Knowledge of the Holy One Part 4: The Holy Spirit

The Filling of the Indwelling Spirit


In scripture we have a very clear picture of Jesus, the Son of God as we saw in part 1. Since he is the only means of salvation (Acts 4.12) that is to be expected. We also have a very clear picture of God the Father. The sacrificing love of God the Father is also clear in scripture, from the love that covered the sin of Adam and Eve and promised a savior (Gen 3.21, 3.15), to his gift of salvation offered to the world (John 3.16) as we saw in the previous article. And now we come to the third person of the holy Trinity: God the Holy Spirit. Though he is as active in all aspects of salvation and all that God does, as are the first and second person, for reasons that will soon become apparent, he is not seen in revelations as often as the first and second person of the Trinity. Why is that? We’ll answer that in the course of answering our main question:

Who is God the Holy Spirit?

In scripture, we often see the father revealed in a couple of common ways: as the “Ancient of Days” (Dan 7.9), and perhaps even more often only as the glory of God, the dwelling presence of God known in Jewish circles as the Shekinah glory of God. (Ex 29.43, 33.22; Rev 15.8, 21.23). Continue Reading

Knowledge of the Holy One Part 3: God the Father

The Father runs to the returning prodigal

Since Jesus, the son of God, is the key to salvation, we started with him and spent the first two articles in this series looking at who he is, and just as importantly, who he isn’t. The picture we have of Jesus is very clear: starting with the creed of the Christian faith:

Jesus Christ is Lord; (Php 2.11)

Indeed he is both Lord and Christ (or Messiah) (Acts 2.36)
This is the central creed of Christianity.

But we have further statements that help clarify who Jesus is:
Jesus is the one who:

… has all authority in heaven and earth (Matt 28.18)
… is the one who died and came to life again and lives forever (Rev 1.18)
… is the holder of the keys of life (John 11.25-26) and death (Rev 1.18)
… is the Ruler of God’s Creation (Rev 3.14)
… is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev 19.16)
… is the one to whom every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that he is Lord (Php 2.11).

There is an implicit understanding in each of these statements. Namely that there is one who has bestowed these rights and titles on Jesus.

Who has given Jesus all authority in heaven and earth?
Whose power and glory raised him from the dead?
Who has given him the keys to life and death?
Who has made him ruler of God’s creation?
Who has made him King of Kings and Lord of Lords?

It is the one who is glorified on the day when every knee will bow to Jesus and every tongue confesses “Jesus Christ is Lord.” The person[1] so glorified is God the father. (Php 2.11) Continue Reading

Knowledge of the Holy One Part 2: Jesus – The Holy One Denied

Fun house mirrors are amusing for a short time. Like caricatures they emphasize some features while diminishing others – or making them completely disappear. But the reason they’re enjoyable is because you know what the true image looks like, and you’re only seeing the distortion for a short time for amusement. And everyone looking at the distortion knows it’s a distortion. That’s why you stand before the distorting mirrors in the first place – to be amused by how the mirror will distort your features.

 But how would you feel if all that people knew about you was the distorted image? What if they never saw the real you, the undistorted you? What if all your life you had to deal with people thinking that you were in fact the distortion they saw?

Contents

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This Easter, don’t miss the Big Picture


Tapestry depicting the resurrection hanging in the Vatican Museum

A Resurrection Day Meditation

Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”
Matt 27.39-40

As I came to this passage while meditating on the passion narrative two things came to mind – a question and a conclusion.  The question:  If Jesus did come down from the cross, would those who hurled insults and mocked him have believed he was in fact the Son of God? The conclusion: No, most if not all who mocked would not have believed. The reason: there’s a recurring theme in scripture that talks about the spiritual blindness of people. It’s described as having eyes to see, but not seeing.[1] I’ll paraphrase it as missing the big picture.

Mockers at the Cross Miss the Big Picture

With the exception of the centurion who realized by his manner of death that Jesus was the Son of God (Mark 15.39), those at the cross who hurled insults were no doubt oblivious to the truth of Jesus’ identity and the many spiritual dynamics going on at the cross: That Jesus, the Son of God was, making atonement for the whole world (John 3.16) by dying in our stead on the cross. (1 Pe 3.18)  And though Jesus could have commanded he be taken off the cross by angels (Matt 26.53); as Jesus had already pointed out to his disciples, if he did that, how would the scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way (Matt 26.54) – with his death on a cross? Continue Reading

Is the Bible full of fantastic creatures? Part 8: The Dragon and The Beast

On May 9, 2012 a Russian-made Sukhoi Superjet 100 on a demonstration flight with 45 souls aboard slammed into Mount Salak south of Jakarta, Indonesia killing all aboard. What has that got to do with the dragon  – the red seven headed dragon – you wonder? Bear with me a bit and I’ll make the connection. But before going into that, for this final installment of the series, let me remind you of a couple of points made in the opening article of the series. 

