Aphrahat Demonstration Six - Spirit and Trinity

Aphrahat, Persian Christian theologian, (IV Century) on the Holy Spirit

Demonstration VI.-Of Monks

10. All this humility did our Saviour show us in Himself. Let us then also humble ourselves, my beloved. When our Lord went outside of His nature, He walked in our nature. Let us abide in our nature, that in the day of judgment He may cause us to partake of His nature.

Our Lord took from us a pledge when He went, and He left us a pledge of His own when he ascended. He that was without need, because of our need devised this expedient. What was ours was His even from the beginning, but that which was His, who would have given us? But true is that which our Lord promised us:- Where I am there ye also shall be. (.e. when He took a nature which was not originaly His.)

For whatsoever He took of ours, is in honour with Him, and (as) a diadem is bound upon His Head. So also that, which of His we have received, we ought to honour. That which is ours is held in honour with Him who was not in our nature: let us honour that which is His in His own nature, If we honour Him, we shall go to Him, Who took upon Him of our nature and so ascended.

But if we despise Him, He will take away from us that which He has given us. If we deal fraudulently with His pledge, He will there take away that which is His, and will deprive us of all that He has promised us. Let us magnify gloriously the King's Son Who is with us, because a hostage for Him has been taken from us. Whoso holds the King's Son in honour, shall obtain many gifts from the King. That of ours, that is with Him, has sat down in honour and a diadem is bound upon His head, and He has sat down with the King. And we who are poor, what shall we do to the King's Son Who is with us?

He needs nothing from us, but that we should adorn our temples for Him; that when the time is accomplished and He goes to His Father, He may give thanks to Him because of us, because we have honoured Him. When He came to us, He had nothing of ours, and also we had nothing of His, though the two natures were His and His Father's. For when Gabriel made announcement to the Blessed Mary who bore Him, the word from on high set out and came, and the word became flesh and dwell in us. (John i. 14) And when He returned to Him that sent Him,

He took away, when He went, that which He had not brought, as the Apostle said:-
........He has taken us up and seated us with Himself in the heavens. (Eph. ii. 6)

And when He went to His Father, He sent to us His Spirit and said to us
........ I am with you till the world shall end.
........ ........ For Christ sitteth at the right hand of His Father,
........ ........ and Christ dwelleth among men. (Lk 22:69.)

He is sufficient above and beneath, by the wisdom of His Father. And He dwells in many, though He is one, and all the faithful each by each He overshadows from Himself, and fails not, as it is written:-
........ I will divide Him among many. (sIs. liii. 12.)

And though He is divided among many, yet He sits at the right hand of His Father. And He is in us and we are in Him, as He said:-
........ Ye are in Me and I am in you. (5 John xiv. 20.) And in another place He said:-I and Father are one. (John x. 30.)

11. And if anyone, whose conscience lacks knowledge, should dispute about this and say:-
........ "Since Christ is one and His Father is one,
........ how does Christ dwell, and His Father dwell, in faithful men?

And how do righteous men become temples for God that He should dwell in them?

If then it is thus, that to each several faithful man there comes a several Christ, and God Who is in Christ,-if it is so, there are for them Gods many and Christs without number."

But hear, my beloved, the defence that is suited to this argument. From that which is visible let him that has thus said receive instruction.

For every man knows that the sun is fixed in the heavens, yet its rays are spread out in the earth, and (light) from it enters by many doors and windows of houses; and wherever the sunshine falls, though it be but as (the measure of) the palm of the hand, it is called the sun.

And though it fall in many places, it is thus called, but the real sun itself is in heaven.

Therefore, if it is so, have they many suns? Also the water of the sea is vast, and when thou takest one cup from it, that is called water. And though thou shouldest divide it into a thousand vessels, yet it is called water by its name. Also when thou kindlest fire from fire in many places, the place from whence thou takest it, when thou kindlest it, lacks not, and the fire is called by one name. And because thou dividest it into many places, it does not on that account become possessed of many names. And when thou takest dust from the earth, and castest it into many places, it is not a whit diminished, and also thou canst not call it by many names.

Thus also God and His Christ, though they are One, yet dwell in men who are many.

And they are in heaven in person, and are diminished in nothing when they dwell in many; as the sun is not a whir diminished in heaven, when its power is poured out in the earth. How much greater then is the power of God, since by the power of God the very sun itself subsists.

