UNITY NOT TRINITY
by Christopher J. Patton© Copyright 1988 by Sentinel Publications. - Note: This Bible Study ties in with the series on the Kingdom of God but stands alone. As it is separate, I have for now left it so. The accompanying tapes are mentioned at the end of the article.
The sublime truth of the Bible is that God is One and not three. Some few have become con-fused by the use of the term "trinity" in some of my recent articles.
Probably this confusion results from the long time and successful promulgation of the deceitful definition of that term. It is an understandable problem that anyone could have since we are so culturally conditioned to either: 1) reject anything relating to the word itself as false; or, 2) accept the false definition of the word as commonly believed so as to obscure the real truth (as discussed incompletely in my articles) which was corrupted to the false concept of "God in Three Persons", so common to orthodox Christian teaching.
The Bible states in many places that God is One (Deuteronomy 6:4; 4:35,39; Exodus 20:2-3; Isaiah 43:10-13; Ephesians 4:1-6). Judaism understands that to mean that there is one being in the Godhead. Orthodox Christianity believes in the Trinity, or that there are three persons in the Godhead: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Both ideas are alike in picturing a limited and closed Godhead. Whether there be one or three, there is no you or me.
In short both are right and both are wrong. Satan has promulgated the lie of the Holy Spirit being a separate, distinct and one person though part of One Godhead. That is because it (Satan) has put itself as the Holy Spirit instead of you or me, and in fact instead of all of mankind who will, by and large, one day be fully born into the God Family.
WHAT IS THE HOLY SPIRIT?
The Holy Spirit is not a third person of the Godhead. THE Holy Spirit is the Father. Jesus is the only begotten Son of the Father (John 3:16) who was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35; Matthew 1:18-20). John 5:21 shows that the Father raises the dead and so is the Holy Spirit that gives life by dwelling in us (Romans 8:9-17). The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ because He comes in Jesus' Name and because Jesus is now a resurrected spirit Son of God - being God He is holy (John 14:16-26).
The Holy Spirit is the extension of the Father's Will. It is the means by which He accomplishes His purpose (1 Corinthians 12; Acts 13:24; 16:6). Since He has not been to earth at any time (John 5:37), the Bible represents God the Father's general involvement on earth as the intervention and activity of the Holy Spirit. This also includes His Work through Jesus who is also a Holy Spirit and One with the Father (II Corinthians 3:17; John 17:3,11,20-26).
Thus, there are three broad functions of the Holy Spirit on earth. The Holy Spirit is first (Romans 8:16; II Corinthians 1:21-22; John 14:16,26; Acts 2:33,38-39; I John 2:27; 3:2,9; 4:13), the spiritual seed that joins with the individual identity or creative will called the Spirit of Man, the second aspect of the Holy Spirit since it, too comes from God (I Corinthians 2:11; Romans 8:16; Job 32:8; Zechariah 12:1; Proverbs 20:27).
This union creates a newly begotten Son of God, a Christian, who will reach the full maturity of Jesus Christ in the resurrection to life eternal. Thirdly, the Holy Spirit is the power of God, the light-matter of life that flows from the union created by melding the Spirit of Man - each individual's identity or personness, as a human or as God - with the Holy Spirit as divine seed from the Father.
This latter manifestation of the Holy Spirit is the lifeforce of both the physical and spiritual universe usually referred to in scripture as the "breath" or "spirit of life" (Genesis 2:7; 7:15; Job 32:8; 33:4; James 1:26; Revelation 11:11; Hebrews 11:3; I Corinthians 15:40-44). It is also the raw material of the universe. It is the stuff from which matter and energy were created; it is the stuff from which angelic and Godly spiritual bodies and structures are made. It is an unconscious extension of God's being and will.
God is structurally composed of "Three" Spirits. All three are mentioned in John 1:12-13, "But as many as received Him, to them He gave power to become children of God, even to those who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor the will of man, but of God." The "will of the flesh" is the breath of life. The "will of man" is the Spirit of Man. "But of God" refers to the begettal by the Holy Spirit of God in accordance with the will of God.
