The Three Witnesses
by Glenn A. Cook
Meat In Due Season
Vol 1 No 6 Los Angeles, California June 1915
“This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is true.”I John 5:6
How plainly the writer sets forth the simple plan of salvation here. Jesus came through the water, but not by water only. He shed His precious blood, the Spirit also bearing witness in the form of a dove and a voice plainly declared His Sonship. If Jesus told John it was necessary for Him to come by the water route to be recognized as the Son of God we fail to see how God is going to make allowance for us if we do not also. If He spared not His Son we believe He will not spare us in open rebellion to His word. The Spirit bears witness to the water and the blood, and when He bears witness He speaks. He still has a voice, and if people will trust the blood and be baptized rightly (in the Name of Jesus Christ) the Spirit will witness, not by making you jump or shout, your own spirit can make you do that, and you may do that also when the Spirit witnesses, but a voice will be heard and those in hearing distance will know that you are a son of God.
“For there are three that bear record in Heaven, the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one.” I John 5:7
John here plainly declares that the three are one. He does not state the name of the one, as at the time of the epistle it would have been superfluous. It was generally recognized among Christians at that time that “in Jesus dwelt the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Their only teacher was the Holy Ghost, and it was an easy matter for Him to take the Old Testament and show them that Christ was God and their Saviour. These simple Spirit-filled saints easily comprehended that all that had been written about the fatherhood of God and every manifestation of His presence in the earth was now fulfilled in His Son, even the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit made plain to them the only avenue through which God could be comprehended and understood by fallen humanity was by Jesus Christ, who had truly told them that He was the way, the truth and the life. The Scribes and Pharisees and worldly-wise fought this teaching then and have never ceased to fight it. For this reason the so-called Christian Church is practically united in using the form of Father, Son and Holy Ghost in all their ceremonies. The fact that an apostate church is practically united in regard to this teaching should be enough to convince Spirit-filled saint that something is wrong with it. We thank God for the Spirit of Truth who has come to reveal to us the Holy One (not two or three) of Israel, is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ.
But, says a contentious brother, how could God speak from heaven and say “this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased,” and at the same time be in the River Jordan being baptized by John? We will answer by asking another question. How can several hundred or any number of persons have a complete Jesus dwelling in their hearts and still there is only one Jesus? Great is the mystery of Godliness, and our only place of safety is in what God has spoken through His Holy prophets. John says the three are one and we are willing to take John at his word even if we do not fully comprehend it.
“And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit and the water and the blood, and these three agree in one.” I John 5:8
Here are the three witnesses again. This makes three sets of threes, and when they are all added together we only have two remaining. This is some of God’s arithmetic. You will never be able to figure this way until you attend God’s school conducted by the Holy Ghost. These two are Jesus Christ and the new creature in Jesus Christ, so in reality we have only one. The great trouble with many of our Pentecostal brethren is that they have been trying to use the earthly knowledge they have picked up in man’s schools to comprehend things that are not according to the understanding of the natural man.
How nicely Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost fits in John’s theology. “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” These folks were red-handed with the murder of the Son of God, and to be baptized in His name meant to trust in the very sacrifice they had helped to make. Here the water and the blood are brought forth, and verse 41 states they gladly received the word and were baptized. Can we doubt they received the Holy Ghost when Peter had told them they would receive Him?
Many of the fearful are drawing back when God begins to deal with the water. This is to be expected as this has always been God’s method of testing His people, and they have always rebelled to the water. Gideon’s army came down to the water 10,000 strong, but when the test came only 300 stood it. The only escape from Egypt was through the water, and the only entrance into Canaan was through the water. When they came to the water the only thing they could see was the water, but when they went through the water they could see what was on the other side.
Many of our precious brethren are crying out that there is nothing in this issue but a little water. We confess that is all they will be able to see until they go through. We have failed to find a single case so far where a person has been honestly convicted and baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, but what a revelation was received that fully justified the step.
When in Indianapolis the test was put to a large congregation as to how many had been baptized in some manner whether saint or sinner, to our surprise nearly every hand went up. We then stated it as our belief that although nearly all had been baptized in some manner, hardly two could be found in the crowd who were perfectly agreed in regard to baptism. This is practically the condition throughout the Pentecostal movement. It is useless to cry for unity on the basis of two witness when God demands three. We can say we are truly sorry for a few would-be wise ones who are standing in the way of God bringing together a great company of saints who are agreed on the water, the Spirit and the blood.
The battle will be short and God will have His company and then we will see how He will make them agree in one, even one body that will rule and reign with Jesus Christ.
From Apostolic Standard