The New Covenant
On November 27, 2010, Norbert Link will give the sermon, titled, “The New Covenant.”
NOTE: We would like to wish all of our American readers a meaningful “Thanksgiving Day” season.
Obey the Truth
by Norbert Link
In Galatians 5:7, Paul challenged the Christians in Galatia, when asking this pointed question: “You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?” Paul’s words are perhaps even more puzzling today for the overwhelming majority of Christians and non-Christians alike. Obeying the truth? Christ maintained before Pilate that He came into the world “to bear witness to the truth” (John 18:37). Pilate’s answer, as recorded in the next verse, was symptomatic of how many felt then–and how many feel today. He said to Jesus: “What is truth?”
When it comes to the truth, people are confused. Paul explains that the ancient Greek philosophers “exchanged the truth of God for the lie” (Romans 1:25). Since our present-day culture, at least in the Western world, as well as many orthodox Christian concepts, are to a large extent influenced by Greek philosophy, it is no wonder that even many Christians today believe in ideas which are not in accordance with godly truth.
We must come to know what the truth is. Pilate did not know; and he did not want to know. But we can know, if we are willing to open our minds.
David declared in Psalm 119:160: “The entirety of Your word is truth.” He also said: “And all Your commandments are truth” (verse 151). He added: “Your law is truth” (verse 142). Finally, he exclaimed: “For all Your commandments are righteousness” (Psalm 119:172).
Jesus did not come to abolish God’s truth–His righteousness, His commandments, His law and His Word. Rather, He said: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets… Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:17, 19).
At one time, Jesus remarked that many of those who were listening to Him did not believe the truth, because they were willing to pursue the desires of Satan the devil, and there is no truth in him (John 8:44). But Jesus was not just talking to His audience then. Satan is still the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4), and he is still deceiving the whole world into believing lies (Revelation 12:9).
Paul is also referring to the same correlation between sinful conduct and the inability or unwillingness to believe the truth. He speaks of the condemnation of those who do not believe the truth, but have pleasure in unrighteousness (2 Thessalonians 2:12). He also speaks of sinful people who are “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:6-7). Without doubt, there is a connection between living in sin and unrighteousness, and failing to recognize and believe the truth.
Christ warned those who thought that they were Christ’s followers: “… depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:23). When we continue to practice the way of sin, which is defined as lawlessness (1 John 3:4), we are not really Christ’s disciples. We are not really believing and obeying the truth. Unless we change our way of thinking and acting, Christ will tell us to depart from Him. He will spew us out of His mouth (Revelation 3:16).
We find a startling prophecy for our times in the ancient book of Hosea: “For they shall eat, but not have enough; they shall commit harlotry, but not increase; Because they have ceased obeying the LORD” (Hosea 4:10).
In times of physical need and dependency, we are to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and God promises us that He will take care of us (Matthew 6:33). We seek the Kingdom, when we seek and stand up for the truth–when we obey God rather than man in times of conflict (Acts 5:29). In living by “every word which proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4), we live by and obey the truth, since the entirety of God’s Word is truth.
When we continue to run well, without allowing anyone or anything to hinder us from obeying the truth, then an awesome promise awaits us. We will become kings and priests in the Kingdom of God, ruling on this earth with and under Christ, “being ready to punish all disobedience when [our] obedience is fulfilled” (2 Corinthians 10:6).
We begin with the rising danger of war between North and South Korea, and the dilemma which this situation poses for President Obama. While China and Russia renounce the U.S. dollar, Israelis and Palestinians utter their disappointment with the lack of American leadership in the Middle East.
We continue with a report on Ireland’s inevitable decision to be bailed out by Europe, showing that a “deep divide of two almost irreconcilable camps” exists in Europe. While we can safely predict that the euro will survive, the “two camps” might give way to the prophesied emergence of a core Europe, consisting of ten nations or groups of nations.
Newspapers write about Germany’s “astounding growth,” but at the same time, reports of possible terror attacks in Germany are causing fear and concern; and such reactions might have undesirable consequences for the country in the long(er) run.
The pope’s confusing statements about condoms have raised unrealistic hopes of a change in Roman Catholicism; the pope’s new comments about Pius XII have angered Jewish leaders; and the pope’s recent letter to Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad raises questions as to the Vatican’s ambitions in the Middle East.
