Posts Tagged 'Trinity'

Mystery of the Trinity, Part 2

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There is one Trinity, made up three separate and distinct Persons, who are one. Sound baffling? It should. The Trinity is not easy to understand but the Bible does reveal aspects of each Member of the Trinity to help us understand it better.

The Father: He’s the Creator

In the opening verses of the Bible, we learn something of great importance about God: He is a Creator.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1 | TNIV)

God is the uncreated Creator of our material universe. When we think of the scope and majesty of universe, and even of the earth on which we live, we are humbled by God’s amazing creation. And yet He is greater than what He has created. So great is our Creator-God, that not only did He create our material universe, but He also sustains it!

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15 – 17 | TNIV)

Those three verses tell us even more about our Creator-God: He has a Son, and the material universe was created through Him and for Him! Everything that is; everything that ever was; and everything yet to come is a result of God working through His Son.

Our God is the Creator, and He is the loving Heavenly Father. In describing our “invisible God” this way, we mortals are supposed to be getting the slightest glimpse into the nature and character of the first Person of the Trinity. He is the Father and He creates. He created us and with infinite care He created the world around us. When you think about our world, it’s perfect for us. Looking at nature, you can see the hand of God. In fact, that’s one of the purposes of the nature: to manifest God’s power and His care.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. (Romans 1:20 | TNIV)

That’s an incredible verse. Since the dawn of creation, the universe and the world around us has revealed something of the mind of God for those who would take time to notice. Paul told the Corinthians that God cannot be known by reason alone:

For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. (1 Corinthians 1:21 | TNIV)

Yet God can be known. The thing we learn about God the Father is that He doesn’t force anybody to get to know Him. Man must receive the knowledge of God that is available to Him. Creation exists, not just to keep man alive, but to show Him something of his Creator. One Bible scholar wrote this about creation:

Creation exists as an invitation to dialogue with God.

That’s an excellent way to put it. Certain aspects of creation teach the curious individual something about God, namely, God’s eternal power and the Godhead. We’ve all heard the phrase “greater power,” and that’s precisely what nature shows us about God. The more the curious, critically thinking man looks at nature, the more he becomes aware of how small and powerless he is and how completely dependent upon that greater power he is.

As to the Godhead, when human beings consider the majesty of creation – the world and the universe – they realize that they are not alone. It’s not about aliens, though. It’s about the fact that the universe didn’t come into being by itself and that it is superintended by a great divine power. The universe reveals something of God’s character. Nature, in all its wonder is perfect. It reflects God’s perfection.

In poetry and song, the Bible portrays God the Creator as the God of nature. Man somehow understands this. Think about what the psalmist wrote here:

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1, 2 | TNIV)

He looked to the mountains and the mountains focused his faith on God. The psalmist saw something in the mountain that brought his mind to bear on God and God’s power of deliverance. That’s what Paul was getting at in Romans. Nature was designed by God to at the very least show man that there is a God and to reveal certain aspects of His divine nature and character. While nature can’t save anybody, it can point a sinner in the right direction.

The all-powerful God

In Isaiah 40, we are reading pure prophecy; everything in it was about the future of the citizens of Judah. From the prophet’s vantage point, the coming Babylonian captivity was so certain, he wrote as if it had already happened and they were about to released.

Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. (Isaiah 40:2 | TNIV)

The “hard service” Isaiah referred to would be the 70 years of exile in Babylon; an exile brought about because of their sins. Remember, it hadn’t happened when Isaiah wrote this. The prophet is writing as if had happened and was coming to an end. It’s a literary technique he employed to teach his readers some things they needed to know about the nature and power of God.

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance? Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord, or instruct the Lord as his counselor? Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge, or showed him the path of understanding? Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust. (Isaiah 40:12 – 15 | TNIV)

The main point is that God is greater than His creation. He is greater than man because He would exile an entire nation because of their sin. He would use another nation as His tool of discipline. But look at this group of verses. They show the unbelievable magnitude of God’s power in relation to His what He has made. Nobody could have done what He did and no matter how hard we try, man can’t quite comprehend how God did it all.

