There is much discussion, teaching and controversy on the subject of the Biblical Holy Spirit. There are definite events and facts which are recorded in the Old Testament (OT), which are clearly different to those recorded in the New Testament (NT), and the differences do cause much confusion, and wrong understanding and teaching; and, in the worst cases errant groupings (Sects) forming to propagate those wrong understandings and teachings!
Many religious Groups have formed since the Protestant Reformation against the Roman Church and its teachings and practices, instigated by Martin Luther. Almost all seem to contain error in their teaching regarding the Third Person of The Godhead, seeming to disregard the different conditions and purposes that Almighty God has in mind (called by the Apostle Paul "Administrations" but in today's language "Dispensations"), that God had/has ordained for the working out over time of His Great Salvation Plan for His Creation, and to deal with the "Mystery of Iniquity".
One definition of The Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Godhead, is that of the 'Invisible Force of Him' for His effect on the Earth and lives of His Creation. In this definition, The Holy Spirit's effect and actions change as the immediate purpose changes, and these changes are necessary to counter what the great enemy Satan and his agents do, to try to block and nullify God's Purpose on Earth.
What is not generally recognised is that Almighty God is in a titanic struggle with an entity He created; Satan, and when that fact is recognised and accepted, together with the importance of Israel; the Bible becomes very clear in its structured layout, together with the future of Israel and the "Mystery Church".
In God's Holy Spirit dealings with Israel, as opposed to earlier examples from Eden to Moses, it is clear from the record in the O.T. that from Moses to the "Shekinah" presence in the Tabernacle in the wilderness, God's Presence was 'almost physical' (Moses shielded by God to avoid his destruction at His presence, whereas in Eden Adam met with God without fear or barrier, until partaking of the "forbidden fruit"). That continued in various manifestations, notably during the contest with Pharaoh's magicians, until the "pillar of cloud and fire" was bestowed at the Tabernacle, in which God communed and led His "firstborn son" (Ex. 4:22), Israel through the wilderness, and gave strength to them when needed, (or otherwise if they sinned collectively, and/or had not requested His help)!
However, Israel eventually deserted their God Jehovah when they had been installed in the "Promised Land", ceasing Temple worship and sacrifice; and even sealed the Temple doors to stop access. In response, the "Shekinah" departed the Temple and Jerusalem via the "East Gate" of the city, and the Mount of Olives (as did our Lord at His ascension); and Israel eventually was deported to Babylon and Assyria.
In their degraded state, they were still watched over by God (due to His promises to the Jewish Patriarchs), and individuals (of faith in God) were protected for special purpose, as seen in Daniel and his colleagues, and elsewhere in O.T. but their National Privilege (Fig tree) was removed, as also was their Spiritual Privilege (Vine), and they did not have access to God via His Holy Spirit as previously.
All this; as they were warned in Deut. 28, after they gave their allegiance to Jehovah!
At the prayerful intervention of Daniel, who knew of the time duration of the Babylonian Exile "from books" (Jeremiah 25:11 and 29:10), God sent an angel to him to assure him of the accuracy of the 70 years prediction; and also to give the "end time" details of Anti-Christ and Messiah, (Dan. Chp. 9 to Chp. 12), but the visiting angel had to be helped by Michael (one of the chief princes of angels) to reach Daniel, due to the Satanic strength of resistance to God, of Satan in that area (Persia).
It has to be accepted by human beings, and held in the mind continually, that Satan is at present the "prince of this world"; as confirmed by Christ Jesus and the Apostle Paul (Jn. 12:31, 14:30, 16:11 and Eph. 2:2). This is not easily accepted by "modern mankind", but is the fact of the matter; and when this scripturally accurate understanding is allowed by Christians, they are better able to understand situations, and people's behaviour, and are more fitted to deal with many situations that will arise in their lives. This knowledge when absorbed by the individual Christian needs great care in its expression; as when declared to others, who are not cognisant, inappropriately, can render the persons witness to Christ void, as the world's peoples are now successfully programmed by massive wrong teaching to consider that person and their witness as "mad"! This is a consequence in part of the infamous "witch trials" of UK, Europe and America (15th - 18th Cent.), but the history of witchcraft goes much farther back to 2000 BC, and is still current in Africa, India and Asia and wherever those cultures have spread, this is despite the warnings of Deut. 18, and any serious participants are agents of this world's "prince"!
