Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16
The secret of the LORD is with them that fear Him; and He will show them His covenant. Psalm 25:14
Vol. 7, No. 1 - Straight and Narrow - January 1998
The Holy Spirit Of God
Jesus said, If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. (John 14:15-17) Jesus said very plainly that He would send another Comforter to comfort His people after His departure.
Lets first take a look at a different verse that uses the word another. And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man. And it was so, that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart: and all those signs came to pass that day. (1 Samuel 10:6, 9) Saul became another man, yet physically he was the same person. His experience made him another man.
Jesus did not finish the conversation with verse seventeen. In the very next verse He clearly explains: I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. (John 14:18) Jesus said that He would come to His disciples as another Comforter. This is quite appropriate since the Bible plainly tells us who the Comforter is. The Greek word parakletoV (parakletos), translated Comforter, is used five times in the Bible. Four times the word is translated Comforter and the other time it is translated Advocate. Here the Bible clearly states WHO the Comforter is. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate [parakletos = Comforter] with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. (1 John 2:1) God has plainly revealed that Jesus Christ is our Comforter.
The Lord is that Spirit
Wait a minute, does not the Bible say that the Comforter is the Holy Spirit? (John 14:26) It most certainly does. Who is the Holy Spirit? Inspiration declares: Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (2 Corinthians 3:17) The Lord is that Spirit, yet who is the Lord? But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. (1 Corinthians 8:6) This could be expressed in the form of mathematical equations as:
Jesus Christ = the Lord
The Lord = That Spirit
Therefore: Jesus Christ = That Spirit
Ephesians 4:4 further states: There is one body, and one Spirit. There is only one Spirit, and the Bible tells us that that Spirit is our Lord Jesus Christ, or more specifically the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He received from His Father. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. (Galatians 4:6)
What exactly is a Spirit? According to the Strongs Concordance, along with many other Greek Dictionaries, a spirit is a mind. When God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, He was sending the mind, or thinking of His Son into our hearts. God asks us to Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:5) The mind, or Spirit, that Christ had was the Spirit of His Father. For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. (John 3:34) Let us examine what the Bible says about a spirit.
The Biblical Concept of Spirit
And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? (Mark 2:8) Jesus perceived [Greek: epiginwskw - epiginosko to know, that is to understand] in His Spirit. The Spirit of Jesus is where He knew and understood things. The Spirit of Jesus is the mind of Jesus.
And the Spirit [Hebrew: j^Wr - ruwach #7307 in Strongs Concordance] of the LORD fell upon me, and said unto me, Speak; Thus saith the LORD; Thus have ye said, O house of Israel: for I know the things that come into your mind [ruwach], every one of them. (Ezekiel 11:5) In this verse ruwach was translated spirit in one place, and mind in another. Clearly you can see that the spirit of an individual is the mind or thinking of that individual. (See also Isaiah 40:13, Romans 11:34)
To whom hast thou uttered words? and whose spirit came from thee? (Job 26:4) When we utter words, we are revealing whose spirit we have. We either have the spirit of the world, or the spirit of God, which is Holy Spirit. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)
Some people maintain that the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit of God are two different things. As you can see from the preceding verse, this is not the case. The Bible speaks of The Holy Spirit of God. God the Father has a Spirit. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. (Matthew 10:20) Jesus Christ has a Spirit. For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:19) Does the Holy Spirit have a Spirit? Some say yes, while others say no. What saith the Scriptures? The Holy Spirit of God. (Ephesians 4:30) The Bible nowhere mentions the Spirit of the Holy Spirit. Why is that? Could it be that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God the Father and His only begotten Son? As the Scriptures plainly state, the Father has a Spirit and His Son has a Spirit, yet there is one Spirit. Evidently the Father and His Son share the same Spirit while they are two separate individuals. This is true because they think alike; they have a kindred spirit.
