International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
1. The Biblical Material:
The expression "baptism of the Holy Spirit" is based on a number of predictions found in our four Gospels and in connection with these the record of their fulfillment in the Book of Acts. The passages in the Gospels are as follows: Matthew 3:11: "I indeed baptize you in water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit and in fire." The last clause is autos humas baptisei en pneumati hagio kai puri. In Mark 1:8 and Luke 3:16 we have the declaration in a slightly modified form; and in John 1:33 John the Baptist declares that the descent of the Spirit upon Jesus at the baptism of the latter marked out Jesus as "he that baptizeth in the Holy Spirit." Again in John 7:37, 38 we read: "Now on the last day, the 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, from within him shall flow rivers of living water." Then the evangelist adds in John 7:39: "But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believed on him were to receive: for the Spirit was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified." These are the specific references in the four Gospels to the baptisms of the Holy Spirit. In Acts we find direct reference by Luke to the promised baptism in the Holy Spirit. In Acts 1:5 Jesus, just before the ascension, contrasts John's baptism in water with the baptism in the Holy Spirit which the disciples are to receive "not many days hence," and in Acts 1:8 power in witnessing for Jesus is predicted as the result of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. On the evening of the resurrection day Jesus appeared to the disciples and "he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit" (John 20:22). This was probably not a wholly symbolic act but an actual communication to the disciples, in some measure, of the gift of the Spirit, preliminary to the later complete bestowal.
We observe next the fulfillment of these predictions as recorded in Acts. The gift of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost and the miraculous manifestations which followed are clearly the chief historical fulfillment of the prediction of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Among the manifestations of the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost were first those which were physical, such as "a sound as of the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting" (Acts 2:2), and the appearance of "tongues parting asunder, like as of fire; and it sat upon each one of them" (Acts 2:3). Secondly, there were spiritual results: "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:4). In Acts 2:16 Peter declares that this bestowment of the Holy Spirit is in fulfillment of the prediction made by the prophet Joel and he cites the words in Acts 2:28 of Joel's prophecy.
There is one other important passage in Acts in which reference is made to the baptism of the Holy Spirit. While Peter was speaking to Cornelius (Acts 10:44) the Holy Spirit fell on all that heard the word and they of the circumcision who were with Peter "were amazed" "because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit." When giving the brethren at Jerusalem an account of his visit to Cornelius, Peter declares that this event which he had witnessed was a baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 11:16): "And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit."
2. Significance of Baptism of the Holy Spirit:
We consider next the significance of the baptism of the Holy Spirit from various points of view.
(1) From the Point of View of Old Testament Teaching as to the Gift of the Spirit.
The prophecy of Joel quoted by Peter indicates something extraordinary in the gift of the Spirit at Pentecost. The Spirit now comes in new forms of manifestation and with new power. The various classes mentioned as receiving the Spirit indicate the wide diffusion of the new power. In the Old Testament usually the Spirit was bestowed upon individuals; here the gift is to the group of disciples, the church. Here the gift is permanently bestowed, while in the Old Testament it was usually transient and for a special purpose. Here again the Spirit comes in fullness as contrasted with the partial bestowment in Old Testament times.
(2) From the Point of View of the Ascended Christ.
In Luke 24:49 Jesus commands the disciples to tarry in the city "until ye be clothed with power from on high," and in John 15:26 He speaks of the Comforter "whom I will send unto you from the Father," "he shall bear witness of me"; and in John 16:13 Jesus declares that the Spirit when He comes shall guide the disciples into all truth, and He shall show them things to come. In this verse the Spirit is called the Spirit of truth. It was fitting that the Spirit who was to interpret truth and guide into all truth should come in fullness after, rather than before, the completion of the life-task of the Messiah. The historical manifestation of Divine truth as thus completed made necessary the gift of the Spirit in fullness. Christ Himself was the giver of the Spirit. The Spirit now takes the place of the ascended Christ, or rather takes the things of Christ and shows them to the disciples. The baptism of the Spirit at Pentecost thus becomes the great historic event signalizing the beginning of a new era in the kingdom of God in which the whole movement is lifted to the spiritual plane, and the task of evangelizing the world is formally begun.
(3) The Significance of the Baptism of the Spirit from the Point of View of the Disciples.
It can scarcely be said with truth that Pentecost was the birthday of the church. Jesus had spoken of His church during His earthly ministry. The spiritual relation to Christ which constitutes the basis of the church existed prior to the baptism of the Holy Spirit. But that baptism established the church in several ways. First in unity. The external bond of unity now gives place to an inner spiritual bond of profound significance. Secondly, the church now becomes conscious of a spiritual mission, and theocratic ideals of the kingdom disappear. Thirdly, the church is now endued with power for its work. Among the gifts bestowed were the gift of prophecy in the large sense of speaking for God, and the gift of tongues which enabled disciples to speak in foreign tongues. The account in the second chapter of Acts admits of no other construction. There was also bestowed power in witnessing for Christ. This was indeed one of the most prominent blessings named in connection with the promise of the baptism of the Spirit. The power of working miracles was also bestowed (Acts 3:4; Acts 5:12). Later in the epistles of Paul much emphasis is given to the Spirit as the sanctifying agency in the hearts of believers. In Acts the word of the Spirit is chiefly Messianic, that is, the Spirit's activity is all seen in relation to the extension of the Messianic kingdom. The occasion for the outpouring of the Spirit is Pentecost when men from all nations are assembled in Jerusalem. The symbolic representation of tongues of fire is suggestive of preaching, and the glossolalia, or speaking with tongues which followed, so that men of various nations heard the gospel in their own languages, indicates that the baptism of the Spirit had a very special relation to the task of world-wide evangelization for the bringing in of the kingdom of God.
