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. 4 Straight and Narrow April 1998
More on the Holy Spirit
(The front page article from the January issue of Old Paths entitled, The Holy Spirit of God, generated a great deal of response. Some letters we received were published in the February issue. While most responses were very positive and appreciative, some expressed concerns in different areas. We believe that these concerns were given in an honest manner with a desire for the truth to triumph. Two main areas of concern stood out: One was the understanding expressed about the mind of Christ. The other was a concern that counsel from Acts of the Apostles, page 52 had not been properly considered. It is to help clarify these issues that this study has been prepared. If you have not first read the January study, please do so and then continue with this article. Editor)
The Mind of Christ
This study will begin with a proper definition of just what is a mind. (Please note that the first study did not state that the Spirit of Jesus is the brain of Jesus. There is a vast difference between the brain of an individual and the mind of an individual.) The word mind is defined as: The principle of intelligence; the spirit of consciousness regarded as an aspect of reality. The faculty of thinking, reasoning, and applying knowledge. The thought processes characteristic of a person. (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition, emphasis supplied.) Also, let us look at the definition of mind-set, which applies here: A fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a persons responses to and interpretations of situations. (Ibid.)
As we can plainly see, the mind is the thought processes of an individual. God wants us to have the same thought processes or fixed mental attitude that Christ had while He was on this earth. God fills us with His Spirit, and in so doing He puts in us the same type of thought processes and fixed mental attitude that was in Jesus so that we can walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.
Let us contrast the definition of mind with the definition of brain. Brain is defined as: The portion of the vertebrate central nervous system that is enclosed within the cranium, continuous with the spinal cord, and composed of gray matter and white matter. It is the primary center for the regulation and control of bodily activities, receiving and interpreting sensory impulses, and transmitting information to the muscles and body organs. It is also the seat of consciousness, thought, memory, and emotion. (Ibid.)
The brain is the tangible part of the body that acts as the seat of consciousness, thought, memory, and emotion. It is not the consciousness, thought, memory, and emotion, but the seat, or place where these things occur. The mind is the thought processes of an individual which take place in the brain, but is not the brain itself. The thought processes of an individual can be communicated to other so that they can have the same types of thought processes. For example, a novice at plumbing may not have the thought processes necessary to complete difficult plumbing tasks. If he is an apprentice for a long period, an expert or master plumber can train him to complete difficult plumbing tasks. The expert has communicated his thought processes concerning plumbing to the novice. This in no way removed the experienced thought processes from the expert. The novice merely learned to have the same thought processes that the expert has.
According to the Bible, we have the mind of Christ. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16) This does not mean that Christ does not have the mind of Christ, but that we have the same thought processes that Christ has. Notice that the word we is used; signifying that many people have the mind of Christ. This in no way means that if one individual has part of the mind of Christ that he alone can have it because there is only one portion of it. Everyone can have the same mind of Christ, which in no way diminishes from Christs mind. I am sure you can understand my point in this area.
The words spirit and mind are used interchangeably in the Bible in several places. Here are a few examples: 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) A fool uttereth all his mind [ruwach]: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards. (Proverbs 29:11) The Bible uses the words spirit and mind interchangeably to express the same concept.
Isaiah 40:13 states: Who hath directed the Spirit [ruwach] of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him? The Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament Hebrew), says: Who has known the mind of the Lord? And who has been his counsellor, to instruct him?
Paul, writing in 1 Corinthians 2:16, quotes from Isaiah: For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. Paul considered the spirit (ruwach) of the Lord to be the same as the mind of the Lord. He goes on to say that we have the mind of Christ. Paul understood that the concepts of mind and spirit can be used interchangeably.
Further, in Mark 2:8 it says that Jesus perceived in His 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? According to the Bible, the spirit of Jesus is where He perceived or understood things.
Christians are instructed, Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:5) If we truly have the mind of Christ, then we have the Spirit of Christ. In 1 Corinthians, chapter 2, the spirit of a man is compared with the Spirit of God. Since the spirit of a man is his mind or thinking, and the Spirit of God is compared with it, then would it not be appropriate to understand that the Spirit of God is the mind or thinking of God? He imparts His Spirit to us through His word. It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. (John 6:63)
If I want to share with you what is going on in my spirit, or mind, I must frame my thoughts into wordsthen you can understand. To whom hast thou uttered words? and whose spirit came from thee? (Job 26:4) When we utter words a spirit comes from us. When the Lord utters words His Spirit comes from Him. The Lord has spoken many words and they are written in the Bible for us to examine. When we take the time to study His word, we are taking in the thoughts of God and receiving His Spirit.
