In I Corinthians, chapter 15, verse 28, we read, "And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all." What we're discussing here is the subject of the Godhead. It's a big subject. It's so big that it almost seems fool hardy to attempt to do anything about it. And yet God wants to be known. From the very beginning, after I realized that God would reveal some things about Himself, I had a passion to find out all that I could know about Him. If God be God, He would be the most entrancing subject possible. What He does is wonderful, but God Himself would be more wonderful and I felt compelled to read everything about Him that I could get my hands on. I read all of the theologies, books galore, until I found myself in an intellectual tail-spin. Everybody had a concept. But I still kept seeking all the time.What I didn't know was that anything that is real from God must come by revelation, not by intellect. So while I was in this intellectual tail-spin because of my intellectual searches, God knew my heart. I studied the scriptures and went to a great deal of trouble to learn what I could. Over a period of years I amassed a great storehouse of knowledge concerning what I'd read about the Godhead.
One day while I was teaching in a Bible school in Zion, Illinois, one of the students asked me a question about heaven and what we would see there. While he spoke, the Spirit of God fell upon me. I made a statement and then for the next four hours I taught by revelation. It came out just as fast as I could speak. And it was so imprinted in me that I never forgot it. I was able to put it down on paper. What I am writing here is what God originally gave to me. It represents years of seeking. It didn't happen overnight; it just crystallized at one time. The result was that revival broke out in the Bible school. I didn't dare tell anyone why, because I knew it would be misunderstood. So I just let the thing ride.
THE REVELATION BACKGROUND
We have a right to expect God to reveal some things. In John 16:13 we read, "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth." So I had a right to expect that God would guide by His Spirit into any truth He was prepared to give me, or I was capable of receiving.
Here is another scripture that the Lord gave me and that's I Corinthians 8:2-3. I needed to recognize that what He had given me was only at its best partial because of my own limited capacity. "If any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. But if any man love God, the same is known of him."
There was a cry in my heart to know God. I don't know about your experience, but when I first got saved God was very, very real. To the degree that I was reaching out, God was a reality. It was not just a feeling. It was more than that. God to me was a person, someone to whom I could cry out. And I remember trying to please the Lord with a dance, a simple ballet step. I thought He would like that. Following that, I had a sickness in my throat and I said, "God, there are no elders present and I don't know how to do it, but I'm going to anoint myself with oil and then I want you to help me." He did. The sickness disappeared. That was my introduction to God. I was so excited and happy during the ballet, which I didn't do too well but thought it would please Him, that I was beside myself. He became intensely real, as real to me as He could be at that particular time. It was then that the desire to know God more and more was born in my heart.
All that could make it possible to know about Him from reading or praying, I did. I remember one night of being so frustrated because of my inability to put everything together that I went out in the front yard and cried like a baby. Were you ever in a place like that, where you felt as if you were on the brink of something, but it just didn't crystallize? Well, that's the way it was with me.
One of the reasons why I sought a revelation was because in the group that I was a part, great controversies about God were prevalent. I sensed that somewhere there was a clarifying answer to all these problems. Furthermore, there were certain apparent discrepancies in the scriptures lining up with these conflicting doctrines, so I didn't get an answer there. I thought God could give the key to the revelation of Himself that many of these challenging scriptures would support. So that was the direction of my search.
As I began to go back into church history, I found out that there was a dogma of the Trinity, a dogma that says we can understand certain things but that this understanding is limited. Basically, this is what it says: God in some mysterious way is one but is manifested as three persons. In another mysterious way God, though He is three, is just one God. These are the two elements of the doctrine of the Trinity:one in three and three in one. This really doesn't satisfy our intellect. And I began to find out that there were controversies even among the early Nicene fathers. The particular man who held that God is three-in-one was Bishop Sibellius. This doctrine became known as the Sibellian heresy. I also found that the idea of one-in-three, being over-emphasized, was tri-theism, or belief in three gods. I could see how this developed because in my own approach to God I reasoned this way. Since Jesus was seated at the right hand of the Father, there must be another personage on the throne if He is going to sit on the right hand in a physical sense. If God is on the throne, and Jesus is at His right hand, then there must be two personages up there. But for the life of me I couldn't locate the Holy Spirit.
And yet there were three in one. I knew that the Holy Spirit was real and that God, also Jesus, was real. But how to put these three together I didn't know. So I read all the books I could find on the subject. I would develop this for a while and then I would go back and look at that, and finally, when God began to give the revelation, He let me see scriptures all over the Bible. I had to take the scriptures for what they were saying and not read into them what I had thought they said. We often get a scripture and immediately come to a conclusion that it means such and such because this is what we have been taught. I found out from the beginning that if I was going to know anything about God, I had to take a scripture on the basis of the revelation of the Spirit that He gave me at that particular time without previous knowledge getting in the way and interpreting it. This is difficult, very difficult. As a matter of fact, it had me tied up for a number of years. It is very hard for any of us to look at a passage of scripture and take it for what it says instead of what we make it to say because of previous knowledge.
THE TRIUNE GOD REVEALED
(At this point see exhibit A for list of scriptures to find out whether these references indicate a unity or a plurality in the Godhead.)
To me it's undeniable that while there is indicated a unity in the Godhead in many of these scriptures, at the same time there is more than one reference that indicates a plurality. From the fact that three are mentioned distinctly it would seem that God is Trinity. I much prefer the term "triune" to the word "Trinity." We're not talking about persons yet, just that there seems to be a plurality in theGodhead.
