Oneness Pentecostals teach that Jesus Christ is at once Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Here is what David K. Bernard says in his booklet titled Essentials of Oneness Theology: ‘Oneness theologians identify Jesus Christ as the incarnation of the one God, based on a literal interpretation of Colossians 2:9-10, which states: ‘For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power”. All names and titles of the Deity – such as Yahweh, Father and Holy Spirit – properly apply to Jesus. Jesus is not just the incarnation of one person of a trinity, but the incarnation of all the character, quality and personality of the one indivisible God” (David K. Bernard, Essentials of Oneness Theology, Word Aflame Press, Hazelwood, MO, USA, 1995, pages 11-12); ‘The title of Father refers to God’s roles as father of all creation, father of the only begotten Son, and father of the born-again believer. The title of Son refers to God’s incarnation, for the man Christ was literally conceived by the Spirit of God (Matthew 1:18-20; Luke 1:35). The title of Holy Spirit describes the fundamental character of God’s nature. Holiness forms the basis of His moral attributes, while spirituality forms the basis of His nonmoral attributes. The title specifically refers to God in activity, particularly His work in anointing, regenerating, and indwelling man. Oneness, therefore, affirms the multiple roles and works described by the terms Father, Son and Spirit. In contrast to trinitarianism, however, it denies that these titles reflect an essential threeness in God’s nature and it affirms that all exist simultaneously in Christ. The terms can also be understood in God’s revelation to man: Father refers to God in family relationship to man; Son refers to God incarnate; and Spirit refers to God in activity. For example, one man can have three significant relationships or functions – such as administrator, teacher, and counsellor – and yet be one person in every sense of the word. God is not defined by or limited to an essential threeness’ (Ibid., pages 15-16); ‘Jesus is the Father …. The Holy Spirit is ‘Christ in Spirit rather than in flesh’ (ibid., pages 14, 17).
Jesus is not the Father
The Scripture teaches that Jesus is not the Father, for Jesus and the Father are two separate Divine Persons. Now, I will show you from the Scriptures that Jesus is not God the Father.
● After Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan river, it happened that a voice came from heaven, saying: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17 – NKJV). Who spoke those words? Certainly it was not Jesus who spoke those words for it is written that “a voice came from heaven” (Matthew 3:17 – NKJV), while Jesus was on earth. Therefore that voice was the voice of the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; for that voice called Jesus ‘My beloved Son”. That’s why we can’t affirm that Jesus is the Father.
● After Jesus was baptized, He was anointed with the Holy Spirit, as Matthew says: “When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him” (Matthew 3:16 – NKJV). Now, my question is this, ‘Who anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit?’ The Scripture teaches that it was God the Father who anointed His Son with the Holy Spirit, as it is written: “You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore, God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions” (Psalm 45:7 – NKJV). I would like you to notice that the Psalmist says that God was anointed by His God. How is it that God was anointed by His God? How many Gods exist then? Well, the answer is that when the Scripture says that God was anointed by His God, it means that God the Son was anointed by God the Father. However, they are not two Gods, but one God, because Jesus said: “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30 – NKJV). Therefore, Jesus was not the Father.
● When Jesus was transfigured on the holy mountain the disciples who were with Him heard a voice, which came out of the cloud which overshadowed them, and that voice said: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” (Matthew 17:5 – NKJV). My question is still the same: Who spoke those words, Jesus or someone else? Surely it was not Jesus but God His Father who spoke. This is confirmed by the following words of Peter, who was one of the disciples who were with Jesus on that occasion: “For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain” (2 Peter 1:17-18 – NKJV). Therefore, once again we infer that Jesus Christ, even though in the days of His flesh was God, was not the Father because His Father was in heaven. Of course, in Jesus Christ dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, that’s why He was worshiped on earth, both before His death and after His resurrection, yet He was the Son of the living God who was in heaven. Jesus said that the Father was in Him and He was in the Father, He said that He and His Father were one, He said that He existed before Abraham was born, yet all this does not lead us to affirm that He was the Father because such a statement is inconsistent with the Word of God. How could Jesus say that His Father was in heaven if the term Father was just a title applied to Jesus? Listen to these words of Jesus: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21 – NKJV); “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother” (Matthew 12:50 – NKJV). Furthermore, if the term Father was just a title applied to Jesus how is it that Jesus thanked the Father? Listen to these words Jesus said to the Father: “I thank You Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight” (Matthew 11:25-26 – NKJV), “Father, I thank You that You have heard me” (John 11:41 – NKJV).
