Seventh-Day Adventists/How Many Intercessors are there?
QUESTION: If the Bible says that there is only one mediator between God and man in 1 Timothy 2:5, then how do we reconcile this passage with Romans 8:26 which says that the Holy spirit intercedes for us with groanings which cannot be uttered? Are there two intercessors or one?
ANSWER: Dear Owen, thanks for your question. I’m just curious though if it really matters if there is one intercessor or two. Technically there are three because God is on our side and I am thankful that this is not something that is critical to our salvation. But anyway please consider a few points of interest. In 1 Timothy 2:5 the Greek word (mesites) is used and translated “mediator”. In Romans 8:26 the Greek word (huperentugehano) is used and translated “maketh intercession”. Since two completely different Greek words are used the New Testament writer obviously has two different meanings in mind or else he would have used the same Greek word. Remember that the translators that change the Greek words into English are not inspired and use the equivalent English words that best seems to capture the Greek idea. A perfect example is in the verse you quote in Romans 8. Please notice that in Romans 8:26 it reads “…Spirit itself MAKETH INTERCESSION” and in the next verse it reads “…because He MAKETH INTERCESSION”. Even though it is translated “maketh intercession” in verse 26 and verse 27 there are two different Greek words used. In verse 26 it is (huperentugehano) and in verse 27 it is (entugehano). In verse 26 a literal meaning of the word is intercede in behalf of and in verse 27 the literal meaning is confer with or entreat in favor of. Incidentally the literal meaning in 1 Timothy 2:5 is go between or reconciler. There is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. Do you know why? It’s because Christ Jesus is the only person who is qualified to mediate. Being fully man, He understands man’s position and can fully sympathize with man. Being fully God He understands God’s position and can fully sympathize with God. He is the God Man and can truly and faithfully represent both sides. He is the perfect mediator or go between. Now what about Romans 8:26? Please notice the context of the verse and what the Spirit is making intercession for. The subject of that verse concerns praying. “We know not what we should pray for as we ought but the Spirit maketh intercession for us with words or groanings which we cannot utter”. In other words since “there is none righteous” and “the heart is desperately evil” God the Father does not hear our prayers. No sin can exist before God and since our prayers come from sinful human beings it is impossible for God to hear our prayers. Do you know that the only way our prayers make it to God’s throne room is because the Holy Spirit takes the prayers from a contrite heart and refines them? How do we know that? Because the sanctuary service on earth that we read about in the Old Testament is a copy of the Heavenly Sanctuary in heaven above. It is a miniature model of “the sanctuary above made without hands”. In the earthly sanctuary service the prayers of the people ministered by the High Priest had to be mingled with incense that the High Priest offered. The incense represents the merits of Christ that are applied by the Holy Spirit to make our prayers acceptable. You get a view of this going on in the Heavenly Sanctuary in Revelation 8:3. This is exactly what the High Priest on earth does which is the Type and what happens in heaven is the Antitype. Revelation reads “And another angel came and stood at the altar having a golden censer and there was given unto him much incense that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne”. Please read Romans 8:26 and notice that the Holy Spirit’s “intercession” consists of helping our infirmities. And the next line tells us what these infirmities are, that is that we don’t know how to pray as we ought to so He makes intercession for us. How? By groanings which we cannot utter. I know it might be difficult but it’s much more difficult for me to try to explain clearly while typing but ask the Lord to help you understand as you read His Word. He will you know because He loves you very much. Please remember Owen the first few verses in John 15 about the Vine and the branches. We are to abide in Christ the Vine because without Him we can do nothing. To abide is to talk often to the Lord and allow Him to speak to us. This abiding is not to be weekly or even once a day but constantly. This is our only defense because as we near the end of this world’s history we are going to face greater and greater temptations and Christ is our only safeguard and protection. Thanks for sharing your comments and may the Lord bless you as you continue to seek Him. Your friend and brother, anthony
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QUESTION: Thanks brother Anthony for taking the time to formulate such a comprehensive response. I feel sort of guilty because you seemed to put a lot of work and thought into this.
My reason for asking the question is because I am currently studying with a gentleman who is teaching that the Holy Spirit is merely the Spirit of God, and not a distinct, Divine personality according to the descriptions we find about Him in 1 John 5:7 and many other texts.