The Father anointed His Son with His own Spirit. Therefore, they have the same Spirit. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. (Hebrews 1:9) For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. (John 3:34) As is plainly shown, the Father and the Son share a Spirit. What type of Spirit do they share? Surely, it is a Holy Spirit. The Bible mentions several different types of Spirit. We read about foul spirit, evil spirit, unclean spirit, dumb spirit, excellent spirit, humble spirit, wounded spirit, broken spirit, haughty spirit, faithful spirit, good spirit. All these spirits are distinguishable by the adjective that describes them. We know that God the Father has a Spirit, and can that Spirit be anything else or anything less than Holy? The word Holy is an adjective in every case, whether in English or in Greek. Holy Spirit is not a name, but a description of the Spirit of God. We know that God the Father has a proper name, which is YHWH, otherwise known as Yahweh or Jehovah, and His only begotten Son has a proper name, which is Yahshua, or Jesus. May I ask, what is the name of the Holy Spirit?
Time and space forbid going into more detail, but the real issue is who is our Comforter? The Bible says our Comforter is Jesus Christ, who is able to comfort us in all our temptations because He was tempted just like us. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour [or help] them that are tempted. (Hebrews 2:18) It is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27) Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4) Because Jesus has suffered being tempted, and comes to us in a different way than He ever did before, He can truly be called, another Comforter. Jesus said, I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you.
The Holy Spirit was to come and convict the world of sin. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. (John 16:8) Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities. (Acts 3:26) It is Jesus, after His resurrection, who comes to us to turn us from sin. Would you rather have a Comforter who knows what you are going through because He has been there Himself, or one who cannot empathize with you?
Some may immediately say, Jesus called the Comforter he, therefore he must be someone else. It was not uncommon in Christs day to speak of yourself in the third person. You find this style of writing throughout the New Testament. Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son. (John 5:19-22) Jesus spoke of Himself in the third person.
Fifteen out of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament start out with a greeting similar to this one. Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love. (2 John 3) Out of all these greetings, none of them mention a third being. Just two are mentioned, the Father and His Son. Surely if there were a third being who is to be equally worshipped and adored, the writers of the New Testament would have included him in these greetings, but alas, there is not one to be found.
John explains to us with whom we are to have fellowship. He says, That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:3) Surely if John were acquainted with a third God, he would want us to have fellowship with him as well, but there is no mention of another being. John further states, Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. (2 John 9) Both means two, and only two. This agrees with Zechariah. And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both. (Zechariah 6:12, 13)
Reasoning with the Jews, Jesus said, It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me. (John 8:17, 18) If an additional being could testify in His behalf, Jesus would not have hesitated to mention him here.
Paul declared, I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels. (1 Timothy 5:21) Paul called the heavenly agencies to witness this charge given to Timothy. Notice who Paul called as a witness for him. God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ are naturally the first ones to be mentioned, but Paul did not stop here. He called all the angels of God to be his witnesses also. Certainly if Paul knew of a third being who is coequal with the Father and His Son, then he would have mentioned him in this verse. Yet there is no hint of another being, which is plain evidence that Paul knew nothing about a third god.
I could go on with this as there is an abundance of Scripture which plainly shows that there is one God, the Father and one Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 8:6), and not a pantheon of gods in the Godhead.
The subject we are discussing is of vital importance. Please take the time to examine this in detail. The only way a judge can make a just decision is by viewing and weighing all the evidence. I strongly encourage you to examine all the evidence before making a decision. He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him. (Proverbs 18:13)
Without a Theology Degree
Chief Mayala, head of a tribe in the Congo, heard a little about a Chief of heaven and earth from some natives who had heard it from some other natives who had heard it from some other natives. This vague and minute, fourth-hand smattering of information made the difference between life and death for his son.
Mayalas son became strangely ill. Mayala walked all the way to the Baptist mission station to secure help based entirely on the bit of understanding he had derived from the story told him from ignorant natives.
Finding the mission station was not an easy task in itself, but his love for his son drove him on.
Describing the illness to the mission doctor, he asked for some medicine. He took the medicine, traveled the great distance back with no sleep, and administered it to his son himself.
There were no satisfactory results and it seemed as if the child would definitely die. Some of his people came to him and begged him to take the child to the fetish house, but he refused.
Still the childs condition grew more and more grave. Finally the people went to the medicine man, asking him to come and help the child. When he arrived at the chiefs house, he refused to allow him to go through any of his rituals. Mayala would not let him make or use any of his magical herbs.