The Holy Spirit is from the Father. He is the nature of eternal love that unifies in its universal presence in all who are God and which makes God God, is the first kind of Spirit (I John 4:8,16-17; Ephesians 3:14-4:6).
The Spirit of Man, or the Human Spirit, is what differentiates man from animals and angels. It is the answer to the Psalmist's question, 'What is man that thou art mindful of him?' (8:4). God grants this part of His creative and governing nature to man at birth. The Human Spirit's presence is what creates the potential for man to be born as a resurrected Son of God, as Jesus is God. It is the basis of the personal name of each member of the God family. This is the second type of Spirit.
The last is the Holy Spirit as the liquid - like living waters of light which flow from the wellsprings of each member of the Kingdom of God to per-form His unified will in creating and sustaining His domain (Hebrews 1:3; 11:3; Revelation 21:6; 22:1; I John 1:5; John 1:4-9; 4:14; 6:63; 7:38).
YET IN REALITY THE HOLY SPIRIT IS ONE SPIRIT OF ONE GOD:
AI, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.@
"There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling: one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift," (Ephesians 4:1-7).
THREE IS NOT THREE
God is Three Persons in that God is the Father. God is the Son, who was Jesus Christ in the flesh. God is the Holy Spirit present in each converted person. This means that, though the Holy spirit is not a separately unique third person, His ('His" because the Holy Spirit as seed is from the Father) presence in many men creates the Body of Christ. The presence of the Holy Spirit in many individuals creates a corporate person, the Church, and the Church is God yet immature until the resurrection when we shall each be a Son as Jesus is a Son "born of the resurrection" (Romans 1:4).
The Bible calls the collective Body of Christ His Bride in many places. She is a many-membered Bride, a spiritual temple built with multitudes of spiritual stones in heaven, the New Jerusalem with many mansions to come. Each spiritual stone and mansion being made without hands, our eternal body of spirit matter prepared for us in heaven. It waits until the time of Christ's return and the first resurrection of the saints to life eternal which is celebrated as the Marriage Feast, symbolized in the Lord's Supper or New Testament Passover (Matthew 26:26-29).
In the resurrection the faithful will all be spiritual members of the Kingdom of God, immortal members of the Godhead represented as the Bride of Christ. Just as any one resurrected, fully born Son of God is and will be divine and worthy of worship, so is the collective person holy and worthy of worship. Remember, Paul refers to this as a "great mystery@ (Ephesians 5:32). It is not easy to grasp or literal as we would look at it from a material perspective.
God is and will be Three Persons millions of times in that each of us in receiving the Holy Spirit at repentance and baptism becomes the third person with the Father and Christ as was promised. No man or power comes between us, and that triune relationship stands completely on its own by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit from the Father (John 14:20; Romans 8:35-39).
The union of all these personal, autonomous, three way relationships between the Christian, the Father and the Son is the fellowship of the Holy Spirit which figuratively comes together as a composite person called the Bride (I John 1:3).
So the Holy Spirit is not an individual person of the Godhead as taught by traditional Christianity but is a collective and many-membered Body called the Bride of Christ. That is why I have stated on many occasions that the use of the Holy Spirit in Matthew 28:19-20 means Afill in the blank" with your individual name and with all names of the saved, both dead and alive, who make up the Church or the mystery of the collective, corporate person called the Bride.
Godly relationships whether they be between God and man, or God and Cod, are expressed in covenant form. A covenant is a treaty; it is also a marriage or partnership agreement. As there is One God, there is One Covenant made unconditionally with Abraham. However, that One Covenant is a composite of several covenants, such as the Old or Sinai Covenant and the New Testament. Covenant is a concept critical to understanding what God is all about. (If you are not already getting the kingdom of God Correspondence course, please write us. It covers covenants in depth.)
