The holy Spirit is Himself divested,...

The holy Spirit is Himself divested,...

JASON SMITH·SUNDAY, APRIL 23, 2017

QUESTION OF THE WEEK FOR DISSIDENT SDA ANTI-TRINITARIANS:

If, according to you, the Spirit is literally Jesus in person but manifested as another person, which of his "two persons" stripped "himself" of the personality of humanity?? If you say it was the human Jesus, then it is plain Jesus had to have been literally the person of the Holy Spirit while here on earth. But if it was the Spirit person who had remained in heaven who stripped himself of humanity, he too must have become human in order to do that. So which of the "two persons" of the one Jesus, according to you, took off his humanity and came to earth on the day of Pentecost??? And finally, how do you get "three persons" to mean two, how do you get "distinct personality" to mean the same personality, and how do you get "represent" and "representative" to not mean someone impersonating another but someone being literally his own self as his own emissary? "-Derrick Gillespie [End Quote]

Part 1: What does divested mean?

The quote above, from Derrick Gillespie, is making the rounds on facebook and it deserves an answer. Before we get to that though we need to make the following point.

According to my research, EGW used the word “divested” 161 times. She used the word “divest” 94 times and the word “divesting” 12 times. I read every single one of these quotes and, unless I missed something, in every single instance the meaning is the same and very clear. It is the stripping, removal or cessation of an item, attribute or characteristic that was originally a part of the person or thing that is being divested. Let me give 5 illustrative examples:

“He was God while upon earth, but HE DIVESTED HIMSELF OF THE FORM OF GOD, AND IN ITS STEAD TOOK THE FORM AND FASHION OF A MAN. He walked the earth as a man. For our sakes he became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich. He LAID ASIDE his glory and his majesty. He was God, but THE GLORIES OF THE FORM OF GOD HE FOR A WHILE RELINQUESHED… {RH July 5, 1887, par. 4}

Note: Here divested means that the Son of God, who is truly God in nature, stripped Himself of His original Divine form. He took another form in its place, a human one.

“Christ was the Majesty of heaven, the Commander of the heavenly hosts. But HE PUT OFF off His crown, AND DIVESTED HIMSELF OF HIS ROYAL ROBE, to take upon Him human nature, that humanity might touch humanity... {BEcho May 29, 1899, par. 7}

Note: Again it is very clear that divested means that the Son of God took off or removed His royal robe.

“By the vision of the sheet and its contents He sought TO DIVEST THE APOSTLE’S MIND OF THIS PREJUDICE and to teach the important truth that in heaven there is no respect of persons;…{AA 136.3}

Note: Here God was trying to strip or remove from Peter’s mind his prejudice against the Gentiles.

“God permitted His Son to be delivered up for our offenses. He Himself assumes toward the Sin Bearer the character of a judge, DIVESTING HIMSELF OF THE ENDEARING QUALITIES OF A FATHER. {EA 224.3}

NOTE: Here we see that God changed His attitude towards His Son. He had to stop acting towards Him with the qualities of an endearing Father to His Son and start behaving towards Him as a judge to a sinner.

“None but men sacredly appointed for the purpose could look upon the ark, DIVESTED OF ITS COVERINGS, without being slain; for it was as though looking upon God himself. And as the people gratified their curiosity, and opened the ark to gaze into its sacred recesses, which the heathen idolaters had not dared to do, the angels attending the ark slew above fifty thousand of the people. {1SP 409.1}

Note: Here we see that the ark “divested of its coverings” means that its covering was removed and the people could look upon it. There are other uses of this verb in its various forms but whether it is to be divested of self, selfishness, pretense, self-righteousness, etc,… The meaning is consistent throughout. It is the stripping, removal or cessation of an item, attribute or characteristic that was originally a part or thing that is being divested.

