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FOUNDATIONAL DOCTRINES

THE DOCTRINE OF GOD

June 1, 1999

REMINDER OF THE NECESSITY OF LEARNING FOUNDATIONAL DOCTRINES:

D.F. Sebastian writes in his intro to The Doctrine of God by C. D. Cole:

It requires the space of only one generation for a people to drift from their doctrinal moorings. One generation which knew not Joseph loosed its persecution on the children of Israel, reversed the national policy and started Egypt to her doom, hence the vital necessity of reiterating and confirming the doctrines of our faith in every generation. Truth crushed to earth will rise again, but only as it is known and believed by men who have the conviction and courage to proclaim it. That is why the apostle Paul said to his student Timothy: "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also" (#2Ti 2:2). As every generation must be evangelized, so must every generation be indoctrinated.

The author wisely says, "The foundation of true religion is to have proper thoughts about God. The man who thinks right about God will not be far wrong in his thinking about other things. A thousand evils grow out of wrong conceptions about God." The present tendency is to emphasize the doctrines which deal with man. Psychology and Sociology are more popular than Theology. Such popular expressions as, "Competency of the human soul, ""Creative thinking, ""The dignity of man, ""The value of human personality, " "Social implications of the Gospel, ""Enlisting our man power, "and "Building a new world" indicate the tendency to magnify man and minimize God in religious thought and activity.

The small conception which some have of God makes them mere apologists for God. They speak of God's wanting to do this and trying to do that, of giving God a chance, of letting God have His way, as if God were the suppliant and man the sovereign. I heard a preacher say in pathetic tone, "I am sorry for God" as he pleaded with his congregation to give God a better deal. My dear brethren, study this book, read it's Scriptural references and absorb its message and you will never be sorry for God. He is revealed as One who is amply able to take care of Himself. You will pity those who discount His power, resist His will, and belittle His universal sovereignty.

Deep things of God as set forth here are not seen by the natural mind and are seldom discerned by the Christian who is superficial in study. The ponderous mass of the doctrines of our faith, like the submerged two thirds of an iceberg, is below the surface of popular thought and appreciation. Worldly statesmen praise the work of missionaries because they have built a reservoir of good will for America among the nations while they are blind to God's eternal purpose to visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name. Five thousand ate loaves and fishes and wanted to make Jesus king, but only a dozen remained to hear Him preach on election, effectual calling, and the sovereignty of God. For lazy minds looking for ready material for popular sermons and pep talks this book will have little appeal, but for those whose hearts yearn for a deeper acquaintance with their God, it will be worth its weight in gold. My heart has thrilled, my soul has rejoiced, all that is within me has blessed the Lord, as I have read the manuscript. What a wonderful God is our God!

Such conception of God, as revealed in this book, will promote humility and reverence in our worship as no soft music, art, glass windows, mellow lights, or psychological schemes ever will. It will melt pride and banish formalism and ritualism from the churches. It will establish the preacher on solid ground of assurance and save him from despair in the presence of seeming failure by bringing him to rest the results of his ministry on the unfailing purpose of God. It will safeguard our evangelism against spurious methods and high pressure salesmanship. It will relax the spiritual tension in our religious activity. It will put triumph in the soul and cause us to shout with Paul, "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us who can be against us?" (#Ro 8:31). [All this excerpt taken from the introduction to the book, Volume I-THE DOCTRINE OF GOD By CLAUDE DUVAL COLE, this intro was written by D. F. Sebastian, Plant City, Florida. The work is found in the ONLINE BIBLE CDROM V8.0]

OPENING QUESTIONS AND REMARKS TO PONDER:

Who is God?

What are we to believe about Him?

To what extent may we know Him?

In what ways can we define Him?

These questions and many more are related to our study of "The Doctrine of God." This is "theology", the study of God. If we love God, will we not seek to know all of Him which He has purposed to reveal of Himself?

THE STUDY OF GOD IS ESSENTIAL:

What we think of GOD will PROFOUNDLY and thoroughly affect the way we seek him, behave towards him, and what we believe about HIM. Do we think worthy thoughts of our Great and Awesome God?

If we think He is to be subjected to our will and whim: we may be tempted to USE GOD for our own ends and our own purposes.

If our thoughts of God are small we may think He exists to serve us. This is so much the part of the "FAITH MOVEMENT" whose god must run at the beck and call of one's positive confession.

Is God Sovereign or is MAN? Our answer to this question will serve to form our prayers and our FAITH.

WHAT IS GOD? Is He an impersonal force as in the move, STAR WARS? We will certainly act and live differently if this is our God as opposed to a GOD who has a being, who IS, and IS the rewarder of them that dilligently seek HIM. Who has a MIND and WILL and BEING of HIS own to act independtly overall. OR is HE a FORCE to be tapped into having both a GOOD and EVIL side.

Does HE LOVE? Does HE HATE? Our answer to this will certainly form our practice and our FAITH.

We MUST COME TO GOD as HE IS and as HE is REVEALED TO US through the HOLY Scriptures and BY HIS SPIRIT. AND not just how we imagine HIM to be or hope HIM to be. Worshipping a God found in our own imaginations is idolatry.

O' God that WE MAY KNOW YOU. O' GOD that my heart would LONG and PANT after thee as does the HART after the WATER BROOKS.

Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Jeremiah 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:14 And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.

It is as bad to invent a god in the imagination as it is to make one with the hands. The old form of idolatry had its gods made with hands; the new form of idolatry has its gods spun out of the imagination and harbored in the mind. The unknown God is still the true God. The Athenians of Paul's day had monuments to many gods, and in their religious zeal had a monument to the unknown God. The unknown God was the God Paul preached to them. The true God was unknown to them. (#Ac 17:22-32):[The Doctrine of God, C.D. Cole, Online Bible V8.0]

WHAT IS GOD?

From the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, Chapter 2: Of God and of the Holy Trinity

1._____The Lord our God is but one only living and true God; whose subsistence is in and of himself, infinite in being and perfection; whose essence cannot be comprehended by any but himself; a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; who is immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, every way infinite, most holy, most wise, most free, most absolute; working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will for his own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek him, and withal most just and terrible in his judgments, hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty.
(
1 Corinthians 8:4, 6; Deuteronomy 6:4; Jeremiah 10:10; Isaiah 48:12; Exodus 3:14; John 4:24; 1 Timothy 1:17; Deuteronomy 4:15, 16; Malachi 3:6; 1 Kings 8:27; Jeremiah 23:23; Psalms 90:2; Genesis 17:1; Isaiah 6:3; Psalms 115:3; Isaiah 46:10; Proverbs 16:4; Romans 11:36; Exodus 34:6, 7; Hebrews 11:6; Nehemiah 9:32, 33; Psalms 5:5, 6; Exodus 34:7; Nahum 1:2, 3 )

GOD BEYOND FULLY KNOWING:

We Are standing on Holy Ground: Let us be careful against speculation and imagination and yet let us seek to know God to the extent that HE has revealed HIMSELF.

Our God is the incomprehensible GOD and we will not know all there is to KNOW of HIM. He is beyond our GRASP. If we were to fully know GOD we would be greater than God.

