"Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God; . . . Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else."; .
The Bible speaks of only one God.; . In Hebrew, the term God is often used in the plural form (Elohiym as opposed to the singular Elowahh). According to the Scriptures, the Godhead ( , ; ; ), comprises three Divine Dignitaries—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—working together as one. , ; , ; ; , ; ; ; ; , .
Our faith in the existence of God is based upon evidence which He Himself has provided. The hand of God is present everywhere—in nature, in the course of history, in our personal experience, and above all in His Word, the Bible. This can be perceived by every person who desires to see the evidence for himself.; ; ; ; ; , .
Some of the attributes of the Godhead:
invisible to sinful man:;
omnipresent (present everywhere):;
omniscient (all-knowing):; ; ;
omnipotent (all-powerful):; ; ; ;
immutable (unchangeable):; ;
holy:; ; ;
righteous:; ; ;
merciful:; ; ;
good:; ; ;
"The revelation of Himself that God has given in His word is for our study. This we may seek to understand. But beyond this we are not to penetrate. The highest intellect may tax itself until it is wearied out in conjectures regarding the nature of God, but the effort will be fruitless. This problem has not been given us to solve. No human mind can comprehend God. None are to indulge in speculation regarding His nature. Here silence is eloquence. The Omniscient One is above discussion."—.
"The Father cannot be described by the things of earth. The Father is all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and is invisible to mortal sight. The Son is all the fullness of the Godhead manifested. The Word of God declares Him to be 'the express image of His person.' (). 'God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.' ( ). Here is shown the personality of the Father. The Comforter that Christ promised to send after He ascended to heaven is the Spirit in all the fullness of the Godhead, making manifest the power of divine grace to all who receive and believe in Christ as a personal Saviour. There are three living persons of the heavenly trio: in the name of these three great powers—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—those who receive Christ by living faith are baptized, and these powers will co-operate with the obedient subjects of heaven in their effort to live the new life in Christ."—Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 7, pp. 62, 63 (1905).— , 615.
"God is a spirit; yet He is a personal being, for man was made in His image." —.
A. THE FATHER
The Father is the first Person of the Godhead.; ; ; , ; ; ; ; .
Through Christ and the Holy Spirit, the Father is the Creator and Sustainer of all.; ; ; ; ; ; .
God is the Father of all who accept Christ as their personal Saviour and obey all His commandments.; ; , ; ; ; , ; .
The most outstanding attribute of the Father—which motivated the plan of salvation—is His love.; , . His love is revealed in us if He dwells in us through the Holy Spirit. , ; ; .
"Jesus teaches us to call His Father our Father. He is not ashamed to call us brethren.. So ready, so eager, is the Saviour's heart to welcome us as members of the family of God, that in the very first words we are to use in approaching God, He places the assurance of our divine relationship, 'Our Father.'"—Mount of Blessings, p. 103.
"The Ancient of Days is God the Father. Says the psalmist: 'Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and
the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God.'. It is He, the source of all being, and the fountain of all law, that is to preside in the judgment." — .
B. THE SON
Christ, the second Person of the Godhead (; ; ), is the eternal, self-existent Son of God, the "express image" ( ; ) of the Father. Together with the Father, He is the beginner ( ), (Gr. Arche—originator), of all things. ; ; ; (cf ; ); ; .
The eternal pre-existence of Christ is clearly taught in the Bible.; ; , , ; , . A comparison between and proves that Christ is part of the Godhead. See also and .
As Christ is also God, one with the Father and equal with Him, He is also to be worshiped. This would not be the case if He were a created being (). ; ; ; ; ; ; .
Without giving up His divinity, Christ accepted humanity and became a man at His incarnation, when He was born of the virgin Mary.; ; . At His birth in Bethlehem, He did not take the nature of Adam before the fall, but the seed of Abraham and of David. ; ; , , ; , ; , ; .
