In today’s episode, we are continuing our doctrinal topics on the nature of God and I’ll be discussing my views of the Holy Spirit; who he is and what he does. To be honest, I think in our modern reading of Scripture we make this a more difficult topic than it needs to be. It really isn’t a difficult or mystical thing to understand the role of the Spirit of God. Since the Father is God and he is holy and he is spirit, I believe that the holy Spirit of Scripture is the very Spirit of Yahweh, God.
John 4:24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
God’s Spirit is his creative and life-giving presence in this world.
Genesis 1:1-2 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.
The Spirit of God is life itself; without life and without God’s Spirit, nothing would exist.
Genesis 2:7 Then Yahweh God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
Job 34:14-15 “If He should determine to do so, If He should gather to Himself His spirit and His breath, All flesh would perish together, And man would return to dust.”
I believe God’s Word is a manifestation of his Spirit.
John 1:1 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God; and the Word was God.
The Word of God has been linked to the Wisdom of God, personified in the Proverbs and also within the ancient near Eastern writings of the Apocrypha. Just as your words are an outward manifestation of your inner thoughts and ideas, so is God’s Word for him. When he speaks, it is his Spirit that has been symbolically personified as the creative and guiding wisdom of the universe. A good example of this type of literature device is represented in the eighth chapter of Proverbs, where this personified Wisdom is foundational to all that exists and underlies the very life of God himself.
Proverbs 8:35 – “For the one who finds me [Wisdom] finds life and obtains favor from Yahweh…”
This same creative aspect of God’s Word is also represented in the Psalms:
Psalm 33:8-9 – Let the whole earth fear Yahweh; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. For he spoke, and it came into being; he commanded, and it came into existence.
Throughout the Bible, we also see how God’s will and purpose is made known by his Word through his prophets.
Ezekiel 11:5 – Then the Spirit of Yahweh fell upon me, and He said to me, “Say, ‘Thus says Yahweh…'”
2 Samuel 23:1-2 – Now these are the last words of David. David the son of Jesse declares, The man who was raised on high declares, The anointed of the God of Jacob, And the sweet psalmist of Israel, “The Spirit of Yahweh spoke by me, And His word was on my tongue.
2 Peter 1:20-21 – But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is [a matter] of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
God’s Word is represented as truth.
Psalm 119:160 – The sum of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.
John 17:17 – “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.”
I believe the holy Spirit is the Word and truth of God which is for us the regenerative presence and Wisdom of Yahweh God, the Father. He reveals to individuals the true understanding of his spoken and written Word, setting them apart for his purpose and will, and motivating faithful actions of believers. Through his Spirit and Word of truth, God convicts of sin, regenerates individuals causing them to be born again or from above, and sets them apart from the world for his purpose.
1 Peter 1:23 – for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.
Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing apart of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
1 Thessalonians 2:13 – For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when you received the word of God which you heard of us, you received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually works also in you that believe.
Through his Spirit, God also attests to the truth of his word and validates the authority of his messengers. Through the consistency of the witness of the Spirit of God, along with our conscience and reasoning, we are enabled to discern truth from falsehood.
Romans 8:16: – “The Spirit itself [i.e, the truth of God], bears witness together with our spirit [our own reasoning] that we are children of God;”
As God continually acts through his Spirit and Word, we are transformed into children of God and the spiritual image of Yeshua, empowered to become effective witnesses to Yeshua and the gospel message of the Kingdom, filling our hearts with love for all men, and moving us to practice godliness.
Timeline of God’s holy Spirit
The workings of the Spirit of God encompass a past, present, and future aspect as recorded from the perspective of the writers of the Scriptures. It is important for us to recognize this internal timeline of the Bible to correctly understand the ongoing influence of God’s holy Spirit today.
The very beginning of the Bible relates how God, through his Spirit, has always been present in the workings of this world.
Genesis 1:1-2 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.
In the past God provided his Spirit for specific individuals and purposes.
Numbers 11:14, 16-17 [Moses speaking] “I alone am not able to carry all this people, because it is too burdensome for me. … Yahweh therefore said to Moses, “Gather for Me seventy men from the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and their officers and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you. “Then I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit which is upon you [Moses], and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you will not bear it all alone.
Judges 6:34 So the Spirit of Yahweh came upon Gideon; and he blew a trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called together to follow him.