In Psalm 33:6, Job 26:13, Heb. 11:1-3-3, we find out something of how God worked in creation. Psalm 33 :6 refers to both His Word-and the breath of His mouth or His Spirit so it's easy to see, as you go through the Bible, that God has two agencies, the agency of the Word and the agency of the Spirit. For example, we are born again of the Spirit, but it says in First Peter that we are born again of the incorruptible Word. So you have the Word and the Spirit, a factor that enters into practically everything that God does. For example, salvation needs the combination of the divine seed, or the Word, plus the watering by the Spirit. It takes the two. You have it in the natural; you have it in the spiritual. We're born again because the divine Word is implanted in us by the Holy Spirit and then watered so that there is germination. (See Job 26:13)
Heb. 11:1-3 implies that, if God is triune, and there is evidence in the scriptures that this is so, then God, like anyone who creates, is going to leave His mark. We would expect to see a reflection of His inward being in everything that He does. So creation, outward creation, can be divided into three parts. The first is matter, or substance.The second is space. It is not enough to have matter and space, there is another element. For example, say if I'm seated in a chair. Certainly, at an earlier time someone else sat in this chair. Why aren't we both here all at once? TIME! If you tell me that there is a certain thing at a certain place at a certain time, that locates it. Matter, space,and time constitute a triad. Strangely enough these, too, can be broken down into three parts. What is time? Past, present, future. And space? Height, length, breadth.How about matter? Solid, liquid, gas. As another illustration of Trinity you have the three states of water. Water is liquid, but as ice it's solid and as steam it's gaseous. Practically everything can be expressed in three states as a reflection of God's nature.
God, though is revealed not only in His outward manifestation but also in an inwardcreation that deals with us on the inside. This, unlike the outward, is subjective. SeeLuke 15:12,17, the parable of the prodigal son. First the son said "Give me." That's the person. Then there is the fact of the son's personality. Actually, when he came to himself he came to his real nature. The person is what you see in a mirror. Personality is what people view you as. Nature is what you really are. In the Godhead the person is the son, the personality is the Spirit and the nature is the father. All things lead to this reality. In other words, you have to be around an individual's person and personality a while until these two things reveal his true nature. Then you really know the individual. (You have this in marriage.) It's by the Son and the Spirit that theFather is revealed.
The person, I'm using the person now in a subjective sense just in this description of an inward creation; the person, or Son, of God, is the one who comes upon the scene. God is not seen, per se. But the son, God in the Son, is seen. You feel theSpirit. You don't see the Spirit, but you feel the Spirit. God is only revealed by His Spirit, through the Son, no other way. God is too ineffable, too big, to be known otherwise.
But there is another thing about God. I John 1:5 says, "God is light." So, since God is light, we would expect even natural light to give some insight concerning God, and it just so happens that this is true. Light is divided into three parts. First actinic - Next is luminiferous - Last is calorific. The actinic is unseen. The luminiferous is seen. The calorific is felt. You see the light. That's the luminiferous part of the light which is very obvious, but if you get close to it you'll find another part, the calorific part. As amatter of fact, you can burn your hand on it. Men have been trying for a long time to separate light, but it's rather difficult. Light is light. If you want the calorific part you will have to take the luminiferous, or if you want the luminiferous you will have to take the calorific. They all go together. You can't separate them. light is one. Yet it's three.That's one picture, but it's only one.
Light is also seven colors. The figure that brings this out is a rainbow, or a spectrum. These seven primary colors are found between infra-red on one end, and ultra-violet on the other, both of which are invisible. Seven primary colors in between.Now the Bible says that there are seven lamps of fire burning before the throne. In Revelation 4:5 "There were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God. "There are not really seven spirits but a sevenfold, or a complete, manifestation of theHoly Spirit. These seven spirits are mentioned in the 11th chapter of Isaiah. They're alsomentioned as seven by using the term seven horns, seven eyes, which are the seven spirits sent into all the world, Rev. 5:6. It means God, who is light, is revealing His attributes. Strangely enough, in physics when a light ray is shown through a quartz prism the light rays arer efracted, and that which comes out is a spectrum. What or whom do you suppose this quartz prism is, spiritually speaking? It's Christ, God's prism. (Body, soul, and spirit). The light is God. The refraction of light is the glory of God or the Holy Spirit.
Did you ever notice that Jesus is never separated from the Glory? As a matter of fact, one of His titles is the Lord of Glory. For example, in Acts 7, when the first martyr looked up into heaven what did he see? Jesus Christ. And He came out of the glory to greet him. That glory is the Holy Spirit that surrounds the throne, and Jesus is the one from whence it comes. This is in line not only with Scripture but also in line with what we have in nature. For example, oneof the names of Jesus Christ is rain. He's called rain in Hosea 6:3. He that shall come to us as rain. And what happens when the sun shines through rain? The rain breaks up the particles of light, and you have the rainbow. You'll find that there is a rainbow about the Throne, which indicates the glory of God because there God is shining through the Son. You also have the seven lamps of fire burning before the Throne. These are just pictures of God, things that we've picked up over a period of time.
There's another picture of God that is very important. The Bible says in I John 4:8 that God is love. But love presupposes some things. If you have love you have someone giving and someone receiving. There is the lover and the beloved. Who is the beloved? Jesus Christ is called the beloved. "We are accepted in the beloved," we read in Ephesians. God the Father is the One who loves the Son. The flow between them is so dynamic that it, too, is God. God is love. As a matter of fact, there is a very beautiful picture of this in (Ephesians 1:6). Somebody asked me a question, "Why are there two cherubim in the Holiest-of-All?" If you recall the story there are two cherubim facing each other with the glory in between. What do you suppose that represents ? (See Ex. 25:16-22) The Father and the Son, and the flow between them the shekinah which is the Holy Spirit.
