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The Personality of the Holy Spirit

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1 Peter 3:15

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:”

1 Corinthians 14:32-33

“And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.”

Testimonies Vol. 5, p. 696, par. 1

“And now to all who have a desire for truth I would say: Do not give credence to unauthenticated reports as to what Sister White has done or said or written. If you desire to know what the Lord has revealed through her, read her published works.”

    1. Answers must be in the language of both Scripture & the SoP
    2. Inspiration must interpret itself
    3. Conclusions must be in harmony with inspiration
  • Expressions found in both letters and Manuscripts will be interpreted according to the author’s direction, i.e., we will let “her published works” (her official statements) speak as to the meaning of any disputed terminology she may use
  • Unique expressions not sufficiently clarified by context will be understood as above stated

General Conference Daily Bulletin, Jan. 29, 1893, p. 24.5

“We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and his teaching in our past history.”

Mark 12:24

“And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?”

1 Corinthians 1:24

“But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”

2 Peter 3:1

“This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:  . . . For this they willingly are ignorant of, . . .”

Manuscript 20,  Dec. 28, 1891, par. 36 {Diary Entry}

“Christ, the great Teacher, had an infinite variety of subjects from which to choose, but the one upon which He dwelt most largely was the endowment of the Holy Spirit . . .” {quoted also in

1SM 156.3 & LHU 191.2}

Review and Herald, June 10, 1902, par. 3

“Christ had an infinite variety of subjects from which to choose in his teaching, but the one upon which he dwelt most largely was the endowment of his Holy Spirit . . .”

Desire of Ages, p. 827, par. 3

“Christ gives them the breath of His own spirit, the life of His own life. The Holy Spirit puts forth its highest energies to work in heart and mind.”

Testimonies Vol. 7, p. 273.1

“As the divine endowment — the power of the Holy Spirit — was given to the disciples, so it will today be given to all who seek aright. This power alone is able to make us wise unto salvation and to fit us for the courts above. . . . In giving us His Spirit, God gives us Himself, making Himself a fountain of divine influences, to give health and life to the world.”

Testimonies Vol. 4, p. 320, par. 4

“The endowment of the Holy Spirit is indispensably essential to success in your great work. Said Christ: ‘Without me ye can do nothing.’ But through Christ strengthening you, you can do all things.”

Letter 8, Feb. 6, 1896, par. 2

“Evil had been accumulating for centuries, and could only be restrained and resisted by the mighty power of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fulness of divine power. . . .

Letter 8, Feb. 6, 1896, par. 4

“If men would only give up their spirit of resistance to the Holy Spirit, the spirit which has long been leavening their religious experience , God’s Spirit would address itself to their hearts. It would convince of sin. What a work! . . . Will the voice of the Spirit of God be distinguished from the deceiving voice of the enemy?

Letter 8, Feb. 6, 1896, par. 11

“The divine Spirit reveals its working on the human heart. When the Holy Spirit operates upon the mind, the human agent will understand the statement made by Christ, “He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you.” [John 16:14.] Subjection to the Word of God means the restoration of one’s self. Let Christ work by His Holy Spirit, . . .”

Desire of Ages, p. 671, par. 2

“Sin could be resisted and overcome only through the mighty agency of the Third Person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fullness of divine power. . . . Christ has given His Spirit as a divine power to overcome all hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil, and to impress His own character upon His church.”

Review and Herald, Nov. 29, 1892, par. 3

“. . . the holy Spirit is the comforter, as the personal presence of Christ to the soul.”

Review and Herald, Jan. 27, 1903, par. 13

“. . . learn how to pray and how to live the prayer of Christ. He is the Comforter. He will abide in their hearts, making their joy full.”

Manuscript 93, 1893, par. 8 

“The Holy Spirit is the Comforter, in Christ’s name. He personifies Christ, yet is a distinct personality. We may have the Holy Spirit if we ask for it . . .”

Review and Herald, Nov. 29, 1892, par. 3

“. . . the holy Spirit is the comforter, as the personal presence of Christ to the soul.”

Desire of Ages, p. 669, par. 2-3

“The Holy Spirit is Christ’s representative, but divested of the personality of humanity, and independent thereof. Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally. . . . By the Spirit the Saviour would be accessible to all.

“He comforts them with His own presence.”

Letter 124, March 7, 1897, par. 4

“Do not forget that you have a Comforter, the Holy Spirit, which Christ has appointed. You are never alone. If you will listen to the voice that now speaks to you, if you will respond without delay to the knocking at the door of your heart, ‘Come in, Lord Jesus, that I may sup with thee and thee with me,’ the heavenly Guest will enter.

