Jesus, Our Everlasting Heavenly Father

Within our Trinitarian Adventist believers, there seems to be some confusion when it comes to distinguishing the personality of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Many obfuscates the personality of God by ascribing the identity of the Son onto the Father or conversely Father onto the Son, thinking that it somehow affirms the idea of trinity in their mind. But in their attempts to unify the Father and Son’s identity, they unwittingly, blur the lines of distinction between the two personalities. Then again, perhaps to a Trinitarian, it simply doesn’t really matter who is who or who is doing what because to them, one God of the Bible is viewed as a composite entity made up of three persons, wherein each of the personality can arbitrarily be interchanged with another, so long as, they are all working together toward a common goal.

One notable passage that is often highlighted in this endeavor by our trinitarian brethren is found in Isaiah 9:6, a messianic prophecy, wherein one of Jesus’ titles is described as an “everlasting Father”. Here is the passage under consideration:

Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

And for Seventh-Day Adventists, specifically, there are also the following inspired statements by Ellen White which may contribute to the confusion of some:

Jesus Christ is our heavenly Father. Jesus Christ is the Father with us. God is the Father, and there is the link of the chain brought right down to bind His children in connection with the Father.” {Ms141-1908.11}

Jesus represents us as his children. He declares that he is our Father, and that we are to come to him as children come to an earthly parent.” {YI September 13, 1894, par. 6}

So, how are we to view Jesus as our heavenly Father? Moreover, is Jesus our heavenly Father in the very same sense that God the Father is our heavenly Father?

Before we go on any further, however, the reader should be made aware that there is a version of trinity that some believe and is described as modalism. This version of the trinity asserts that the members of the Trinity are not even three distinct persons but rather three modes or forms of activity occupied by single divine individual, manifesting, or revealing himself in three different ways, without distinct and coexisting persons in the divine nature. (i.e. Father is Jesus, Father is the Holy Spirit, etc.; same person operating in 3 different modes). Thus, with this kind of reasoning, it is not incongruent to conclude that all three personalities of the Godhead are actually one same person.

Another version of trinity that perhaps deserves mentioning here is the Consubstantial trinity. This version of trinity god is characterized as being comprised of three “Persons”, possessing three distinct personalities and yet sharing one indivisible (undivided) substance and is described as a single divine “Being,” (this is the Catholic/Orthodox trinity and unfortunately many theologian class of SDA Church who are heavily influenced by evangelical authors strongly lean towards this version).

In general, Sunday-keeping Trinitarians, as well as Catholics and also the Seventh-day Adventist’s official doctrine of the church, essentially teach three persons that make up one single divine Being. But that notwithstanding, the majority of average ranking members within Adventist church resort to some form of tritheistic version of trinity that is likened to 3 individual Gods belonging to a single family (even though the Fundamental Beliefs of the church specifically distinguishes the group of 3 Gods together using singular pronouns). However, there does not appear to be any consistent consensus within Adventism as to how exactly the church defines the personality of God and therefore it is understandable that many Adventists, both regular ranking members, as well as many of the pastors, are left confused.

Moving on, the first thing we need to explain, beyond dispute, is what the bible passage and the Ellen White statements does NOT mean. It does NOT mean that Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, is the same person as God the Father. The two are actually distinct and separate Persons.

Let’s first look at some inspired statements affirming the idea that the Father and the Son are actually two distinct and separate Persons:

“I will return to the prayer of Christ. ‘As Thou hast sent Me into the world,’ He said, ‘even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one; I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.’” [John 17:18-23.] {Lt52-1906.22}
These words show that GOD AND CHRIST ARE TWO PERSONALITIES, DISTINCT AND SEPARATE. The unity for which Christ prays, which is to make believers one with Him, as He is one with the Father, does not destroy the personality of God or the personality of Chris {21LtMs, Lt 52, 1906, par. 23}

Note: In the above statement, Ellen White, referring to John 17:18-23 says, “These words show that God and Christ are two personalities, distinct and separate”. And we can see from the passage itself that Christ, in His prayer, clearly distinguishes Himself from the Father as a distinct and separate individual.