THE MYSTERIOUS HOLY SPIRIT
This brings up a question. When we start talking about love, and the flow between the Father and the Son, and the Father shining through the Son, and the Holy Spirit flowing between them, we come into contact with a mysterious part of God or a mysterious revelation, the mystery of the Holy Spirit. It bothered me that the Holy Spirit had such a pre-eminent place in the New Testament, and that if any blasphemed Him they were really in hotwater! But people had been saved who blasphemed God. And others who blasphemed theSon. Yet the Bible says if anyone blasphemes the Holy Ghost they are in danger of eternal damnation. (Mark 3:28-29) So I asked the Lord for understanding. Why was theHoly Spirit so important? I knew that people had blasphemed God. My own father shook his fist in the face of God and challenged Him. Later he lost one eye. After I became a Christian I led my father to the Lord, and he received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. How was this possible since he blasphemed God? Many of us who have been out in the world have used the name of the Lord in vain. We blasphemed that name all the time, didn't we? And yet we weren't in danger of eternal damnation, not just on account of that.But the Bible distinctly says if you blaspheme the Holy Spirit you are. Right? So I asked why? I had to go to some scriptures. In Matthew 10:20 you find out something about the Holy Spirit. "For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you." Gal. 4:6 says, "And because ye are sons, God hash sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father:" The Bible says that there is just one Spirit. (See Eph. 4:4-6) So the Spirit of the Father must be the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit of the Son must be the Holy Spirit. But how do these things come together?
Let me use an illustration. Here is John Doe. Now John Doe has a spirit which is distinctly John Doe. And when you are around him you feel the impact of that spirit. But there is also Jane. When you're with Jane you feel a spirit that is different from John's spirit. It's distinctively different, believe me. This spirit here is not the same as that one over there.They're two different spirits. But when you visit the Does in their house you meet a third spirit. Do you know what the third spirit is? The combination of the two. What would we call that? The Doe spirit. Now the Doe spirit cannot speak of itself because it's a combination of two spirits, a combination of the John spirit and the Jane spirit. It's somewhat the same way with God. The Father and the Son unite in the Holy Spirit.
In John 14:23 we read, "If any man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." How does the "we" come in? The "we" comes in through union. It's the Holy Spirit that comes in, actually. I don't say this is the last word. All this did was to satisfy my heart, not my intellect. I still don't understand it. I don't know how this can be true, and yet the Holy Spirit is a distinct entity. If somebody blasphemes the Father there is a mediatorial Son to intercede. If he blasphemes the Son there is a merciful Father to forgive. But when he blasphemes the Holy Spirit he blasphemes theFather and the Son in action, (the most powerful force in the universe). That is why in this blasphemy there is no recourse. No recourse whatsoever. He has blasphemed the totality of God.
Though I do not agree with Scofield's notes, there is one passage that I think is very good. It's at the end of Matthew where he makes a comment about the use of a name in baptism. "The word "name" is singular, not plural. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the final name of the one true God. It affirms: (l) that God is one (2) that He exists in a personality which is threefold, indicated by relationship as Father and Son and by mode of being as Spirit. I Corinthians 1:3 says, "Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ."You see, it just uses the two. It's indicating personality. Yet, when it speaks about being born again, it doesn't say anything about the Father and the Son. It merely says you must be born again. You must be born of the water and of the Spirit. (John 3:5) It doesn't mention the Father and the Son but uses the term Spirit because the two are in action together.
In 1 Peter it says, in effect, "Don't worry. when people revile you and persecute you and so forth, because the Spirit of glory doth rest upon you. " It indicates that the Spirit, then, is just God in total action (I Peter 4:14). The Bible says that "he which acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father." Why? Because the Father and the Son are one through the action of the Holy Spirit. This oneness is so close in God that actually you have an interplay of terms. For example, in one place it will say, "Christ in you the hope of glory." Right? "Know ye not that your bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost." And, "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." As you go backward and forward, you can't separate God. You can't separate the Father and the Son. They're together. They're together in the person of the Holy Spirit, who speaks in His own right but never speaks of Himself. Jesus said that in His name the Father would send the Holy Spirit. In another place Jesus said that He, Himself, would send Him. In another scripture Jesus said, "I will send the Comforter." In still another, Jesus said the Father will send the Comforter. It doesn't make any difference. They all merge. In the Holy Spirit we have God the Father and God the Son coming together in total action. (SeePhil. 2:13) This was the only explanation that I could get that made any sense. And it explained why blasphemy against the Holy Spirit was fatal.
In the natural you have an illustration of it in family relationships. Here's a father, here's a mother. You can make remarks against the father, and the mother might say,"Well, you may be right." And you could make remarks against the mother, and the father might say, "Yes, I know." But you touch one of the children and you have two tigers on your tail. Why? Because the child represents the two in one. Yet that child is a third entity in his own right. Love is an overpowering force. It's creative. Right? Love creates. And love is two forces coming together, the Father and the Son; the lover and the beloved. This creates love, and in turn, love creates, love moves.Amen.
God is triune. He reveals Himself this way in the human. We are made in the image of God, aren't we? I know one thing about humans, they can do something that's strange, very strange. That is, inside you can talk to yourself about something you said and listen in on the conversation. And make a decision and say perhaps to yourself you shouldn't have said that! Isn't that true? We're made in the image of God. You can talk to yourself, which brings in two, and then listen in on the speech, which brings in the third. It's a mystery.
