Who is the Spirit?
THE HOLY GHOST -- GREEK
Before I came to my final conclusion, I looked up the texts that spoke of the ‘Holy Ghost’. The Greek word is exactly the same as for ‘Spirit’ (‘pneuma’, 4151 in Strong’s Concordance), and the texts could have been included under ‘Spirit’. You can look up the texts at your leisure to confirm their meaning. Most are similar to those listed under ‘Spirit’.
* The following texts speak of ‘with the Holy Ghost’ (and remember the word ‘ghost’ is ‘pneuma’, the same as translated ‘spirit’)
Matthew 3:11. ‘He will baptise with the holy Ghost’ (it will fill them) (Mark 1:8. Luke 3:16. John 1:33 Acts 1:5. 11:16)
Luke 1:15.41. ‘He will be filled with the holy Ghost’ (John the Baptist will be filled with the Spirit of God) (Luke 1:67. Acts 2:4. 4:8.31. 9:17. 13:9.52)
* The next section is ‘of the Holy Ghost’ (Spirit)
Matt 1:18.20. ‘She was found with child of the holy Ghost’. (Mary)
(Who is the Father of Jesus? Please think about this – the Holy Ghost or God the Father? A true understanding of the Spirit carries no confusion - it is the omnipresent medium by which the Father operates upon the earth and every other part of the universe)
Acts 2:33. ‘Having received of the Father the promise of the holy Ghost’ (the Spirit was given to the Son when He ascended)
Acts 2:38. ‘Ye shall receive the gift of the holy Ghost’. (All who are baptised will receive the Spirit of God. Acts 10:45. Heb 2:4)
Acts 6:3. ‘Look out honest men… full of the holy Ghost’ (Seven deacons filled with the Spirit of God. Acts 7:55. 11:24. Luke 4:1)
Acts 9:31. ‘Walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the holy Ghost’. (The churches walked in the comfort of the Spirit of God)
Rom 15:13. ‘Abound in hope through the power of the holy Ghost’ (God will fill His people with joy, peace and hope through His Spirit)
1 Cor 6:19. ‘ye are the temple of the holy Ghost’ (Christians are the temple for God’s Spirit)
2 Cor13:14. ‘the communion of the holy Ghost’ (it is by God’s Spirit that we have communion with the Father and Christ)
1 Thess 1:6. ‘with joy of the holy Ghost’ (joy is one of the fruits of God’s Spirit)
Titus 3:5. ‘the renewing of the holy Ghost’ (it is by God’s Spirit that we are sanctified)
Hebrews 6:4. ‘tasted of the heavenly gift and were made partakers of the holy Ghost’ (it is by God’s Spirit that we receive the gift)
* The next section is ‘by the Holy Ghost’ (Spirit)
Mark 12:36. ‘David himself said by the holy Ghost’ (prophets speak by the Spirit of God. Acts 28:25)
Luke 2:26. ‘it was revealed unto him by the holy Ghost’ (the Spirit reveals truth)
Acts 13:4. ‘being sent forth by the holy Ghost’ (the Spirit directs)
Acts 16:6. ‘were forbidden of the holy Ghost to preach in Asia’ (the Spirit of God directs His church)
Romans 5:5. ‘the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the holy Ghost’ (As in all texts – Ghost = pneuma = Spirit)
Rom 15:16. ‘sanctified by the holy Ghost’ (pneuma – Spirit)
1 Cor 12:3. ‘no man speaking by the Spirit of God called Jesus accursed; and no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the holy Ghost’ (this is a repetition of the same truth, one using Spirit of God, the other holy Ghost; the word for Spirit and Ghost is the same in Greek – pneuma. Mark 13:11)
2 Tim 1:14. ‘that good thing that was committed unto thee keep by the holy Ghost’ (pneuma – Spirit)
2 Peter 1:21. ‘holy men of God spake as they were moved by holy Ghost’ (prophets speak by God’s or Christ’s Spirit. 1 Peter 1:11)
* The next phrase is ‘the Holy Ghost upon’ (Spirit)
Luke 1:35. ‘The holy Ghost shall come upon thee’ (upon Mary. Acts 2:25. Acts 19:6)
Luke 3:22. ‘The holy Ghost descended in bodily shape like a dove’ (upon Jesus)
