THE DIVINE TRINITY
First let us consider the divine Trinity. The first time the Bible clearly speaks of the divine Trinity is in Matthew 28:19. In that verse the Lord commanded the disciples, saying, “Go therefore and disciple all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” This verse clearly mentions the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. Although the Triune God was revealed in the Old Testament, it was not until the Lord Jesus, who is God, passed through four crucial steps—incarnation, human living, crucifixion, and resurrection—that He spoke to His disciples before ascending to heaven, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and disciple all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:18-19). The name signifies the person. Hence, to baptize people into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is to baptize people into the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Thus, it was after His resurrection that the Lord Jesus clearly spoke of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, because before His resurrection, the Spirit of the Triune God—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit—was not yet completed. This is the reason John 7:39 says, “For the Spirit was not yet, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” When was Jesus glorified? He was glorified in resurrection (Luke 24:26). Therefore, after His resurrection, the Spirit was completed.
THE HEAVENS, THE EARTH, AND ALL THINGS BEING FOR MAN
We must realize that God was our God in eternity past, before the existence of the heavens and the earth. He is God who is triune—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. However, before the creation, this Triune God had not passed through any process; He was simply the eternal God. There was no human element in Him because man was not yet created. There was no human essence, and at that time there were no human beings living in the universe. He had not passed through the all-inclusive death and had not entered into resurrection. In eternity past, this Triune God was simply triune—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. However, He had a plan; He wanted to dispense Himself into the men whom He had chosen. This is the focus, and this is His goal. However, where were the men whom He had chosen?
In order to have the men whom He had chosen as the object of His glorious work, He created the heavens and the earth and all things in the universe. Speaking from the view of the existence of mankind, the heavens are for the earth. If there is sunshine, rain, and air, the creatures on earth can exist. The earth is mainly for the creatures—the plants and animals. Then for whom are the plants and animals? They are for us. Medical doctors have told us that for our existence, we need plants, animals, and minerals. With the support of these three we can live. Through the working together of the sunshine, water, and air from the heavens and the plants, animals, and minerals from the earth, we can live.
THE TRIUNE GOD HAVING PASSED THROUGH A PROCESS
After the creation of the heavens and the earth and all things in them, God created man. After the creation of man, God could come to dispense Himself into man. When God came, He came not in the person of the Father but in the person of the Son. Although He came in the person of the Son, it does not mean that the Father was left behind, but it means that the Father came in the Son. Furthermore, when the Son came, He came mingled with the Spirit. The Son became flesh with the Father in Him and also with the Spirit. Therefore, the Bible does not say that the Son became flesh, but it says that God became flesh (John 1:1, 14). The One who became flesh is the very Triune God, the complete God. In this way the process proceeded step by step.
The first step was that this eternal God completed the work of creation, and He Himself came into the man whom He had chosen. The second step was His living on the earth for thirty-three and a half years. In those thirty-three and a half years He simply lived a human life. He experienced all the human hardships, sufferings, temptations, trials, and persecutions. In this process He manifested that He was the complete God and the perfect man. As God, He had no lack—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit were all included in Him. As man, He had no shortage—He was absolutely perfect. He was such a One, both God and man, the mysterious God-man. Therefore, He was qualified to accomplish the third step, that is, to die on the cross. Furthermore, He died with seven statuses: first, the Lamb of God (John 1:29); second, a man in the flesh (John 1:14; Rom. 8:3); third, the brass serpent (John 3:14); fourth, the last Adam (1 Cor. 15:45; Rom. 6:6); fifth, the Firstborn of all creation (Col. 1:15); sixth, the Peacemaker (Eph. 2:14-16); and seventh, the grain of wheat (John 12:24). The first six items dealt with the negative things to eliminate the things that should not have been there. The last item, on the positive side, released the divine life that we may receive life. Now He has passed through the all-inclusive death to clear away all the negative things, including sin—our sinful nature—the sins which we committed, Satan, the satanic world, the flesh, the old man, the old creation, and the divisions, the ordinances, and the habits among human beings. Like a great broom, His death swept away all the negative things in the universe. He was also the divine grain of wheat who through death released the divine life within Him.
The fourth step was that He resurrected. Through resurrection His body entered into glory and He became the life-giving Spirit. In this we can see that this life-giving Spirit is the ultimate consummation of the processed Triune God, who passed through incarnation, human living, death, and resurrection. At this point the Triune God is not merely God; in Him is the human nature, the human element, the human living, the effectiveness of His all-inclusive death, and the element of His resurrection. Now this rich Triune God is consummated as the life-giving Spirit. This life-giving Spirit is the Lord Jesus today. The Lord is the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:17). The Spirit was not yet before His resurrection (John 7:39), but the Spirit was there after His resurrection. What we mean by “was there” is that the Spirit is the ultimate consummation of the processed Triune God. Now, when we call upon the name of the Lord, the Spirit comes into us to be received by us. In speaking, this is very deep, but it is very simple in our experience. This is the way the Triune God is dispensed into us. We first need to grasp this point.
(The Full Knowledge of the Word of God, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)