THE MYSTERIOUS CHRIST
The next thing about the Godhead that caught my attention was Christ, because the scriptures talk about the mystery of Christ, (1 Tim. 3:16 & Col. 2:1,2). Strangely enough, I came to this revelation in a very unique way, by not understanding a scripture. Revelation 3:14 says, "And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write: These things saith theAmen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God." Notice in your Bible that the Amen is capitalized. It refers, of course, to the Lord Jesus Christ. It says He is the beginning of the creation of God. This concerned me. So I began to wonder, "Is Jesus a created being?" Was it possible that the Jehovah Witnesses and some of these other groups that talk about Him as a God, but not God, were right? Rev. 3 :14 does speak of Him as the beginning of the creation. I didn't know that what He was talking about here was the beginning of the New Creation. All I saw was "the beginning of the creation of God", and I wondered if it might be possible that Jesus was a created being like these groups teach? Then I read other scriptures and in the first chapter of Revelation, the 8th verse, He calls Himself the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and ending, that limitation. I thought, "Could He be a created being? It was mystifying.
So I began to go back into the Bible. And certain scriptures lit up. One of the scriptures that I saw right away relative to the relationship here between Jesus Christ and the Father was Isaiah 9:6, "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:" This was a mysterious scripture. Why is the child born and the son given? And the Lord said, "Because the son wasn't born, the child was born. The son was given." That indicated that the Lord Jesus was in existence even before His incarnation. Then finally I found in Colossians 1:15-17, scriptures that seemed to answer my question: Speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ this passage reads, "Who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they are thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for Him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist." Again it says He was the creator, (c.f John. 1: 1-3).
This raised a lot of questions in my mind. What's this? He's the firstborn of every creature. It sounds like maybe He's a created being. But then one day God led me to the 43 chapter of Isaiah, and this was the beginning of a search that led me through a lot of scriptures. I'm going to ask you, and this is going to be hard because you're going to use previous knowledge to answer me, to read it in the light, logically, of what that one verse says.Forget anything about theology or anything you previously learned and tell yourself what it actually says using the scripture itself. Verse 10, "Ye are my witnesses, said the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he:before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me." Now what does this say?Apart from any previous knowledge what does that one scripture say about this one who's speaking? What is He saying? What are some logical conclusions to draw from the latter part where it says, "before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me?" Forget what you know now. Is it possible that God was formed? It came to me that there are certain verses in the Bible that talk about Jesus being in the form of God, "And thought it not robbery to be equal with God." Things began to crystallize about this time, and I realized that while Jesus Christ was not created, He was in the form of God. The key to the whole thing was found in Philippines 2:5, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:"That's a quote from the New Testament.
How about the Old Testament. Jesus was in the form of God in the Old Testament. And as I began to look through the Old Testament I found some strange things. Even then God appeared at times in physical form. Sometimes He was called "the angel of His presence;" sometimes He was called the similitude of God; sometimes He was called the form, and so forth. I found out that in scriptures, as in Exodus 24:9,10 "Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: And they saw the God of Israel:" In John1:18 it says, "No man hath seen God at any time: the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." So I thought, How do these things jive?" And the Lord pointed out that the only God who was manifested in the Old Testament was the image or form of the invisible God, and that form of God was none other than the Lord Jesus Christ.He was the God of Israel, because He was seen. In Numbers 12:6-8 we read, "And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude (form) of the Lord shall he behold:"
It gradually dawned on me that this one in the Old Testament had lots of titles: form of God, the similitude of God, the angel of his presence, the captain of the hosts, the voice of God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, (better translation of"voice" is "word") came down in the cool of the day to talk with Adam and Eve. A similitude or image appeared, so I began to see that Jesus was in the Old Testament too, not as Jesus, but as the Son, He was there. Nebuchadnezzar and many others saw a fourth man walking in the fire, the Son of God. Jesus was there all the time even in the Old Testament, not as Jesus but as the Son. In the New Testament He said," Before Abraham was, I am. "
God said to me, "Make a drawing to illustrate this, using time and eternity". (SeeExhibit B for sketch.) Eternity is going to be very hard to illustrate because it has no beginning and no ending; it is always now. In the sketch we show eternity past and eternity future, which is simply a device to show how the dimension of time fits intothe picture. Time and eternity apparently coexist, but eternity has no beginning and no ending whereas time has both beginning and ending. Now there is no such thing as eternity past or future, but that's the only way we can understand it. Sandwiched between eternity past and eternity future is time. Jesus is God in time. He's thefirstborn of every creature. He said, "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and theending..." (See Rev 1:8). The first thing on the scene then was the firstborn of every creature. Jesus began to appear in the form of God in the beginning of time an) as such, He became the creator. He was not created. Jesus just came forth. It's a mystery.Then you have all the rest of creation in order. Finally comes the end, I Corinthians15:28, that was quoted in the beginning of this article, where He turns the kingdom back to the Father that God may be all-in-all. The Lord showed me that time is Christ and Christ is time. Everything starts with Him, everything ends with Him. And when Christ turns the kingdom back to the Father, time is no more. The Son Himself returns into an ineffable union with the Father in eternity. In eternity the name "Christ" disappears. All you have at the end is the throne of God and of the Lamb.
What's the difference in this whole scheme of things? What does all of this say? It says that in the beginning God was pure Spirit, but through the introduction of the Lord Jesus Christ and His plan through Christ, He created everything. He ends up with the tabernacle and that tabernacle is us. The big difference between God back then and God now is that God back then had no body. Now God has a body. All that came in between is merely preparation for that. He said, "This is my rest forever: Here will I dwell;..." (Ps. 132:14). As indicated in the exhibit, Christ is active throughout the time dimension, as creator in the beginning and redeemer at the end, with the cross in the middle. 1 Cor. 15: 24-28 also says that He's consummator. He's everything. All of the plan and purpose of God is wrapped up in Jesus Christ. He is the Logos.He is the whole plan of God. Everything started with Him. He redeemed everything and put everything under His own jurisdiction. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. Then the Bible says, "He is excepted which put all things under Him but when all things are put under Him, then shall the Son himself be subject to Him that put all things under him that God may be all-in-all." Does that mean Jesus Christ is subservient? Not really. It means that He enters back into the relationship He had with the Father before the world began. He now shares the throne with His Father, because as Revelation states, this throne is the throne of God and the Lamb.And there's a true river of water of life flowing from the union of God and God-who-became man. This River is the Holy Spirit, Who is the result of that union.
