I and He
Those passages in the New Testament where Jesus speaks of the Holy Spirit as
"He" while speaking of Himself as "I" would be eccentric indeed
if Jesus intends to communicate that He is the Holy Spirit.
People can get used to Bob Dole going around saying, 'Bob
Dole did this, Bob Dole did that', yet they could hardly get
accustomed to hearing Bob Dole say, 'Bob Dole did this, whereas
I did that'. Examples:
"But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father,
the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He
will testify of Me." (John 15:26).
"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in
My name, He will teach you all things, and bring
to your remembrance all things that I said to you."
"However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you
into all truth...He will glorify Me, for He will
take of what is Mine and declare it to you." (John 16:13-14).
"And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another
Helper, that He may abide with you forever -- the Spirit
of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither
sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with
you and will be in you." (John 14:16-17). Why say "another",
if He means 'the same'?
The 'Oneness' rewrite of this passage is eccentric in the extreme: 'And
I will pray myself, and I will give you another me, that I may abide with
Jesus is identified as a 'Paraclete', 'Comforter', in scripture: "My
little children, these things I write to you, so that you may
not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate [parakletos]
with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." (1 John 2:1).
This is why He called the Holy Spirit "another Comforter." "Another" is not the very same.
Restoration of All Things
Jesus is not reported to have returned on the Day of Pentecost, rather,
His return awaits the restoration of all things:
"Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted
out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,
and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom
heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which
God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began."
Contrary to rumor, Jesus did not slip into a phone booth upon His ascension,
shed His flesh, and morph into the Holy Spirit. He's still incarnate: "For
our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior,
the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be
conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is
able even to subdue all things to Himself." (Philippians 3:20-21).
It is unclear how, if Jesus were the Holy Spirit, He would be said to have "poured
out" the Holy Spirit: "Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received
from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and
hear." (Acts 2:33). The language as written
expresses a relation, between "He" who pours and "this"
which is poured. If He who pours and that which is poured are actually
one and the same thing, the language is eccentric.
"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:
for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show
you things to come." (John 16:13).
The Holy Spirit does not speak of Himself, i.e., on His own; He testifies to Jesus:
"But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the
Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he
shall testify of me:..." (John 15:26).
If Jesus is the Holy Spirit, this comes out something like, 'He shall not
speak of Himself, but He shall speak of Himself,' or 'I shall not speak
of Myself, but I shall speak of Myself.'
Who is Jesus' father?
Scripture identifies God the Father as the Father of Jesus
Christ. The Father owned Him as His beloved Son at the
transfiguration: "For He received from God the Father honor
and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory:
'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'" (2 Peter 1:17).
The Holy Spirit is never identified as the Father of Jesus in the Bible. Those who
learn their doctrine from the Bible leave it there; God the Father is the Father to whom
Jesus cries, "O My Father".
'Oneness' Pentecostals assert that the Holy Spirit is the father of Jesus
Christ. Perplexed Christians who ask for scriptural validation that the
Holy Spirit is the father of Jesus of Nazareth hear in reply Luke 1:35,
"And the angel answered and said to her, 'The Holy Spirit will come
upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also,
that Holy One who is to be born will be called the
Son of God.'" The 'Oneness' Pentecostals equate 'overshadowing' to
'doing what a father does.'
Not everything done to bring about a birth is called 'fathering.' When
the surgeon implants an embryo prepared by in vitro fertilization, he is
causing a human child to be born. Yet he is not listed on the birth certificate
as the 'father,' because what he did is not what a father does. The pagans
told tales of their gods doing what human fathers do, with predictable
results nine months later. Some Mormons tell similar tales. I wonder if
some 'Oneness' Pentecostals, who point to 'overshadowing' with a nudge
and a wink, aren't telling similar tales.
How did the Holy Spirit bring about the miracle of the Virgin Birth? This
isn't known: "And who will declare His generation?" (Isaiah 53:8).
The Holy Spirit knits our bones together, but we do not know how: "As
you do not know what is the way of the spirit, or how the bones grow in
the womb of her who is with child, so you do not know the works of God
who makes everything." (Ecclesiastes 11:5). Jesus, in His incarnation
as a child born to Mary, had no natural, biological father. In eternity,
He already had a Father: "Therefore still having one son, his beloved,
he also sent him to them last, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’"
(Mark 12:4). What's new in the incarnation is that He took on human nature,
as He said at the time: "Therefore, when He came into the world, He
said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared
for Me...‘Behold, I have come—in the volume of the book it is written of
Me—to do Your will, O God.’” (Hebrews 10:5-7).
I do not think that the Holy Spirit can be identified as the father of that
human nature, because He who was born already had a Father. Since the Bible nowhere
describes the Holy Spirit as Jesus' father, it's easy enough to agree with the Bible.
