The Godhead – The Holy Spirit

 

 

The Holy Spirit is a force or an influence

 

 

 

Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the personhood of the Holy Spirit, in that they teach that the Holy Spirit is a force. Here is what they say: ‘The correct identification of the Holy Spirit must fit all the scriptures that refer to that spirit. With this viewpoint, it is logical to conclude that the holy spirit is the active force of God. It is not a person but is a powerful force that God causes to emanate from himself to accomplish his holy will’ (Reasoning from the Scriptures, 1985, page 381). Many other sects deny the personality of the Holy Spirit. Let us see some of them.

The followers of Herbert Armstrong: ‘God’s Holy Spirit is His life. It imparts His life to you!’ (What do you mean … salvation?, page 19); ‘The truth is - and it would shock millions to know - that the Holy Spirit is not a person. Rather, it is the agency by which God the Father works. The Holy Spirit is an agency, a force, a power that is used by the Highest - God the Father - to achieve his purpose. The Holy Spirit, we repeat, is not a person’ (Good News, Nov./Dec. 1990, p. 9).

The followers of Emanuel Swedenborg: Emanuel Swedenborg wrote: ‘… they that sat on the seats unanimously agreed in this conclusion, that the Holy Spirit is not a distinct person of Himself, consequently not a distinct God of Himself; but that by the Holy Spirit is meant the divine sanctity, coming forth and proceeding from the one and only omnipresent God, who is the Lord ...’ (Miscellaneous Theological Works of Emanuel Swedenborg, page 250). In his book What the Bible Actually Teaches, John Odhner states: The Spirit Is Not Another Person ….This is vital to understanding the Holy Spirit. …. Throughout the Bible, the Spirit of God is pictured not as a separate person, but as the breath of God …. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus Christ. It is the regenerating and enlightening influence of Jesus Christ, not of some third person.’

The Iglesia ni Cristo: they believe in an impersonal Holy Spirit, a power sent by the Father in the name of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is not God but one of the spirits sent by God (http://thebereans.net/prof-inc.shtml).

The Christadelphian Church: ‘The Holy Spirit is simply the power of God.’ (http://www.christadelphian.org.uk/), ‘The Holy Spirit is the energy or power of God, by which all creation came originally into being, and by which it is sustained. …. This God-derived energy is the substratum of all creation …. (God is One Not Three, privately published, n.d. page 15).

 

 

Confutation

 

 

The Holy Spirit is a Person

 

The Holy Spirit speaks. Here are some Bible verses according to which the Spirit speaks: “Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness” (Hebrews 3:7-8); “Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot” (Acts 8:29); “While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them” (Acts 10:19-20); “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them” (Acts 13:2); “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” (John 16:13); “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils [demons]” (1 Timothy 4:1).

The Holy Spirit hears, for Jesus said about Him: “Whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak” (John 16:13).

The Holy Spirit sees, for the seven eyes which the Lamb has (John saw these seven eyes in a vision while he was on the isle of Patmos) “are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth” (Revelation 5:6) or, as the prophet Zechariah said, “the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth” (Zechariah 4:10).

The Holy Spirit has a mind, for it is written: “And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:27). The word here translated ‘mind’ is a comprehensive word including the ideas of thought, feeling and purpose.

The Holy Spirit has a will, for it is written: “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills” (1 Corinthians 12:11 – NKJV).

The Holy Spirit has an awareness of goodness, for the apostles and elders wrote to the believing Gentiles who were in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia: “For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well” (Acts 15:28-29).

The Holy Spirit loves, for Paul wrote to the Romans: “Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me” (Romans 15:30).

The Holy Spirit searches and knows, as it is written: “The Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:10-11).

The Holy Spirit reveals, as it is written in the Gospel according to Luke: “And it was revealed unto him [Simeon] by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ” (Luke 2:26).

The Holy Spirit teaches, as it is written: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things…” (John 14:26), and also: “And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say” (Luke 12:11-12), and again: “You also gave Your good Spirit to instruct them, and did not withhold Your manna from their mouth” (Nehemiah 9:20 - NKJV), and again: “Which things [the things that have been freely given to us by God] also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:13).

The Holy Spirit guides, as it is written: ““Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13).

The Holy Spirit prays, as it is written: “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27 - NKJV).

The Holy Spirit convinces, for Jesus said about Him: “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” (John 16:8-11).

The Holy Spirit regenerates, as it is written: “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:5-6).

The Holy Spirit brings the words of the Lord to our remembrance, as it is written: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26).

The Holy Spirit makes men overseers, as Paul said to the elders of the church of Ephesus: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).

The Holy Spirit commands, as it is written: ““Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away” (Acts 13:1-3).

