(Is the Godhead a Secret?)
Is the Godhead a secret? What has been revealed to us? Is this a subject we should not discuss? This article will share what has been revealed on this subject, but first we will define secrecy.
When you hear someone say that they have a secret, human nature automatically wants to know what the secret is. They promise that if they are told the secret they will keep the secret from others.
A secret is something that is kept hidden or concealed. Unknown to many; known only to a select few. A secret can also be called a mystery.
We have the terminology in English, “The secret of success.” When you go on the Internet and do a search for “Secret of Success”, you find many quotes offering good advice. For example: “Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.” Swami Sivananda. https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/swami_sivananda_390760. This is very good advice. You can find many more if you look.
It seems that success is not really a secret since there is much advice on how to succeed. It is an odd use of the terminology, as though only a few know this secret on how to succeed. But how many do succeed?
What is success? To some, success is riches, fame and fortune. If this were true then only a small minority of the earth’s population have learned the secret of success, since the poverty-stricken population heavily outnumbers the wealthy population.
To others, success is a university education. To others it is getting married and staying happily married and having children. And to others it is simply living a happy life, doing whatever pleases them.
To the Christian though, success is reaching the goal of salvation, and eternal life. Living for Jesus and sharing the good news with as many people as possible. This is the success we should all be aspiring to attain. All other successes should be secondary and much less important. The Apostle Paul was one of the most successful Christian missionaries and he had no wealth, no spouse, no home of his own.
“In reality, There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, learning from failure.” https://philosiblog.com/2013/10/15/there-are-no-secrets-to-success-it-is-the-result-of-preparation-hard-work-learning-from-failure/
The word “secret” creates intrigue and interest in human nature. People want to know what the secret is. In many of these instances, success has been coined with the word secret in order to attract our attention.
DOES GOD HAVE SECRETS? YES, HE DOES.
“The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29
Moses wrote here that God has some things that are secret—that are not revealed to us at the moment. However, there is enough revealed for our salvation. Those things that are revealed should satisfy us, and we should not be curious and speculate about those things that are not revealed. Most importantly, God has revealed to us, in His word, the secret to success for our Christian life.
There have been many secrets in the Bible. “The secret of the LORD is with them that fear Him; and He will show them His covenant.” Psalm 25:14
“And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Why askest thou thus after My name, seeing it is secret?” Judges 13:18
“Just how God accomplished the work of creation He has never revealed to men; human science cannot search out the secrets of the Most High. His creative power is as incomprehensible as His existence.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 113
The Most Holy Place of the temple was a very secretive place. Only the High Priest could enter, and then only once a year.
The contents of the Ark of the Covenant were definitely kept secret. “He smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the LORD, even He smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men.” 1 Samuel 6:19. The people had never seen the contents of the ark as they had been placed in there during the time of Moses. Moses had long since passed from this world.
There are prophecies and truths that are revealed that some people (both Christian and non-Christian) do not want to listen to or to study. I have heard many Christians state that they are willing to study the Bible, but please do not study doctrine with them. Why? This is the secret to their success and they do not want to hear about it? The entire book of Revelation is full of revealed prophecies; yet, many Christians avoid Revelation, stating it is too difficult to understand. In other words, it is full of secrets. Although most of the book of Revelation is revealed, there is one portion that was kept secret. “And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.” Revelation 10:4. John was clearly instructed to keep secret the message that those seven thunders uttered; however, the remainder of the book of Revelation is revealed.
