Crawford D. Coon
A brief survey was made in Part I of some basic scriptural truths pertaining to the Godhead. Now we will examine some specific terms and titles relative to our study.
Confusion about the Godhead stems from the inability to differentiate between a MANIFESTATION of God, and the PERSON of God. God was MANIFEST in the flesh (I Timothy 3:16). Jesus Christ in the flesh is the express image of His PERSON (Hebrews 1:3). God spoke in divers manners in the past, but has chosen to speak to us in these last days by His Son, who is the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person (Hebrews 1:1-3).
Taught, and widely accepted in America, is the concept of three distinct persons in the Godhead. Such a concept is predicated upon the teaching that there is a person of the Father, a person of the Son, and a person of the Holy Ghost. These persons being co-equal, co-eternal, and co-existent, form the Godhead. Proponents of this teaching affirm that although there are three persons in the Godhead, there is only one God. Such terminology is confusing both intellectually and scripturally. God’s Word, rather than tradition, must be the final authority on such important matters.
Examining every manifestation of God in the Bible would be impossible at this time, but it is important for us to study the more basic ones. Open your heart as you open your Bible to study our Great God.
In reference to God this word is used in two separate, easily distinguishable, ways.
- As the Creator or Father of all mankind and creation, God is properly called our Father. When we pray and address God as, “…Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” (Matthew 6:9), or when He is referred to as our, “…Heavenly Father…” (Matthew 6:26, 32), it is used in this sense. God, eternal, and never changing is the father of all creation and mankind in that He is the fountain head and source from which all mankind and creation came.
- All Christendom agrees to the scriptural truth that He (God, or Holy Ghost), is the Father of Jesus Christ. Because the Holy Ghost moved on the virgin Mary, causing her to conceive and bring forth the Son of God (Jesus Christ), this automatically established God, who is the Holy Ghost, as a Father (Matthew 1:18-25). Jesus Christ is the ONLY BEGOTTEN Son of God (John 3:16). God has no other son that is begotten – born or procreated – of a woman. Jesus Christ is the only offspring of God through the process of conception, development, and physical birth.
God’s family, or the church, is referred to as sons of God, or being begotten of God. This specifically highlights our spiritual relationship with God and in no way refers to a natural birth process such as that of Jesus Christ. It is through this means we are established as brethren in Christ (II Corinthians 6:18; I Peter 1:22-25; I John 3:1; Philippians 2:15).
Scriptural insight demands that we recognize God as a Father, since Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Ghost. He bears record in heaven as the Father (I John 5:7), not only in the sense of part one, but specifically as the Father of the man Christ Jesus. His being a Father is simply a role, manifestations, or revelation. Father is not His name as some try to conclude from Matthew 28:19; this is one of His roles as God.
Proponents of the Trinity envision the Father as being the first person in the Godhead sending His son, the second person in the Godhead, to become the Savior of the World. Further envisioned is the concept that the Father and Son sent the Holy Ghost, the third person of the Godhead, to become the comforter. Such teaching is unscriptural in that the MAN Christ Jesus did not pre-exist as a person before Bethlehem. God, who is a Spirit, did not beget a son in the flesh before Bethlehem; therefore, His role as Father (as one who begets) did not begin until the birth of Christ.
Jesus Christ was not another God coming into existence but was the one true God manifesting himself in the flesh (I Timothy 3:16). If the explanation of those who believe in a Trinity be true, then the third person in the Trinity (Jesus Christ), since the Holy Ghost was the father of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 1:26-35).
God’s Fatherhood shouldn’t confuse us on the Godhead. God hasn’t changed; He hasn’t created another God; He is the same eternally. God, as a Spirit, begat the man Christ Jesus, and dwelled in him fully in order to become our Saviour (Isaiah 43:10-13; 44:6-8; 45:5-6; Colossians 1:19; 2:9). Only one person exists in the Godhead, and that person is Jesus Christ, the one true God (Ephesians 4:5).
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is not another God, or the second person in the Godhead. He is the one true God manifest in the flesh. Jesus is never called GOD THE SON, neither is Mary called the Mother of God. Jesus is God, and in Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 1:19; 2:9).
God moved on the virgin Mary, causing her to conceive and give birth to Jesus Christ. God, who is Spirit, lived in the body of Jesus Christ entirely and completely. Jesus was the temple or tabernacle of Almighty God. He was flesh because Mary was His mother, therefore, He is called the Son of Man. Since God was His father He is called the Son of God. He is God because there is only one God, and that God was entirely resident in the person of Jesus Christ.