Christ came into the world to seek and to save that which was lost (); to live and die for our justification and sanctification ( ; ; ); to take away our sins ( ; ; ; ); to redeem us from the penalty of the law ( ; ); to condemn sin in the flesh, enabling us, by the Holy Spirit, to fulfill the righteousness of the law ( ); to give us an example of obedience ( ; ; ; ); and to destroy the works of the devil ( ).
As a man, Christ was tempted in all points like ourselves; yet He knew no sin.; , , ; ; ; ; ; .
The vicarious death of Christ on the cross provides the sacrificial part (the blood offering) of the atonement for the sins of the human race. Only those who accept this provision will be saved.; ; ; ; , ; .
"The Godhead was not made human, and the human was not deified by the blending together of the two natures. Christ did not possess the same sinful, corrupt, fallen disloyalty we possess, for then He could not be a perfect offering." —Selected Messages, vol. 3, p. 131.
"He [Christ] has a twofold nature, at once human and divine. He is both God and man. Manuscript 76, 1903."—SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1074.
"The two natures were mysteriously blended in one Person—the Man Christ Jesus. Letter 280, 1904."—."—SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1113.
"By His humanity, Christ touched humanity; by His divinity, He lays hold upon the throne of God. As the Son of man, He gave us an example of obedience; as the Son of God, He gives us power to obey."—.
"Christ was God essentially, and in the highest sense. He was with God from all eternity, God over all, blessed for evermore."—Selected Messages, book 1, p. 247.
"In speaking of his pre‑existence, Christ carries the mind back through dateless ages. He assures us that there never was a time when He was not in close fellowship with the eternal God."—.
"From the days of eternity the Lord Jesus Christ was one with the Father."—.
"Silence fell upon the vast assembly. The name of God, given to Moses to express the idea of the eternal presence, had been claimed as His own by this Galilean Rabbi. He had announced Himself to be the self-existent One, He who had been promised to Israel, 'whose goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity.', margin."— -470.
"When the voice of the mighty angel was heard at Christ's tomb, saying, Thy Father calls Thee, the Saviour came forth from the grave by the life that was in Himself. Now was proved the truth of His words, 'I lay down My life, that I might take it again. . . . I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.' Now was fulfilled the prophecy He had spoken to the priests and rulers, 'Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.', ; .
"Over the rent sepulcher of Joseph, Christ had proclaimed in triumph, 'I am the resurrection, and the life.' These words could be spoken only by the Deity. All created beings live by the will and power of God. They are dependent recipients of the life of God. From the highest seraph to the humblest animate being, all are replenished from the Source of life. Only He who is one with God could say, I have power to lay down My life, and I have power to take it again. In His divinity, Christ possessed the power to break the bonds of death."—.
"In Him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. When Christ was crucified, it was His human nature that died. Deity did not sink and die; that would have been impossible."—SDA Bible Commentary (EGW Comments), p. 1113.
"The divinity of Christ is the believer's assurance of eternal life."—.
"It would have been an almost infinite humiliation for the Son of God to take man's nature, even when Adam stood in his innocence in Eden. But Jesus accepted humanity when the race had been weakened by four thousand years of sin. Like every child of Adam He accepted the results of the working of the great law of heredity."—.
"At an infinite cost, and by a process mysterious to angels as well as to men, Christ assumed humanity. Hiding his divinity, laying aside his glory, he was born a babe in Bethlehem."—.
"When Jesus took human nature, and became in fashion as a man, He possessed all the human organism. His necessities were the necessities of a man. He had bodily wants to be supplied, bodily weariness to be relieved. By prayer to the Father He was braced for duty and for trial (Letter 32, 1899)."—SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1130.
"He is a brother in our infirmities, but not in possessing like passions. As the sinless One, His nature recoiled from evil."—-202.
"The humanity of the Son of God is everything to us. It is the golden chain that binds our souls to Christ, and through Christ to God. This is to be our study. Christ was a real man; He gave proof of His humility in becoming a man. Yet He was God in the flesh. When we approach this subject, we would do well to heed the words spoken by Christ to Moses at the burning bush, 'Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground' ()." —Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 244.
