The Coming of the ComforterSearch the Word | Vol. 28 No. 2 | Jan-Feb 2018
Who is the Holy Spirit?
After His resurrection and before He returned to heaven, Jesus instructed His disciples to wait for the promised gift of the Holy Spirit. They had been commissioned to take the gospel to world, but they were not to do this in their own strength. “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8.
Some people fear the Holy Spirit, equating Him with ghosts and spirits from the underworld. But God tells us in His Word that the Holy Ghost is the Comforter. John 14:l6. In order to understand the Spirit and His role, we must go back to the very beginnings of Earth’s history, back to Creation.
I. THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
1. Who created the heavens and the earth? Genesis 1:1, 2; John 1:1–3, 14
The Hebrew word used here is Elohim, which is the plural form of God. Genesis 1:26: “And God [Elohim] said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness.” Notice the plural pronouns, “Us” and “Our.”
2. Who helped the Judges of Israel? Judges 3:10
3. What was to happen to Saul when the Spirit came upon him? 1 Samuel 10:6
Throughout the Old Testament, the Spirit equipped certain individuals to do specific things at appointed times. These gifts included exquisite craftsmanship, the ability to prophesy, and to win victories in battle. Exodus 31:3–6; Numbers 24:2–9; Judges 6:33–35; 7:7, 19–25; 1 Corinthians 12:1–11.
4. How does the Old Testament describe the work of God’s Holy Spirit in conversion? Psalm 51:10–12
IV. THE GIFT OF TONGUES
1. Besides boldness to share the gospel, what special gift was given to the disciples on the day of Pentecost? Acts 2:4–11
Today we would call the tongues that were experienced at Pentecost “foreign languages.”
2. In what language did the crowd hear Peter’s sermon? Acts 2:6
The disciples were not speaking a language that no one could understand. God gave them the power He had promised so that they could take the gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. Revelation 14:6; Matthew 28:18–20; Mark 16:15.
3. What took place during the next occurrence of the disciples speaking in tongues? Acts 10:44–48
4. What does Paul say about someone who speaks in unknown tongues? 1 Corinthians 14:2, 4
5. If there is no interpreter in the church, what should the person who has the gift of speaking another language do? 1 Corinthians 14:28
Presenting the gospel in a language which all can understand would convert unbelievers and edify the congregation.
6. Does every Christian receive the gift of speaking in tongues? 1 Corinthians 12:28–31; Romans 12:6–8
II. THE HOLY SPIRIT IN NEW TESTAMENT TIMES
The Holy Ghost was intimately involved in Christ’s birth. Matthew 1:18, 20. He confirmed Christ’s ministry at His baptism. Matthew 3:16, 17. Throughout His ministry, Christ was led by the Spirit. Matthew 4:1; Luke 4:1.
1. What did Jesus say concerning the Spirit of the Lord? Luke 4:18, 19
This was a Messianic prophecy found in Isaiah 61:1, 2. When Jesus told them that those scriptures were fulfilled that day, He was telling them that He was the Messiah and that the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him. Luke 4:21.
2. From where did Jesus receive power to heal the sick and cast out demons? Matthew 12:28; Acts 10:38
3. Did Jesus’ disciples have this power also? Acts 5:12–16
4. To whom is the Holy Ghost given? Acts 5:32; John 14:15–17
Love for God, obedience to His commandments, and the Holy Ghost are inseparable. Jesus promises, “If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him.” John 14:23. See also 1 John 3:24. It is through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that the Father and Son abide in us.
V. THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE LAST GENERATION
Never in the history of this world has there been an outpouring of the Holy Ghost such as was experienced by the disciples on the day of Pentecost. Why is this so? Are there not sincere people living now who are just as willing to do God’s will as the disciples? What can we look forward to in our day?
1. In Revelation 12, the dragon, representing Satan, is angry with God’s people. How are they identified? Revelation 12:17
2. What is the testimony of Jesus? Revelation 19:10
3. How would a company of believers receive the spirit of prophecy? I Corinthians 12:4–11
Satan is angry with those that keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ, the spirit of prophecy. The gift of the Spirit, promised also by Jesus to His disciples, is one of the identifying marks of God’s true followers in the end of time. John 14:16, 17. This group will be distinguished by three things: their love for God, the outpouring of His Spirit upon them, and their obedience to all of His Ten Commandments. It is important to note that this gift of prophecy is only given to those who keep the commandments of God.
Through the power of the Holy Ghost, the final generation, God’s remnant people, will be prepared to stand during the last days of Earth’s history and to meet Jesus Christ at His second coming. It is this group that the psalmist identified when he wrote: “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart…. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is the generation of them that seek Him, that seek Thy face, O God of Jacob.” Psalm 24:3–6.
III. THE FUNCTIONS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Ghost has many different roles. Not only is He part of the Godhead (1 John 5:7; Matthew 28:19), but He also dwells in God’s people (Romans 8:11), He abides with us forever (John 14:16), and He strives with men’s hearts (Genesis 6:3).
1. What is one way the Holy Ghost empowers our witness? Luke 12:12
2. What did the Holy Ghost lead the early church leaders to do? Acts 13:2
3. How does the Spirit work in our personal lives? Romans 8:26; 1 Peter 1:2
He not only helps us, but sanctifies us and intercedes for us as we pray. We serve a wonderful God who demonstrates His love for us by sending such a powerful Comforter.
I commit myself to diligent, daily study of God’s Word, to earnest prayer, and, with the aid of His Spirit, to obey all that He has shown me. I invite His Spirit to reign in my heart, to lead me into all truth, to convict me of sin, and to empower my witness of Jesus to others.
IN DEFENSE OF HUMAN RIGHTS—THE REASON FOR HOPE On Nov. 22, 2017, General Ratko Mladić, the Butcher of Bosnia, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for taking part in the worst atrocities Europe had witnessed since the Nazi era. It was a small, but important,...
WALKING HOLDS ITS OWN While intense exercise workouts have their benefits, walking should not be discounted, concludes a recent study. “In our study, close to 95 percent of people who engaged in any physical activity did some walking—but for half of those people,...
Churches seeking ecumenical equality with the papacy will ultimately be disappointed. By Hal Mayer In 2007, Benedict XVI upset a number of Protestant groups participating in ecumenical dialogue when he stated that their churches weren’t really “churches in the proper...