Exodus 3:14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

Matthew Henry Comments on Exodus 3:14, "I AM":

(1.) That he is self-existent; he has his being of himself, and has no dependence upon any other: the greatest and best man in the world must say, By the grace of God I am what I am; but God says absolutely--and it is more than any creature, man or angel, can say--I am that I am. Being self-existent, he cannot but be self-sufficient, and therefore all-sufficient, and the inexhaustible fountain of being and bliss.

(2.) That he is eternal and unchangeable, and always the same, yesterday, to-day, and for ever; he will be what he will be and what he is; #Re 1:8.

(3.) That we cannot by searching find him out. This is such a name as checks all bold and curious enquiries concerning God, and in effect says, Ask not after my name, seeing it is secret, #Jud 13:18; Pr 30:4. Do we ask what is God? Let it suffice us to know that he is what he is, what he ever was, and ever will be. How little a portion is heard of him! #Job 26:14.

(4.) That he is faithful and true to all his promises, unchangeable in his word as well as in his nature, and not a man that he should lie. Let Israel know this, I AM hath sent me unto you. [Matthew Henry's Commentary, Online Bible]

Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Psalms 40:5 Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.

Psalms 92:5 O LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep.

Isaiah 40:28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.

Romans 11:34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?

1 Corinthians 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

 

THINKING AND RIGHT THINKING ABOUT OUR GOD

The foundation of true religion is to have proper thoughts of God. Of the wicked it is said that God is not in all his thoughts: "The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts" (#Ps 10:4). Malachi tells of a remnant that think upon His name: "Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name" (#Mal 3:16). The man who thinks right about God will not be far wrong in his thinking about other things. A thousand evils grow out of wrong conceptions about God. [Doctrine of God,C.D. Cole, Online Bible 8.0)

THREE MAIN THINGS TO BE CONSIDERED REGARDING THE GOD WITH WHOM WE HAVE TO DO: Omnipotence, Omnipresence, Omniscience.

Omnipotence - ALL POWERFUL:

Job 42:2 I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.

Psalms 115:3 But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.

Psalms 135:6 Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.

Ver. 6. Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places. His will is carried out throughout all space. The king's warrant runs in every portion of the universe. The heathen divided the great domain; but Jupiter does not rule in heaven, nor Neptune on the sea, nor Pluto in the lower regions; Jehovah rules over all. His decree is not defeated, his purpose is not frustrated: in no one point is his good pleasure set aside. The word "whatsoever" is of the widest range and includes all things, and the four words of place which are mentioned comprehend all space; therefore the declaration of the text knows neither limit nor exception. Jehovah works his will: he pleases to do, and he performs the deed. None can stay his hand. How different this from the gods whom the heathen fabled to be subject to all the disappointments, failures, and passions of men! How contrary even to those so called Christian conceptions of God which subordinate him to the will of man, and make his eternal purposes the football of human caprice. Our theology teaches us no such degrading notions of the Eternal as that he can be baffled by man. "His purpose shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure." No region is too high, no abyss too deep, no land too distant, no sea too wide for his omnipotence: his divine pleasure travels post over all the realm of nature, and his behests are obeyed.

[Treasury of David, Charles H. Spurgeon, Online Bible 8.0]

Isaiah 43:13 Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it? (Read Isaiah 43:10-25)

Ver. 13. Yea, before the day was I am he, &c.] Before there was a day, before the first day of the creation; that is, before time was, or from all eternity, I am he that resolved upon and contrived this method of saving men; "and ever since that day was" {k}, as it may be rendered, I am he that have spoken of it by all the prophets, from the beginning of the world, and now it is accomplished:

and there is none can deliver out of my hand: either such whom the Lord determines to punish, or such whom he resolves to save; none can snatch them out of his hands, there they are safe:

I will work, and who shall let it? as when he wrought the work of creation, there was no opposition to it, or hinderance of him; and in providence all things are done as be pleases; so all his purposes and decrees, which are his works within him, are exactly accomplished according to his pleasure, and none can resist his will. The work of redemption is finished just according to the draught of it in his eternal mind; and when he works upon the heart of a sinner at conversion, whatever obstructions and difficulties are in the way, these are removed, and the work is begun, and carried on, and performed, until the day of Christ. The work of the Lord in his churches, and the setting up of his kingdom in the world, in a more visible and glorious manner, shall be done, and none will be able to hinder it:

who can turn it back? either his work, or his hand in working; his purposes cannot be disannulled; his power cannot be controlled; his work cannot be made void, or of no effect; he always succeeds, for he has no superior that can obstruct him. [John Gill's Commentary, Online Bible 8.0]

Habakkuk 3:6 He stood, and measured the earth: he beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow: his ways are everlasting.

Matthew 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

Mark 14:36 And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.

Luke 1:37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.

Revelation 19:6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

Omnipresence - EVERYWHERE PRESENT

Deuteronomy 4:39 Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.

Psalms 139:8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

Ver. 8. If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there. Filling the loftiest region with his yet loftier presence, Jehovah is in the heavenly place, at home, upon his throne. The ascent, if it were possible, would be unavailing for purposes of escape; it would, in fact, be a flying into the centre of the fire to avoid the heat. There would he be immediately confronted by the terrible personality of God. Note the abrupt words--"THOU, THERE."

If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. Descending into the lowest imaginable depths among the dead, there should we find the Lord. THOU! says the Psalmist, as if he felt that God was the one great Existence in all places. Whatever Hades may be, or whoever may be there, one thing is certain, Thou, O Jehovah, art there. Two regions, the one of glory and the other of darkness, are set in contrast, and this one fact is asserted of both--"thou art there." Whether we rise up or lie down, take our wing or make our bed, we shall find God near us. A "behold" is added to the second clause, since it seems more a wonder to meet with God in hell than in heaven, in Hades than in Paradise. Of course the presence of God produces very different effects in these places, but it is unquestionably in each; the bliss of one, the terror of the other. What an awful thought, that some men seem resolved to take up their night's abode in hell, a night which shall know no morning. [Treasury of David, Charles H. Spurgeon, Online Bible 8.0]

Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.

Matthew Henry's Commentary:

The great truths of divinity are of great use to enforce the precepts of morality, and none more than this--That the eye of God is always upon the children of men.

1. An eye to discern all, not only from which nothing can be concealed, but by which every thing is actually inspected, and nothing overlooked or looked slightly upon: The eyes of the Lord are in every place; for he not only sees all from on high (#Ps 33:13), but he is every where present. Angels are full of eyes (#Re 4:8), but God is all eye. It denotes not only his omniscience, that he sees all, but his universal providence, that he upholds and governs all. Secret sins, services, and sorrows, are under his eye.

2. An eye to distinguish both persons and actions. He beholds the evil and the good, is displeased with the evil and approves of the good, and will judge men according to the sight of his eyes, #Ps 1:6; 11:4. The wicked shall not go unpunished, nor the righteous unrewarded, for God has his eye upon both and knows their true character; this speaks as much comfort to saints as terror to sinners.

