What is the Holy Spirit?

Definition of terms and explanation of concepts

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Corvus
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What is the Holy Spirit?

Post #1

Post by Corvus »

I would like to know what the Holy Spirit is and what is its function. It's fairly clear what Jesus does and what purpose he fulfills, yet the Holy Spirit is something I only know of as a vague thing that descends on people, without a personality or nature to speak of.
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Post #2

Post by Overcomer »

That's a good question, Corvus. The Holy Spirit is the most misunderstood person in the Godhead, for that's what the Holy Spirit is, a person, and, specifically, the third person in the Trinity. He shares the same characteristics and attributes as Jesus and God.

Jesus told his disciples that he was leaving them. but that they shouldn't worry because he would be giving them the Holy Spirit to be with them. The role of the Holy Spirit is to teach, to admonish, to encourage, to comfort, to counsel, to strengthen, to bring joy and peace and love -- in short, to do all the things that Jesus did when he walked the earth.

The Holy Spirit is given several names in the New Testament. He is called Counsellor, Comforter, Helper.

The Holy Spirit also brings gifts to the person in whom he dwells. These include gifts of speaking in tongues, healing, wisdom, knowledge, prophecy (see the full list in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11).

When a Christian accepts Jesus as Lord and Saviour, he is justified, that is, given right-standing with God. At that point, he embarks upon a life-long process of sanctification. The goal is for the Christian to become more and more Christ-like all the time. It is the Holy Spirit who leads the Christian in this process of sanctification.

The Holy Spirit points out sin in our lives and empowers us to overcome temptation and break sin habits.

The Holy Spirit also gives revelation knowledge about God's Word. He communicates the very mind of Christ. The Holy Spirit speaks to the spirit of the Christian.

The Holy Spirit also acts as a restrainer on the devil and his demons. Without his presence on earth, life here would be absolutely unbearable. When the church is raptured, he will no longer perform this role and evil will run rampant with no check on it. That's why the Tribulation will be a time of destruction and chaos like the world has yet to see.

I hope that helps to answer your question, Corvus. I have not taken the time to look up Bible verses in support of all that I have written here, but if you would like Scripture passages, I would be glad to provide some.

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Post #3

Post by Corvus »

Thanks, Overcomer. It certainly took a long time for someone to respond, but I think that is because the focus of Christianity is Christ, not the Holy Spirit.

I think what is perplexing to me is the Holy Spirit's purpose in being a part of the Godhead. Before Christ came, God was just God, though sometimes he enlisted the help of angels. Christ was God born on earth to sacrifice himself for mankind's sins. Where God is entirely spiritual, Christ was material. That God needs another functionary or extension of Himself is just perplexing to me, because I don't see why the things you assure me the Holy Spirit can do can't be carried out by angels or by God's Himself.

I would like to know; is the Holy Spirit mentioned in the Old Testament?
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Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'</i>
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Post by BeHereNow »

I would like to know; is the Holy Spirit mentioned in the Old Testament?
I don’t know why the traditional Christians haven’t responded, but I have some biblical knowledge of the Holy Spirit and will add what I can.


For the most part the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit is only integral to Christianity after the death of Jesus. Newcomer says as much when mentioning that the Holy Ghost is a stand-in for Christ, although why Christ would need a stand-in is unclear.

As we have seen from various posts Christians must be able to use the OT as foundations for all of their beliefs. The God of Moses was/is the God of Jesus. Jesus did not come to change the law, but to fulfil it. It is as if the Jews were paying a fine on an overdue book with God as the Librarian. After the crucifixion, the book was returned and the fine was no longer due, but the library remained the same. It is still a source of inspiration and the rulebook (Bible) is still the story of God and his people. For consistency between the OT and NT the coming of Jesus had to be predicted, the Trinity had to have its roots in the OT, and thus the Holy Spirit has to have its roots in the OT. This is very difficult to do.

