Hi Daniel, Just some initial comments or point seeking clarification from yourself. Can SR 13.1 be used to say that the heavenly hierarchy is God the Father, God the Son and then Lucifer? You would have to assume it’s talking about the Godhead, or about.
Thank you for writing Mr. President. =)
Yes, I believe EGW is clarifying who the three most honored were in Heaven. Today, it’s Gabriel in place of Lucifer. Notice:
“The words of the angel, “I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God,” show that he holds a position of high honor in the heavenly courts. When he came with a message to Daniel, he said, “There is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael [Christ] your Prince.” Daniel 10:21. Of Gabriel the Saviour speaks in the Revelation, saying that “He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John.” Revelation 1:1. And to John the angel declared, “I am a fellow servant with thee and with thy brethren the prophets.” Revelation 22:9, R. V. Wonderful thought—that the angel who stands next in honor to the Son of God is the one chosen to open the purposes of God to sinful men.” DA 99.1
What I believe is happening in these quotes is that EGW is defining who the three most honored “BEINGS” are in Heaven. Why? How?
“The Father can not be described by the things of earth. The Father IS all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and is invisible to mortal sight. The Son IS all the fullness of the Godhead manifested. The word of God declares Him to be “the express image of His person.” “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Here is shown the personality of the Father. BTS March 1, 1906, par. 1
“The Comforter that Christ promised to send after He ascended to heaven, is the Spirit IN all the fullness of the Godhead, making manifest the power of divine grace to all who receive and believe in Christ as a personal Saviour. There are three living persons of the heavenly trio. In the name of these three powers,—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, those who receive Christ by living faith are baptized, and these powers will cooperate with the obedient subjects of heaven in their efforts to live the new life in Christ.” BTS March 1, 1906, par. 2
The Father IS
The Son IS
The Spirit is IN
EGW never has called—with her own pen—the Holy Spirit a being. (There’s a quote given where EGW was speaking in a sermon or talk, and it is written by a stenographer that she talked about the “three highest beings…” But I can’t believe she meant that, as it wasn’t written by her hand. It was written many years after her death.)
It wasn’t until Christ gave us the gift of the Comforter (after He ascended) that the Comforter was a separate or ‘third person.’ For example, we cannot find a single reference where EGW names the Spirit with the Father and the Son (as a third person) in the creation of this world. Why? Because at that time the Spirit was “IN” all the fullness of the Godhead.
By the way, Godhead doesn’t mean or include numbers, it means divinity. There’s much more, but you only asked a short question.
Why do you not start with the fundamental belief? This shows the biblical basis for the churches view of the Spirit, which represents many minds bible study and reflection over a period of time. Why make your starting point ambiguous quotations on the subject, e.g. Story of Redemption, and Desire of Ages. Granted their is some mystery about the Godhead, and about certain statements, but to use them in the manner you have contradicts clearer portions of scripture on the subject. There is more than one way to interpret the quotes you have referred to (SR 13.1)
To start right away with the fundamental belief would look like I am attacking the church. I don’t want to attack the church, I just want to bring awareness that we haven’t seemed to look at all the evidence of what has been said by inspiration. Okay, so why do we have such a guarded fundamental belief, for which I was docked to be censured for speaking differently about, when “there is some mystery” in the Godhead? Can we not speak differently about divinity—is there no room for pushing the edges of what the Seventh-day Adventist Church has defined who God is? Should I forget that EGW ever said the things she did? Can I not put Bible verses together that say something different about this mystery? Did Christ really mean what He said in John 17:3? Was the Father lying when He said Christ was His “beloved Son?” Was Christ confused when He said the Spirit would come in the future tense in John 14, 15, 16, and 17?
Christ in you is a mystery, but when I show that EGW and the Bible actually mean that it is Christ in you, our church gets visited and challenged by the Conference president here in Central California. Have we come to the point where we love the doctrines more than the words that gave us those doctrines?
I love my church and know the GC is well known as ‘God’s voice’ to His church in general session, but have we forgotten what EGW said in 1901? The conference was not speaking with God’s voice, and it seems all those quotes are better fit into the realm or organization rather than doctrine. If my church votes doctrine contrary to the Bible—which I know has happened in the past and will very likely happen in the future—then it is not God’s voice. So your comment about the majority votes in our history hold little weight, as the Jewish leadership voted in the majority to crucify an innocent Man. I just want to know better what God says about Himself.
