I’m so sorry for the delay with this email. We lost power for two days because of that freak storm, but that’s no excuse.
Much is said about the Holy Spirit’s work since the beginning. This is a long email. So, get a cup of Postum, sit back, and ponder much.
You will get a deeper understanding of Him by His activity in the Old Testament, than by the New Testament alone. I find Him to be very illusive, pervasive, and wonderfully mysterious!
The concept of the Trinity bothers me a lot. Not that I don’t believe in three Persons of the Godhead, but that the Catholic church uses the Trinity to say that they figured out God—the infinite, indefinable God, Creator of the ends of the universe. Corrupted men in a fallen and corrupted religious institution defined the Holy Spirit. I don’t think so.
About the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament. This was all taken from a nice Bible website, http://www.biblegateway.com/
The Holy Spirit was present at creation.
“And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (Gen. 1:2).
He was grieved by the antedeluvians.
“And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.” (Gen. 6:3).
This sounds somewhat like Gal. 5:17, “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
The Holy Spirit works in us to do more than just spiritual things. Even temporal things and talents are accomplished by Him. Our sanctification by the Spirit affects every facet of our person.
“See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship.” (Ex. 31:2,3)
The Holy Spirit’s influence can be shared. I wonder if this wasn’t for effect. The people needed to know that the new wisdom and judgment of the 70 elders came from the same source as Moses’. In that band of degraded slaves, any room made for assuming could end up in mob riots and insurrection.
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee.
And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone.” (Num. 11:16,17)
Two of the elders weren’t in the camp with the other 68, but the Spirit rested on them too.
“But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp.” (vs. 26).
Joshua protested because things were getting disorderly. But Moses knew God’s real desire.
“And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put His spirit upon them!” (vs. 29).
Later Joshua was recognized as having the Holy Spirit.
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit
, and lay thine hand upon him...” (Nu. 27:18).
Still later, the nephew of Joshua’s closest friend in Christ received a special measure of the Holy Spirit. It seems that the Holy Spirit was active in making leaders, not only in converting them.
“And when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother.
And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the Lord delivered Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushanrishathaim.” (Ju. 3:9,10).
The Holy Spirit delivered Israel by Gideon and Jephthah.
“But the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet; and Abiezer was gathered after him.” (Ju. 6:34).
“Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, and he passed over Gilead, and Manasseh, and passed over Mizpeh of Gilead, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he passed over unto the children of Ammon.” (Ju. 11:29).
The Spirit takes charge of directing operations on earth that fulfill God’s will, as we see with the gospel work. “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.” “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.” (Acts 16:6;13:2)
Even miscreant Samson was moved by the Holy Spirit to deliver Israel!
“And the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.” (Ju. 13:25).
“And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he rent him [a ferocious, angry lion] as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand: but he told not his father or his mother what he had done.”(Ju. 14:6)
“And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle. And his anger was kindled, and he went up to his father’s house.”(Ju. 14:19).
“And when he came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him: and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands.”(Ju. 15:14)
The Holy Ghost converted and consecrated king Saul.
“And the Spirit of the Lord will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.
And let it be, when these signs are come unto thee, that thou do as occasion serve thee; for God is with thee.
And thou shalt go down before me to Gilgal; and, behold, I will come down unto thee, to offer burnt offerings, and to sacrifice sacrifices of peace offerings: seven days shalt thou tarry, till I come to thee, and shew thee what thou shalt do.
And it was so, that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart: and all those signs came to pass that day.
And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them.” (1Sam. 10:6-10).
This “new man” experience of Saul’s is exactly what Paul spoke of to us in the New Testament: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2Cor. 5:17). There can be no doubt Paul taught that the Spirit was the cause of this in man through all ages.
Saul was converted, consecrated, and then commissioned shortly thereafter.
“And the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard those tidings, and his anger was kindled greatly.” (1Sam. 11:6).