In the Book of Job, we read something very similar. Job has nothing to do with the Babylonian captivity, rather, it has to do with the arrogance of men who presume to understand God and understand man. You’re always on very shaky ground presuming that you’ve got God figured out or that you can know another man’s heart. Job was suffering greatly and he essentially blamed God for that suffering – he was sure he was being treated unfairly. But his friends all blamed him. In the end, though, everybody was wrong.

The Lord said to Job: “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!” Then Job answered the Lord: “I am unworthy—how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer—twice, but I will say no more.”. (Job 40:1 – 5 | TNIV)

Job realized that he was “unworthy” to even talk to God. What made Job feel that way were the things God had said in the previous two chapters. Things like this:

Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone—while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? (Job 38:4 – 7 | TNIV)

Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail, which I reserve for times of trouble, for days of war and battle? What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed, or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth? (Job 38:22 – 24 |TNIV)

Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn? Do you count the months till they bear? Do you know the time they give birth? (Job 39:1, 2 | TNIV)

You get the idea both Job and Isaiah were trying to get across. God is so much great than that which He created. As you read those verses, you get the impression, and rightly so, that God not only created all there is but that He watches over creation. In Jeremiah, there is recorded for us a prayer the prophet prayed:

Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you. You show love to thousands but bring the punishment for the parents’ sins into the laps of their children after them. Great and mighty God, whose name is the Lord Almighty, great are your purposes and mighty are your deeds. Your eyes are open to the ways of all; you reward everyone according to their conduct and as their deeds deserve. (Jeremiah 32:17 – 19 | TNV)

God the Creator and the Father is truly all-powerful, and we should stand is silent awe of that part of His character.

Merciful Father

But you shouldn’t get the impression that God is only all-powerful. He so much more than that. God is also a merciful Father.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4 – 7 | TNIV)

God is “rich in mercy,” meaning that He has more than enough mercy to go around. He will never run out of it. Hodges gives a decent definition of “mercy:”

God’s mercy is the divine goodness exercised with respect to the miseries of His creatures, feeling for them, and making provision for their relief, and in the case of impenitent sinners, leading to long-suffering patience.

God’s mercy is astounding. For believers, the Father feels our misery and He provides what we need to relieve our feelings of misery. For the unsaved (“impenitent sinners”), God’s mercy is expressed in patience. What a beautiful picture of mercy. Leaving Hodges, here’s a Biblical description of what mercy looks like:

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:8 – 12 | TNIV)

God is love, but sometimes He gets angry. But because He is full of mercy, His anger dissipates. He doesn’t hold grudges. He doesn’t treat us as we deserve to be treated. That’s mercy! But tucked away in those verses is a profound truth some people don’t like to talk about. God’s love is NOT indiscriminate. His great love is reserved only for those who fear Him. Yes, God loves His creation. As the Creator, why wouldn’t He love what He made? As our Heavenly Father, He loves those who “fear” Him; those who revere Him and respect Him and, sometimes, fear Him.

The first Person of the Trinity is “the Father.” He’s the perfect Father.

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Mystery of the Trinity, Part 1

If you like mysteries, then you’ll enjoy studying the Trinity! There is only one God and only one Trinity and it might well be the most difficulty concept to explain. It is, however, a vitally important doctrine to get right. Church history is littered with churches and groups that got it wrong. There’s an obscure verse is Psalm 50 that shows us why we all need to think correctly about our God:

When you did these things and I kept silent, you thought I was exactly like you. But I now arraign you and set my accusations before you. (Psalm 50:21 | TNIV)

It offends God when we think wrongly about Him. In fact, it’s idolatry to worship a God we have invented in our minds, no matter how sincere we may be. Thinking rightly about God leads to eternal life:

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. (John 17:3 | TNIV)

And knowing God should be the life-long goal of every Christian, not just the eggheads and theologians among us:

This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let those who boast boast about this: that they understand and know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 9:23, 24 | TNIV)

You may wonder how it is possible to know and understand God, after all, He is God and the finite mind cannot possibly hope to comprehend that which is infinite. Paul taught as much when he wrote his letter to the Christians in Rome:

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?” [36] For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen. (Romans 11:33 – 36 | TNIV)

But at the same time, God is understandable to man.