12. Again I will remind thee, my beloved, also of that which is written. For thus it is written, that when it was a grievous burden to Moses to lead the camp alone, the Lord said to him:-

Lo! will take away of the Spirit that is upon thee, and will put it upon seventy men, elders of Israel. (Num. xi. 17.)
........ But when He took away some of the Spirit of Moses, and the seventy men were filled with it,
........ ........ Moses nothing lacked, nor could it be known that anything was taken away from his Spirit.

Moreover the blessed apostle also said:-
........ God divided of the of Christ and sent it into the Prophets. ( Cf. 1 Cor. xii. 11, 28, and Rom. xii. 36.)

But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. 1 Cor 12:11

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 1 Cor 12:12

Our bodies have many parts, but the many parts make up only one body when they are all put together. So it is with the "body" of Christ 1 Cor 12:12LIV

And Christ was in nothing injured, for it was not by measure that His Father gave unto Him the Spirit. (John iii. 34.)

By this reflection thou canst comprehend that Christ dwells in faithful men; yet Christ suffers no loss though He is divided among many.

For the Prophets received of the Spirit of Christ, each one of them as he was able to bear. And of the Spirit of Christ again there is poured forth to-day upon all flesh, (Joel ii. 28, 29.) and the sons and the daughters prophesy, the old men and the youths, the men-servants and the hand-maids.
........ Something of Christ is in us, yet Christ is in heaven at the right hand of His Father.

And Christ received the Spirit not by measure, but His Father loved Him and delivered all into His hands, and gave Him authority over all His treasure.

For John said:-

Not by measure did the Father give the Spirit to His Son, but loved Him and gave all into His hands. (John iii. 34, 35.)

For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. John 3:34

........ The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. John 3:35

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. John 6:63

For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Col 2:9

And also our Lord said:-
........ All things have been delivered unto Me by My Father. (Matt. xi. 27)

Again he said:-
........ The Father will not judge any man, but all judgment will He give unto His Son. (John v.22.)

Again also the Apostle said:-

Everything shall be made subject unto Christ except His Father Who hath subjected all unto Him. And when everything is made subject unto Him by the Father, then He also shall be made subject to God His Father Who subjected all to Him, and God shall be all in all, and in every man. ( 1 Cor. xv. 27, 28.)

13. Our Lord testifies concerning John, that he is the greatest of the Prophets. Yet he received the Spirit by limit, because in that measure in which Elijah received the Spirit, (in the same) John obtained it.

And as Elijah used to dwell in the wilderness,
........ so also the Spirit of God led John into the wilderness,
........ and he used to dwell in the mountains and caves.

The birds sustained Elijah,
........ and John used to eat locusts that fly.

Elijah had his loins girded with a girdle of leather;
........ so John had his loins girded with a cincture of leather.

Jezebel persecuted Elijah,
........ and Herodias persecuted John.

Elijah reproved Ahab,
........ and John reproved Herod.

Elijah divided the Jordan,
........ and John opened up baptism.

The spirit of Elijah rested twofold upon Elisha,
........ so John laid his hand on our Redeemer, and He received the Spirit not by measure.

Elijah opened the heavens and ascended;
........ and John saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit of God
........ which descended and rested upon our Redeemer.

Elisha received twofold the Spirit of Elijah;
........ and our Redeemer received that of John and that of heaven.

Elisha took the mantle of Elijah,
........ and our Redeemer the imposition of the hand of the priests.

Elisha made oil from water,
........ and our Redeemer made wine from water.

Elisha satisfied with a little bread a hundred men only;
........ and our Redeemer satisfied with a little bread five thousand men besides children and women.

Elisha cleansed Naaman the leper,
........ and our Redeemer cleansed the ten (lepers).

Elisha cursed the children and they were devoured by bears,
........ but our Redeemer blessed the children.

The children reviled Elisha,
........ but the children glorified our Redeemer with Hosannas.

Elisha cursed Gehazi his servant,
and our Redeemer cursed
Judas His disciple and blessed all His (other) disciples.

Elisha raised to life one dead man only,
........ but our Redeemer raised up three to life.

On the bones of Elisha one dead man revived,
........ but when our Saviour descended to the abode of the dead,
........ He quickened many and raised them up.