In the western world, the comparatively recent "witch-hunts", initially under the Roman Church, but later under Rome and Protestantism, resulted in up to 60,000 people being executed, mainly totally innocent women, which has resulted understandably in "Spiritism" of all shades becoming anathema particularly in public demonstration! This has resulted in the toning down of preaching and teaching on these subjects in the "Established Churches"; which is the "baby out with the bathwater", as we now are entering final stages in the world (in the opinion of the writers) of Satan's attacks on particularly Israel; and he has now successfully muted expression on even his existence! A Church of England clergyman stated to the writer that Satan definitely does not exist; that same person teaches in a Church of England College!
Satan had/has reduced Israel's spirituality and contact with Jehovah to a very low ebb (Vine), by using their wills to sin against God with Pagan activities and practices with the surrounding Nations and tribes (which they had been lured into by the sexual practices involved), which they had been warned against, and had given their word to God not to do! In so doing God was not able to have Spiritual (Vine) intercourse with them as individuals and as a Nation via the Priests and Prophets, who had also become corrupt! Satan had, as per Eden, seen the will of the individual was the main attack point to achieve Israel's fall, so as success in Eden (see: Eve and Adam), also success for him with Israel at that point!
It needs to be understood that Israel was at that point also reduced as a Nation (Fig); and that Satan used the corrupted Priesthood and Prophets (Jer. 29:8-9) to achieve that position, which is reminiscent of present day Christianity worldwide. The reason it is important for Satan to destroy Israel's Nationhood, is to thwart Jehovah's promise to them that they will become "a Kingdom of Priests", Exodus 19:4-8 and 1Peter 2:9. Also Satan's future efforts to destroy God's people Israel completely, are for the same reason; if they become Jehovah's "Kingdom of Priests", Satan has lost the final battle before the inception of the 1000 year Reign of Messiah Christ Jesus from Jerusalem!
We need to remind ourselves at this point, what the purpose of Israel was/will be, and why they were chosen for that role. God chose Abram to become the "father" of the Nation Israel, due to his good heart, against "the gods of his fathers". In so doing God instigated the genetic growth of His "firstborn son" via Jacob/Israel to eventually witness for Him to the surrounding Nations that “there is no other God, other than He", Isaiah 45:5 and 22. Israel had sworn to God that they would carry out His wish, but they failed repeatedly, as per the example above, which became typical; even to the point eventually of not accepting Jesus as Christ (Messiah)!
Their failure continued, even though Ezra elicited a new promise from them after their return to Jerusalem to honour their earlier promise, first made in Deuteronomy. By the time of the birth of Jesus, the Priesthood had corrupted to the point that they adhered to the "Wisdom" writings of the Pharisees (now Orthodox Judaism) which Jesus railed against, followed by Paul.
Jesus had promised His disciples that they would be endowed with the Holy Spirit after His Resurrection (Acts 1:4-8), and that they should wait for it to happen. This clearly was to have purpose, which was not frivolous, nor to demonstrate power for its own sake, but for encouragement to His grieving and shattered disciples that His Word was to be trusted! In the event in Acts 2 on the day of Pentecost, the action of the Holy Spirit was dramatic, with languages and other abilities such as healing of the sick, given for witness to Jews from many countries surrounding Israel. It has been argued that the foreign languages need not have been given, and that the Jews who subsequently evangelised the surrounding Nations could have learned the languages in the usual way. However, had Israel accepted Jesus as Messiah, the time would have been very short before Jesus as "The Christ" would have returned and taken His Rightful place as Messiah of Israel ("The King of the Jews"). In any case, Jesus had promised that wonders of the Holy Spirit would be available to them, at least to the level He employed in His miracles.
As it was it was more than 30 years before the final rejection of Him by the Roman Synagogue (and therefore by the Jewish Sanhedrin), which was the last one to be visited, and the declaration by Paul of Acts 28:25-28, which sealed the fate of Israel as "Lo-Ammi" (not My people, Hosea Chp. 1 and 2)! It must here be recognised that Jesus initially came to Israel only (Matt. 10:6, 15:24), and that did not change until Acts 28:28! The Holy Spirit's actions in Acts 2, were only on the Jews gathered in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, (there were not any Gentiles there for the Festival), the Holy Spirit 's actions were in the same mode as the statement by Jesus in Matt. 10 and 15, and that did not change until the final rejection of Jesus at Acts 28:28!
The phenomena of Acts 2, was clearly different to any recorded in the O.T. and was for special purpose for the Jews at that time; and not as is claimed by Charismatic Sects, applicable now for "spiritual enhancement" or "second blessing"! See: The Events of Pentecost; What is the Truth? (Discussion Document).
