies disturbed the Church during the fourth century and concerned the doctrine of the Trinity and of the person of Christ. Both the Greek or Eastern, and the Latin or Western Church held this Creed in honor, though with one important difference. The Western Church insisted on the inclusion of the phrase and the Son (known as the “filioque”) in the article on the procession of the Holy Spirit, which phrase is still rejected by the Eastern Church. Though in its present form this Creed does not go back to the Council of Nicea (325 A.D.), nor to the Council of Constantinople (381 A.D.), as was erroneously held until recent times, it is in substance an accurate and majestic formulation of the Nicene faith.
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.
Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the living and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.
And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
The Athanasian Creed, that is named after Athanasius of Alexandria (293-373 A.D.), the champion of orthodoxy and famous defender of Nicene theology, over against Arian attacks upon the doctrine of the Trinity. Although Athanasius did not write this Creed and it is improperly named after him, the name persists because until the seventeenth century, it was commonly ascribed to him. Another name for it is the Symbol Quicunque, this being its opening word in the Latin original. Its author is unknown, but in its present form, it probably does not date back farther than the sixth century. It is not from Greek Eastern, but from Latin Western origin, and is not recognized by the Greek Church today. Apart from the opening and closing sentences, this symbol consists of two parts; the first setting forth the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity (3-28), and the second dealing chiefly with the incarnation and the two natures doctrine (29-43). This Creed is more explicit and advanced theologically than the Apostles’ and the Nicene Creeds. For centuries, it has been the custom of the Roman and Anglican Churches to repeat this Creed in public worship on certain occasions.
- Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith;
- Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.
- And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;
- Neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance.
- For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit.
- But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one, the glory equal, the majesty coeternal.
- Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit.
- The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated.
- The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible.
- The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal.
- And yet they are not three eternals but one eternal.
- As also there are not three uncreated nor three incomprehensible, but one uncreated and one incomprehensible.
- So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Spirit almighty.
- And yet they are not three almighties, but one almighty.
- So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God;
- And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.
- So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Spirit Lord;
- And yet they are not three Lords but one Lord.
- For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord;
- So are we forbidden by the catholic religion to say; There are three Gods or three Lords.
- The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten.
- The Son is of the Father alone; not made nor created, but begotten.
- The Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.
- So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits.
- And in this Trinity, none is afore or after another; none is greater or less than another.
- But the whole three persons are coeternal, and coequal.
- So that in all things, as aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.
- He therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity.
- Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe rightly the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- For the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man.
- God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and man of substance of His mother, born in the world.
- Perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting.
- Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood.
- Who, although He is God and man, yet He is not two, but one Christ.
- One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of that manhood into God.
- One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person.
- For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ;
- Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead;
- He ascended into heaven, He sits on the right hand of the Father, God, Almighty;
- From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
- At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies;
- And shall give account of their own works.
- And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.
- This is the catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully he cannot be saved.
The Essence of God:
Sir Isaac Newton in “Principles of Natural Philosophy,” volume 2, page 545, states, “To understand the Trinity, we need to understand who and what God is. God has revealed Himself to us through His essence made up of His attributes. Essence is the being or nature of a person. Attributes are those qualities that compose the essence of a person.”
Each member of the Trinity has identifiable and identical attributes. Therefore, God has one essence; the oneness or unity of God refers to the identical essence of the three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
God’s essence can only be known through His attributes. Each attribute is equally ascribed to each person of the Trinity. No individual attribute is separate from His essence as a whole. Each attribute is an intrinsic (the essential nature of a thing; inherent) quality of the nature of God.
God cannot and does not deal with man in any one singular attribute. All must and do work in conjunction with each other.
Previously we have studied in detail the Essence of God, noting His various attributes. Please refer to those messages for more detail. Below we will simply outline the attributes of God.
There are three major characteristics of the attributes of God. They are eternal, functional, and directional.
- Eternal: There never was nor will there ever be a time when each member of the Trinity did not and does not possess all of the Divine attributes.
- Functional: God’s attributes have capacity for operation. They are functional towards themselves, each other member of the Trinity and towards man.