I believe in the power of the Chief of chiefs, God.
We would like to see this power of God, the people who had now all congregated around Mayalas house cried out in derision.
Mayala, with no malice or boastfulness, replied, You shall see it.
He shut the grass door after him, fell to his knees on the dirt floor, and began his prayer to the Chief of heaven and earth. All alone in his hut, Mayala begged for this God to show His power, not for the chiefs sake, nor for the dying child, but to prove that God does exist.
As Mayala prayed, the child was under the veranda outside the house. The people recognized that the dying boy had fallen into a deep sleep. They had seen it many times before as they watched the medicine man try all his tricks of the trade to revive other terminal cases. The sincere chief heard the people talking to each other about the boy being very close to death. He wrestled with God in prayer even more earnestly. His desperation dictated his dedication and he pled for the childs life.
The people stood around talking about the amazing things taking place before them. The child was dying and the father refused to let the medicine man come near him. And, to their further wonderment, the chief was inside his hut all alone.
A strange calmness came over Mayala with his knees buried in the pitch black sod floor. It was as if there was no more alarm, nothing to be afraid of.
Feeling as he never had before in his entire life, he rose to his feet, wiped the dirt off his knees, and went out to look at his son.
The chattering and stirring people froze in their tracks. There was absolute silence as Mayala walked over to his son. But before he could place a hand on his sons brow to check on his high fever, the child opened his eyes, turned his head, and spoke to his father as if he had just awakened from a good nights sleep.
The stunned tribe gasped! All eyes were fixed on this most marvelous sight. There was a shout when the lad sat up on the edge of the vine cot. And pandemonium broke loose as the chiefs son walked around in perfect health.
It was only a matter of minutes after the chief came out of his hut with the strange assurance that his son was all right when the boy was playing with other native children as if nothing had happened to him whatsoever.
There, Mayala shouted to his overwhelmed people, theres the power of God I promised you.
Thats the power of the God of heaven and earth. And all of you shall soon know more about Him as I am going to go and bring back someone to teach us all about the Chief of chiefs!
And all without a theology degree.
(This story was reprinted from the book, The Hand That Still Intervenes, - W. A. Spicer and Helen Spicer Menkel © 1982 by Concerned Publications. Permission to reprint this article was graciously granted by the publishers.)
Christ Our Righteousness
(WE wish to encourage all who are young, at least in heart, to study these lessons and fill in the blanks with answers from the Bible.)
The Righteousness of God (Part 1)
1. What does Jesus say is the first thing to be sought for in life? Matthew 6:33
2. What constitutes the righteousness of God? Psalm 119:172
3. What is in the heart of those who know the righteousness of God? Isaiah 51:7
4. How long will Gods righteousness endure? Psalm 111:3
5. What is unrighteousness? 1 John 5:17
6. What does the Bible declare sin to be? 1 John 3:4 (See note 1)
7. What law is it, which obedience to is righteousness, and disobedience to is sin? Romans 7:7
8. Upon what did the Psalmist love to meditate? Psalm 119:97
9. What attributes does Paul give to the ten commandment law? Romans 7:12
10. How did Christ show the spirituality of the law? Matthew 5:27, 28 (See note 2)
11. What is the whole duty of man? Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14
12. Who shall be justified or made righteous? Romans 2:13
13. How many of the commandments of God are important? James 2:10-12
1. Since unrighteousness equals sin, and sin is the transgression of the law, then unrighteousness equals the transgression of the law. To state this in positive terms we would say that righteousness equals obedience to the law of God.
2. Jesus showed that even a look or a thought may be a violation of the law, and that it is indeed a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Christ Our Righteousness, p. 52)
The Sinfulness of Sin
Calvin Coolidge, former president of the United States, was a man of few words. While in the White House, he attended church one Sunday unaccompanied by his wife. On his return home from church, Mrs. Coolidge hoped she might obtain from him an account of the sermon. When they sat at the table for dinner, she looked for some comment on the morning service, but none was forthcoming. Finally, and with some exasperation, she inquired, Calvin, was the sermon a good one? Yes, he replied. Was it a long one, she asked. No, he responded. Then, after a pause Mrs. Coolidge asked, Well, what was the sermon about? President Coolidge answered, Sin. Well, she prodded, what did he say about it? Coolidge answered, He was against it. Brethren, that should be our experience. We must be against sin in practice and in its very nature.