● Jesus said to His disciples: “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:23 – NKJV). Note that Jesus, referring to Himself and to His Father, said “We will come to him and make Our home with him’. It is evident, therefore, that Jesus was not the Father.
● The apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians that Jesus, “being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:6-11 – NKJV). Now, as you can see, Jesus humbled Himself and was highly exalted by God the Father; so Jesus is not the Father.
● After Jesus was raised from the dead, He was seen by His disciples for forty days, and then He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of the Father. As it is written: “He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19 – NKJV), and also: “When He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3 – NKJV). This happened so that it might be fulfilled what David had said: “The LORD said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool” (Psalm 110:1 – NKJV). Stephen in a vision saw Jesus at the right hand of God, as he said: “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” (Acts 7:56 – NKJV). Therefore, Jesus is not God the Father because in heaven He is at the right hand of God the Father. And do you know what Jesus is doing there? He “makes intercession for us” (Romans 8:34 – NKJV). Reflect upon this function He is accomplishing at the right hand of God because it confirms that Jesus can’t be God the Father, for if Jesus is making intercession for us, that means that He is a mediator between God the Father and us, and since “a mediator does not mediate for one only” (Galatians 3:20 – NKJV), there must be someone to whom He prays on our behalf, and this someone is God the Father. This is why we pray to God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ, because Jesus Christ is the Mediator between God the Father and us.
I could quote many more passages from the Bible to show you that Jesus is not the Father, however, I think that those I have cited so far are enough.
Jesus is not the Holy Spirit
Now, I want to show you from the Scriptures that Jesus is not the Holy Spirit either.
● Jesus, on the night He was betrayed and arrested, said to His disciples: “If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him” (John 14:15-17 – NIV). Now, while Jesus was on earth He was the Counselor that God had promised through His prophets He would send to His people. However, since Jesus had to go back to the Father who had sent Him and He knew that His disciples would need another Counselor to be with them forever and in every place He said that He would pray to the Father and the Father would send another Counselor or Comforter to them. Therefore, since Jesus called the Holy Spirit “another Counselor”, we must conclude that the Holy Spirit is not the same Counselor (Jesus) who was received up into heaven. Therefore Jesus is not the Holy Spirit. That the Holy Spirit is not Jesus Christ in Spirit rather than in flesh is confirmed by the fact that when Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit from the Father He said the following things: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 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. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you” (John 16:7-15). I would like you to notice the following expression “He shall glorify me,” for it confirms that the Holy Spirit cannot be Jesus in that He glorifies Jesus.
● One day Jesus said: “And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come” (Matthew 12:32). As you can see, those who speak against the Son of man can be forgiven, while those who speak against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven. Therefore, Jesus, the Son of man, can’t be the Holy Spirit.
● The author of the epistle to the Hebrews says: “Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10:28-29 – NKJV). These words also confirm that the Son of God is not the Holy Spirit, for They are cited separately.
I could quote many more passages from the Scriptures to show you that Jesus is not the Holy Spirit, but I think that the ones I have cited are enough.
