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The Name of God: The Name Above Every Name (Part 10)

         The Lord Jesus consistently displayed the heart of a Father. As we studied in the last post, He said He would not leave His disciples as orphans. Yet, many believers, whether they admit it or not, effectively feel like orphans. They do not feel connected to God. Could this be because they are not connected to God? As in the idea of the new birth experience which the Lord said all real believers are required to undergo [John 3:5], many Christians cannot point to any such experience. If they were born again, they do not know when it may have occurred.

         Imagine that. Then imagine a woman giving birth and not knowing it occurred. (“Hey Ralph, where’d this baby come from?”)

         Moreover, imagine a baby leaving the comfortable confines of the womb through a VERY narrow way and a ridiculously tiny gate and tell me the baby has no idea something out of the ordinary is taking place. I imagine the vast majority of babies are thinking something along the lines of the worst amusement park ride that ever existed on Halloween in a haunted house with a scary little guy donning coke-bottle glasses and a big IRS badge waiting at the other end. (“I didn’t sign up for this!!”)

         In fact, if a Christian cannot locate the time and place of his or her new birth, the odds are high that there never was a new birth. Not that the experience is bad or scary, but memorable. Why?

         Because it was the day one met the God of the universe and gave his or her life to Him!

         The Lord’s disciples certainly looked forward to being reunited with the Lord after being divided from Him that day atop the Mount of Olives. And by His own acclamation, He was not only their Rabbi and Master, but their spiritual Father, and would be away for a while on a ten day trip:

         Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

         So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”

         He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

         And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. [Acts 1:4-12]

         He left in a cloud and would return in a cloud…

         Ever notice how the events of Acts 2 relate to (as is the common parlance of today’s TV weather forecasters), a strong weather event? It opens with “a noise like a violent rushing wind.” The noise/wind fills the whole house where the 120 are gathered. Then, there is lightning:

         And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. [Acts 2:3]

         And the Spirit of God continued to fall in a holy rain…

         “‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT and they shall prophesy. AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW, BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE.’” [Acts 2:17-19]

         The old-timers called it a glory cloud—a visible manifestation of the presence of the Lord. Christians who have never experienced such a thing might have the attitude of the mockers and unbelievers, but in some ways cannot be blamed. There is so much counterfeit spiritual nonsense in the Christian world today. Charlatans and lovers of money have faked the blessedness of the Lord’s holy rain and manifested their own seedless fabrications and hokum.

         But the real event is undeniable. As it was on that illustrious Day of Pentecost so long ago, so is it still today, circling the globe. The Lord will go wherever He is welcome and will manifest His presence to the degree desired.

         Want more of the Lord?

         And in that day you will say, “Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name. Make known His deeds among the peoples; make them remember that His name is exalted.” Praise the LORD in song, for He has done excellent things; Let this be known throughout the earth. Cry aloud and shout for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel. [Isaiah 12:4-6] [1]

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

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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.