The Holy Spirit forbids believers to do certain things on certain occasions, as it is written: “Now when they [the apostles] had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia” (Acts 16:6 - NKJV).

The Holy Spirit does not permit believers to go to certain places on certain occasions, as it is written: “After they [the apostles] had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them” (Acts 16:7 - NKJV).

The Holy Spirit can be known, for Jesus said to His disciples: “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” (John 14:16-17).

The Holy Spirit can be grieved, for it is written: “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30) and again: “But they [the Israelites] rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; so He turned Himself against them as an enemy, and He fought against them” (Isaiah 63:10 – NKJV).

The Holy Spirit can be resisted, for Stephen said before the Sanhedrin: “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye” (Acts 7:51).

The Holy Spirit can be tempted, for Peter said to Sapphira: “How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord?” (Acts 5:9).

The Holy Spirit can be lied to, for Peter said to Ananias: “Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?” (Acts 5:3).

The Holy Spirit can be spoken against, as it is written: “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, the Holy Spirit has personal characteristics and does things which only a person can do. An impersonal force cannot speak or hear, nor can it be lied to, spoken against, grieved, tempted, etc.

 

The Holy Spirit is God

 

Now I am going to compare some verses of the Scripture referring to the Holy Spirit with other verses referring to God, in order to show you that the Holy Spirit is God.

● The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews says to the saints: “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:14), while Moses says to God: “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God” (Psalm 90:2). Therefore the Spirit is eternal like God.

● David said to God: “Where can I go from Your Spirit?” (Psalm 139:7 - NKJV), while God said to Jeremiah: “Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:24). Therefore the Spirit is omnipresent like God.

● Paul said: “The Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10), while Hannah said: “The LORD is a God of knowledge” (1 Samuel 2:3 – The IBRV reads: “L’Eterno è un Dio che sa tutto”, that is, “The Eternal is a God who knows everything”). Therefore the Spirit is omniscient like God.

● Elihu said: “The Spirit of God hath made me” (Job 33:4), while David said to God: “For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb” (Psalm 139:13 – The NIV reads: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb”). Therefore the Spirit creates as God does, thus He is omnipotent like God.

● Jesus said: “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:5-6), while John says that those who believe in the name of the Son of God “were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13). Therefore the Spirit regenerates as God does.

● Peter said to Ananias: “Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?” (Acts 5:3) and also: “Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God” (Acts 5:4). Therefore to lie to the Holy Spirit is to lie to God.

● In the book of the Acts of the apostles it is written that Paul said these words to those Jews in Rome who refused to accept the Gospel: “Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them” (Acts 28:25-27). As you can see, it was the Holy Spirit who spoke those words through the prophet Isaiah. However, according to the book of the prophet Isaiah, it was God who spoke those words, as it is written: “In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed” (Isaiah 6:1-10). Therefore it was both the Holy Spirit and God who sent Isaiah to prophesy against the people of Israel.

● In the book of the Acts of the apostles it is written: “Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister” (Acts 13:1-5). Therefore it was the Holy Spirit who sent Paul and Barnabas to preach. However, Jesus said: “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38), making it clear that it is God who sends forth labourers into His harvest. Therefore the Holy Spirit is God because He sent forth Paul and Barnabas into God’s harvest.

● Jesus called the Holy Spirit “the Comforter” (John 15:26). Therefore He comforts those who are downcast. However, Paul says to the Corinthians: “Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus” (2 Corinthians 7:6), and also: “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). Therefore the Holy Spirit comforts believers as God does.

● In the book of the prophet Isaiah it is written: “But they [the Israelites] rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; so He turned Himself against them as an enemy, and He fought against them” (Isaiah 63:10 - NKJV), while in the book of Psalms it is written: “How often they provoked Him in the wilderness, and grieved Him in the desert!” (Psalm 78:40 - NKJV). Therefore to grieve the Holy Spirit is to grieve God.

● Paul said to the Corinthians: “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19) and also: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16). Therefore the Holy Spirit indwells believers as God does.

● Jesus said: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things” (John 14:26), but He said also: “And they shall be all taught of God” (John 6:45), and David said: “The meek will he [God] guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way” (Psalm 25:9). Therefore the Holy Spirit teaches as God does.

● Jesus said about the Holy Spirit: “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13), and David said in the book of Psalms to God: “Lead me in thy truth, and teach me” (Psalm 25:5). Therefore if the Spirit of truth guides into the truth as God does, that means that He is God.

As you can see, according to the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit possesses attributes which belong only to Deity (for He is eternal, omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent like God); He is equated with God and does work that only God does.

Therefore, I exhort you to reject the false teaching that denies the personality of the Holy Spirit.

 

 

 

 

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