However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived—these things God has prepared for those who love him”—for God has revealed them to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit within? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. (1 Corinthians 2:9 – 11 | TNIV)

Clearly, there are some aspects of God’s nature and character that will never be known to us, at least as long as we are on earth in the flesh. But God has revealed as much of Himself as He deemed necessary and it’s up to us to study the Word to discover the wonder of our God. The more we know about God, the easier it will be to live in obedience to His will.

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law. (Deuteronomy 29:29 | TNIV)

Only one God

The Jews call these verse the Shema and they form the foundation of the Jewish and Christian faiths:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:4, 5 | TNIV)

As we try to understand the Trinity, we need to keep these verses mind. There is only one God, not three. In fact, the word “trinity” means “tri-unity.” But there are different kinds of unity; absolute unity and compound unity. For example, here is an example of compound unity:

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24 | TNIV)

The “one flesh” is a compound unity because we know that when a man and woman get married, two people are involved but they don’t really become a single person in the literal sense.

A completely different word is used to describe an absolute unity, which suggests absolute oneness. Here’s an example:

Put on sackcloth, my people, and roll in ashes; mourn with bitter wailing as for an only son, for suddenly the destroyer will come upon us. (Jeremiah 6:26 | TNIV)

And another:

For I too was a son to my father, still tender, and cherished by my mother. (Proverbs 4:3 | TNIV)

Can you see the difference? “Absolute oneness” refers to a son, for example. He is related to both his parents; he came from both his parents, but he is his own person. That particular Hebrew word is never used to describe the Trinity.

The unity referred to in Deuteronomy 6:4 is compound unity because the word used for “our God” is Elohim, a Hebrew word written in the plural. So our “compound God” is “one God.” The doctrine of the Trinity teaches the unity of God as a compound unity, made up of three Divine Persons united in an eternal, essential unity.

The Shema was key in Hebrew theology and philosophy. Everything descended from the fact that there was only one God, not many gods. Jesus was confronted by some religious folk who intended to trap Him. Read the exchange, and remember that Jesus is the Son of God:

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. (Mark 12:28, 29 | TNIV)

As a member of the Trinity, Jesus was telling the religious leader that there was only one God, not multiple Gods. The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, helps us understand what Jesus was getting at.

So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world” and that “There is no God but one.” For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. (1 Corinthians 8:4 – 6 | TNIV)

A problem had popped up in the Corinthian church concerning some members eating food (meat) offered to idols. Other members thought they shouldn’t be doing that because it was offered to idols. As far as Paul was concerned, where the food came from was of no import because the idol it was sacrificed to represented nothing because, as the Shema says, “there is no God but one.”

People may think there are other “gods,” but in truth there is only one. Other pagan religions have their so-called gods, but they are unreal and they are all subordinate to the only real, supreme God. The one real God is the Father, the source of all there is, and Jesus Christ is the one through whom creation sprang.

Three persons

There is an incident in the life of Jesus that gives us a glimpse into the working of the Trinity and the relationship that exists between its Members.

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”. (Matthew 3:16, 17 | TNIV)

The things that jump off the page are the vision and the voice. The vision was the Spirit of God, in the form of a dove, coming down from heaven and lighting on Jesus. The voice boomed out, “This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” The former showed where the power Jesus would exercise during His earthly ministry would come from, and the latter an assurance that He was truly the Messsiah. The audible voice of God showed that the Father was pleased with His Son’s obedience, both to His will in being baptized by John, and ultimately in the Cross, the culmination of our Lord’s earthly ministry.

As far as the vision of the Holy Spirit goes, it’s debatable whether anybody but Jesus saw this. However, there is very compelling evidence that suggests Jesus saw it and John the Baptist saw it. The latter so that he would truly believe that his cousin was indeed the Messiah. It’s fitting, really, for the Holy Spirit to appear “as a dove.” The Holy Spirit, as mighty and as powerful as He is, is gentle.