His Spirit not only works through the written words, but His Spirit dwells in us and we are prompted by His Spirit to turn from sin.
If the spirit of an individual is the way that he thinks, or the mind of that individual, is it possible for that individual to share that with others? Certainly! You have heard the phrase, I am going to give him a piece of my mind. This is exactly what you do when you talk or communicate with someone. This does not mean that you have lost part of your mind, but that you have shared a portion with someone else.
Acts of the Apostles, page 52
A statement from the writings of Ellen White is at times used to try to negate discussion on this issue. However, in its proper light it greatly enlightens the situation. That statement is found in Acts of the Apostles, page 52: The nature of the Holy Spirit is a mystery. Men cannot explain it, because the Lord has not revealed it to them. Men having fanciful views may bring together passages of Scripture and put a human construction on them, but the acceptance of these views will not strengthen the church. Regarding such mysteries, which are too deep for human understanding, silence is golden. (The Acts of the Apostles, p. 52)
It is helpful to read what Ellen White was referring to when she wrote the above remarks. This statement was taken from a letter that she had written to a man named Brother Chapman. Part of her letter quotes from Brother Chapman and shows what he believed.
I have received yours dated June 3. In this letter you speak in these words: Elder Robinson does not wish me to leave, but urges that I enter the canvassing field until such time as the conference can afford to employ me in some other capacity, but states positively that I cannot be sent out to present the truth to others until some points held by me are changed or modified in order that the views regarded by us as a people should be properly set forth. He quotes as a sample, My idea in reference to the Holy Ghosts not being the Spirit of God, which is Christ, but the angel Gabriel, and my belief that the 144,000 will be Jews who will acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah. On all fundamental points I am in perfect harmony with our people; but when I try to show what seems to me to be new light on the truth, those in authority, none of whom have seemingly ever made a personal investigation of the matter, refuse to look into the Bible, but brand me as a fellow with queer ideas of the Bible. (Written to Brother Chapman from Petoskey, Michigan, June 11, 1891, Manuscript Releases, vol. 14, p. 175, emphasis supplied.)
Brother Chapman was not in unity with his brethren concerning the Holy Spirit. Brother Chapman made it clear that the brethren believed that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, which is Christ, and that he did not agree with this but rather believed that the Holy Spirit is a third and separate being, namely, Gabriel. Mrs. White did not hesitate to write this man concerning this issue. She strongly urged him to come into harmony with the brethren in this regard. The following is where the quote in Acts of the Apostles, page 52 was taken from:
Your ideas of the two subjects you mention do not harmonize with the light which God has given me. The nature of the Holy Spirit is a mystery not clearly revealed, and you will never be able to explain it to others because the Lord has not revealed it to you. You may gather together scriptures and put your construction upon them, but the application is not correct. The expositions by which you sustain your position are not sound. You may lead some to accept your explanations, but you do them no good, nor are they, through accepting your views, enabled to do others good.
It is not essential for you to know and be able to define just what the Holy Spirit is. Christ tells us that the Holy Spirit is the Comforter, and the Comforter is the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of truth, which the Father shall send in My name. 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 14:16, 17]. This refers to the omnipresence of the Spirit of Christ, called the Comforter. Again Jesus says, I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth [John 16:12, 13]. (Ibid., page 179, emphasis supplied.)
Please notice that Ellen White said very clearly that the Holy Spirit is the omnipresence of the Spirit of Christ. The idea that Ellen White was combating in this letter was the idea that the Holy Spirit was a separate being other than the Father and His Son.
The following are some quotes where Ellen White describes the Holy Spirit:
The sanctification of the soul by the working of the Holy Spirit is the implanting of Christs nature in humanity. (Gods Amazing Grace, p 244; original source: Manuscript 34, 1894.)
