Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Section II -- Advanced Christianity

Section II -- Advanced Christianity

Chapter 1. The Witness of the Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit : A “Person”

Legalists deny the Trinity as a belief and doctrine, using the methods of deception in order to make their case. Their first claim is that the word, “trinity” is not found in the Bible. Does this claim truly prove anything? Invariably, these groups have unique doctrines using terminology that is not located in the Scriptures either, so it becomes a case of hypocrisy in this regard. For instance, the SDA has a doctrine called, “The Investigative Judgment”.

Regardless, it was a long time before I understood what the true nature of the “debate” was in relation to the Holy Spirit. We do see in Scripture that there is God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The debate boils down to whether the Holy Spirit constitutes being a “person” or merely the force / power of God.

To settle the issue, using the proper methods of scholarship, we would examine all related Scripture where the Holy Spirit is referenced, and see whether they support the Holy Spirit being a person or a force of God, or perhaps both or neither. Also, we examine the evidence to the contrary offered by those who do not believe the Trinity or nature of God as three “beings” yet one “God.”


Scriptural evidence

Luke 11:13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Can a power or force be grieved?

1 Thessalonians 4:8 He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.

Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

Matthew 1:20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

Matthew 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

Matthew 12:31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.

Matthew 12:32 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 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Mark 1:8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.

Mark 3:29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:

Mark 12:36 For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.

Mark 13:11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.

Can a power or force speak?

Luke 1:15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.

Luke 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

If the Holy Spirit is a only a power, then isn't this being redundant?

Luke 1:41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:

Luke 1:67 And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,

Luke 2:25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.

Luke 2:26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.

Can a force or power impart knowledge?

Luke 3:16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:

Luke 3:22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.

Can a force or power have a bodily shape?

Luke 4:1 And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,

Luke 12:10 And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.

Luke 12:12 For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.

Can a force or power teach?

John 1:33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.

John 7:39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

John 14:26 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.

Here, the Holy Spirit is referred to in more anthropomorphic terminology.

John 20:22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:

Acts 1:2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:

Acts 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Acts 1:16 Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.

Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 2:33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,

Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

Acts 5:3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

Can one lie to a power or force?

Acts 5:32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.

This is key; The Holy Ghost is a witness. In the O.C. Inanimate objects could be a “witness” to an agreement but not in the legal sense of being an eye-witness when it came to discerning the truth or falsehood of a claim or crime. Jesus' detractors accused Him of being His own witness, thereby concluding His witness was false. This was not how the law worked. If you were the sole witness, it did not follow that your witness was false; it merely lacked corroboration by another, and was not enough in and of itself to make a determination of guilt or innocence, or fact.

Acts 6:3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.

Acts 6:5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:

Acts 7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

Acts 7:55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,

Acts 8:15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:

Acts 8:17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

Acts 8:18-19 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was
given, he offered them money, ?Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.

Acts 9:17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

Acts 9:31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.

Acts 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

Acts 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.

Acts 10:45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 10:47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

Acts 11:15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.

Acts 11:16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.

Acts 11:24 For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.

Acts 13:2 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.

Can a power or force speak?

Acts 13:4 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.

Acts 13:9 Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him,

Acts 13:52 And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.

Acts 15:8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;

Acts 15:28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;

Hardly language one would use when speaking of a power or force.

Acts 16:6 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,

A command given by the Holy Spirit.

Acts 19:2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

Acts 20:23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.

Acts 20:28 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 21:11 And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.

Acts 28:25 And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers,

Romans 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the
Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Romans 9:1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,

Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

Romans 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Romans 15:16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

1 Corinthians 2:13 Which things 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 6:19 What? 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 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

2 Corinthians 6:6 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,

2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.

1 Thessalonians 1:5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

1 Thessalonians 1:6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:

2 Timothy 1:14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.

Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

Hebrews 2:4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?

Hebrews 3:7 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice,

Hebrews 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,

Hebrews 9:8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:

Hebrews 10:15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,

1 Peter 1:12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

2 Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

1 John 5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

Jude 1:20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,

The evidence of Scripture supports the Holy Spirit being a person; having personage. The evidence to the contrary would be those passages of Scripture that appear to treat the Holy Spirit in terms of being a power, seeing as there is a reference to the Holy Spirit “falling” on people and being poured out on people, but these can be nothing more than literary devises.

We can also ask some “critical thinking” questions in relation to the Holy Spirit.

God (the Father) is omni-present. He exists outside of time and space, and in a sense, exists everywhere at all times:
Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 9If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. – Psalms 139:7-10
God is omniscient. God can do anything. Why then do those who reject the concept of the trinity think God cannot exist in another “personage” whose purpose is to dwell with, and indeed in a believer?

To answer this question is to have the answer to why legalists reject the Holy Spirit as being a person. They reject the witness of the Holy Spirit and what the Holy Spirit represents in the life of a believer. By diminishing the Holy Spirit, the law is given the status as that which guides the believer, and not the Holy Spirit, for the Holy Spirit to them is an ethereal power or force that is incapable of guiding or leading anyone. In essence, they bear false witness against the Holy Spirit, which, to a person in possession of the Holy Spirit, results in the unpardonable sin.

Jesus stated that the one “sin” that would never be forgiven was in relation to the Holy Spirit, and not against Him or even the Father. Therefore, in order to sin against the Holy Spirit, you have to be in possession of the Holy Spirit, yet those who reject the trinity do so thinking the Holy Spirit to be something less than God as a Person. This begs the logical question, would God give His Spirit to those who are in a condition of mind where they would so easily and quickly commit the unpardonable? No, therefore they are kept from understanding the gospel and this nature of God until such time God is assured the danger is passed for them to likely commit this great a transgression.

Look at the mentality behind those who insist the Holy Spirit is not a person. They see the Holy Spirit as being the force and power of God that is impersonal. The presence of the Holy Spirit in a person is perceived to be much less than what it truly is, and as such, an insufficient guide in the life of a believer, seeing as they believe they need the law as their only and true guide in their lives.

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It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom. ; )

Acts 17:11

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5 comments:

xHWA said...

Thanks for breeching this subject, Bill. It's about time we had some material on the Holy Spirit here. It's my most requested topic.

gracefully said...

Bill, your post helped me quite a bit. I struggle with understanding the Holy Spirit. Thanks so much for your insight and guidance on this subject.

PaidNfull said...

Thanks Bill, for this insight on the Holy Spirit. I don't have any trouble accepting the trinity, but I sometimes am uncertain about the Holy Spirit's 'nature.' These scriptures and your ideas that you shared were quite enlightening.

John Schmoyer said...

Thanks for this detailed study. I have been wrestling with the concept of the Holy Spirit and the Trinity for some time. Having spent almost 30 years in "Armstrongism" it was ingrained that the trinity is a lie and the Holy Spirit is nothing more than the "power" of God. But over the years I read many of the scriptures you quoted and it just didn't add up. Now I know why. Ahh, sweet freedom!

Anonymous said...

Interesting post. I would be interested in your thoughts on how the following scripture fits into the discussion. Thanks.

1 Corinthians 2:11 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