Extract from Proverbs Appendix. See MHC note at "Pr 31:31"

Isaiah 66:1 Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?

Jeremiah 23:24 Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.

Ver. 24. Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord, &c.] If a man should hide himself in the most secret and hidden places of the earth, and do his works in the most private manner, so that no human eye can see him, he cannot hide himself or his actions from the Lord, who can see from heaven to earth, and through the darkest and thickest clouds, and into the very bowels of the earth, and the most hidden and secret recesses and caverns of it. The darkness and the light are both alike to him; and also near and distant, open and secret places:

do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord; not only with inhabitants, and with other effects of his power and providence; but with his essence, which is everywhere, and is infinite and immense, and cannot be contained in either, or be limited and circumscribed by space and place; see #1Ki 8:27. The Targum is,

``does not my glory fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord; ''

both of them are full of his glory; and every person and thing in either must be seen and known by him; and so the false prophets and their lies; in order to convince of the truth of which, all this is said, as appears by the following words. [John Gill's Commentary]

Acts 17:27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

Omniscience - ALL KNOWING:

Job 26:6 Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering.

Job 31:4 Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps?

Job 34:21 For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings.

Psalms 147:5 Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.

Ver. 5. Great is our Lord. Our Lord and King is great-- magnanimous, infinite, inconceivably glorious. None can describe his majesty, or reckon up the number of his excellencies. And of great power. Doing as he wills, and willing to do mighty deeds. His acts reveal something of his might, but the mass of his power is hidden, for all things are possible with God, even the things impossible with men. His understanding is infinite. There is no fathoming his wisdom, or measuring his knowledge. He is infinite in existence, in power, and in knowledge; as these three phrases plainly teach us. The gods of the heathen are nothing, but our God filleth all things. And yet how condescending! For this is he who so tenderly nurses sick souls, and waist to be gracious to sinful men. He brings his boundless power and infinite understanding to bear upon human distress for its assuagement and sanctification. For all these reasons let his praise be great: even could it be infinite, it would not exceed his due. In the building of his church and the salvation of souls, his greatness, power, and wisdom are all displayed: let him be extolled because of each of these attributes. [Treasure of David, Charles H. Spurgeon, Online Bible 8.0]

Hebrews 4:13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

4:13. "Neither is there any creature", &c. The conjunction here, as I think, is causal, and may be rendered "for"; for in order to confirm this truth, that whatever is hid in man is discerned and judged by God's word, he draws an argument from the nature of God himself. There is no creature, he says, which is hid from the eyes of God; there is, therefore, nothing so deep in man's soul, which cannot be drawn forth into light by that word that resembles its own author, for as it is God's office to search the heart, so he performs this examination by his word.

Interpreters, without considering that God's word is like a long staff by which he examines and searches what lies deep in our hearts, have strangely perverted this passage; and yet they have not relieved themselves. But all difficulty disappears when we take this view, - that we ought to obey God's word in sincerity and with cordial affection, because God, who knows our hearts, has assigned to his word the office of penetrating even into our inmost thoughts. The ambiguous meaning of the last words has also led interpreters astray, which they have rendered, "Of whom we speak;" but they ought, on the contrary, to be rendered, "With whom we have to do". The meaning is, that it is God who deals with us, or with whom we have a concern; and that, therefore, we ought not to trifle with him as with a mortal man, but that whenever his word is set before us, we ought to tremble, for nothing is hid from him.[Calvin's Commentary, John Calvin, The Theological Journal Library CD 2]

1 John 3:20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

God is a greater witness than our conscience, and knoweth more against us than it does: he knoweth all things; he is a greater Judge than conscience; for, as he is supreme, so his judgment shall stand, and shall be fully and finally executed. This seems to be the design of another apostle when he says, For I know nothing by myself, that is, in the case wherein I am censured by some.[Matthew Henry's Commentary, Online Bible 8.0]

1 Chronicles 28:9 And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.

or the Lord searcheth all hearts; the hearts of all men, even of kings, and knows from what principles and with what views and in what manor they serve him:

and understandeth all the imaginations of the thought; not only the thoughts of the heart, when regularly formed and ranged in order, hut even the very beginning of them, the first motions of the mind, and before they are well formed, see #Ge 6:5 Ps 139:2 [John Gill's Commentary, Online Bible 8.0]

Matthew Henry:

We make nothing of religion if we do not mind it, and make heart- work of it. Serve him with a perfect, that is, an upright heart (for sincerity is our gospel perfection), and with a willing mind, from a principle of love, and as a willing people, cheerfully and with pleasure.

2. The arguments to enforce this charge.

(1.) Two arguments of general inducement:--

[1.] That the secrets of our souls are open before God; he searches all hearts, even the hearts of kings, which to men are unsearchable, #Pr 25:3. We must therefore be sincere, because, if we deal deceitfully, God sees it, and cannot be imposed upon; we must therefore employ our thoughts, and engage them in God's service, because he fully understands all the imaginations of them, both good and bad.

[2.] That we are happy or miserable here, and for ever, according as we do, or do not, serve God. If we seek him diligently, he will be found of us, and that is enough to make us happy, #Heb 11:6. If we forsake him, desert his service and turn from following him, he will cast us off for ever, and that is enough to make us miserable. Note, God never casts any off till they have first cast him off. Here is,[Matthew Henry's Commentary, Online Bible 8.0]

2 Chronicles 6:30 Then hear thou from heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and render unto every man according unto all his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou only knowest the hearts of the children of men:)

That he, and he only, knows the hearts of the children of men, #2Ch 6:30. All men's thoughts, aims, and affections, are naked and open before him; and, however the imaginations and intents of our hearts may be concealed from men, angels, and devils, they cannot be hidden from God, who knows not only what is in the heart, but the heart itself and all the beatings of it.

[Matthew Henry's Commentary, Online Bible 8.0]

Psalms 33:13 The LORD looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men.

Psalms 33:14 From the place of his habitation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth.

Psalms 33:15 He fashioneth their hearts alike; he considereth all their works.

Psalms 44:21 Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.

Not the heart only which is secret, but the secrets of the heart, which are secrets of the most secret thing, are as open to God as a book to a reader. The reasoning is that the Lord himself knew the people to be sincerely his followers, and therefore was not visiting them for sin; hence, then, affliction evidently came from quite another cause[Treasury of David, Charles Spurgeon, Online Bible 8.0]

A godly man dares not sin secretly. He knows that God sees in secret. As God cannot be deceived by our subtlety, so he cannot be excluded by our secrecy. Thomas Watson. [Treasury of David, Charles Spurgeon, Online Bible 8.0]

Psalms 90:8 Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.

Psalms 139:2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.