Hello Again Owen. I assumed that you were S.D.A. since your question was directed to the S.D.A. question box. I used to be a Catholic until one eventful evening back in ’68 while serving time in the Army. I somehow found myself alone the entire night until the morning with a black medic and during that time the conversation turned to religion. I never knew about the Bible but only what was taught to me in the Catholic schools. I was amazed at some of the things I heard from this young Christian and his knowledge of Scripture was beyond belief. In the Army people were constantly being transferred around or receiving orders to different locations or finishing their tour of duty. After that night we returned back to our separate unit of duty and I never saw him again. I only remember that his name was Carl Bledsoe. Anyway, what I heard that night stuck in my mind. After my 2 years of service I returned home to New York City and continued my life where I left off, doing those same unmentionable things I was accustomed to. At the lowest point in my life I remembered some of the things Carl spoke of that night and eventually found an Adventist Church to hear more. It didn’t happen overnight but this is how I ended up a S.D.A. Now what does all this have to do with you? Well Owen, there are well over 1,000 religions in the world all claiming to be the truth and most of them claiming to take their teachings from the Bible. If you spent only 1 month examining each religion you wouldn’t live long enough to get through them all. I know it was no accident that you are at the S.D.A. website because frankly, this is God’s one and only Church of truth for these last days. I also know that this sounds like an incredibly bold and pompous statement but I will not beat around the bush and have to tell it like it is because time is short. Please don’t get me wrong because this does not mean that every S.D.A. will be saved and make it to heaven or that people in other religions are lost but the best chances for salvation is at least learning the truth. What you do with it from there is your choice. Do you know that the book of Revelation calls the religious world today Babylon? Remember how the people at the tower of Babel had their language confounded and all was confusion? Well the religious world today is in confusion because they have strayed from God’s Word. It’s spiritual Babylon. That’s where we get our word babel from meaning noise and confusion. So what about this person you are studying with? Sounds like a Jehovah Witness to me. If he is then it’s a short step to denying Christ. Their teaching is that Christ is not the eternal God but a “lesser God” created by the Father. They term Christ as the mighty God but the Father the almighty God. Though they claim that there is only one God, Jehovah, they actually end up with two gods, a big god and a lesser god. Incidentally, Jesus Christ is called Jehovah in the Scriptures. But enough about that because I know that if you are sincerely seeking truth God will send you His truths. He promises this in His Word and we know that the verse says “It is impossible for God to lie”. As you study your Bible you will begin to find hundreds of texts that teach that the Holy Spirit is very God. He is equal with God and makes up what Scripture calls the Godhead. There are so many verses that I would like to write down for your consideration but I’m sure you have come across many of them. You have Father, Son and Holy Ghost mentioned at creation in the first book of the Bible and mentioned concerning the earth made new in the last book of the Bible and every book in between. May I just mention a few from different books showing the personality of the Holy Spirit? I won’t type the entire verse but just what is pertinent but maybe in your spare time you can read the verses in their entirety. Isa. 48:16 - …and now the Lord God and His Spirit has sent me. (Isaiah mentions God the Father and God the Holy Spirit but didn’t mention Jesus Christ because technically Isaiah didn’t know Him because He had not appeared in human form yet). Isa. 63:10 - …they rebelled and vexed his Holy Spirit. John 16:13 - …when He the Spirit of truth is come He will guide you into all truth: what He hears that shall He speak, He will show you things to come. (Every time the word He is used in this verse it is the Greek singular, masculine. Without exception in the original Greek it always refers to a personality, never a force, never to a disembodied spirit). Acts 5:3, 4 - …why has Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost. …thou hast not lied unto men but unto God. (In these two verses Peter mentions the Holy Spirit by name and then equates the Holy Spirit as God). Acts 8:29 – Then the Spirit said to Philip, go near and join thyself to this chariot. Acts 10:19 – While Peter thought on the vision the Spirit said unto him, behold three men seek thee. 1 Cor. 2:10 - …the Spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God. (God is omniscient. It is senseless to think that a “mere spirit” or force can search the deep things of God. Only God the Holy Spirit can know the mind of God). Ephesians 4:30 - …grieve not the Holy Spirit. (You can’t grieve a force or “mere spirit”. You can only grieve or make sad and sorrowful a thinking, living personality). 1 Timothy 4:1 – Now the Spirit speaketh expressly. (Personalities speak, and not only speaking but speaking expressly). 1 John 5:6 - …it is the Spirit that bears witness. In the beginning chapters of Revelation in mentioning the seven churches it is repeated over and over again, “he that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches”. Rev. 14:13 – And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, write blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yes saith the Spirit. (Here John hears a voice speaking in heaven and then hears the Holy spirit say yes, confirming what was said. So clear is this verse that the Holy Spirit hears what the heavenly messenger says, understands what was said and answers with His approval). Rev. 22:17 – And the Spirit and the bride say come. (Here the bride of Christ and the Holy Spirit extend the invitation to receive the water of life). Well Owen I got a little carried away again and hope you don’t mind because I don’t. I just start reading and typing and the time goes so fast that before I know it I wrote too much. There are so many other verses but I just tried to pick out the most obvious and clear ones but I hope that as you read the Bible you will keep your mind open to other verses. Many are hidden and will be found as you dig, like looking for treasure. Have a blessed and happy new year and remember to stay close to the Lord and talk to Him often because we are against a wily and merciless foe. Verse of the day: Isaiah 8:20 – To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. We’ll talk again. Your friend, anthony