And many are the signs that the Spirit of Christ wrought, which the Prophets received from Him.

14. Therefore, my beloved, we also have received of the Spirit of Christ, and Christ dwelleth in us, as it is written that the Spirit said this through the mouth of the Prophet: -
........ I will dwell in them and will walk in them. (Levit. xxi. 12.)

Therefore let us prepare our temples for the Spirit of Christ, and let us not grieve it that it may not depart from us. Remember the warning that the Apostle gives us:-Grieve not the Holy Spirit whereby ye have been sealed unto the day of redemption.

For from baptism do we receive the Spirit of Christ. For in that hour in which the priests invoke the Spirit, the heavens open and it descends and moves upon the waters. (Gen. i. 2.)

The Spirit of Christ is love, joy, peace and etc., because in baptism there is assurance that you have obeyed Christ's commandment. The resulting "salvation" includes the freedom from guilt. As a result there is not a running to and fro looking for something to make the believer feel good.

More importantly, "conscience" also implies "consciousness." That is, in the words of Peter the word means that we have "a clear view" or that we are "co-perceivers." By having the Mind of Christ dwell within us we are the dwelling place or temple of God.

And those that are baptized are clothed in it; for the Spirit stays aloof from all that are born of the flesh, until they come to the new birth by water, and then they receive the Holy Spirit.

For in the first birth they are born with an animal souls which is created within man and is not thereafter subject to death, as he said: -Adam became a living soul. (Gen.ii.7.)

But in the second birth, that through baptism, they received the Holy Spirit from a particle of the Godhead, and it is not again subject to death.

For when men die, the animal spirit is buried with the body, and sense is taken away from it, but the heavenly spirit that they receive goes according to its nature to Christ. And both these the Apostle has made known, for he said:-

The body is buried in animal wise, and rises again in spiritual wise. (1 Cor.xv. 44.)

The Spirit goes back again to Christ according to its nature, for the Apostle said again:-When we shall depart from the body we shall be with our Lord. ( 2 Cor. v.8.) For the Spirit of Christ, which the spiritual receive, goes to our Lord. And the animal spirit is buried in its nature, and sense is taken away from it.

Whosoever guards the Spirit of Christ in purity, when it returns to Christ it thus addresses him:-"The body into which I went, and which put me on from the water of the baptism, has kept me in holiness."

And the Holy Spirit will be earnest with Christ for the resurrection of that body which kept Him with purity, and the Spirit will request to be again conjoined to it that that body may rise up in glory.

And whatever man there is that receives the Spirit from the water (of baptism) and grieves it, it departs from him until he dies, and returns according to its nature to Christ, and accuses that man of having grieved it.

And when the time of the final consummation shall have come, and the time of the Resurrection shall have approached, the Holy Spirit, that was kept in purity, receives great power from its nature and comes before Christ and stands at the door of the tombs, where the men are buried that kept it in purity, and awaits the (resurrection) shout.

And when the Watchers shall have opened the doors of heaven before the King, (I Thess. iv. 16.) then the cornet shall summon, and the trumpets shall sound,

and the Spirit that waits for the (resurrection) shout shall hear,

and quickly shall open the tombs, and raise up the bodies and whatsoever was buried in them, and shall put on the glory that comes with it.

And (the Spirit) shall be within for the resurrection of the body,
........ and the glory shall be without for the adornment of the body.

And the animal spirit shall be swallowed up in the heavenly Spirit, and the whole man shall become spiritual, since his body is possessed by it (the Spirit). And death shall be swallowed up in life, (2 Cor. v. 4.) and body shall be swallowed up in Spirit.

For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 2 Cor 5:2

If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 2 Cor 5:3

For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. 2 Cor 5:4

Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 2 Cor 5:5

And by the power of the Spirit, that man shall fly up to meet the King and He shall receive him with joy, and Christ shall give thanks for the body that has kept His Spirit in purity.

15. This is the Spirit, my beloved, that the Prophets received, and thus also have we received. And it is not at every time found with those that receive it, but sometimes it returns to Him that sent it, and sometimes it goes to him that receives it. Hearken to that which our Lord said:-Despise not one of these little ones that believe on Me, for their angels in heaven do always behold the face of My Father. (Matt. xviii. 10.) This Spirit then goes frequently and stands before God and beholds His face, and whosoever injures the temple in which it dwells, it will accuse him before God.

