The Bible treats the Holy Spirit as a distinct Person. He is recognized as a real person with intelligence, feelings, and will. The Holy Spirit does things that only a person can do. He talks with people. He orders or directs them to do certain things. He sends them forth or forbids them to go different places. He can also suffer and be grieved, tempted, resisted, lied to, or insulted.
The men and women in the Bible who were moved by the Spirit knew Him in a definite and personal way. The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament came upon the judges and prophets in a mighty and powerful fashion. It was no mild touch. In the New Testament the Spirit came upon Jesus in the form of a dove and His presence was attested to on the Day of Pentecost by the sound of wind and tongues of fire.
Jesus said He would leave us a Comforter, Helper, Advocate, Teacher, and Guide. The Holy Spirit is all of these as well as a personal friend. Every part of the daily lives of believers are under the direction of the Holy Spirit. This personal experience and relationship with the Spirit is a distinguishing mark of believers.
The different ways the word "spirit" is used in the Bible calls for careful study. The three main words used to describe the spirit are breath, wind, and spirit. Breath speaks of life, wind may be a mighty wind or gentle breeze, and the spirit may refer to the human spirit or the Spirit of God. The whole passage must be looked at in context to determine the correct meaning or translation.
The Holy Spirit is also a divine, distinct person as a member of the Trinity. He is equal to and in union with the Father and Son. In the beginning of creation He is spoken of as the Spirit of God moving upon the face of the waters. (Gen. 1:2) Each member of the Trinity worked in perfect union and harmony with each other and thus the Spirit of God is connected with creation in a concrete way. He is equated with Godís power in action.
During the Old Testament time of Enoch and Noah, the Holy Spirit worked through godly men such as these. They acted as a judge using the Word of God given up to that time to teach, exhort and convict men. After the failure at the tower of Babel, the Old Testament ceased to deal with mankind as a whole. From the time of Abraham on, most mention of the Holy Spirit have to do with chosen individuals and Israel. God chose certain men and equipped them with the filling of the Spirit for the work He called them to do. This filling of the Spirit would be the source of wisdom, understanding , and knowledge they would need to carry out Godís plan. Abraham and the patriarchs were Spirit filled to provide leadership for the people of Israel. During the time of the Judges, each judge was God chosen for a specific purpose as they ruled and judged the people. The purpose of the judges was more than to win victories over Israelís oppressors. Salvation and redemption was the real purpose of what the Spirit was doing through the judges.
The entire Old Testament looks on prophecy as the chief activity of the Spirit of the Lord. The prophets were the chief writers of scripture. They were Holy men inspired by God who spake as the were moved by the Holy Spirit.(II Pe.1:21) Prophet simply means a spokesman for God, and they were men of the Spirit. Moses desire was that all Godís people would be prophets by the Spirit of the Lord coming upon them.(Num.11:29)
Joelís prophecy was " I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; your sons and daughters will prophecy, old men shall dream dreams,, young men shall see visions; also upon the servants and handmaids will I pour out my spirit.(Joel 2:28) All flesh clearly means all mankind. This prophecy also removed the limits of age and sex. It also removed the cultural distinctions of the aged versus the youth and the social restrictions of upper and lower classes of people. This outpouring of the Spirit is available for all, regardless of race, color, or national origin. The progressive or repeated action makes the outpouring of the Spirit available to generation after generation. Godís purpose has always been to bring this blessing to all people. God used the Jews as a chosen people to prepare the way for Christ to come so others could be saved and experience this outpouring of the Spirit as a witness for Him.
Much of the prophecy deals with the coming of the Messiah. Isaiah deals with the Spirit of God resting on the Messiah. " 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) This sevenfold spirit is significant. He is the spirit of prophecy who works in redemption. As the spirit of wisdom and understanding, He is able to see things as they are and to discriminate between good and evil. As spirit of counsel, He is able to weigh the facts and come to the right conclusions. As the spirit of might, He has the strength and power to carry out Godís will. The spirit of knowledge is the personal knowledge of God through fellowship with Him in love. The fear of the Lord is the reverence that exalts God. This same sevenfold spirit that rests upon the Messiah is available to us also as we walk our daily walk.
The work of the Spirit is to spread the Gospel or Good News throughout the world and to liberate souls in the spiritual battle against sin and Satan. This Spirit will also encourage the weary and give hope to the hopeless. He will work through a new heart given to us by the One who suffered and died for us on the cross at Calvary. The Spirit will help Godís people to live in obedience and faith to His Word. He will also be the force to help us to stand against our enemies.
At the second coming of Christ during the millennial age, the Spirit will continue to minister, and the ideal conditions of that future age will also be the work of the Spirit. During the first and second comings of Christ, God promises to pour out the spirit of grace and supplication. The Holy Spirit as the spirit of grace will pour out the grace (unmerited favor) of God in full measure as prophesied in the Old Testament. The Spirit will move on the people to respond and accept this grace God has to offer.
The proper response to this spirit is to open our hearts and minds to the work of the Spirit, accepting the love of God as shown through the death of Christ. To accept this love and allow ourselves to be enveloped in the Holy Spirit as the judges in old times. This same Spirit that was a promise of the Father in Joel. This same Spirit Moses wanted his people to have so they could prophesy or speak for God. We can have this same Spirit, a distinct, divine person as our personal Comforter, Teacher, Advocate, and Friend who will Guide us through the Word of God and help us to find Godís will and plan for us. All we have to do is be receptive and faithful to God as the men and women in the Old Testament and we will receive that promise.
What The Bible Says About The Holy Spirit, Horton, Stanley M.
c. 1976 by Gospel Publishing House.