3. Finality of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit:
The question is often raised whether or not the baptism of the Holy Spirit occurred once for all or is repeated in subsequent baptisms. The evidence seems to point to the former view to the extent at least of being limited to outpourings which took place in connection with events recorded in the early chapters of the Book of Acts. The following considerations favor this view:
(1) In the first chapter of Acts Jesus predicts, according to Luke's account, that the baptism of the Holy Spirit would take place, "not many days hence" (Acts 1:5). This would seem to point to a definite and specific event rather than to a continuous process.
(2) Again, Peter's citation in Acts 2:17-21 of Joel's prophecy shows that in Peter's mind the event which his hearers were then witnessing was the definite fulfillment of the words of Joel.
(3) Notice in the third place that only one other event in the New Testament is described as the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and for special reasons this may be regarded as the completion of the Pentecostal baptism. The passage is that contained in Acts 10:1-11:18 in which the record is given of the following events:
(a) miraculous vision given to Peter on the housetop (Acts 10:11-16) indicating that the things about to occur are of unique importance;
(b) the speaking with tongues (Acts 10:45, 46);
(c) Peter declares to the brethren at Jerusalem that the Holy Ghost fell on the Gentiles in this instance of Cornelius and his household "as on us at the beginning" (Acts 11:15);
(d) Peter also declares that this was a fulfillment of the promise of the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 11:16, 17);
(e) the Jewish Christians who heard Peter's account of the matter acknowledged this as proof that God had also extended the privileges of the gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 11:18). The baptism of the Holy Spirit bestowed upon Cornelius and his household is thus directly linked with the first outpouring at Pentecost, and as the event which signalized the opening of the door of the gospel formally to Gentiles it is in complete harmony with the missionary significance of the first great Pentecostal outpouring. It was a turning point or crisis in the Messianic kingdom and seems designed to complete the Pentecostal gift by showing that Gentiles as well as Jews are to be embraced in all the privileges of the new dispensation.
(4) We observe again that nowhere in the epistles do we find a repetition of the baptism of the Spirit. This would be remarkable if it had been understood by the writers of the epistles that the baptism of the Spirit was frequently to be repeated. There is no evidence outside the Book of Acts that the baptism of the Spirit ever occurred in the later New Testament times. In 1 Corinthians 12:13 Paul says, "For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body,. and were all made to drink of one Spirit." But here the reference is not to the baptism of the Spirit, but rather to a baptism into the church which is the body of Christ. We conclude, therefore, that the Pentecostal baptism taken in conjunction with the baptism of the Spirit in the case of Cornelius completes the baptism of the Holy Spirit according to the New Testament teaching. The baptism of the Spirit as thus bestowed was, however, the definite gift of the Spirit in His fullness for every form of spiritual blessing necessary in the progress of the kingdom and as the permanent and abiding gift of God to His people. In all subsequent New Testament writings there is the assumption of this presence of the Spirit and of His availability for all believers. The various commands and exhortations of the epistles are based on the assumption that the baptism of the Spirit has already taken place, and that, according to the prediction of Jesus to the disciples, the Spirit was to abide with them forever (John 14:16). We should not therefore confound other forms of expression found in the New Testament with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. When Christians are enjoined to "walk by the Spirit" (Galatians 5:16) and "be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18), or when the Spirit is described as an anointing (chrisma) as in 1 John 2:20-27, and as the "earnest of our inheritance" (arrabon). as in Ephesians 1:14, and when various other similar expressions are employed in the epistles of the New Testament, we are not to understand the baptism of the Holy Spirit. These expressions indicate aspects of the Spirit's work in believers or of the believer's appropriation of the gifts and blessings of the Spirit rather than the historical baptism of the Spirit.
4. Relation of Baptism of the Spirit to Other Baptisms:
Three final points require brief attention, namely, the relation of the baptism of the Spirit to the baptism in water, and to the baptism in fire, and to the laying on of hands.
(1) We note that the baptism in fire is coupled with the baptism in the Spirit in Matthew 3:11 and in Luke 3:16. These passages give the word of John the Baptist. John speaks of the coming One who "shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit and in fire" (Luke 3:16). This baptism in fire is often taken as being parallel and synonymous with the baptism in the Spirit. The context however in both Matthew and Luke seems to favor another meaning. Jesus' Messianic work will be both cleansing and destructive. The "you" addressed by John included the people generally and might naturally embrace both classes, those whose attitude to Jesus would be believing and those who would refuse to believe. His action as Messiah would affect all men. Some He would regenerate and purify through the Holy Ghost. Others He would destroy through the fire of punishment. This view is favored by the context in both gospels. In both the destructive energy of Christ is coupled with His saving power in other terms which admit of no doubt. The wheat He gathers into the garner and the chaff He burns with unquenchable fire.
(2) The baptism of the Holy Spirit was not meant to supersede water baptism. This is clear from the whole of the history in the Book of Acts, where water baptism is uniformly administered to converts after the Pentecostal baptism of the Spirit, as well as from the numerous references to water baptisms in the epistles. The evidence here is so abundant that it is unnecessary to develop it in detail. SeeRomans 6:3 1 Corinthians 1:14-17; 1 Corinthians 10:2; 1 Corinthians 12:13; 1 Corinthians 15:29; Galatians 3:27 Ephesians 4:5 Colossians 2:12 1 Peter 3:21.
(3) In Acts 8:17 and 19:6 the Holy Spirit is bestowed in connection with the laying on of the hands of apostles, but these are not to be regarded as instances of the baptism of the Spirit in the strict sense, but rather as instances of the reception by believers of the Spirit which had already been bestowed in fullness at Pentecost.