Christ is associated with time. This answered a lot of things for me. For example, in Isaiah 9:6 He's called the everlasting Father, but that means the father of the ages, the father of time, not eternally but the father in time. The Bible says He rules and reigns until the end. So there is an end. The end comes when He turns the kingdom back to the Father that God may be all-in-all.Jesus, who is God, goes through all this in order to accomplish the purposes of God.
In a unique way Jesus Christ is always our first relationship. Thomas said, "My Lord and my God." He saw God's eternal purpose in Jesus. And Jesus now is in a mysterious position. He's still in time and eternity simultaneously. Revelation 3:21 says, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as also I overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." What He's saying is, "I am seated on my throne, the throne of David, in time, but in eternity it is not David who is involved, but the Father. So He says, "I'm on David's throne
now, and I'm also on my Father's." How can He do this? Very simple. He's God.When He said, "Glorify thou Me with the glory I had before the world was;" when He went back into the bosom of the Father as He said He would, He went back into the Godhead. In some mysterious way Jesus is still in time, but He is also ineternity. I don't understand this, but I know it's the truth. And Jesus can speak from eternity right now. He can unfold things now that we just haven't any concept of. Incidentally, He's amazingly wonderful. Christ is God's complement.
We are trying to give you an understanding of all this in pictures. That's the best we can do. I'm sorry, but God-is too big to be minutely analyzed or defined so that it will satisfy every intellectual question. We're like the blind men. We see pieces of the elephant. We're only giving you pictures. You'll have to put it together. But as far as I'm concerned, my heart is satisfied. If God gives me further light, I'll be glad to share it. So far He hasn't seen fit to.
Genesis 5:1 reads, "This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created." You may not receive this, but when God created man originally he was male and female in one person and He looked for a mate for him. There was none to be found. He had to do something about it, so He reached inside of the man and pulled out the female part of him. That part was named Eve. Man as he is now is incomplete by himself. It takes man plus woman to really equal man. No woman is complete without a man and no man is complete without a woman.There is another scripture I want you to see, I Corinthians 11:3. "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is, Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God."
Have you heard the expression, "Hid with Christ in God?" (Col. 3:2) You have God, and you have Christ in God, and Christ comes out of God. Then out of Christ comes the church. Weren't we in Christ before the foundation of the world? Weren't we accepted in the beloved before the foundation? All this is simply the unfolding of God. Out of God comes the Lord Jesus Christ; out of Christ comes the church. Now, eventually this is to go back. The church plus Christ equals Christ.And ultimately when Jesus Christ turns the kingdom back to the Father, Christ plus God goes back into the eternal state so that it is just God again. There is an unfolding out of God, and there is an enfolding back into God. So when it's all over God is all-in-all. It's just that simple. And you have pictures of it in everything that God does. Out come these things, and then He brings them back in so that He can encompass everything. The ultimate, then, is not Christ but God. Christ, as such, plays His role in time, and then He goes back into the Godhead in a special way. I'm speaking about time now. He's already there, actually, but in time He goes back into the Godhead that God may be all-in-all.
Another picture of God is given by the great English Christian man of letters, C. S. Lewis. He said in essence, (and this to me is one of the best explanations of the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Father). Imagine yourself living in one plane like a sheet of paper. You have only two dimensions, which means that a sphere would be a circle, a plane would be a line, and a cube would be a square, in your world. You have two dimensions. That's all. The understanding here is that there are beings in another dimension called humans that have three dimensions, and you would like to know what these humans are like. You live in only two dimensions, and you want to know what these three-dimensional creatures look like. There is a way you could find out. That is, for someone to give you a photograph. A photograph is a two-dimensional representation of a three dimensional object. Let's step up alittle bit higher. You have three-dimensional creatures living in a three-dimensional world, and there is an infinite dimensional God. He not only lives in the fourth dimension. He lives in the 5, 6, and 16 quadrillionth dimension. You say, "What do you look like?" He says, "I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll send you my three-dimensional photograph. And who do you think that three-dimensional photograph was? The Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, then, is in three dimensions, the representative, the photograph, or the image of the infinite dimensional God. Because God is so big, you can't comprehend Him. God as God is beyond our understanding.You would have to be God to understand God. To be everywhere present, to reach out where He is, you'd have to be God. The only one who understands God is God Himself. And that's God the Son.
The reason, the Lord showed me, that Jesus Christ must be the image is because God in His infinite love and makeup must of necessity have someone to love who can reciprocate with the intensity with which He loves. Now we can envision somebody we love out there, but at its best it's rather vague. But when God envisions Himself that image is so terrific that the image is also God. The flow between is so wonderful that the flow is God. That's where this thing is set up in the inner nature of the Godhead. God not only is love, God has always been love. But love cannot be love unless there is a lover and a beloved.. There must be the flow. Love demands an active thing. It's not just a static condition. It's always got to be moving. So God has always been love. Since God has always been love there has always been a lover and a beloved and the flow between them.So what God began to reveal to me is the fact it is necessary for us to recognize that Jesus is uniquely the uppermost consideration as far as we are concerned. The Bible teaches that. The Father points to it; the Old Testament points to it, and when the Spirit comes He reveals it. Everything is to glorify and to magnify the Son of God. He is the one in the Bible. This does not detract from the Father because God as God is humility in Himself. The Father says, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Hear ye Him." (Matt. 17:5) You talk about humility. Jesus said, "It's not I, but it's the Father in me that doeth the works" (John 14:10). He also said, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches."(Rev. 3:22) It's amazing, this humility. God is marvelous! I get excited just talking about it.