Letter 124, March 7, 1897, par. 10

“What saith our Saviour? ‘I will not leave thee comfortless; I will come unto you.’ . . . When trials overshadow the soul, remember the words of Christ, remember that He is an unseen presence in the person of the Holy Spirit, and He will be the peace and comfort given you, manifesting to you that He is with you, the Sun of Righteousness, chasing away your darkness. ‘If a man loves me,’ Christ said, ‘he will keep my words, and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.’”

Evangelism, p. 616, par. 5

“We need to realize that the Holy Spirit, who is as much a person as God is a person, is walking through these grounds.”

Manuscript 66, April 17, 1899, par. 11

. . . unseen by human eyes, that the Lord God is our Keeper and Helper. He hears every word we utter and knows every thought of the mind.

The Bible Echo January 15, 1893, par. 8

“He will send his representative, the Holy Spirit; for He says, ‘I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you.’ By the Spirit the Father and the Son will come and make their abode with you.”

Signs of the Times, Nov. 23, 1891, par. 1

“‘I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you.’ The divine Spirit that the world’s Redeemer promised to send, is the presence and power of God. He will not leave his people in the world destitute of his grace, to be buffeted by the enemy of God, and harassed by the oppression of the world; he will come to them. The world cannot see the truth; they know not the Father or the Son, but it is only because they do not desire to know God, they do not wish to look upon Jesus, to see his goodness, his love, his heavenly attractions.”

Evangelism, p. 615, par. 1

“There are three living persons of the heavenly trio; in the name of these three great powers—The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—those who receive Christ by living faith are baptized, . . .” [declarative]

Transcription of Hand-written manuscript

“Here are the living three personalities of the heavenly trio . . .” [demonstrative]

Manuscript 21, Nov. 1905, par. 8-11 {SpTB7, p. 62.3-63.2}

“I am instructed to say, The sentiments of those who are searching for advanced scientific ideas are not to be trusted. Such representations as the following are made: ‘The Father is as the light invisible; the Son is as the light embodied; the Spirit is the light shed abroad.’ ‘The Father is like the dew, invisible vapor; the Son is like the dew gathered in beauteous form; the Spirit is like the dew fallen to the seat of life.’ Another representation: ‘The Father is like the invisible vapor; the Son is like the leaden cloud; the Spirit is rain fallen and working in refreshing power.’

“All these spiritualistic representations are simply nothingness. They are imperfect, untrue. They weaken and diminish the Majesty which no earthly likeness can be compared to. God can not be compared with the things His hands have made. . . . The Father can not be described by the things of earth.”

William E. Boardman, “The Higher Christian Life,” pp. 99-104

“. . . essential relations of the persons of the Holy Trinity . . .”

“The Father is as the light invisible. The Son is as the light embodied. The Spirit is as the light shed down.” “The Father is like the dew in invisible vapor. The Son is like the dew gathered in beauteous form. The Spirit is like the dew fallen to the seat of life.” “The Father is like to the invisible vapor. The Son is as the laden cloud and falling rain. The Spirit is the rain — fallen and working in refreshing power.”

“The Father is all the fulness of the Godhead INVISIBLE. 

“The Son is all the fulness of the Godhead MANIFESTED. 

“The Spirit is all the fulness of the Godhead MAKING MANIFEST.

“The persons are not mere offices [partialism], or modes [modalism] of revelation, but living persons of the living God.” [italics are the author’s]

Athanasian (Catholic) Creed (c. 5th – 7th cent.)

“This is what the catholic faith teaches: we worship one God in a Trinity and a Trinity in unity. Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the substance. For one person is of the Father, another of the Son, another of the Holy Spirit. But the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit is one divinity, equal in glory, and coeternal in majesty.”

Augsburg Confession, A.D. 1530

“And the term ‘person’ they [Protestant churches] use as the Fathers have used it, to signify, not a part or quality in another, but that which subsists of itself.”

The SDA 28 Fundamental Beliefs (2015 ed.) – The Trinity

“There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three coeternal Persons. . . .”

Manuscript 21, Nov. 1905, par. 8-11 {SpTB7, p. 62.3-63.2}

“. . . The Father is all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and is invisible to mortal, earthly sight.

“The Son is all the fullness of the Godhead manifested. The Word of God declares him to be “the express image of his [Father’s] person.”

  • “the exact representation of his being” – NIV
  • “very stamp of his nature” – RSV
  • “the exact imprint of his nature” – ESV
  • “the very image of his substance” – ASV
  • “the true image of his substance” – BBE
  • “Ebenbild seines Wesens” – LUT (1545)
  • “la misma imagen de su sustancia” – Reina Valera (1909)
  • “figura substantiae eius” – VUL

Manuscript 21, Nov. 1905, par. 8-11 {SpTB7, p. 62.3-63.2}

“. . . The Father is all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and is invisible to mortal, earthly sight.