This Week in the News
“A Problem Like Korea”
As the following articles show, the USA is manifesting itself more and more as a completely helpless giant, unable to solve any problems in national and international matters. The pride of US power is surely gone.
Deutsche Welle reported on November 24:
“The divided Korean Peninsula has provided every sitting US president with a dilemma ever since Dwight Eisenhower brokered an armistice in the Korean War, an act that paused but did not officially end a conflict which had raged for almost three years and which cost some 36,000 American lives. Due to the fact that no official peace deal was agreed 58 years ago, the two Koreas have been living under the shadow of a potential return to war ever since Eisenhower’s intervention.
“America’s involvement in the war that divided Korea along the 38th parallel also continues to this day due to the commitment of the US to protect South Korea from any aggression by its communist neighbors in the North. Around 29,000 US troops remain deployed in South Korea.
“Presidents Johnson, Ford and Carter all had run-ins with North Korea during their times in office while more contemporary administrations of Bill Clinton, and both Bush presidencies have had to deal with the North’s growing nuclear ambitions.
“While skirmishes in the seas around the Korean Peninsula and small scale attacks on land gave the immediate post-war presidents a real headache, the last three US leaders have found that the increasingly unpredictable North, with its now indisputable yet crude nuclear weapons, has become a completely different problem. But while the nature of its threat has changed, the question as to how best to deal with North Korea endures…
“While the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island by the North and the responding fire from the South on Tuesday was the most serious exchange between the two Koreas in over a year – the disputed sinking of the South’s corvette ‘Cheonan’ in March aside – this incident is just the latest in a long line of skirmishes. However, the bombing of Yeonpyeong comes just a week after the North revealed a nuclear enrichment facility to a group of American scientists so advanced that it shocked the US…
“President Obama is honour-bound to protect South Korea, as his predecessors have been, and as such has strongly affirmed his commitment to defend it as part of the alliance which stretches back to the Korean War. The nuclear-powered USS Washington aircraft carrier was deployed to the Yellow Sea off the coast of South Korea on Wednesday. But with North Korea’s nuclear capability more advanced than first thought, the US president is unwilling to provoke any escalation and has chosen not to reposition any of the 29,000 US troops in the South closer to the de-militarized zone…
“Experts believe that Obama’s options are limited. Many consider it highly unlikely that the US will engage in any military action against the North, partly because of its nuclear capability and partly because it has a huge army of 9.45 million troops. If the US commitment to South Korea’s defense is to be invoked, it will most likely come in the form of support, not direct intervention…
“The US is also unlikely to want to anger China, North Korea’s only international and economic supporter. While China has called for restraint on the Korean Peninsula, Beijing has refused to issue an outright condemnation of the bombing of Yeonpyeong, even as veiled calls to do so from the United States and Japan began to circulate…
“But with the US unlikely to take military action against North Korea, some experts believe that its commitment toward its allies in Asia may be seen by some countries as wavering. The knock-on effect on regional stability could be just as damaging in the long term as an air strike.”
Obama Disappoints Israelis and Palestinians
Newsmax reported on November 22:
“It’s not just people in the U.S. who are upset with President Barack Obama. Israelis and Palestinians, who agree on very little, are in accord that the president is to blame for their political stalemate, Politico reports. To be sure, both sides in the Middle East dispute have never been willing to acknowledge that their own hard-line stances don’t exactly create an environment for peace to suddenly flourish. Nonetheless, they expected much from the new American leader and feel they have received little.”
America’s role as the world’s leader is clearly no longer reality. The Bible prophesied that this would happen.
China and Russia Renounce US Dollar
China News reported on November 24:
“China and Russia have decided to renounce the US dollar and resort to using their own currencies for bilateral trade, Premier Wen Jiabao and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin announced late on Tuesday. Chinese experts said the move reflected closer relations between Beijing and Moscow and is not aimed at challenging the dollar, but to protect their domestic economies.”
The Bible predicts the downfall of the U.S. dollar, as well as a close alliance between Russia, China and other countries in the Far East.