First, the list of items (reproduced verbatim) that this atheist finds objectionable and unbelievable that this series has addressed:

“He follows a holy book with a jealous & genocidal god, ghosts, zombies, seers, devils, demons, witches, satyrs, unicorns, talking animals, a man who lived in a fish and a 7 headed dragon.”[1]
(Not listed but also covered: The Cockatrice; and thrown in with this article: The Beast of Rev 13.)

As I said in the initial article, it doesn’t concern me that an atheist has a problem with these things. It does, however, concern me that believers in God and those seeking the truth might be challenged by charges like this leveled by unbelieving atheists.  So I wanted to demonstrate there is a clear, rational answer for each item in the list.  In this series, the biblical intent behind each item – if it exists – is explained; and those that don’t exist are identified. Continue Reading

Is the Bible full of fantastic creatures? Part 7: Zombies

Of all the items in the list below, this one is not only foolishly laughable, but also very offensive to me as a Christian. Zombies are, of course the antithesis of what the Bible teaches about the fullness and beauty of the life to come that’s offered to all in Christ. Before we get into it, let me remind you of the list of fantastic creatures we’ve been reviewing:

“He follows a holy book with a jealous & genocidal god, ghosts, zombies, seers, devils, demons, witches, satyrs, unicorns, talking animals, a man who lived in a fish and a 7 headed dragon.”[1]
(Not listed but also covered already: The Cockatrice)

Are there zombies in the Bible?

A good practice when dealing with questions such as these is to define your terms.  That is certainly necessary in this case. So what kind of “zombie” are we talking about?  My expectation is that the zombie referenced in the above tweet is the typical movie zombie.  And immediately we run into a bit of a difficulty, because there are a number of types of zombies seen in the movies. There are: Continue Reading

Is the Bible full of fantastic creatures? Part 6: Talking Animals and Jonah

These two topics – talking animals and “a man who lived in a fish” more than the others really highlight how your worldview and a priori assumptions influence how you understand any text as we’ll see.  Of course I had to shorten the title up a bit for this one. “A man who lived in a fish” following the series name makes for a long title. But we all know who he’s referring to: the prophet Jonah.  As a reminder, here is the list of fantastic creatures this particular atheist takes issue with, with links to the ones we’ve already covered:

“He follows a holy book with a jealous & genocidal god, ghosts, zombies, seers, devils, demons, witches, satyrs, unicorns, talking animals, a man who lived in a fish and a 7 headed dragon.”[1]
(Not listed but also covered already: The Cockatrice)

Are there talking animals in the Bible?

The answer to this question invokes your worldview presuppositions.  Does God exist? Does Satan exist? Are they active in the world?  How you answer these questions determines whether or not you believe the following explanation. Since that is the case, though it should already be clear, let me be explicit about the worldview from which I address these questions:
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Star of Bethlehem – Divine Preparation for the Incarnation

A Christmas Meditation

The naiveté  of those who doubt that Jesus is the messiah because they suppose that he arranged to fulfill the requirements and prophecies of the messiah himself always amuses me – particularly at this time of  year when the preparations of God for the arrival of the messiah are so apparent.

It reminds me of the naiveté of the comic character Calvin, of Calvin and Hobbes – an active and curious child who with his stuffed tiger (who is alive to Calvin) always gets into amusing situations.  In one instance Calvin asks his father: Continue Reading

Is the Bible full of fantastic creatures? Part 4: Witches and Ghosts

Some people disbelieve the Bible because they find what I’m calling fantastic creatures – creatures which they believe don’t exist, and thus they conclude the Bible is full of fairy stories and make believe. But nothing could be further from the truth. So in this series we’re looking at the reality behind the creatures which the atheist who tweeted the below finds objectionable:

“He follows a holy book with a jealous & genocidal god, ghosts, zombies, seers, devils, demons, witches, satyrs, unicorns, talking animals, a man who lived in a fish and a 7 headed dragon.”[1]
(Not listed but also covered: The Cockatrice)

And though this is not the season for Halloween, next up we’re looking at witches and ghosts.

Are there Witches in the Bible? 

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Creation, Craig and the myth of a “mytho-historical” Genesis

My seminary apologetics teacher Dr. William Lane Craig has a quite serious problem on his hands.  He’s painted himself into a corner.  Dr. Craig has built a career and made and name for himself in apologetics and is well respected in the field. He now faces a problem that could undo all the good work he has done in defending the faith. What problem could possibly be so severe you wonder? Like the man cutting off the branch he’s sitting on, Craig is heading in the direction of undermining most if not all the work he has done in defending the existence of God and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He appears ready to embrace the creation account as “mytho-historical.” Continue Reading