The Forgotten Pillar

The Forgotten Pillar…

The Personality of God —

Have you heard of this doctrine before? Did you know that, according to the Spirit of Prophecy, it is one of the pillars of the Seventh-day Adventist faith? It has long been forgotten, but if you are a Seventh-day Adventist, you need to know it if you would have the proper faith once delivered to the saints. No other doctrine so strongly upholds the full divinity of the Messiah. Even if you think you know this subject already, please go through the material anyways, and I’m confident you will learn some new and enlightening things that you have not seen before.

Note: This is the first part of a three-part study. It is spread over four pages. Page one is on the personality of God. Page two treats on the divinity of the Messiah. On page three, we will discuss the error that has displaced this critical pillar. Finally, page four addresses the subject of the ministration of angels. See the bottom of this page for the links to the subsequent pages.

A Special Truth that Has Made Us What We Are

From my girlhood I have been given plain instruction that God is a person, and that Christ is “the express image of His person.”

— E.G. White, Manuscript 137, 1903

There are many issues in our world today in regard to the Creator not being a *personal God. God is a being, and man was made in His image. After God created man in His image, the form was perfect in all its arrangements, but it had no vitality. Then a *personal, self-existing God breathed into that form the breath of life, and man became a living, breathing, intelligent being…
Through Jesus Christ, God—not a perfume, not something **intangible, but a personal Godcreated man and endowed him with intelligence and power.

— E.G. White, Manuscript 117, 1898

*Personal:

“2. Pertaining to the corporal nature; exterior; corporal; as personal charms or accomplishments.”

**Intangible:

“That cannot or may not be touched.”

Webster’s Dictionary, 1828

Oh, the wonderful sophistry that is coming in, the masterly sophistry—that God is an ***essence. We have got a God, a personal God and a personal Saviour, and Satan is seeking with all his wiles to seduce men and women to become as gods themselves and flattering them to have a higher and higher class of education. But we want the lower class. That is the highest for us to obtain, because self lives.

— E.G. White, Manuscript 153, 1904

***Essence:

“An immaterial or spiritual entity.”

Immaterial:

“Not formed of matter; incorporeal; spiritual.”

Collins Dictionary in British English

“Go, ye therefore,” He said, “and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father (a personal God) and of the Son (a personal Prince and Saviour), and of the Holy Ghost (sent from heaven to represent Christ)”

— E.G. White, Manuscript 41, 1897 (parentheses not mine)

[Notice that, unlike the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit is not said to be “personal,” which is why it can be an “essence” that is everywhere]:

The believers in all ages are to be one, and the Holy Spirit is the living essence that cements, animates, and pervades the whole body of Christ’s followers.

— E.G. White, Manuscript 8c, 1891

The same Spirit is also in all nature:

The farmer plows his land and sows the seed, but he cannot make the seed grow. He must depend upon God to do that which no human power can do. The Lord puts His own Spirit into the seed, causing it to spring into life.

— E.G. White, 8 Testimonies, p. 326

Not by its own inherent energy does the earth produce its bounties, and year by year continue its motion around the sun. An unseen hand guides the planets in their circuit of the heavens. A mysterious life pervades all nature—a life that sustains the unnumbered worlds throughout immensity, that lives in the insect atom which floats in the summer breeze, that wings the flight of the swallow and feeds the young ravens which cry, that brings the bud to blossom and the flower to fruit…

For all the objects of His creation the condition is the same—a life sustained by receiving the life of God, a life exercised in harmony with the Creator’s will.

— E.G. White, Education, p. 99

The Spirit of God is obviously and wonderfully upholding the whole universe, but is this where God Himself is? No, that would be impossible, for He is a tangible person. And where is He?

The Bible shows us God in His high and holy place, not in a state of inactivity, not in silence and solitude, but surrounded by ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of holy beings, all waiting to do His will. Through these messengers He is in active communication with every part of His dominion. By His Spirit He is everywhere present. Through the agency of His Spirit and His angels He ministers to the children of men.

Above the distractions of the earth He sits enthroned; all things are open to His divine survey; and from His great and calm eternity He orders that which His providence sees best.

— E.G. White, Ministry of Healing, p. 417

Let’s read earlier in the same book and see even clearer now the relation between God and His Spirit:

Rightly understood, both the revelations of science and the experiences of life are in harmony with the testimony of Scripture to the constant working of God in nature.

The mighty power that works through all nature and sustains all things is not, as some men of science claim, merely an all-pervading principle, an actuating energy. God is a spirit; yet He is a personal being, for man was made in His image. As a personal being, God has revealed Himself in His Son. Jesus, the outshining of the Father’s glory, “and the express image of His person” (Hebrews 1:3), was on earth found in fashion as a man. As a personal Savior He came to the world. As a personal Savior He ascended on high. As a personal Savior He intercedes in the heavenly courts. Before the throne of God in our behalf ministers “One like the Son of man.” Daniel 7:13.

The apostle Paul, writing by the Holy Spirit, declares of Christ that “all things have been created through Him, and unto Him; and He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:16, 17, R.V., margin. The hand that sustains the worlds in space, the hand that holds in their orderly arrangement and tireless activity all things throughout the universe of God, is the hand that was nailed to the cross for us.

