Jesus Is The Holy Spirit
By Ross Drysdale
Where did the idea of the Holy Spirit as a “third distinct person”originate? Does the Bible refer to Christ as the Holy Spirit, or is that a oneness “invention”?
It has already been established that Jesus is the Father in his divine indwelling nature. It remains to be discovered if the Scriptures also identify him as the Holy Spirit; what Trinitarians call the “third person of the Godhead.”
Neo- Trinitarians have all but yielded this point to us “en toto”. For in their theology there is only one divine Spirit. The idea of “three omnipresent divine Spirits” is classified by Boyd as “a very mistaken view of the Trinity’.” Each “person” of the Trinity is said to be: “The -Whole Spirit of God, existing in a distinct fashion” (Boyd, p. 64). This being true then, the Son of God, Jesus Christ, is the exact same Spirit as the Holy Spirit. The Son and the Holy Spirit are the same Spirit! Neither can this conclusion be escaped by claiming they have “separate minds” or “consciousnesses” or even “wills”, for that is denounced also as incorrect and labeled as a “crude portrait” (Boyd,171). What a dilemma! Jesus and the Holy Spirit are supposed to be distinct persons, yet they are the same Spirit, the same mind, and the same consciousness! This alone collapses the Trinity. It would be easier to raise the Titanic, then to get this thing floating again!
Transient Illusion Neo-Trinitarian Style!
And yet after all that Dr. Boyd says, the Oneness identification of Jesus with the Spirit is “highly suspect”. Yet, amazingly enough, as if to confirm this “suspicion” we read: “The Spirit is indeed the presence of Christ himself” (Boyd, 128). How can one distinct person be “the presence” of another “distinct person”? Can you be my presence? Can I be yours? Of course not! The presence of a person indicates exactly that – the person is present, not a substitute. And why would the Holy Spirit have to be “the presence of Jesus.” According to their Perichoresis doctrine, wherever one person of the Trinity is, the other two are also “fully present”. No need for a “substitute” presence if Christ Himself is present! Dr. Boyd now resorts to “transient illusion” for which he so often condemns oneness advocates. Commenting on a discussion where Jesus plainly states he will be the Holy Spirit Comforter, (I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you – John 14:18), he writes: “Jesus is simply saying: ‘I’m not going to leave you like abandoned children, I’ll be right back (referring to the Coming of his Spirit)’ (Boyd, 77). Are we seriously asked to swallow this? I leave the room and say “I’ll be right back; I’m not going to stay gone.” And then a few minutes later a totally “distinct person” from myself enters the room and says, “Hi! I told you I’d be right back!” This is more than transient illusion this is maniacal delusion. What could be further from what Christ meant? We are being asked to believe that “I will come to you” really means “someone else will come to you.”
It must be borne in mind that when Jesus says: “I will come to you” he is using the personal pronoun “I” to identify himself with the Holy Spirit Comforter, thereby eliminating the possibility of any “personal” distinction between Himself and the Spirit. It is the equivalent of saying “I am the Holy Spirit.” And yet we are accused of teaching a “secret identity”. Where is the Secret?
Christ As The Spirit Of Truth
Christ further identified Himself as the Holy Spirit Comforter in John 14:17. “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.” The Spirit of Truth is a “he”; he is already “known” by the disciples, and “seen” by them; he is “dwelling” or living with them at the time. Who else is this but Jesus Himself, whom they knew, saw, and with whom they dwelt? To forestall any misunderstanding the next statement is added: “I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you.” Yet we are told it is: “Only by a most forced form of exegesis can these passages be made to mean that Christ and the Holy Spirit are in every respect one and the same” (p.129). No exegesis is necessary, “forced” or otherwise. All one has to do is read the passage. It’s self evident!
Dr. Boyd says Christ and the Holy Spirit are not “one and the same” in every respect. Really? Then why does he teach that Christ and the Holy Spirit are the same Spirit, the same mind, the same consciousness, the same will, and the same presence’,’ and completely indivisible, being the same substance! Where are they distinct? The only thing that he seems to come up with is that the Holy Spirit is God existing in a “personally distinct way” whatever that is supposed to mean. It is never explained.
Jesus Is The Spirit. Can We Prove It?
Again, demands are put on us, which the Trinitarians will not meet for Problem solvers. For we are asked, by implication, to show where the Bible says “Jesus is the Spirit” (Boyd, 125), I would like to be shown where the Bible says “The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Godhead” or even better “a personally distinct way in which God exists” or at least where he is called an “aspect”, “fashion”, or “mode of being”. Like the Pharisees of old, “they lade men with burdens” and “touch not the burdens themselves” not even with a “finger” (Luke 11:46).
