The Identity of the Holy Spirit
‘Spirit’ - ruach or pneuma - means mind, breath, life
Genesis 1:2 "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."
As we have already identified who God is (the Father) then it gives us our reference point for the spirit. We are introduced to the spirit of God in the very 1st book of the bible, the creation story. We can see it is the SPIRIT (breath, life) OF (belonging to) God. That means simply it is the breath of the Almighty Father.
Does scripture back this up?
Psalm 33:6 "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth."
Would it not be foolish to think that the breath of God was another being? Don’t forget, in Genesis 1 time and time again God speaks and something is created:
Gen 1:3 "And God said, Let there be light: and there was light."
So we know that in the 'breath/spirit of God' there is creative power.
In Job 26:13 we also read….
"By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent."
So we have HIS Spirit and HIS hand involved in creation. His hand is clearly a part of Himself, so why suddenly would His spirit be any different?
Nowhere in scripture do we see that the spirit of someone being a separate entity from the being himself.
In Daniel 7:15 we read:
"I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me."
Who’s spirit was grieved? Daniel’s of course and he confirms it’s linked to his mind when he says the vision in his head troubled him.
Let’s see if the Apostle Paul understood this concept correctly.
In the book of Romans he quotes from Isaiah, the Old Testament prophet:
Clearly Paul fully understood that the spirit of God can also be referred to as the mind of God.
Question. Is God Holy?
1 Sam 2:1 There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.
Question: Is God a spirit?
John 4:24 "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."
Is that not enough for us to know the identity and source of the Holy Spirit?
Let’s now look a little further at the Holy Spirit in the New Testament.
John 3:34-35 ..."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."
So the Father gives ALL things to Jesus, including His spirit. In Acts 2 we read:
33 “Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.”
The idea that the spirit proceeds from the Father and is given to us THROUGH His son is also evident in Titus 3:4-6: “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 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; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour.”
Notice, the above text uses the word ‘which’ in relation to the spirit, not ‘whom’. Again, that’s because the spirit is OF the Father and not a separate being. Jesus received the promise of God’s spirit and He shed it forth on his believers.
So Jesus has access to us by His Spirit. And how is it we access the Father?
Ephesians 2:18 "For through him (Christ) we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father."
So the spirit comes from the Father (it’s source), though the Son (it’s channel), to the believer and our access to the Father is by the Spirit, through the Son.
John 20:22 "And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:"
Here we again see a picture of the spirit being given to others by the breath. Just as His Father had breathed the spirit upon creation, so now Christ breathes on His disciples.
Question: Who reveals truth to us?
Matthew 16:17 "And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven."
Matthew 10:20 “For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.”
When Simon Peter revealed that He believed Jesus was the Son of the living God, Jesus responded by telling Him that His Father in heaven had revealed it to Him. Clearly, as God is a spirit, then it is revealed by His Spirit. Not another being.
So a quick recap. We know that there is One God, the Father. We know He has a Son, Jesus Christ. We know ALL things come FROM the Father (1 Cor 8:6) and His very own spirit (His breath, mind, life) is given to us THROUGH and BY Jesus (Acts 2:33)
Question: Does the New Testament have more to say about this and to confirm this picture?
John 14:18 “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”
In John 14 Jesus tells His followers that after he has gone from them they should expect another comforter. But He leaves them in no doubt as to WHO it is that will come unto them when He says the words 'I will come to you." He confirms this in Matthew 28:20 which says:
“...lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
and then again in Revelation 3:20 where Jesus promises us:
"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."
If that's not enough then Paul also writes:
Galatians 4:6 “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”
We know and accept that God gave us His Son (John 3:16), so why can't we accept that He then promises to give us the Spirit OF His Son?
Philippians 1:19 "For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ."
Oh how we all need that Spirit of Jesus Christ to transform our lives.
2 Corinthians 3:17 "Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."
Indeed, liberty for us is through the Spirit of the Lord. The Lord IS that spirit that sets us free.
Acts 2:38 "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost..........."
Acts 3:19 "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. 20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you."
Who does Peter say we will receive once we repent and are baptized? The gift of the Holy Ghost which IS Jesus Christ.
Question: Who is the Holy Spirit in the Book of Revelation?
Rev 1:10 "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet...."