Thou understandest my thought afar off. Before it is my own it is foreknown and comprehended by thee. Though my thought be invisible to the sight, though as yet I be not myself cognizant of the shape it is assuming, yet thou hast it under thy consideration, and thou perceivest its nature, its source, its drift, its result. Never dost thou misjudge or wrongly interpret me: my inmost thought is perfectly understood by thine impartial mind. Though thou shouldest give but a glance at my heart, and see me as one sees a passing meteor moving afar, yet thou wouldst by that glimpse sum up all the meanings of my soul, so transparent is everything to thy piercing glance. [Treasury of David, Charles Spurgeon, Online Bible 8.0]

When we "sit down" he sees; when we rise up he is there. Not an action is lost or a thought overlooked. No wonder that, as these tiny miracles of care are related by David, he adds the words, Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. We get accustomed to the thought that God made the sun and sky, the "moon and stars which he hath ordained", and we bow to the fact that they are "the work of his fingers." Let us go further! The coming in and going out of the Christian is mentioned several times in Scripture as though it were very important. Lady Hope, in "Between Times", 1884. [Treasury of David, Charles Spurgeon, Online Bible 8.0]

Psalms 139:11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.

Psalms 139:12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

John 2:24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men,

1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

On The Trinity:

"The doctrine of the Trinity is Truth for the Heart." [Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. Tozer, p20]

As we tread on this most holy ground of thought - the being and nature of our God I pray that we will carefully consider what God has revealed of himself and not proceed beyond the scriptures and not confuse this revelation. We must be careful that we do not think God is like US. God is not a man though often times we hear scripture reveal himself to us with terms of human anatomy -- not to LIMIT GOD but to help us in our feeble gropings after him -- that we can understand him in terms and words suitable to our own minds. Oh the mystery and majesty of our Great and incomprehensible GOD!

The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are ONE God, and yet the Father is not the Son nor is the Son the Spirit. They are one God yet three persons. There are NOT three Gods only one. A trinity of persons in Unity in the Godhead. The Father is NOT the Spirit nor is the Son theFather. There is difficulty of using the term "person" and "trinity" as they are not expressly taught in this language yet we will try to show that this is precisely the teaching of the scripture.

PERSON

Showing a distinction of the SON from the Father - he is the express image of his PERSON.

Heb 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

When the Apostle calls the Son of God "the express image of his person," (Heb. 1: 3,) he undoubtedly does assign to the Father some subsistence in which he differs from the Son. For to hold with some interpreters that the term is equivalent to essence, (as if Christ represented the substance of the Father like the impression of a seal upon wax,) were not only harsh but absurd. For the essence of God being simple and undivided, and contained in himself entire, in full perfection, without partition or diminution, it is improper, nay, ridiculous, to call it his express image, (charaktes.) But because the Father, though distinguished by his own peculiar properties, has expressed himself wholly in the Son, he is said with perfect reason to have rendered his person (hypostasis) manifest in him. And this aptly accords with what is immediately added, viz., that he is "the brightness of his glory." The fair inference from the Apostle's words is, that there is a proper subsistence (hypostasis) of the Father, which shines refulgent in the Son. From this, again it is easy to infer that there is a subsistence (hypostasis) of the Son which distinguishes him from the Father. The same holds in the case of the Holy Spirit; for we will immediately prove both that he is God, and that he has a separate subsistence from the Father. This, moreover, is not a distinction of essence, which it were impious to multiply. If credit, then, is given to the Apostle's testimony, it follows that there are three persons (hypostases) in God. [Institutes of Christian Religion, Book I, Chapter XIII, Para 2, John Calvin, Eerdmans]

Again in defense of the term, PERSON:

Now, then, though heretics may snarl and the excessively fastidious carp at the word Person as inadmissible, in consequence of its human origin, since they cannot displace us from our position that three are named, each of whom is perfect God, and yet that there is no plurality of gods, it is most uncandid to attack the terms which do nothing more than explain what the Scriptures declare and sanction. …….. The unerring standard both of thinking and speaking must be derived from the Scriptures: by it all the thoughts of ours minds, and the words of our mouths, should he tested. But in regard to those parts of Scripture which, to our capacities, are dark and intricate, what forbids us to explain them in clearer terms - terms, however, kept in reverent and faithful subordination to Scripture truth, used sparingly and modestly, and not without occasion? [Institutes of Christian Religion, Book I, Chapter XIII, Para 3, John Calvin, Eerdmans]

Although the term person only grasps at understand the real truth that GOD is ONE yet three we for lack of no better avenue use this term to STATE the distinctions in the GODHEAD. The Father is not the Son nor the Son the Spirit yet these three are ONE GOD. A plurality in the Godhead of persons but NOT OF GODS. A TRINITY in UNITY.

C.D. Cole writes on the term PERSON:

As a person God is distinguished from pantheism, the belief that all things in the aggregate are God, God is everything and everything is God. As a personal Being God is both immanent and transcendent, that is, He is both in and above His creation. He is a person in His creation, but separate and distinct from it. He is also above His creation, that is, He is bigger than creation, distinct from it and not a part of it. In his prayer dedicating the temple, Solomon paid tribute to the transcendent greatness of God in these words: "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?" (#1Ki 8:27). [Doctrine of God, C.D. Cole, Online Bible 8.0]

GOD IS ONE:

1 Corinthians 8:4,6 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. 6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

To us there is but one God, says the apostle, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in or for him. We Christians are better informed; we well know there is but one God, the fountain of being, the author of all things, maker, preserver, and governor of the whole world, of whom and for whom are all things. Not one God to govern one part of mankind, or one rank and order of men, and another to govern another. One God made all, and therefore has power over all. All things are of him, and we, and all things else, are for him. Called the Father here, not in contradistinction to the other persons of the sacred Trinity, and to exclude them from the Godhead, but in contradistinction to all creatures that were made by God, and whose formation is attributed to each of these three in other places of scripture,[Matthew Henry's Commentary]

Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:

Deuteronomy 4:39 Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.

Deuteronomy 32:39 See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.

Isaiah 37:16 O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth.

Isaiah 37:20 Now therefore, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD, even thou only.

Isaiah 44:6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.

Isaiah 44:8 Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.

Isaiah 44:24 Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;

Isaiah 45:5 I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:

Jeremiah 10:10 But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.

OUR GOD IS ONE LORD:

Mark 12:29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:

IF WE ACCEPT THIS then if we will soon see that Jesus is God and that the Holy Spirit is GOD, then if we can soon see that Jesus is not the Spirit nor the Spirit the Father we must accept that God is ONE and yet three distinct persons; God is One in essence, three persons.

