The Holy Spirit
Third Member of the Heavenly Trio
This lesson deals with the third “person” of the Godhead, the Deity or The Heavenly Trio. We put person in quotation marks because the Holy Spirit is a person of a different substance than God the Father or the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
To start this study in giving us a picture about the Holy Spirit, we do again as we did before in the previous lessons and go back to the beginning. We will do that more often with other future topics as well. Turn to Genesis 1:2 and we find that the Spirit of God, which is the Holy Spirit, was moving upon the waters at the time of creation. The Holy Spirit had a part in the creation with the other two members of the Godhead or The Heavenly Trio.
The Hebrew word in Genesis chapter one for God is ‘elohim’ a plural word. It shows that what we understand as God is a complex word and plural. God is one but revealed in three different ways, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Matth.28:19. At creation time Father, Son and Holy Spirit worked together as God to get the creation done.
The next time we meet the Spirit is in Gen.6:3 My Spirit shall strive not always with man. ‘Strive’ means, to plead with man, pleading to get man to turn from his wicked ways, trying to convert them, to make a turn around. Jesus later spoke about the same kind of work of the Holy Spirit in John16:8 to reprove or convince of sin, righteousness and judgment. I come back to this later in the lesson.
People often think that the Holy Spirit only played a role in NT Times, but we find the Holy Spirit has always been present right from the beginning.
Let’s read a few more from OT times. Gen.41:38 Pharaoh recognized that Joseph was filled with the Spirit of God and had the wisdom to help Egypt through times of famine.
Then in Exodus 31:3 Bezaleel was called to be the builder of the sanctuary in the desert and was filled with the Spirit of God, with wisdom to do the building.
We find also that kings could be filled with God’s Spirit. 1Sam.11:6 the Spirit of God upon King Saul. Then king, or king to be, David in 1 Sam.16:13. But at the same time
King Saul lost the Spirit of God, 1 Sam.16:14, because of his transgression, refusal to obey God. It means we can loose the guidance of the Holy Spirit if we fall in apostasy and turn our back to God, as King Saul did. We read a similar warning from the apostle Paul in 2Thess.2:11. If people reject the truth, God will send them another spirit.
In the time of the judges we find the Spirit of God active. Judg.3:10; 6:34. Isaiah, the gospel prophet of the OT speaks about the Spirit of God in Isa. 11:2; 48:16; 61:1. When David had sinned he prayed to God not to take away from him the Holy Spirit, read Ps.51:11. Apparently David knew what had happened to King Saul and he did not want the same to happen to him.
What do we know about the functions of the Holy Spirit? Read again Isa.11:2 the Spirit of God grants us wisdom, understanding of problems, counsel when we need.
When we are in situations not knowing what to do, the Holy Spirit will be our guide
The Holy Spirit also is expressed in terms of might and strength. He empowers us.
Of Daniel we read several times that he was filled with the Spirit of God and able to assist the kings of Babylon in their frustrations. Dan.2:9; 5:11.
Jesus spoke about the Holy Spirit and gives us some more information about the activities of the Holy Spirit. We have already mentioned John 16:8, but in 16:13 we read more. The Holy Spirit will guide in all truth and in John 17:17 we find that God’s Word is truth. This is very important. Many so-called Christians claim to have the Holy Spirit but their teachings are not in harmony with the Word of God. The Holy Spirit never leads or guides us outside the written Word of God, the Bible. The Holy Spirit is invisible by His nature, but the Word of God, the Bible is clear and visible which gives us a point to check with. Never accept anything from so-called spirit filled people when their teachings do not harmonise with the Bible, the Word of God. Always ask for reference to the Holy Scriptures, the Bible. Jesus defended Himself against the temptation of the Devil by using the scriptures. Jesus said “It is written”, read Matth.4:4, 7 and 10
When Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will convince us from sin, the Word of God in 1 John 3:4 tells us what sin is, the transgression of God’s law. If people have no regard for the law of God or wilfully and decidedly transgress God’s law, we may know that they have not the Holy Spirit. Read Acts 5:32 the Holy Spirit is given to people who obey God. Also go to Isa.8:20 if they do not speak to the law and testimony they have no light. The law are God’s Ten Commandments.
The testimony is what comes out of the mouth of God, Ps.119:88. If people claim to have the Spirit of God you must test their teachings with the Word of God.
In Joel 2:28 we read that God will give His spirit to old and young and they will prophesy, which means they will preach and teach what they have received from God through His Word. Read also 2 Peter 1:21 Holy men of God moved by the Holy Ghost
After Jesus had ascended into the heavens, ten days later a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit took place empowering the initial preaching of the message of Christ, His death and resurrection. Acts.2:1-3. Their message was heard in different languages which the apostles had not learned beforehand…
In the beginning of the lesson we mentioned that the Holy Spirit is a “person”, because of personality characteristics. As humans we often look to ourselves when we speak about a person, but when we speak about heavenly things that is different they are not the same as the earthly. The personality of the deity or the Heavenly Trio cannot be compared with the personality of humans. We speak about God the father as a Person, because of what is revealed about Him, we speak about Jesus, the Son of God, as a person and He has been revealed in the Word of God. Even after Christ’s resurrection Jesus acted as a person, but different from us, in a different substance, He was not subject to distance and material matters. So is the Holy Spirit also a person, but different in substance.
In Acts 5:1-4 we find that Peter accuses Annanias of having lied against the Holy Ghost, which Peter calls in the last part of verse 4, God. We can only lie against a person.
In John 14:26 Jesus presents the Holy Spirit as a teacher another indication of a personality, and in John 16:13 as a guide In Acts 13:2 the Holy Spirit gives instruction what to do, and in Acts 16:6, 7 where to go. From Acts 20:28 we learn that the Holy Spirit acted in placing overseers, officers in the church. In Rom.8:26 the Holy Spirit directs our prayer. We read in Matth.12:31 that it is possible to speak against the Holy Spirit which means to resist His influence upon us. Also in Acts 7:51
When we speak about God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit we establish the fact that God is omnipotent which means almighty, 2Cor.6:18; Rev.21:22; God is also omniscient, God knows everything nothing is hidden from Him, Deut.30:11; Ps.139:1-4, and God is also omnipresent, we cannot hide away from God, Ps.139:7-9. For God being everywhere takes place through the third person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit. God is everywhere at the same time and in that manner God speaks to everyone who is willing to listen and receive the things which the Holy Spirit gets from God; John 16:13, 14. We conclude that being omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent applies to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit inclusive.
God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are one in all, and divers in operation. In these three we are baptized, Matth.28:19 and receive divine blessing
Commitment: Dear reader are you willing to commit yourself to the leadings and teachings of the Holy Spirit through the written Word of God the Bible? My favourite author Mrs.E.G.White wrote: Before accepting any doctrine or precept, we should demand a plain’ Thus says the Lord’ in its support”(Gr.Controversy, page 595). Are you willing to commit yourself to that principle?
Pastor Jan T.Knopper.
Reviewed October 2013