“In order to be co-workers with God, in order to become like Him and to reveal His character, we must know Him aright. We must know Him as He reveals Himself.” MH 409.1
You State, “I believe the Holy Spirit is the “Third Person of the Godhead,” one of the “three great powers of heaven…” Even though third does not mean third in rank, as the numerical sequence can indicate. Trio does not carry the connotation of ranking, it simply says trio and you don’t know whose first. John refer’s to the Holy Spirit as “another” comforter (John 14:16), meaning that it is not referring to Jesus as 1 John 2:1
We do know who’s first, it is the Father. There’s none more honored than the Source of all. Notice the second sentence of Steps to Christ, “Nature and revelation alike testify of God’s love. Our Father in heaven is the source of life, of wisdom, and of joy” SC 9.1.
I don’t feel comfortable using John’s word, Comforter, that only he used, in a way different than he used it consistently—especially when it coincides with what EGW says.
“Christ is to be known by the blessed name of Comforter. “The Comforter,” said Christ to His disciples, “which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you, Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”” Ms7-1902.10
‘“Jesus comes to you as the Spirit of truth; study the mind of the Spirit, consult your Lord, follow His way.” Ms8c-1891.14
“While Jesus ministers in the sanctuary above, He is still by His Spirit the minister of the church on earth. He is withdrawn from the eye of sense, but His parting promise is fulfilled, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Matthew 28:20. While He delegates His power to inferior ministers, His energizing presence is still with His church.” DA 166.2
But further you quote EGW where she says, “This refers to the omnipresence of the Spirit of Christ, call the Comforter.” It seems you are saying the Holy Spirit is actually Christ in his omnipresent form? If this is true, the Holy Spirit cannot be a third person, and cannot be referred to as the heavenly trio. This also means he has no personality. Please clarify?
The mystery is Christ in you. The DA 166.2 quote above makes it very clear that Christ is personally in Heaven, whereby, through His Spirit, He is in the midst of His church. That reminds me of another quote, the second sentence of Testimonies to Ministers, “While He [Christ] extends to all the world His invitation to come to Him and be saved, He commissions His angels to render divine help to every soul that cometh to Him in repentance and contrition, and He comes personally by His Holy Spirit into the midst of His church.” TM 15.1. The Angels here sure sound like their involved in the work of Christ’s Spirit!
Remember the quote that talks about such an army of youth? Read the paragraph just before it: “There is no line of work in which it is possible for the youth to receive greater benefit. All who engage in ministry are God’s helping hand. They are co-workers with the angels; rather, they are the human agencies through whom the angels accomplish their mission. Angels speak through their voices, and work by their hands. And the human workers, co-operating with heavenly agencies, have the benefit of their education and experience. As a means of education, what “university course” can equal this? Ed 271.
Sorry, the following in the first paragraph is incomplete, “…about the sequence or ontological ranking within the Godhead”.
Thank you for adding this for the first paragraph. Having studied in every way and using every phrase I can think of—and certainly not finished yet—I haven’t found any reason to believe she wasn’t speaking of the beings in Heaven. If you can show me otherwise, I’d be happy to seriously consider.
Here’s an additional quote: “The Holy Spirit is the Comforter, in Christ’s name. He personifies Christ, yet is a distinct personality” (20MR 324).
Yes, I fully agree. Personify is a word used a few different times by EGW. Many times she refers to the enemy:
“The apostles, as personated by these lying spirits, are made to contradict what they wrote at the dictation of the Holy Spirit when on earth” GC 557.1
(Just a thought, who was that Spirit that dictated to the prophets while they were on earth? 1Peter 1:11 says, “Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify.”)
“As the crowning act in the great drama of deception, Satan himself will personate Christ” GC 624.2.
“He will assume to personate the angels of light, to personate Jesus Christ” Lt102-1894.18.
“If men are so easily misled now, how will they stand when Satan shall personate Christ and work miracles? Who will be unmoved by his misrepresentations then—professing to be Christ when it is only Satan assuming the person of Christ, and apparently working the works of Christ? What will hold God’s people from giving their allegiance to false Christs? “Go not after them”” Ms185-1897.9.
Knowing there are plenty more of these quotes, would it be wrong for the enemy to personate Christ? YES! Why? Because it’s a lie…
Consider that the opposite is true about the Spirit. He is personating Christ, but it’s not a lie. He REALLY IS CHRIST!
Our churches are sickly, weak, and ready to die. Why?
“The reason why the churches are weak and sickly and ready to die, is that the enemy has brought influences of a discouraging nature to bear upon trembling souls. He has sought to shut Jesus from their view as the Comforter, as one who reproves, who warns, who admonishes them, saying, “This is the way, walk ye in it.” Christ has all power in heaven and in earth, and he can strengthen the wavering, and set right the erring. He can inspire with confidence, with hope in God; and confidence in God always results in creating confidence in one another.” 1888 696.1
I beg of you to continue to study these things. God has called you to where you are for such a time as this.