The Identity of God, Jesus,
and the Holy Spirit

 
Jesus, Receiving the Holy Spirit from the Father

Throughout much of history, Christianity has held both Trinitarian and non-Trinitarian views regarding this subject.  Unfortunately, frequently it is fear or emotion that settles the matter in many minds, rather than a careful Scriptural examination.  It is not possible to prove points in a little information capsule such as this.  Therefore, we will merely summarize what we find to be consistently Scriptural and reasonable.  A greatly detailed and satisfying Scriptural treatment of this topic can be found in Volume 5 of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, available through this website.

We understand that God, often called the Father, or Yahweh, or Jehovah, or most usually just God, always has existed and possesses that quality known as immortality—life in Himself, inextinguishable, not in need of external support, indestructible, and eternal.  (John 5:26; I Timothy 1:17)

He is not everywhere, as some claim, in that He possesses, in some unexplainable way, SHAPE (John 5:37).  He is all-powerful (omnipotent) except that He cannot do anything that would deny His character traits.  (Hebrews 6:18; II Timothy 2:13)  Those character traits are symbolized (in Revelation 4:6-9) by “four living ones” (the KJV mistranslates these “beasts”) which seem to be WISDOM, LOVE, POWER, AND JUSTICE—all in perfect balance so that one trait cannot negate or over-balance the other.  God is the Creator (Isaiah 40:28) of all things in the sense that He is the origin of the planning and design.  Scripture, however, indicates that He has (thus far) DIRECTLY created only one thing, His Son, (later known to men as Jesus) BY WHOM all other things were created.  (John 1:3; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:15-17)

Jesus, as stated, is a created being (Revelation 3:14).  He clearly is next to God in universal authority, power, glory, and majesty.  He now possesses that same IMMORTALITY which only God originally enjoyed.  (John 5:26)  He has existed in three distinct planes of existence.  He was, in his pre-human existence, the arch-angel, “Michael.”  It was by, through, and for him that all things were created (Colossians 1:15-17).  He functioned under many names and titles as representative of and spokesman for his Father.  He (in due time) became a man (II Corinthians 5:16; Hebrews 2:14; I Peter 3:18; I John 4:2; Galatians 4:4) in order to pay the ransom-price to redeem man from sin and death.  (John 6:51.  See RANSOM.)  He was not merely a spirit being dressed up in disguise as a man; but he was, indeed, a perfect man to die in exchange for the life of the only other perfect man who had ever existed (Adam).  (I Timothy 2:6; I Corinthians 15:21)

For the last 3-1/2 years of his life, Jesus was “begotten” of the Holy Spirit to a new nature.  This made him “a new creature”—an embryo which, once born, would be in the immortal likeness (the “express image”) of his Father’s person (Hebrews 1:3).  Thus, the man Jesus died on the cross, giving his (human) life for the world (John 6:51); but the “new creature” was born from the dead to be restored to his Father’s right hand.  (Acts 2:32-36; 7:55, 56; Romans 8:34)  It does not detract from Jesus to say these things.  It elevates his stature and illuminates his willingly-sacrificial character.  It would, on the contrary, be blasphemous to say that God died!  The relationship of Father and Son is a holy thing with each deserving of highest praise and worship; but to make them the same being is confusing, unscriptural, and destructive of their individual places and functions in the universe. 

The Holy Spirit is not a personality at all.  This fact often is hidden by the misuse of the personal pronoun “he” used by New Testament translators.  The Holy Spirit is NOT a “he,” but an “it.”  It functions in this age as a “comforter” (John 14:16, 26; 15:26) for Jesus’ disciples—among other functions.  It is best defined as the power or influence of God which is sent out, through whichever instrumentalities God chooses, to accomplish the myriad different functions needed in accomplishing the Divine Plan.

One final observation:  It is important to note that the Bible uses the word “God” to apply to any mighty one.  It is applied to the Father (Ephesians 5:5), the Son (John 20:28), Satan (II Corinthians 4:4), the prophets (John 10:34, 35; Psalm 82:6), and to a number of other things.  It is a generic word which simply means “mighty one.”

 

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