God Almighty, El Shaddai (literally the God of my breasts), is the covenant name used by God in Genesis 17:1-14 with Abram, renamed Abraham. YHVH may refer to either the Father or the Son (Psalms 110:1; Matthew 22:37-46; Colossians 1:13-18). The One who became Jesus is the YHVH who delivered Israel from Egypt. YHVH is the covenant name of God used in confirming the Sinai Covenant with Israel (Exodus 20:2).
The name God will use in fulfilling the promise of the New Covenant at the Marriage Supper with the resurrected Bride is unknown. It will be the spiritual name of the Father and Christ, however spoken and written in the language of God and not one of men's languages.
The important point is that the Bride takes the new name and the family name of Her Husband (Revelation 3:12; 14:1; 22:4,17). Just as Abram was changed to Abraham, and Jacob to Israel, each believer will receive a new covenant name in the resurrection. Each of us individually will have a name, and the Bride is named collectively. The Bible refers to this private new name as written on a white stone (Revelation 2:17).
This white stone is called by Peter a living stone out of which the Temple in Heaven is built (I Peter 2:4-5). This is our spiritual body which is formed or woven from our works in the spirit flowing from the new creation formed at conversion. It is a particular "dwelling place" within the Temple which is the throne of God. It is a small Amember@ of the spiritual Body of Christ, the Church of God. Our new names are unknown because they are being created even as we live, throughout our lives. These names will also be spoken and written in the language of God.
Naming is important. God names us (Isaiah 43:1,7) to indicate that He possesses us and not the other way around. If we attempt to name God. then we are attempting to exercise dominion over Him. Since we can not own God or rule Him, we do not name Him. For example, Adam exercised his dominion over the creatures of the earth as well as his wife by naming them (Genesis 1:26-31; 2:18-23).
God's name is what He is - Eternal Love. We are named by Him and after Him if He becomes a part of us by joining His Spirit to our own. That requires our choice: we must choose His Will as our own allowing the separate will of rebellion lodged in the flesh of the old man to die in spirit as it will eventually.
This results in the separation of the Spirit of Man from the fleshly brain and body to be joined to the Holy Spirit of the Father and the spiritual body being prepared in heaven waiting for the day of Christ's return (I Thessalonians 4:16-17).
THE MARRIAGE ANALOGY
The whole chapter of Ezekiel 16 talks of YHVH's relationship with the ancient nation of Israel as one between a husband and wife. The many membered nation of Israel is depicted as a young, abandoned woman given life by God. After her rescue God marries her by entering into a covenant with her (v.8) and adorns her as a bride with costly ornaments and fine wedding garments (v.9-13).
Unfaithful Israel rejected God and played the harlot. She bought her lovers, rather than receive payment from them. This is figurative language for making alliances with the kingdoms of this age (v.33). She trusted in the covenant treaties of men instead of God's Covenant. She took of God's gifts and made idols to satisfy her lusts and reaped the judgement of death, destruction, and captivity. Blessings were turned into curses.
Nevertheless, God was merciful. He forgave and restored her to her former state. He remembered His marriage covenant in her youth and so promised to establish a new, everlasting covenant with her (v. 60-63). Jeremiah 32:36-44 also makes reference to this restoral in connection with an everlasting covenant.
Jeremiah 33:1-11 talks about the restoration in more detail and uses the marriage song of the rejoicing bride and bridegroom in connection with that restoration (v.11). These sections of Jeremiah dually refer to the first return of Judah to the Land of Israel and Judah during the Persian Empire in the 500's BC as well as the future restoration of Judah and Israel at Jesus's return as king of Kings.
This is the time that the New Covenant Marriage Feast will take place. It is the time when God will fulfill His Promise of pulling His Law, His Way of Love, within the hearts of all mortal men then alive who will receive it (Jeremiah 31:27-34). Paul wrote about this truth in detail in Romans chapters 9-11, Galatians 3, and Ephesians 2, showing that all peoples and not ust the genetic descendents of Israel are included in this promise as faithful sons of Abraham. See particularly: Romans 9:3-9,25-26; 10:12-17; 11:1,11,16-36; Galatians 3:26-29; Ephesians 2:8-22.