Since Jesus was BOTH God and man He possessed a full, complete, and entire human nature of body, soul, and spirit. As God He has power to forgive sins (Matthew 9:1-8), heal the sick (Matthew 8:1-17), raise the dead (John 11:1-44), and walk on water (Matthew 14:22-33; Job 9:8). As a man He hungered (Matthew 21:18), became thirsty (John 4:6), and faced temptation (Matthew 4:1-11; Hebrews 4:15). When Jesus refers to His Father, it is the flesh acknowledging the Spirit (Holy Ghost, or God) that begat Him. When Jesus prays it is not one Divine person praying to another Divine person; it is the flesh praying to God.
FLESH and SPIRIT exist simultaneously in the person of Jesus Christ. Distinguishing between flesh and Spirit is important to understanding the Godhead. You cannot make flesh spirit, and neither can you make spirit flesh (John 1:14). It is the flesh that houses or tabernacles the Spirit, and the Spirit (God), works through the flesh.
Jesus Christ is our Saviour and redeemer from sin (Matthew 1:18-23; Luke 2:11; John 4:42; I Timothy 4:10; I John 4:14). He has all power in heaven and earth (Matthew 28:18), and before Him every knee will bow and every tongue confess (Philippians 2:5-11; Romans 14:11) When you acknowledge Him you have the Father, when you deny Him you do not have either (I John 2:23). Jesus Christ is the name of God (John 5:43; 15:26; 16:23-24), it is in His name we are to be baptized (Acts 2:28; Romans 6:1-5), and He is the one who is coming after the church (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).
Volumes could be written about Him (John 20:30; 21:25), and should be, because of who
He is. Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh, deserves our love, worship, and adoration.
God’s Word teaches that the Holy Ghost is the Father of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1-26-35). God is a Spirit (John 4:24). There is only one Spirit (Ephesians 4:4-6). By one spirit are we all baptized into one body (I Corinthians 12:13), and the Lord is that Spirit (II Corinthians 3:17). It is conclusive from these scriptures that God is the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit, and that there is only one God or one Spirit.
The Bible doesn’t teach or in any way indicate that the Holy Ghost was created, born, called into existence, is a person, or emanates from God. The Holy Ghost has always existed; the Holy Ghost is God, and God is the Holy Ghost. The term Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit is a descriptive tide and manifestation of the one true God.
Use of the word, term, or title of the Holy Ghost comes into prominent usage in the New Testament, first as the father of Jesus Christ, and second as the comforter given to New Testament believers on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). God, as the Holy Ghost, has always existed, but is manifest to the world more significantly in the New Testament.
Jesus’ promise of the Holy Ghost, or God indwelling man through His Spirit is first heralded in the New Testament by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16). When Christ, the Spirit baptizer, appeared on the scene he confirmed John’s teaching and promised his followers they would receive the Holy Ghost (John 3:1-8; 14:15-18, 26; 15:26; 16:7-14; Acts 1:4-8).
Christ’s promise was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost as about one hundred twenty were filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them the utterance (Acts 2:1-4). New Testament believers received the Holy Ghost evidenced by speaking with other tongues, and this experience is still being received by multitudes around the globe in this generation.
From the Scripture it is evident that the Holy Ghost is not a PERSON but exactly what the term implies – the SPIRIT, or God (John 4:24). Isn’t it a beautiful thing that God can dwell in our hearts through His Spirit, the Holy Ghost? What a comfort to know that we not only have God WITH us but IN us.
In reference to the Godhead you will encounter many terms, some scriptural, some unscriptural. Though honestly made by many, some terms are erroneous and shouldn’t be made in reference to God. Others clarify, give glory, and give insight into the nature and deity of God. Add others to these few as you study.
- Son of God – Jesus Christ is the Son of God simply because God is His father. The Holy Ghost caused the virgin Mary to conceive and bring forth Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-35). Jesus is never referred to as GOD THE SON, only as the Son of God, and there is a vast difference in these terms. Another God was not fathered by the Holy Ghost; He fathered the MAN Christ Jesus. Jesus’ flesh is the Son of God, His deity is what it always was; this is why He could declare “…He that hath seen me hath seen the Father…” (John 14:9), and “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30).
- Son of Man – Jesus Christ is called the Son of Man because he was born of the Virgin Mary. After the birth of Jesus, Joseph and Mary had other children (Matthew 13:55-56), making them half-brothers and sisters of Jesus. From Mary, and Mary alone, Jesus derived His humanity. He had no earthly father; His Father was the Holy Ghost (Matthew 1:18-25). Search these and other scriptures on the Son of Man (Matthew 16:13-18; 18:11; Mark 2:10; 6:3; John 3:12-14; 5:18-47; Galatians 4:4; Revelation 1:13; 14:14).