Just as in their request for a verse calling Jesus the Father (to which we happily consented), we also have what they demand in this case. Because when it comes to proving Jesus is the Holy Spirit, our “burden is light.”
II Corinthians 3:17
Paul writes in II Corinthians 3:17: “Now the Lord is that Spirit.” What could possibly be more direct? Is there more than one Lord? Someone other than Christ? Of Course Not! ONE LORD, ONE FAIL, ONE BAPTISM (Eph.4:5). And if they are wondering who this Lord is, referred to in II Cor. 3:17, Paul clarifies it beyond dispute in the next chapter: “For we preach not ourselves, but Jesus Christ the Lord” (II Cor. 4:5). Now they have what they demanded of us: Jesus Christ is that Spirit! The Trinity has collapsed at this point, and they should admit it. But no, instead furious efforts get underway to divert the bulldozer effect of this verse on their shaky theory. The first thing they start with is a massive contradiction: “First, one must note that the verse does not say that ‘Jesus is the Spirit'” (B01:1,-p. 1:6). The only way this can be so would be to deny that Jesus is Lord! And this he starts to do, as unbelievable as it sounds! He states: “As it stands the Oneness interpretation must simply assume that the reference to ‘the Lord’ here is a reference to Jesus Christ”(Boyd, 125). We are now guilty of assuming that Jesus Christ is Lord! To this we gladly plead “guilty’ as charged! “For no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost” (I Cor 12:3). Now Dr. Boyd starts to get into “lords many and gods many,” When he says: “We must note that ‘Lord’ is used by Paul in two senses in the context of this passage” and again, “Paul we see is clearly making some distinction between the ‘Lord’ and the ‘Spirit of the Lord’ who is also ‘Lord’ ” (Boyd, 125). In short Paul is distinguishing between “Lord” and “Lord”. If I may borrow a quote of Dr. Boyd’s “all this language is not only ‘illusory’ it seems blatantly nonsensical.” I would not want the task of proving my doctrine by having to establish the existence of two distinct Lords! But what other choice do they have? What follows next (and it is hard to follow) is a discussion by Boyd which involves the Law, the Old Covenant, Moses, Moses’ face, Moses’ veil, eyes of the Israelites, freedom, glory, external legal authority, the heart, Covenants, and symbols. Hoping I guess, that his readers will forget the point under discussion! And after all this he winds up back where Paul started, and the very point we’re trying to prove: “…’the Lord’ to whom Moses turned is the same Lord, the same Spirit, to whom believers today turn, to have the veil lifted” (Boyd, 126). And who is that Lord, if it is not the Lord Jesus Christ “the same Spirit”, even the Holy Spirit! He’s the Lord who -gave Moses the Law, the “Rock” who followed them in the wilderness (I Cor. 10:4, 9; Heb. 12:24-26), and “The Lord is that Spirit!'”
We are glibly informed that “only in two passages is it possible to argue that the Spirit is in some sense identified with Christ” (B*4p.m). Again he makes us a two verse religion. I take it he must consider all the other passages where Christ is identified with the Spirit as beyond dispute, for he only mentions II Cor. 3:17 which we just considered and Romans 8:9-11, which we shall now consider.
“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be it that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any men have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness (Rom. 8:9-11). How myopic must be the spiritual eyes that cannot see the oneness in this passage! Its more than we could have hoped for if we were writing the Bible ourselves! Believers are “in the Spirit” the supposed “third person:” But this “Spirit” is defined as “the Spirit of God,” the supposed “first person,” and the “Spirit’ of God is further defined as “the Spirit of Christ,” who is “Christ,” the supposed “second person!” Then Paul closes the circle tightly by defining “Christ” as the “Spirit.” Thus “Spirit,” “Spirit of God,” Spirit of Christ” and “Christ” are not only used interchangeably, but more importantly, and what Dr. Boyd failed to mention, are used to define each other! Seeing Paul taught there is just one Spirit (Eph. 4:4), to which Neo – Trinitarians agree, then where is there any room for distinct identities here! All terms refer to the same Spirit, who is Christ!
In Colossians 1:27 Paul speaks of “Christ in you, the hope of glory,” equating it with the “One Spirit” who produces that hope in us (Eph. 4:4). Now if we have One Spirit in us, and that Spirit is called Christ, then Christ is the One Spirit in us; or in other words, Jesus is the Holy Spirit. If language means anything it means this, otherwise what good are words? Dr. Boyd doesn’t even cite Col. 1:27 – “Christ in you’ll though it is a main proof of Christ’s identity as the Holy Spirit. The choice is simple, Christians either have three distinct divine Spirits in them, or Christ is the Holy Spirit. There is no other alternative.
