Daily Archives: October 29, 2011

The Name of God: The Name Above Every Name (Part 9)

         “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” [John 14:26]

         According to the above passage, the Father… will send the Holy Spirit… in the Name of the Son. In classic Christian jargon, the “First Person” will send the “Third Person” in the name of the “Second Person.” This reminds me of the Olympics, when the three medal winners stand on small joined platforms of three different levels to receive their medals. The winner stands front and center on the tallest platform to receive the gold. He or she is the champion. The silver medal winner (second place) is on the second-tallest platform, and the third-place bronze medal winner is on the lowest platform.

         Don’t we always say, “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?” (One, two, three?) We never arrange these three in any different order. The arrangement signifies rank, as if “The Father” is most important, “The Son” second most important, etc. But the tri-unity doctrine teaches that each Person is co-equal, which means it contradicts both itself AND Scripture:

         If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.” [John 14:28b]

         But Jesus is God! What’s up with that? Can God be greater than God?

         Well, at least we know that the Father is greater than the Son, and is therefore most qualified to send the Holy Spirit.

         Uh… no:

         “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.” [John 15:26-27]

         What?

         One chapter after finding out that the Father will send the Spirit, we discover that Jesus will send the Spirit. Which is correct? Will the “First Person” send the “Third Person,” or will the “Second Person” send the “Third Person?” At least we know the “Third Person” wins the bronze. No apparent argument there.

         So, the Holy Spirit will be sent in the Name of Jesus by Jesus. Confused?

         Well, hold on, because we’re just getting started.

         Just who, pray tell, is the Holy Spirit? Is it a heavenly dove? A nameless force? Was the Lord sent to the desert by a Spirit with no name because it felt good to be out of the rain? (In the desert, you can’t remember your name…)

         “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” [John 14:16-18]

         Uh oh.

         We just found out who the Holy Spirit is. Why, despite theologian’s best efforts, do we keep coming back to Jesus? The Holy Spirit is the Paraclete, from the Greek word parakletos. This word is also translated in various Bible versions as Comforter, Helper, and Advocate. The Holy Spirit is assumed to take the place of Jesus in the lives of the disciples, but the truth is more than what it seems:

         “You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’” [John 14:28a]

         This is not a reference to the Second Coming. It is a reference to the fact that the Lord Jesus, as a Father, would not irresponsibly leave His children without a teacher, guide, or guardian once He ascended into heaven:

         “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” [John 14:18]

         We gain more insight through the Lord referring to the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Truth. Can the Spirit of Truth be appreciably different from “The Truth?”

         Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” [John 14:6]

         Is the Holy Spirit truly the Spirit of Jesus?

         We get a glimpse of this and greater revelation in the following passage referencing Paul’s travels as he and his companions in ministry were directed by the Spirit of Jesus:

         They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them; and passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. [Acts 16:6-8]

         (There was, of course, a reason why the Lord refused to permit them to go into Bithynia, which will be studied in a later post.)

         We receive further understanding of our subject through Paul’s claim that the Spirit of Jesus actually lives within real Christians and is spoken of as a providential provision:

         …For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. [Philippians 1:19-21] [1]

         He will not leave us as orphans indeed…

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 9 of 10]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.