The reason why the churches are weak and sickly and ready to die, is that the enemy has brought influences of a discouraging nature to bear upon trembling souls. He has sought to shut Jesus from their view as the Comforter, as one who reproves, who warns, who admonishes them, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it. Christ has all power in heaven and in earth, and he can strengthen the wavering, and set right the erring. He can inspire with confidence, with hope in God; and confidence in God always results in creating confidence in one another. (Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, August 26, 1890, emphasis supplied.)
There is no comforter like Christ, so tender and so true. He is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. His Spirit speaks to the heart. The influence of the Holy Spirit is the life of Christ in the soul. This Spirit works in and through every one who receives Christ. Those who know the indwelling of this Spirit reveal its fruit,love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith. (Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, October 26, 1897, emphasis supplied.)
Christ declared that after his ascension, he would send to his church, as his crowning gift, the Comforter, who was to take his place. This Comforter is the Holy Spirit,the soul of his life, the efficacy of his church, the light and life of the world. With his Spirit Christ sends a reconciling influence and a power that takes away sin. (Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, May 19, 1904, emphasis supplied.)
Ellen White wrote many things concerning the Holy Spirit, although she said that we do not need to define just what the Holy Spirit is. She said it is the omnipresence of Christ, the soul of His life, the life of Christ in the soul, and that Christ is the Comforter, or Holy Spirit. She was perfectly comfortable using such terms regarding the Holy Spirit. Please notice what she says as she continues the letter to Brother Chapman:
I hope that you will seek to be in harmony with the body. I have been shown that you would not exert a saving influence in teaching the truth, because your mind is restless, and unless you drank deeper of the Fountain of life, you would make the mistake that many others have made, of thinking that you have new light, when it is only a new phase of error. You need to come into harmony with your brethren. (Manuscript Releases, vol.14, p. 180, emphasis supplied.)
In 1891 Ellen White strongly encouraged Brother Chapman to come into harmony with the brethren. What did the brethren believe about the Holy Spirit at the time this letter was written?
But respecting this the Bible uses expressions which cannot be harmonized with the idea that it [the Holy Spirit] is a person like the Father and the Son. Rather it is shown to be a divine influence from them both, the medium which represents their presence and by which they have knowledge and power through all the universe, when not personally present. (Uriah Smith, Review & Herald, October 28, 1890)
If ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law, because as many as are led of the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. As sons of God, these have the mind of the Spirit, the mind of Christ, and so with the mind they serve the law of God. Accordingly, whosoever is led of the Spirit of God and thus has the mind of Christ fulfills the law, because by that Spirit there is shed abroad in the heart the love of God, which in itself is the fulfilling of the law, in whomsoever has it. (A. T. Jones, Galatians 5:16-18 Tract, September 18, 1900, emphasis supplied.)
If we desire to have the mind of Christ let us open the heart and let Christ in; the same Spirit that was in Christ will then be in us and we will stand thus. (R. C. Porter, General Conference Daily Bulletin, 1893, p. 87)
It is clear from the above statements that the brethren whom Ellen White encouraged Brother Chapman to come into harmony taught that the Holy Spirit brings us the mind of Christ. What did Ellen White herself say concerning this issue? Please note the following statements carefully:
When for Christs sake we are called to pass through trials that are of a humiliating nature, if we have the mind of Christ, we shall suffer them with meekness, not resenting injury, or resisting evil. We shall manifest the spirit that dwelt in Christ. (Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, May 24, 1892, emphasis supplied.)
In the lives of those who are partakers of the divine nature there is a crucifixion of the haughty, self-sufficient spirit that leads to self-exaltation. In its place the Spirit of Christ abides, and in the life the fruits of the Spirit appear. Having the mind of Christ, His followers reveal the graces of His character. (This Day with God, page 118, emphasis supplied)
Work with the Spirit of Christ, with the mind of Christ to correct existing evils. (Special Testimonies to Ministers and Workers, No. 3, p. 7, April 23, 1894)
If he had the Spirit of Christ, he would reveal the mind of Christ. (Selected Messages book 2, p. 213)
This is a privilege that the world can not receive or understand; for they have not the Spirit of truth, whom, Christ declared, the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him. But to his disciples he says, Ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. You have the mind of Christ. (Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, September 24, 1908)
We must work with one Spirit, even with the mind of Christ; and if we do this, new life will come into the church. (Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, November 29, 1898)
It is crystal clear that Ellen White and the early Adventists believed that if we have the Spirit of Christ we have the mind of Christ. Her statement from Acts of the Apostles was not meant to stifle study about the Holy Spirit. Her effort was to encourage a misguided brother to come into line with the clear scriptural teaching of the church.
