Should We Worship The Holy Spirit?
Sabbath School Lessons Focus on Holy Spirit
We have a very interesting set of Sabbath School lessons this quarter (January to March, 2017). I wrote to one of our church leaders on the 16th of January advising him as follows:
“I have taken them cautiously and have not advanced any unique views in my Sabbath School class. But I have suggested to them, as was pointed out in the lesson last week, that the Bible has not spoken a lot about the identity or nature of the Holy Spirit. If we, therefore, follow the Biblical precedence and focus more on the work of the Holy Spirit, we should be on safe ground.”
I further said to him:
“Privately, though, I wish there was a way to discuss some of these matters more intellectually as some aspects of the ideas conveyed in the lesson are speculative and at best moot. My personal view, as I would have expressed to you privately, is that we should not be too dogmatic on such points. Of course, I understand that it would not be appropriate to discuss some of these matters in the pews, in order to avoid confusion.”
Lessons Promoting Worship of the Holy Spirit
Having said that and received a cordial response, I was confronted with the bold assertion three days after, in the lesson of January 19, that “The Holy Spirit is affirmed as a proper object of worship”. I then had to ask myself, where in the Bible is there any such assertion? And do I do well in not raising the question? In case we miss the gravity of the matter, it is nothing less than a question of whether or not we are practising idolatry! If we place worship where it does not belong, we are in breach of the very first commandment of the Ten Commandments, which states: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Ex. 20:3). So, I am impelled to invite you to consider a few things.
The lesson of Tuesday, Jan. 17, states: “Obviously the biblical writers saw God and the Holy Spirit on par with each other.” Is that so? That is not obvious! Have we considered the possibility that some references to “Holy Spirit” and “Spirit” are actually references to God himself – that is the Father, rather than to someone else? The Bible says: “God is a spirit” – John 4:24; and “The Lord is that Spirit” – 2 Cor. 3:17.
The following day (Wednesday, Jan. 18), the lesson continues: “The Bible states that the Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead”. Indeed! But, the Bible states that it was “God the Father, who raised him from the dead” – Gal. 1:1. So, why assume that the Holy Spirit is someone different from the Father himself? Is it that the Father needed help? Let us be careful that we do not give God’s praise to another! This is serious business. God says: “I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another” – Isa. 42:8.
A number of references are cited, based on which the same conclusion is drawn as in the lesson of Tuesday, Jan. 17, that: “the Holy Spirit does the same action as God is doing, powerful evidence that the Holy Spirit is equal to God.” Not necessarily! It would more suggest that it is the same person being referred to, namely, God the Father, who the Bible describes as : “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Eph. 4:6).
The Bible says: “For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things” (1 Cor. 8:6).
When God says, “I am the LORD, and there is none else” (Isa. 45:5), make no mistake, God the Father is the only Supreme Being, “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:3; 2 Cor. 11:31) who has “anointed” His Son (Heb. 1:9) and “appointed” Him heir of all things (Heb. 1:2). Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, “the express image of His person” (Heb. 1:3) and the Father has commanded both men and angels to worship Jesus Christ, his Son; and his Son is subject to Him – “the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” (1 Cor. 11:3). He has not given to us any right to worship anyone else! Take heed!
“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).
- Zerubbabel (Zech. 4:6)