The Anabaptist, Baptist and Pentecostal sects put much more emphasis on the Holy Spirit compared to the traditional Protestants and Catholics. I grew up Lutheran but spent many years in an Anabaptist church. As a Lutheren we always used the term “Holy Ghost”. Since that term is not in the OT, and because of the spiritualism associated with “ghosts”, “Holy Spirit” is much more common in all churches today.
OT basis (all direct references):
Pss 51: [10] Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
[11] Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
[12] Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
[13] Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

Isa 63: [10] But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.
[11] Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, Where is he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? where is he that put his holy Spirit within him?
Psalms: Notice that "holy spirit” is not capitalized. The feeling I get from these verses is that the Holy Spirit is not a separate entity, rather that God can put his spirit in us, and it is holy. If God puts his love in us, it is holy, but we have no Holy Love entity. Others of course will say no, the Holy Spirit is a separate entity and God can put it in us.

Isaiah: Again, the usage here implies that the spirit of God is holy, and can be in us. Whither it is a separate entity is rather open from my perspective.

Any other OT references to Holy Spirit can be made only if we accept the traditional NT views first, then try to find the roots in the OT to support the beliefs.
Newcomer wrote: He shares the same characteristics and attributes as Jesus and God.
But Jesus and God have distinct “personalities”. Jesus is the shepherd, not God. God is the creator, not Jesus. Jesus is the son, God is the Father. Many more examples are possible. The Holy Ghost really has no personality. Its being is only expressed indirectly (winds, flames, doves). It never speaks or has a thought. It never has wishes, wants or desires.

The trinty has been a sore spot for many Christians for about 1800 years.

To my knowledge Jews do not have an acceptance of any Holy Spirit distinct from god.

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Post #5

Post by Corvus »

BeHereNow wrote:
Isa 63: [10] But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.
[11] Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, Where is he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? where is he that put his holy Spirit within him?
Psalms: Notice that "holy spirit&#8221; is not capitalized. The feeling I get from these verses is that the Holy Spirit is not a separate entity, rather that God can put his spirit in us, and it is holy. If God puts his love in us, it is holy, but we have no Holy Love entity.
Exactly my impressions. There is also a mention "his holy spirit" and no "the holy spirit", which would have shown a separate existence.
To my knowledge Jews do not have an acceptance of any Holy Spirit distinct from god.
I didn't think so. It's as if the early Christians came up with the idea of a trinity and whimsically decided to cast the holy spirit in the role.

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Post #6

Post by hannahjoy »

Jesus is the shepherd, not God.
God is the creator, not Jesus.
Hebrews 1:8, 10 (quoting Psalm 45:6; 102:10):
"But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the septre of Thy kingdom. . . . And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of Thine hands."
The Holy Ghost really has no personality. Its being is only expressed indirectly (winds, flames, doves). It never speaks or has a thought. It never has wishes, wants or desires.
Ephesians 4: 30:
And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day or redemption."

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Post #7

Post by Vladd44 »

It can actually get pretty convoluted.
That Well Loved Fairy Tale Collection wrote:Galatians 4:6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

That Well Loved Fairy Tale Collection wrote:1 Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?


So there are passages that refer to the HS/HG as the spirit of both god and jesus.

On another note, HS/HG gets all of gods sexual activity also.....
That Well Loved Fairy Tale Collection wrote: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.


For futher convolution check out http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?se ... version=9;

In John Chapt 14, Jesus states that he is the father (v9), in verse 18 he implies that he is the comforter.

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Post #8

Post by Pentecostal »

Hello everyone. I’m new and this is my first reply, so I will respond to the original question at this time.
Corvus :
I would like to know what the Holy Spirit is and what is its function. It's fairly clear what Jesus does and what purpose he fulfills, yet the Holy Spirit is something I only know of as a vague thing that descends on people, without a personality or nature to speak of.
First, the Holy Spirit is the third “Person” of the Trinity and not an it or thing.

Second, this is a concept many find difficult to understand. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit – one in three – three in one, totally inseparable, and yet different.

Third, all the characteristics of the Godhead are attributed to each, again inseparable. You sin against or grieve The Father, you sin against Jesus and the Holy Spirit at the same time.