Ephesians 4:6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Ver. 6. One God and Father of all, &c.] That there is but one God is the voice of nature and of revelation; and may be concluded from the perfections of deity, for there can be but one eternal, infinite, immense, omnipotent, all-sufficient, perfect, and independent Being; and from one first cause of all things, and the relations he stands in to his creatures: there is but one God, who is truly, and really, and properly God, in opposition to all nominal and figurative deities, and which are not gods by nature, and to the fictitious deities and idols of the nations; and there is but one God of Jews and Gentiles; nor is the unity of the Godhead inconsistent with a trinity of persons in it: and this one God is the Father of all; the Father of all mercies, and of all spirits, both angels and souls of men; and he is the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of all the elect in him: and seeing that they have all one covenant God and Father, who has predestinated them to the adoption of children, and who has put them among the children, and adopted them into his family, and stand in the same relation to him, and enjoy the same privileges, they ought to love as brethren:

who is above all; which may denote the superior excellency of his nature, not above his Son and Spirit, who are of the same nature with him, but above angels and men; and the extensiveness of his government, over all creatures in general, and over his church and people in particular: [John Gill's Commentary]

1 Timothy 1:17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen. Observe, First, That grace which we have the comfort of God must have the glory of. Those who are sensible of their obligations to the mercy and grace of God will have their hearts enlarged in his praise. Here is praise ascribed to him, as the King eternal, immortal, invisible. Secondly, When we have found God good we must not forget to pronounce him great; and his kind thoughts of us must not at all abate our high thoughts of him, but rather increase them. God had taken particular cognizance of Paul, and shown him mercy, and taken him into communion with himself, and yet he calls him the King eternal, &c. God's gracious dealings with us should fill us with admiration of his glorious attributes. He is eternal, without beginning of days, or end of life, or change of time. He is the Ancient of days, #Da 7:9. He is immortal, and the original of immortality; he only has immortality (#1Ti 6:16), for he cannot die. He is invisible, for he cannot be seen with mortal eyes, dwelling in the light to which no man can approach, whom no man hath seen nor can see, #1Ti 6:16. He is the only wise God (#Jude 1:25); he only is infinitely wise, and the fountain of all wisdom.

"To him be glory for ever and ever, "

or,

"Let me be for ever employed in giving honour and glory to him, as the thousands of thousands do, " #Re 5:12-13. [Matthew Henry's Commentary]

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

II. As a reason why we should in our prayers concern ourselves for all men, he shows God's love to mankind in general, #1Ti 2:4.

1. One reason why all men are to be prayed for is because there is one God, and that God bears a good will to all mankind. There is one God (#1Ti 2:5), and one only, there is no other, there can be no other, for there can be but one infinite. This one God will have all men to be saved; he desires not the death and destruction of any (#Eze 33:11), but the welfare and salvation of all. Not that he has decreed the salvation of all, for then all men would be saved; but he has a good will to the salvation of all, and none perish but by their own fault, #Mt 23:37. He will have all to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth, to be saved in the way that he has appointed and not otherwise. It concerns us to get the knowledge of the truth, because that is the way to be saved; Christ is the way and the truth, and so he is the life.

2. There is one Mediator, and that mediator gave himself a ransom for all. As the mercy of God extends itself to all his works, so the mediation of Christ extends itself thus far to all the children of men that he paid a price sufficient for the salvation of all mankind; he brought mankind to stand upon new terms with God, so that they are not now under the law as a covenant of works, but as a rule of life. They are under grace; not under the covenant of innocence, but under a new covenant: He gave himself a ransom. Observe, The death of Christ was a ransom, a counter-price. We deserved to have died. Christ died for us, to save us from death and hell; he gave himself a ransom voluntarily, a ransom for all; so that all mankind are put in a better condition than that of devils. He died to work out a common salvation: in order hereunto, he put himself into the office of Mediator between God and man. A mediator supposes a controversy. Sin had made a quarrel between us and God; Jesus Christ is a Mediator who undertakes to make peace, to bring God and man together, in the nature of an umpire or arbitrator, a days-man who lays his hand upon us both, #Job 9:33. He is a ransom that was to be testified in due time; that is, in the Old-Testament times, his sufferings and the glory that should follow were spoken of as things to be revealed in the last times, #1Pe 1:10-11. And they are accordingly revealed, Paul himself having been ordained a preacher and an apostle, to publish to the Gentiles the glad tidings of redemption and salvation by Jesus Christ. This doctrine of Christ's mediation Paul was entrusted to preach to every creature, #Mr 16:15. He was appointed to be a teacher of the Gentiles; besides his general call to the apostleship, he was commissioned particularly to preach to the Gentiles, in faith and truth, or faithfully and truly.[Matthew Henry's Commentary]

Jude 25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

Ver. 25. To the only wise God our Saviour, &c.] By whom is meant, not the Trinity of Persons in general, nor the Father in particular; but the Lord Jesus Christ, who is truly God, though not to the exclusion of the Father and Spirit; and is the wisdom of God, and the author of all wisdom, natural and spiritual; and is the only Saviour of his people; and to him may be, as is ascribed, the

glory of his deity, and divine sonship, of his mediatorial works, and of salvation:

and majesty: which belongs to him as God, and which he has in his human nature, being crowned with glory, and honour, and enthroned and set down at the right hand of God:

dominion; both natural, the kingdom of nature and providence belonging to him, and mediatorial, which is above all, reaches far and wide, and will last for ever:

and power; in making and upholding all things; in redeeming his people; in protecting and defending them, and in destroying his and their enemies; in raising the dead, and judging the world. Though the Alexandrian copy, and some others, and the Vulgate Latin version, read, "to the only God our Saviour, by Jesus Christ our Lord", and leave out the word "wise"; and so they are to be understood of God the Father; but the Ethiopic version reads, "this is the only God our Saviour Jesus Christ, to whom", &c. And all this is to be attributed to him,

both now, and ever; in the present life, and to all eternity.

Amen: which is an assent unto it, that so it should be; and a wish that so it may be; and an expression of faith, and strong asseveration, that so it shall be. [John Gill's Commentary]

YET GOD IS THREE:

One God, Three persons. But not persons such as we are. God is not a man, we have been made in the image of God but let us never be guilty in making God into our image.

SOME PLAIN SCRIPTURES:

Matthew 3:16-17 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

1 Peter 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied

1Jo 5:7-8 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

FIRST JOHN GILL'S DEFENSE OF THE AUTHENTICITY OF THIS PASSAGE:

Ver. 7. For there are three that bear record in heaven, &c.] That is, that Jesus is the Son of God. The genuineness of this text has been called in question by some, because it is wanting in the Syriac version, as it also is in the Arabic and Ethiopic versions; and because the old Latin interpreter has it not; and it is not to be found in many Greek manuscripts; nor cited by many of the ancient fathers, even by such who wrote against the Arians, when it might have been of great service to them: to all which it may be replied, that as to the Syriac version, which is the most ancient, and of the greatest consequence, it is but a version, and a defective one. The history of the adulterous woman in the eighth of John, the second epistle of Peter, the second and third epistles of John, the epistle of Jude, and the book of the Revelations, were formerly wanting in it, till restored from Bishop Usher's copy by De Dieu and Dr. Pocock, and who also, from an eastern copy, has supplied this version with this text. As to the old Latin interpreter, it is certain it is to be seen in many Latin manuscripts of an early date, and stands in the Vulgate Latin edition of the London Polyglot Bible: and the Latin translation, which bears the name of Jerom, has it, and who, in an epistle of his to Eustochium, prefixed to his translation of these canonical epistles, complains of the omission of it by unfaithful interpreters. And as to its being wanting in some Greek manuscripts, as the Alexandrian, and others, it need only be said, that it is to be found in many others; it is in an old British copy, and in the Complutensian edition, the compilers of which made use of various copies; and out of sixteen ancient copies of Robert Stephens's, nine of them had it: and as to its not being cited by some of the ancient fathers, this can be no sufficient proof of the spuriousness of it, since it might be in the original copy, though not in the copies used by them, through the carelessness or unfaithfulness of transcribers; or it might be in their copies, and yet not cited by them, they having Scriptures enough without it, to defend the doctrine of the Trinity, and the divinity of Christ: and yet, after all, certain it is, that it is cited by many of them; by Fulgentius {z}, in the beginning of the "sixth" century, against the Arians, without any scruple or hesitation; and Jerom, as before observed, has it in his translation made in the latter end of the "fourth" century; and it is cited by Athanasius {a} about the year 350; and before him by Cyprian {b}, in the middle, of the "third" century, about the year 250; and is referred to by Tertullian {c} about, the year 200; and which was within a "hundred" years, or little more, of the writing of the epistle; which may be enough to satisfy anyone of the genuineness of this passage; and besides, there never was any dispute about it till Erasmus left it out in the, first edition of his translation of the New Testament; and yet he himself, upon the credit of the old British copy before mentioned, put it into another edition of his translation. [John Gill's Commentary]