Let us turn now and consider some more inspired statements dealing with the Father and Son’s personality:

“HE [Jesus] WAS NOT THE FATHER but in Him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and yet He calls to a suffering world, “Come unto me, all ye that labor, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest… {6LtMs, Lt 8a, 1890, par. 9} (bracket added by the author of this article)

“‘He whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God; for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.’ [John 3:34-36.] {Ms 145, 1905, par. 17}
In this Scripture God and Christ are spoken of as two distinct personalities, EACH ACTING THEIR OWN INDIVIDUALITY.” {Ms145-1905.18}

The Scriptures clearly indicate the relation between God and Christ, and THEY BRING TO VIEW AS CLEARLY THE PERSONALITY AND INDIVIDUALITY OF EACH. {CCh 76.4}

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. {CCh 76.5}

This unity is expressed also in the seventeenth chapter of John, in the prayer of Christ for His disciples: “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.” John 17:20-23. {CCh 76.6}

Wonderful statement! THE UNITY THAT EXISTS BETWEEN CHRIST AND HIS DISCIPLES DOES NOT DESTROY THE PERSONALITY OF EITHER. They are one in purpose, in mind, in character, but not in person. It is thus that God and Christ are one…. {CCh 76.7}

“Again and again we shall be called to meet the influence of men who are studying sciences of satanic origin, through which Satan is working to make a nonentity of God and of Christ. THE FATHER AND SON EACH HAVE A PERSONALITY. Christ declared, “I and My Father are one.” Yet it was the Son of God who came to the world in human form. Laying aside His royal robe and kingly crown, He clothed His divinity with humanity, that humanity through His infinite sacrifice might become partakers of the divine nature, and escape the corruption that is in the world through lust.”—Testimonies For The Church 9:68 (1909). {Ev 613.3}

Keep in mind that when Ellen White speaks of the word, “personality” concerning the Father and the Son, she is not referring to some character traits of God or Jesus but rather their distinct qualities or conditions which make each of them an individual Persons. So, it should be apparent by now that Jesus Christ is not God the Father and vise versa.

What we can deduce here also, as far as, why Ellen White would assert these points repeatedly concerning the personality of God is that, the servant of the Lord was well aware of some of the heresies and confusion as to the personalities of God and therefore felt necessary to highlight this truth from John’s writing, as well as other statements she wrote concerning this issue. I would contend that the volumes of Ellen White’s Testimonies concerning the personality of the Father and the Son each having a distinct corporeal personality is in large part, a counter response to Dr Harvey Kellogg’s pantheistic ideas that were coming into the church in the early years of Adventist history-1900s (which made God’s personality into a formless “essence pervading all nature) or the modalistic version of God which also obfuscated God’s personality by turning the three personalities of the Godhead into a single being, etc.

So, with that said, what does it mean when it says Jesus is our “everlasting father” or “Jesus is our heavenly Father”? The answer to this question, at least in my thinking, is much simpler than many make it.

Let’s consider again a few inspired statements which distinguishes the personality of the Father and the Son, specifically when it comes to the phrase, “heavenly Father” or “Father”.

“Shall a man be more appreciative of a good servant than is our heavenly Father? Our anxiety should not be to see how far we can depart from the commandments of the Lord, and presume on the mercy of the Lawgiver, and still flatter our souls that we are within the bounds of God’s forbearance; but our care should be to keep as far as possible from transgression. We should be determined to be on the side of Christ AND our heavenly Father, and run no risks by heady presumption….” {RC 52.6}

“The love of OUR HEAVENLY FATHER IN THE GIFT OF HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON TO THE WORLD, is enough to inspire every soul, to melt every hard, loveless heart into contrition and tenderness; and yet shall heavenly intelligences see in those for whom Christ died, insensibility to his love, hardness of heart, and no response of gratitude and affection to the Giver of all good things? Shall affairs of minor importance absorb the whole power of the being, and the love of God meet no return? Shall the Sun of Righteousness shine in vain? In view of what God has done, could his claims be less upon you?” {CE 96.1}

As you can see, God the Father is also described here as “our heavenly Father” but again the above statements do not blur the distinction between the Heavenly Father (who is God the Father in this case) with His Son, whom the Father gave as a gift to the world (“The love of OUR HEAVENLY FATHER IN THE GIFT OF HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON TO THE WORLD”). Thus, again, there should be no confusion that we are dealing with two distinct persons.