Rev 1:13 "And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot…"
Rev 1:18 "I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death....."
Revelation 3:1 "And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars."
Revelation 3:13 "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches...."
Rev 3:20 "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."
Revelation 5:6 "And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth."
As we can see from the book of Revelation, John saw one like unto the son of man. That son of man then announces that he was the one that lived, then died and then lived again. That is clearly referring to Christ.
In Rev 5:6 we then see that the lamb that was slain (again referring to Christ) HAS the seven spirits of God.
Then at the end of each letter to the 7 churches we read 'he that hath an ear let him hear what the SPIRIT saith unto the churches'. Christ is that spirit. Christ is the one speaking to His church.
It's not another being called God the Spirit.
Question: Who is The Life Giving Water
Numbers 20:6-11 "6 And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces: and the glory of the Lord appeared unto them. 7 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 8 Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink. 9 And Moses took the rod from before the Lord, as he commanded him. 10 And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? 11 And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also."
1 Corinthians 10:1-4 "Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual rock that followed them: and that rock was Christ."
So Paul states that the rock represented Christ. What about the spiritual drink that came from the rock?
John 7:37-39 "In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, if any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (but this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)"
So here we see that that flowing water represents the Holy Spirit, which flows from Christ HIMSELF!!
John 4:10 "Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and He would have given thee living water."
As in Acts 2:33 which says "Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear"
the Holy Spirit comes from the Father to the Son, and then from the Son (the Rock), direct to us. There is no 'third being' involved. This 'living water' comes direct from Christ to us. It is HIS life and power, which He has received from God the Father.
John sees this river of life in Revelation 22:1 "And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb."
So this 'living water' comes from God the Father and His Son (the Lamb), not some other 'third being'.
Again, the water came directly from the ROCK, which represented Christ.
Question: Who teaches Us?
1 John 2:22-29 "22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. 23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. 24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. 26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. 27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of ALL things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. 28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming."
Clearly our teacher is Jesus Christ. No third being called God the Spirit is involved here.
Question: Who is Truth?
John 14:6 "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
Question: Who is Our Comforter?
John 14:16 "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you."
Jesus is the truth and our comforter is the spirit of truth. Jesus then confirm that HE will come to them.
Other Key Texts
Philippians 4:19 "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
There is no need for another being, as God will supply ALL our needs BY Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:10-11 "Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow."
Who's spirit was in them? The spirit OF Christ.
Romans 8:9 "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."
Here the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ and used in close unison, that is because it is that very same spirit which the Father gives to His Son who then shares it with His believers. That's why we can read in Ephesians 4:4-6: "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."
Romans 8:16&26 "18 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 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."
Just a quick closing thought, regarding Romans 8 above. Would you ever refer to God the Father as an 'it'? Would you ever call Jesus an 'it'? Then why, if the spirit is a 3rd being of the trinity, can He be called an 'it'?
The word 'it' can only be used when you are referring to something, not someone.
It is the spirit OF the Father and OF the Son. It is not another being.
Throughout scripture we can see there is One God, the Father. We also see that the Father has a son, Jesus Christ. The Bible is also clear on what a spirit is and who possesses that spirit.
From Genesis to Revelation, we see the phrases 'Spirit of God' and 'Spirit of Christ'.
Both divine beings are Holy so therefore they must have a Holy Spirit.
Nowhere do we find that a spirit can live independently from the being it belongs to.
Nowhere do we find the term 'God the Spirit'.
We know that God gave HIS spirit without measure to His Son (John 3:34) and His Son now sheds that same spirit upon us (Acts 2:33). That's how:
it is Christ who 'dwells in our hearts' (Ephesians 3:17).
it is Christ who lives in us (Galatians 2:20).
it is Christ in us, that 'Spirit' which gives us life (Romans 8:10-11).
As Paul confirmed in Galatians 4:6, God promised to send the Spirit of HIS SON, not some other third being, which is why Paul also said in 2 Corinthians 3:17, that the LORD [Christ] is that Spirit.
Jesus also promised his followers that He will always be with us (Matthew 28:20).
And how is He with us? Through the spirit that's poured out from the Father and through Christ, which now contains his human life experiences. That’s why we can be truly comforted. He has lived as one of us and has over-come and His very spirit is now with us. Amen.