Matthew Henry also defends the authenticity of this passage:

1. We are stopped in our course by the contest there is about the genuineness of #1Jo 5:7. It is alleged that many old Greek manuscripts have it not. We shall not here enter into the controversy. It should seem that the critics are not agreed what manuscripts have it and what not; nor do they sufficiently inform us of the integrity and value of the manuscripts they peruse. Some may be so faulty, as I have an old printed Greek Testament so full of errata, that one would think no critic would establish a various lection thereupon. But let the judicious collators of copies manage that business. There are some rational surmises that seem to support the present text and reading. As,

(1.) If we admit #1Jo 5:8, in the room of #1Jo 5:7, it looks too like a tautology and repetition of what was included in #1Jo 5:6, This is he that came by water and blood, not by water only, but by water and blood; and it is the Spirit that beareth witness. For there are three that bear witness, the Spirit, the water, and the blood. This does not assign near so noble an introduction of these three witnesses as our present reading does.

(2.) It is observed that many copies read that distinctive clause, upon the earth: There are three that bear record upon the earth. Now this bears a visible opposition to some witness or witnesses elsewhere, and therefore we are told, by the adversaries of the text, that this clause must be supposed to be omitted in most books that want #1Jo 5:7. But it should for the same reason be so in all. Take we #1Jo 5:6, This is he that came by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. It would not now naturally and properly be added, For there are three that bear record on earth, unless we should suppose that the apostle would tell us that all the witnesses are such as are on earth, when yet he would assure us that one is infallibly true, or even truth itself.

(3.) It is observed that there is a variety of reading even in the Greek text, as in #1Jo 5:7. Some copies read en eisi--are one; others (at least the Complutensian) eiv to en eisin--are to one, or agree in one;and in #1Jo 5:8 (in that part that it is supposed should be admitted), instead of the common en th gh--in earth, the Complutensian reads epi thv ghv--upon earth, which seems to show that that edition depended upon some Greek authority, and not merely, as some would have us believe, upon the authority either of the vulgar Latin or of Thomas Aquinas, though his testimony may be added thereto.

(4.) The seventh verse is very agreeable to the style and the theology of our apostle; as,

[1.] He delights in the title the Father, whether he indicates thereby God only, or a divine person distinguished from the Son. I and the Father are one. And Yet I am not alone; because the Father is with me. I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. Grace be with you, and peace from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, #2Jo 1:3. Then,

[2.] The name the Word is known to be almost (if not quite) peculiar to this apostle. Had the text been devised by another, it had been more easy and obvious, from the form of baptism, and the common language of the church, to have used the name Son instead of that of the Word. As it is observed that Tertullian and Cyprian use that name, even when they refer to this verse; or it is made an objection against their referring to this verse, because they speak of the Son, not the Word; and yet Cyprian's expression seems to be very clear by the citation of Facundus himself. Quod Johannis apostoli testimonium beatus Cyprianus, Carthaginensis antistes et martyr, in epistola sive libro, quem de Trinitate scripsit, de Patre, Filio, et Spiritu sancto dictum intelligit; ait enim, Dicit Dominus, Ego et Pater unum sumus; et iterum de Patre, Filio, et Spiritu sancto scriptum est, Et hi tres unum sunt.--Blessed Cyprian, the Carthaginian bishop and martyr, in the epistle or book he wrote concerning the Trinity, considered the testimony of the apostle John as relating to the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit; for he says, the Lord says, I and the Father are one; and again, of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit it is written, And these three are one. Now it is nowhere written that these are one, but in #1Jo 5:7. It is probable that that St. Cyprian, either depending on his memory, or rather intending things more than words, persons more than names, or calling persons by their names more usual in the church (both in popular and polemic discourses), called the second by the name of the Son rather than of the Word. If any man can admit Facundus's fancy, that Cyprian meant that the Spirit, the water, and the blood, were indeed the Father, Word, and Spirit, that John said were one, he may enjoy his opinion to himself. For, First, He must suppose that Cyprian not only changed all the names, but the apostle's order too. For the blood (the Son), which Cyprian puts second, the apostle puts last. And, Secondly, He must suppose that Cyprian thought that by the blood which issued out of the side of the Son the apostle intended the Son himself, who might as well have been denoted by the water, --that by the water, which also issued from the side of the Son, the apostle intended the person of the Holy Ghost, --that by the Spirit, which in #1Jo 5:6 is said to be truth, and in the gospel is called the Spirit of truth, the apostle meant the person of the Father, though he is nowhere else so called when joined with the Son and the Holy Ghost. We require good proof that the Carthaginian father could so understand the apostle. He who so understands him must believe too that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are said to be three witnesses on earth. Thirdly, Facundus acknowledges that Cyprian says that of his three it is written, Et hi tres unum sunt--and these three are one. Now these are the words, not of #1Jo 5:8, but of #1Jo 5:7. They are not used concerning the three on earth, the Spirit, the water, and the blood; but the three in heaven, the Father, and the Word, and the Holy Ghost. So we are told that the author of the book De baptismo haereticorum, allowed to be contemporary with Cyprian, cites John's words, agreeably to the Greek manuscripts and the ancient versions, thus: Ait enim Johannes de Domino nostro in epistola nos docens, Hic es qui venit per aquam et sanguinem, Jesus Christus, non in aqua tantum, sed in aqua et sanguine; et Spiritus est qui testimonium perhibet, quia Spiritus est veritas; quia tres testimonium perhibent, Spiritus et aqua et sanguis, et isti tres in unum sunt--For John, in his epistle, says concerning our Lord, This is he, Jesus Christ, who came by water and blood, not in water only, but in water and blood; and it is the Spirit that bears witness, because the Spirit is truth; for there are three that bear witness, the Spirit, the water, and the blood, and these three agree in one. If all the Greek manuscripts and ancient versions say concerning the Spirit, the water, and the blood, that in unum sunt--they agree in one, then it was not of them that Cyprian spoke, whatever variety there might be in the copies in his time, when he said it is written, unum sunt--they are one. And therefore Cyprian's words seem still to be a firm testimony to #1Jo 5:7, and an intimation likewise that a forger of the text would have scarcely so exactly hit upon the apostolical name for the second witness in heaven, the Word. Then,