Then again, how is it that Jesus is also our everlasting father or our heavenly Father?

In our human relationships we have a concept called a grandfather. This is the father of our respective fathers. We are descended from our earthly grandfathers indirectly by means of our earthly fathers. This concept, as limited as it is, can help us to understand our relationship with God the Father and His only begotten Son Jesus.

Referring to Isaiah 9:6, the prophecy is dealing with the Son of God becoming our everlasting Father.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this (Isaiah 9:6, 7)

Again, we read in God’s Word of the incarnated Son of God that God would give Him children (see vs. 13)

“For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. 13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me (Hebrews 2:11-13)

Moreover, we can see this running metaphor throughout the Scriptures wherein Jesus is depicted as the Husbandman and the church being the bride of Christ:

John 3:29 “He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.”

2 Corinthians 11:2 “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”

Ephesians 5:23 “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

Ephesians 5:25-27, 25 “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;”

Galatians 4:27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.

James 5:7, 8 “Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts; for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” 

Revelation 19:7-9 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

Revelation 21:2 “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

Revelation 21:9  “And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.

Hopefully, the passages cited thus far should demonstrate that there is this husband (Bridegroom) and wife (Bride) metaphor illustrated in the Bible between Christ and the church. And consequently, the union between Christ and the church (“Jerusalem”) brings forth children-the redeemed.

To make a long story very short, the only begotten Son of God became the Son of man. He took the place of the first Adam (our original earthly father) so that He could provide the necessary resources for our salvation (a spiritual rebirth by the Divine Spirit). All those who are born again are thus counted as the children of the “last Adam” – the “second man” who is “the Lord from heaven.” That is why He is referred to as “a quickening [or life-giving] spirit.”

“And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. (1 Cor 15:45-47)

Jesus is our new Adam and the Lord from heaven. So, in this sense, He has become “our heavenly Father.” You could even say, in a sense, that this makes His Father (that is God the Father), into our heavenly Grandfather!

Now here is a quote from the same author, Ellen White, that sheds some additional light on the matter.

“However much a shepherd may love his sheep, he loves his sons and daughters more. JESUS IS NOT ONLY OUR SHEPHERD; HE IS OUR “EVERLASTING FATHER.” And He says, “I know Mine own, and Mine own know Me, even as the Father knoweth Me, and I know the Father.” John 10:14, 15, R. V. What a statement is this!—THE ONLY-BEGOTTEN SON, He who is in the bosom of the Father, He whom God has declared to be “the Man that is My fellow” (Zechariah 13:7),—THE COMMUNION BETWEEN HIM AND THE ETERNAL GOD IS TAKEN TO REPRESENT THE COMMUNION BETWEEN CHRIST AND HIS CHILDREN ON THE EARTH! {DA 483.2}

“Because WE ARE THE GIFT OF HIS FATHER, and the reward of His work, Jesus loves us. HE LOVES US AS HIS CHILDREN. Reader, He loves you. Heaven itself can bestow nothing greater, nothing better. Therefore trust {DA 483.3}

So, Jesus being our heavenly Father doesn’t change His own relationship to His Father, no more so than a man having his own son would change his relationship to his own father. What it means though is that the familial relationship now has an additional layer. The son became a father but, again, that doesn’t stop him from still being the son of his own father. I hope this is all very clear.

Moreover, for the record, Isaiah 9 refers to Christ as “father of forever” (literal Hebrew translation). Contextually, this is a reference to what He is to the human family by means of His bringing immortal life back into the human family. Our original everlasting father was actually supposed to be the first Adam but he failed, so God sent His Son to be the new and last Adam, in which, Jesus succeeded.