After the events of Acts 2 at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit showed much action in defence of and propagation of the spreading of the "Gospel of the Kingdom" of God on Earth, called by Christians "the Millennial", (the same as had Jesus), often proactively as witnessed by the release of the disciples from prison (Acts 5 and 16). After the rejection by the Jews of Jesus as Messiah, and the declaration by Paul that he would now turn to the Gentiles, "and they will hear", a change again took place, which resulted in the formation of "the Mystery Church", which Paul explains well in his last 7 letters. These are Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Titus, Philemon and 1 and 2 Timothy.
The actions of the Holy Spirit in relation to the "Mystery Church", the "Body of Christ" are again different to earlier examples. The words translated "Spirit" in Romans 8 and elsewhere have the meaning in the Greek of "New Nature", which is the nature of Christ Himself as the "Christ Spirit". When that takes place at the "conversion" of a person to Christ, they are sealed (Eph. 1:13) in Heaven for the day of completion, which is irreversible and secure. Paul clearly describes the struggle by all Christians with the "old nature" (Rom. 7) which the "New Nature" must contend with until death or Translation.
There will be a change again at the end of this present Age (the Age of God's Grace where the Gentiles are first priority), before which in the opinion of the writers Christians will have been Translated or Resurrected. There will be a time on Earth when the Jews will be again under terrible persecution from Satan (Jacob's trouble); see Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah etc. and Revelation. The Holy Spirit via Christ Jesus will be available to the Jews in the example of the 7 Ecclesia of Revelation 2 and 3, which will need to be a close relationship for the "oil" i.e. the Spirit to flow, which will enable the "overcoming" of the Jews; which is the criterion of that time!
The actions of the Holy Spirit are evident as the Bible is read from beginning to end, but the purpose is not always the same. Clearly both men and women were empowered for periods of time, for a particular task, which always related to the advancement of God's Plans related to His Promises, starting at Genesis with the Fall of Eve and Adam. God provided a way out of the death situation provoked by Satan, by His promise in Gen. 3:15; which was eventually seen to be progressed in Jesus the Christ, in His life and Crucifixion, yet to be completed at the end of Millennial, when He hands the finished work to the Father! See: www.revelationsmessage.co.uk
So, why so much confusion regarding the Holy Spirit both in reading and Group teaching? In the view of the writers it is because of the failure of sincere teachers and people to differentiate the purposes and timings of Almighty God; which often hinge on (i.e. is conditional) on the decisions of people He is dealing with, and their will! A very clear example of this principal is the rejection of Christ Jesus by the Jewish people as their Messiah! This finally took place at the end of Acts, and in Chapter 28 the Jewish people were replaced by the Gentiles, as the Prime Purpose of God's Love and Grace in the Death Sacrifice of Jesus the Christ!
At that change, the Jews were no longer the Prime Object of God, but were "disowned" by God for a period of time (Lo-Ammi, Hos. 1:9), but would be the people of God again in the future (Hos. 1:10-11, 2:1) and (Jer. 31:27-28); after the end of the Gentile Age (Rom. 11:25).
The actions, empowerment, and purpose of the Holy Spirit were with Israel's servants in the Acts period in similar form, as the Old Testament, as is seen in the many miraculous happenings in the Acts of the Apostles; as the purpose up to Acts 28:28 was still to establish Jesus Christ as Messiah, by the acceptance of the Jewish Sanhedrin!
During the Acts period after Acts 2, the Holy Spirit was bestowed in many cases by the "laying on of hand" (Acts 8:17 and 19:6), and was still intended for evangelism to the Jewish people of the "Kingdom Gospel", embodied in Christ Jesus, in their various tongues. Hence they were immediately gifted with those abilities, Acts 19:6!
After the events of the end of Acts, there was a change in the way the Holy Spirit acted/acts; as Christ's return to Earth was/is in abeyance. The Apostle Paul wrote seven further Epistles: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Titus, Philemon and 1 & 2 Timothy. These writings reflect the change from Jewish priority to Gentile priority, and also announce the "Mystery body", where in Gentiles would be "fellow heirs" with the Jews, in one Body (Eph. 3)! That Body is non-other than Christ Himself; who is our Head (Col. 1:18).
Paul writes extensively in his first 7 letters regarding the Body, (1 & 2 Thessalonians, Hebrews, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians and Romans). In those the Jew is Prime Object as per prophecy, leading up to the acceptance of Christ Jesus as Messiah. In Ephesians he marvels at the revelation that had been given to him, that the Gentiles had become Prime Object in the new entity, the Body of Christ, because of the rejection by the Jews at Acts 28:25-28, of Jesus as their Messiah! That situation to remain until the Gentile "full number is made up" (Rom. 11:25), which will coincide approximately with the re-adoption of Israel (Ammi) in the yet future.
