Tag Archives: The Godhead

The Nature of God: The Spirit as Fire

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is portrayed as fire in several places in Scripture.  The pillar of fire that went with the Israelites and covered the tabernacle likely was not merely a sign of God’s Presence, but an actual manifestation of the Holy Spirit.  Exodus 13:21 tells us, “The LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them in the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light.”  How well appearing as fire to give light fits with the Holy Spirit’s role of guiding our steps and revealing the hidden things of God to us!

We also see that He is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29).  As that consuming fire, He searches our hearts and cleanses out of us that which is impure.  And He is portrayed in Revelation 4:5 as the seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.”

Fire represents to us energy and power. Shortly before ascending into heaven, Jesus “commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but should wait for the promise of the Father, ‘Which,’ said he, ‘You have heard about from me. For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now'” (Acts 1:4, 5).  Why were they not to go out and testify of Jesus immediately?  They had not yet been filled with the Holy Spirit, of Whom Jesus said,  “You shall receive power, after the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8).  That power was given to them on the Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit manifested Himself as cloven tongues of fire resting on each of the disciples (Acts 2:3).

John the Baptist baptized with water unto repentance, but he foretold that Jesus would baptize believers with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Matthew 3:11).  When we receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit, as the first disciples did at Pentecost, we have the fire of His Presence burning within us, helping us effectively advance the Kingdom of Jesus in the earth, as we follow His leading.

The Nature of God Index  
Previous: The Spirit as Breath
Next: The Spirit as Teacher 

Excerpted from Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God — available in print from Full Gospel Family Publications and Amazon and in e-book form from many fine ebook sellers.

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The Nature of God: The Spirit as Breath

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit, third Person of the Godhead (Trinity) is often, in the Church, the least talked about of the three.  And yet, it is by the Spirit that the thoughts of the Father, spoken into existence by the Son, are carried out.  The Spirit is the One Who dwells within the believer, and via the Spirit the Father and the Son come to abide in us as well (John 14:23).  The Holy Spirit is not an impersonal force — not an “it” — but a Person, with emotions and desires in oneness with the other two Persons of the Godhead.

In Hebrew, the word we translate as “Spirit” is ruach, and in Greek, pneuma — the breath, the wind.

We see Him at the very beginning of the Creation: And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved [fluttered, as a breeze] upon the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2).  We see the Spirit as the One Who moves (like wind) to bring forth the thought of the Father, which has been spoken by the Son.

As the Breath of God, it was the Spirit, Who, when man had been formed from the dust of the earth, “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life: and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7).  He breathed into man of His own substance a spirit which carried the imprint of God’s nature and Spirit — the “let us make man in our image, after our likeness” of Genesis 1:26.

 As the Wind of God, He came to the 120 disciples in the upper room on the Day of Pentecost, filled the house with His manifest Presence, and also filled each believer there individually with His Presence.  “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. … And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit …”  (Acts 2:2, 4).  And so it should be in our corporate worship gatherings today as well — each of us personally full of the Spirit, and His tangible Presence also filling the atmosphere of the place where we are gathered.

 In coming posts, we will take a look at various functions of the Holy Spirit.  We will see what happens when the Breath of heaven blows upon the Church.  If the Church is to be the powerful agent to advance God’s Kingdom in the earth that we are meant to be, we must eagerly embrace the work of the Holy Spirit among us.

The Nature of God Index   
Previous: King of Kings
Next: The Fire 

Excerpted from Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God — available in print from Full Gospel Family Publications and Amazon and in e-book form from many fine ebook sellers.

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The Nature of God: The King of Kings

The Son

We see that the three Persons of the Godhead love and honor one another: Jesus honored the Holy Spirit by warning that blaspheming Him would not be forgiven (Matthew 12:31, 32), both the Father and the Holy Spirit honored Jesus by showing up at His baptism (Matthew 3:16, 17), and Jesus continuously glorified His Father by doing and speaking only what His Father instructed (John 8:28, 29).

As it was Jesus’ greatest pleasure to glorify His Father while here on earth, even so, it is the Father’s greatest pleasure to glorify His Son.  Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father (Hebrews 1:3)– the highest place of honor that is possible in heaven.  Hundreds of years before the incarnation (the point in time when Jesus became man), King David prophesied of Him, “The LORD said to my Lord [Jesus], ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool'” (Psalm 110:1).

He is seated there as both fully God and fully man.  He has a glorified human body, which still bears the nail and spear scars, the marks of His crucifixion (John 20:24-27) — a forever testimony to His selfless love for mankind.  A new thing took place when God the Son walked the earth in human flesh, and now a new thing has also taken place in heaven, where the Son of man retains His humanity while at the same time exercising His full function within the Godhead, which is to rule and reign over the universe.  He is the “firstborn among many sons” (Romans 8:29), for He has paved the way so that we will one day also walk heaven’s halls in glorified bodies.