Of course, David also received the Holy Spirit which led him to become unstoppable to do the Lord’s will. “Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.” (1Sam. 16:13). Not many days after his anointing youthful David challenged giant Goliath and ran right over him.
“But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him.” (1Sam.16:14).
Here is proof that anyone, even if that person has received the special comfort and communion of the Holy Spirit, can lose the Spirit of God. Once saved, not always saved. That goes for me too. That also goes for R____. It goes for all of us. God is no respecter of persons. If we purposely stay away from those things that keep us close to Him, we can find ourselves far, far away from the Holy Spirit in no time at all. Saul found that out and never got the precious gift of God again.
But Saul was a special case. He didn’t receive the Holy Spirit because he sought God. He received it because he sought his donkeys. But because he was tall and good looking, and exactly what the idolatrous people of Israel wanted in a king, God gave them what they wanted. Saul was forced into conversion—temporarily. God doesn’t force anyone to come to Him; but evidently, Saul had a slight interest in God, being an Israelite and having a minimum knowledge of God’s character. That must have qualified him.
He was the perfect representative of Israel, since they all were half-hearted by the time they wanted a king like all the other nations. But for Saul, after having a special experience with God, when it left him, his soul was left darker than if conversion and prophesying and being commissioned had never happened.
“And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand.
And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice.” (1Sam. 18:10,11).
Satan dogged Saul ever afterward. Again Saul wanted to kill David, if murder would remove the emptiness and ugly feelings. “And the evil spirit from the Lord was upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his javelin in his hand: and David played with his hand. And Saul sought to smite David even to the wall with the javelin: but he slipped away out of Saul’s presence, and he smote the javelin into the wall: and David fled, and escaped that night. ” (1Sam. 19:9,10).
Yet, in the presence of godly Samuel, Satan fled, and Saul was free again to yearn for God. “And Saul sent messengers to take David: and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as appointed over them, the Spirit of God was upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied.
And when it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they prophesied likewise. And Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they prophesied also.
Then went he also to Ramah, and came to a great well that is in Sechu: and he asked and said, Where are Samuel and David? And one said, Behold, they be at Naioth in Ramah.
And he went thither to Naioth in Ramah: and the Spirit of God was upon him also, and he went on, and prophesied, until he came to Naioth in Ramah.
And he stripped off his clothes also, and prophesied before Samuel in like manner, and lay down naked all that day and all that night. Wherefore they say, Is Saul also among the prophets?” (1Sam. 19:20-24).
This episode was the last that Saul ever had. Soon after this he was visiting the witch at Endor for counsel he couldn’t receive from God. (1Sam. 28). But this episode sounds so much like what happened to Lucifer in the middle of his rebellion. He sought out loyal angels because the Son had not allowed him back to his former office. Lucifer united with the angels in worship and fell on his face in rejoicing of God’s righteousness. In their presence, he felt different. But rebellion had struck much deeper than he realized. And after the worshiping, he turned away more determined than ever to destroy God.
It must be a wonderful thing to be in God’s presence, away from the atheism that surrounds us, and be overcome with God’s love and beauty.
David had the Spirit of God.
“Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said,
The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.
The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.” (1Sam. 23:1-3).
In his repentance because of destroying God’s reputation in the debacle with Bathsheba, David pleads in prayer, “Cast me not away from Thy presence; and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with Thy free Spirit.” (Ps. 51:11,12). In a similar thought, David gives us a good insight to his spiritual life and how he had such a measure of the Spirit of God, “I have set the Lord always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.
For Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption.
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Ps. 16:8-11).
The Spirit can do more than inspire us, He can literally move those who are 100% dedicated like Elijah was. “And it shall come to pass, as soon as I am gone from thee, that the Spirit of the Lord shall carry thee whither I know not; and so when I come and tell Ahab, and he cannot find thee, he shall slay me: but I thy servant fear the Lord from my youth.” (1Ki. 18:12).