Was Paul Confused?
The “last gasp” of Trinitarian rebuttal is breathed out for us in the following argument’ “That Paul in the previous verse (Romans 8:10-ed.) refers to the Spirit of Christ as ‘Christ’ in you cannot legitimately be used to qualify this. In this pre-polemic environment, this informal use of language has no more significance than simply revealing how closely together Paul associated the Spirit with Jesus” (Boyd, 128). He implies we cannot legitimately use this verse of scripture, even though inspired by the Holy Spirit, because it was written before the “polemics of Nicea, Constantinople, Ephesus, etc. Written before the screaming matches, fist fights, and murders, that “ironed out” the truth for us! We must not rush in and take the inspired Paul too seriously, at least not until the Cappodocian Fathers and Augustine has clarified all this for us. For these scriptures of Paul have “no more significance” than simple revealing “how closely Paul ‘associated’ the Spirit with Jesus.” But isn’t that the revelation we are seeking? Only by denying the divine inspiration of Paul’s writings could this argument have any weight! Trinitarians are willing to teeter on the brink of that modernistic view of Scripture in order to escape Paul’s “close” association of Christ with the Spirit; an “association” that is so close that Christ is said to be that Spirit! It is not merely “association” it is identification! I’m sure if Paul had referred to the Holy Spirit as one of “God’s distinct Personal ways of existing”, or as a “fashion,” “aspect” or “third person” Trinitarians would find, it quite “legitimate” to use, polemics or pre-polemics not withstanding!
New Testament References
The New Testament teems with references to Christ as the Holy Spirit, most of which Dr. Boyd has ignored.
Paul refers to Jesus as a “life giving” or quickening Spirit in I Cor. 15:45: “The last Adam (Christ) was made a quickening Spirit.” When did this occur? When he ascended: “He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things” (Eph.4:10). “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost…” The ascended Christ is the Holy Ghost who fills all things! (Acts 2:4). “The fullness of him (Christ) who filleth all in all” (Eph. 1:23). Jesus referred to this ascending and being made a “life giving Spirit” in John 14:28 “I go away and come again unto you.” This would be a cause of rejoicing to the disciples, “ye would rejoice.” Why? Because, “I go unto the Father,” (i.e. returning to unlimited and unrestricted Spirit, the Father’s original essence is omnipresent Spirit John 4:24). For he says, “My Father is greater than I” (Jesus coming to dwell in them as Spirit, or the Father, is much greater than his physical presence with them in the flesh as Son.) “…though we have know Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more” (I Cor. 5:16).
This does not mean that Jesus has “no physical body” up in heaven. Of course not! But the body he has now is a spiritual body (I Cor. 15:44). “It was sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” He has a body, but this is a spiritual body. Christ first had a natural body, but now has a Spiritual body (I Cor. 15:46). The Spiritual body does not limit, restrict, or hamper him in any way. His spiritual omnipresence is now unimpeded by the flesh, therefore he can say: “Where two or three are gathered together, there am I in the midst” and “lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” This is the glorious New Testament Truth of Christ as Holy Spirit. This is the “other Comforter” which would abide with us forever (John 14:16); not a different Person, but Christ in Spirit, rather than flesh,” I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (John 14:18). This is the Spirit of Truth, who proceeds from the Father (Christ’s divine nature), as to source, and is therefore truly the Spirit of the Father and the Son (John 15:26). The Coming of the Spirit to dwell in believers is called the manifestation of Christ in John 14:21, “I will love him and manifest myself;” and yet it is also the coming of the Father and the Son to dwell and abide, as in John 14:23. No contradiction – The Spirit of the Son is the Father, who is also known as the Holy Spirit.
One must not think that because Christ is now a “life giving Spirit” (I Corinthians 15:45) that we will never be able to see him. The following extract from Clarence Larkin’s book, “The Spirit World,” explains beautifully the nature of the spiritual body Christ now has. It is free from all flesh limitations but still is capable of appearance.
Mr. Larkin writes that “the Resurrection body is endowed with the capacity of transforming itself at pleasure into a physical body and back again into a spirit body,
“This is the only solution of the miraculous appearances of Jesus to _ Ks Disciples during the 40 days that elapsed between His Resurrection and Ascension. Take His fourth appearance, the one to Cleopas and his companion on the road to Ermaus. Jesus assumed a physical body and walked with those two, and talked with them, yet they did not know Him because “their eyes were holden,’ but when He sat down to meat with them, they knew Him in the breaking of bread, that is they recognized His physical body, probably by the pierced hands or by the voice, and the next moment He VANISHED out of their sight. That is He changed His ‘physical body’ back into His ‘Spirit Body’ and disappeared from human vision.