In heaven, God the Son has been honored with all reverence from eternity, but in ways which we cannot fully understand, He now receives still greater honor and glory than the limitless glory which was already His. Philippians 2:8 tells us that this greater glory is due to His humbling of Himself in becoming a man and His obedience to the Father in enduring the cross, “Wherefore God [the Father] also has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).

Jesus bears the formal title of KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS (Revelation 19:16), He holds all power in both heaven and earth (Matthew 28:18), and at this time He is preparing for the day when all things will be put in subjection to Him, and even His enemies will acknowledge His Lordship with complete obeisance.

In 1 Corinthians 15:24-28, we are told that in the end of time, a shift in absolute Lordship from the Son to the Father will take place.  Christ will hand over the Kingdom to His Father, after He has subdued and abolished all opposing dominions and powers.  Before the Kingdom is transferred, He must finish the task of utterly conquering his enemies, including death, the final enemy. In essence, this was already a finished work at the time of His triumph at the cross and His subsequent resurrection. He already holds the keys of death and hell (Revelation 1:18). But here we are talking about the mop-up operation — enforcing His victory by ensuring that all rebellion will cease.  “And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject to him [the Father] who put all things under him, that God may be all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28).

What will Jesus be doing after He has handed over the Kingdom to His Father? We may have a hint, in Revelation 21.  This is the era of the Bridegroom fully enjoying His union with His bride, the Church.  Verse 4 tells us He will wipe away all her tears.  Verse 3 says that “the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, … and God himself shall be with them ….”  We will fully know Him as Immanuel, “God with us.”

The Nature of God Index    
Previous: The Restorer
Next: The Breath 

Excerpted from Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God — available in print from Full Gospel Family Publications and Amazon and in e-book form from many fine ebook sellers.

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The Nature of God: The Restorer

The Son

Jesus the Son is the Restorer of all things.  We talked in an earlier post about Him being the “last Adam,” a man without the sin nature, Who, unlike the first Adam, retained His purity throughout life, never once doing anything that displeased His heavenly Father.  By His victorious life, atoning death on the cross, and triumph over the grave, He restored back to man dominion over the terrestrial realm, which the first Adam had abdicated through his rebellion against God.

How do we know He has restored man’s original position?  That is a lengthy topic in itself, but the short answer is this: Jesus said to his disciples after His resurrection, “All authority is given to me in heaven and in earth.  Go, therefore …” (Matthew 28:18, 19).  Before the cross, He had promised, “I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19).  He did not give them this wholesale “whatsoever” authority to bind and release then.  He said, “I will give you ….”  But once he held all authority because of His triumph over sin, death, and hell, he delegated to us his authority in the earth realm.  The last Adam restored what had been abdicated by the first Adam.

While on earth, Jesus demonstrated His role as Restorer through healing, delivering people from demons, raising the dead, and bringing people out of sin and into transformed lives.  He has commissioned us to join with Him in His restorative work: “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely you have received, now freely give” (Matthew 10:8) and, “He who believes on me, the works that I do he shall do as well; and greater works than these shall he do, because I go to be with my Father” (John 14:12).

The Son’s role as Restorer is a progressive work.  Although at the cross, He declared the full victory, “It is finished” (John 19:30), we do not yet see the restoration in its completeness. Hebrews 2:8 tells us God the Father “has put all things in subjection under his feet. For in putting all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.”  Paul also mentions in 1 Corinthians 15:24-27 the progressive nature of the restoration: “Then shall the end come … when he shall have put down all rule, and all authority and power. For he must reign, until he has put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he has put all things under his feet….” 

The full restoration will be revealed when Jesus returns to earth as the conquering King.  Peter mentioned a coming day “when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.  And he shall send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:19-21).

We eagerly anticipate that day, and say with the Apostle John,  “Even so, come Lord Jesus.”

The Nature of God Index
Previous: Jesus the Intercessor
Next: King of Kings 

Excerpted from Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God — available in print from Full Gospel Family Publications and Amazon and in e-book form from many fine ebook sellers.

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The Nature of God: Jesus the Intercessor

The Son

While on earth, Jesus was involved in intercessory prayer.  He told Peter, “Satan has desired to have you, so that he may sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you, that your faith will not fail” (Luke 22:31).  John 17 records Jesus’ prayer, right before His suffering and death, for his disciples and all the believers who would ever come after.  Jesus taught his followers at length about intercession from the position of being an intercessor Himself.  Even in His death, Jesus cried, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

That was then, this is now: Jesus, in His present state of glory, continues in His role of intercessor: “He is able also to save them to the uttermost who come to God by him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them (Hebrews 7:25).  Jesus the Son is in heaven today as our Advocate, actively petitioning the Father on our behalf.