Irish Democracy Under EU “Protectorship”
The EUObserver reported on November 22:
“The Irish government has applied for an EU-IMF bail-out of up to €90 billion to save its banking sector from collapse and reduce its borrowing costs, a move that in effect places Irish democracy, like that of Greece, under the protectorship of experts from Brussels and Washington…
“EU economic affairs commissioner Olli Rehn conceded that the emergency action was taken essentially to protect the eurozone from further contagion: ‘Providing assistance to Ireland is warranted to safeguard the financial stability in Europe’…”
That Ireland would ask for European bailouts was predictable. The EU will not allow the euro to die, as also one of the following articles points out. But we also see how certain individual member states will become more and more dependent on European “protectorship,” and, as the next article shows, the possibility of a two-speed Europe, with one core Europe dominating the rest, is becoming more and more a distinct possibility.
A Two-Speed Europe?
On November 22, 2010, Der Siegel Online reported:
“Yesterday it was Greece, and now it’s the sorry state of Irish banks that poses a threat to the common currency. Each new report fuels the suspicion that the problems may be so pervasive that they can no longer be solved with CONVENTIONAL methods and by taking on more and more debt…
“A deep divide between two almost irreconcilable camps runs through Europe. German Chancellor Angela Merkel heads one camp, consisting of the northern European countries. Merkel sees herself as the defender of a culture of stability of the sort that Germany has maintained since the days of the deutschmark. Her goal is to prevent the monetary union from becoming a kind of transfer union, with Germany as paymaster.
“The second camp consists of the so-called PIIGS states, which have accumulated too much debt in the past and are now hoping for help: Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain. They want the thing that Merkel wants to prevent: a union in which the strong pay for the weak. Europe’s institutions are now maneuvering between these two camps…
“Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker supports the idea of issuing euro bonds. These are government bonds whose repayment is not guaranteed by the issuing country but by the entire monetary union. The southern euro-zone countries think this is an excellent idea. The Germans and the Austrians are against it. This sort of project would penalize those ‘who are dutifully sorting out their national finances’ and benefits those ‘who haven’t done their homework,’ says Austrian Finance Minister Josef Pröll.”
The existence of two camps in Europe may signal the beginning of a development, which has long ago been prophesied in Scripture; that is, that a core Europe of ten nations or groups of nations will arise, which will then give all their power and authority to a charismatic, but ruthless political and military European leader.
Merkel’s Strong Stance on Europe In Spite of Opposition
Der Spiegel Online wrote on November 23:
“For the second time in just a few months, Angela Merkel will have to explain to voters why Germany must bail out a fellow euro-zone member state. Skepticism is growing — amongst voters, in the media and within her party…
“Now that Ireland has become the second country in the euro zone to ask for a bailout from the European Union, and given that Portugal may not be far behind, politicians in Germany have a problem… As the strongest economy in Europe, Germany will once again be called upon to step up to the plate…
“The German chancellor recently issued a sober warning about the need to support the common currency. ‘The way we address the issue of a stable euro will determine the health of the economic and monetary union, the future of the European Union as a whole and therefore also our future here in Germany,’ she said.
“… Merkel and her strategists have been concerned about the possibility that a euroskeptic party in Germany could at some point profit from the general mood of discontent regarding the EU… The mood in the German media landscape is not exactly sympathetic to Merkel’s position. ‘Euro Alarm — What the Bankrupt Irish Will Cost Us,’ read a recent headline in the influential tabloid Bild. During the Greek crisis, the newspaper caused an international furor with its provocative headlines. Now the Irish are worried they will be next in the German media’s pillory…
“But Merkel is determined to stand firm on the issue… In order to secure popular acceptance for a bailout, Merkel and her colleagues want to put pressure on Dublin to implement a tough reform program…
“Merkel also needs to keep an eye on the opposition. Sigmar Gabriel, the leader of the center-left Social Democrats, is looking to make political capital out of the euro’s latest woes, just as he did during Greece’s debt crisis. He accuses Merkel of concealing the truth from voters and damaging Europe. ‘Those countries that have benefited most from the common currency — such as Germany, the world’s second largest exporter — must ensure that the poorer countries in the euro zone are helped,’ Gabriel recently said.
“The emergency funds for Ireland do not need to be approved by the German parliament, the Bundestag. The parliament already passed the euro rescue fund at the height of the Greek debt crisis, effectively clearing the way for help for Ireland too. This time around, the German government only needs to inform the parliament’s budget committee of its plans.”
A German Eurozone?