However, when it comes the quotes that pertain to the holy Spirit being “divested” of the personality of humanity, then, all of a sudden, certain of our trinitarian brethren insist upon a new definition. Let’s look at one such quote:

“Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally; therefore it was altogether for their advantage that He should leave them, go to His Father, and send the Holy Spirit to be His successor on earth. THE HOLY SPIRIT IS HIMSELF, DIVESTED OF THE PERSONALITY OF HUMANITY, AND INDEPENDENT THEREOF. Christ would represent Himself as present in all places BY HIS HOLY SPIRIT,—as the Omnipresent..” {PrT May 30, 1895, par. 7}

Now here is the problem. Our trinitarian friends believe that the holy Spirit is a “separate” Person from God and Christ. It (or He) never had the personality of humanity in their theology. This puts them in a massive bind!

HOW CAN THE HOLY SPIRIT HIMSELF BE DIVESTED OF THE PERSONALITY OF HUMANITY IF HE NEVER ACTUALLY HAD ONE?

In my experience our SDA pro-trinitarian friends cannot successfully field this question because it is a complete impossibility within their system. Therefore what they have to do is redefine the word “divested” in order to make this quote fit their doctrine. They usually say that when Mrs. White wrote that the holy Spirit is Himself “divested of the personality of humanity” what she means is that the Spirit was “deprived” of the personality of humanity. Now “deprived” is a synonym but I’m afraid our friends haven’t really thought the matter through. In order to deprive someone you have to have something that they want or need. Does that definition really work with the holy Spirit? Did the holy Spirit (considered a separate, independent Person by our trinitarian brethren) want or need an human personality? And if so, Who deprived Him of one? Truthfully this effort to keep their doctrine in tact does not work. It creates more questions than it answers and it does not fit with Mrs. White’s consistent usage of the word “divest.” Even more so, why would sister White even even mention the holy Spirit as "divested" of the personality of humanity? Why use that verb? I think all can admit that it would be VERY awkward and misleading language if she meant something other than the standard meaning. Why even bring it up? What was she trying to communicate by it? We have seen that “deprived” really doesn’t work. I’m curious as to what other option our brethren will offer, if any.

Here is my answer. Sister White used that language because she believed that Christ Himself was the Spirit of the truth and she was trying to convey to her readers the thought that Christ Himself was going to be coming back to the earth but in “another” capacity, a spiritual one, via His actual Spirit with its restored omnipresent capability. And this answer makes perfect sense. The holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ Himself but divested of the personality of humanity. In other words while Jesus was down here on earth accomplishing His mission He was not exercising an omnipresent Spirit. He could not have a true human experience if He had done that but, after His work on earth was done, He took back up His Divine glory and started exercising this Divine capability again. Thus we read a statement like this one:

“Christ is withdrawn only from the eye of sense, but HE IS AS TRULY PRESENT BY HIS SPIRIT AS WHEN HE WAS VISIBLY PRESENT ON EARTH. {ST April 7, 1890, par. 6}

He (that is Christ Himself) is "as truly present by His Spirit as when He was visibly present." In fact, you can effectively argue that He is actually nearer to us now because His Spirit is within us. Thus He is internal! Both He and the Father are living in us!

Now the strong point here is that this answer does not require a new definition for the word ‘divested.’ What it means though is that Christ, upon His return to heaven, stripped His Spirit of the restriction of His human personality and He is now again omnipresent in Spirit. Thus there is a Man up in heaven, Who is truly human in His form but omnipresent in His Spirit. He is again exercising an attribute of Divinity by His Spirit. Is this conclusion supported by the SOP? We have already shown a quote above so let's look at another one.

“I will pray the Father, and he shall send you ANOTHER COMFORTER, that he may abide with you forever, 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 14:16, 17.] THIS REFERS TO THE OMNIPRESENCE OF THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST, CALLED THE COMFORTER.{Lt7-1891.14}

To put it simply, upon His return to heaven, the Son of God took back up His divine glory. He removed one aspect of restriction that He had while upon the earth. He has not split apart but the Spirit is proceeding forth from Him, flowing out from Him. The limitation that was upon His Spirit while He was physically here has been removed. He is now omnipresent again. That’s why He had to leave before the Comforter could come. He needed to take back up this ability so that He (that is Christ Himself) could be with His disciples no matter where they are upon the earth. This is very simple but it is not popular for those who want to maintain that the Spirit is “separate” from God and Christ.