Tempted in all Points
"Clad in the vestments of humanity, the Son of God came down to the level of those he wished to save. In him was no guile or sinfulness; he was ever pure and undefiled; yet he took upon him our sinful nature. Clothing his divinity with humanity, that he might associate with fallen humanity, he sought to regain for man that which, by disobedience, Adam had lost for himself and for the world." —.
"Christ's heart was pierced by a far sharper pain than that caused by the nails driven into his hands and feet. He was bearing the sins of the whole world, enduring our punishment,—the wrath of God against transgression. His trial involved the fierce temptation of thinking that he was forsaken by God. His soul was tortured by the pressure of great darkness, lest he should swerve from his uprightness during the terrible ordeal. Unless there is a possibility of yielding, temptation is no temptation. Temptation is resisted when man is powerfully influenced to do a wrong action; and, knowing that he can do it, resists, by faith, with a firm hold upon divine power. This was the ordeal through which Christ passed. He could not have been tempted in all points as man is tempted, had there been no possibility of his failing. He was a free agent, placed on probation, as was Adam, and as is every man. In his closing hours, while hanging on the cross, he experienced to the fullest extent what man must experience when striving against sin. He realized how bad a man may become by yielding to sin. He realized the terrible consequence of the transgression of God's law; for the iniquity of the whole world was upon him."—.
"When His ministry commenced, after His baptism, He endured an agonizing fast of nearly six weeks. It was not merely the gnawing pangs of hunger which made His sufferings inexpressibly severe, but it was the guilt of the sins of the world which pressed so heavily upon Him. He who knew no sin was made sin for us. With this terrible weight of guilt upon Him because of our sins He withstood the fearful test upon appetite, and upon love of the world and of honor, and pride of display which leads to presumption."—.
Yet Without Sin
"Christ was the only one who walked the earth upon whom there rested no taint of sin."—Selected Messages, vol. 3, p. 134.
"Be careful, exceedingly careful as to how you dwell upon the human nature of Christ. Do not set Him before the people as a man with the propensities of sin. He is the second Adam. The first Adam was created a pure, sinless being, without a taint of sin upon him; he was in the image of God. He could fall, and he did fall through transgressing. Because of sin his posterity was born with inherent propensities of disobedience. But Jesus Christ was the only begotten Son of God. He took upon Himself human nature, and was tempted in all points as human nature is tempted. He could have sinned; He could have fallen, but not for one moment was there in Him an evil propensity."—The SDA Bible Commentary (E. G. White Comments), vol. 5, p. 1128.
"The prince of darkness found nothing in Him; not a single thought or feeling responded to temptation."—.
"He [Christ] was to take His position at the head of humanity by taking the nature but not the sinfulness of man."—SDA Bible Commentary (EGW Comments), vol. 7, p. 925.
"We should have no misgivings in regard to the perfect sinlessness of the human nature of Christ."—SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1131.
"He was unsullied with corruption, a stranger to sin; yet He prayed, and that often with strong crying and tears. He prayed for His disciples and for Himself, thus identifying Himself with our needs, our weaknesses, and our failings, which are so common with humanity. He was a mighty petitioner, not possessing the passions of our human, fallen natures, but compassed with like infirmities, tempted in all points even as we are. Jesus endured agony which required help and support from His Father."—-509.
"Every sin, every discord, every defiling lust that transgression had brought, was torture to His spirit."—.
We Can Overcome in the Same Way
"Many who fall under temptation excuse themselves with the plea that Christ's divinity helped him overcome, and that man has not this power in his favor. But this is a mistake. Christ has brought divine power within the reach of all. The Son of God came to the earth because he saw that moral power in man is weak. He came to bring finite man in close connection with God. It is by combining divine power with his human strength that man becomes an overcomer."—.
"Jesus revealed no qualities, and exercised no powers, that men may not have through faith in Him. His perfect humanity is that which all His followers may possess, if they will be in subjection to God as He was."—.