Deutsche Welle reported on November 23:
“This Irish rescue package agreed this week – along with the Greek bailout earlier in the year – has found the eurozone countries hopelessly divided over the question of how to save the common currency in the long term. They have good reason to be concerned: The bond markets aren’t showing a healthy interest in Portugal, another likely bailout candidate. Nor are they particularly impressed with Spain, an even bigger economy with a similarly troubling debt load, a high unemployment rate and a stagnating economy. Should these countries also seek relief, the future of the euro could be on the line.
“The alarm bells are ringing in Berlin. The German government could end up paying 17 billion euros or more of the expected 90-billion-euro Irish rescue package… In addition to being promised that the euro would be as stable as the deutschmark, Germans were told prior to the deutschmark-euro conversion that there would be a ‘no bailout clause’ that would prevent Europe’s richer countries from having to rescue the indigent.
“With every new day of uncertainty, fears are mounting that the ongoing crisis in Europe could lead to the default of individual countries and ultimately the collapse of the eurozone…
“Some experts question, though, how big a role Germany, Europe’s largest economy, should play in stabilizing the eurozone. Turning the eurozone into a larger Germany, says Philip Whyte with the Centre for European Reform in London, could have adverse consequences – not only for the country itself but also for Europe and even the rest of the world… Expert Heinemann is confident the common currency will survive. ‘I don’t see the euro breaking apart,’ he said…”
The Euro Will Survive
Der Spiegel Online wrote on November 24:
“Europe is gripped by a sense of alarm, now that Ireland has become the second euro-zone country to ask for a bailout. Pessimists claim that the crisis means the euro is finished. But that scenario is unrealistic — in reality, there is little to suggest that the common currency is about to disintegrate…
“A serious threat to the euro would only emerge if the financial markets lost faith in major debtor countries like Spain and Italy. But there is little evidence of that happening right now. Firstly, that is because these countries have all passed austerity measures, and secondly because there is enough money available on the market.
“European governments are serious about austerity, while in the US there is no sign of how President Barack Obama plans to get his country’s trillion-dollar deficit under control. Close to 9 percent of all US public spending this year was financed on credit, a considerably greater amount than in the euro zone. And whereas the European Central Bank has at least kept the inflation rate in mind with its currency policies, the US Federal Reserve keeps pumping billions of new dollars into the economy. It is unclear what the outcome of this gigantic wager will be.
“The situation doesn’t look much better in Japan. For a long time, the country was the world’s second-largest economy after the United States. But the Japanese economy has experienced a lasting recession over the past 20 years, and this year it is likely to be overtaken by China. By comparison, Europe looks as dynamic as an emerging economy. The public debt in Japan is at about 200 percent of GDP, around 2.5 times as high as the euro-zone average.
“And the much-celebrated emerging economies themselves are still packed with risks when it comes to investment possibilities. No one knows exactly how long the growth of the Chinese economy will continue. It will take a recession to truly determine the true condition of the country’s economy.
“Nor is it foreseeable at the moment that the yuan will become a serious global alternative to the euro and the dollar in the near future. The currency isn’t even freely tradable in international markets. So far, that situation has suited the Chinese government just fine…
“Europe’s debt problems are without a doubt considerable. But compared to the United States and Japan, the euro-zone states can already point to initial successes in sorting out their finances. In addition, their economies are in better shape. That will help to ensure that the euro remains one of the world’s most important, and thus attractive, currencies.”
Germany’s Astounding Growth
Site Selection’s monthly edition for November reported the following:
“While much of the world slowly emerges from the crisis, Germany is setting records for economic growth and new corporate facility projects… Rob Denman, CEO of London-based Pathfinder Business, believes Germany set itself up for success a decade ago… Denman says the Germans have developed and used core FDI strategies around incentives and clusters and developed world-renowned centers of excellence. ‘They have also developed a globally recognized position as leaders in growth sectors…’
“‘Germany has also developed well-recognized excellence in innovation, and has created the best environment for R&D,’ he says. ‘For example, German brands such as Siemens have been taking the lead and innovating certain aspects of the cleantech sector… It is this innovation that will keep attracting other companies to want to come and be close to the best organizations and, importantly, to give them access to the best talent that will keep Germany at the center of Europe.’
“Not even the biggest global economic slowdown since World War II could tame Germany’s astounding growth…”
Germany’s growth is not astonishing, but it was and is inevitable, based on biblical prophecies.
Terror Attacks in Germany?