Part 2: Answering the Questions

The first thing to be said here is that the holy Spirit is not just the Spirit of Jesus but It is also God the Father’s Spirit too. This is a point that is almost always overlooked by SDA pro-trinitarains and truthfully some of the blame for that rests with SDA anti/non-trinitarians who tend to overemphasize the direct equivalence seen in the SOP between Christ and the Spirit to the neglect of the same point between God and the Spirit. Nevertheless the actuality here appears to be that the holy Spirit, while a distinct personality, is simultaneously the Spirit of God and Spirit of Christ.

Thus it is definitely true that when Jesus was here on the earth He was “literally the person of the holy Spirit.” While that does not exhaust the identity of the Spirit it is still a true statement. The servant of the Lord makes this plain:

“CHRIST WAS THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH. The world would not listen to His pleadings. They would not accept Him as their guide. They could not discern unseen things; spiritual things were unknown to them. But His disciples see in Him the Way, the Truth, and the Life. And they shall have His abiding presence. {Ms44-1897.8}

"...it is the leaven of the SPIRIT OF JESUS CHRIST, which is sent down from heaven, CALLED THE HOLY GHOST, and that Spirit affects the heart and the character." -{1SAT 209.2}

"We want THE HOLY SPIRIT, WHICH IS JESUS CHRIST (Letter 66, April 10, 1894- par. 18)

"THE HOLY SPIRIT IS THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST,... (14 MR pg 84)

These are statements of direct equivalence. Now again that does not exhaust the identity of the holy Spirit but it certainly helps us to comprehend how the holy Spirit is Himself divested of the personality of humanity. And this reality actually helps us comprehend the fact that even while He was on earth Jesus could yet speak of Himself as “the Son of man in heaven.” Let’s read for ourselves:

“…Surrounded with sorrow, suffering, and moral pollution, despised and rejected by the people to whom had been intrusted the oracles of heaven, JESUS COULD YET SPEAK OF HIMSELF AS THE SON OF MAN IN HEAVEN. He was ready to take once more His divine glory when His work on earth was done. {ST May 10, 1899, par. 11}

Now Jesus knew what He was speaking about. He recognized of Himself, even while here on earth, that He was yet the Son of man in heaven! This is mind boggling! We may be tempted to ponder, as Nicodemus of old, how can these things be? How could Jesus speak of Himself as being somewhere that He was not physically? The only answer I can find is that the holy Spirit, the omnipresent Spirit, was truly His Spirit. He knew what belonged to Him as the only-begotten Son of God and He also know that He would take back up this Divine glory when His work on earth was done.

The amazing thing about the Man Christ Jesus is that He had two distinct individualities within Himself. While these two expressions “were, in Christ, closely and inseparably one” they each “had a distinct individuality.”

“But although Christ’s divine glory was for a time veiled and eclipsed by His assuming humanity, yet He did not cease to be God when He became man. The human did not take the place of the divine, nor the divine of the human. This is the mystery of godliness. The two expressions human and divine were, in Christ, closely and inseparably one, and yet they had a distinct individuality… {ST May 10, 1899, par. 11}

So what we have here is a man with two distinct individualities. One of them is God nature. In this individuality He has an omnipresent Spirit. The other is human nature. In this individuality He cannot be omnipresent for no human has an omnipresent spirit. Now we know how this worked for Him when He walked the earth being divested or emptied of His glory. He was not omnipresent in His Spirit. And this makes good sense too because in order to have and develop a true human personality, which was a prerequisite for us to have Him as our priest, Christ absolutely could not be omnipresent. However, now that He has returned to heaven having finished His work down here and taken back up again His Divine glory we cannot say this same thing. Unfortunately some speak as if His current reality has to be exactly the same as His earthly one but that is going against what is written. He is certainly still a human being with a glorified human form but He has taken back up His divine glory! He has it to the full again! I would suggest to you friends that He is now doing something incredible. He is still human, albeit a new resurrected one, but He is a glorified God-man, one who is actually sharing God’s full glory. Well let’s quote EGW because her word is inspired:

"It is THE SPIRIT that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. Christ is not here referring to his doctrine, BUT TO HIS PERSON, THE DIVINITY OF HIS CHARACTER. {RH April 5, 1906, par. 12}

"With his long human arm the Son of God encircled the whole human family, while with his divine arm he grasped the throne of the Infinite. His own individual presence was necessary, that in seeing him we might see the Father. He placed his throne, his spiritual kingdom, upon the earth. He revealed his special grace, and opened to our view the wonders of heavenly things. HE IMPARTED HIS OWN DIVINE SPIRIT TO HUMANITY, thus exalting humanity in the scale of moral worth with God. {YI July 29, 1897, par. 9}

“Some, at least, have no evidence that they have an abiding Christ, and that He has inspired them with wisdom in counsel through THE TRANSFUSION OF HIS OWN SELF IN THE HEART (Ms32-1897 (April 13, 1897) par. 11)

"Jesus is waiting TO BREATHE upon all his disciples, and give them the inspiration of HIS SANCTIFYING SPIRIT, and TRANSFUSE THE VITAL INFLUENCE FROM HIMSELF to his people... Jesus is seeking to impress upon them the thought that IN GIVING HIS HOLY SPIRIT HE IS GIVING TO THEM THE GLORY WHICH THE FATHER HAS GIVEN HIM, THAT HE AND HIS PEOPLE MAY BE ONE IN GOD {ST October 3, 1892, par. 4}

‘Here we have plainly revealed to us that if we preserve the meekness and lowliness of Christ, if we walk humbly by the side of the Burden-bearer, if we come in close contact with our Redeemer, in being thus yoked up with Him, HE WILL IMPART TO US HIS OWN INDIVIDUALITY. {Ms70-1896.33}

What gives life? The Spirit! Yet when Christ said this what was He referring to? His doctrine? No! Rather His Person, the Divinity of His character. And what has He imparted to us? Someone else? No! His own Divine Spirit! Have we received a different individual from Jesus? God forbid! He has imparted to us His own individuality. He has transfused His own self into our hearts. Now whatever else we might say I find it impossible to honestly say that the holy Spirit isn’t really Him, the Spirit of Jesus. Unfortunately many of my brethren, because they believe the Spirit is “separate,” do not really believe these quotes at all.

To the poor and oppressed and downtrodden of earth, Christ says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you ANOTHER COMFORTER, EVEN THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH, (WHICH IS CHRIST FORMED WITHIN the hope of glory,).” {Ms24-1898 (February 22, 1898) par. 21}

“I will pray the Father, and he shall send you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever, 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 14:16, 17.] THIS REFERS TO THE OMNIPRESENCE OF THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST, CALLED THE COMFORTER. …{Lt7-1891.14}

Now I apologize for the redundancy in parts 1 and 2 (I wrote them separately) but, in closing, let’s deal with the last questions.

With respect to 3 persons we do not mean 2 but 3. However the 3rd person has a mysterious nature, and It (or He) is quite possibly the mutually shared inner Person of the Father and Son. Whatever the case the preponderance of inspired evidence indicates to me that the holy Spirt is the Spirit of God and Spirit of Christ. That, by the way, could very well be what makes the Spirit Its (or His) own distinct personality. We cannot say for sure but others, like U. Smith, M.C. Wilcox and W.C. White, viewed it that way and they were not heretics.

And you ask how do you get “represent” and “representative” to not mean someone impersonating another but someone being literally his own self as his own emissary. First up this is not Jesus in His physical person but His Spirit. If you could send your own spirit out somewhere where you are not physically to be as your eyes, ears and voice that, by itself, would be you representing yourself to someone else. Secondly, the reality here, as we’ve pointed out before is that the holy Spirit is not just the Spirit of Christ. It is also the Spirit of God. The mutually shared Spirit of Two Persons is being dealt with here. Thus It is not just One or the Other but Both. That point, even by itself, always necessitates a representative factor, especially if what humanity needs is the Spirit of One who has gone through all what we go through. Christ would then be taking the representative lead, if you will. I hope this helps beloved and as always I am yours in the love of Christ -Brother Jason

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