“Take Jesus’ fifth appearance, when He entered the closed room in Jerusalem. He entered it in His ‘Spirit Body.’ That was why they were ‘Terrified and affrighted’ and supposed that they saw a ‘spirit.’ Luke 24:37-43. But when He spoke and said unto them, ‘Why are ye troubled?’ He assumed His physical body, and as proof called on them to behold His ‘hands’ and His ‘feet’ (that had been pierced), and to ‘handle Him,’ for said He a ‘spirit path not FLESH and BONES, as ye see me have. And as further proof that it was His physical body that they saw He called for something to eat, and when it was handed to Him, He ate before these. Then after He had talked with than awhile, He breathed on them and said – ‘RIDCEIVE YE THE HOLY GHOST,’ and then He disappeared as suddenly and mysteriously as He came” (Clarence Larkin, Spirit World, p. 122).
Remarkable Testimony From Oral Roberts
Oral Roberts, leading Trinitarian Pentecostal Evangelist, and founder of oral Roberts University, is a distinguished scholar in his own right. He has produced a definition of the Holy Spirit which is theologically light years in advance of his fellow Trinitarians’ understanding. He is to be commended for his intellectual honesty in setting it down in print. Although Dr. Roberts considers himself a Trinitarian, his definition of the Holy Spirit is in perfect agreement with oneness theology. He is another example of the many “Trinitarians” who define themselves by that label, but in their “heart of hearts” (to use one of Dr. Boyd’s terms) they are oneness. Dr. Roberts writes the following:
“Who is the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit is the other “porter” (John 14:16). He is the one whom Christ said He would send back to replace His own physical presence on earth. The Holy Spirit is Christ coming back in His own invisible, unlimited form to (live) “in” you and to abide “with” you forever (John 14:16, 17). You see, God is one God. “O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord” (Deut. 6:4). When we call Him Father, Son, and Holy Spirit-the Holy Trinity-we are not saying He is three Gods. He is simply God…God manifesting himself as the Father with a specific work to do, as the Son with a specific work to do, and as the Holy Spirit with a specific work to do. As an example, let’s take water. It can manifest itself in three ways: as liquid, as ice, or as vapor. But it is still water. The same is true of God. As God loving us, He came to earth as the Son to be born of a woman, to become a human being and to show us what He (God) is like…After Christ divested himself of His human body by being raised from the dead and ascending back to heaven, He prayed the Father to send the Holy Spirit. So the Father manifested himself as the Holy Spirit…So Holy Spirit is God himself, but without the limitations of the human body of Jesus which was limited to time, to space, and to death, as each of us is. To be without these limitations He is now invisible (and in us) where they can never crucify Him again. He is also unlimited so that time, space or death can never touch Him again. Therefore, the Holy Spirit in you is invisible; He is unlimited. This puts you into miracle living. It makes all things possible to you (Matt. 17:20). Through the indwelling Holy Spirit, who is Christ returned in His invisible, unlimited form in you, you are in position to enter into miracle-living” (Oral Roberts, Three Most Important Steps To Your Better Health and Miracle Living, p. 54-56).
The Holy Ghost Is The Father Also
Some may challenge the statement that the Holy Spirit is the Father. But by so doing they challenge the Bible record, for the angel told Joseph; “Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is begotten in her is of the Holy Ghost”(Matt. 1:20 margin). Jesus was begotten by the Holy Ghost. This makes the Holy Spirit the Father of Christ. Hence the Holy Spirit is the Father. It is all one Spirit (John 4:24). The angel said the same thing to Mary: ” The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: Therefore also that Holy Thing that shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). Because of the Holy Ghost overshadowing Mary, Christ is the Son of God. The Holy Ghost is the Father, of the “Holy Thing” – “Christ the Lord”. The Spirit of the Father in Matt. 10:20 is the Holy Ghost in Mark 13:11.
The Spirit In Revelation
In the Book of Revelation (a book which has already revealed Jesus to us as the Father) Christ asserts his identity with the Spirit seven times in two Chapters (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29 and Revelation 3:6, 13, 22).Christ is the speaker exclusively throughout these two chapters, yet he says: “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches.” He is the Spirit that is speaking to the churches.
Comparisons Prove Christ Is Holy Spirit
Christ is said to provide believers with a mouth of wisdom in times of persecution (Luke 21:15); yet in the parallel passage in Mark 13:11 he says it is the Holy Ghost who will do it. Christ is the Spirit, or else Christians will be provided with two “distinct” attorneys for their day in court! Why would two be needed?