Both the Hebrew (hAFj - chattaah) and Greek (amartamw - hamartamo) words translated sin mean an offense, or to miss a mark. The mark missed is the great standard of righteousness that reflects Gods character, the ten commandments. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. (1 John 3:4) Paul, writing in Romans 7:7, makes it crystal clear that it is the ten commandments that point out sin.
Sin is rebellion against God. While the Scriptures teach that sin is the breaking of Gods law, it is much more. John noted that, Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law. At its foundation, sin is rebellion against God. It is an act or show of defiance toward Him. Sin wants to pull God off His throne and plant ourselves in His place. (Isaiah 14:12-14)
Sin is selfishness. The cross is the greatest revelation of Gods love ever given. It is also the greatest demonstration of selfishness. At the cross, God demonstrated that there was no suffering, pain, inconvenience, or hardship that He was unwilling to endure, so that we might have eternal life. He showed His abhorrence for sin by allowing His only begotten Son to die so that sin might be eradicated from the universe. The cross also demonstrated that there was no suffering, pain, inconvenience, or hardship that Satan, the ultimate epitome of selfishness, was not willing to put others through for his personal pleasure.
The relationship of sin to selfishness is clearly revealed in Scripture. The tenth commandment deals directly with covetousness (Exodus 20:17) or selfishness. Further, Ephesians 5:5 states that a covetous man, is an idolater, thus a violator of the first commandment. The violation of any of the ten commandments can be explained by the selfishness of the violator. For example, the eighth commandment says, Thou shalt not steal. (Exodus 20:15) When a thief steals, he has made the selfish choice that he wants to possess the property of another, even to the hurt of the property owner. Under the heading of selfishness comes every sin in one form or another. (See Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 384.)
The Hideous Nature of Sin
Too often professed Christians do not perceive the hideous nature of sin. Sin is evil in nature. There is nothing pleasant or funny about it. The world and much of Christianity have a shallow concept of the nature of sin. Why is it so amusing to some when a drunk falls into a ditch? Why do some parents think it is cute when their small children kick them and use profanity? It is because the nature of sin is not understood! The Scriptures state, Fools make a mock at sin. (Proverbs 14:9) Sin does not bring joy to Jesus or the angels, and it should not bring any joy to the Christian. It is said of Jesus: Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity. (Hebrews 1:9) We are told to: Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. (Psalm 96:9) The way of holiness is beautiful, the way of sin is abominable. The exceeding sinfulness of sin can be estimated only in the light of the cross. (Steps to Christ, p. 31) The violation of Gods law resulted in the death of Gods dear Son. Paul writes:
For sin, seizing an opportunity in the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good. Did what is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, working death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. (Romans 7:11-13 NRSV)
If there ever was a time to stand up and call sin by its right name, it is today. God commands us, Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. (Isaiah 58:1)
Gods people must not compromise their denunciation of sin in these final moments of earths history. Souls will be lost if sin is not shown for what it is.
A popular evangelist once told of a fellow minister who delivered a powerful sermon on the subject of sin. After the service, one of the church officers confronted the minister in his study and offered what he thought was some needed counsel. Pastor, he said, we dont want you to talk as openly as you do about mans guilt and corruption, because if our boys and girls hear you discussing that subject they will more easily become sinners. Call it a mistake, if you will, but do not speak so plainly about sin. The pastor removed a small bottle from a shelf behind his desk. Showing it to the man, he said, You see this label? It says Strychnine, and underneath in bold, red letters is the word poison. What you are asking me to do would be like changing this label. Suppose I write over it Essence of Peppermint. Someone who doesnt know the danger might use it and become very ill. The milder the label, the more dangerous the poison! (Adapted from the Bible Illustrator.)
