Who is the Holy Spirit?
I cannot think of a better way to greet the New Year than with a renewed commitment to the Holy Spirit, who was sent by God to enable mankind to walk in holiness. The Holy Spirit is the power source for believers, the high-octane fuel that keeps our engines burning and yearning for more of God’s presence in our lives. Without His most welcome and necessary intervention, our lives and ministries will fall flat. Contrary to what some people believe, the Holy Spirit is far more than a divine force. He is the exalted, unseen, third person of the Blessed Trinity. Many question the concept of three persons in the Godhead when the Bible emphatically states that there is only one God:
“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God [‘elohim], the Lord is one!” Deut 6:4
Interestingly, the Hebrew term, “Elohim”, is typically translated in the singular as “God” or “god,” but the word has a masculine plural ending (im), perhaps offering a prophetic hint of the plurality of the Godhead. This subtle hint, however, does not appear in English Bible translations. For this reason and countless others, I encourage personal study of Hebrew and Greek, the languages of the old and new testaments. Even a rudimentary knowledge of the original languages of Scripture will make your Bible come to life.
Nature proclaims a prime example of a tri-unity with the common element of water, H2O, in its three forms: liquid, ice (solid), and steam (vapor). The three-leaf shamrock is another example from nature that aids our understanding of the three-in-one concept of the Holy Trinity. Saint Patrick, the apostle to Ireland, used the shamrock when preaching to the pagan druids about the Triune Godhead. Even today, the shamrock remains a sacred symbol to the Irish, proclaiming the tri-unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We are blessed with additional insight regarding the concept of the Trinity through W. Earl Appleby’s work on the Holy Spirit, He Came to Make Us Holy:
“Mathematics: We know that 1+1+1=3, but we if we multiply, then 1x1x1x=1. If three entities are multiplied together the end result is still one. Consider that God is into multiplication and not addition.”
Nature proclaims the glory of our mighty God. We should not be surprised since He is the Creator of all things as stated in the following passage:
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters”. Gen 1:1-2
The Holy Spirit is represented metaphorically in the Bible as wind, water, fire, power, oil, and a dove. These symbolic renderings also define the Hebrew term, “ruach”, meaning “spirit, wind, breath, or any type of air in motion.” The Spirit of the living God moved over the surface of the chaotic waters, penetrating the oppressive darkness that was without form and void. Creation was “birthed” by the very breath and spoken words of God through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Hebrew term for “moving” is “rachaph”, meaning “to hover, brood, relax, shake, tremble.” The imagery of the word depicts a bird fluttering, fertilizing, and incubating fragile eggs in a skillfully constructed nest. Just as a bird broods over its eggs in a gentle, focused manner, so did Ruach HaKodesh (Hebrew: The Holy Spirit) brood over His amazing Creation. Such brooding demonstrated God’s affection and tender love in the way that parents cherish their young. The same term is used to describe God’s nurturing care for His chosen people during their wilderness wanderings:
“He found him in a desert land, And in the howling waste of a wilderness; He encircled him, He cared for him, He guarded [natsar] = preserved from danger] him as the pupil of His eye. Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that hovers [rachaph]: over its young, He spread His wings and caught them, He carried them on His pinions.”
Remarkably, everything in the universe came into existence by the spoken word of God, everything except mankind. The crowning achievement of God’s Creation was personally formed by His holy hands and filled with His very breath (His Spirit!), that brought forth life to the first man, Adam:
“Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” Gen 2:7
Form: yatsar = “to fashion, devise, create, ordain, potter, used of earthenware”
Breath: neshamah = “blast of the breath (of God), the essence of God”
I have been told that the term “rachaph”, with its many definitions, can also depict an eager bridegroom “hovering” over His bride, demonstrating tenderness, love, intense focus, and longing for consummation. Now, we are beginning to understand how the Holy Spirit draws the bride to the heavenly Bridegroom, and why spiritual fruitfulness is the intended outcome of the sacred, spiritual union. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, believers can be continually filled, empowered, encouraged, anointed, and comforted by His abiding presence. I encourage you take advantage of this season of new beginnings with renewed commitment and dedication to the Holy Spirit.
Heaven’s Matchmaker, The Holy Spirit’s Interaction with Humanity, available from noreenjacks.com.
Happy New Year!