Arts. on Holy Spirit in Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible (five volumes) and Hastings, Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels; article on "Spiritual Gifts" in Encyclopedia Biblica; Moule, Veni Creator; Smeaton, The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit; Kuyper, The Work of the Holy Spirit.
See also HOLY SPIRIT.
E. Y. Mullins
See DEMON; DEMONIAC; COMMUNION WITH DEMONS; SATAN.
HOLY GHOST (SPIRIT), SIN AGAINST THE
See BLASPHEMY; HOLY SPIRIT, III, 1, (4).
I. OLD TESTAMENT TEACHINGS AS TO THE SPIRIT
1. Meaning of the Word
2. The Spirit in Relation to the Godhead
3. The Spirit in External Nature
4. The Spirit of God In Man
5. Imparting Powers for Service
(1) Judges and Warriors
(2) Wisdom for Various Purposes
(3) In Prophecy
6. Imparting Moral Character
7. The Spirit in in the Messiah
8. Predictions of Future Outpouring of the Spirit
II. THE SPIRIT IN THE NON-CANONICAL LITERATURE
1. The Spirit in Josephus
2. The Spirit in the Pseudepigrapha
3. The Spirit in the Wisdom of Solomon
4. The Spirit in Philo
III. THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
1. In Relation to the Person and Work of Christ
(1) Birth of Jesus
(2) Baptism of Jesus
(3) Temptation of Jesus
(4) Public Ministry of Jesus
(5) Death and Resurrection and Pentecostal Gift
2. The Holy Spirit in the Kingdom of God
(1) Synoptic Teachings
(2) In the Writings of John
(3) In Acts
(4) In Paul's Writings
(a) The Spirit and Jesus
(b) In Bestowing Charismatic Gifts
(c) In the Beginnings of the Christian Life
(d) In the Religious and Moral Life
(e) In the Church
(f) In the Resurrection of Believers
(5) The Holy Spirit in Other New Testament Writings
The expression Spirit, or Spirit of God, or Holy Spirit, is found in the great majority of the books of the Bible. In the Old Testament the Hebrew word uniformly employed for the Spirit as referring to God's Spirit is ruach meaning "breath," "wind" or "breeze." The verb form of the word is ruach, or riach used only in the Hiphil and meaning "to breathe," "to blow." A kindred verb is rawach, meaning "to breathe" "having breathing room," "to be spacious," etc. The word always used in the New Testament for the Spirit is the Greek neuter noun pneuma, with or without the article, and for Holy Spirit, pneuma hagion, or to pneuma to hagion. In the New Testament we find also the expressions, "the Spirit of God," "the Spirit of the Lord," "the Spirit of the Father," "the Spirit of Jesus," "of Christ." The word for Spirit in the Greek is from the verb pneo, "to breathe," "to blow." The corresponding word in the Latin is spiritus, meaning "spirit."
I. Old Testament Teachings as to the Spirit.
1. Meaning of the Word:
At the outset we note the significance of the term itself. From the primary meaning of the word which is "wind," as referring to Nature, arises the idea of breath in man and thence the breath, wind or Spirit of God. We have no way of tracing exactly how the minds of the Biblical writers connected the earlier literal meaning of the word with the Divine Spirit. Nearly all shades of meaning from the lowest to the highest appear in the Old Testament, and it is not difficult to conceive how the original narrower meaning was gradually expanded into the larger and wider. The following are some of the shades of Old Testament usage. From the notion of wind or breath, ruach came to signify:
(1) the principle of life itself; spirit in this sense indicated the degree of vitality: "My spirit is consumed, my days are extinct" (Job 17:1; also Judges 15:19 1 Samuel 30:12);
(2) human feelings of various kinds, as anger (Judges 8:3 Proverbs 29:11), desire (Isaiah 26:9), courage (Joshua 2:11);
(3) intelligence (Exodus 28:3 Isaiah 29:24);
(4) general disposition (Psalms 34:18; 5l:17; Proverbs 14:29; 16:18; 29:23).
No doubt the Biblical writers thought of man as made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27 f), and it was easy for them to think of God as being like man. It is remarkable that their anthropomorphism did not go farther. They preserve, however, a highly spiritual conception of God as compared with that of surrounding nations. But as the human breath was an invisible part of man, and as it represented his vitality, his life and energy, it was easy to transfer the conception to God in the effort to represent His energetic and transitive action upon man and Nature. The Spirit of God, therefore, as based upon the idea of the ruach or breath of man, originally stood for the energy or power of God (Isaiah 31:3; compare A. B. Davidson, Theology of the Old Testament, 117-18), as contrasted with the weakness of the flesh.
2. The Spirit in Relation to the Godhead:
We consider next the Spirit of God in relation to God Himself in the Old Testament. Here there are several points to be noted. The first is that there is no indication of a belief that the Spirit of God was a material particle or emanation from God. The point of view of Biblical writers is nearly always practical rather than speculative. They did not philosophize about the Divine nature. Nevertheless, they retained a very clear distinction between spirit and flesh or other material forms. Again we observe in the Old Testament both an identification of God and the Spirit of God, and also a clear distinction between them. The identification is seen in Psalm 139:7 where the omni-presence of the Spirit is declared, and in Isaiah 63:10 Jeremiah 31:33 Ezekiel 36:27. In a great number of passages, however, God and the Spirit of God are not thought of as identical, as in Genesis 1:2; Genesis 6:3 Nehemiah 9:20 Psalm 51:11; Psalm 104:29. Of course this does not mean that God and the Spirit of God were two distinct beings in the thought of Old Testament writers, but only that the Spirit had functions of His own in distinction from God. The Spirit was God in action, particularly when the action was specific, with a view to accomplishing some particular end or purpose of God. The Spirit came upon individuals for special purposes. The Spirit was thus God immanent in man and in the world. As the angel of the Lord, or angel of the Covenant in certain passages, represents both Yahweh Himself and one sent by Yahweh, so in like manner the Spirit of Yahweh was both Yahweh within or upon man, and at the same time one sent by Yahweh to man.