Israel National News reported on November 20:
“A terror alert has been issued in Germany. According to Der Spiegel, terrorist groups are planning an attack on the nation’s parliament building, the Reichstag. Al-Qaeda and similar groups planned to take hostages in the building, the paper said. The attack is to take place early next year…
“German officials raised security at airports and train stations last week. Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere announced that there was ‘concrete’ evidence that terrorists were plotting attacks to take place in November…”
The Daily Mail added on November 22:
“The world famous glass dome atop the Berlin Reichstag has been closed to all visitors as fears mount of an impending terrorist attack in the capital… Numerous holy warriors raised in Germany have been filtering back into the country in recent months following spells in training camps in Pakistan.”
Germany in Fear
Der Spiegel Online wrote on November 22:
“German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière put the entire country in a state of fright on Wednesday… Wherever they have cause for doing so, the authorities are secretly monitoring communications, conducting surveillance operations and launching undercover investigations… Berlin Senator for the Interior Ehrhart Körting… has already even gone so far as to call on the inhabitants of the German capital city to report suspicious-looking individuals of Arab origin to the police…
“This November will drastically alter de Maizière’s understanding of his role in office. If he tries to return things to their previous state of calm, he’s going to have a very tough time. In fact, it’s much more likely that he will be a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT interior minister…
“Germany is in a state of emergency. Other countries, such as the United States, employ a system of official warning levels based on color codes that change — from yellow to orange, for example — when the danger level is thought to increase. But, in Germany, the interior minister is the barometer: He consults with experts — and then it is he who must call the shots…”
Germany’s state of fear is not a good sign for democracy and freedom. Considering the country’s history, such a situation has always led to regrettable developments with undesirable consequences. And if terrorists are really foolish enough to launch attacks inside Germany, the German reaction against Islamists and Muslims in general will be swift and strong. But perhaps this is the kind of external and internal threat which will force Europe to unite and to create a powerful European army.
Pope Approves of Condoms–in Rare Exceptions
The Associated Press wrote on November 20:
“Pope Benedict XVI says in a new book that the use of condoms can be justified in some cases, such as for male prostitutes seeking to prevent the spread of HIV. The pontiff made the comments in a book-length interview with a German journalist, ‘Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times.'”
The Wall Street Journal wrote on November 21:
“The Vatican on Sunday rushed to clarify a recent interview by Pope Benedict XVI, in which the pontiff states for the first time that there may be some cases in which the Roman Catholic Church’s ban on condoms isn’t absolute… The Vatican, however, played down the potential impact the remarks might have on church teaching. ‘The pope’s thinking certainly can’t be defined as a revolutionary shift,’ said Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi…”
On November 22, The Telegraph added the following regarding the “confusion” created by the pope’s statements:
” The Pope faced calls to clarify his stance on condoms as confusion reigned over exactly what he meant… The Vatican insisted yesterday that the use of condoms was only permissible in ‘exceptional’ cases but did little to clarify the apparent volte-face. ‘The pope considered an exceptional situation in which the exercise of sexuality is a real danger to the life of another,’ said Father Federico Lombardi, his official spokesman.”
The Roman Catholic church’s position on the use or, more correctly, non-use of condoms and contraceptives to prevent pregnancies is simply irresponsible and totally unbiblical. The legitimate prevention of conceptions and pregnancies is absolutely justified. What is not justified and unbiblical are abortions–that is, the killing of an unborn child, having been conceived in the mother’s womb.
Jewish Leaders Upset With Pope
Reuters wrote on November 21:
“Jewish leaders reacted with dismay Sunday to comments in Pope Benedict’s new book that his wartime predecessor Pius was a ‘great, righteous’ man who ‘saved more Jews than anyone else.’
“Many Jews accuse Pius, who reigned from 1939 to 1958, of having turned a blind eye to the Holocaust. The Vatican says he worked quietly behind the scenes because speaking out would have prompted Nazi reprisals against Catholics and Jews in Europe…
“‘Pope Benedict’s comments fill us with pain and sadness and cast a menacing shadow on Vatican-Jewish relations,’ said Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants.
“‘The assertion that Pius saved more Jews than anyone else during the Holocaust is categorically contradicted by the known historical record. As survivors of the Holocaust we have a solemn obligation to the memory of those murdered to defend the truth of the tragedy till our last breath,’ he said… Pius, including the possibility that the Vatican may one day make him a saint, is one of the main points of contention in relations between Jews and the Vatican. The pope’s latest comments raised new tensions.”