- Directional: Direction is the object of the Divine attributes. The attributes of God must have a direction toward which they function. When the attributes of God function, they must do so in a direction. Direction has three subcategories: the point of responsibility, the point of contact, and the point of reference, i.e. His righteousness, justice, and love.
When discussing God’s Attributes, they are broken down into two categories: His Absolute Attributes and His Relative Attributes:
Absolute Attributes include; spirituality, infinity, and perfection.
- Spirituality means God’s life and personality. God is immaterial, yet spirituality implies life. God is life, Jer 10:10; John 4:24; 1 Thes 1:9, and yet He does not possess life as we do, but He is life, He lives.
- Infinity means self-existence, immutability, and unity. By infinity is meant that God is without boundary or limitation. He invented space and time and exists within and outside of these.
- Perfection means truth, love, and integrity. The intellect, character, and affections of God are perfect.
Relative Attributes include:
- Those related to time and space – eternity (God is not subject to time, He has always existed), and immensity (God is not subject to space).
- Those related to creation – omnipresence (God is personally present everywhere), omniscience (God knows perfectly and eternally all that is knowable, whether actual or possible.), and omnipotence (God is all powerful, infinitely able to do all things within the range of His holy character or essence.).
- Those related to moral beings – veracity and faithfulness, mercy and goodness, and righteousness and justice.
Other Characteristics of God:
- The Freedom of God – He is independent of His creatures and His Creation.
- The Affection of God – God is Love.
- The absolute Authority of God – Sovereignty.
- The Holiness of God – separation from all that is common or unclean, He is positively pure. This is a result of His Righteousness and Justice.
From the above, we arrive at God’s Essence Box which summarizes His 10 Major Attributes.
- Sovereignty – Ultimate authority
- Righteousness – Always correct
- Justice – Always fair
- Love – Affection
- Eternal life – Has always existed
- Omniscience – All knowing
- Omnipresence – Everywhere at the same time
- Omnipotence – All powerful
- Immutability – Unchanging
- Veracity – Absolute truth
J.I. Packer says about the study of God’s essence. (J.I. Packer, Knowing God (Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 1973), pp. 14-15), “Most people clearly assume that a study of the nature and character of God will be unpractical and irrelevant for life. In fact, however, it is the most practical project anyone can engage in. Knowing about God is crucially important for the living of our lives… Disregard the study of God, and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfolded as it were, with no sense of direction and no understanding of what surrounds you. This way you can waste your life and lose your soul.”
- I challenge you to embrace the topic of the Essence of God and have that as your own personal commitment. Consider the following ways the study of the attributes of God impacts your life.
- The way to “see” God is to come to know Him through a study of His character as revealed in the Scriptures, Mat 5:6-8.
- The character of God is the basis and standard for all human morality. Without God as King men set the standard for their own conduct; and every man “does what is right in his own eyes, but its end is the way of death,” Prov 14:12; 16:25.
- Failure to think rightly about God is the sin of idolatry, and it leads to countless other sins.
A.W. Tozer, in his book, The Knowledge of the Holy, rightly identifies mistaken or distorted views of God as idolatry: “Among the sins to which the human heart is prone, hardly any other is more hateful to God than idolatry, for idolatry is at bottom a libel on His character. The idolatrous heart assumes that God is other than He is.… Let us beware lest we in our pride accept the erroneous notion that idolatry consists only in kneeling before visible objects of adoration, and that civilized peoples are therefore free from it. The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him.”
Knowing God intimately is our calling and destiny, our future hope, our great privilege and blessing, and should be our great ambition, Jer 9:23; 1 Cor 13:12; Phil 3:10; 1 John 3:2; Eph 3:14-19.
A study of the attributes of God is the basis for our enjoyment of God and our spiritual growth, Eph 4:13; 2 Peter 1:4.
The attributes of God are foundational to our faith and hope.
Heb 10:23, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”
Heb 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him (God), for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”
1 Peter 4:19, “Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.”
- It enhances our worship.
- It enhances our prayer life.
- It enhances our witness.
- It enhances and enriches our study of the Scriptures.
When we focus on the attributes of God, we begin to view life from a new perspective—from God’s perspective, Phil 3:8-10.
Phil 3:8-11, “More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, 9and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”
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