“The idea that certain portions of the Bible cannot be understood has led to neglect of some of its most important truths. The fact needs to be emphasized, and often repeated, that the mysteries of the Bible are not such because God has sought to conceal truth, but because our own weakness or ignorance makes us incapable of comprehending or appropriating truth. The limitation is not in His purpose, but in our capacity. Of those very portions of Scripture often passed by as impossible to be understood, God desires us to understand as much as our minds are capable of receiving.” –Education, p. 170
Sometimes the Lord keeps secrets for awhile, and then later reveals the secret. Daniel was told to “shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end.” Daniel 12:4
In 1844 the Lord kept secret the mistake of the sincere believers. “I saw the people of God joyful in expectation, looking for their Lord. But God designed to prove them. His hand covered a mistake in the reckoning of the prophetic periods. . . . God designed that His people should meet with a disappointment.” –Early Writings, p. 235
What was the purpose of this secret? “The time passed, and those who had looked with joyful expectation for their Saviour were sad and disheartened, while those who had not loved the appearing of Jesus, but embraced the message through fear, were pleased that He did not come at the time of expectation. Their profession had not affected the heart and purified the life. The passing of the time was well calculated to reveal such hearts.” –Ibid., p. 235
We also have the promise that, “The Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants and prophets.” Amos 3:7. The Lord revealed all significant events through His prophets. Today, it is revealed that the end of the world is near at hand. Although the exact date is a secret, signs have been given us to show the time is near so we will not make a mistake and be caught by surprise.
Regarding heaven, Paul wrote, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9
Yes, we talk about the secrets of heaven and its beauty that eye hath not seen nor ear heard. However, in the
very next verse we read, “But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:10
We are given glimpses of the eternal world in the last two chapters of the books of Isaiah and Revelation, and in the first vision that Ellen G. White had (Early Writings, p. 13–20). Yes, some of the secrets have been revealed.
“None need concern themselves about those things which the Lord has not revealed to us.” –Christ Triumphant, p. 248
Then what about the secret/mystery of the Godhead? What is revealed regarding the Godhead—the nature of God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit? There is much that is secretive that we do not understand, but the small portion that has been revealed we must accept. This is the secret of success in our Christian life.
Stop and say a silent prayer now as we are entering on holy ground.
We cannot fully understand God. We cannot put Him in a box, and explain everything about His Nature. It is a mystery and throughout eternal ages, we will be studying His Nature.
While we do not understand much about the nature of the Godhead, we must accept what is revealed to us, and not speculate on what is not revealed. Some say we should never speak of or discuss the nature of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit because they are so clothed in mystery. Truthfully, we are to leave what is not revealed as a mystery, but, are free to discuss what is revealed. Understanding the work of the Godhead, as revealed, is essential for our salvation.
The term “nature” in describing a person is their inborn or inherent qualities. These we cannot completely understand or explain, from the Holy Spirit, from God the Father, or from Jesus Christ. Our human mind cannot fathom these qualities. We leave them alone and do not discuss them.
What is not secret, but is revealed is that, while they are one, all three persons in the Godhead have their own distinct personality. “The Father and the Son each have a personality.” –Evangelism, p. 613. “The Holy Spirit has a personality.” –Ibid., p. 617. Personality is the essential character of a person; the sum total of the physical, mental, emotional and social characteristics of an individual. It is the quality of being a person.
“A blessed unity will be enjoyed by those who are indeed children of God. They will not, by their words and acts, lead anyone to doubt in regard to the distinct personality of God.” –Manuscript Releases, vol. 2, p. 186. We stop there and accept. All three each have their own personality—character and characteristics.
It has been revealed that the fullness of the Godhead is manifest in each one of them. “The Father is all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and is invisible to mortal sight.” –Evangelism, p. 614. “The Son is all the fullness of the Godhead manifested. The Word of God declares Him to be ‘the express image of His person.’” –Ibid. Jesus is said to be the express image of His Father. “The Comforter that Christ promised to send after He ascended to heaven, is the Spirit in all the fullness of the Godhead, making manifest the power of divine grace to all who receive and believe in Christ as a personal Saviour.” –Ibid
“There are three living persons of the heavenly trio; in the name of these three great powers –the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit–those who receive Christ by living faith are baptized, and these powers will co-operate with the obedient subjects of heaven in their efforts to live the new life in Christ.” –Ibid., p. 615
We will now read what has been revealed regarding the nature of each of the three living Persons in the heavenly trio.