Romans 8:34 mentions His position as well: “… It is Christ who died, or rather, who is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.”  Hidden in those words, “It is Christ who died … who is risen … who makes intercession” is a significant concept, if we will pay attention.  Picture Jesus, seated in the highest place, a place of the greatest intimacy, right next to His Father.  He still bears the crucifixion scars in His hands and feet, as a forever-reminder of the redemption He has purchased for us.  Not only do Jesus’ words intercede for us, but His scars and His blood forever intercede for us. 

Jesus sees our needs, weaknesses, discouragements, temptations, and heartfelt desires, and He pleads on our behalf.  All that He asks for us is already completely in line with what God the Father is eager to do, and yet it is not accomplished until He requests it on our behalf.  Intercession is a mystery.  It would seem that nothing is enacted without it.

We have been given the awesome privilege of participating with Jesus in His perpetual role of intercessor.  When we intercede on behalf of another person, a city, a region, or a cause, we are partnering with Him in what He is already doing.  Assuming that we are praying biblically, according to God’s will, we are adding our agreeing “amen” to what Jesus is already asking the Father for — which is also what Father desires to give.

 Corporate gatherings for prayer are important to Jesus — so important that He desires to participate in them.  This is why He said in Matthew 18:19, 20, “Again I say to you, if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them by my Father who is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”  (Many is the time in our own prayer gatherings when one of us has, in a vision, seen Jesus enter the room.)  If Jesus thinks gathering together with others for prayer is important, we should likewise make it a priority in our lives.

The Nature of God Index
Previous: Jesus the Healer   
Next: The Restorer 

Excerpted from Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God — available in print from Full Gospel Family Publications and Amazon and in e-book form from many fine ebook sellers.

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The Nature of God: Jesus the Healer

 The Son

God has always been a healer.  It is His heart to heal.  In Exodus 15:26, He revealed one of His names to Israel: Jehovah-Raphah:  I am the LORD who heals you.  David speaks of him in Psalm 103:3 as  the God “who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases.”  

Jesus, in His life on earth as the God-man, fully demonstrated God as Healer.  We are told that “Jesus went about … healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people” (Matthew 4:23).  Matthew 12:15 informs us that “great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all.”

But He went further, in providing for people in the ages to come to be healed through His atonement at the cross and in His scourging before the cross.  Isaiah 53:5 prophesies, ” But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”  He gave all of His followers who would come after Him the authority to heal in His Name: “And these signs shall follow them who believe: In my name they shall cast out devils; … they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover”  (Mark 16:17, 18).

There are misguided people who teach that God no longer heals today.  However, the Bible reveals God as Healer by His very nature, and when something is His nature, it does not cease to be manifested, but continues onward.  Psalm 103:3 and Isaiah 53:5 both link together God’s forgiveness of our sins and His healing of our bodies — “who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases”  and “wounded for our transgressions … with his stripes we are healed.”  If we reason that He no longer heals, logically we would have to reason that He no longer forgives either.  Thank God that He still does both, and He does them to the fullest.

The Nature of God Index   
Previous: The Son as Creator
Next: Jesus the Intercessor  

Excerpted from Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God — available in print from Full Gospel Family Publications and Amazon and in e-book form from many fine ebook sellers.

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The Nature of God: The Son as Creator

The Son

The Apostles’ Creed declares, “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.”  In actuality, all three Persons of the Godhead were active in the creation.  God the Father is the originator of all things.  His thought, His heart-desire, His will becomes reality.  However, we see from several places in Scripture that God the Son is the One Who carried out the creating that originated in God the Father’s heart.  The Son, Who is The Word, spoke creation into being: “Let there be light … Let there be a firmament … Let the waters bring forth …” (Genesis 1) — and He did it by the power of the Holy Spirit.

How do we know it was the Son Who put creation into action?   John 1:3 says of The Word, “All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.”  Hebrews 1:2 says, “[God] has in these last days spoken to us by his Son … by whom he also made the worlds.”  And Colossians 1:16 declares, “For by him [the Son] were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible…. All things were created by him and for him.” 

Not only was it the Son who created through speaking the word, but the creation is continuously held together by Him.  The King James Version translates Colossians 1:17, And he is before all things, and by him all things consist,” but the majority of translations phrase that last part, “by him all things are held together.”  Hebrews 1:3 says He is “upholding all things by the word of his power.”

 Jesus is at the helm of the universe, steering it and holding it all together on a moment-by-moment basis, so that it does not collapse into utter chaos.  If He is doing all that, He can certainly be trusted to keep our lives safe from destruction as well.

The Nature of God Index
Previous: Jesus, the Word
Next: Jesus, the Healer 

Excerpted from Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God — available in print from Full Gospel Family Publications and Amazon and in e-book form from many fine ebook sellers.

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