The results of sin are tragic. God and Christ desire man to be happy and learn to appreciate their love. Sin brings separation from God, the source of all joy, love, peace, and goodness. (See Isaiah 59:2.) Sin robs us of the abundant life that Jesus came to give us. (John 10:10) Jesus came so that we would not have to have murder, divorce, crime, drugs, alcohol, and the other things that destroy and ruin us.
Sin brings shame, degradation, and ruin. God had put His spirit upon Saul. He was the leader of Gods people. While living for God, Saul was a man of courage and strength. Sin separated him from God, and he became weak and depressed. Finally, he killed himself on a battlefield after consulting a witch the night before! That is what sin does.
Sin Brings Ruin
Satan promised that sin would exalt Eve, (Genesis 3:5) but it introduced degradation and death into this world. When Leonardo da Vinci was painting his masterpiece, The Last Supper, he searched for a long time for a model to represent Jesus. Finally, he located a singer in one of the churches of Rome who was lovely in life and features. The young mans name was Pietro Bandinelli. After some years, The Last Supper was still not completed. All the disciples had been painted except Judas Iscariot. Da Vinci began to look for a man whose face was hardened and distorted by sin to be the model for Judas. Da Vinci found a beggar on the streets of Rome with a face so heinous he shuddered to look at him. After painting Judas, as da Vinci was about to dismiss the man when he said, I have not yet found out your name. I am Pietro Bandinelli, he replied, I also sat for you as your model of Christ. That is what sin does!
Sin Brings Death
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. (James 1:15) Not only in this life does sin bring death, but it destroys all hope of eternal life. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (Romans 6:16) For the wages of sin is death. (v. 23)
The Ultimate Penalty of Sin
The ultimate tragedy of sin is the sorrow it brings to the loving heart of God. Although we hear daily of the sick and dying through the news media, we are insulated, to a great degree, from the tremendous amount of sickness and death caused by sin. Think of the death among the animals, every moment, in all the forests, plains, and deserts of the world. From the tiny squirrels to the great elephants, sin brings suffering and death to all. Luke 12:6 tells us that our God is concerned and He cares even about the ignorant creatures. If God cares about the animals, think how much He cares about those for whom He sent His Son to die. How the suffering that sin has brought must bring an ache to His heart!
The outside or shell of sin may appear very glamorous but it brings death and ruin. The sundew plant promises sweet nectar, yet preys upon the insect that lights upon it. Sin may appear sweet and innocent, but it always brings ruin and death. When we gain a clear view of the very nature of sin, it will become so repulsive that we will never want its evil influence in our lives.
Letters from Around the World
I read St. Johns gospel a few years ago and discovered that the trinity doctrine was false. Your booklet lets me know that I have company in the way I believe. Bermuda
I am glad to let you know that I have been blessed and enlightened and encouraged to study this subject Did They Believe in the Trinity. This booklet the Lord helped you to put together is so encouraging to pursue. And this has been the Lords means for me to know Him better, and to know His only begotten Son in a clearer way. May the Lord continue to use you to carry on the good work you are doing for the glory of God. I received your booklet from a brother in Tennessee. I am impressed that I could reach out to distribute 25 of your booklets, Did They Believe in the Trinity to our workers and members over here. Trinidad
Greetings to you all in Jesus name. I got so thrilled in Jesus, was the chorus I sang when I saw the caption A Study From Africa, October edition of the Old Paths. Thank you for publishing the study and your fine editing. I am encouraged and by the grace of God I hope to send in another study. Pastor Akor Nigeria
Is there any other literature in different languages on this subject [the Godhead]? I am only interested at the present time on this subject! Not only in English, but also especially in German and Spanish etc. (even Russian would be very important.)
We thank the Lord for the precious truth of the threefold angels message and we pray that He will help that soon His work on earth can be finished in righteousness. This world full of sin and suffering is not our home, we are waiting for Gods eternal Kingdom. Germany
Old Paths is published monthly by Smyrna Gospel Ministries, HC 64 Box 128-B, Welch WV 24801-9606. It is sent free upon request. Office phone: (304) 732-9204; home phone: (304) 732-8609. Web site: http://www.smyrna.org.
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