Commentary on "Believing in the Son of God"
Day 5: Wednesday, August 26, 2009
This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. (I John 5:6-8 KJV)
This is he who came by water and blood--Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. (I John 5:6-8 ESV)
It is generally agreed, by both the author of this lesson and evangelical Bible scholars at large, that verse seven (underlined above) in the King James translation is not part of original manuscripts. While John does clearly teach in other places what we now know as the doctrine of the Trinity, it tends to sidetrack the reader from what he intends for us to understand in this passage.
Although the lesson makes some good points on the question of the Trinity as it relates to the divinity of Jesus Christ, there are at least two areas of concern that have been avoided or have simply been overlooked.
Originally the SDA church denied the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity. While they now claim to accept this doctrine we need to not forget the foundational statements made by Ellen White such her quotes that follow:
Again: Christ is called the Word of God. John 1:1-3. He is so called because God gave His revelations to man in all ages through Christ. It was His Spirit that inspired the prophets. 1 Peter 1:10, 11. He was revealed to them as the Angel of Jehovah, the Captain of the Lord's host, Michael the Archangel. (Patriarchs and Prophets, page 761)
Jesus is fully God. He eternally existed and is the Creator of all that exists in the universe. He could not be our Creator and at the same time be Michael the Archangel, one of his created beings. This and similar statements of heresy have not been adequately explained or renounced by the SDA church.
The following quote reflects on the divinity of Christ as well as the omniscience of him and the Father:
"The kingdom of grace was instituted immediately after the fall of man, when a plan was devised for the redemption of the guilty race" (The Great Controversy, p. 347).
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (Eph. 1:3-6 ESV)
Jesus and the Father, our omniscience God who is all-knowing, predestined and planned for our salvation before creation, not after the sin and fall of Adam.
"The man Christ Jesus was not the Lord God Almighty" (Letter 32, 1899, quoted in the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1129).
"I and the Father are one." (John 10:30 ESV)
Either Jesus is who he said he is, or he is not. Which are you to believe, Ellen or the Bible?
The other issue has to do with the theme of verses six through seven which has been passed over without an application being made for our lives. John is speaking to Christians. They already have the Holy Spirit living within each of them and would certainly have known of the two external historical events concerning their Savior, his baptism in the River Jordan and his shed blood at the cross. Taken together with the Holy Spirit, all three speak of the divinity of Jesus Christ. In-other-words, we each have a three-fold testimony centered on the living Holy Spirit within us. We do not need or require a 'modern day prophet' to apply God's Word to our lives because the role of the Holy Spirit includes the mission of leading us into all truth. We have the very words of Jesus Christ to rely on:
"When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you." (John 16:13-15 ESV)
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