FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
October 2, 2015
Biblical Numerology: NUMBER THREE – Part XVIII
THE THREE: THAT BEAR WITNESSES IN HEAVEN, AND AGREE ON EARTH
“The greatest homage we can pay to the truth is to use it.”- Charles Dickens. “It often requires more bravery to tell the simple truth than it does to win a battle.”- Josh Billings (pen name of Henry Wheeler, American writer, journalist, and humorist second only to Mark Twain.) The most translated female non-fiction author in the history of literature, as well as the most translated American non-fiction author of either gender, Ellen G. White (see Wikipedia), wrote the following regarding Bible truth: “Truth is no truth to them who do not practice it.” “Age does not make error become truth.” “The garments of truth are often stolen to hide features of heresy.” “Vital truth is impressed upon the mind by the Holy Spirit’s power.” And, “Christ is the inexhaustible wellspring of truth.”
‘Higher criticism’ and ‘higher education’ destroy faith in God’s Word
Apostle Paul taught the early Christian church the three fundamental truths of the science of salvation of the eternal gospel from which the other glorious truths branch out from, namely, (emphasis supplied):
“ Christ crucified for sin,  Christ risen from the dead,  Christ ascended on high,—this was to be the science of salvation that they were to learn and teach. The warnings of the word of God regarding the perils surrounding the Christian church belong to us today. As in the days of the apostles men tried by tradition and philosophy to destroy faith in the Scriptures, so today, by the pleasing sentiments of ‘higher criticism,’ evolution, spiritualism, theosophy, and pantheism, the enemy of righteousness is seeking to lead souls into forbidden paths. To many the Bible is as a lamp without oil, because they have turned their minds into channels of speculative belief that bring misunderstanding and confusion. The work of ‘higher criticism,’ in dissecting,  conjecturing,  reconstructing, is destroying faith in the Bible as a divine revelation. It is robbing God’s word of power to  control, uplift, and  inspire human lives. By spiritualism, multitudes are taught to believe that  desire is the highest law, that  license is liberty, and that  man is accountable only to himself.
“The follower of Christ will meet with the ‘enticing words’ against which the apostle [Paul] warned the Colossian believers. He will meet with the spiritualistic interpretations of the Scriptures, but he is not to accept them. His voice is to be heard in clear affirmation of the eternal truths of the Scriptures. Keeping His eyes fixed on Christ, he is to move steadily forward in the path marked out, discarding all ideas that are not in harmony with His teaching. The truth of God is to be the subject for his contemplation and meditation. He is to regard the Bible as the voice of God speaking directly to him. Thus he will find the wisdom that is divine. The knowledge of God as revealed in Christ is the knowledge that all who are saved must have. This is the knowledge that works transformation of character. Received into the life, it will re-create the soul in the image of Christ. This is the knowledge that God invites His children to receive, beside which all else is vanity and nothingness.”– E.G. White, Acts of the Apostles, pp. 474-5.
“The vague and fanciful interpretations of Scripture, and the many conflicting theories concerning religious faith, that are found in the Christian world are the works of our great adversary to confuse minds so that they will not discern the truth. And the discord and division which exist among the churches in Christendom are in a great measure due to the prevailing custom of wresting the Scripture [2 Pet. 3: 16] to support a favorite theory [or in the name of “higher criticism”]. Instead of carefully studying God’s word with humility of heart to obtain a knowledge of His will, many seek only to discover something odd or original. In order to sustain erroneous doctrines or unchristian practices, some will seize upon passages of Scriptureseparated from the context, perhaps quoting half of a single verse [the second great temptation of Satan upon Christ in His 40-day-fast weakened state,—presumption—quoting part only of Psalm 91: 11, 12; cf. Matt. 4: 6, 7] as proving their point, when the remaining portion would show the meaning to be quite the opposite. With the cunning of the serpent they entrench themselves behind the disconnected utterances construed to suit their carnal desires. Thus do many willfully pervert the word of God . . . Whenever the study of the Scriptures is entered upon without a prayerful, humble, teachable spirit, the plainest and simplest as well as the most difficult passages will be wrested from their true meaning.” – Ibid, Great Controversy (1911), pp. 520-1.
Here’s simple yet profound truth we need to use, not only as our greatest homage to it but specially to fortify our minds against the end-time counterfeits and denials of truth so deceptively alluring in these closing hours of earth’s probation. The Certainty of God’s Witnesses to the Truth are here stated:
“For there are three who bear record (or witness) in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness on earth, the Holy Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree in one.” 1 John 5: 7, 8.