[3.] As only this apostle records the history of the water and blood flowing out of the Saviour's side, so it is he only, or he principally, who registers to us the Saviour's promise and prediction of the Holy spirit's coming to glorify him, and to testify of him, and to convince the world of its own unbelief and of his righteousness, as in his gospel, #Joh 14:16,17,26; #Joh 15:26; #Joh 16:7-15. It is most suitable then to the diction and to the gospel of this apostle thus to mention the Holy Ghost as a witness for Jesus Christ. Then,

(5.) It was far more easy for a transcriber, by turning away his eye, or by the obscurity of the copy, it being obliterated or defaced on the top or bottom of a page, or worn away in such materials as the ancients had to write upon, to lose and omit the passage, than for an interpolator to devise and insert it. He must be very bold and impudent who could hope to escape detection and shame; and profane too, who durst venture to make an addition to a supposed sacred book. And,

(6.) It can scarcely be supposed that, when the apostle is representing the Christian's faith in overcoming the world, and the foundation it relies upon in adhering to Jesus Christ, and the various testimony that was attended him, especially when we consider that he meant to infer, as he does (#1Jo 5:9), If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this (which he had rehearsed before) is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. Now in the three witnesses on earth there is neither all the witness of God, nor indeed any witness who is truly and immediately God. The antitrinitarian opposers of the text will deny that either the Spirit, or the water, or the blood, is God himself; but, upon our present reading, here is a noble enumeration of the several witnesses and testimonies supporting the truth of the Lord Jesus and the divinity of his institution. Here is the most excellent abridgment or breviate of the motives to faith in Christ, of the credentials the Saviour brings with him, and of the evidences of our Christianity, that is to be found, I think, in the book of God, upon which single account, even waiving the doctrine of the divine Trinity, the text is worthy of all acceptation. [Matthew Henry's Commentary]

Now John Gill Teaches from this passage:

And these three are one; which is to be understood, not only of their unity and agreement in their testimony, they testifying of the same thing, the sonship of Christ; but of their unity in essence or nature, they being the one God. So that, this passage holds forth and asserts the unity of God, a trinity of persons in the Godhead, the proper deity of each person, and their distinct personality, the unity of essence in that they are one; a trinity of persons in that they are three, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and are neither more nor fewer; the deity of each person, for otherwise their testimony would not be the testimony of God, as in #1Jo 5:9; and their distinct personality; for were they not three distinct persons, they could not be three testifiers, or three that bare record. [John Gill's Commentary]

The following quote by C. D. Cole is both interesting and useful to the enlightening of our understanding regarding the Nature and Being of God.

CHAPTER II-THE NATURE OF GOD or GOD'S MODE OF BEING

What is God? What constitutes the Divine nature? What is God's mode of being? These questions bring us to the burning bush and upon holy ground. We must tread softly, walk humbly, and avoid speculation. But we can go as far as Divine revelation goes.

There is a Divine nature. By nature we mean that particular character of being which makes one kind of being differ from another kind of being. Thus we speak of angelic nature, of human nature, and of brute nature. That nature may be predicated of God is suggested by Paul who says that the Galatians, before their conversion, served those which by nature were no gods. "Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods" (#Ga 4:8). This clearly implies that one does exist who by nature is God.

1. GOD IS A PERSONAL BEING.

As a person God is distinguished from pantheism, the belief that all things in the aggregate are God, God is everything and everything is God. As a personal Being God is both immanent and transcendent, that is, He is both in and above His creation. He is a person in His creation, but separate and distinct from it. He is also above His creation, that is, He is bigger than creation, distinct from it and not a part of it. In his prayer dedicating the temple, Solomon paid tribute to the transcendent greatness of God in these words: "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?" (#1Ki 8:27).

There are three marks of personality: self consciousness, self determination, and moral consciousness, and all these qualities belong to God.

2. GOD IS A SPIRIT BEING.

God is exclusively Spirit: "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth" (#Joh 4:24). The reader must grasp this truth firmly, or he will have trouble in understanding the trinity of persons in the Godhead. As a Spirit God can neither be divided nor compounded. As a Spirit He is invisible and intangible. "No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him" (#Joh 1:18). [Doctrine of God, C.D. Cole, Online Bible 8.0]

There are historically two great errors regarding the being and substance of God. They are known as Arianism and Sabellianism.

Arianism: denying the deity of Jesus Christ our Lord and the unity or essence in the Godhead.

Sabellianism: denying the distinctions of persons.

The Deity of Jesus Christ our Lord:

As we originally began this study we set out to show the following: God is ONE. Yet in the Godhead there are Three persons. Each of these three are One God and all equally deity. At this point in the Study we begin to observe the deity of Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 9:6

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.

Psalm 45:6 Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.

Hebrews 1:8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.

Isaiah 6:1; In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.

John 12:41 These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.

Isaiah 8:13; 14:Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob.

1 Peter 2:8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

Isaiah 7:14Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Matthew 9:3-6 And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. 4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? 5 For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? 6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.

Matthew 22:43-45 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, 44 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? 45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?

Psalm 110:1 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

Matthew 28:17-18 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

John 1:1-15

John 5:21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.

John 10:30-33 I and my Father are one. 31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? 33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

John 20:28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

God and our Lord Jesus Christ:

Rom. 1:7 1 Cor. 1:3; 2 Cor. 1:2; Col. 1:2; Phil. 1:2; 1 Thess. 1:1; 2 Thess. 1:1,2; 2 Tim. 1:2

 

Romans 9:5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

over all, angels and men, being the creator, upholder, and governor of them; and as having another nature, a divine one, being

God, truly and properly God, [John Gill's Commentary]

1 Corinthians 10:9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

as some of them also tempted; that is, as some of the Israelites tempted, which they did more than once; but what is referred to here, is the time they spake against God and Moses, in #Nu 21:5,6 as appears from the punishment annexed, their being destroyed by serpents. The Arabic version adds "him", meaning Christ, which is a right interpretation of the text; otherwise there would be no force in the apostle's reasoning; for Christ was the angel that went before the Israelites in the wilderness, the angel of God's presence, that bore, and carried, and saved them; he is the Jehovah they tempted at Massah and Meribah, and elsewhere, and God they spake against at this place referred to; hence it is clear that our Lord existed before his incarnation, and that he is truly and properly God; [John Gill]

Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

1 Timothy 3:16 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.

Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

Psalm 102:24-27 I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days: thy years are throughout all generations. 25 Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. 26 They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: 27 But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.

 

THE SPIRIT IS GOD:

THE PERSON OF THE HOLY SPIRIT: (Taken from the Topical index in Online Bible V 8.0)

1) He creates and gives life

Job 33:4 The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.

2) He appoints and commissions ministers

Isaiah 48:16 Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me.

Acts 13:22 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.

Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

3) He directs ministers where to preach

Acts 8:29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.

Acts 10:19-20 While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. 20 Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.

4) He directs ministers where not to preach

Acts 16:6-7 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, 7 After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.

