THE NATURE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IS A MYSTERY,
BUT THE IDENTITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IS NOT A MYSTERY
A common response or comment in the church these days, is that the Holy Spirit “IS A MYSTERY”.
There is a preconceived notion that you are not to talk about it. “We can’t understand it,” they say.
There is nothing that keeps people dumb and ignorant more than this approach.
Once upon a time there was a gentleman referred to as Brother Chapman. And this Brother Chapman had a belief that was different than what Sister Ellen White taught and what the Pioneers had believed.
So Chapman begins to teach his belief and spread it. What was this belief you ask?
“My idea in reference to the Holy Ghost’s not being the Spirit of God, which is Christ, but the angel Gabriel.”
As a result of this, Elder Robinson reaches out to Ellen White with this problem. In response to this, Ellen White writes the following “Letter 7” to Brother Chapman as a response written on June 11, 1891 from Petoskey, Michigan:
“I have received yours dated June 3. In this letter you speak in these words: “Elder Robinson does not wish me to leave, but urges that I enter the canvassing field until such time as the conference can afford to employ me in some other capacity, but states positively that I cannot be sent out to present the truth to others until some points held by me are changed or modified in order that the views regarded by us as a people should be properly set forth. He quotes as a sample, ‘MY IDEA IN REFERENCE TO THE HOLY GHOST’S NOT BEING THE SPIRIT OF GOD, WHICH IS CHRIST, BUT THE ANGEL GABRIEL, AND MY BELIEF THAT THE 144,000 WILL BE JEWS WHO WILL ACKNOWLEDGE JESUS AS THE MESSIAH. On all fundamental points I am in perfect harmony with our people; but when I try to show what seems to me to be new light on the truth, those in authority, none of whom have seemingly ever made a personal investigation of the matter, refuse to look into the Bible, but brand me as a fellow with queer ideas of the Bible.’” - Ellen White, 14MR, p. 175.
“Your ideas of the two subjects you mention do not harmonize with the light which God has given me. The nature of the Holy Spirit is a mystery not clearly revealed, and you will never be able to explain it to others because the Lord has not revealed it to you. You may gather together scriptures and put your construction upon them, but the application is not correct. The expositions by which you sustain your position are not sound. You may lead some to accept your explanations, but you do them no good, nor are they, through accepting your views, enabled to do others good.” – Ellen White, 14MR, p. 179.1
“It is not essential for you to know and be able to define just what the Holy Spirit is. Christ tells us that the Holy Spirit is the Comforter, and the Comforter is the Holy Ghost, “the Spirit of truth, which the Father shall send in My name.” “I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him, for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” [John 14:16, 17]. This refers to the omnipresence of the Spirit of Christ, called the Comforter. Again Jesus says, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth” [John 16:12, 13].” - Ellen White, 14MR, p. 179.2
So now we can plainly see where this stigma comes from that keeps people from knowing anything about the Holy Spirit other than what is spoon-fed to them from the pulpit. No longer is there fear on this topic. And we can see that Sister White identifies who the Holy Spirit is. It is the Spirit of Christ coming to us as the Comforter! Not anyone else. And this is confirmed elsewhere throughout Sister White’s writings.
“The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ, which is sent to all men to give them sufficiency,” - Manuscript Releases vol. 14, p. 84
“Sin could be resisted and overcome only through the mighty agency of the third Person of the Godhead.....Christ has given His Spirit as a divine power to overcome all...” – Desire of Ages, p. 671 (It is the Spirit of Christ given as a divine power that is the “third person of the Godhead”. Christ comes to us in another personality.)
“He (Jesus) is coming to us by His Holy Spirit today. Let us recognize Him now; then we shall recognize Him when He comes in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.” - Review & Herald, April 30, 1901, par. 8
“Let them study the seventeenth of John, and learn how to pray and how to live the prayer of Christ. He is the Comforter." – Review and Herald, January 27, 1903
“They have one God and one Saviour; and one Spirit—the Spirit of Christ—is to bring unity into their ranks.” – Testimonies vol. 9, p. 189.3, 1909 (this is the heavenly trio)