One of the most misunderstood and sometimes confusing subjects of Christianity besides the prophecies in the Book of Revelation is that of the Holy Spirit.
Most people who understand the Triune Nature of God, know that the Holy Spirit is one of the natures of God- but still many who don't believe or don't understand the whole "trinity thing" haven't a clue of Who the Holy Spirit is. Unbelievers don't believe in the Power of the Holy Spirit any more than they believe in Jesus as God the Son. People who call themselves Christian (read the two previous articles on how to know if you are really a Christian) don't necessarily understand the Nature of the Holy Spirit either.
I want to say here and now, I am not an expert authority on the Holy Spirit of God, but the more I read and learn, I am understanding more about Him and I want to share Him with you now.
Like many things having to do with any religion and in Christianity, alot of how one views the God Head Trinity has a lot to do with how much one reads the Holy Word of God, and where one attends church. No one denomination has everything perfect and all knowledge, and I don't claim either to have everything wrapped up either- we will never know everything, however, a lot will be revealed to us in the Lord's time, and as His Spirit reveals it to us individually, no matter what denomination we belong to.
So Who exactly is the Holy Spirit? Some of the cults who claim Christianity believe the Holy Spirit is a force, but even then, they don't explain what this force is meant for. Others don't believe He exists at all and some just have no opinion or knowledge to even wonder. Some claim to be full of the Holy Spirit, but following the Biblical mandate of testing the spirits, we can tell by actions and words, the spirit they are following is that of Antichrist, not the Holy Spirit of God.
The Bible is clear on the Triune Nature of God. When you read Scripture- that is, when you read it with the desire to understand it, you will see many sciptures which, while not saying the word Trinity, suggests the Three Natures of God, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. One of my favorite verses which shows this is when Jesus is Baptised. The Gospel of Matthew explains it this way:
Mat 3:16,17 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Another good example is found in 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. From the first verses in the Gospel of John, we know that Jesus is the Word.
And this, one more, from 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:
It is no mistake that it says "in the name" singular, as some would have us believe. The original Greek and Hebrew were both written in the singular, not plural referring to three.
The suggestion of the Trinity is present throughout the whole Bible, from the very beginning in Genesis when in Gen 1:26a it is written, And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness... The Hebrew for God here is Eloheem, which is a plural of the Word Elohim meaning Gods. Again, it was not a mistake when the scripture given to the author gave a plural here for God, because it was the Lord's way of showing His Triune Nature from the beginning.
So now that we can begin to understand that the Holy Spirit is God, what exactly is His Nature? Is He just a force- as some of the cult offshoots of Christianity claim?
The Scriptures are clear on Who the Holy Spirit is. Study the following verses and then ask, do these describe a "force" or an actual person? A force cannot:
know thoughts- 1Co 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.
cannot be grieved- Eph 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
cannot give things- 1Co 12:8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
cannot comfort, teach or give counsel- Joh 14:26 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.
cannot testify or bear witness- Joh 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
cannot lead-Rom 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
cannot speak- Acts 8:29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to thisG5129 chariot.
cannot interceed for others through prayer- Rom 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
cannot be lied to- Act 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?
Clearly the above verses tell us human qualities about the Holy Spirit, and not of a force. A force is something of nature, such as gravity or wind. Clearly the Holy Spirit of God is supernatural, yet with qualities of human feelings and actions.
Now we know what the Office of the Holy Spirit is, and how He helps believers into a deeper knowledge of Scripture and God. Here is where deeper understanding gets interesting. There are two definitions of the word Knowledge throughout the Bible. One is from the Greek gnosis. This is basic knowledge, the surface of understanding or knowing. The other is from the Greek epignosis, which is a deeper understanding knowing. Like an onion with layers, so as you peel more away, you get deeper until you reach the core. The Holy Spirit through peeling away the layers as we learn, helps us to come from a simple knowledge of God to the deeper more knowing understanding of the Lord. Another way of seeing this is that Gnosis is the head knowledge- knowing in your mind. Epignosis from the Holy Spirit is when that knowledge goes from your head to your heart.
Many people, when asked about what they believe may say they have read the Bible, but when digging a little, it is clear they have no understanding of the Scriptures and how the whole Bible tells the History of the relationship between God and mankind. Many new believers have a hard time understanding the Bible- I know I did. It is because for one thing, non believers do not have the Holy Spirit giving epignosis. New believers as well may have some knowledge- enough to believe, but they have not the deeper understanding knowledge to grasp just who God is and His plans for mankind. People, mostly non believers do not understand who the Holy Spirit is, and since they are non believers, they can not gain the power of the Spirit to reveal knowledge to them. This is also the case of many professing Christians, who do not read the Bible regularly. They may think they believe, but they have not the Holy Spirit guiding them into a deeper knowledge of the One they profess to believe in. What really separates Christianity from other religions is not just that Christ gave Himself as a pure and sinless sacrifice for all the world, but also by the Holy Spirit of God. Many people see Christianity as just another religion- either good or bad. They do not understand that religion is man reaching for a god, but Biblical Christianity is God reaching for man. And only through Christ Jesus can we be redeemed, liberated and paid in full for our freedom!
In the next part, we'll discuss how and who can "receive" the Holy Spirit. Until then, read the scriptures for yourself, asking God to reveal Himself that you may understand His Word.