Do the Old Testament teachings indicate that in the view of the writers the Spirit of Yahweh was a distinct person in the Divine nature? The passage in Genesis 1:26 is scarcely conclusive. The idea and importance of personality were but slowly developed in Israelite thought. Not until some of the later prophets did it receive great emphasis, and even then scarcely in the fully developed form. The statement in Genesis 1:26 may be taken as the plural of majesty or as referring to the Divine council, and on this account is not conclusive for the Trinitarian view. Indeed, there are no Old Testament passages which compel us to understand the complete New Testament doctrine of the Trinity and the distinct personality of the Spirit in the New Testament sense. There are, however, numerous Old Testament passages which are in harmony with the Trinitarian conception and prepare the way for it, such as Psalm 139:7 Isaiah 63:10; Isaiah 48:16 Haggai 2:5 Zechariah 4:6. The Spirit is grieved, vexed, etc., and in other ways is conceived of personally, but as He is God in action, God exerting power, this was the natural way for the Old Testament writers to think of the Spirit.
The question has been raised as to how the Biblical writers were able to hold the conception of the Spirit of God without violence to their monotheism. A suggested reply is that the idea of the Spirit came gradually and indirectly from the conception of subordinate gods which prevailed among some of the surrounding nations (I.F. Wood, The Spirit of God in Biblical Literature, 30). But the best Israelite thought developed in opposition to, rather than in analogy with, polytheism. A more natural explanation seems to be that their simple anthropomorphism led them to conceive the Spirit of God as the breath of God parallel with the conception of man's breath as being part of man and yet going forth from him.
3. The Spirit in External Nature:
We consider next the Spirit of God in external Nature. "And the Spirit of God moved (was brooding or hovering) upon the face of the waters" (Genesis 1:2). The figure is that of a brooding or hovering bird (compare Deuteronomy 32:11). Here the Spirit brings order and beauty out of the primeval chaos and conducts the cosmic forces toward the goal of an ordered universe. Again in Psalm 104:28-30, God sends forth His Spirit, and visible things are called into being: "Thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created; and thou renewest the face of the ground." In Job 26:13 the beauty of the heavens is ascribed to the Spirit: "By his Spirit the heavens are garnished." In Isaiah 32:15 the wilderness becomes a fruitful field as the result of the outpouring of the Spirit. The Biblical writers scarcely took into their thinking the idea of second causes, certainly not in the modern scientific sense. They regarded the phenomena of Nature as the result of God's direct action through His Spirit. At every point their conception of the Spirit saved them from pantheism on the one hand and polytheism on the other.
4. The Spirit of God in Man:
The Spirit may next be considered in imparting natural powers both physical and intellectual. In Genesis 2:7 God originates man's personal and intellectual life by breathing into his nostrils "the breath of life." In Numbers 16:22 God is "the God of the spirits of all flesh." In Exodus 28:3; Exodus 31:3; Exodus 35:31, wisdom for all kinds of workmanship is declared to be the gift of God. So also physical life is due to the presence of the Spirit of God (Job 27:3);. and Elihu declares (Job 33:4) that the Spirit of God made him. See also Ezekiel 37:14 and 39:29. Thus man is regarded by the Old Testament writers, in all the parts of his being, body, mind and spirit, as the direct result of the action of the Spirit of God. In Genesis 6:3 the Spirit of God "strives" with or "rules" in or is "humbled" in man in the antediluvian world. Here reference is not made to the Spirit's activity over and above, but within the moral nature of man.
5. Imparting Powers for Service:
The greater part of the Old Testament passages which refer to the Spirit of God deal with the subject from the point of view of the covenant relations between Yahweh and Israel. And the greater portion of these, in turn, have to do with gifts and powers conferred by the Spirit for service in the ongoing of the kingdom of God. We fail to grasp the full meaning of very many statements of the Old Testament unless we keep constantly in mind the fundamental assumption of all the Old Testament, namely, the covenant relations between God and Israel. Extraordinary powers exhibited by Israelites of whatever kind were usually attributed to the Spirit. These are so numerous that our limits of space forbid an exhaustive presentation. The chief points we may notice.
(1) Judges and Warriors.
The children of Israel cried unto Yahweh and He raised up a savior for them, Othniel, the son of Kenaz: "And the Spirit of Yahweh came upon him, and he judged Israel" (Judges 3:10). So also Gideon (Judges 6:34): "The Spirit of Yahweh came upon (literally, clothed itself with) Gideon." In Judges 11:29 "the spirit of Yahweh came upon Jephthah"; and in 13:25 "the Spirit of Yahweh began to move" Samson. In 14:6 "the Spirit of Yahweh came mightily upon him." In 1 Samuel 16:14 we read "the Spirit of Yahweh departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from Yahweh troubled him." In all this class of passages, the Spirit imparts special endowments of power without necessary reference to the moral character of the recipient. The end in view is not personal, merely to the agent, but concerns theocratic kingdom and implies the covenant between God and Israel. In some cases the Spirit exerts physical energy in a more direct way (2 Kings 2:16 Ezekiel 2:1; Ezekiel 3:12).
(2) Wisdom for Various Purposes.
Bezalel is filled with the Spirit of God in wisdom and in understanding to work in gold, and silver and brass, etc., in the building of the tabernacle (Exodus 31:2-4; Exodus 35:31); and the Spirit of wisdom is given to others in making Aaron's garments (Exodus 28:3). So also of one of the builders of Solomon's temple (1 Kings 7:14 2 Chronicles 2:14). In these cases there seems to be a combination of the thought of natural talents and skill to which is superadded a special endowment of the Spirit. Pharaoh refers to Joseph as one in whom the Spirit of God is, as fitting him for administration and government (Genesis 41:38). Joshua is qualified for leadership by the Spirit (Numbers 27:18). In this and in Deuteronomy 34:9, Joshua is represented as possessing the Spirit through the laying on of the hands of Moses. This is an interesting Old Testament parallel to the bestowment of the Spirit by laying on of hands in the New Testament (Acts 8:17; Acts 19:6). Daniel is represented as having wisdom to interpret dreams through the Spirit, and afterward because of the Spirit he is exalted to a position of authority and power (Daniel 4:8; Daniel 5:11-14; 6:3). The Spirit qualifies Zerubbabel to rebuild the temple (Zechariah 4:6). The Spirit was given to the people for instruction and strengthening during the wilderness wanderings (Nehemiah 9:20), and to the elders along with Moses (Numbers 11:17, 25). It thus appears how very widespread were the activities of the redemptive Spirit, or the Spirit in the covenant. All these forms of the Spirit's action bore in some way upon the national life of the people, and were directed in one way or another toward theocratic ends.
(3) In Prophecy.
The most distinctive and important manifestation of the Spirit's activity in the Old Testament was in the sphere of prophecy. In the earlier period the prophet was called seer (ro'eh), and later he was called prophet (nabhi'). The word "prophet" (prophetes) means one who speaks for God. The prophets were very early differentiated from the masses of the people into a prophetic class or order, although Abraham himself was called a prophet, as were Moses and other leaders (Genesis 20:7 Deuteronomy 18:15). The prophet was especially distinguished from others as the man who possessed the Spirit of God (Hosea 9:7). The prophets ordinarily began their messages with the phrase, "thus saith Yahweh," or its equivalent. But they ascribed their messages directly also to the Spirit of God (Ezekiel 2:2; Ezekiel 8:3; Ezekiel 11:1, 24; 13:3). The case of Balaam presents some difficulties (Numbers 24:2). He does not seem to have been a genuine prophet, but rather a diviner, although it is declared that the Spirit of God came upon him. Balaam serves, however, to illustrate the Old Testament point of view. The chief interest was the national or theocratic or covenant ideal, not that of the individual. The Spirit was bestowed at times upon unworthy men for the achievement of these ends. Saul presents a similar example. The prophet was God's messenger speaking God's message by the Spirit. His message was not his own. It came directly from God, and at times overpowered the prophet with its urgency, as in the case of Jeremiah (1:4).
There are quite perceptible stages in the development of the Old Testament prophecy. In the earlier period the prophet was sometimes moved, not so much to intelligible speech, as by a sort of enthusiasm or prophetic ecstasy. In 1 Samuel 10 we have an example of this earlier form of prophecy, where a company with musical instruments prophesied together. To what extent this form of prophetic enthusiasm was attended by warnings and exhortations, if so attended at all, we do not know. There was more in it than in the excitement of the diviners and devotees of the surrounding nations. For the Spirit of Yahweh was its source.
In the later period we have prophecy in its highest forms in the Old Testament. The differences between earlier and later prophecy are probably due in part to the conditions. The early period required action, the later required teaching. The judges on whom the Spirit came were deliverers in a turbulent age. There was not need for, nor could the people have borne, the higher ethical and spiritual truths which came in later revelations through the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah and others. See2 Samuel 23:2 Ezekiel 2:2; Ezekiel 8:3; Ezekiel 11:24; Ezekiel 13:3;. Micah 3:8 Hosea 9:7.
A difficulty arises from statements such as the following: A lying spirit was sometimes present in the prophet (1 Kings 22:21 f); Yahweh puts a spirit in the king of Assyria and turns him back to his destruction (Isaiah 37:7); because of sin, a lying prophet should serve the people (Micah 2:11); in Micaiah's vision Yahweh sends a spirit to entice Ahab through lying prophets (1 Kings 22:19); an evil spirit from Yahweh comes upon Saul (1 Samuel 16:14; 1 Samuel 18:10; 1 Samuel 19:9). The following considerations may be of value in explaining these passages. Yahweh was the source of things generally in Old Testament thought. Its pronounced monotheism appears in this as in so many other ways. Besides this, Old Testament writers usually spoke phenomenally. Prophecy was a particular form of manifestation with certain outward marks and signs. Whatever presented these outward marks was called prophecy, whether the message conveyed was true or false. The standard of discrimination here was not the outward signs of the prophet, but the truth or right of the message as shown by the event. As to the evil spirit from Yahweh, it may be explained in either of two ways. First, it may have referred to the evil disposition of the man upon whom God's Spirit was acting, in which case he would resist the Spirit and his own spirit would be the evil spirit. Or the "evil spirit from Yahweh" may have referred, in the prophet's mind, to an actual spirit of evil which Yahweh sent or permitted to enter the man. The latter is the more probable explanation, in accordance with which the prophet would conceive that Yahweh's higher will was accomplished, even through the action of the evil spirit upon man's spirit. Yahweh's judicial anger against transgression would, to the prophet's mind, justify the sending of an evil spirit by Yahweh.
6. Imparting Moral Character:
The activity of the Spirit in the Old Testament is not limited to gifts for service. Moral and spiritual character is traced to the Spirit's operations as well. "Thy holy Spirit" (Psalm 51:11); "his holy spirit" (Isaiah 63:10); "thy good Spirit" (Nehemiah 9:20); "Thy Spirit is good" (Psalm 143:10) are expressions pointing to the ethical quality of the Spirit's action. "Holy" is from the verb form (qadhash), whose root meaning is doubtful, but which probably meant "to be separated" from which it comes to mean to be exalted, and this led to the conception to be Divine. And as Yahweh is morally good, the conception of "the holy (= Divine) one" came to signify the holy one in the moral sense. Thence the word was applied to the Spirit of Yahweh. Yahweh gives His good Spirit for instruction (Nehemiah 9:20); the Spirit is called good because it teaches to do God's will (Psalm 143:10); the Spirit gives the fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2-5); judgment and righteousness (Isaiah 32:15); devotion to the Lord (Isaiah 44:3-5); hearty obedience and a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26 f); penitence and prayer (Zechariah 12:10). In Psalm 51:11 there is an intense sense of guilt and sin coupled with the prayer, "Take not thy holy Spirit from me." Thus, we see that the Old Testament in numerous ways recognizes the Holy Spirit as the source of inward moral purity, although the thought is not so developed as in the New Testament.
7. The Spirit in the Messiah:
In both the first and the second sections of Isaiah, there are distinct references to the Spirit in connection with the Messiah, although the Messiah is conceived as the ideal King who springs from the root of David in some instances, and in others as the Suffering Servant of Yahweh. This is not the place to discuss the Messianic import of the latter group of passages which has given rise to much difference of opinion. As in the case of the ideal Davidic King which, in the prophet's mind, passes from the lower to the higher and Messianic conception, so, under the form of the Suffering Servant, the "remnant" of Israel becomes the basis for an ideal which transcends in the Messianic sense the original nucleus of the conception derived from the historic events in the history of Israel. The prophet rises in the employment of both conceptions to the thought of the Messiah who is the "anointed" of Yahweh as endued especially with the power and wisdom of the Spirit. In Isaiah 11:1-5 a glowing picture is given of the "shoot out of the stock of Jesse." The Spirit imparts "wisdom and understanding" and endows him with manifold gifts through the exercise of which he shall bring in the kingdom of righteousness and peace. In Isaiah 42:1, the "servant" is in like manner endowed most richly with the gifts of the Spirit by virtue of which he shall bring forth "justice to the Gentiles." In Isaiah 61:1 occur the notable words cited by Jesus in Luke 4:18, beginning, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me" etc. In these passages the prophet describes elaborately and minutely the Messiah's endowment with a wide range of powers, all of which are traced to the action of God's Spirit.
8. Predictions of Future Outpouring of the Spirit:
In the later history of Israel, when the sufferings of the exile pressed heavily, there arose a tendency to idealize a past age as the era of the special blessing of the Spirit, coupled with a very marked optimism as to a future outpouring of the Spirit. In Haggai 2:5 reference is made to the Mosaic period as the age of the Spirit, "when ye came out of Egypt, and my Spirit abode among you." In Isaiah 44:3 the Spirit is to be poured out on Jacob and his seed; and in Isaiah 59:20 a Redeemer is to come to Zion under the covenant of Yahweh, and the Spirit is to abide upon the people. The passage, however, which especially indicates the transition from Old Testament to New Testament times is that in Joel 2:28, 32 which is cited by Peter in Acts 2:17-21. In this prophecy the bestowal of the Spirit is extended to all classes, is attended by marvelous signs and is accompanied by the gift of salvation. Looking back from the later to the earlier period of Old Testament history, we observe a twofold tendency of teaching in relation to the Spirit. The first is from the outward gift of the Spirit for various uses toward a deepening sense of inner need of the Spirit for moral purity, and consequent emphasis upon the ethical energy of the Spirit. The second tendency is toward a sense of the futility of the merely human or theocratic national organization in and of itself to achieve the ends of Yahweh, along with a sense of the need for the Spirit of God upon the people generally, and a prediction of the universal diffusion of the Spirit.
II. The Spirit in Non-Canonical Jewish Literature.
In the Palestinian and Alexandrian literature of the Jews there are comparatively few references to the Spirit of God. The two books in which the teachings as to the Spirit are most explicit and most fully developed are of Alexandrian origin, namely, The Wisdom of Solomon and the writings of Philo.
In the Old Testament Apocrypha and in Josephus the references to the Spirit are nearly always merely echoes of a long-past age when the Spirit was active among men. In no particular is the contrast between the canonical and noncanonical literature more striking than in the teaching as to the Spirit of God. 1. The Spirit of Josephus:
Josephus has a number of references to the Holy Spirit, but nearly always they have to do with the long-past history of Israel. He refers to 22 books of the Old Testament which are of the utmost reliability. There are other books, but none "of like authority," because there has "not been an exact succession of prophets" (Josephus, Against Apion I, 8). Samuel is described as having a large place in the affairs of the kingdom because he is a prophet (Ant., VI, v, 6). God appears to Solomon in sleep and teaches him wisdom (ibid., VIII, ii); Balaam prophesies through the Spirit's power (ibid., IV, v, 6); and Moses was such a prophet that his words were God's words (ibid., IV, viii, 49). In Josephus we have then simply a testimony to the inspiration and power of the prophets and the books written by them, in so far as we have in him teachings regarding the Spirit of God. Even here the action of the Spirit is usually implied rather than expressed.
2. The Spirit in the Pseudepigrapha:
In the pseudepigraphic writings the Spirit of God is usually referred to as acting in the long-past history of Israel or in the future Messianic age. In the apocalyptic books, the past age of power, when the Spirit wrought mightily, becomes the ground of the hopes of the future. The past is glorified, and out of it arises the hope of a future kingdom of glory and power. Enoch says to Methuselah: "The word calls me and the Spirit is poured out upon me" (En 91:1). In 49:1-4 the Messiah has the Spirit of wisdom, understanding and might. Enoch is represented as describing his own translation. "He was carried aloft in the chariots of the Spirit" (En 70:2). In Jubilees 31:16 Isaac is represented as prophesying, and in 25:13 it is said of Rebekah that the" Holy Spirit descended into her mouth." Sometimes the action of the Spirit is closely connected with the moral life, although this is rare. "The Spirit of God rests" on the man of pure and loving heart (XII the Priestly Code (P), Benj. 8). In Simeon 4 it is declared that Joseph was a good man and that the Spirit of God rested on him. There appears at times a lament for the departed age of prophecy (1 Maccabees 9:27; 14:41). The future is depicted in glowing colors. The Spirit is to come in a future judgment (XII the Priestly Code (P), Levi 18); and the spirit of holiness shall rest upon the redeemed in Paradise (Levi 18); and in Levi 2 the spirit of insight is given, and the vision of the sinful world and its salvation follows. Generally speaking, this literature is far below that of the Old Testament, both in moral tone and religious insight. Much of it seems childish, although at times we encounter noble passages. There is lacking in it the prevailing Old Testament mood which is best described as prophetic, in which the writer feels constrained by the power of God's Spirit to speak or write. The Old Testament literature thus possesses a vitality and power which accounts for the strength of its appeal to our religious consciousness.
3. The Spirit in the Wisdom of Solomon:
We note in the next place a few teachings as to the Spirit of God in Wisd. Here the ethical element in character is a condition of the Spirit's indwelling. "Into a malicious soul wisdom shall not enter: nor dwell in the body that is subject unto sin. For the holy spirit of discipline will flee deceit, and will not abide when unrighteousness cometh in" (The Wisdom of Solomon 1:4). This "holy spirit of discipline" is evidently God's Holy Spirit, for in 1:7 the writer proceeds to assert, "For the Spirit of the Lord filleth the world," and in 1:8, 9 there is a return to the conception of unrighteousness as a hindrance to right speaking.
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spir'-it (ruach; pneuma; Latin, spiritus):
1. Primary and Figurative Senses
(1) As Wind, Breath
(2) As Anger or Fury
(3) As Mental and Moral Qualities in Man
2. Shades of Meaning
(1) As Life-Principle
(2) As Surviving Death
(3) Spiritual Manifestations
3. Human and Divine Spirit
(1) The Human as Related with the Divine
(2) Operations of the Divine Spirit as Third Person of the Trinity
4. Old Testament Applications
5. Various Interpretations
1. Primary and Figurative Senses:
(1) As Wind, Breath:
Used primarily in the Old Testament and New Testament of the wind, as in Genesis 8:1 Numbers 11:31 Amos 4:13 ("createth the wind"); Hebrews 1:7 (angels, "spirits" or "winds" in margin); often used of the breath, as in Job 12:10; Job 15:30, and in 2 Thessalonians 2:8 (wicked consumed by "the breath of his mouth").
(2) As Anger or Fury:
In a figurative sense it was used as indicating anger or fury, and as such applied even to God, who destroys by the "breath of his nostrils" (Job 4:9 Exodus 15:8 2 Samuel 22:16; see 2 Thessalonians 2:8).
(3) As Mental and Moral Qualities in Man:
Hence, applied to man-as being the seat of emotion in desire or trouble, and thus gradually of mental and moral qualities in general (Exodus 28:3, "the spirit of wisdom"; Ezekiel 11:19, "a new spirit" etc.). Where man is deeply stirred by the Divine Spirit, as among the prophets, we have a somewhat similar use of the word, in such expressions as: "The Spirit of the Lord came.... upon him" (1 Samuel 10:10).
2. Shades of Meaning:
(1) As Life-Principle:
The spirit as life-principle in man has various applications: sometimes to denote an apparition (Matthew 14:26, the King James Version "saying, It is a spirit"; Luke 24:37, the King James Version "had seen a spirit"); sometimes to denote angels, both fallen and unfallen (Hebrews 1:14, "ministering spirits"; Matthew 10:1, "unclean spirits"; compare also Matthew 12:43 Mark 1:23, 26, 27; and in Revelation 1:4, "the seven Spirits.... before his throne").
(2) As Surviving Death:
The spirit is thus in man the principle of life-but of man as distinguished from the brute-so that in death this spirit is yielded to the Lord (Luke 23:46 Acts 7:59 1 Corinthians 5:5, "that the spirit may be saved"). Hence, God is called the "Father of spirits" (Hebrews 12:9).
(3) Spiritual Manifestations:
Thus generally for all the manifestations of the spiritual part in man, as that which thinks, feels, wills; and also to denote certain qualities which characterize the man, e.g. "poor in spirit" (Matthew 5:3); "spirit of gentleness" (Galatians 6:1); "of bondage" (Romans 8:15); "of jealousy" (Numbers 5:14); "of fear" (2 Timothy 1:7 the King James Version); "of slumber" (Romans 11:8 the King James Version). Hence, we are called upon to "rule over our own spirit" (Proverbs 16:32; Proverbs 25:28), and are warned against being overmastered by a wrong spirit (Luke 9:55 the King James Version, "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of"). So man may submit to the "spirit of error," and turn away from the "spirit of truth" (1 John 4:6). Thus we read of the "spirit of counsel" (Isaiah 11:2); "of wisdom" (Ephesians 1:17).
