"The nature of the Holy Spirit is a mystery. Men cannot explain it, because the Lord has not revealed it to them... Regarding such mysteries, which are too deep for human understanding, silence is golden." Acts of the Apostles p52.
If 'silence is golden' -- What are those things we must not discuss?
Some people think this means we should not discuss anything about the Holy Spirit, but this is not so. It is the nature of the Holy Spirit.
In our discussion about God Himself we need to be careful also.
"In regard to the personality and prerogatives of God, where He is, and what He is, this is a subject which we are not to dare to touch. On this theme silence is eloquence." Medical Ministry 92.
Another quote says, "The revelation of Himself that God has given in His Word is for our study. This we may seek to understand. But beyond this we are not to penetrate. . . . None are to indulge in speculation regarding His nature. Here silence is eloquence. The Omniscient One is above discussion." Faith I Live By p41.
"I say, and have ever said, that I will not engage in controversy with any one in regard to the nature and personality of God. Let those who try to describe God know that on such a subject silence is eloquence." Spalding and Magan. p329.
On what are we to be silent? God’s personality and nature, His prerogatives, where He is, and what He is. It is God’s nature we are not to discuiss, or the nature of the Holy Spirit -- silence is golden and silence is eloquence.
Sister White said, "…men having fanciful views may bring together passages of Scripture and put a human construction on them", but this will not strengthen the church. Ibid. We all have a responsibility to make certain we do not do this.
In our studies it is essential we put together texts that rightly represent God and the Holy Spirit. Our method must be exegesis. When we say something on the subject we must back it up with Scripture, verses that actually say what we say they say. Discussions with eisegesis will end up involving fanciful views that have a human construction. These texts will not prove our point.
How many times have we heard non-Adventists put together texts to prove Christians go to heaven when they die, or the wicked go to an ever-burning hell? We know the texts they quote are subjective to their own ideas.
Sadly, it is equally true that Adventists are putting together texts to prove the Trinity. They prove nothing except that their method of study is eisegesis. For instance, Genesis 1:2 does not prove a Trinity, neither does Isaiah 6:3, but well-meaning brethren are using them.
In the writings of the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy, the picture is constantly shown that where the Spirit is, there is the Father and the Son.
To make this concept clear the prophet stated the following in a talk to the students at Avondale College.
“Present your bodies a living sacrifice… (Romans 12:1.2. quoted in full) … The Lord says this because He knows it is for our good. He would build a wall around us, to keep us from transgression, so that His blessing and love may be bestowed on us in rich measure. This is the reason we have established a school here. The Lord instructed us that this was the place in which we should locate, and we have had every reason to think that we are in the right place. We have been brought together as a school, and we need to realize that the Holy Spirit, who is as much a person as God is a person, is walking through these grounds, that the Lord God is our keeper, and helper. He hears every word we utter and knows every thought of the mind.” Manuscript 66. 1899. Talk at Avondale School. April 15. 1899. (Emphasis added) Compare 2 Corinthians 6:16.
The prophet is not speaking about another co-eternal, co-equal Being called the Holy Spirit. She is reminding the students that they must regard the Lord God as being personally with them in Spirit, although He could not be seen. The part underlined in the above quotation is the only section placed in the book Evangelism p616. This gives a completely different understanding, and it has influenced many brethren.
Another area of concern is the word ‘representative’.
“The Holy Spirit is Christ’s representative, but divested of the personality of humanity, and independent thereof. Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally. Therefore it was for their interest that He should go to the Father, and send the Spirit to be His successor on earth. No one could then have any advantage because of his location or his personal contact with Christ. By the Spirit, the Saviour would be accessible to all. In this sense He would be nearer to them than if He had not ascended on high.” The Desire of Ages p669.
This statement is clear enough for a mind that is open to the truth, but many take hold of words "Christ’s representative" as another God-Being, other than Christ. Or that Christ would “send the Spirit to be His successor”.
The word ‘divested’ is often a stumbling block.
According to the dictionary, ‘divest’ means ‘to unclothe, to strip, to uncover, denude, bare, undress, disrobe, dismantle, shed, doff, peel, skin, expose, lay open’. The only person who can do this to ‘humanity’ is Jesus Christ. Sister White uses the same word when referring to Christ, saying He “divested Himself of the form of God.” 5BGC 1127. Note that the Holy Spirit – if another God-Being of the Trinity – did not have humanity to divest.