Now during times when people are learning about God, they have pictures of God. One picture of God is that there are three members of the Godhead that are in unity. They are One. And one is the Father, one the Holy Spirit, and one the Son. But the Son in the three takes upon Himself flesh, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. That's one viewpoint. The Sibellian viewpointis that God is just God; God made Himself a body, and that body is the Lord Jesus Christ.That's another picture. Actually, I think the real truth is not one or the other but in between.God is not three circles. God is a triangle. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And it was the Son who became the Lord Jesus Christ. A triune God, not a tri-theistic concept on the one hand, or this extreme oneness on the other, but in the middle. Take an angle away from a triangle and what do you have? Do you have a triangle? No! God is like an inseparable triangle: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. You can't get away from that. Now using this figure that I used for eternity a while ago, one person says that God is just a straight line. In the O.T. He was Father, when He came to earth He was Son, and now He's Holy Spirit. That's the picture that is given by the people who lean toward Sibellianism. They indicate that God is like some fellow in a little town where He puts on the farmer's hat, and then he puts on the police chief's hat and then takes it off. God revealed Himself as Father, then He came as Son, and then He came back as Holy Spirit. But it's just one God.
Tri-theism teaches that there are three all the way through, and it is generally held that these are Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I believe, from all that I've been able to ascertain, that a better picture of God is not one straight line or three lines, but one line that separates into three lines and then goes back into one again. God, for the purpose of redemption, broke Himself down, so to speak, into Father, Son, and Holy Ghost for the purposes of creation, redemption, and consummation. Then when it's all over it's just God again, ineffable. God is one. I call it triunity rather than trinity. God is three but, in some mysterious way that we donot understand, He is One. Jewish people accuse Christians of believing in three Gods. Well there aren't three Gods. There is only one God. Yet, in some mysterious way, He is able to separate Himself; just like we can inside though we're still one. How can this be? I don't know. I just know that it's true.
Now the question that brought all of this out as far as I was concerned and crystallized all my thinking began when a student in the school where I was teaching in Zion, Illinois, asked, "When we get to heaven whom shall we see?" And I answered, "You'll see Jesus and no one else. You can't see the Father because He's invisible. You can't see the Holy Spirit. He's invisible. All you can see is the Lord." Let me point out a scripture: I Timothy 6:13-16. "I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; that thou keep this commandment without spot; unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall show, who is the blessed and only potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;" (Now who's he talking about here? Who is the only Potentate, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords? It's Jesus.) Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see. Amen." The only Person that you will ever see is the Ancient of Days. This is who John saw when on the Isle of Patmos. Whom did he see? He saw the one that had white hair, and so forth. He saw the Ancient of Days. I thought for a longtime that the Ancient of Days was the Father. But I found in Revelation that the Ancient of Days is not the Father. The Ancient of Days is the visible Son, because when he saw Him it dawned on him that he was looking at Deity. He was looking at the one who said, "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending. I am the first and the last. I am the Almighty. " (Rev. 1:8) This was the one who spoke.
And so John fell at His feet as dead. This one that he saw said, "I am he that was dead, but I'm alive forevermore. I have the keys to hell and death." (Rev. 1:18) It was none other than theLord Jesus Christ, something like the Son of man but far more glorious. John had never seen this face. He saw the Ancient of Days. He saw the only visible One that I believe you'll ever see. People say they want to see God. Jesus is God. He truly is! Thou shalt call His name what? Immanuel, which being interpreted is "God with us." (Isa. 7:14). Great is the mystery of God! God was manifested in the flesh, justified, caught up and so forth. Jesus is God. You can't rob Him of that. God is God. The fact that God the Father seems to use the Son doesn't change the fact that Jesus is God.
Now one of the things that you'll find in Jewry is the Star of David. (See Exhibit C) If you ever take a close look at it you'll find that it's not really a star. It's two interlocking triangles. It has been said that the Jewish people knew that the inverted triangle was the body, soul, and spirit of the Messiah. They knew that. And they said that He would make known the meaning of the other triangle when He came. What do you suppose that other triangle is? Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In the ultimate God completely and totally brings Himself together in the Lord Jesus Christ for our benefit. You have the throne of God and of the Lamb, all in one. Look at Revelation 21:23, "And the city had no need of the sun, neither the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light (better translation is "lamp holder") thereof:" In verse 1 of chapter 22, "...he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne (singular, not plural) of God and of the Lamb." These two are together, "of God and of the Lamb." And verse 3 says, "And there shall be no more curse:but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: (not their servants shall serve them.) And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads." You see, this is the same thing that Isaiah saw. Read Isaiah 6:1. Isaiah saw theLord, high and lifted up, and what did the angels sing'? "Holy, holy, holy." Why do you supposethey sang "holy" three time's?
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the three-fold description of praise. This is the Lord as He is to be in eternity.