The Holy Spirit, Water, and Blood. – In these verses the Holy Spirit is common among the three that are onewho bear witness in heaven and the three that agree in one on earth. John’s gospel immediately opens with identifying who the Word is from the beginning. John 1: 1-14: “In the beginning was the Word . . . and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” v. 1 “All things were made by Him: and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.” vs. 1-4. This is Jesus Christ of whom apostle Paul wrote of in Colossians 1: 12-20:
“13 He [God] has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. 15 He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and in visible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. [NOTE: We get it: “All things were created by Him.” But “forHim” is mysteriously awesome!] 17 And He is before [preeminent] over all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the Church, [not Peter nor the pope nor anyone who claims so] who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead [i.e., “the firstfruits of them that die in Christ and are resurrected to immortality at His second coming, 1Cor.15: 20-23], that in all things He may have the preeminence. 19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. 21 And you [all who have been truly “born of water and the Spirit,” as Jesus explained to Nicodemus, John 3: 1-21] who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and irreproachablein His sight—23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.”
The Controversy over 1 John 5: 7, 8. I am aware, as many of you are, regarding the controversy surrounding these verses, particularly verse 7, asserting they were added or are misinterpretations, etc. (see on the internet at least 10 websites on 1 John 5: 7). Moreover, the apparent silence on these verses by E. G. White, particularly verse 7, which deals with the Trinity, does not mean she had no commentary on thesubject. Quite to the contrary, she wrote extensively regarding the three Persons of the Godhead, which we quoted in our past issues! Like every passage in the Bible in its present state, I believe these were preserved by God Himself. But “spiritual things are spiritually discerned.” 1 Cor. 2: 10-16.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary explains thus of 1 John 5: 7, 8, and I heartily agree is the correct interpretation, based “unto the law and testimony” (Isa. 8: 20), following the study principle and method given in Isa. 28: 9-13 (emphasis and words in brackets provided]:
“We are inwardly and outwardly defiled; inwardly, by the power and pollution of sin in our nature. For our cleansing there is in and by Christ Jesus, the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit. Some think that the two sacraments [New Testament ordinances] are here meant: baptism with water, as the outward sign of regeneration, and purifying from the pollution of sin by the Holy Spirit; and the Lord’s Supper[which Jesus instituted on the Thursday night before His crucifixion, permanently replacing the Old Testament typical feast of Passover, Himself being the antitypical Passover Lamb], as the outward sign of the shedding [of] Christ’s blood, and the receiving Him by faith for pardon and justification. Both these ways of cleansing were represented in the old ceremonial sacrifices and cleansings. This water and blood include all that is necessary to our salvation. By the water, our souls are washed and purified for heaven and the habitation of saints in light [I beg to disagree here, as baptism by water immersion publicly signifies dying to the world and a life of sin and disobedience to “resurrecting from the watery grave” to walk in the newness of life and growth in Christ]. By the blood, we are justified, reconciled, and presented righteous to God. By the blood, the curse of the law being satisfied, the purifying Spirit is obtained for the internal cleansing of our natures [from the carnal mind to “the mind of Christ,” Phil.2: 5]. The water, as well as the blood, came out of the side of the sacrificed Redeemer. He loved the Church, and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of the by the word; that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, Eph. 5: 25-27. This was done in and by the Spirit of God, according to the Savior’s declaration. He is the Spirit of God, and cannot lie. Three had borne witness to these doctrines concerning the person and the salvation of Christ. The Father, repeatedly, by a voice from heaven declared that Jesus was His beloved Son. The Word declared that He and the Father were One, and that whoever had seen Him had seen the Father. And the Holy Spirit, who descended from heaven [in the form of a dove of burnished gold] and rested on Christ at His baptism [by John at the Jordan]; who had borne witness to Him by all the prophets; and gave testimony to His resurrection and mediatorial office [as our merciful High Priest, Advocate, and Mediator], by the gift of miraculous powers to the apostles. But whether this passage be cited or not, the doctrine of the Trinity in Unity stands equally firm and certain. To the doctrine taught by the apostles, respecting the person and salvation of Christ, there were three testimonies: [1.] The Holy Spirit. We come into the world with a corrupt, carnal disposition [natural sinful propensities and tendencies], which is enmity to God. This being done away by the regeneration and new-creating of souls [the whole person] by the Holy Spirit, is a testimony to the Savior. [2.] The water: this sets forth the Savior’s purity and purifying power. The actual and active purity and holiness of His disciples are represented by baptism. [3.] The blood which He shed: this was our ransom, this testifies for Jesus Christ; it sealed up and finished the sacrifices of the Old Testament [“shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease,” Dan. 9: 27.] The benefits procured by His blood, prove that He is the Savior of the world. No wonder if he that rejects this evidence is judged a blasphemer of the Spirit of God. These three witnesses are for one and the same purpose; they agree in one and the same thing.”
(To be continued next week)