Biblical People
Holy Spirit. [Heb. Ruach Qodesh; Gr. Hagion Pneuma, usually translated in the KJV by the Old English term, "Holy Ghost," but in a few instances, "Holy Spirit" (Lk 11:13; Eph 1:13; 4:30; 1 Th 4:8). Often the word pneuma is used without the qualifying hagion, but the context frequently indicates that the Holy Spirit is meant (Rom 8:26; 1 Cor 2:10; 12:4).]

The 3rd person of the Godhead, or Deity (Mt 28:19). The operations of God's Spirit are evident throughout Scripture history. When man became insufferably wicked, God said, "My spirit shall not always strive with man" (Gen 6:3). Concerning various men it is reported. "The Spirit of the Lord came upon him" (1 Sa 11:6; 19:23; 2 Chr 15:1; 20:14; etc.). The psalmist recognised the importance of God's Spirit in spiritual experience (Ps 51:11); he also declared His omnipresence (Ps 139:7-12). Joel prophesied that God's Spirit would be poured upon all flesh (Joel 2:28, 29), a promise that was quoted by Peter when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:17-21). By and large, the OT writers understood the Spirit of God as a vitalising, sustaining, stimulating, enabling force identified with God.

It was not until NT times, however, that a clearer picture of the work and personality of the Holy Spirit was seen. Christ taught His disciples that the Holy Spirit would teach them and help them to remember things formerly learned (Jn 14:26), would testify of, and glorify Him (chs 15:26; 16:14), would convict men of sin and of their need of righteousness (ch 16:8), and would guide into all truth (v 13). Paul revealed that the Spirit intercedes for us (Rom 8:26), dwells in us (v 9), endows us with various spiritual gifts (1 Cor 12:4, 8-11, 28; Eph 4:11), and brings forth fruit in the life of the Christian (Gal 5:22, 23). He spoke of the body as the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19), and warned against grieving the Holy Spirit whereby the Christian is sealed unto the day of redemption (Eph 4:30).

There has been much speculation regarding the nature of the Holy Spirit, but revelation has been largely silent on this subject. His personality is implied, for He is presented as performing the acts of a person. He searches, knows, intercedes, helps, guides, convicts. He can be grieved, lied to, resisted. He is listed with other persons €”God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son €”in such a way as to imply that He, too, is a person. But regarding His essential nature, silence is golden.

The Holy Spirit had a part, mysterious to us, in the conception of Jesus (Mt 1:18, 20). Elizabeth (Lk 1:41), Zacharias (v 67), and Simeon (ch 2:25, 26) acted under the influence of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit descended in the form of a dove on the occasion of Jesus' baptism (Mk 1:10), and the same Spirit led Him into the wilderness of temptation (v 12). Jesus was spoken of as being "full of the Holy Ghost" (Lk 4:1), and John the Baptist predicted that He would baptise with the Holy Ghost (Mt 3:11). Jesus warned the Jewish leaders of the danger of blaspheming the Holy Ghost (Mt 12:32: Mk 3:29; Lk 12:10).

On His last night with His disciples, Jesus promised "another Comforter" who would abide with His followers forever (Jn 14:16). The term parakle µtos, translated "Comforter" (KJV), "Counsellor" (RSV), means, literally, "one called alongside." The promised Holy Spirit was to carry on the functions of Jesus in all the world throughout all ages.

The fulfilment of Jesus' promise of the Holy Spirit began shortly after His ascension, as the book of Acts reveals. The book opens with Jesus' instructions to His disciples to witness for Him throughout all the world after the Holy Spirit would come upon them (Acts 1:8). The Holy Ghost descended at Pentecost and many conversions followed (ch 2). Seven deacons "full of the Holy Ghost" (ch 6:3) were chosen to care for certain interests in the infant church. One of their number, Stephen, was used of the Spirit to do a mighty work (v 8). Barnabas was filled with the Holy Spirit (ch 11:24) -- Seventh-day Adventist Bible Dictionary.

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