1 Samuel 16:13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of Yahweh came mightily upon David from that day forward…
2 Chronicles 20:14 Then in the midst of the assembly the Spirit of Yahweh came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah…
Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of Yahweh GOD is upon me, Because Yahweh has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners…
2 Peter 1:21: For not, by will of man, was prophecy brought in, at any time, but, as, by Holy Spirit, they were borne along, men spoke from God.”
Throughout Israel’s troubled history, the Spirit was also prophesied to be provided more abundantly at some future point.
Ezekiel 36:24-27 “For I will take you [Israel] from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.
Joel 2:28-29 “It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.
In just a moment, we will review the work of God’s Spirit as our timeline moves into the era of the New Testament writings, and the culmination of all that God was preparing to do among his people.
Into the New Testament writings
From the opening pages of the New Testament era, we see how the Spirit of God was intimately intertwined within the life and ministry of Yeshua. The prophecies of the pouring out of the Spirit of God spoken about by the prophets hundreds of years earlier were to begin with the miraculous event of the birth of the Messiah, the Anointed One of God.
Matthew 1:18-21 – The birth of Yeshua Messiah came about this way: After his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant from the Holy Spirit. So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly. But after he had considered these things, an angel of Yahweh appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. “She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Yeshua, because he will save his people from their sins.”
At the beginning of the public ministry of Yeshua, John the baptizer relates the confirmation of Yeshua’s anointing with the Spirit of God:
John 1:32-34 – And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and he rested on him. “I didn’t know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The one you see the Spirit descending and resting on – he is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ “I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”
It was this anointing, or immersion, into the Spirit of God that provided Yeshua with the title “Christ” or “Messiah,” the Anointed One. Everything Yeshua taught and did was provided through his anointing by the Spirit of God. As we saw in our last discussion of Yeshua as the Messiah, the Bible clearly outlines how Yeshua’s teaching and works were accomplished by the Spirit of God working through him.
Acts 2:22 – “Fellow Israelites, listen to these words: This Yeshua of Nazareth was a man attested to you by God with miracles, wonders, and signs that God did among you through him, just as you yourselves know.
Acts 10:37-38 – “You know the events that took place throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John preached: how God anointed Yeshua of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how he went about doing good and healing all who were under the tyranny of the devil, because God was with him.
Yeshua himself claimed that the things he taught and the works he did was because of the power of Yahweh God, the Father, working through him:
John 12:49 – For I have not spoken from my own authority, but the Father himself who sent me has commanded me what I should say and what I should speak.
John 14:10 – “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who lives in me does his works.
Returning to the prophecies of Ezekiel and Joel, in the teachings of Yeshua, the “pouring out” of the Spirit, or the enabling and regenerative power of God, was very close and about to take place.
John 7:38-39 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were about to to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Yeshua was not yet glorified.’
John 15:26-27 “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.
Within six weeks of the death and resurrection of Messiah, the Bible records that the pouring out of the Spirit occurred at that time.
Acts 2:1-4 When the day of Pentecost [Shavuot, or Weeks] had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues [languages], as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
The apostles recognized that this event was the confirmed fulfillment of that past prophecy of Joel.
Acts 2:14-17 But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘that I will pour forth of my spirit on all mankind; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams…'”
This was also the fulfillment of “the promise:”
Luke 24:49 “And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
Acts 2:33 “Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.
Through the rest of the New Testament writings up until the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, the writers spoke of the holy Spirit being collectively present with believers at that time.
Ephesians 1:13-14 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.
Ephesians 3:4-5 By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Messiah, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;
Further, this pouring out of the Spirit collectively provided for many powerful workings of God throughout the body of believers as confirming signs to the nation of Israel that Yeshua was the “prophet who was to come” whom Moses had spoken of. The apostle Paul called these “gifts” of the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:4-11 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.
These “gifts of the Spirit” were specifically given by God for the validation and rapid spreading of God’s Word and truth in those days.
Acts 8:5-6, 12-13 – Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Messiah to them. The crowds with one accord were giving attention to what was said by Philip, as they heard and saw the signs [attesting miracles] which he was performing. … But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Yeshua Messiah, they were being baptized, men and women alike. Even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, and as he observed signs and great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed.
1 Corinthians 2:4-5 – and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.
After the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD, the inspired records had fulfilled their purpose and ceased being written, having completed the story of God’s work among his people, Israel. This has been demonstrated historically in that no new scripture has been written since that first century generation two thousand years ago.
Likewise, the miraculous signs were provided as demonstrations primarily for non-believingIsrael. These signs testified to the truth of the Word of God through the apostles, that Israel’s promised Messiah had come, and that God’s Kingdom was being implemented within their generation. With the fulfillment of all things in the destruction of Jerusalem, the miraculous sign gifts were completed in that generation, the last days of the nation of Israel.