16. I will instruct thee of that which is written, that the Spirit is not at every time found with those that receive it. For thus it is written about Saul,

that the Holy Spirit, which he received when he was anointed, departed from him, (1 Sam. xvi. 14, ff) because he grieved it, and God sent to him instead of it a vexing spirit.

Ruwach (h7307) roo'-akh, roo'-akh; from 7306; wind; by resemblance breath, i. e. a sensible (or even violent exhalation; fig. life, anger, unsubstantiality; by extens. a region of the sky; by resemblance spirit, but only of a rational being (includ. its expression and functions): - air, anger, blast, breath, * cool, courage, mind, * quarter, * side, spirit ([-ual]), tempest, * vain, ([whirl-]) wind (-y).

An evil or vexing spirit is not another person, therefore, a holy spirit is not another person:

Ra (h7451) rah; from 7489; bad or (as noun) evil (nat. or mor.): - adversity, affliction, bad, calamity, / displease (-ure), distress, evil ([-favouredness], man, thing), / exceedingly, * great, grief (-vous), harm, heavy, hurt (-ful), ill (favoured). / mark, mischief (- vous), misery, naught (-ty), noisome, / not please, sad (-ly), sore, sorrow, trouble, vex, wicked (-ly, -ness, one), worse (-st), wretchedness, wrong. [Incl. fem. raÇýoh , as adj. or noun.

And whenever he was afflicted by the evil spirit, David used to play upon the harp, and the Holy Spirit, which David received when he was anointed, would come, and the evil spirit that was vexing Saul, would flee from before it.

So the Holy Spirit that David received was not found with him at every time.

As long as he was playing the harp, then it used to come. For had it been with him always, it would not have allowed him to sin with the wife of Uriah.

For when he was praying about his sins, and was confessing his offences before God, he said thus:-

Take not Thy holy spirit from me. (Ps. li. 13.) Also concerning Elisha it is thus written, that,
........ while he played upon his harp, then the spirit came to him and he prophesied and said:-
........ Thus saith the Lord, ye shall not see wind nor rain, yet this valley shall be made many pits.
........ (2 Kings iii. 15-17.)

You will note that, like Saul, the king wanted to defeat Moab to get the taxes he thought was owed them. God sent a VEXING spirit into him by Elisha's musical prophecy and all of the good things they wanted were destroyed.

And also when the Shunamite came to him because of her son that was dead, he said thus to her:-The Lord hid it from me and did cause me not to know it. (1 Kings iv. 27.) Yet, when the King of Israel sent against him to slay him, the Spirit informed him before the messenger came upon him, and he said:-Lo! this son of iniquity has sent to take away my head. (2 Kings vi. 32.) And again he made known about the abundance that came about in Samaria the day after. And again the Spirit informed him when Gehazi stole the silver and concealed it.

17. Therefore, my beloved, when the Holy Spirit departs from a man who has received it,

until it returns and comes to him, then Satan draws near unto that man, to cause him to sin, and that the Holy Spirit may leave him altogether.

For as long as the Spirit is with a man, Satan fears to come near him.
And observe, my beloved, that our Lord also,
........ Who was born from the Spirit, was not tempted by Satan
........ until in baptism He received the Spirit from on high.
........ And then the Spirit led him forth to be tempted by Satan.

This, then, is the way with man; that in the hour in which he perceives in himself that he is not fervent in the Spirit, and that his heart is inclining to the thought of this world, he may know that the Spirit is not with him, and may arise and pray and keep vigil that the Spirit of God may come to him, that he be not overcome by the adversary.

A thief does not dig into a house, until he sees that its master is departing from it. Thus also Satan cannot draw near to that house which is our body, until the Spirit of Christ departs from it. And be sure, my beloved, that the thief does not certainly know whether the master of the house is within or not,

but first he applies his ear, and looks. If he hears the voice of the master of the house within it saying:-"I have a journey to go," and when he has searched out and seen that the master of the house has set out to perform his business,

........ then the thief comes and digs into the house and steals.

But if he hears the voice of the master of the house admonishing and commanding his household to watch and guard his house, and saying to them, "I also am within the house," then the thief will fear and flee, that he may not be taken and captured.