The unity of the Trinity may be a bit of a mystery, but it should be something we believe in. Paul gives us an idea of this mysterious unity in his benediction to the Corinthian church:

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14 | TNIV)

As you can see, Paul knew that the members of the Trinity were all involved in various aspects of the lives of God’s people. Keep in mind that Paul wrote his letters and this benediction long before the Church wrote up any kind of formal doctrinal statement concerning the Trinity. From the Son comes grace. From the Father, Love. And the Holy Spirit creates a partnership in life among the believers. The members of the Trinity – all working together to support believers, both individually and corporately.

Distinctiveness

The fact that there is a union of three distinct Persons working together as Paul noted in passing is an important bit of theology. In the early 1900’s, a movement was spreading through the Church known as the “Jesus Only” movement. It was particularly strong in some Pentecostal denominations, where it was known as the “Oneness doctrine.” This doctrine stressed that there was only one person in the Godhead, Jesus. One version of the heretical “Oneness doctrine” held that the Father became Son who became the Holy Spirit. In other words, instead of three separate and distinct Persons who exist simultaneously, the Oneness people viewed the three Persons as consecutive, not simultaneous. A variant of this idea said that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all just manifestations of one God that take place different times and situations.

Though initially this heresy thrived in Pentecostal churches, many of those churches have vanished and others have renounced this heresy.  However, there are still evangelical churches today that preach a version of Oneness Pentecostalism. TD Jakes is a well-known denier of the Trinity. People like Jakes often use the word “trinity” but they don’t hold a traditional, Biblically orthodox view of it. Many Apostolic and holiness churches are non-trinitarian.

The Bible teaches that the Trinity is three separate and distinct Persons, yet one. Each member of the Trinity is the Godhead, yet conscious of the other Two. The Trinity is an eternal fellowship that has existed before the universe was created. God was never alone. That’s not to say there are three Gods. There aren’t. There is only one. The three members of the Trinity work together with a single mind and purpose. In that sense, the three are truly one. While the Father creates; the Son redeems, and the Holy Spirit sanctifies, all three are present and working at the same time.

Yes, the Trinity is a mystery. It’s like trying to grasp a ray of sunshine. But at the same time, the word “trinity” is a product of man, concocted to try to understand this part of God’s nature. Before the Church invented the word, the Trinity was alive and well. It is in that sense, a revealed doctrine. How else could man understand it if God Himself hadn’t revealed it to him?

for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16 | TNIV)

 

 

 

 

 

The Holy Spirit in the Church Today

Jesus Christ lived before His incarnation and continued to live on after His ascension; but for some 30 years in between those two events, He came to earth to perform a specific mission. Having accomplished it, He returned home to be with the Father. So the Holy Spirit came into the world at an appointed time for a specific mission and He too will leave when His mission is completed.

1. Three Dispensations of the Trinity

There are three major dispensations or periods of time in Scriptures that correspond to the Three Persons of the Godhead (the Trinity).

  • The Old Testament is the dispensation of the Father.
  • The New Testament is the dispensation of the Son.
  • The Age of Grace, in between the ascension and the Second Coming of Christ, in the dispensation of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit’s ministry on earth will continue until Jesus comes back, and then another dispensational ministry will begin.

The whole Trinity works together to manifest God during each of the dispensations; each Member exercises an earthly ministry.

  • The Father descends at Sinai;
  • The Son descends at the Incarnation and the Father commends the Son from Heaven;
  • The Spirit descends at Pentecost and the Son commends the Spirit and the Spirit testifies to the Son.

As the Son of God became incarnate in a human body at His birth, so the Holy Spirit became incarnate in the Church, which is His body. This is what happened on the day of Pentecost. What the cradle was to the incarnate Christ so the upper room was to the Holy Spirit. Let’s look at exactly what happened on that day.

The Day of Pentecost

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. (Acts 2:1 NIV)

Birth of the Church

The Feast of Pentecost is a Jewish feast celebrated 50 days after Passover. It’s place within the Jewish calendar is all-important.

