“O LORD, THOU ART THE SPIRIT”
In 1963, I began to compile an English hymnal with the help of an American brother, and I wrote a hymn that says, “O Lord, Thou art the Spirit now.” I also wrote another hymn that says, “O Lord, Thou art the Spirit!/How dear and near to me.” In 1964, I went to New York to lead a conference and training, and this American brother also went. There was a dissenting brother who, upon seeing this American brother polishing these hymns, said to him, “Don’t work on these hymns.”
After a few days, I sat down to fellowship with this dissenting brother. He said, “The Bible does say that Christ is the Spirit, but today Christianity cannot accept this. If you speak this, you will stir up opposition from Christianity.” Then I said, “Brother, my burden today is mainly to speak on Christ as the Spirit. If I do not speak this, I have nothing to speak. I ask that you and the other brothers give me the liberty. If we are afraid of opposition, then what will the Lord’s recovery do? When Martin Luther spoke on justification by faith during his time, he was very much opposed by the Catholic Church. Did he stop speaking because he was afraid of people’s opposition? If he did not speak, from where would the Reformation have come? Today, the Lord’s recovery is still not completed, we cannot stop speaking simply because we are afraid of people’s opposition.”
THE ETERNAL FATHER BEING THE REDEEMER FROM OF OLD
Isaiah 9:6 says, “For a child is born to us,/A son is given to us…/And His name will be called/Wonderful Counselor,/Mighty God,/Eternal Father,/Prince of Peace.” These two terms—Mighty God and Eternal Father—are placed next to each other. On the one hand, He is the mighty God; on the other hand, He is the eternal Father. We need to read the subsequent portions in Isaiah for an explanation of the term Eternal Father. To interpret every verse of the Bible, we need the entire Bible.
Isaiah 63:16 says, “For You are our Father, / Since Abraham does not know us,/And Israel does not acknowledge us./You, Jehovah, are our Father;/Our Redeemer from of old is Your name.” Here our Father and our Redeemer are put together. Both our Father and our Redeemer are Jehovah. Jehovah in the Old Testament is Jesus in the New Testament. Je- refers to Jehovah, and -sus, which was added, means Savior. Jehovah becoming the Savior is Jesus. Here it says, “You, Jehovah, are our Father;/Our Redeemer from of old is Your name.” This One is Jesus. Here it does not say, “You, God, are our Father” but “You, Jehovah, are our Father.” This Father is Jehovah our Savior, who is Jesus. Could it be that Isaiah was telling us about two Fathers: one Father—the eternal Father—in 9:6 and another Father—Jehovah—in 63:16? This is impossible!
Isaiah 64:8 says, “But now, Jehovah, You are our Father.” Then 63:16 says, “You, Jehovah, are our Father;/Our Redeemer from of old is Your name.” This implies that Jehovah is our Father from of old. Jehovah being our Father from of old equals His being our eternal Father. From of old means from eternity, eternally existing. The eternal Father, the Redeemer, from of old, is the One who is our Father from of old. Then 64:8 says, “But now, Jehovah, You are our Father.” Jehovah is our Father from of old, and now He is still our Father. According to what is recorded in the entire book of Isaiah, we can conclude that “Eternal Father” in 9:6 is both Jehovah and Jesus. Hence, 9:6 says that although He is the Son, His name is called Eternal Father. This means that He is the Son as well as the Father.
There is a group of opposers near Orange County, California in the United States who studied Isaiah 9:6. In the record of their studies there was a conversation like this: One said, “Isaiah 9:6 surely said that Jesus is the Father!” Another said, “Yes, but we dare not say so. If we say so, then we contradict the traditional teaching.” These words were all printed in the booklet we wrote in rebuttal. Up to today, however, at least five or six years have gone by, and they still have not published a book to refute our rebuttal. This is because they have no ground to refute. The truth is the truth.
In Isaiah 9:6 there is another proof that the Son is the eternal Father. This poetic prophecy was written in couplets. In the Hebrew language, couplets are often employed to refer to the same thing. “For a child is born to us, / A son is given to us” is a couplet. Then it goes on to say, “And His name will be called…/Mighty God,/Eternal Father.” The child being called Mighty God and the Son being called Eternal Father are also a couplet. The mighty God is simply Jehovah God; the eternal Father is just another way of saying it. This means that the mighty God and the eternal Father form a pair poetically. This is to say that the eternal Father is the mighty God, just as the child is the Son and the Son is the child in the previous line.
As to His becoming a man, He is the child who was born of Mary in a manger. But as to His eternal divinity, He is the Son of God. This One who is the child and the Son is the mighty God and the eternal Father. Since Jesus is the child and the Son, He is the mighty God and the eternal Father. The infant Jesus who was born in a manger is the mighty God and the eternal Father. The child and the Son are one; the mighty God and the eternal Father are also one. Whether it be the child, the Son, the mighty God, or the eternal Father, they are all only one Person; they all refer to the all-inclusive Christ.
(Five Great Mysteries in the Bible, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)