 

5) He instructs ministers what to preach

1 Corinthians 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

 

6) He spoke in, and by, the prophets

Acts 1:16

16 Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.

1 Peter 1:11-12 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. 12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

2 Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

7) He strives with sinners

Genesis 6:3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

8) He reproves

John 16:8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

9) He comforts

Acts 9:31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.

10) He helps our infirmities

Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

11) He teaches

John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

1 Corinthians 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

12) He guides

John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

13) He sanctifies

Romans 15:16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

1 Corinthians 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

14) He testifies of Christ

John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

15) He glorifies Christ

John 16:14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

16) He has a power of his own

Romans 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

 

17) He searches all things

Romans 11:33-34 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! 34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?

1 Corinthians 2:10-11 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

18) He works according to his own will

1 Corinthians 12:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

19) He dwells with saints

John 14:17 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.

20) He can be grieved

Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

21) He can be vexed

Isaiah 63:10 But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.

22) He can be resisted

Acts 7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

23) He can be tempted

Acts 5:9 Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.

TRINITY IN UNITY:

Having thus far discussed originally that God was ONE, then proceeding on to show that JESUS was most certainly God and yet a distinct person in the Godhead, Jesus is not the Father nor is He the Spirit, we finally reviewed also the distinct person-hood of the Spirit. The Holy Ghost is not a FORCE, or a power, but is in fact GOD, we NOW proceed to show that this is a TRINITY that acts in UNITY. There is NOT competition in the Godhead. Many of the great events in scripture are attributed variously to the different persons in the Godhead. This we will now consider below.

A.W. TOZER writes, "The Persons of the Godhead, being one, have one will. They work always together, and never one smallest act is done by one without the instant acquiescence of the other two. Ever act of God is accomplished by the Trinity in Unity" [A.W. Tozer, Knowledge of the Holy, Harper and Row, p. 22]

Creation:

Gen 1:1 In the beginning <re'shiyth> God <'elohiym> created <bara'> <'eth> the heaven <shamayim> and <'eth> the earth <'erets>.

Col 1:16 For <hoti> by <en> him <autos> were <ktizo> all things <pas> created <ktizo> that are in <en> heaven <ouranos>, and <kai> that are in <epi> earth <ge>, visible <horatos> and <kai> invisible <aoratos>, whether <eite> they be thrones <thronos>, or <eite> dominions <kuriotes>, or <eite> principalities <arche>, or <eite> powers <exousia>: all things <pas> were created <ktizo> by <dia> him <autos>, and <kai> for <eis> him <autos>:

Job 26:13 By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent.

Psa 104:30 Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.

Incarnation:

Luk 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and 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.

The Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Mat 3:16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:

17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Atonement:

Heb 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Resurrection:

Acts 2:32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.

Joh 10:17-18 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

Rom 1:4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:

Salvation:

1Pe 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

Indwelling:

Joh 14:15-23 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

17 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.

18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.

20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?

23 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.

Other:

Jameison-Faucett-Brown Commentary on Isa 6:

Lord--here Adonai, Jehovah in #Isa 6:5; Jesus Christ is meant as speaking in #Isa 6:10, according to #Joh 12:41. Isaiah could only have "seen" the Son, not the divine essence (#Joh 1:18). The words in #Isa 6:10 are attributed by Paul (#Ac 28:25,26) to the Holy Ghost. Thus the Trinity in unity is implied; as also by the thrice "Holy" (#Isa 6:3). Isaiah mentions the robes, temple, and seraphim, but not the form of God Himself. Whatever it was, it was different from the usual Shekinah: that was on the mercy seat, this on a throne; that a cloud and fire, of this no form is specified: over that were the cherubim, over this the seraphim; that had no clothing, this had a flowing robe and train.

Isa 6:10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

Joh 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

Act 28:25 And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive:

Joh 12:41 These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.

ANCIENT ERRORS.

Arians proclaiming the divinity of Christ deny that He is in fact VERY GOD of VERY GOD (Of the same ESSENCE).

Sabellians proclaiming the deity of Christ deny that he is distinct from the Father and the Spirit but stating instead these terms simply refer to different attributes of God. The Son is the Father, the Father the Son, The Spirit the Father, etc.

Calvin defines Arianism:

Arius confessed that Christ was God, and the Son of God; because the passages of Scripture to this effect were too clear to be resisted, and then, as if he had done well, pretended to concur with others. But, meanwhile, he ceased not to give out that Christ was created, and had a beginning like other creatures. To drag this man of wiles out of his lurking-places, the ancient Church took a further step, and declared that Christ is the eternal Son of the Father, and consubstantial with the Father. The impiety was fully disclosed when the Arians began to declare their hatred and utter detestation of the term "homo-ousios". . [John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1 Chapter 13, Master Christian Library CD, p 154]

John Calvin Defines Sabellianism:

Next Sabellius arose, who counted the names of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as almost nonentities; maintaining that they were not used to mark out some distinction, but that they were different attributes of God, like many others of a similar kind. When the matter was debated, he acknowledged his belief that the Father was God, the Son God, the Spirit God; but then he had the evasion ready, that he had said nothing more than if he had called God powerful, and just, and wise. Accordingly, he sung another note, viz., that the Father was the Son, and the Holy Spirit the Father, without order or distinction. The worthy doctors who then had the interests of piety at heart, in order to defeat it is man’s dishonesty, proclaimed that three subsistence were to be truly acknowledged in the one God. That they might protect themselves against tortuous craftiness by the simple open truth, they affirmed that a Trinity of Persons subsisted in the one God, or (which is the same thing) in the unity of God. [John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1 Chapter 13, Master Christian Library CD, p 154]

Calvin Advises:

But if we hold, what has already been demonstrated from Scripture, that the essence of the one God, pertaining to the Father, Son, and Spirit, is simple and indivisible, and again, that the Father differs in some special property from the Son, and the Son from the Spirit, the door will be shut against Arius and Sabellius, as well as the other ancient authors of error. [John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1 Chapter 13, Master Christian Library CD, p 174]

C.D. Cole WRITES:

3. GOD IS A TRIUNE BEING.

There is one Divine essence of being subsisting in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is a triunity, three in one. In the early part of the fourth century when Arianism threatened to prevail, a young theologian named Athanasius formulated the statement that was incorporated in the Nicene Creed. He said, "We worship one God in trinity and trinity in unity, neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance." This is a remarkable statement, profound in its clarity and simplicity. The Arian notion made the Father the Supreme God and the Son only Divine in a subordinate sense. The Son was like but not of the same substance with the Father, according to Arius.

The Sabellian notion is that God is one person, manifesting Himself sometimes as Father, sometimes as Son, and sometimes as Holy Spirit. But this would make Him cease to exist as Father when manifested as Son.

If God were a physical being as a trinity, He would be in three parts, and if these parts were persons, each person would be only a part of God. But as a Spirit He is three persons, but only one substance, and each person is all of God. Of the Son we read: "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily" (#Col 2:9). And again He is called: "Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature" (#Col 1:15). [Doctrine of God, C.D. Cole, Online Bible 8.0]

THE END

sdandersen@juno.com

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