Fourth, the job of the Holy Spirit is massive in scope, to mention only a few for example:

His ministry in the world:
Creates Job 33:4, Renews Isaiah 32:15, Convicts men John 16:8-11

His ministry in believers:
Regenerates John 3:3, 5, Indwells Romans 8:11, Anoints 1 John 2:20, 27, Empowers Micah 3:8, Gives discernment 1 Corinthians 2:10-16 and 1 John 4:1-6, Opens the mind 1 Corinthians 2:12-13 and Ephesians 1:16-17, Reveals the things of God Isaiah 40:13-14 and 1 Corinthians 2:10, 13.

His ministry in the body of Christ – the Church:
Fills Acts 2:4, Baptizes 1 Corinthians 12:13, Comforts the Church Acts 9:31, Sanctifies the Church Romans 15:16
I think what is perplexing to me is the Holy Spirit's purpose in being a part of the Godhead. Before Christ came, God was just God, though sometimes he enlisted the help of angels. Christ was God born on earth to sacrifice himself for mankind's sins. Where God is entirely spiritual, Christ was material. That God needs another functionary or extension of Himself is just perplexing to me, because I don't see why the things you assure me the Holy Spirit can do can't be carried out by angels or by God's Himself.
The Godhead / Trinity / Father, Son and Holy Spirit have always existed and worked as one, and numerous references are in the plural:

Take Genesis 1:1 God created the heavens and the earth – 1:2 And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters – 1:26 Then God said Let US (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) make man in OUR image according to OUR likeness.

And Genesis 3:22 Then the Lord God said, Behold, the man has become like one of US.

Next, Jesus being God was Spirit before becoming man – John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God – and John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Okay, Angels were created by God for many purposes, however, in-as-much as they are not perfect: Job 4:18 If He puts no trust in His servants, if He charges his angels with error, it required righteousness to save the world from sin – and that necessitated Jesus who was without sin becoming human and giving His life freely on our behalf.
I would like to know; is the Holy Spirit mentioned in the Old Testament?
There are many names given to the Holy Spirit throughout Scriptures, and some of the Old Testament references are: Genesis 1:2, 6:3, Psalm 51:11, 139:7-13, Isaiah 32:15, 61:1, Zechariah 12:10, Job 33:4, Micah 3:8 to mention a few.

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Post #9

Post by Vladd44 »

Hi Pentecostal,

I would say welcome, but Im new here too! :o
Pentecostal wrote:Third, all the characteristics of the Godhead are attributed to each, again inseparable. You sin against or grieve The Father, you sin against Jesus and the Holy Spirit at the same time.
Your Bible wrote: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.
There is a distinct variance in penalty, and the concept of doing against one, while not the other is implicit. If sinning against one is sinning against both, how is this possible?

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Post #10

Post by Pentecostal »

Vladd44:
There is a distinct variance in penalty, and the concept of doing against one, while not the other is implicit. If sinning against one is sinning against both, how is this possible?
First, let me say a Blessed hello to you too :yes:

Your question is both reasonable and intelligent, and points out one of the reasons people have difficulty in the concept of the Holy Trinity.

There are countless passages in the Scriptures where the same name is attributed to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Thus distinguishing between the three for some is cumbersome.

Perhaps these Scriptures will be of help:

Trinity:

1 John 5:7 “For there are three who bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word (Son), and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.”

One God:

Deuteronomy 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”

Red Letter:
John 10:30 “I and My Father are one.”

Acts 5:3-4 “But Peter said Ananias, why has Satin filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after is was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”

Primarily, it is within the theme of the chapter or group of Scriptures being read that one discerns which person of the Godhead is being referred to. And upon numerous occasions all three, as mentioned above.

IMHO, the reason why it seems there is a heavier penalty when sinning against the Holy Spirit (the unforgivable sin) is that the Holy Spirit is the "Messenger" of the Godhead as well as the most active - and:

Red Letter John 16:13 “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come”

I would conclude that God (the Trinity) when inspiring the writing of the Scriptures felt the need to emphasize the importance of what the Holy Spirit's ministry was to us as individuals, and therefore warn against and the dire results of rejecting Him.

However, also we must remember that the three persons of the Godhead / Trinity are absolutely inseparable.

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