Acts 10:44. ‘The holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the Word’. (remember, this is all the word ‘pneuma’, translated elsewhere Spirit. Acts 11:15)
* The next section is ‘in the Holy Ghost’ (Spirit)
Romans 9:1 ‘my conscience bearing me witness in the holy Ghost’ (the Spirit of God in Him witnesses that He is speaking the truth. See Romans 8:16)
Romans 14:17. ‘kingdom of God…... righteousness, peace and joy in the holy Ghost’. (fruit of the Spirit)
1 Thess 1:5. ‘our gospel came… in power and in the holy Ghost’ (the Spirit gives the power)
Jude 20. ‘praying in the holy Ghost’ (see Romans 8:26)
* This section is ‘the Holy Ghost shall’ (Spirit)
Luke 12:12. ‘the holy Ghost shall teach’ (the Spirit of truth will teach all things. See John 14:17. John 14:26)
* This time ‘the Holy Ghost is’ (Spirit)
Acts 1:8. ‘ye shall receive power after the holy Ghost shall come upon you’ (God’s Spirit gives power. Acts 8:18)
Heb 10:15 ‘the holy Ghost is a witness to us’ (He abides within, and hears all. Acts 5:32. 20:23)
* This next section says simply ‘the Holy Ghost’ (Spirit)
John 7:39. ‘the holy Ghost not yet given’ (until Pentecost)
John 20:22. Jesus said, ‘Receive ye the holy Ghost’ (they are given the Spirit of God. Acts 8:15.17.19. 10:47. 19:2)
Acts 1:2. Christ ‘through the holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles’ (by the power of the Spirit of God)
Acts 1:16. ‘the holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake’ (as with all the prophets. Acts 13:2. 21:11. Heb 3:7)
Acts 10:38. ‘God anointed Jesus… with the holy Ghost’ (baptised with the Spirit of God)
Acts 15:8. ‘giving them the holy Ghost’ (God gives His Spirit)
Acts 20:28. ‘Holy Ghost hath made you overseers’ (the Spirit gives the gifts)
1 Cor 2:13. Apostles speak in the ‘wisdom, which the holy Ghost teaches’ (the Spirit gives wisdom)
Hebrews 9:8. ‘Holy Ghost this signifying’ (the Spirit teaches)
1 Peter 1:12. ‘preached the gospel unto you with the holy Ghost sent down from heaven’ (the gift of Christ to His people)
* This section has one text ‘to the Holy Ghost’. (Spirit)
Acts 5:3. (This has been dealt with earlier)
* The next section is a query if there be ‘any Holy Ghost’ (Spirit)
Acts 19:2. ‘Have you received the holy Ghost? Not heard whether there be any holy Ghost’ (Received the holy Spirit?)
* The next section is ‘against the Holy Ghost’ (Spirit)
Matthew 12:31. ‘Blasphemy against the holy Ghost shall not be forgiven. (To blaspheme the Spirit of God is to reject the only means of forgiveness and sanctification. Matt 12:32. Mark 3:29)
* The final text says ‘and the Holy Ghost’ (Spirit)
1 John 5:7. ‘there are three that bear record in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost’, and these three are one’.
The above text was a difficult one for me and for most people who have studied the subject. Our minds immediately take hold of that which is familiar, and in this verse we see evidence for the Trinity.
Many writers believe 1 John 5:7 (called the Johannine comma) is a forged entry. Other scholars state that it was quoted by Tertullian approximately AD200, by Cyprian in AD250, and Athanasius in AD350, however, this does not make it genuine.
Erasmus omitted it from the first edition of his translation, but because of a challenge to include it, he stated he would do so if ‘one manuscript could be found’. An old British manuscript was ‘discovered’, and Erasmus, true to his word, added it to his next translation, although regretfully. (This same story has been credited to William Tyndale, causing another difficulty. Modern Bible Translations Unmasked. R.R. & C.D. Standish p115.116)
Matthew 28:19 was also difficult. Many scholars believe it was also an interpolation.