In his famous treatise on the supremacy of love, the apostle Paul spoke of how there would be a time where miraculous spiritual gifts would no longer be necessary, because the love of God would rise to prominence as the Kingdom was to become established.
1 Corinthians 13:8-10, 13 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; and whenever that which is perfect [completeness] may come, then that which is in part shall become entirely idle…Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love – but the greatest of these is love.
The fullness of the Kingdom of God, represented by the prophetic New Jerusalem, would be a Kingdom based on the supremacy of this love that Paul spoke of. This Kingdom could only become a reality through the destruction of its earthly and corrupt counterpart in that generation. I believe the New Jerusalem is “that which is perfect,” spoken of by the apostle Paul. It was a New Jerusalem, since the Old Jerusalem, in bondage to its traditions and idolatry, had become worthless and dead and was therefore destroyed. The new Kingdom, being a spiritual reality, would never cease, and it continues to grow to this day in completeness until it fills the earth.
The work of the Spirit today and into the future
Now, since God is eternal and his Kingdom is eternal, enduring characteristics of being influenced by the Spirit of God (fruit of the Spirit) that were present then will continue to be present for all time. As people continue to enter the Kingdom and learn about God through his Word and truth, he continues to bring people to new life by his Spirit through faith in Messiah Yeshua. They are then empowered by his Spirit to demonstrate love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control; all of the out-workings of the Spirit of God through his people today. I believe these are the “gifts” that believers have to offer the world today: positive spiritual influences that God uses to draw all people to himself.
Of course, I still believe a miraculous event is still a possibility, since God never changes. However, I believe any genuine miraculous event will ALWAYS point people to the truth and majesty of God himself as revealed previously in the Bible, and will not validate any false individual or reveal some new teaching contradictory to what has already been brought to conclusion through the completing of Israel’s story in the first century.
Additionally, I believe God’s Spirit is still actively working through the everlasting Word and truth, God’s eternal Torah, constantly providing a corroborating witness for all generations for all time. This regenerating presence of his Spirit is shaping and molding hearts of people for the continual building up of his kingdom on earth for eternity.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 – All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
Galatians 5:22-25: “But, the fruit of the Spirit [the empowering word and truth of God], is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, graciousness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control; against such things as these, there is no law. And, they who are of Messiah Yeshua, have crucified the flesh, with its susceptibilities and covetings. If we live by Spirit [the empowering word and truth of God], by Spirit [the empowering word and truth of God], let us also walk.”
I believe the Spirit of God is a term used to describe how Yahweh God actively interacts within our human environment, whether through creation, revelation (wisdom), regeneration, sanctification (setting apart) and through empowerment. The Spirit of God is Yahweh himself, and his influence in this world.
Ultimately, I believe the core principles of the Bible, the basics of the eternal torah or Word of God, are the result of God’s Spirit. The Ten Commandments were spoken to Moses and ancient Israel and substantiated through the principles of the Sermon on the Mount taught by Yeshua, speaking everything the Father commanded him to teach. I believe these two pivotal episodes in the Bible, besides the Creation itself, represent the most profound work of God’s Spirit in this world.
The Spirit of God therefore separates (or sanctifies) his people to seek first the Kingdom and then empowers them to do so with vigilance. The Spirit of God creates in his people a love for himself with all of the heart, mind, and strength, trusting him for everything. And the fruit of that same Spirit prompts them to love others with integrity, forgiveness, and compassion.
Throughout Scripture, the Spirit of God is always associated with life, whether physical or spiritual. The life of God is what gives us existence and ability, and as the Creator of all, he manifests his Spirit as he sees fit. This life we have, whether physical or spiritual, is not our own, but a dynamic that comes from the hand of God for his purpose. Since everything we are is from him, I believe we should remain faithful to all he asks of us through the expression of his Spirit through us, and we should seek to faithfully emulate him in all of our ways.
Well, I hope that there were possibly some perspectives in the discussion today that provided you with some new insights for your own further study and review. Next time, I would like to provide a look at the biblical festival of Shavuot, also known as Weeks or Pentecost. This is a natural segue seeing as how we have been discussing the Spirit of God, and how, at the recording of this podcast, this is the season of Shavuot in the year 2023. Throughout our doctrinal discussions over the next year, I hope to cover all of the biblical holidays as well, so I hope you are able to join me in this continuing journey.