GOD PROGRESSIVELY REVEALED
God is revealed in the Bible in a progressive way. The different names for Him are gradually introduced, each indicating something further about Him. In Genesis 1:1 He is called God, and we are told that He created the heaven and the earth. In Genesis 2 the title Jehovah is added, and we are told that “Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (v. 7, Heb.).
When we come to the New Testament, we have Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:1). Do not think that God, Jehovah, and Jesus Christ refer to three different Gods. These are all names for the one God. The word Jesus simply means Jehovah is salvation. Jesus Christ is not distinct from the Jehovah of the Old Testament. Throughout the Gospels He is usually called Jesus. In the Acts the Spirit descends (2:1-4). This term, the Spirit, is used over and over again in the Epistles (e.g., Rom. 8:5; Gal. 3:2-3; Eph. 4:3; 1 Tim. 4:1; 1 John 3:24). Then in Revelation there are the seven Spirits (Rev. 4:5; 5:6), and finally, in the last chapter, the Spirit and the bride (22:17).
Be assured that all these terms refer to the one God. Do you believe in this one God, as revealed throughout the Bible? If your God is only God and Jehovah, you are in the same position as the Jews. Most Christians claim to believe in all sixty-six books of the Bible, but as far as their practical living goes, their experience does not reach to Romans 8. Concerning the Spirit, they have not much understanding nor experience.
The Lord Jesus today is more than the Savior, the One who shed His blood to cleanse us from our sins. After His resurrection, as the last Adam He became the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45). The last Adam is simply the incarnated Jesus Christ, who was crucified for us, was buried, and then in resurrection became a life-giving Spirit. Second Corinthians 3:17 states, “Now the Lord is the Spirit.” That “Lord” here is referring to Christ, not God, is clear from the context. Verse 14 says the veil is done away in Christ. Verse 16 continues that when the heart “shall turn to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” Obviously Christ and Lord are interchangeable here. A few verses farther on, in 4:5, there is another confirmation: “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord.”
To say that Christ is the Spirit offends some Christians; it seems to them we are mixing up two of the Persons of the Trinity. We have no obligation to support the traditional explanation of the Trinity. Our interest and our concern is with what the Bible reveals. Martin Luther in his day defied the traditions of Catholicism when he saw the light regarding justification by faith. Now that truth has been recovered. The Catholic Church, however, still rejects it. When we were in Switzerland last year, we saw a carving of a woman, representing the Roman Catholic Church, who was kicking away two men, Luther and Calvin.
Christianity today has a traditional theology. The light conflicts with that. We have no choice as to which we will accept. The Bible clearly tells us that God took the step of becoming flesh (John 1:1, 14). He was called Jesus. He shed His blood on the cross to redeem us. When He arose from the dead, He took the second step and became the life-giving Spirit. He became flesh to accomplish redemption for us. He became the Spirit to impart life into us. Second Timothy 4:22 says, “The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit.” He can be with our spirit because He also is Spirit.
The general view is that the Lord Jesus has ascended into heaven and is now sitting on the throne. He has sent the Holy Spirit down to us to represent Him. Such an explanation is based upon one aspect of the divine revelation but disregards all the verses which clearly say that Christ is in us (e.g., Gal. 2:20; Col. 1:27; 2 Cor. 13:5). To say that it is the Holy Spirit representing Christ in us is a complicated explanation to support this shortsighted belief, which leans heavily on the side of God being three and is weak on the side of God being one.
Christ and the Spirit are like electricity. The source of the electricity is the power plant where it is produced. That electricity is the very electricity which comes into the meeting hall, transmitted as the electric current. The electric power we use in the meeting hall is not a representative of the electricity in the power plant! The Lord Jesus is the Spirit; He is both in the heavens and in us. This is the simple, clear teaching of the Scripture; we do not distort it to fit traditional beliefs.
At the beginning of the Bible God is revealed as the Creator and later as Jehovah. Then He became our Redeemer by passing through incarnation, death, and resurrection. Now He is the life-giving Spirit, with all the experiences through which He passed incorporated into Him. This all-inclusive Spirit, the processed Triune God, is now in our spirit. The two spirits are mingled as one.
(Life Messages, Vol. 2 (#42-75), Chapter 34, by Witness Lee)