Finally, Elijah left with cherubims to God’s throne, and the sons of the prophets requested of Elishah to look for him. “And they said unto him, Behold now, there be with thy servants fifty strong men; let them go, we pray thee, and seek thy master: lest peradventure the Spirit of the Lord hath taken him up, and cast him upon some mountain, or into some valley. And he said, Ye shall not send.” (2Ki. 2:16).
Asaph wrote many of the sacred psalms by the Holy Spirit, and his descendent also was privileged with It’s presence. “Then upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of the Lord in the midst of the congregation;” (2Chron. 20:14).
By the Holy Spirit, Zechariah was compelled to convict the men of Israel of their unholy deeds and was slain between the porch and the altar for his courage of conviction. “And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the Lord, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the Lord, he hath also forsaken you.
And they conspired against him, and stoned him with stones at the commandment of the king in the court of the house of the Lord.”
(2Chron. 24:20,21). Jesus listed him in His last call to Israel, “From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.” (Lk. 11:51).
The Holy Spirit uses the human faculties of the people through whom He expresses Himself. He does not bypass their faculties. The prophet expresses his/her own thoughts through the inspiration from above, as we see Elihu about to do with the Spirit in his “spirit.” This use of the word “spirit” is very common throughout the Bible.
“I said, I will answer also my part, I also will shew mine opinion.
For I am full of matter, the spirit within me constraineth me.
Behold, my belly is as wine which hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles.” (Job 32:17-19).
Elihu stating that the Holy Spirit is involved in turning us into His spokespersons: “The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.” (Job 33:4).
If God were to remove His Spirit from the earth, we would all die. “Who hath given Him a charge over the earth? or who hath disposed the whole world?
If He set His heart upon man, if He gather unto Himself His Spirit and His breath;
All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.” (Job 34:13-15). Even when He removes it a little from us we feel like we are dying. This is what caused His Son to die. We have yet to know what this is like. Let’s never find out.
The Holy Spirit follows us around everywhere we go. Better yet, He is omnipresent and in Him we “live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:27,28). “Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from Thy presence?” (Ps. 139:7).
Wisdom is used to personify the Holy Spirit. “Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets:... Turn you at My reproof: behold, I will pour out My Spirit unto you, I will make known My words unto you.” (Prov. 1:20,23).
Again, the intellect and heart of man, his faculties which were made to respond to the omnipresent Spirit of God, are given to every person that comes into the world and return back to the Creator upon death. “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” (Ecc. 12:7). The generosity of God has no bounds. Every son and daughter of Adam was supposed to be a prophet (Nu. 11:29), a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. Imagine the sadness and consternation of God in our determined forgetfulness of Him. Again, a prophet assumes one to be holy, (wholly loyal to God) as in “holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2Pet. 1:21).
Isaiah prophesied of Jesus that He would possess seven Spirits of God, “And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.” (Is. 11:2). These are not seven separate persons of the Godhead, but characteristics of the illusive 3rd Person.
Another inside view of what makes a prophet. “With my soul have I desired Thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek Thee early.” (Is. 26:9).
The Holy Spirit was expected to be poured upon His followers. “Until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest.” (Is. 32:15). The Latter Rain back in the Old Testament days? Yes Ma’am!
“Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being His counsellor hath taught Him?” (Is. 40:13). Paul, quoting Isaiah, compares the Spirit to the mind of God. “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!
For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been His counsellor?” (Rom. 11:33,34). Interesting.
Jesus had the Spirit without measure. “Behold My Servant, whom I uphold; Mine Elect, in whom My soul delighteth; I have put My Spirit upon Him: He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.
A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench: He shall bring forth judgment unto truth.” (Is. 42:1-3). “For He whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him.
The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hand.” (Jn. 3:34,35).
Here, God and the Holy Spirit are separate entities. ”Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord God, and His Spirit, hath sent me.” (Is. 48:16).
“So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.” (Is. 59:19). The Holy Spirit is its own independent Person.
