The Three Powers of Heaven
The Truth our Safeguard Against Spiritualism
Rev. 16 speaks of unclean spirits like frogs that will be gathering the whole world to the final battle (Rev. 16:13, 14). This final battle will see the world on one side and Christ and His people on the other side (Rev. 19:19, 20). The main agency of deception will be evil spirits. This domain of religious deception is called spiritualism, which capitalizes on two things : 1. The false notion that people can communicate with the dead -who are, in reality, evil spirits and; 2. Confusion in people’s minds as to who or what is the Holy Spirit and the nature of God’s presence. The Bible gives the final warning against this deception as follows:
“And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” – Rev. 18:1, 2
“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” Rev. 18:4, 5.
Our only safeguard is to know the truth from the scriptures about this very important matter. Regarding the first deception, the Seventh-day Adventists have, for years, been teaching the truth from the scriptures that the dead are asleep and are unable to communicate with the living. Since there is an abundance of literature from that source on that particular point, it will not be the focus of this presentation. However, literature on the second deception is woefully lacking and so, the focus of this tract is to establish the truth about God – who God is, who is Jesus Christ and who or what is the Holy Spirit.
A simple text summarizes quite eloquently the consistent perspective that is given throughout the scriptures, as follows:
“And of the angels he saith, who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” – Heb. 1:7-9.
The perspective is simply that the Supreme God (the Father) anoints His Son (Jesus Christ) who is God by nature and above the angels (spirits). Thus is presented the three powers of heaven – God, Christ and angels.
There is a difference between the ministering spirits of God and the spirit of God – both are referred to as “Holy Spirit” and “Holy Ghost”. This presentation will establish the difference.
A simple question can help in showing the difference: With what was Jesus anointed? We are told:
“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” – Acts 10:38.
“Holy Ghost” here is that with which Jesus was anointed.
This is clearly different from the following reference where the Apostle John is conveying grace and peace from God, Christ and the Spirits. He says:
“John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from Him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before His throne; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begot-ten of the dead.”– Rev. 1: 4, 5.
The Three Powers of Heaven are identified – God, Christ and the Spirits. “Spirits” here are ministering spirits. Some people represent the “seven Spirits” here as the “seven-fold Spirit”, giving the impression that it is not seven but really one. This is easily clarified by comparing this verse with another verse that is very similar, in which there are four Spirits mentioned and each goes to a different place. Here it is.
“And the angel answered and said unto me, These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth.” – Zech. 6:5
These spirits are of course ministering spirits or angels. Some go into the north country and others go into the south country (Zech. 6:6).
The next few verses again speak of the three powers of heaven:
1.“I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things.”- 1. Tim. 5:21. There we see the three powers – God, Christ and angels.
2.“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost.”-Matt. 28:19.
[The word Pneuma translated Ghost, is also properly translated Spirit or Spirits. It is the same word translated “spirits” in reference to the ministering spirits – Heb. 1:7, 14]. So, the reference is to the three powers again – God, Christ and angels. Note also that the whole family in heaven and earth is named after the Father (Eph. 3:14, 15).
3.“For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of Man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.” – St. Luke 9: 26. There we have the three powers again – God, Christ and angels.
4.“But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” – Mark 13: 32. It is evident here that the three powers are not co-equal.
The Bible is clear that we should not worship angels. It says:
“Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshiping of angels.” Col. 2: 18.
“And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Rev. 19:10.
5.“For unto which of the angels said He at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to me a Son? And again, when He bringeth the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, and let all the an-gels of God worship Him”- Heb. 1: 5, 6. Here again the three powers are identified showing the order of precedence: God first, Christ next and then the angels.
6.“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John” Rev. 1:1. Once again the three powers are indicated showing the order of precedence – God gave to Christ and Christ gave to the angel to dispense to John.
Some persons say that the Holy Spirit is a third divine being to be worshipped. If that were the case, these verses that have been highlighted would have presented the equivalent of a big elephant in a room being missed.
Ellen G. White Testimony
The pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist Movement fully understood the truth as presented here from the scriptures. A sample of the perspective that was commonly understood among them is reflected in the following unambiguous statements from Ellen G. white:
“Read and study the fourth chapter of Zechariah… The golden oil rep-resents the Holy Spirit.” (Ellen G. white, Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 188).
“From the two olive trees the golden oil was emptied through the golden pipes into the bowl of the candlestick, and thence into the golden lamps that gave light to the sanctuary. So from the holy ones that stand in God’s presence His Spirit is imparted to the human instrumentalities who are consecrated to His service. The mission of the two anointed ones is to communicate to God’s people that heavenly grace which alone can make His word a lamp to the feet and a light to the path. “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6. (Ellen G. white, Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 408).
The same thought is expressed at another place, the only difference being that the golden oil that was said to be God’s Spirit, is now said to be divine light, love and power. It says:
“In this vision the two olive trees which stand before God are represented as emptying the golden oil out of themselves through golden tubes into the bowl of the candlestick. From this the lamps of the sanctuary are fed, that they may give a bright, continuous light. So from the anointed ones that stand in God’s presence the fullness of divine light and love and power is imparted to His people, that they may impart to others light and joy and refreshing. Those who are thus enriched are to enrich others with the treasure of God’s love.” (Ellen G. white, Prophets and Kings, p. 594).
“And when these angels empty from themselves the golden oil of truth into the heart of him who is teaching the word, then the application of the truth will be a solemn, serious matter.” (Ellen G. white, Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 337).
“The anointed ones standing by the Lord of the whole earth have the position once given to Satan as covering cherub. By the holy beings surrounding His throne, the Lord keeps up a constant communication with the inhabitants o`f the earth.” (Ellen G. white, The Truth about Angels, p. 150; The Review and Herald, July 20, 1897).
In summary, the ministering spirits (angels) of God bring to us God’s spirit, the golden anointing oil (Divine light, love and power). The Holy Spirit is not someone to be worshipped. Neither is the Holy Spirit someone who takes up residence inside of us.
Let us therefore hold fast to the truth and not be drawn into spiritualism or into modern Babylon.
Our worship should be given to God and Christ, as it will be in the new earth, as the scriptures say: “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” Rev. 21:22.
For further information: