What Is the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit was made available for powerful use on a Pentecost some two thousand years ago. Just what is this power God gives to believers after baptism?

Let us begin with some definitions:

Spirit defined: 7307 ruwach from 7306; wind; by resemblance breath, i. e. a sensible (or even violent exhalation; fig. life, anger, unsubstantiality; by extens. a region of the sky; by resemblance spirit, but only of a rational being (include. its expression and functions): - air, anger, blast, breath, * cool, courage, mind, * quarter, * side, spirit ([-ual]), tempest, * vain, ([whirl-]) wind (-y).

Later, we see God’s ruwach blew the waters of the Red Sea aside and kept blowing until it was dry so the Israelites could walk on the bottom to the other side away from Egypt. Pretty powerful stuff, this ruwach or Spirit of God!

The Greek word for Spirit is pneuma:

Strong's reference number: 4151
Greek: pneuma
Derivation: Derived from 4154
Definition: a current of air, i.e. breath (blast) or a breeze; by anal. or fig. a spirit, i.e. (human) the rational soul, (by impl.) vital principle, mental disposition, etc., or (superhuman) an angel, demon, or (divine) God, Christ's spirit, the Holy Spirit.

Notice how both languages contain similar meanings for Spirit, but the Greek adds mental disposition, as in the spirit of the thing rather than the letter. Jesus says that we do not know where the pneuma (wind or Spirit) comes from or goes to.

Now we must add holy to our understanding of Spirit:

Holy: Strong's reference number: 40
Greek: hagios
Derivation: Compare to 53
Definition: sacred (phys. pure, mor. blameless or religious, cer. consecrated)
Strong's reference number: 53
Greek: hagnos
Derivation: Same base as 40
Definition: prop. clean, i.e. (fig.) innocent, modest, perfect.

So then we have the sacred Spirit, or consecrated Spirit, or clean or perfect Spirit, which comes from God, naturally.

When we talk about the Spirit, ruwach or pneuma, we must think in an another kind of dimension, not of sight and touch, but of force and power. By analogy incandescent light is to electricity as creation is to Spirit. The power behind the light of the bulb is electricity; the power behind creation is the Spirit. Here is the example:

Ps.33:6 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and all their host by the breath [ruwach] of his mouth.

The Breath of Life

The breath of life comes from God who gives us our first one and each subsequent one.

Gen 2:7 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
Job 27:3 as long as I have life within me, the breath of God in my nostrils,

We live because God gives us our breath and spirit, not the Holy Spirit but the spirit of life, understanding and wisdom, within.

The Spirit of Truth

While we breathe in and out to live, we also use our breath to speak by vibrating our vocal cords making sounds, words, and sentences. There is a connection between ruwach and pneuma as breath and speaking. Let us build this connection by noticing that the Bible calls the Spirit, Truth.

1Jo 5:6 - This is the one who came by water and blood-- Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.

Since the Spirit is Truth, we learn the Truth by words, sounds. In the Bible, Truth is defined as God’s Word.

Joh 17:17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.

Understand that if things are equal to the same thing, they are equal to each other. Thus, if Spirit equals Truth and Truth equals God’s Word, then the Spirit equals God’s Word.

Obviously, we speak using our breath.

The Power of the Spirit

This truly powerful verse demonstrates the ruwach power of God in creating the universe. But, how do we understand ruwach in more finite terms?

The Spirit or breath [ruwach] of God is like the wind, which can be a mild zephyr ruffling one’s hair or gently caressing one’s face or body, or it can turn ferocious and move even heavy objects. Wind often blows circularly like a low pressure system, but can drive straight across great continents at high altitudes in the form of jet streams at upwards of thirty-five miles an hour. When a low-pressure system gets really deep, a gale, hurricane or typhoon can develop with fierce winds churning across the seas or ripping along the plains.

Even the thunderstorm develops overwhelming force. As vertical winds descend and ascend within it as much as ten thousand feet a minute next to each other, electric energy is created in the form of electrons which discharge with frightening fury and sun bright radiance. Plunging downward from the anvil-like clouds at the edge of the storm are tornadoes, which often reach to the ground and swallow up huge objects only to spit them out in another place.
What an awesome power the wind can be, and it is only an insignificant force compared the power of the Spirit, which impelled the universe into outward motion in the beginning and blew the Red Sea aside so the Israelites could cross the dry bottom.

Gen 1:2 - the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.

Here are some compelling scriptures delineating the power of the Spirit:

Act 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
Act 10:38 - How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
Rom 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
1Th 1:5 - Because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.
Luk 24:49 - I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."

This Word carried by the Spirit living in believers can do as much and more than Jesus did when they fully walk in the Way.

Joh 14:12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
Eph 3:20 Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.

We are only limited by our understanding and willingness to walk by faith, that is, by the Word of God carried by the Spirit within.

What did God do by the power of His ruwach carrying His Word?

The Word-Spirit Became Universe

God said, and, by saying, things were created by the power of His Spirit.

Gen 1:1 - In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Gen 1:2 - Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
Gen 1:3 - And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.
Gen 1:4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.

Ps.33:6
By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and all their host by the breath [ruwach] of his mouth.