The greatness of God is to us incomprehensible. “The Lord’s throne is in heaven” (Psalm 11:4); yet by His Spirit He is everywhere present. He has an intimate knowledge of, and a personal interest in, all the works of His hand.

Ibid., pp. 131-132

Notice that God is a Spirit, or as the Revised, margin more correctly translates it, “God is spirit”—as in His nature, in contrast to our mortal nature, just as “God is light” and “God is love” as John says in his first epistle. His spiritual nature is all-powerful and from His Throne, in His infinite knowledge, He can manifest His power in all places, upholding every atom in the universe.

The word and works of Christ testified to a divine power which accomplishes miraculous results, of a future, eternal life exalted above the finite life, of God as a Father to the children of men … He was not an intangible spirit, but a living ruler of the universe.

— E.G. White, 3 Spiritual of Prophecy, p. 47

It is truly amazing and beyond what we can comprehend. He manifests Himself in all the universe by His own “working,” or activity, in it. This working power is not Himself but His Spirit, and both the Bible and the writings of Sister White express it as His “hand,” showing that it is His own personal working. We cannot have a relationship with His activity, but we can have a relationship with Him who works from His Eternal Throne in heaven.

My hand is still myself, just as God’s Spirit is Himself, but you are not to have a relationship with my hand but with me personally. Likewise, it is the Messiah, whose personal presence is in heaven, that we are to have a relationship with. Our Lord’s upholding “hand” that works throughout the universe by the will of His Father, is figurative, of course, representing His work, and thus Himself, and the Spirit of Prophecy states this as follows:

“The Holy Spirit is the representative of God.” 

— E.G. White, General Conference Bulletin, 3/4/1895

God cannot personally be in all places at once, thus He sends His representative, which can act on His behalf, taking the Name of God and of the Messiah, though not themselves. He, though in heaven, is the One who is working; therefore, wherever His Spirit is working can be said to be His own presence, just not in person but independent thereof. Thus, as one of our pioneers wrote:

God by His Spirit may fill heaven and earth, etc. Some confound God with His Spirit, which makes confusion.”

— J.B. Frisbie, Review and Herald, 3/7/1854

We need no longer be confused. In biblical language, oftentimes when God does, or even permits, an action, it is said to be Himself there doing it, His actions being reckoned as Himself. Thus, when it is written, “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:6) or “the Messiah in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27), it is not a pantheistic god but only God and His Son representing themselves by the Spirit, for they are ultimately controlling the operations of the entire universe. This is the truth that Seventh-day Adventists originally believed, but has sadly been forgotten, just as with so many other things that they originally taught or practiced.

Let not any man enter upon the work of tearing down the foundations of the truth that have made us what we are. God has led His people forward step by step, though there were pitfalls of error on every side…

Those who seek to remove the old landmarks are not holding fast; they are not remembering how they have received and heard. Those who try to bring in theories that would remove the pillars of our faith concerning the sanctuary, or concerning the personality of God or of Christ, are working as blind men. They are seeking to bring in uncertainties and to set the people of God adrift, without an anchor…

When men come in who would move one pin or pillar from the foundation which God has established by His Holy Spirit, let the aged men who were pioneers in our work speak plainly, and let those who are dead speak also by reprinting of their articles in our periodicals. Gather up the rays of divine light that God has given as He has led His people on step by step in the way of truth. This truth will stand the test of time and trial.

— E.G. White, Manuscript 62, 1905

Do not, I beg of you, listen to the unbelief that will be crowded into your mind, and sophistries. Some are to depart from the faith. Where are they? Who are they? Who is departing from the faith laid down, the very foundation that we were on a [half] century ago? We are on the very same foundation; we have the same evidence, and we worked on it day and night, to know in regard to the sanctuary question, and in regard to the personality of God, and of Christ, and of all these subjects.

There were only a few of us, but we would get together, and we would begin in the early evening, and work through the truth, and then they would get to the point: “We cannot handle that; we must give it up; we cannot handle it.”

The power of God came upon me then, and light was reflected through the frail instrument, and it was brought out clearly. Again and again, and over and over, as it was opposed, there substantiated; every species of doctrine that we had been holding.

Now, you see, it is not possible for us to let go of this and take hold of some of these new suppositions and fallacies. We cannot do it. And I mean to present before the people, how God has wrought.

You have listened to *Elder Loughborough. He was with us from almost the first of our work, and he knows and he understands these things, and others understand them.

— E.G. White, Manuscript 138, 1906

* J.N. Loughborough wrote an article called “Is God a Person?” As you continue on to the third page, you will see a link to read it.

4 thoughts on “The Forgotten Pillar

  • 2021-12-03 at 5:41 pm
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    Happy Sabbath
    This scripture has been incorrectly stated as 1 Corinthians 6:8. It should read 1 Corinthians 8:6.

    But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we unto him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we through Him.

    — 1 Corinthians 6:8

    Reply
  • 2022-08-23 at 9:20 am
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    ” …..beacuse we were created in God’s image as humans, the humanity of Jesus qualifies as to receive His personal attributes in terms of our character perfection.”

    Reply
    • 2022-08-24 at 3:52 pm
      Permalink

      That’s an interesting quote, brother. I did a search and could not find it anywhere. Could you please share where this quote comes from? 🙂

      Reply

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