Romans 8:26 shows us the Spirit is our intercessor. Yet Hebrews 7:25 says respecting Christ: “he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” We need but one intercessor, and we have him in Christ, who has come to us in his Spirit nature to make intercession with “groanings that cannot be uttered.”
The Bible says in John that Christ will be the one to resurrect believers: “The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the Voice of the Son of God and they that hear shall live.” (John 5:25-28) Jesus also said: “I am the Resurrection and the Life” (John 11:25). No question He is the Resurrecting Power. Yet the Bible says it is the Holy Spirit who will “quicken” or make alive the body of believers: “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit” (Romans 8:11). Trinitarians are ever confused as to what “person” of the Godhead shall raise them from the dead, the Second or the Third? But the Bible teaches that Christ became the Holy Spirit when He ascended, “The last Adam (Christ) was made a quickening Spirit” (I Cor. 15:45). Thus it is Jesus Christ in his Spirit nature that will quicken us.
The Same thing holds true for sanctification. The Bible says we are sanctified by the Holy Ghost (Romans 15:16). Yet the Scripture also says that this is the same as being sanctified by Christ (Eph. 5:25-26). And Jude addresses his letter to those that “are sanctified by God the Father” (Jude 1). This is all reconciled when we realize that Christ’s divine nature is the Holy Spirit, which is also called the Father. There is only one Spirit and it comes to us from the glorified body of Christ in sanctification. Trinitarians teach that all “three divine persons” sanctify us. Why would it take three? Especially since sanctification means “set apart for God’s use.” Were we set apart, then reset apart, and then re-reset apart? Besides Hebrews 2:11 knocks a hole in the “three sanctifiers theory” when it says: “For both he that sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified are all of one.”
Two Trinitarians Speak
What more is needed. It is the same over and over in the New Testament. The Holy Spirit is always traced back to Christ, even the Father, come to dwell in us as the Comforter. I don’t think anyone could have expressed it better than William Phillips Hall did, a Trinitarian scholar, in his book Remarkable Biblical Discovery: “It would seem in the light of the Biblically revealed facts, that out from the risen, ascended, and glorified body of the Lord Jesus Christ-who is the Temple of the otherwise invisible God the Father
in heaven, there proceeds or radiates (John 15:26) throughout the universe the Spirit of God in Christ, who is the Holy Spirit…” (William Phillips Hall, Remarkable Biblical Discovery, p. 30.
Contrast that beautiful and Biblical description of the glorified Christ in his resurrection body, with the Holy Spirit emanating out from him, with this strange doctrine advanced by Barry Wood, a Trinitarian and graduate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Writing in his book, “Questions Non Christians Ask Today” he says on page 38 concerning the resurrection body of Christ: “This body was temporary. It was accommodated to’ our human senses as proof that Jesus was indeed raised from the dead. Now what happened to His Spirit Body at the Ascension? It was changed…Jesus, as God, has no distinct separate body now. He is God in God’s pre-historical form – ‘absorbed’ as it were, back into the Godhead.”
To what lengths will men go – prehistoric, bodiless, absorbed gist! All to avoid the scriptural Oneness message, God was in Christ, and in All His Fullness (I Timothy 3:16, Col. 2:9). And of that Fullness, we have all received (John 1:16). And that, dear reader is the Holy Spirit!
How simple and clear it is: The fullness of the Godhead (the Father) is in Christ (the Son) and of that fullness we have received (Holy Spirit). Jesus even gave a remarkable object lesson after his resurrection to prove that not only was his Spirit the Holy Spirit, but He was the only dispenser of it: “And when he had said this, he breathed on them and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22). His breath is the Holy Spirit. Both in the Hebrew of the Old Testament (ruwach) and the Greek of the New Testament (pneuma) the word for “Spirit” is the same as “breath.” Jesus very breath, his Spirit, is the Holy Ghost. Will Trinitarians now attempt to prove a divine “personal distinction” between a man and his breath! No wonder the Holy Spirit is called Christ (Col. 1:27), the Spirit of Christ (I Peter 1:11), the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:19), and the Spirit of the Son (Gal. 4:6).
We have now shown from the Bible that Jesus is the Father in his divine indwelling nature; the Son in his begotten manhood; and the Holy Spirit by emanation, or as Bishop S.C. Johnson of Philadelphia would say on the radio: “Jesus is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and beside Him there is no God and I condemn everything else!”
This article “Jesus Is The Holy Spirit” by Ross Drysdale is excerpted from his book published by Apostolic Truth Press, 1994.