This road I travel is
narrow and straight
For on this road I know my fate.
For time is getting late
And I must travel to the heavenly gate.
Upon this road I
No other way would I negotiate.
There is no time to wait
For I have much to contemplate.
This sin I bear is of
For this is mans character trait.
Its a fact you cant negate
But you must give it to the one whos great.
Who bore our sins and
the whole worlds hate
Upon a cross on a long ago date.
Satans plan was to exterminate
But Jesus sacrifice was to placate.
For all who would
come to their advocate
Humbly before Him, prostrate.
Confessing your sins that would accumulate
That the life Hell give you will perpetuate.
In my soul I feel so
And your sacrifice has been completely appropriate.
Without you Im just a degenerate
But your love has been the ultimate.
Though my heart may
And its been difficult to relate.
Never seeming to appreciate
My Saviour Jesus, incarnate.
Youve made my
life, youve cleaned the slate
Giving your life to imitate.
And all you ask that I eliminate
Is the sin that will incriminate.
And though the sin
has made me a reprobate
And caused me to alienate.
Your life youve paid to compensate
And precious blood to reinstate.
And though my heart
would rather violate
I know that you will arbitrate.
My case before the most Venerate,
So sin no more would dominate.
To you my King, I
No more my heart to deviate.
No more my soul to denigrate
Oh sing and praise the Blessed and only Potentate!
Thomas Jefferson on
Almighty God hath created the mind free. All attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burdens are a departure from the plan of the holy Author of our religion. No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship or ministry or shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but all men shall feel free to profess and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion. I know but one code of morality for men whether acting singly or collectively. (Quote from Thomas Jefferson, engraved on the inside wall of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.)
Unlimited By Space
A certain young man married a Christian girl who expected to be able to influence him later into becoming a Christian, too. But instead the opposite occurred. He had encouraged his beautiful and talented wife to study acting. It was not long after their marriage when she started to get bit parts, in plays and in small musicals.
When the war came, he found himself drafted into a medical field team. After an exhausting, long series of casualty work which meant no sleep for several days, he felt a sharp pain in his chest. The pain increased and he was rushed into their portable surgical unit.
Its definitely a severe heart attack, the examining surgeon told him, Im afraid that theres nothing we can do.
I was transferred to the area which we had nicknamed the death ward the wounded soldier related later. It was a long rectangular building with beds on both sides that housed those near to death. It was terrible to be rolled into that cold, dark, and solitary room.
My heart had been declared to have actually burst. And lying in that place of sure death, I thought back on all the things I had heard from my wife about Christ changing hearts and of my childhood church meetings. All these began to play on my mind. My heart became not only broken from the: physical injury, but in repentance towards God.
I did not pray for healing of my body. That seemed too much to ask for someone who had not only rejected Christianity but who had influenced a Christian to turn her back on the Lord and enter into a life everything but Christian.
I prayed for forgiveness. I did not want to slip into eternity unforgiven. And as I prayed for my own spirituality, I found myself reaching out a conscience smitten plea for my wife. I asked for her to find her way back to the Lord. I asked God to protect her life so that she would come back to Him before she was in such a situation as that of the one I was in.
I fell asleep praying. When I awoke later it was bright in the room, not from an angelic visitation, but from the rays of the morning sun. I had lived through the night!
The doctor was genuinely taken back that I was still to be counted among the living when he made his early morning rounds of the death ward.
I lived through the second night, then the third, and the fourth. On the fifth day, I was given another examination. My heart beat was increasing and my blood pressure was higher.
Could it be? I asked myself with very little belief in the slight possibility of recovery, Could it be that I have been healed by God? It seemed impossible .
Each day I grew stronger and stronger. Within two weeks I was pronounced cured. Even though I seemed completely recovered, I was discharged from military duty.