The above quotation from ‘The Desire of Ages’ is very clear, however, the original Spirit of Prophecy statement is even clearer. It states, “Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally, therefore it was altogether for their advantage that He should leave them, go to His Father and send the Holy Spirit to be His successor on earth. The Holy Spirit is Himself divested of the personality of humanity and independent thereof. He would represent Himself as present in all places by His Holy Spirit, as the omnipresent.” Manuscript Release 1084. 1899.
Look again at the words, “The Holy Spirit is Himself (Christ) divested (stripped, dismantled) of the personality of humanity….”
In other words, Christ would come Himself, by His omnipresent Spirit. For Christ to divest Himself of humanity does not mean that He stripped Himself of personality. It simply means that in Spirit He is free from the limitations of the flesh. This is quite clear when comparing other Spirit of Prophecy statements.
“The Holy Spirit has a personality, else He could not bear witness to our spirits, and with our spirits that we are the children of God. He must also be a divine person, else He could not search out the secrets which lie hidden in the mind of God. "For what man knoweth the things of a man save the spirit of man, which is in him, even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God’.” Manuscript 20. 1906.
Unfortunately, some brethren are charging those who do not believe the Trinity as stating that the Holy Spirit is not a person, or that He lacks a personality. Statements are made such as ‘Could we grieve the Holy Spirit if it were only a force? Can we sin against a force or an influence?’
But this charge is entirely false.
There are certainly non-personal symbols used to describe the Spirit – wind, fire, water, oil, dove, lamps, breath, horns, eyes. Jesus used words like -- I am the door, the living water, the sheep fold, the way, the seed, the bread of life etc. We know what He meant. It is the same with the Spirit. These are descriptions of the work of the Spirit, not the Spirit itself.
The Spirit is indeed a person. He is the person of Jesus Christ in the Spirit, and although invisible to mortal eyes, He has all the personality of Christ in the flesh.
When Christ entered within the heavenly gates, He was enthroned, and the “Father gave His Spirit without measure to His Son…” The Great Controversy p477. 1888. Review & Herald. Nov 5. 1908.
“How quickly Christ fulfilled His promise, and sent from the heavenly courts the guarantee of His love! After His inauguration, the Spirit came and Christ was indeed glorified, even with the glory which He had from all eternity with the Father. During His humiliation upon this earth, the Spirit had not descended with all its efficacy; and Christ declared that if He went not away, it would not come, but that if he went away, He would send it. It was a representation of Himself, and after He was glorified, it was manifest.” Signs of the Times. May 17. 1899.
“Henceforth through the Spirit, Christ was to abide continually in the hearts of the children. Their union with Him was closer than when He was personally with them. The light, and love, and power of the in-dwelling Christ shone out through them, so that men, beholding, ‘marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus’. (Acts 4:13)…
We may be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Receiving Christ, we are clothed with power. An indwelling Saviour makes His power our property… Christ’s presence in the heart is a vitalizing power, strengthening the entire being. Never feel that Christ is far away. He is always near. His loving presence surrounds you.” The Faith I Live By p62.
“And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba Father.” Galatians 4:6. 2:20.
If your mind keeps becoming Trinitarian in concept, do not become discouraged. It was the same with the disciples. Even though He told them that “by the Spirit…. He would manifest Himself to them”, they did not understand. He explained its meaning to them again and again in different ways. The Desire of Ages p670.
“Jesus had opened before His disciples a vast tract of truth. But it was most difficult for them to keep His lessons distinct from the traditions and maxims of the scribes and Pharisees. They had been educated to accept the teaching of the rabbis as the voice of God, and it still held a power over their minds, and molded their sentiments.
Earthly ideas, temporal things, still had a large place in their thoughts. They did not understand the spiritual nature of Christ’s kingdom, though He had so often explained it to them. Their minds had become confused. They did not comprehend the value of the Scriptures Christ presented. Many of His lessons seemed almost lost upon them. Jesus saw that they did not lay hold of the real meaning of His words. He compassionately promised that the Holy Spirit should recall these sayings to their minds.” Desire of Ages p670.
Are you having the same problem as the disciples?
Claim the promise that the Spirit – Christ’s Spirit – will explain the meaning of the Scriptures to you.
“Ask and it shall be given you. Seek, and ye shall find”. Matthew 7:7