You can't get away from the fact that Jesus Christ is the one in whom all the fullness of the Godhead dwells. God has ordained it. (see Col. 2:8,9) The Bible speaks of the throne of God.I found a beautiful truth about that. After puzzling about this for years, in Isaiah 22:23, I read that Jesus is the throne Himself. What is a throne? In a figure, when we say that so-and-so is on his throne, what do we really mean? Do we mean he's seated on a pedestal? Or do we mean he has a seat of power? When we say so-and-so is going to put his son on his throne we don't mean that we may go through a ceremony to put him on a literal throne. What we really mean is that we're going to give him the power. When we put someone on the throne we give him the power. The thing that thrilled me was the fact that Jesus Christ Himself is called the throne. Now what gendered this was that a long time ago, I think it was in Rotherham's translation of the book of Hebrews that I found, where the Father is addressing the Son, "Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever." Rotherham said, "Thou art a throne forever and forever."(Heb. 1:8). This quickened me though I didn't understand it. I looked for a corroborating scripture in the O.T. to bear that out. Isaiah 22:23, I think, says that He'll be a throne to his father's house. Jesus Christ is to be a throne, the seat of power.
Read Psalm 72:17, first in the King James and then in the literal Hebrew, "His name shall endure forever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call Him blessed." In the literal Hebrew it says, "He shall be as a son to continue his father's name forever. " You see, Jesus represents the Father eternally. Have you ever noticed when you're praying you start out by being very orthodox, "O God, our Father,"'but pretty soon, before you know it, you're saying, "Lord." Why? You can't separate them.They're one. Now somebody said, "How can this be?" Well, a human is like that. Let's take John Doe again. John Doe has a Spirit. It's John. But John's saved. And he's more than John now. He has another entity in there. He has the seed, the divine seed. Jesus is in Him. But theBible says that whoever has the Son has the Father, so the Father is in him. But he is also the temple of the Holy Ghost. Here we have four spirits: the Holy Spirit, Jesus, the Father, and John. How many persons do you see? One.
Does that mean that all of these other entities aren't there? No. You know and I know that John can speak as John. And God can speak through John, which is not quite the same. We see that in humans. When you see Jesus you see the visible manifestation of the Godhead, but contained in Him is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost according to the mystery of theStar of David, (see exhibit C), two interlocking triangles representing the throne of God and of the Lamb united. You cannot separate them. What actually happened when Jesus died was that He went into the Godhead as man, never to be separated any more. I don't understand this but I know it's true. You can't separate God and the Son of God now. Jesus, though He was man and though He ascended on high and though He had a body, flesh and bones, He is so integrated into the Godhead now that there's no difference. Jesus Christ now is seated at the right hand of the Father. And where is the Father? Everywhere. Where is Jesus? Everywhere.You can't separate them. No, not at all! Now if God wants to appear to you, He'll send the Son, because the only one who can reveal God is the Son. "No man knoweth...the Son, but theFather; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him." (Matt. 11:27). This is difficult for the human mind to grasp. I don't believe it will satisfy your heart unless God gives you a revelation. You will still have intellectual tie-ups, but the truth of this satisfies the heart. This truth emphasizes the beauty of the Lord JesusChrist and the role He plays. It also emphasizes the role of the Father, because when it's all over God will be all-in-all. ( See I Cor. 15:28). And even Jesus Christ the Son will be subject to Him. Yet, because He's subject to Him, God gives Him the great honor of continuing His name forever as the Son. To me this is marvelous. Now this isn't final; it's not that easy. But I trust that we have said something that perhaps answers some questions that you've had concerning the Godhead.
As an addition to my observations on the Godhead, I am including some comments on certain specific questions addressed to me on this subject.
1. The Holy Spirit now is different from the Holy Spirit of the Old Testament. The Holy Spirit of the Old Testament was the Spirit of God. But Jesus said, "Unless I go away theComforter cannot come.'' Why?
Because the Comforter is both the Spirit of God and the Spirit of man. In order for God to relate to humanity, He had to become man. Now I Cor. 2:11 begins to make sense. "For what man knoweth the things of man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." It takes the Spirit of God to reveal the things of God, and it takes the spirit of man to reveal the things of man. The Holy Spirit is capable of revealing both God and man to you. Therefore He can be your Comforter, but He couldn't be that until after Jesus died and the spirit of man, in Christ, united with theSpirit of God. The Holy Spirit now is the spirit of the Son of man and the Spirit of God. On the one hand He can reveal things that go wrong with you as a human and the solutions; he also can reveal the things of God. That's His role. The Spirit of God reveals the things of God and now also reveals the things of man. You say, "He doesn't know what I'm going through." TheBible says that Jesus was tempted on all points like as we, yet without sin. When Jesus said,"Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit," the spirit of the Son of man, as a man, united with God. The Holy Spirit represents that union. There is now one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit can make intercession for the saints according to the will of God because He knows the will of God. He also knows the needs of man. The two come together through the intercession.
2. How could Jesus, Son of God, say, "I can of mine own self do nothing?" (John5:30)
Because Jesus was speaking as man. Remember he said, " Touch me not, for I have not yet ascended to my Father and your Father,..." (John 20:17a) Yet He accepted worship at one time.Why? He can't deny that He's God. If Jesus were not God He could not accept worship. But He did. Furthermore, he declared Himself to be God when He said, "I am" in the garden. (When He said this the soldiers fell backward.). The same thing is true of His temptation in the wilderness. God cannot be tempted, but Jesus was. Why? Because He was one hundred percent man on the earth. How could He be this? I don't know. But I think it's beautiful. How God could lay aside His Deity for thirty-three and onehalf years, become total man, and completely and totally lean upon God and the Holy Spirit? I don't understand all this, but He did. That 's what makes Him so wonderful. It's not just that God could become man. He did so in the Old Testament . But this was different. God not only became man, revealing Himself in human form, but that human had human limitations. God couldn't say, "All power is given unto Me in heaven and earth." Jesus did. Why He didn't receive this power as God, but as man. We call this earned Deity. Jesus Christ, who was always God, laid aside His divinity to become man. Then He earned the status of God because He overcame as a man. And God gave Him all power in heaven and earth. He was inseparably united forever with humanity as well as with divinity.