“The Son is all the fullness of the Godhead manifested. The Word of God declares him to be “the express image of his [Father’s] person.” “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Here is shown the personality of the Father.

“[The Spirit], the Comforter that Christ promised to send after He ascended to heaven, is the Spirit in all the fullness of the Godhead, making manifest the power of divine grace to all who receive and believe in Christ as a personal Saviour. Here are [the] three living [personalities] of the heavenly trio; . . .”

[The bracketed portions are inserted according to her handwritten manuscript, for clarification]

Manuscript 21, Nov. 1905, par. 8-11 {SpTB7, p. 62.3-63.2}

“. . . making manifest the power of divine grace . . .”

How is this divine grace manifested?

“. . . God will work through His angels as He worked on the day of Pentecost, . . . in the descent of the Holy Spirit.” – Ibid, par. 18

Desire of Ages, p. 670, par. 1

“By the Spirit, He [Christ] said, He would manifest Himself to them.”

Youth Instructor, July 5, 1894, par. 5

“Through the ministry of the angels, the Holy Spirit is enabled to work upon the mind and heart of the human agent, and draw him to Christ, . . .”

Review and Herald, July 19, 1887, par. 5

“. . . there are . . . unseen divine agencies. We have in our midst those heavenly messengers who listen to every discourse. And not only do the listeners pass under the inspection of these angels who keep up the communication between heaven and earth, . . .”

Signs of the Times, Feb. 10, 1890, par. 4

“. . . The Father, the Son, and the holy angels will be present with you . . . there you will have of the outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit. . . .”

Signs of the Times, Jan. 30, 1879, par. 19

“. . . To Adam in his innocence was granted communion, direct, free, and happy, with his Maker. After his transgression, God would communicate to man only through Christ and angels.”

There is one Spirit

Ephesians 4:4 “There is one body, and one Spirit, . . .”

1 Corinthians 12:13 “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, . . . and . . . made to drink into one Spirit.”

It is the Spirit of God, the Father, called the Holy Ghost/Spirit

John 4:24 “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”

Hebrews 9:14 “. . . Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God . . .”

2 Timothy 1:14 “. . . the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.”

1 Thessalonians 4:8 “. . . God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.”

By Emmanuel, God with us

  • John 20:21-22 “. . . as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And . . . he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:”
  • 2 Corinthians 5:19 “To wit, that God was in Christ, . . .”
  • John 17:21, 23 “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us” “I in them, and thou in me, . . .”
  • Philippians 2:5 “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”
  • Colossians 2:9 “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.”
  • Psalm 33:6 “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made . . . by the breath of his mouth.”
  • Ephesians 3:16-17 “That he [the Father] would grant you, . . . to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.”

Through his “ministering spirits”

Zechariah 4:1-6, 10-14

Review and Herald, July 20, 1897, par. 6, 7

“The anointed ones standing by the Lord of the whole earth, have the position once given to Satan as covering cherub. By the holy beings surrounding his throne, the Lord keeps up a constant communication with the inhabitants of the earth. The golden oil represents the grace with which God keeps the lamps of believers supplied, that they shall not flicker and go out. Were it not that this holy oil is poured from heaven in the messages of God’s Spirit, the agencies of evil would have entire control over men.”

John 1:51 “And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.”

Sings of the Times, July 23, 1902, par. 2

“Among the inhabitants of heaven, Satan, next to Christ, was at one time most honored of God, and highest in power and glory. Before his fall, Lucifer, ‘son of the morning,’ was first of the covering cherubs, holy and undefiled. He stood in the presence of the great Creator, and the ceaseless beams of glory enshrouding the eternal God rested upon him.”

Review and Herald, Dec. 17, 1872, par. 1

“The Son of God was next in authority to the great Lawgiver.”

Through his “ministering spirits”

  • Hebrews 1:7, 14 “And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and [even] his ministers a flame of fire. . . . Are they [the angels] not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?”
  • Revelation 3:1 “. . . These things saith he [Christ] that hath the seven Spirits of God, and [even] the seven stars; . . .”
  • Revelation 1:20 “. . . The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: . . .”
  • Revelation 4:5 “. . . and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.”
  • Revelation 5:6 “And I beheld, and, lo, . . . a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.”

The “heavenly trio” according to Paul & John

1 Timothy 5:21 “I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, . . .”

Revelation 1:1, 4, 5 “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, . . . and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: . . . John to the seven churches . . . from him [the Father] which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; and from Jesus Christ, . . .”

Review and Herald, Aug. 26, 1890, par. 10

“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.”