Thus also Satan, he has not the knowledge beforehand to know or see when the Spirit will depart, that so he may come to rob the man; but he too listens and watches, and so assails.

But if he hears a man in whom Christ dwells speaking shameful words, or enraged, or quarrelling, or contending, then Satan knows that Christ is not with him, and he comes and accomplishes his will in him.

For Christ dwells in the peaceful and the meek, and lodges in those that fear His word, as He says through the prophet:-

On whom shall I look, and in whom shall I dwell, but in the peaceful and the meek who fear My word? ( Is. lxvi. 2.)

And our Lord said:-

Whoever walks in My commandments and keeps My love, We will come to him and make Our abode him. ( John xiv. 23.)

But if he hears from a man that he is on his guard and is praying and meditating in the Law of his Lord by day and by night, then he turns back from him, for he knows that Christ is with him. And if thou shouldest say, "How manifold is Satan! for lo! he fights with many;" then hear and learn from that which I proved to thee above concerning Christ, that no matter to what extent He is divided amongst many, yet He is not a whit diminished.

For, as the house, through the window of which a little sunlight enters, is altogether illumined, so the man into whom a little of Satan enters, is altogether darkened. Hear that which the Apostle said:-

If Satan is transfigured to an angel of light, it is no wonder if his ministers also are transfigured to ministers of righteousness. (2 Cor. xi. 14, 15.)

And again our Lord said to His disciples:-

Lo, I have given you authority to tread upon the power of the adversary. (Luke x. 19.)

And the Scriptures have made known that he has power and also ministers. Moreover Job said concerning him:-God made him to wage his war. ( Job xl. 14.)

These ministers then that he has, he causes to run in the world, to wage war. But be sure that he will not fight openly; because from the time of the coming of our Saviour, (God) has given authority over him. But he will surely plunder and steal.

18. But I will explain to thee, my beloved, concerning that word which the Apostle said, by which can be weighed the doctrines that are instruments of the Evil One and doctrines of deceit. For the Apostle said:-

There is an animal body and there is a spiritual body, seeing that it is thus written:-The first Adam became a living soul and the second Adam a quickening spirit. (1 Cor. xv. 44, 45)

So they (heretics) say that there will be two Adams. But he said:-

As we have put on the image of that Adam who was from the earth, so we shall put on the image of that Adam who is from heaven. (1 Cor. xv. 49.)

For Adam who was from the earth was he that sinned, and the Adam who is from heaven is our Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ.

They then that receive the Spirit of Christ, come into the likeness of the heavenly Adam, Who is our Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ.

For the animal shall be swallowed up in the spiritual, as I wrote unto thee above.

And the man that grieves the spirit of Christ, will be animal in his resurrection;
because the
heavenly spirit is not with him, that the animal might be swallowed up in it.
But when he shall arise he shall continue in his natural state, naked of the Spirit. Because he stripped off from him the Spirit of Christ,
he shall be given over to utter nakedness.

And whosoever honours the Spirit, and it is guarded in him in purity, in that day the Holy Spirit shall protect him, and he shall become altogether spiritual, and shall not be found naked; as the Apostle said:-And when we shall have clothed ourselves, may we not be found naked. ( 2 Cor. v.3.)

And again he said:-We shall all sleep, but in the resurrection we shall not all be changed. (1 Cor. xv. 51.

This transposition of the negative is supported by many Greek and Latin authorities, but not by the Peshitto.) And again he said:-

This which dies shall put on that which dies not, and this which is corruptible that which is incorruptible, and when this which dies shall have put on that which dies not, and this corruptible that which is incorruptible, then shall be accomplished that word which is written that death is swallowed up by victory. ( 1 Cor. xv. 53, 54.) Again he said:-Suddenly as the twinkling of an eye, the dead shall rise incorruptible and we shall be changed. (1 Cor. xv. 52.)

And they who shall be changed shall put on the form of that heavenly Adam and shall become spiritual. And those who shall not be changed, shall continue animal in the created nature of Adam, namely, of dust; and shall continue in their nature in the earth below. And then the heavenly shall be caught up to heaven and the Spirit that they have put on shall cause them to fly, and they shall inherit the kingdom that was prepared for them from the beginning. And they that are animal shall remain on the earth by the weight of their bodies, and shall turn back to Sheol, and there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.


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