The denial of the pre-existence of the Son of God refuted
Since Oneness Pentecostals teach that the title of Son refers to God’s incarnation, they deny the existence of the Son of God prior to the incarnation. They say: “Jesus pre-existed the Incarnation, not as the eternal Son but as the eternal Spirit of God. The Son was sent from the Father, but this terminology simply indicates that the Father enacted His pre-existing plan at a certain point in time and that the Son was divinely appointed to accomplish a certain task. In the same way, John the Baptist was a man sent from God, but he did not pre-exist his arrival into this world” (David K. Bernard, Essentials of Oneness Theology, Word Aflame Press, Hazelwood, MO, USA, 1995, pages 21-22). In other words, according to Oneness theology, Jesus, prior to His conception, was not a separate Person from God the Father. He could not exist as Son because for them ‘the Son had a beginning, namely, at the Incarnation’ (J. L. Hall and David K. Bernard, editors, Doctrines of the Bible, Word Aflame Press, Hazelwood, MO, U.S.A., 1998, page 21), thus ‘the term Son always has reference to the Incarnation, to the humanity in which God dwelt and revealed Himself’ (Ibid., page 143).
However, the Scripture teaches that the Son of God, before the incarnation, existed as a Person separate from God the Father.
● John said: “We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father [or the Only Begotten from the Father], full of grace and truth” (John 1:14 – NIV).
● Jesus said: “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was I AM” (John 8:58 – NKJV); “What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before?” (John 6:62 – NKJV); “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38 – NKJV); “And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was” (John 17:5 – NKJV); “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24 – NKJV).
● Paul says: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:5-7 – NKJV).
As you can see, Jesus Christ, as Son existed even before His arrival into this world; He was with the Father, He was in the form of God, that is to say, He was equal with God. Therefore, He pre-existed as a Person, for the Scripture says that He was sent by the Father, He was given by the Father, and Jesus Himself clearly said that He came down from heaven.
To confirm what I have just said, I want to comment briefly upon the following words of John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made ….The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1.1-3, 14 – NIV). First of all, note that John says that the Word was with God, and then that the Word was God; however, pay attention to this, when John says that the Word was God he does not mean that the Word was God the Father (for the Greek has ‘kai Theos en ho Logos’, that is, ‘and God was the Word’, and not ‘kai ho Theos en ho Logos’, that is, ‘and the God was the Word’) because if the apostle had said such a thing he would have denied the pre-existence of the Son as a Person separate from God the Father. Notice also the following thing: John says that all things were made through the Word, that is to say, through the Son; and this is confirmed by the apostle Paul who wrote to the Colossians: “All things were created through Him and for Him” (Colossians 1:16 – NKJV), and by the author of the epistle to the Hebrews who wrote that God “made the worlds” (Hebrews 1:2 – NKJV) through His Son. So we infer that since God created the heavens and the earth through His Son, this means that the Son of God was in heaven with the Father before the world was made. And to conclude my comment upon the above mentioned words of John, I say this: if the Word was God (but not God the Father) and at a certain point in time the Word was made flesh, that means that when the Word took the form of a bondservant and came in the likeness of men, God who was in heaven remained for a certain period of time without the Word who had been with Him from all eternity. In other words, God did not have His Son with Him in heaven for a certain period of time. That’s why Jesus, before His death, said to His disciples: “I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father” (John 16:28 – NKJV). He left heaven to come into this world, and when He finished the work the Father had given Him to do, He left the earth and returned to heaven.
In the light of the above mentioned Scriptures, therefore, you must beware of oneness Pentecostals for they lie against the truth.
Beloved, beware of Oneness Pentecostals, for they teach a false doctrine about the Godhead, and as we will see in another place their false doctrine about the Godhead has affected the teaching about salvation, for, since according to them the Holy Spirit is Christ in Spirit rather than in flesh, ‘to receive Christ is to receive the Holy Spirit, and vice versa’, thus they see the baptism with the Holy Spirit as an integral part of receiving Christ. In other words, for them if a believer is not baptized with the Holy Spirit he is not saved yet. I exhort you to reject and refute their heresies.