The psalmist makes it very clear that God’s Word carried by the Spirit or breath created the universe. Things equal to each other.

2Pe 3:5 - But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water.

God spoke and created the world by His ruwach propelling His Word: ‘Let there be light.’ Now God’s speaking is unlike anything we can really imitate, for His voice sounds like thunder right above us. And, when He speaks, it is a command not a suggestion or a pleading.

Heb 11:3 - By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

God’s infinitely mighty breath [ruwach] powers and carries His Word from Him to us, and will not come back to Him without accomplishing everything He wants.

The Word-Spirit Became Flesh

In three Gospels, God tells us that Mary became pregnant with Jesus through the Holy Spirit.

Mat 1:18 - This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.

Then in the Gospel of John, God puts it this way:

Joh 1:14 - The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

In the Bible, God puts a little here and a little there. Just because, God says Mary became pregnant by the Holy Spirit in one place, it doesn’t contradict that by saying the Word became flesh. When we combine the two verses, we make the argument that the Word and Spirit are equal to each other. So God by the power of His breath [pneuma or ruwach] commanded by His Word that Mary become pregnant with Jesus.

When God’s Word carried by the Spirit goes out, it does not come back empty. Thus, Jesus the embodiment of the Word and Spirit carried on God’s will in many ways.

Joh 4:50 - Jesus replied, "You may go. Your son will live." The man took Jesus at his word and departed.

Just as God is as good as His Word carried by ruwach, Jesus’s word was as good, too.

Now God breathes into us His breath, so when we use our breath from Him to speak His Word, we are exercising His Power through us.

1Jo 2:14 - I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

The Power of the Spirit Produces…

Life

Gen 2:7 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Understanding

Job.32:8 But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand.

Joh 14:26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

Peace

Rom 8:6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;

Power

Luk 1:35 - The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

Information Theory

Back in the late forties or early fifties, Shannon and Weaver wrote a seventy-five-page book of mathematical formulae called Information Theory, which of course is the basis for communication usage today in airwaves, telephone lines, and satellites.

Translating their mathematics into English, we can use their theory to give us an understanding of the Holy Spirit. Communication begins when something is encoded, that is, we think of something to say and say what we were thinking. (No jokes about people who talk without thinking.) The thought is translated to sounds, encoded to a sound language. The sound must be strong enough or loud enough to travel along a channel or media, the air in the case of talking. When the sound reaches another person, that person decodes the message into their understanding or thoughts. Simple? No, well, there is more.

But first let us put the Spirit into the picture. God’s thought is His logos, and when He puts His thought into Words, He has encoded His message. Now, the Word has to travel through a channel or media. The power to move the Word through the media is the Spirit. The media is the air, where upon a person hears God’s Word. Sometimes a person, a prophet primarily, hears the Word outright, occasional in sleep. Yes, they hear voices, or actually, God’s Voice. The problem is the decoder, for few have the properly tuned decoder to hear the message. It’s like having a television that does not get certain channels, note the word channel from Shannon and Weaver’s concept. Most people did not have the channel God transmits on. Part of the decoding mechanism in a person is the spirit gives us.

Now, a problem information theory says, the encoder must make sure that any new information has a lot of old information or else the decoder cannot understand only new things without a reference to the old. So God must encode His Word bit by bit over the ages so people are not overloaded with new information, and then God builds on His old information with new so the decoders, prophets, can understand.

An another problem is the channel and what is called interference or noise. When we talk in a noisy restaurant, we must speak loudly, that is, input a lot of energy to get the message across. When God speaks to a noisy environment, His message must be very loud as when He thundered the Ten Commandments on the mountain. But, the people could not decode the Commandments because there was not enough redundancy, old information, for them. Or, maybe the channel was overload with energy. The main static or interference is the world and its philosophies around people, which severely limits the possibility to hear God’s Word. It’s like getting two stations on the radio, each one drowning out the other — the person hears God’s Word but also hears the paganism of the faux Christian Churches. They need a better decoder to zone in on God’s channel.

The third problem is the decoder, who will not tune to God’s channel. How do they do that? They do it by seldom picking up the book of God’s messages over the ages, the Bible. But, even when they do pick up the book, the interference from the world’s philosophies compromise the integrity of the decoder or receiver, which almost by itself changes channels from God’s to the world’s.

So, God by the power of the Spirit encodes His Word and transmits it by the power of the Holy Spirit on a clear channel to those whose spirit and Spirit within have the power to decode His Word and put it into use by the power of the Spirit.

Conclusion

When we breathe out and allow our vocal folds to vibrate with God’s Words, found in the Bible, that is, to speak His Words, we are using the power of the Spirit in the same way God did.

When the Word powered and carried by the Holy Spirit becomes a part of our mind, we become like Christ, who embodied God’s Word.

1Co 2:16 - "For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.

The power of the Spirit and the Word within believers is beyond imagination for those willing to use it with love and righteousness.

Eph 3:20 Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.

Amen.

Gil Kovacs

Sabbath Christian Church
677 Banyan Blvd.
Naples FL 34102

E-mail: gkov@earthlink.net
Phone: 941 649 5888.

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