Nor does tradition describe the Holy Spirit as Jesus' father, because,
"But not all the elements required for the idea of fatherhood are
found on the part of the Holy Spirit. The idea of fatherhood requires that
the father produce from his nature a son who is of like nature with himself.
Therefore if some agent would make a thing that is not derived from its
own substance, and would not produce such a thing unto the likeness of
its own nature, that agent could not be called the thing's father. We do
not say that a man is the father of things he makes by plying an art, unless
perhaps in a metaphorical sense. The Holy Spirit is, indeed, of the same
nature with Christ as regards the divine nature; in this respect, however,
He is not the father of Christ...With respect to the human nature, the
Holy Spirit is not of the same nature with Christ. For the human nature
in Christ is other than the divine nature...Consequently the Holy Spirit
cannot be called the father of the man Christ." (Thomas Aquinas, Compendium
of Theology, Chapter 223).
In the very broadest sense of the fatherhood of God, all created things
are His "offspring": "...for in Him we live and move and
have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also
His offspring.’" (Acts 17:28). But this is not the sense in which
Jesus is called 'the Son of God,' because if He,- or rather, His humanity,
which is the only created thing about Him,- were a Son only in the sense
that every created thing is an "offspring," then He would not
be the "only-begotten." There are many creatures...but only one
The 'Oneness' Pentecostals go on to demand, 'how can Jesus have two fathers,
God the Father and the Holy Spirit?' As I've said, I doubt the Holy Spirit
is the father of Jesus, or even of one of Jesus' two natures, if 'natures'
can have separate paternity. But if He were, telling the story in 'Oneness'-speak
comes out like so: 'And the angel answered and said to her, 'Jesus will
come upon you, and...will overshadow you...' Recall, in 'Oneness'-speak,
'Jesus' is the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
Are they sure this is legal? If 'overshadowing' is a polite euphemism for
what human fathers do to earn listing of biological paternity on the birth
certificate, then 'overshadowing' your mother is not a very nice thing
to do! And if it is not, then why equate 'overshadowing' with 'fathering'?
Jesus Anointed with Jesus
"The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through
Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all—that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea,
and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth
with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were
oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him." (Acts 10:36-38).
If Jesus is the Holy Spirit, this comes out, 'Jesus anointed Jesus of Nazareth with Jesus.'
Jesus Filled with Jesus
"Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the
Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil." (Luke 4:1-2).
If Jesus is the Holy Spirit, this comes out, 'Jesus, being filled with Jesus.'
Jesus Saw Jesus
"When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold,
the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting
upon Him." (Matthew 3:16).
If Jesus is the Holy Spirit, this comes out, 'Jesus saw Jesus.'
"And anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be
forgiven him; but to him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit,
it will not be forgiven." (Luke 12:10, Matthew 12:31, Mark
The Son, dying on the cross, pleaded, "Father, forgive them, for they
do not know what they do." (Luke 23:34). Could it be the Holy Spirit
presented no such petition? But if the 'Oneness' Pentecostals were
correct, and the Son of Man were the same person as the Holy Spirit, how
could blasphemy against one can be treated differently than blasphemy against
"I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. A little
while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will
see Me." (John 14:18-19).
"First, He was referring to His resurrection, after which they would
see Him (20:19-29). There is no record that any unbelievers
saw Him after He rose (see 1 Cor. 15:1-9). In another
sense, this has reference to the mystery of the Trinity. Through
the coming and indwelling of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Jesus
would be back with His children (16:16; cf. Matt. 28:20, Rom.
8:9, 1 John 4:13)." (John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible).
Owing to the circumincession, or mutual indwelling, of
Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Jesus dwells within us through
the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said that He had to go away for the Comforter to come: "Nevertheless
I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for
if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart,
I will send Him to you." (John 16:7).
Why was Jesus obliged to go away for the Spirit to come? Perhaps
He is not the kind of heedless gift-giver who puts the Christmas gifts
on the credit card, without any thought of how to pay for them, but rather
pays first. It was at the cross that our salvation was bought.
Just as does the Son, the Holy Spirit also intercedes for us: "Likewise
the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not
know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself
makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of
the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints
according to the will of God." (Romans 8:26-27). "Maketh
intercession ([huperentugchanei]). Present
active indicative of late double compound, found only here and
in later ecclesiastical writers, but [entugchano] occurs
in verse #27 (a common verb). It is a picturesque word
of rescue by one who 'happens on' ([entugchanei]) one
who is in trouble and 'in his behalf' ([huper]) pleads
'with unuttered groanings' (instrumental case) or with 'sighs
that baffle words' (Denney). This is work of our Helper,
the Spirit himself." (Robertson's Word Pictures).
If God the Father is the same person as the Holy Spirit, with Whom
is the Spirit pleading?