The Pope Contacts Iran
Newsmax reported on November 12:
“Pope Benedict XVI has shared his thoughts with Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on how to achieve world peace, and at the same time appealed for greater religious freedom in the Middle East… The Pope’s letter… is both courteous and positive without being overtly critical…
“In the pontiff’s letter, Benedict XVI took the opportunity to defend Iran’s 10,000 or so Catholics. Although they are allowed to worship in Iran, Iranian Muslims cannot freely convert to the Catholic faith and the country’s bishops conference does not have official status… He also stressed the positive contribution Catholics play in Iranian society as peace builders… And he argued for a bilateral commission that would be especially helpful in addressing questions of common concern, including that of the juridical status of the Catholic Church in the country. The Pope closed by expressing his hope that the cordial relations between Iran and the Holy See continue.
“The Islamic Republic and the Holy See–both theocratic states–have long had friendly diplomatic ties: Since it established formal relations with the Holy See in 1953, Iran has supported the church on some life issues. However, the Holy See hasn’t held back from criticizing Iran when necessary, especially over Holocaust denial and the country’s nuclear ambitions. Neither of these was explicitly mentioned in the letter…”
You teach that both the Father and the Son are God. What about the Holy Spirit? Isn't the Holy Spirit also God — the Third Person within the Trinity?
The short answer is, no — the Holy Spirit is neither God nor a Person. Rather, the Holy Spirit is God’s POWER emanating from God the Father AND from God the Son.
The Trinitarian concept of Greek Orthodox Christianity is that God is one Person who manifests Himself in three “modes of being” — the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. They basically teach that God is only one BEING — but that He can represent himself in three different ways — as a person can be functioning in his capacity as a bank executive, as a father and as a husband. However, as we have seen in previous Q&As, (Who Was Jesus When On Earth?, What Was Jesus Before His Birth as a Man?, Is Jesus God? and How Can There Be Two Gods?) this concept is biblically incorrect. God is not just one Being, but God is a Family, consisting of TWO Beings — the Father and the Son. God is not schizophrenic, nor is He suffering from a bipolar personality, speaking to Himself in His “capacity” as Father to His “capacity” as Son, and vice versa.
The Trinitarian concept of Roman Catholic Christianity, which has been almost universally adopted by Protestant churches, is that God is “one Person in three Persons.” This is an utterly confusing and illogical idea, which makes no sense at all. How can one person consist of three persons? God is not one Being, but a FAMILY, consisting of TWO persons–not three–and the Holy Spirit is NOT a Person.
Also, the Roman Catholic church teaches that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are all equal in authority. This is biblically incorrect, as we saw in the previous, above-quoted Q&As (and we will again address this point herein). The Father is the HIGHEST in the Godhead.
We discuss the erroneous Trinitarian concepts of the Roman Catholic church and most Protestant churches in our free booklet, “Is God a Trinity?”. We show that even Roman Catholic and Protestant theologians admit that the Trinity is nowhere taught in the Bible:
“The Swiss Protestant theologian Karl Barth… wrote in, ‘Doctrine of the Word of God,’ p. 437: ‘The Bible lacks the express declaration that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are of equal essence and therefore in an equal sense God Himself. And the other express declaration is also lacking that God is God thus and only thus, i.e., as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. These two express declarations which go beyond the witness of the Bible are the twofold content of the church doctrine of the Trinity.’…
“Dr. William Newton Clarke, who wrote a book entitled, ‘An Outline of Christian Theology’… states… on page 167, when discussing the first few verses of the first chapter of the book of John: ‘There is no Trinity in [John’s prologue]; but there is a distinction in the Godhead, a duality in God… ground for the divineness of the Spirit is nowhere shown. Thought in the New Testament is never directed to that end’…
“German theologian Karl Rahner… [said] in a book called, ‘The Trinity,’ on page 22: ‘…in reality the Scriptures do not explicitly present a doctrine of the “imminent” Trinity (even John’s prologue is no such doctrine).’