"When we are tempted to question whether Christ resisted temptation as a man, we must search the Scriptures for the truth. As the substitute and surety of the human race, Christ was placed in the same position toward the Father as is the sinner. Christ had the privilege of depending on the Father for strength, and so have we."—.
"God has adopted human nature in the person of His Son, and has carried the same into the highest heaven. . . . In Christ the family of earth and the family of heaven are bound together."—, 26.
After He had died on the cross for our sins (), Christ resurrected on the third day ( , ; ); and, forty days later, He ascended to heaven ( , ) to make intercession for us and complete the work of atonement ( ; ; ; ; ; ) as He presents the merits of His blood before the Father for repentant sinners ( ; ). Through the merits of His blood, the cleansing of the sanctuary and the blotting out of sins ( ), the final phase of the atonement, commenced in 1844 ( ; ; ), when the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary was opened ( ) .
"The intercession of Christ in man's behalf in the sanctuary above is as essential to the plan of salvation as was His death upon the cross."—.
"The divine Intercessor presents the plea that all who have overcome through faith in His blood be forgiven their transgressions, that they be restored to their Eden home, and crowned as joint heirs with Himself to 'the first dominion.'"—.
"By His spotless life, His obedience, His death on the cross of Calvary, Christ interceded for the lost race. And now not as a mere petitioner does the Captain of our salvation intercede for us, but as a conqueror claiming His victory." —SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, pp. 930-931.
C. THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit, the Representative of Christ, is the third person of the Godhead. He is, besides Christ, the greatest of all gifts of God to man; and through Him, Christ promised to be with His followers., ; , ; ; , ; , ; .
A comparison betweenand shows that the Holy Spirit is a distinct part of the Godhead. . While Christ is our Mediator before the Father ( ), the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us by working upon our hearts. (cf ).
"Christ, our Mediator, and the Holy Spirit are constantly interceding in man's behalf, but the Spirit pleads not for us as does Christ who presents His blood, shed from the foundation of the world; the Spirit works upon our hearts, drawing out prayers and penitence, praise and thanksgiving. The gratitude which flows from our lips is the result of the Spirit striking the cords of the soul in holy memories, awakening the music of the heart."—SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, pp. 1077-1078.
The first work of the Holy Spirit is to convict us of sin and to lead us to Christ.. By accepting Jesus as our personal Saviour, we yield to the influence and control of the Holy Spirit, who testifies of Christ and brings repentance, conversion (new birth or regeneration), and sanctification. He continues to lead us into all truth (obedience), and we become partakers of the divine nature ( ), having the mind of Christ. ; ; ; ; ; ; , , , , ; ; , ; ; .
Before a person can receive the gifts of the Spirit, he must bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit in his life.; .
Our union with Christ through the Holy Spirit is the earnest (pledge) of our resurrection. The presence of God's Spirit with us is the beginning of eternal life.(cf , ; ).
The Holy Spirit is often referred to as a power proceeding from the Father and the Son—a power working in and through human beings.; ; ; ; ; .
At the same time, however, the Bible also refers to the Holy Spirit as a distinct personality. Examples:
1. Not only the Father is Jehovah, but also the Son and the Holy Spirit:(Hebrew)
(cf); (Hebrew) (cf ).
2. He is a Comforter:; .
3. He hears, speaks, guides us, and reveals future events to us:;
4. He warns us of future trials and afflictions:; ..
5. He teaches us all things and brings the words of Christ to our remembrance:.
6. He comes to us with prohibitions and commands:; .
7. He gives messages to the people of God through the prophets:.
8. He has a mind (), a will ( ), a capacity for love ( ). He is susceptible to being insulted and grieved ( ), tempted ( ), and lied to ( ).
9. He searches all things, even "the secrets which lie hidden in the mind of God":, .
10. He glorifies Christ as Christ glorified the Father:; .
11. He makes intercession for us:.
12. He refers to Himself as an individuality, using the personal pronouns "I" and "Me":.
"We need to realize that the Holy Spirit, who is as much a person as God is a person, is walking through these grounds.—Manuscript 66, 1899. (From a talk to the students at the Avondale School.)"—.