Catholic writers state that the last part of Matthew 28:19 was an ecclesiastical rite, added as a ‘baptismal formula’. “Its object is, of course, to honor the three persons of the holy trinity in whose name it is conferred”. Catholic Encyclopedia p262.
When reading through the book of Acts, I found that the apostles always baptised in the name of Jesus, which seemed to give weight to the historical evidence that it was added to the text. (See Acts 2:38. 8:12. 8:16. 19:5. 22:16)
However, whether Matthew 28:19 and 1 John 5:7 are genuine or not, these texts do not answer for the whole Bible. A doctrine is not based on two texts. If these verses appear Trinitarian, they must be explained from the totality of Scripture.
In the plan of redemption, the Father and the Son pledged themselves to redeem mankind, and as a result of that costly agreement, Christ died upon the cross of Calvary. But were it not for the work of the Spirit of God on the hearts of men and women, even this precious sacrifice would be unable to redeem a single soul. The Spirit of God “makes effectual what has been wrought out by the world’s Redeemer.” The Desire of Ages p671
I can now read Matthew 28:19 in the light of the facts of salvation, and it causes me no problem.
Even if 1 John 5:7 is added, there are three that bear record in heaven. According to the Bible, the Father and the Son are one through the eternal Spirit. Not only are the Father and the Son one through the Spirit, so are God’s faithful people. Jesus’ words to His Father were, “That they all may be one, as thou Father, art in Me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us….” John 17:21.
There are two other texts that caused some concern - 2 Corinthians 13:14 and Philippians 2:1. On their own, they appear to say that our fellowship and communion is with the Holy Spirit, as if a co-equal Being in His own right.
In my own past experience, I tried to have fellowship with the Holy Spirit, believing Him to be the third Person of a triune God. However, I found it impossible. Apart from believing He could hear, instruct, teach, guide, convict of sin, I knew nothing else about Him. The Bible gave me no more information; neither did Ellen White.
I believe God answered my prayer for understanding when He enlightened me through His Word that my “fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ” 1 John 1:3. “The hour cometh and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth.” John 4:23.24.
* * * * * * * * * * *
If you have faithfully read all the texts in this book, you have covered every verse in the Bible that speaks of the holy Spirit/Ghost. Not once did you see the words ‘God the Holy Spirit’. It is not there.
If you will study the writings of the prophet Ellen G White, you will find that never once does she use the term God the Holy Spirit, for no modern prophet will ever contradict that which has been revealed to other prophets before them. The messenger of the Lord faithfully follows Scriptural language, speaking only of the Spirit of God Himself.
I now believe in one divine, eternal Spirit that emanates from the Father, the great Source of all. By this Spirit, God is able to be everywhere in the universe, taking an intimate interest in the works of His hands. This same Spirit was bestowed upon Christ, giving Him the same omnipresence as His Father. After the incarnation, the Saviour is able to be with every believer on the earth, through the medium of His Spirit, in spite of the fact that He is limited as to location in His glorified humanity.
I now know that Christ is actually with me, although invisible. “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in the midst of them”, He promised. Matthew 18:20.
“Although God dwells not in temples made with hands, yet He honors with His presence the assemblies of His people. He has promised that when they come together to seek Him, to acknowledge their sins, and to pray for one another, He will meet with them by His Spirit.” Prophets and Kings p50.
Apart from that revealed in the Bible and the writings of Ellen White, I still have questions -- how can the spirit-mind of God be shared with Christ? How can it be everywhere in the universe, and yet still be a vital part of the very being of the Father and Son in heaven? How can this Spirit be given to all believers?
I do not understand these things, and I do not need to.
“The nature of the Holy Spirit is a mystery. Men cannot explain it, because the Lord has not revealed it to them… Regarding such mysteries, which are too deep for human understanding, silence is golden.” Acts of the Apostles. p52.
However I do know that the Lord will “grant me the presence of His Spirit, with its reviving, sanctifying power”, and that this unseen agency will enable me to be a labourer together with God. Ibid p56.
By His Spirit, God guides me; instructs me; teaches me; convicts me of sin, and is empowering me to be an overcomer.
It is my prayer that you have come to the same conclusion.