“… the New Catholic Encyclopedia supports Professor Rahner’s and Prof. Barth’s statements. In an article entitled, ‘Trinity,’… [it admits:] ‘The [Old Testament] clearly does not envisage God’s spirit as a person, neither in the strictly philosophical sense, nor in the Semitic sense. God’s spirit is simply God’s power… The majority of [New Testament] texts reveal God’s spirit as something, not someone; this is especially seen in the parallelism between the spirit and the power of God…'”
After explaining in our booklet that the Roman Catholic church adopted the concept of the Trinity from pagan Greek philosophers, such as Plato and Aristotle, we point out that none of the New Testament writers include the Holy Spirit, when passing on greetings from God. They ONLY refer in that context to the Father and the Son. This would have been quite an insult, if the Holy Spirit were also God.
We continue quoting from our free booklet, “Is God a Trinity?”:
“Another Biblical proof against the Trinity is that the Holy Spirit is nowhere identified as God. No one is recorded in Scripture as having prayed to the Holy Spirit.”
As we pointed out in the previous, above-quoted Q&As, we are generally to pray to the Father, as He is the Highest in the God-Family. But we do this in the name of Jesus Christ (John 15:16), who is our only Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5-6). In addition, there are a few recorded incidents when Christians prayed to Christ (compare Acts 7:59-60). But there is no record in the Bible that anyone ever prayed to the Holy Spirit.
Let us focus on another important proof that the Holy Spirit CANNOT be God or a person. We quote again from our booklet, “Is God a Trinity?”:
“Notice in Matthew 1:18: ‘Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.’
“God’s inspired Word tells us clearly that the Holy Spirit made Mary pregnant. Notice the words of an angel to Joseph, as recorded in Matthew 1:20: ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived… in her is of the Holy Spirit.’’
“Turn now to Luke 1:32 and 35, where we find more of the inspired words of the angel to Mary: ‘He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David… The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.’ These Scriptures in Matthew and Luke tell us that, IF the Holy Spirit were a person and God, then Christ would have been the SON of the Holy Spirit, and NOT of the Father.
“However, John 1:14 says that it was the Father who begot Christ: ‘And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth’… we see that GOD the FATHER begot Christ through the power of His Spirit. This proves that the Holy Spirit cannot be a person—otherwise, we would have a contradiction here, with Christ having two fathers—the ‘Father’ and the ‘Holy Spirit’—and with the ‘person’ and third member of the ‘Trinity,’ the Holy Spirit, being Christ’s ‘main’ Father.
“Remember, too, that the angel told Mary in the book of Luke that Christ would be called the Son of the Highest. If the Holy Spirit were a person, then the Holy Spirit by which Mary was impregnated would be the HIGHEST in the Godhead. This, of course, is absurd! No one who believes in the Trinity has EVER stated that the Holy Spirit is the highest! Quite to the contrary, they claim that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are all EQUAL. That none is HIGHER than the other. “
Another proof that the Holy Spirit cannot be a person is the fact that the Holy Spirit, which dwells in converted Christians, is not only the Holy Spirit of the Father (compare John 14:16-17), but also of Jesus Christ (Galatians 4:6; Philippians 1;19). Quoting from our booklet, “Is God a Trinity?”:
“That the Spirit of the Father and of Christ dwells in us becomes very clear when reading Romans 8:9: ‘But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit if indeed the Spirit of GOD dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of CHRIST, he is not His.’ Here we read that the Spirit of God dwells in us, and when we do not have the Spirit of Christ dwelling in us, we are not even Christians…
“Notice Christ’s words in John 14:23: ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.’ Both the Father and Jesus Christ live in us. John 14:16-18 confirms too that not only the Father, but also Jesus Christ live in us… through the Holy Spirit…”
Remember this: The Spirit of the Father and of the Son lives in us. If the Holy Spirit were a person, then two persons would live in us (the Holy Spirit of the Father and the Holy Spirit of the Son). In that case, the Godhead would not consist of only three persons, but of four — God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit of the Father, and God the Holy Spirit of the Son. But no one teaches, to our knowledge, that God consists of four persons.
In passing, it is true that the Bible speaks of “one” Spirit, as it speaks of the fact that the Father and Jesus Christ are “one.” We explain the concept of “oneness” in our booklet, “Is God a Trinity?”:
“When we read that there is one Spirit, then the reference is to the oneness or harmony between God the Father and Jesus Christ. It is exactly the same when Christ said, ‘I and the Father are one’ (John 10:30). Christ did not mean, the Father and He were ‘one’ being—but that they were ‘one’ in purpose and goal and mindset and character. When Christ spoke these words, He was clearly a separate person from God the Father. Christ said in John 17:11, that we all should be one, as the Father and Christ are one in spirit—not in the sense that we all would become one being, but rather, that we all be of the same spirit. God the Father and Christ are one in spirit, and so are we to become one in spirit.”