Jesus is visible. God the Father is not visible. I don't think you'll ever see the Father except as He's revealed through Christ. As a matter of fact, Sadhu Sundar Singh, the great holy man of India, in a vision one day, was caught up in a trance. He saw Jesus seated on the throne and felt a marvelous love coming from the throne. He turned to one of the angels and asked, "Where's the Father?" The angel replied, "You can't see the Father. He's invisible." Again he asked, "What is this love that comes from Jesus on the throne?" The angel replied, "That's the Holy Spirit."
3. I don't understand why Mary couldn't touch Jesus. "
She would have defiled Him. He evidently hadn't given the blood yet. That's the only reason I can give you. He told them, didn't He, not to touch? He couldn't be touchedat that time, but He came back later and could. He ate fish. To me that is one of themost marvelous passages of scripture in the whole Word of God. Jesus came back after He was risen, after He had ascended to give the blood, and He said, "Have you here any meat?" Then He ate fish and honey. (See Luke 24:41-43) I tell you, that's marvelous. Another man said, "Let me see if I understand this. When Mary saw Him at that time, He was still flesh and bone and blood, and He went to heaven and came back?" No, I don't think so. There must have been an intermediate state there because--well--I just don't know. Really, when you stop to think about it, how marvelous the incarnation is, that Jesus Christ, who was God, One with the Father, could become a seed, mix with humanity, and be born just like any other child. He went through the cradle experience, and circumcision. Marvelous. The whole thing, of course, is mysterious, and all we have is just a little grasp of it. There are a lot of blanks, and things I don't understand. But what it did for me was to answer questions that I had about certain scriptures. For example, one thing that bothered me was how Jesus could say, "my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with Him." Now I had been having a theological escape, which was, well, it's as if He can come in but he's not really there. In other words, the inference that was given me when I asked people questions was that here's the Father out here somewhere, and here's the Son at His right hand. He's sort of speaking on a microphone and it's as if He's here but He's not really here. He's just talking from out there. And then I found the scriptures which said that except Christ be in you, you'll be reprobate. The revelation of the Son within Paul wasn't a revelation by proxy but a real revelation of the Son. These are mysteries. I don't understand. But I know the Bible says it's true. So I went as far as the Lord would permit. He didn't give me anything else.
Jesus is twice firstborn. Colossians 1:15-18 says of Him: "Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created...And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church; who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead." Now He's twice firstborn. He's the firstborn of all creation, because He's the very beginning, the Alpha. But He's the firstborn from the dead.That's in time. The beginning of the Son of God is an eternal thing; you can't put time on it.But the Father said, "this day have I begotten thee." (Heb. 1:5) And this is proven by Acts13:30,33: "But God raised him from the dead:...God hath fulfilled the same unto us..., in that he raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second Psalm THOU ART MY SON, THIS DAY HAVE I BEGOTTEN THEE." This makes that expression in the psalm, with Jesus being raised from the dead, (in other words born out of the womb of death), the firstborn from the dead. This fulfills the scripture that says, "this day have I begotten thee." Along the same line,"...Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek." (Heb. 5:6) When did He becomea priest after the order of Melchizedek? When He died. This would have been impossible when He walked the earth because He had an earthly mother. One qualification of a Melchizedek priest was that he was without a human father or mother. So when Jesus rose from the dead His mother became death. Then He could be a Melchizedek priest. His priesthood started with His death. The Aaronic priesthood ended with death, which makes Jesus' priesthood different. His is an eternal priesthood. He's a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. I asked God one time, "Why forever? What does a priest do?" "He represents us to God." "Why does he continue? There will be a time when the sin question is over." And God said, "Yes, but you need to know more about Me." So the Son will exist as a Melchizedek priest to reveal God to us. This revelation will take an eternity. Jesus is a priest forever, not only representing us to God, but representing God to us.
You go through death, at water baptism, so that you can be raised from the dead, in a figure. Then the Holy Spirit takes a lifetime to kill you so that you can be raised from the dead actually. You cannot enter into the new creation except through death. It's appointed unto man once to die. You have to die, and you can take your pick. You can die quickly or slowly. Some people don't want to die until they draw the last breath. Other people have caught the vision and say, "Lord, just kill me now so that when the time comes I won't even have to die, I will just step in." Take your pick. You'll have to die some way. Actually, Hebrews talks about the church of the Firstborns from the dead. (See Heb. 12:22,23)
Christ is the firstfruit, thus becoming the federal head of the new creation. This is the creation of the last Adam, not the first. There's a paradox. He who created becomes the created in the new creation. "...; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;" (Rev. 3:14) I used to think this referred to way back, but now I believe He's talking about Himself, Jesus Christ, as the beginning of the new creation, the firstborn from among the dead.
I really believe that God wants to reveal Himself to the limit of our capability, and He wantsus to deepen so that we can understand more. I really believe that God wants to be more than just a mystical figure. He wants to be intensely close to us, to unveil Himself to us as much asHe can. We're just so limited! Our heads get in the way, and I believe you cannot comprehend these things by your head. It's a heart thing. This is what Paul meant when he said just before death, "...that I may know him." (Phil. 3:10) He wanted to be more intimately connected with the Lord Jesus. To the extent that you're connected with Jesus and understand Him, you will understand the Father because the Son always reveals the Father. Jesus will reveal the Father just as fast as you're able to take it. There are yet little nuggets of truth relative to God that will come from time to time as we seek His face. END