Thus, Jesus is an everlasting father for all the redeemed children. This passage (Isaiah 9:6) therefore has nothing to do with Him being described as “God the Father.” It doesn’t say that at all and no one should ever say that because, as stated earlier, it is confusing and misleading at best or downright heretical at worst.

Finally, let’s take a look Galatians chapter 4, verses 21 to 26. This passage describes the relationship between Hagar and Sarah (Genesis 21:9–21) but gives spiritual implications for the believers. The passage reads:

“21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? 22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. 24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.”

In the spiritual realm, Paul says that the bondwoman, Hagar, represents the law. The law in this sense refers to the works without relying on the merits of Christ.  Ishmael (son by Hagar) was Abraham’s work, not God’s; whereas Issac (son by Sarah) was the result of God’s promise.

Going further, Hagar represents Mount Sinai, or the Mosaic Covenant set up when God led the Israelites out of slavery. This covenant was designed to be temporary, as an imperfect solution. The Mosaic covenant (at least how the Israelites understood it) was one of external rules and deeds, which left the people in bondage to the law-Torah.  Unfortunately Jews today still follow the commands of the Torah and the Mishna, the explanation of the Torah but completely divorced from Christ. People today who follow legalism as the way to salvation are slaves to what they can do.  Their ‘justification’ is tied to personal performance and what other people think of them.

On the other side is grace, represented by Sarah’s son, Isaac. God miraculously brought life to Sarah’s barren womb, just as He had promised. Isaac, just as he was the work of God, justification through Christ’s redemptive work on the cross and the renewing of the Spirit is the work of God alone. We can take no credit for it but is wrought out by our faith which worketh by love. This covenant is represented by the Abrahamic covenant (righteousness by faith).

Just as God brought life to the ‘dead’ womb of Sarah, He brings spiritual life to our dead spirits when we receive His righteousness through faith in Christ.

Interestingly, according to verse 26, just as Sarah was the mother who bore the son of promise, the “Jerusalem which is above” is the “mother of us all” (for the redeemed).

“But who is the husband of “the mother of us all?” Here’s Ellen White’s husband, James White’s response:

“But who is the husband of “the mother of us all?” Answer. “For thy Maker is thy husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.” (Isaiah 54:5.) Surely this must be the Lord Jesus. The prophet adds, “this [Jerusalem above] is the heritage of the servants of the Lord.” V.17. Compare Isaiah 54:11-15, and Revelation 21:11-21; 22:1-5.” (JWe, ARSH October 7, 1851, page 33)

If “Jerusalem which is above” (representing the church of Christ) is the “mother of us all” then we are the children according to the promise, but furthermore, if Christ is the husband, then that makes Christ our heavenly Father.



The Sunday Rest Bill and the Trinity

Originally published on adopted and edited by As It Reads
We all know that Sunday laws are on the statute books of America, and many Seventh-day Adventists are waiting for the Sunday law to be enforced in fulfillment of the mark of the beast in Revelation 13. But what the majority of Seventh-day Adventists don’t realize, is that attached to the Sunday law bills was another ‘religious’ law concerning the Trinity.

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The Subordination of Christ

By the Rev. Samuel T. Spear D. D.
The following article, The Bible Doctrine of the Trinity (aka “The Subordination of Christ”), was written by a Presbyterian minister named the Rev. Samuel Thayer Spear D.D. (1812-1891). It was first published in ‘The New York Independent’ in 1889, then 3 years later in 1892, it was adopted by the Seventh-day Adventist church and was included in the church “Bible Students Library.”

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Trinity, A Case of Homonym

”The Bible is not given to us in grand superhuman language. Jesus, in order to reach man where he is, took humanity. The Bible must be given in the language of men. Everything that is human is imperfect. DIFFERENT MEANINGS ARE EXPRESSED BY THE SAME WORD; THERE IS NOT ONE WORD FOR EACH DISTINCT IDEA. The Bible was given for practical purposes.” — Ellen White, Ms24-1886.6

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