Eternal Heavenly Dignitaries
“The eternal heavenly dignitaries--God, and Christ, and the Holy Spirit--arming them [the disciples] with more than mortal energy, . . . would advance with them to the work and convince the world of sin." - Manuscript 145, 1901; Evangelism, p. 616
All headings in the book Evangelism have been added by Leroy Froom and company. This includes the word "trinity" in this printing within the book Evangelism. This word was never used by Sister White. Sadly however, the uninformed reader will assume this is part of the inspired text.
This statement (taken alone) only lists the heavenly dignitaries but says nothing as to the relation that they hold to each other. To insist that these dignitaries must be a trinity of 3 co-equal, co-eternal god-beings goes beyond the scope of the statement. All we learn from this statement is that there is God, Christ and the Holy Spirit and that they are heavenly dignitaries. Does a mere listing of the three indicate that they must be all divine beings? Or, are we told elsewhere what relation these three sustain to each other? No.
This statement does not tell us about the relation between the Father, Son and Spirit. It does not tell us that they are three beings. It does not tell us that the Spirit is a co-equal being with God and Christ. It does not tell us that Jesus is not begotten of His Father. That list, merely tells us there are three, which everyone believes. But, come now; let us allow Mrs. White to define for us the relation between those three, which is the point of question. We shall again make use of that trusty key, called the Testimonies to the Church.
What relation is there between God and Christ?
“The Scriptures clearly indicate the relation between God and Christ, and they bring to view as clearly the personality and individuality of each. (Hebrews 1:1-5 quoted) God is the Father of Christ; Christ is the Son of God. To Christ has been given an exalted position. He has been made equal with the Father. All the counsels of God are opened to His Son.” - Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 268
Here we see that Christ was made equal. He would have not had it originally in order to achieve it by receiving, or being made equal.
“Christ was the Son of God; He had been one with Him before the angels were called into existence.” - Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 38
“A complete offering has been made; for "God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son,"-- not a son by creation, as were the angels, nor a son by adoption, as is the forgiven sinner, but a Son begotten in the express image of the Father's person, and in all the brightness of his majesty and glory, one equal with God in authority, dignity, and divine perfection. In him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” - Signs of the Times, May 30, 1895 par. 3
This makes Christ the First-born of heaven. Notice:
“The dedication of the first-born had its origin in the earliest times. God had promised to give the First-born of heaven to save the sinner.” - The Desire of Ages, p. 51
Therefore, we rightly conclude that Christ is the Firstborn of heaven. He was born first in heaven, and then later He came to earth to be ‘born again’! When He was born on earth He became the Son of God in “a new sense”. Notice:
“In His humanity He was a partaker of the divine nature. In His incarnation He gained in a new sense the title of the Son of God. Said the angel to Mary, "The power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35). While the Son of a human being, He became the Son of God in a new sense. Thus He stood in our world--the Son of God, yet allied by birth to the human race.” - Selected Message Book 1, pp. 226, 227
“While upon this earth, the Son of God was the Son of man; yet there were times when His divinity flashed forth.” - Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 202
Based on the above passages we plainly learn that Christ was begotten of His Father in heaven (long before the incarnation took place). It is easy to understand things when we allow Mrs. White to explain herself. Things are getting plainer as we proceed. Let us continue. What relation does the Spirit hold to the Father and Son? Let us use the key yet again.
“Christ declared that after his ascension, he would send to his church, as his crowning gift, the Comforter, who was to take his place. This Comforter is the Holy Spirit, -- the soul of his life, the efficacy of his church, the light and life of the world. With his Spirit Christ sends a reconciling influence and a power that takes away sin.” - Review and Herald, May 19, 1904 par. 1
“Christ gives them the life of his life. The Holy Spirit puts forth its highest energies to work in mind and heart.” - Review and Herald, January 5, 1911 par. 6
“Christ gives them the breath of His own spirit, the life of His own life. The Holy Spirit puts forth its highest energies to work in heart and mind.” - The Desire of Ages, p. 827
“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” - Romans 8:9-11 (See also Galatians 1:1; Ephesians 3:14-17)
Therefore, when we have that life of the Father and Son we are really having communion and fellowship with them both, not with someone else:
“That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” - 1 John 1:3 (see also 2 John 1:9)
“By the Spirit the Father and the Son will come and make their abode with you.”
- Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, January 15, 1893 par. 8
“Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” - John 14:23