I wrote my wife of what the Lord had done for me before leaving the service. I also told her that I was going to be baptized into Christ. I told her of my mistake in urging her into her new career. I pleaded with her to return to her Lord and for us to have a true Christian family. I got no replies before being discharged.
For eight years, this wife had been on the stage. Despite all the new friends she had acquired, she had not been able to fully forget the old church associations. When pressed into drinking or smoking, she somehow could not go along with the crowd. Even when she was the butt of many jokes, and even when she was jeered at for not taking part in the common practices, the embedded virtues still clung. She just could not take part in many of the activities of after play parties. She tells of it all:
Although I had turned my back on the Lord in many respects, there was always the haunting knowledge that I was doing wrong. I am so thankful that there was always something that kept me from going too deep into sin.
When the news came of my husbands miraculous recovery, I knew that it was of the Lord. Then, adding to all that was the account of his conversion, the weight of my own sins and transgressions became unbearably heavy. I went to the Lord and asked for His forgiveness. With a sense of complete restoration.- to my God, I burned all my stage clothes, threw away all my secular music and scripts. and sat down to figure out what my tithe would be of the money I had in the bank.
When husband and wife were united again, they were thrilled to learn that she had been re-baptized just about the same time he had followed his Lord into the watery grave of conversion. They both thanked their Saviour that He was not limited by space. qqq
(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
The LORD Our Righteousness
1. What is the garment of salvation God offers? Isaiah 61:10
2. In the vision of
Zechariah, how was Joshua
the high priest clothed? Zechariah 3:1-3
3. What do the filthy garments represent? Isaiah 64:6
4. What did Joshua receive? Zechariah 3:4, 5 (See note 1.)
5. What offer does God make to us? Isaiah 1:18
6. What kind of heart does God desire us to have? Deuteronomy 5:29
7. How are we justified? Romans 5:1
8. Upon whom is the righteousness of God put? Romans 3:22; John 3:16
9. What does this exercise of faith make a person? Galatians 3:26
10. When a person is justified by Gods grace, what does he become at that time? Titus 3:3-7; Romans 8:16, 17
11. Besides giving His Son to die for us (John 3:16), how else has God shown His love to us? 1 John 3:1 (See note 2.)
12. According to Peter, why does God bless us? Acts 3:26
13. In the ages to come, whose grace will God show forth to those in heavenly places? Ephesians 2:4-7
14. How is a sinner saved? Ephesians 2:8-10
1. The taking away of the filthy garments is the same as causing the iniquity to pass from the person. And so we find that, when Christ covers us with the robe of His own righteousness, He does not furnish a cloak for sin, but takes the sin away. And this shows that the forgiveness of sins is something more than a mere form, something more than a mere entry in the books of record in heaven, to the effect that the sin has been canceled. The forgiveness of sins is a reality; it is something tangible, something that vitally affects the individual. It actually clears him from guilt; and if he is cleared from guilt, is justified, made righteous, he has certainly undergone a radical change: he is, indeed, another person. (Christ Our Righteousness, p. 69)
2. God does not adopt us as His children because we are good, but in order that He may make us good. (Ibid., p. 72) God receives us just as we are. It is not for our goodness that He loves us, but because of our need. qqq
Books: Our supply of The Foundation of Our
Faith is currently exhausted. We do not have any more to send out. We are planning on
printing a second edition which we soon hope to announce as ready or near ready. We will
be keeping you up to date. Other books that are currently being updated for reprint are, Did
They Believe In The Trinity? and Holland 1995. We are also planning to print
some new books that will be a rich blessing for both personal reading and witnessing.
Update: By the time this issue of Old Paths
arrives, Lord willing, the press for Jamaica will be a reality. God has opened a way to
ship the press from Miami, FL to Kingston, Jamaica. We currently are planning on shipping
the press, platemaker, and necessary items for printing on March 27. Please keep this in
Publication Update: The Present Truth (an evangelistic
outreach periodical) is currently growing in circulation and reaching into hundreds of
homes. Please keep this publication on your prayer list.
E-mail Address Update: Brother Lynnford Beachys e-mail address has changed. His new address is: email@example.com. Please make note of this change.
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.
Editor: Allen Stump - E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Associate Editor: Lynnford Beachy - E-mail email@example.com
This page was last updated: Monday, September 19, 2011