3. Human and Divine Spirit:
(1) The Human as Related with the Divine:
We go a step higher when we find the human spirit brought into relationship with the Divine Spirit. For man is but a creature to whom life has been imparted by God's spirit-life being but a resultant of God's breath. Thus life and death are realistically described as an imparting or a withdrawing of God's breath, as in Job 27:3; Job 33:4; Job 34:14, "spirit and breath" going together. The spirit may thus be "revived" (Genesis 45:27), or "overwhelmed" (Psalm 143:4), or "broken" (Proverbs 15:13). And where sin has been keenly felt, it is "a broken spirit" which is "a sacrifice to God" (Psalm 51:17); and when man submits to the power of sin, a new direction is given to his mind: he comes under a "spirit of whoredom" (Hosea 4:12); he becomes "proud in spirit" (Ecclesiastes 7:8), instead of being "patient in spirit"; he is a fool because he is "hasty in spirit" and gives way to "anger" (Ecclesiastes 7:9). The "faithful in spirit" are the men who resist talebearing and backbiting in the world (Proverbs 11:13). In such instances as these the difference between "soul" and "spirit" appears.
See SOUL; PSYCHOLOGY.
(2) Operations of the Divine Spirit as Third Person of the Trinity:
On this higher plane, too, we find the Divine Spirit at work. The terminology is very varied here: In the New Testament we read of the "Holy Spirit" (1 Corinthians 6:19 Matthew 1:18, 20 1 Thessalonians 1:5, 6); the "Spirit of God" (1 Corinthians 2:10; 3:16 Romans 8:9, 11 Ephesians 3:16, etc.); the "Spirit of Christ" (Romans 8:9 1 Corinthians 3:17 Galatians 4:6); or simply of "Spirit," with distinct reference to God (1 Corinthians 2:10 Romans 8:16, 23, etc.). God Himself is Spirit (John 4:24). Hence, God's power is manifested in human life and character (Luke 4:14 Romans 1:1 1 Corinthians 2:4; especially Luke 24:49). The Book of Acts may be termed the Book of the Holy Spirit, working with power in man. This Spirit is placed on a level with Father and Son in the Apostolic Benediction (2 Corinthians 13:14) and in the parting message of the Saviour to His disciples (Matthew 28:19). As the agent in redemption and sanctification His work is glorified by lives "renewed" in the very "spirit of the mind"-a collocation of terms which has puzzled many interpreters (Ephesians 4:23, 24), where pneuma and nous appear together, to indicate a renewal which is all-embracing, `renewed in the spirit of your mind, so that the new man is put on, created in righteousness and true holiness' (see also John 14:17, 26; John 15:26; John 16:13 1 Corinthians 12:11, etc.).
4. Old Testament Applications:
In the Old Testament this spirit of God appears in varied functions, as brooding over chaos (Genesis 1:2 Job 26:13); as descending upon men, on heroes like Othniel, Gideon, etc. (Judges 3:10; Judges 6:34), on prophets (Ezekiel 37:1), on "cunning workmen," like Bezalel and Aholiab (Exodus 31:2, 3, 4, "filled with the Spirit of God"), and specially in such passages as Psalm 51:11, where the very presence of God is indicated by an abiding influence of the Holy Spirit: "The Spirit of Yahweh is Yahweh himself."
5. Various Interpretations:
May we not reach a still higher stage? Wendt in his interesting monograph (Die Begriffe Fleisch und Geist), of which extracts are given in Dickson's Paul's Use of the Terms Flesh and Spirit, draws attention to the transcendental influence of the Divine ruach in the Old Testament as expressed in such phrases as `to put on' (Judges 6:34), `to fall upon' (14:6, 19), `to settle' (Numbers 11:25 f). May we not then rightly assume that more is meant than a mere influence emanating from a personal God? Are we not right in maintaining with Davidson that "there are indeed a considerable number of passages in the Old Testament which might very well express the idea that the Spirit is a distinct hypostasis or person."? (see SUBSTANCE). Rejecting the well-known passage in Genesis: "Let us make man after our own image," which some have interpreted in a trinitarian sense, we may point to such texts as Zechariah 4:6, "by my Spirit"; Isaiah 63:10, 11, "They rebelled, and grieved his holy Spirit"; "Where is he that put his holy Spirit in the midst of them?" This is borne out by the New Testament, with its warnings against "grieving the Holy Spirit," "lying against the Holy Spirit," and kindred expressions (Ephesians 4:30 Acts 5:3). It is this Spirit which "beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God" (Romans 8:16)-the spirit which, as Auberlen has put it (PRE1, article "Geist des Menschen"), "appears in a double relationship to us, as the principle of natural life, which is ours by birth, and that of spiritual life, which we receive through the new birth (Wiedergeburt)." Hence, Paul speaks of God whom he serves "with his spirit" (Romans 1:9); and in 2 Timothy 1:3 he speaks of serving God "in a pure conscience."
See CONSCIENCE; FLESH; HOLY SPIRIT; PSYCHOLOGY; SOUL.
J. I. Marais
See FAMILIAR; DIVINATION; PYTHON.
See SPIRIT, UNCLEAN; DEMON, DEMONIAC.
WITNESS OF THE SPIRIT
This phrase arises from the words of Romans 8:16: "The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God." With this may be grouped, as illustrative, 1 John 5:10: "he that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in him." in interpreting, we may approach the former passage through the latter. To the man who "believeth on the Son of God," so as to prove him by reliance, He becomes self-evidential in experience, verifying himself to the believer as the divine response to his whole spiritual need. Thus, believed on as the Son, he awakens in the soul which he embraces the filial attitude toward God, the cry, "Abba, Father." On the other side the Spirit, both in the written Word (e.g. John 1:12) and in his secret converse with the believer in the life of faith, assures him of the paternal love toward him, as toward a "dear child," (Ephesians 5:1) of the Father of his Lord. There is thus a concurrent "witnessing." The believer's spirit says, "Thou art my Father"; the Spirit, says to the believer's spirit, "Thou art His child." We may compare Romans 5:5: "The love of God hath been shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit."
SIN AGAINST THE HOLY GHOST (SPIRIT)
SPIRIT OF DIVINATION
See SATAN; DEMON, DEMONIAC.