Because of the rejection by Israel of Christ Jesus, the need for endowment by the Holy Spirit of languages and other supernatural gifts to evangelise them has gone, so what is the action and purpose of the Holy Spirit today?
In the opinion of the writers Scripture is clear regarding the "sealing" of the Christian in heavenly places by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:3, 1:13 & 2:6). This "sealing in Heaven", is irreversible, which ensures that a person cannot lose their Salvation in Christ! The fact that the "sealing" is not on Earth, removes all possibility of interference or contamination by Satan, or the person, although the person will meet Christ Jesus face to face, to examine their life decisions in their free will (2Cor. 5:10)!
Regarding the rest of their lives, the assurance is given that we have "Christ in our hearts" (Eph. 3:17) and it is the opinion of the writers that by prayer and supplication we may ask for empowerment for purpose that befits the Father's Will, through Christ Who sits at The Father's Right Hand. The fact of “the purpose”, is the same emphasis as OT and NT, up to Acts 28:28, and the granting by God of His Holy Spirit "for purpose" in this Age will be for the advancement of the Body of Christ worldwide (Eph. 4:12), and will not cease until this Age ceases! The analogy is used in Eph. 5:18 of wine, which can lead to excess; whereas the request for Holy Spirit infusion for purpose which would be empowerment, (Eph. 3:16-21), would be granted by the Father through Christ, which will not be to excess! That empowerment will be for the purpose, and not a permanent feature. It is mostly discreet (as opposed to the Charismatic mode, of public demonstration) which is false, and/or Satan empowered, whilst we remain in our fallen bodies; but when glorified as is He, when in the Millennial, much greater action and empowerment will probably be possible, for His Purpose.
It is the opinion of the writers, that many Christians have experienced private Holy Spirit empowerment, when they have prayed for some thing which is in the Father's Will, (sometimes the "empowerment" by Holy Spirit is hardly noticed, as He enables events and happenings to conclusion), but have unfortunately been drawn to and subsumed into the Pentecostal or Charismatic Churches, when they shared the experience with other Christians. There is the severe warning from the Apostles that Satan rampages and engulfs with counterfeits of all kinds, to reduce the effectiveness of the sincere Christian, when in such groups. The leaders of such groups will not easily allow examination of their claims under controlled conditions; as that would entail loss of their power and control, and their false teaching!
At death, the spirit of Christ leaves the Christian, and goes to be with Christ Jesus; (Phil. 1:23 and Acts 7:59).
The following Comment is at the end of Chapter 3, in www.revelationsmessage.co.uk and gives a brief summation:
COMMENT; what is being seen in these early Chapters of Revelation, is a repeat of the spiritual condition between Jehovah God, and His "chosen people" Israel" in the Old Testament, right through to the end of Acts, the Holy Spirit of Jehovah was available to the Jews in a dramatic form, but had to be requested by the action of their free will! It is notable that when Jehovah dwelt among Israel both in the Tabernacle and the Temple; they were at their greatest blessing. When the "Shekinah" (His Glorious Presence) left Israel, they declined, and for hundreds of years were not able to call on Jehovah's help in the same way, due to their evil acts and consorting with Canaan's gods and women!
When they had the chance of renewal with Jehovah, which was at Acts 2, and Peter's declaration, the enabling Holy Spirit was theirs again to use for witness etc! This ceased at Acts 28:25-28, and Israel became "Lo-Ammi", which continues today, until this "Age of the Gentiles" ceases, (Rom. 11:25).
Gentiles (and Jews), can obtain the Holy Spirit's presence in the form of "the New Nature", which is described in Romans 8 (and elsewhere) in correctly translated Scripture.
At the same time, the Christian is "sealed" in Heaven!
This is not the same as the false claims of the "Charismatic Churches", who claim that they can "heal" etc., in the same mode as the Acts period! The "New Nature", described by Paul, is at war with the "old man", as he described in Romans 7; and that remains the case until the completion, when Christ Jesus calls His Body to resurrection.
This "New Nature" is not the same as the offer to Israel, which is eventually as "the Bride of Christ", but is akin to Christ Himself, as His "Body!" The "Bride," and the "Body", are eventually united in One, in Eternity!
At that stage "Christ will be all in all".
Symbols re Israel
Fig = National privilege
Olive = Religious privilege All of Jehovah!
Vine = Spiritual privilege
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