"The Holy Spirit... personifies Christ, yet is a distinct personality." —.
"The Holy Spirit is a free, working, independent agency."—Review and Herald, May 5, 1896.
The Holy Spirits shares the omniscience and omnipotence of the Godhead.
"The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, powers infinite and omniscient, receive those who truly enter into covenant relationship with God."—SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1075.
"He [Christ] knew that the truth, armed with the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit, would conquer in the battle with evil."—.
"The Spirit was to be given as a regenerating agent, and without this the sacrifice of Christ would have been of no avail. The power of evil had been strengthening for centuries, and the submission of men to this Satanic captivity was amazing. Sin could be resisted and overcome only through the mighty agency of the third person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fulness of divine power. It is the Spirit that makes effectual what has been wrought out by the world's Redeemer. It is by the Spirit that the heart is made pure."—.
"Our sanctification is the work of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit."— SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 908.
"The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, powers infinite and omniscient, receive those who truly enter into covenant relation with God. They are present at every baptism, to receive the candidates who have renounced the world and have received Christ into the soul temple. These candidates have entered into the family of God, and their names are inscribed in the Lamb's book of life (MS 27 1/2, 1900)."—The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p.1075.
"The Holy Spirit indites all genuine prayer. I have learned to know that in all my intercessions the Spirit intercedes for me and for all saints; but his intercessions are according to the will of God, never contrary to his will. 'The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities;' and the Spirit, being God, knoweth the mind of God; therefore in every prayer of ours for the sick, or for other needs, the will of God is to be regarded. 'For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.' If we are taught of God, we shall pray in conformity to his revealed will, and in submission to his will which we know not. We are to make supplication according to the will of God, relying on the precious word, and believing that Christ not only gave himself for but to his disciples. The record declares, 'He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost."—Signs of the Times, October 3, 1892.
The Nature of the Holy Spirit
Here we enter upon a subject where we have—like Moses in the wilderness—to take off our shoes. The Lord tells us by His servant: "It is not essential for us to be able to define just what the Holy Spirit is. Christ tells us that the Spirit is the Comforter, 'the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father.' It is plainly declared regarding the Holy Spirit that, in His work of guiding men into all truth, 'He shall not speak of Himself.'; .
"The nature of the Holy Spirit is a mystery. Men cannot explain it, because the Lord has not revealed it to them. Men having fanciful views may bring together passages of Scripture and put a human construction on them, but the acceptance of these views will not strengthen the church. Regarding such mysteries, which are too deep for human understanding, silence is golden."—-52.
Often the Holy Spirit is referred to as a power proceeding from the Father and the Son—a power working in and through human beings.; ; ; ; ; .
Still the nature of the Holy Spirit remains to us a mystery. We should accept the following advice from: "The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law."
"By the Spirit the Saviour would be accessible to all. In this sense He would be nearer to them than if He had not ascended on high."—.
"Christ, our Mediator, and the Holy Spirit are constantly interceding in man's behalf, but the Spirit pleads not for us as Christ who presents His blood, shed from the foundation of the world; the Spirit works upon our hears, drawing out prayers and pentitence, praise and thanksgiving."—.
"Whenever one renounces sin, which is the transgression of the law, his life will be brought into conformity to the law, into perfect obedience. This is the work of the Holy Spirit."—.
"If men are willing to be molded, there will be brought about a sanctification of the whole being. The Spirit will take the things of God and stamp them on the soul. By His power the way of life will be made so plain that none need err therein."—.
Power in Resurrection
"Christ became one flesh with us, in order that we might become one spirit with Him. It is by virtue of this union that we are to come forth from the grave,—not merely as a manifestation of the power of Christ, but because, through faith, His life has become ours. Those who see Christ in His true character, and receive Him into the heart, have everlasting life. It is through the Spirit that Christ dwells in us; and the Spirit of God, received into the heart by faith, is the beginning of the life eternal."—. Read .