To summarize this analogy remember that the nation of Israel is called in Acts 7:38 the "church" or the "congregation" in the wilderness. Jesus, who was the YHVH who married Israel at Sinai, came in the flesh to His fleshly Bride, represented at that time by the nation of Judah.
The Jews were nominally living under the Sinai Covenant, but the fact was that the scribes and the Pharisees had "seated themselves in the chair of Moses" (Matthew 23:2) and proceeded to void the Law of the Covenant with their own traditions and commands (Matthew 23:4- 2,13,15,16-23; 15:3-9,13-14).
They broke the covenant with God by their hypocritical ways. Jesus the faithful husband died in the flesh for His fleshly Body, Israel, and by extension of the Promise, all mankind. The resurrected Jesus is now the spiritual husband who saves His Body by giving Himself for it that it might be born a spiritual Body in the resurrection (I Corinthians 15:35-53).
The Bride that is now making Herself ready is the Church. It is the Body of Christ bought by Him. Since the physical Jesus died, He was freed from His earlier marriage agreement with Israel, the Sinai Covenant. Now, the resurrected Christ enters into a New Marital Covenant with better promises of eternal life with the resurrected Church, His Holy Bride. It is a spiritual mystery centered on the Oneness of God in the Holy Spirit.
Part of the mystery is explained by the parallel analogy of the Church with the Temple in heaven. This spiritual temple is made of spiritual stones, living stones (I Peter 2:4-10). These stones are the spiritual bodies of the saints, the coming Melchizedek priesthood of which Jesus is High Priest (Revelation 1:5-6; 5:10; Hebrews 3:1; 5:6,10; 6:20). Each stone is a mansion or dwelling place prepared by Christ as a small portion of His Father's House, the Temple in Heaven (John 14:1-3).
So the spiritual Body of Christ is made of many members (Romans 12; I Corinthians 12:12). As the body of the wife belongs to the Husband, so the Body of the Church, the Bride, belongs to Christ (I Corinthians 7:4; Ephesians 5:21-33). It is a great mystery and hard to understand, but the church is the Bride promised to Christ and revealed in the resurrection to life eternal as One Bride in the Holy Spirit (Revelation 19:7-9; and chapters 21 and 22).
Now is the time for the Bride to make herself ready. Read the parables in Matthew 22:1-14 and 25:1-13. Remember that what makes you unworthy is to reject the invitation. This reference applies par-ticularly to the Jewish religious establishment of Jesus' day.
The lack of wedding clothes is the lack of the indwelling righteousness of the Holy Spirit. the guest without the wedding garment was unaware of his lack and so was cast out. The missing oil of the five foolish virgins is also the lack of the Holy Spirit. Compare with Zechariah 3:4-5; Revelation 6:11; 7:3,9,13-14; and 19:8. Without the Holy Spirit you can not be a part of the spiritual Bride, for She is defined by the presence of that spirit joined to the human spirit.
TRINITY EXPLAINS UNITY
"But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ," (I Corinthians 11:3).
"..because we are members of His body. For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church," (Ephesians 5:30-32).
These two scriptures hold the key to understanding how God is One from many. Each husband-wife union is a Oneness. This is true be it between converted, but fleshly man and woman. It is true of Christ and the Church represented by the husband and wife combined as one family. Each husband-wife union is also under the direct and joint authority of their head. For the man and woman, it is Christ. For Christ and the Church, it is the Father. I have illustrated below.
In conclusion, the term trinity derived from the western, and predominantly Greek, attempt to understand the nature of God. The TRUTH is that God is ONE. The mystery of the unity of God swallows up that of the trinitarian analysis as each unity absorbs its three structural components. The power of the unity of God leads to salvation in the eternal peace of God which is Love.
Now re-read my article on "The Purpose and Structure of Church Fellowship". I know it is concentrated, but take it a little at a time. Don't be thrown oft by some of the terms. If you haven't read it yet, look in the center of the June-July Sentinel or write us for a reprint. Thanks.
If you are interested to receive some tapes on the sublect write us for my tapes entitled, "The Kingdom and the Church" and AA God of Many Names".
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