NATURE OF THE FATHER
The nature (inborn, inherent qualities) of the Father is a complete mystery. How can the Father, who has His throne in the temple in heaven, keep the universe running in order and be able to see a star that is a billion light years away? He manages all the galaxies with their billions of stars, keeping them in order—they never collide. Our human minds cannot fathom those distances and His ability to do so. The omnipresence of God, throughout the entire universe is beyond our contemplation, so we leave that subject alone.
“The subject of speculation regarding God’s personality we will not venture to express, except in the language of the Word which represents His personality. There is to be no discussion over this question lest God would give unmistakable revelation of what He is that would extinguish the one who dares venture on the holy ground in his speculative theories, as some ventured to do in opening the ark to see what was in it as its power and how God was manifested. The men were slain for their curiosity science.” –Manuscript Releases, vol. 18, p. 222 (emphasis mine)
The word “speculation” means to come to a conclusion, or develop an opinion just by simply contemplating the matter. It is an opinion, but not based on facts. For example, to say how long Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden prior to the fall into sin, is mere speculation. Was it one week? One month? One year? We can form our own opinions through speculation; however, there are no solid facts to back up our opinion.
So likewise, we cannot speculate regarding the exact nature and personality of God. We do not know. It has not been revealed to us. So we leave it alone.
“The revelation of Himself that God has given in His word is for our study. This we may seek to understand. But beyond this we are not to penetrate. The highest intellect may tax itself until it is wearied out in conjectures regarding the nature of God; but the effort will be fruitless. This problem has not been given us to solve. No human mind can comprehend God. Let not finite man attempt to interpret Him. Let none indulge in speculation regarding His nature. Here silence is eloquence. The Omniscient One is above discussion.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 279
HUMANITY OF CHRIST
The humanity of Christ is a deep mystery to our human mind. We cannot perfectly understand the nature of Christ. How did He manifest Himself as fire in the burning bush; as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night in the wilderness with Ancient Israel? And most importantly, how did He reduce Himself to one single cell and implant Himself into the womb of Mary, while not divested of His Divinity? We definitely cannot understand that mystery.
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” 1 Timothy 3:16 (emphasis mine).
“There is no one who can explain the mystery of the incarnation of Christ. Yet we know that He came to this earth and lived as a man among men.” –The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1129. That is all that is revealed, so we must accept, believe and no need to delve further into what is not revealed. This is the secret of success.
“In contemplating the incarnation of Christ in humanity, we stand baffled before an unfathomable mystery, that the human mind cannot comprehend. The more we reflect upon it, the more amazing does it appear. How wide is the contrast between the divinity of Christ and the helpless infant in Bethlehem’s manger! How can we span the distance between the mighty God and a helpless child? And yet the Creator of worlds, He in whom was the fullness of the Godhead bodily, was manifest in the helpless babe in the manger. Far higher than any of the angels, equal with the Father in dignity and glory, and yet wearing the garb of humanity! Divinity and humanity were mysteriously combined, and man and God became one. It is in this union that we find the hope of our fallen race.” –The Signs of the Times, July 30, 1896
“This is a great mystery, a mystery that will not be fully, completely understood in its greatness until the translation of the redeemed shall take place. Then the power and greatness and efficacy of the gift of God to man will be understood. But the enemy is determined that this gift shall be so mystified that it will become as nothingness.” –The Upward Look, p. 260
NATURE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
“The Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Godhead. . . .” –Testimonies to Ministers, p. 392. This term is used multiple times by Ellen G. White, “Third Person.”
Although the Holy Spirit is said to be the Third Person of the Godhead, the exact nature of the Holy Spirit, our Comforter (John 14:26) is also a mystery, as is the nature of the Father and the Son. We cannot understand how He could manifest Himself in the form of Wind at creation, in the form of Fire on the day of Pentecost, and in the form of a Dove at the baptism of Jesus. That is a mystery, however we have to accept what is revealed. There has been much controversy and discussion regarding the nature of the Holy Spirit in the Christian world. Some believe that He does not exist as a distinct and separate person–only as the Spirit of God the Father. Others do believe He is a person. There is much secrecy and mystery, but what has
been revealed we must accept.