  • Passover commemorated the deliverance of Israel from Egypt in the night after the people of God ate the slaughtered lamb in houses marked by it’s blood. This is typical of the death of Christ, the Lamb of God, whose blood shelters us from the judgment of God.
  • On the Sabbath after Passover a sheaf of specially selected barley was reaped by the priests and offered before God as the first-fruits of the harvest. Similar to the tithe principle, it was offered in recognition of God’s rulership and ownership over the forthcoming harvest. This is also typical of Christ as “the first fruits of those fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 15:20). In other words, as He was resurrected, so all believers will be resurrected in due time. He is the guarantee that all believers will follow Him.
  • 49 days follow this offering and on the 50th day, Pentecost, the first two loaves of bread made from the wheat harvest are waved before God, again in acknowledgment of God’s headship over that harvest.

What does all this have to do with what happened in the upper room? The 120 in the upper room were the “first loaves” of the Christian church, offered up to the Lord by the Holy Spirit 50 days after the resurrection of Christ. Those 120 men and women were just the first-fruits of millions of believers that have followed since.

Evidence of Christ’s Glorification

The descent of the Holy Spirit was a “message” from heaven, announcing Christ’s arrival the God’s right hand–

Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. (Acts 2:33 NIV)

The disciples knew that their Lord had ascended because He answered them by the “sound from heaven.”

The Completion of Christ’s Work

The Exodus was not complete until 50 days later, when Israel gathered at Mount Sinai and organized as the people of God. Similarly, the work of the atonement was not completed until, in the fullest sense, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit occurred, as a sign that Christ’s sacrifice was accepted in heaven and that now His work was done.

The Anointing of the Church

As the Lord’s baptism had been followed by His ministry in Galilee, so the baptism of the church was to be preparatory to a world-wide ministry that could only be fulfilled in the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Indwelling of the Church

After the nation organized itself at Mt. Sinai, God came down to dwell in their midst, in the Tabernacle. On the day of Pentecost, God the Holy Spirit came down to dwell in another kind of tabernacle: the collective body (the church) and individual believers.

3. The Ministry of the Spirit

In simplest of terms, the Holy Spirit is Christ’s representative on earth to whom has been committed the administration of the Church until Christ returns. Christ took His position in Heaven at the Father’s right hand (symbolic of a place of high authority), and the Spirit came down to being the work of building up the Body of Christ.

The perfecting of the Body of Christ is the ultimate purpose of the Comforter.

When we read the book of Acts and the Epistles, we get the impression that Paul and Peter and all the very early church leaders utterly depended on the Holy Spirit for guidance in all aspects of their lives and ministry.

The Spirit’s control is recognized in these aspects of the life of the Church:

  • Administration. The expansion of the church in Acts were commanded and approved by the Holy Spirit. Paul was ever-conscious that his whole ministry was inspired by the Holy Spirit. On all his journeys, Paul was guided and protected by the Spirit. The Spirit guided the church in it’s organization. Acts 8:29; 10:19, 44; 13:2, 4; Rom. 15:18—19; etc.
  • Preaching. The first Christians were accustomed to hearing the Word “preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven.” (1 Peter 1:12). Note the words of 1 Thess. 1:5,

[O]ur gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.

A.J. Gordon once observed, “Our age is losing its grip on the supernatural—the pulpit is descending to the level of the platform.”

  • Prayer. Jesus taught His disciples how to pray. We call that prayer “the Lord’s Prayer.” But before leaving, our Lord spoke of a new kind of prayer, prayer “in my name,” John 16:23. This doesn’t mean repeating His name like a kind of magic charm, but by approaching God spiritually, united to Christ by the Spirit.
  • Singing. When they were filled with the Spirit, believers spoke to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord (Ephesians 5:18—19). Being filled with the Spirit means that when you turn and speak to each other and when you sing to God, you do so under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. “Making music in your heart to the Lord” denotes a kind of spontaneous melody of praise and worship to God inspired by the Holy Spirit. In other words, anywhere, anytime is the appropriate time to worship God.
  • Testimony. In the very early church, there was no distinction between the minister and the laity, as we have today. The church was governed by a group or council of elders, but the ministry of preaching or testifying was not confined only to them. They all spoke as the Spirit moved them.

4. The Ascension of the Spirit

What is true of Christ is also true of the Spirit. After He has accomplished His mission during this dispensation, He will return to heaven in a body which He now inhabits—the Church.

According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (1 Thessalonians 4:15—17)


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