Continuing, “And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord.
As for Me, this is My covenant with them, saith the Lord; My Spirit that is upon thee, and My words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever.” (vs.20,21).
Isaiah’s words under inspiration, which Jesus preached in Nazareth and probably all over the place during His whole ministry: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.” (Is. 61:1-3).
Isaiah, in rehearsing the history of Israel, shows why Yahweh brought so many judgments against them. They had grieved the Holy Spirit. “But they rebelled, and vexed His holy Spirit: therefore He was turned to be their enemy, and He fought against them.” (Is. 63:10). And His never-ending mercy, “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?” (vs. 11).
The Holy Spirit even calms the animals, which must have been much more abundantly the case before sin, and which will again be the case after this great controversy is over. ”As a beast goeth down into the valley, the Spirit of the Lord caused him to rest: so didst thou lead thy people, to make thyself a glorious name.” (vs. 14).
The day is coming, when this world will have so pushed away the Holy Spirit of comfort and conviction, that those who are possessed by Him will know great peace, and everyone else will find His absence to be the invitation for Satan to possess them. “Behold, My servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit.” (Is. 65:14). We don’t want to be in the latter group. We’ve already tasted of it and its no fun.
“And He said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee.
And the spirit entered into me when He spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard Him that spake unto me.” (Ez. 2:1,2). The Holy Spirit made Ezekiel stand up from the ground.
The Holy Spirit physically picked up Ezekiel and moved him. Maybe the angels were involved in this also. “Then the spirit took me up, and I heard behind me a voice of a great rushing, saying, Blessed be the glory of the Lord from his place.
I heard also the noise of the wings of the living creatures that touched one another, and the noise of the wheels over against them, and a noise of a great rushing.
So the spirit lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the Lord was strong upon me.” (Ez. 3:12-14). Again this phenomenon is mentioned in verse 24, in Ez. 8:3, 11:1,24, 37:1, 43:5.
This is also seen again with Philip in the NT. “Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.” “And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.” (Acts 8:29,39).
Ezekiel prophesies by the Holy Spirit. “And the Spirit of the Lord fell upon me, and said unto me, Speak; Thus saith the Lord, Thus have ye said, O house of Israel: for I know the things that come into your mind, every one of them....” (Ez. 11:5). Another reference to Peter’s explanation of prophecy (2Pet. 1:21).
God’s promise to Old Testament Israel, claimed by New Testament apostles. “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them.” (Ez. 36:25,27).
A Babylonian corruption of the true Holy Spirit. “O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof.” (Dan. 4:9).
This prophecy of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was used by Peter on the day of Pentecost. “And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and none else: and My people shall never be ashamed.
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out My Spirit.” (Joel 2:27-29). Carroll, we are Jesus’ people, Israel. He will make sure we are never ashamed and confounded, because we hold Him dear. We are awaiting His promise of the Latter Rain.
According to Micah, the Holy Spirit wasn’t restricted at all in his day. “O thou that art named the house of Jacob, is the spirit of the Lord straitened? are these his doings? do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly?” (Mic. 2:7). And it gave Micah power he couldn’t have had, just like Paul and the other apostles later on and all the judges, patriarchs, and prophets before him. “But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the Lord, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.” (Mic. 3:8).
The Holy Spirit works with our spirit, as it has always done, even in Haggai’s day when the Jews returned from Babylon to rebuild Jerusalem. “And the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of the Lord of hosts, their God.” (Hag. 1:14). “According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not.” (Hag. 2:5).
Long before, David had said, “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” (Ps. 127:1). And Zechariah repeated. ”Then He answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Zech. 4:6). “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.” “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” (Tit. 3:5; Phil. 2:13).
Again, attesting to the Holy Spirit working in the past prophets. “Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts hath sent in His Spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the Lord of hosts.” (Zech. 7:12).
A description of the Latter Rain. “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” (Zech. 12:10).