Son of Man and Son of God are separate roles of the same person. Though not synonymous, these terms depict and describe our Lord in two distinct but important roles.
- Eternal Sonship – A self-destruct term often used to define the Sonship of Jesus Christ. If Jesus Christ is the Son (and He is), His Sonship could not be eternal; there had to be a conception and birth for there to be a son. The Spirit (God, Holy Ghost) is eternal (Hebrews 9:14), but the Sonship of Christ began at Bethlehem. Although the manifestation of God in the flesh was foreordained before the foundation of the world, this doesn’t mean the MAN (SON), Christ Jesus existed before Bethlehem. Sonship indicates and necessitates subordination, inferiority, humanity, and time, and all these are found in the Scripture in relationship to the MAN Christ Jesus. Hebrews 1:1-14; I Peter 1:18-20; II Timothy 1:9; Ephesians 1:4-7; Luke 1:35; 2:10-16; Galatians 4:4).
- Mediatorship of Jesus Christ – God is light (I John 1:5; I Timothy 6:14-16), and Spirit (John 4:24), therefore humanity cannot approach such glory and radiance. God is so high and holy, and we are so sinful in our nature until our approach to Him for help would be stymied by our contrasting states of purity verses impurity, Therefore we need a mediator, a go-between, or one who can mediate between two opposing parties and bring reconciliation and peace. Jesus Christ, as perfect man and perfect God, has become our one and only mediator, reconciling us to God through His incarnation (II Corinthians 5:17-21).
The following five terms depict our Saviour in His relationship to each of us when we need help and assistance. Study them carefully.
- Mediator – When Jesus is spoken of as standing on the right hand of God, which means a position and place of authority, power, and majesty, it is always indicative of His mediatorial work, not a place of inferiority (Exodus 15:6; Acts 7:56; Luke 22:69; Colossians 3:1; Ephesians 1:20; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 1:3; 8:1; 10:12; Revelation 3:21). There is only ONE mediator between God and man, the MAN Christ Jesus (I Timothy 2:5). You can go directly to God for yourself; you don’t have to go through anyone else to reach Him. Thank God we have a mediator.
- Intercessor – This is a technical term for one who approaches a king. Jesus Christ is our intercessor, interceding in our behalf (Isaiah 53:12; 59:16-21; Romans 8:32-34; Hebrews 7:25).
- High Priest – The Old Testament priests offered up to God an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the people. Christ became both our High Priest and atoning sacrifice in one entity (Hebrews 2:17; 3:1; 4:14-15; 7:24-26; 9:11; 10:21).
- Advocate – This is one called to your side to undertake and champion your cause. In secular use it meant a friend of the accused called to speak of and defend his character, while seeking the sympathy of the judge (I John 2:1).
- Propitiation – One who propitiates, wins or regains the good will of one person toward another. Christ fills this role in our lives (I John 2:1-2; Romans 3:24-25).
God manifesting Himself in the flesh is such a beautiful truth (I Timothy 3:16). His being made like unto the brethren brought God in Christ to our sphere and level of suffering; therefore, he is touched with the feeling of our infirmities (Hebrews 2:9-18; 4:14-15). Since He has lived among us He knows how to help us (Romans 8:1-3; Philippians 2:5-11). His flesh is the rent veil and through it we approach the holiness and deity of God for mercy and grace to help in the time of need (Matthew 27:50-51; Hebrews 4:15-16; 6:18-20; 10:19-20). I rejoice in the mediatorship of Christ.
Those who have misused the baptismal formula of Matthew 28:19 (which is explained in Acts 2:38), have tried to develop a triune God, consisting of three separate co-eternal, coexistent, and co-equal persons. Christ is not in the Godhead, the Godhead is in Christ (Colossians 2:9). Jesus is God manifest in the flesh, ascended into the heavens, and coming again for His church (I Timothy 3:16; Acts 1:11).
Jesus Christ, the only true God, deserves our highest praise, our deepest dedication, and best of service. In exalting Him to His rightful place as Lord of all in this lesson, may you be challenged to give Him all of these.
This article “The Godhead (Part II)” was excerpted from: Christian Development Course – A Reason of the Hope Vol. 1 by Crawford D. Coon. Copyright 1987. It may be used for study & research purposes only.