When the Bible speaks of “one” Spirit, it cannot and does not mean that the Holy Spirit is one God being. Rather, the Holy Spirit is “one” in that it is God’s power, emanating from both God the Father and Jesus Christ, and the Father and Christ are “one” — totally unified.
Another biblical proof that the Holy Spirit CANNOT be a person can be found in John 7:37-39. It reads, in the Authorized Version: “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirsts, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive; for the Holy Ghost [better: Spirit] was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”
Note that the word “given” is in italics—this means, it is not in the original Greek; it was added by the translator. Other translators recognize this fact and render the passage in quite a different way. The New Revised Standard Version states: “…for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” The New American Bible says: “There was, of course, no Spirit yet…” The New Jerusalem Bible reads: “…for there was no Spirit as yet…” The Moffat translation says: “…as yet there was no Spirit…”
When we check this in the Interlinear translation from the Greek, we find the following phrase, “…for not yet was Spirit Holy, because Jesus not yet was glorified.”
German translations are all fairly consistent in their renderings. The revised Luther Bible, the Elberfelder Bible and the Menge Bible all state, “The Spirit was not yet there…” The Zuercher Bible even states, “…the Holy Spirit did not exist yet…” They point out in the Appendix: “Some have translated, ‘the Holy Spirit was not yet given,’ because they were offended by the literal original text.”
But how could this be?
We explain this, as follows, in our free booklet, “Is God a Trinity?”:
“.. only a glorified God being can give His Holy Spirit to others. When Christ spoke those words, the Holy Spirit of the Father was clearly there and dwelling in Him — but Christ was referring here to Himself. He said, ‘Let him who thirsts come to ME.’ And Christ was a man when He said that, and as a man, having given up His glory, He could not give the Holy Spirit, emanating from Him as a glorified God being, to others. Remember, it was the Holy Spirit of the FATHER (as distinguished from the Holy Spirit of Christ) that dwelled in Christ, and through which Christ did the marvelous works (cp. Acts 10:38-39).
“For Christ to bestow His Holy Spirit on others, He needed to be glorified first… As long as Christ was not glorified, He had no Holy Spirit of His own to bestow on others. That’s why the Holy Spirit of the glorified Christ was not there yet — ONLY the Holy Spirit of the Father was there.
“But then, after Christ’s resurrection and glorification, both the Father and the Son dwell in us through their Spirit — the Holy Spirit — which emanates or proceeds from both the Father and the Son.”
In our free booklet, “Is God a Trinity?,” we are also discussing several passages which are sometimes used to “prove” the Trinitarian concept. But aside from the fact that Catholic and Protestant theologians admit that the Bible nowhere teaches this concept, we show in our booklet why those passages do not support such a teaching.
For instance, we discuss a spurious uninspired text, to be found in the first letter of John in some older Bible renditions. That passage was added by deceived copyists to “prove” the concept of the Trinity. We also debunk the erroneous and quite silly argument that the Holy Spirit must be a person, since it is referred to as “He” in the New King James Bible. This rendering is just a matter of an arbitrary choice by some modern English translators (The Authorized Version does refer to the Holy Spirit as “it,” not “He.”).
It is important that we understand that God is NOT a Trinity. This false concept does not only convey a totally wrong picture of God — it also hides the purpose of man’s existence. Most don’t understand and believe that it is man’s destiny to become God.
God is a Family — presently consisting of the Father and the Son. Through the power of His Holy Spirit, we can become a part of God’s Family. Rather than being a closed Trinity since and for all eternity, God is enlarging His Family by reproducing Himself in man. The concept of the Trinity that teaches that God is — and that He has always been — Father, Son and Holy Spirit, hides and obscures the fact that God is a GROWING Family.
In the beginning, there were two God beings, God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son. But Christ is also referred to as the FIRSTBORN among MANY brethren. It is the potential of man to become members of the God-Family — sons and daughters of God the Father, and brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ.
We will discuss this awesome truth in a subsequent Q&A.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
How This Work is Financed
This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.
Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson
Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank
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