Let us read what has been revealed:
“The Holy Spirit is a person, for He beareth witness with our spirits that we are the children of God.” –Evangelism, p. 616. “The Holy Spirit has a personality, else He could not bear witness to our spirits and with our spirits that we are the children of God. He must also be a divine person, else He could not search out the secrets which lie hidden in the mind of God.” –Ibid., p. 617. “We need to realize that the Holy Spirit . . . is as much a person as God is a person.” –Ibid., p. 616
“It is not essential for us to be able to define just what the Holy Spirit is. Christ tells us that the Spirit is the Comforter. . .
“The nature of the Holy Spirit is a mystery. Men cannot explain it, because the Lord has not revealed it to them. Men having fanciful views may bring together passages of Scripture and put a human construction on them, but the acceptance of these views will not strengthen the church. Regarding such mysteries, which are too deep for human understanding, silence is golden.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 51–52 (emphasis mine)
While we cannot explain the nature of the Holy Spirit, as we cannot that of the Father and the Son, what has been revealed is the work of the Holy Spirit (John 3:8; 14:16–17, 26; 16:7–10). “It is the Holy Spirit that convicts of sin. If the sinner responds to the quickening influence of the Spirit, he will be brought to repentance and aroused to the importance of obeying the divine requirements.” –Ibid. “The work of the Holy Spirit is immeasurably great. It is from this source that power and efficiency come to the worker for God; and the Holy Spirit is the Comforter, as the personal presence of Christ to the soul.” –Christ Triumphant, p. 365
“The Holy Spirit is Christ’s representative, but divested of the personality of humanity, and independent thereof.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 669. Only Jesus took on humanity. Neither the Father nor the Holy Spirit did. They both were divested of the personality of humanity. “The Holy Spirit is the Comforter, in Christ’s name. He personifies Christ, yet is a distinct personality.” –Manuscript Releases, vol. 20, p. 324
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Matthew 28:19. The disciples were told to go and baptize in the name of the three persons of the heavenly Godhead. If the Holy Spirit was only the spirit of God and not a distinct separate person, Jesus would have told them to baptize only in the name of the Father and the Son.
Is the Godhead so mysterious and secretive that we are not to speak about Them? While we cannot, in our human mind, comprehend their nature, our salvation is very dependent on Their help and sacrifice. We must continually be speaking of Jesus and His great sacrifice. “We are to co-operate with the three highest powers in heaven,–the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, –and these powers will work through us, making us workers together with God.” –Evangelism, p. 617
What we cannot do is speculate about the unknown—what is not revealed. We only have to accept, by faith, what is written and recorded. All that is necessary for our salvation has been revealed to us. To accept what is revealed and not worry about what has not been revealed is the secret to our success. Let us accept all that has been written for our salvation.
“It is a masterpiece of Satan’s deceptions to keep the minds of men searching and conjecturing in regard to that which God has not made known and which He does not intend that we shall understand. It was thus that Lucifer lost his place in heaven. He became dissatisfied because all the secrets of God’s purposes were not confided to him, and he entirely disregarded that which was revealed concerning his own work in the lofty position assigned him. By arousing the same discontent in the angels under his command, he caused their fall. Now he seeks to imbue the minds of men with the same spirit and to lead them also to disregard the direct commands of God.” –Maranatha, p. 135
“Matters of vital importance have been plainly revealed in the Word of God. These subjects are worthy of our deepest thought. But we are not to search into matters on which God has been silent.” –Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 173. Let us not delve into mysteries and speculate about what has not been revealed to us, but let us accept fully that which has been revealed.
I ask again, does God have secrets? Yes, He does; and one day, if we accept the revealed word of God, we will understand more of His secrets.
That is the secret of success: accepting the revealed word of God. Trust God on points that He has decided to keep a secret from us at this present time because He has made every provision necessary for our salvation.