While at a conference recently, I heard a response that those who believe that Yeshua is LORD, are not three-part beings, but four. This is not what the traditions of men have taught. I thought I would search the scriptures to see if this were true.
The idea of a four-part being helps make sense of the following text:
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.
Why would our spirit need to be sanctified if this was the same thing as Holy Spirit? No, this text from Paul only makes sense with the idea that everyone is born with a human spirit, but not everyone has the Holy Spirit living inside them.
This transformation happens the moment we accept and believe that Jesus’ sacrifice was enough for us to be saved (2 Corinthians 5:17). As a result, a personal prayer transacted in communion might read something like this. “This is my body, LORD. I recognize and thank you that I am now part of your body, accepted by you and a part of you. You live in me as evidence that I have accepted your body, broken for me.”
One of my prayers for many years has been that “I submit my body and soul to my spirit, and I submit my spirit to you, Holy Spirit. Have your way in me.”
We as transformed beings are four-part beings, body, soul, spirit, and God. Christ IN you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).
Let’s look at a passage in the book of Daniel that has been relegated as historical, but that I believe has prophetic symbolism, pointing to a life in Christ.
To set up the story, let’s look at the context and the meaning of the players in Hebrew.
The context of the story is that the Chaldeans were bringing charges against the Jews, and a Babylonian king, named Nebuchadnezzar had made a golden image of himself, demanding that everyone fall down and worship it. If all the people didn’t bow down and worship the image, the penalty was to be thrown into a fiery furnace.
Daniel’s three friends refused to worship this “god,” and as a result would have to pass through fire.
Daniel – God is my judge (Belteshazzar)
Hananiah – God has favored (Shadrach)
Mishael – Who is what God is, rule of God (Meshach)
Azariah – God has helped (Abednego)
Babylon – means “confusion by mixing”
Like Bablyon, I believe the new pagan names (Shadrach, Meschach, Abednego) were given to Daniel and his friends to cause them to lose their sense of identity and to forget their connection with God.
Like Daniel and his three friends, I believe we are appointed as overseers over chaos to bring God’s Kingdom order, but it may cost us to get there.
23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego fell, bound, into the furnace of blazing fire.
24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in alarm. He said to his advisers, “Didn’t we throw three men, bound, into the fire?” “Yes, of course, Your Majesty,” they replied to the king.
25 He exclaimed, “Look! I see four men, not tied, walking around in the fire unharmed; and the fourth looks like a son of God.”
The fourth is like a “son of God.”
I believe that this is a prophetic picture of starting as three-part beings and in trusting God to save us, we become four-part beings. They passed from death to life, trusting in the power of God to resurrect them.
The king ordered that the furnace be made seven times hotter. Why? Seven is the number of fullness and completion. I believe that seven, in this context, shows that this was a complete work. Jesus taught that our works would be tested, as if by fire. Only what is of God would survive a trial by fire. That which is more precious than gold was their faith (1 Peter 1:7).
28 Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent His angel and rescued His servants who trusted in Him. They violated the king’s command and risked their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.
29 Therefore I issue a decree that anyone of any people, nation, or language who says anything offensive against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego will be torn limb from limb and his house made a garbage dump. For there is no other god who is able to deliver like this.”
I believe Christ was the fourth in the fire. If Christ is in you, the revealing will convict the world, just like it did to Nebuchadnezzar.