The Universal Christ

"The resurrection gives us a Christ who is spiritually present; the Holy Spirit gives us a Christ who is universally present. By the coming of the Holy Spirit the risen Christ is made omnipresent, and the whole process of revelation here and now completed. Nothing higher can be looked for until the veil is dropped on the other side. Momentous consequences follow the acceptance of this truth. If the age of the Spirit under which we are now living marks the final outgoing of God to man; if the God who is manifested in Christ is every-where present in the Spirit; if through the medium-ship of the Spirit he dwells in the inner sanctuary of the soul; if he is not only with man, but in man; if through the Holy Spirit his presence within the soul is realized as the presence of Christ, then the time foretold by Jesus has come when temples and shrines are no longer indispensable, when every man has immediate access to God as the Father, and when every humble receptive soul may become "an habitation of God in the Spirit." "
- James Mann Campbell (The Presence, p. 89)

The New Covenant Gift of the Spirit

"Let us recall the three considerations that have been
mentioned. First, that our Lord Himself in His Divine-human nature was on earth, and is now in heaven, possessed of the fulness of the Spirit, and this in such a manner that the Spirit entered into all He was in the one sphere, and enters into all He is in the other. Secondly, that the Spirit given us by our Lord in His glorified condition is His own Spirit in the most definite and particular meaning of the words. Thirdly, that when the Spirit is bestowed upon us He must be made inwardly and experimentally ours, entering into all that we are in a manner similar to that in which He entered into all that Jesus was and is. Let us fix these three points distinctly in our minds, and it will follow that the Spirit promised as the chief gift of the New Covenant is pervaded by human as well as Divine elements. As the Spirit of the exalted and glorified Lord, He is not the Third Person of the Trinity in His absolute and metaphysical existence, but that Person as He is mediated through the Son, who is human as well as Divine. It is on this particular aspect of His being that He diffuses Himself through the members of Christ's body, and abides in them. Only as human, entering into and coalescing with what is human, can He be also our Spirit dwelling in a living and real way within us."
- William Milligan (The Ascension and Heavenly Priesthood of Our Lord, p. 189)

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

When was the Spirit in the New Testament sense of the word bestowed?

"There can be no hesitation as to the answer. But, before giving it, it may be well to look for a moment at two different methods of expression found in the New Testament with regard to the Spirit, to the distinction between which sufficient attention has hardly as yet been paid. These are “The Holy Spirit” and “Holy Spirit,” the definite article being employed in the one case, but in the other, not. Unless there be the strongest arguments to the contrary, it is against all legitimate interpretation to imagine that the two have the same meaning; nor can there be much hesitation in accepting the explanation usually adopted when the distinction is allowed—that the words “The Holy Spirit” refer to the Spirit in Himself, in His Personality, in the place occupied by Him in the Godhead; while the words “Holy Spirit” lead to the thought of His operation, and more particularly to His operation as manifested in its full power and magnitude in the Christian age. Keeping this distinction in view, therefore, we have now to ask, When was “Holy Spirit” first bestowed in this fulness of His power? and, How was the mission of the Spirit then distinguished from what it had previously been?
    To the first of these questions St. John supplies the answer. Referring to the remarkable appearance of our Lord at the Feast of Tabernacles, and to His promise there given of the “rivers of living water,” that Evangelist adds, “But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believed in Him were to receive: for Spirit was not yet; because Jesus was not yet glorified.”1 On different occasions our Lord Himself speaks in an equally definite manner. Again and again, especially in His last discourses, He instructs His disciples in the truth that before the Spirit could be given He must Himself have gone to the Father; while in the lessons taught by Him between His Resurrection and Ascension He informs them that they shall be “baptized in Holy Spirit not many days hence.”1 The fulfilment of the promise confirms and illustrates its meaning. The day of Pentecost came; the Spirit descended upon the disciples; and St. Peter declared, “This Jesus . . . being therefore by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He hath poured forth this, which ye see and hear.”2 There can be no doubt, therefore, as to the time with which the gift of the Spirit spoken of in the New Testament is connected. Only after our Lord's Resurrection and Ascension was “Holy Spirit” given.
    Not, indeed, that the Holy Spirit then for the first time acted either in the world or on man. At the Creation. He had “moved upon the face of the waters.”3 In Providence He had been sent forth to “renew the face of the earth.”4 He had “striven with men” when they walked in their own evil counsels;5 while, on the other hand, every Divine excellence or beauty of character exhibited by Old Testament Saints is to be traced to His influence. From Him proceeded all that was good either in Israel or among the Gentiles. We are told that the Spirit rested upon Moses,6 upon Joshua,7 upon the Judges,8 upon Elijah and Elisha,9 upon David,10 and upon Saul;11 while of Bezaleel, to whom the construction of the Tabernacle was entrusted, it is said, “I have filled him with the Spirit of God.”1 David prayed, “Take not Thy holy Spirit from me: uphold me with Thy free Spirit.”2 By the Spirit of God the prophets spoke;3 and the whole revelation of the Divine will then enjoyed was mediated through Him.4 Nor was the light bestowed by Him confined to Israel.5 Of the pre-incarnate Logos we read that “the life was the light of men”; and, if so, the analogy of Scripture entitles us to say that it must have been by the mediation of the Spirit. From the moment, indeed, when the Spirit of God is first spoken of in Scripture, down throughout the whole period of the Old Testament, He is referred to as the Agent by whom intercourse between the Almighty and man was effected and maintained.
    Nor can it have been otherwise during the earthly ministry of our Lord. To suppose that He then suspended His operations would involve the whole subject in confusion. Yet we are expressly taught that “Holy Spirit was not yet; because Jesus was not yet glorified.” Although, in short, “The Holy Spirit” had acted throughout the whole previous history of the world and of man, it was only after the Ascension and glorification of our Lord that He was given in that form, or amidst those conditions, which especially distinguish the Christian dispensation, and to which the term “Holy Spirit” is applied by the Sacred writers."

- William Milligan (The Ascension and Heavenly Priesthood of Our Lord, pgs. 204-207)

*See link for footnotes.

No comments:

Post a Comment