24. The Dwelling of God with men

As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.

1 John 2:27


The promised holy spirit

Jesus told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father. This was the promise given by God in the Book of Joel: “I will pour out My spirit on all flesh” (Joel 2:28).

Before the Day of Pentecost, the spirit of God was described as “the hand of Yihvah.” This was the power of God in the prophets.

Jesus said the spirit of God that He poured out on the Day of Pentecost, would be “the spirit of truth.” This was the spirit and power of God that sanctified the Church, and brought the message of Christ to the saints.  This was the spirit described in Daniel 7:10, as a “river of fire that proceeded from before [the Ancient of Days.]”

The spirit of grace and truth

“For the Law came through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”

John 1:17

The Spirit of Christ, in the Old Testament, brought the Law. We read this in Zechariah:

Yes, they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the words that the Lord of Hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Thus, great wrath came from the Lord of Hosts.

Zechariah 7:12

However, Zechariah prophesied that the spirit of grace would be poured out on Jerusalem:

“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and supplication, then they will look upon Me whom they pierced.”

Zechariah 12:10

Here, Christ, the Word, prophesied that He would pour out the spirit of God on the Day of Pentecost, as recorded in Acts 2:35.

The dwelling of God with men

In the Book of Ezekiel, God said “I will dwell in their midst forever” (Ezekiel 43:7,9).

Jesus said the spirit of truth “will abide with you forever” (John 14:16). For the spirit of truth is not just a “prophetic Spirit,” as imagined by some. It is the spirit of God Himself.

In the Book of Hosea, God told us He would be the promised Comforter:

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
Will bring her into the wilderness
And speak comfort to her.”

“‘And it shall be in that Day,’ says the LORD,
‘That you will call Me “My Husband”
And no longer call Me “My Master.”’

Hosea 2:14–16

When God said, “You will no longer call Me ‘My Master,’” He meant that we would no longer call Him our Lord.

God is no longer our Lord but our Comforter, whom Paul called “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3).

Paul described the Body of Christ as the temple of the Lord, “a dwelling place of God in spirit” (Ephesians 2:22). In the Book of Revelation, John said, “now is the dwelling of God with men” (Revelation 21:3).”

“Spirit” was not yet given (John 7:38–39)

‘The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He said in reference to the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for spirit (πνεῦμα) was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”

John 7:38–39

The earliest manuscripts of John 7:39 read, “spirit was not yet given.” Later copies changed this to say, “holy spirit was not yet given.” The expression “spirit” without the article describes the anointing of the holy spirit throughout the Bible. For example, in Matthew 22:43, the anointing of the Spirit of Christ was described as “spirit” in David. And in 1 Timothy 3:16, the spirit of God on Christ was described as “spirit” by the apostle Paul.

The spirit of truth that was poured out on the Day of Pentecost is “spirit” that John spoke of. This was “spirit … not yet given.”

The spirit of truth is not the Holy Spirit of the Old Testament

In Chapter 8, we described the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament. The Jews understood that the Holy Spirit in the prophets was “the Word,” whom we call “the Spirit of Christ.” They also understood that the spirit of God would anoint the Messiah.

The spirit of truth is an “anointing” from God that was given on the Day of Pentecost. It sanctifies the Church of God, meaning that it separates the Body of Christ from other believers.

  • John the Baptist was filled with the Spirit of Christ, like the prophets of old, but he did not receive the spirit of God, which Jesus said would abide with us forever. For this reason, the least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than John (Matthew 11:11).
  • Jesus said, “It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the helper will not come to you” (John 16:7).
  • Before Jesus ascended, He breathed into His disciples, saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22). But was this the spirit of truth or His Own Spirit? It could not have been the spirit of truth. After this, He told them to wait for the “Promise of the Father, which you have heard from Me” (Acts 1:4–5).
  • The spirit of truth was the spirit that Jesus promised to His disciples in John 14:16: “I will pray to the Father, and He will give you another helper that may abide with you forever.”
    • The disciples were not “baptized” into the body of Christ by “the spirit of truth” until the Day of Pentecost, as Jesus said, “but you with spirit shall be baptized holy not many days from now” (Acts 1:4-5, We have changed the word order to agree with the Greek.)
    • In Acts 2:33, we read, “Therefore, being exalted to the right hand of God and having received from the Father the promise of the holy spirit, He poured out this, which you now see and hear.” In other words, Jesus did not receive the promised spirit of truth to pour out until the Day of Pentecost. This was not the Spirit Jesus breathed into them when He said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” The Spirit Jesus breathed into them earlier was His Own Spirit.

The spirit of truth sanctifies the Body of Christ

The spirit of the sanctuary

The “holy spirit” is the spirit that “rests” (נוּחַ) on the saints. It is identified by the Hebrew expression “nuach” (נוּחַ) in the Old Testament. This describes the Spirit of Christ that rested on the 70 Elders in Numbers 11:25, and 26, and spirit of Yihvah that would “rest” on Christ in Isaiah 11:2. In Acts 2:3, we read that “tongues of fire … rested” or “sat” (ἐκάθισεν) on the disciples when the spirit of God descended on the Day of Pentecost.

In the Bible, there are two holy spirits. The Spirit of Christ was the “Holy Spirit” in the Old Testament prophets.

The spirit of God is the holy spirit that was first put on Christ and then poured out on the Day of Pentecost. The spirit of God sanctifies the Church, the Body of Christ. This is explained in the earliest manuscripts of the Greek text of Acts 1:5, which read, “You in spirit will be baptized holy.”

The Hebrew word for “the sanctuary,” ha-qodhesh, without the article as qodhesh, was used in Daniel 9, where we read, “seventy weeks are determined . . . to anoint the Most Holy.” This prophesied the coming Messiah. The spirit of God sanctified the Body of Christ, of which Christ was the head. The “sanctuary.”  The sanctuary without the article was also used to describe the anointing of Aaron and his sons as a priesthood forever, in 1 Chronicles 23:13.

The Apostle Paul used the expression “Spirit of holiness” to describe the holy spirit on Christ in Romans 1:4, “declared to be the Son of God . . . according to the spirit of holiness.”

Without a doubt, God Himself is holy, but the work of the holy spirit throughout the New Testament is to sanctify believers (John 17:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 1 Corinthians 6:11). It is never Christ who sanctifies but God. The holy spirit today is the Spirit that separates the true Church, the body of Christ, from other believers, “for by one Spirit, we have been baptized into one body” (1 Corinthians 12:13); “if you receive a different spirit, you may well put up with it” (2 Corinthians 11:4).

The spirit that makes body of Christ is described by the Hebrew expression רוח הקדש “the spirit of the sanctuary,” and is reflected by the anathrous Greek phrase πνεῦμα ἅγιον, which appears 52 times in the New Testament.  In his Idiom Book of New Testament Greek, C.F.D. Moule relates an observation made by J.B. Mayor on this phrase. J.B. Mayor marveled not only about the frequency of the use of this expression, but also that the words are always in the order πνεῦμα ἅγιον, when the article is not present.”1  Indeed, this is very peculiar in a language that pays no attention to word order. The strict adherence to this word order is an imitation of the Hebrew רוח הקדש, “the spirit of the sanctuary.” J. Weingreen informs us that the meaning of רוח הקדש, in Hebrew can also be “holy spirit,” because the Hebrew language lacks adjectives.2

The Greek expression for holy spirit with the article, “Τό Ἅγιον Πνεῦμα” means “The holy spirit.” It was first used in Matthew 28:19 when Jesus told His disciples to “make Disciples of all Nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the holy spirit.” “Τό Ἅγιον Πνεῦμα” is the only expression that clearly describes the one and only holy spirit.

From this time onwards, the phrase “holy spirit” referred only to the spirit of God, except when describing the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament.

There is one Body and one spirit (anointing)

“There is one Body and one spirit.”
Ephesians 4:4

To understand this verse, we must know that the Greek word πνευμα has several meanings: it can mean “breath,” “wind,” or “spirit” as a spiritual being, like the Spirit of Christ, or “spirit” as an anointing. The “one spirit” that Paul refers to is the anointing of the holy spirit. We must also know the difference between the Kingdom of Heaven and the Body of Christ. Jesus told us that the “Kingdom of Heaven does not come by observation” (Luke 17:20). It is composed of all those who have been born of the Spirit of Christ, who cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Body of Christ is composed of those who have been baptized in the spirit of God. Paul said, “In one spirit, we have been baptized into one Body” (1 Corinthians 12:13). In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul describes the spirit of God, introduced in verses 3–4.

After the spirit of God, the spirit of truth, was taken from the Church, the Sanctified Church was “cast to the ground” (Daniel 8:12), and the Kingdom of Heaven continued invisibly, “in the wilderness” (Revelation 12:6).

Some like to refer to the Kingdom of Heaven as the “invisible” Body of Christ, but that is not the meaning of “Body” given in the Bible. The Body of Christ can only be made by the spirit of God.

The “Body of Christ” is the visible Sanctified Church, the great mountain in Isaiah 2:2, Micah 4:1, and Daniel 2:35. In Revelation 8:8, it is described as a “great mountain burning with fire,” the fire of the spirit of God. It can be seen by all, and so it is described as a mountain in Greek.

The Spirit of Christ is pictured as a Rider on a White horse, sent out to strike down the Gentiles with a sword (Revelation 19:15). The “sword of the Spirit” is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17). This is the end-time sanctified Church, the end-time Body of Christ. This visual image of a Body of Christ is accompanied by “speaking in tongues,” called “the sound of many waters” (Revelation 19:6, 14:2) and “playing on harps” (Revelation 14:2, 1 Corinthians 14:7).

We should note that the Body of Christ treads the wine press of God’s wrath (Revelation 14:20; 19:15), while the Son of Man looks from the clouds (Revelation 14:14; 19:17). These are two simultaneous manifestations of the Spirit of Christ.

Who can receive the spirit of truth, and what is the evidence of it?

  • The spirit of truth is normally given by the laying on of hands, by someone who has the holy spirit and the power to bestow it on others; see Acts 8:17–18, 9:17, 19:6, and Hebrews 6:1–2. The initial outpouring of the holy spirit on the Jews in Acts 2 and the Gentiles in Acts 10 is the Bible’s only exception.
  • The holy spirit is only received by those who keep God’s commandments; see Acts 5:32 and Revelation 12:1 and 14:12.
  • When Jesus returns, He will say to those who did not do God’s will, “I never knew you” (Matthew 7:21–23). These can receive neither the spirit of God nor the Spirit of Christ.
  • The Apostle John said, “test the spirits . . . because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). He tells us how to test the spirits to see if they are of God. “He who knows God hears us (follows the Apostles’ teachings); he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (v. 6).
  • Jesus said, “If anyone loves Me, He will keep My Word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make our home with him” (John 14:23). The condition of being baptized by the spirit of truth and receiving the Spirit of Christ is obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Only those who obey the Gospel of Christ will receive the spirit of truth. The Apostle Paul wrote, “If you receive a different spirit that you have not received or a different gospel that you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!” (2 Corinthians 11:4; 1 John 4:1–6)
  • The evidence of receiving the spirit of truth can be both “seen and heard” (Acts 2:33), for there is a comforting movement of the spirit in one’s body.
  • Receiving the spirit of truth is evidenced by the tongue emitting sound, laleo glossa (Acts 10:46). The expression “laleo glossa” literally means “tongue emits sound.” This expression is only in the Bible and does not appear in Greek literature. This does not mean “other languages.” The experience of “laleo glossa” should not be confused with the spiritual gift of “other tongues” (heteros glossa), which is described in 1 Corinthians 12:10, 28–29. In the Book of Acts, gifts of other tongues and prophecy were imparted by the spirit of God when believers received the holy spirit. However, we should note that these gifts are imparted by the spirit of God, and the spirit of God was taken from the Church in 193. From this time on, a false experience of speaking in tongues, called Montanism, began. We discuss this further in Chapter 29, “The Spirit of the Antichrist.” Therefore, in describing the Spirit of the Antichrist, John wrote, “These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. As for you, the anointing that you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him” (1 John 2:26–27, NASB).
  • As late as 180, Irenaeus, in “Against Heresies,” wrote that spiritual tongues were evidence of receiving the spirit of God. We discuss this in Chapter 29.

The Spirit of Christ sends other Spirits as Messengers in Revelation

By the time John wrote the Book of Revelation, many churches had already departed from the truth and lost the holy spirit. We know this from the testimony of bishop Irenaeus in A.D. 180.

Bishop Irenaeus was born in Smyrna in A.D. 130. Smyrna is one of the seven Churches in Revelation to which Jesus sent His messengers. John recorded his vision in about A.D. 100, only thirty years before Irenaeus was born.

As far as we know, Irenaeus grew up in the Smyrna Church, but he never received the holy spirit himself, even though he became a bishop. In his testimony of A.D. 180, he described receiving the gift of the holy spirit as a special occurrence that was experienced only by some.3

This should not be a surprise, for in A.D. 60, Paul said to the Corinthians, “If you receive a different spirit, you may well put up with it” (1 Corinthians 11:4).

The churches in Revelation followed different teachings and received different spirits. So, to the Church of Laodicea, Jesus said, “I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice, I will come in to him” (Revelation 3:20). This brings us back to John 14:23: “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My Word, and My Father and I will love him, and will come and make our home with Him” (John 14:23). Receiving the spirit of truth was dependent on keeping the Word of Christ, but by the time of Revelation, many had already departed from the truth.

But to the Church at Sardis, Jesus said, “I have put before you an open door that no one can shut, for you have kept My Word” (Revelation 3:8).

The Spirit of Christ had to send other spirits to bring His message to the churches. These are called the “seven Spirits of God.” Of course, these “seven Spirits” represent all the Spirits of God who report to Christ as the Archangel.

You are “in spirit”

The phrase “the Spirit” identifies the Spirit of Christ. Paul said “the Lord is the Spirit,” and John described Christ as “the Spirit,” who speaks to the seven Churches in Revelation 2–3.

The expression “spirit” without the article identifies the spirt of God. Unfortunately, this can only be seen in the Greek text itself or in a translation such as the Concordant Literal Version.

The identification of the spirit of God is even more clear in the expression “in (ἐν) Spirit,” where the Greek expression ἐν should always be translated as “in,” which is its primary meaning. For example, there are four passages in Revelation in which John told us he was “in (ἐν) spirit,” as in “I was in (ἐν) spirit in the Lord’s Day.” This describes the anointing of the spirit of God.

Baptized “in holy spirit”

The use of this expression appears first in Matthew 3:11: “I baptize you in (ἐν) water to repentance . . . but He who is coming after me will baptize you in (ἐν) holy spirit and fire.” The expression “in” (ἐν) describes “baptism” by “immersion.” This sentence has been translated in English as “I baptize you with water” to accommodate the belief in baptism by sprinkling. John baptized by immersion “in water,” and Jesus was baptized by immersion ‘in holy spirit.” This is the first of 13 uses of the expression ἐν Πνεύματι ῾Αγίῳ, “in spirit holy” in the New Testament.

Baptized in (ἐν) one spirit into one Body

In Acts 1:5, Jesus said, “You in (ἐν) spirit will be baptized holy.”

In 1 Corinthians 12:13, Paul said, “For in one spirit (ἐν ἑνὶ πνεύματι) we were all baptized in one spirit into one body.”

This was explained in Ephesians 2 and 4. In Ephesians 2:16, Paul says, “We were reconciled in one body.” In verse 18, he says we have access “in one spirit (ἐν ἑνὶ πνεύματι)” to the Father. In other words, “God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship in (ἐν) spirit and truth” (John 4:24).

In Ephesians 4:4, he says, “There is one body and one spirit.”

There is one body that is made by this one spirit.

Fellowship “in spirit”

This one body results in “fellowship in spirit.” In Ephesians 2:22, Paul says, “through Him, you too are being built together for God’s dwelling place, in spirit.” In Colossians 1:8, he describes “your love in spirit,” and in Philippians 2:1, he describes the “communion of spirit.”

Walk in spirit

To the Romans, he said, “Walk in accord with spirit . . . You are not in the flesh but in spirit, if indeed, God’s spirit makes its home in you . . . Those who are led by the spirit of God are the sons of God” (Romans 8:1,9,14).

To the Galatians, he said, “If you are led by spirit, you are not under law”—“Walk in spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16,18).

Unless you are born of water and spirit

In John 3:5, Jesus said, “unless one is born of water and spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” Here, “spirit” lacks the article, which would suggest that “spirit” refers to the spirit of God. In verse 8, we are told that “the wind blows and you hear the sound of it … so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” That certainly reminds us of the mighty rushing wind that was heard in Acts 2:2, when the spirit of God was poured out. And in Galatians 4:29, Paul described those who received the spirit of God as born of spirit. However, Jesus is not describing those who are born “of spirit” in John 3:8, He is describing those who are born of “the Spirit,” the Spirit of Christ.

However, we should not presume that the expression born “of spirit” in John 3:5 describes only those who are born of the spirit of God. These are not the only ones who can enter the kingdom of God. In verse 6, Jesus says “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” In John 6:63, He said, “It is the Spirit (τὸ πνεῦμά) that giveth life; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I have spoken unto you are spirit and are life.” Through Christ’s words, and our faith in Christ, we may also be “born of spirit.” The evidence of our rebirth is the fruit of the Spirit, as Peter explains in 2 Peter 1:10.

The Messenger of Christ

But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the spirit of truth which (ὃ) proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.

John 15:26

The spirit of God speaks the words of Christ

Jesus said that the spirit of truth will speak only what it hears and does not speak on its own initiative. The spirit of God only communicates Christ’s message—the message of “the Spirit.”

The expression “holy spirit” describes an anointing. “Spirit” without the article describes the anointing of the “speaking” holy spirit in the Old and New Testaments: The Spirit of Christ in the prophets and the anointing of the spirit of God that was given on the Day of Pentecost.

In Matthew 22:43, Jesus said that David “in spirit” called Him Lord. The Spirit of Christ was the Holy Spirit in the mouth of David and all the prophets. Targum Jonathan translated Isaiah 40:13 as “Who has directed the Holy Spirit in the mouth of all the prophets? Is it not the Lord?”

In 1 Kings 22:19–23, we read the story of a Spirit who stepped forward and agreed to be a lying Spirit in the mouths of all of Ahab’s prophets.

The spirit “in the mouth” of the saints on the Day of Pentecost was the spirit of God. This was dramatically portrayed as “tongues of fire” by which the saints spoke in other languages and prophesied. The “fire” identified the spirit of God that proceeded from the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7:10. Targum Jonathan called this “the spirit of prophecy from before the Lord,” which anointed Christ. Jesus did not “speak in tongues” because the holy spirit on Christ was not a messenger spirit, for Jesus Himself was still “the Word.” The Spirit of Christ was the messenger spirit until the Day of Pentecost. Before the Day of Pentecost came, Jesus said, “I will pray the Father, and He will send you another helper.”

Jonathan ben Uzziel said that the Lord directs the Holy Spirit in the mouths of all the prophets. In the Old Testament, God was the Lord who directed the Spirit of Christ in the mouths of the prophets. After the Day of Pentecost, Christ, as the new Lord, began to direct the spirit of God in the mouths of all the saints.

The Spirit (of Christ) gives utterance or declaration

In Acts 2:4, we read, “They were all filled with the holy spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

The same Greek word is translated as “utterance” in verse 4 and as “declared” in verse 14, where Peter “declares” the meaning of speaking in tongues as the fulfillment of prophecy. The same Greek word is used one more time in the New Testament to describe Paul’s “utterance” to Governor Festus in Acts 26:25.

These utterances came from Christ, “the Spirit,” and were spoken by the spirit of God in the mouths of Peter and Paul; as Jesus said, “You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake . . . but do not worry about how or what you will say . . . it will not be you who speaks, but the spirit of your Father speaking in you” (Matthew 10:18–20).

I will pray with the Spirit, I will sing with the Spirit (of Christ)

In 1 Corinthians 14:14–15, Paul said, “If I pray in a tongue, the Spirit (τὸ πνεῦμά) prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is it, then? I will pray with the Spirit (τῷ πνεύματι) and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the Spirit (τῷ πνεύματι) and I will sing with the understanding also.”

John called the spiritual song of the saints “the song of the Lamb” (Revelation 15:3). The Spirit of Christ is the spirit that provides these spiritual songs and prays on our behalf. In Romans 8:26, Paul says, “The Spirit intercedes with us with groanings too deep for words.”

These prayers and songs of Christ are communicated by the Spirit of God, as Paul explains in verse 16: “If you bless in spirit only, how will . . . one say ‘amen,’ since he does not know what you are saying.” The expression “in spirit” means “in the holy spirit,” the spirit of God. The message of Christ is communicated by the spirit of God through the “mouths of the prophets.”

Paul said, “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies” (1 Thess 5:19–20). In other words, do not despise the messages of the Spirit of Christ!

The manifestation of the Spirit/the revelation of Jesus Christ

In 1 Corinthians 12:3–11, we find a great explanation of the communications of the Father, Son, and holy spirit.

In verse 3, we read, “No one can say Jesus is Lord except by the holy spirit.” In verses 4 to 5, Paul goes on to tell us there are a variety of gifts, but the same spirit (τὸ αὐτὸ πνεῦμα), and the same Lord, and the same God. By “same spirit,” he means the holy spirit. Here, Paul lists the Father, Son, and holy spirit. The same list is made in Ephesians 4:4–6: “one spirit . . . one Lord . . . one God.”

In 1 Corinthians 12:6, Paul says that a variety of “effects” are given by God. These “effects” are described in verses 7 to 10, as “manifestations of the Spirit (τοῦ πνεύματος) . . . by the same spirit,” faith “by the same spirit,” and various spiritual gifts “by the same spirit.” In verses 28–30, he lists these spiritual gifts again.

The meaning of manifestations of the Spirit

Here, we want to discuss the meaning of “manifestations of the Spirit.”

“But to each one is given the manifestation (φανέρωσις) of the Spirit (τοῦ πνεύματος) to profit withal.” The word φανέρωσις means “disclosure.” It is a noun that comes from the verb φανερόω, which means “to make visible.” It means “revelation.” The expression “manifestation of the Spirit” (φανέρωσις τοῦ Πνεύματος) is equivalent to the expression “revelation of Jesus Christ” (ἈἈποκάλυψις Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ), used by John. For Paul told us, “The Lord is the Spirit.”

The Spirit of Christ is unseen and unheard. Believers only experience the speaking of the spirit of God, the Messenger of the Lord.

All prophecy comes from God through the Spirit of Christ

In the Old Testament, all prophecy came from God through the Spirit of Christ. But in the New Testament, there is one more step. The disclosures of the Spirit of Christ are made “audible” by the holy spirit.

Paul said, “For to one is given through the Spirit (διὰ τοῦ πνεύματος) the word of wisdom; and to another the word of knowledge . . .” Here, Paul used the word “logos,” meaning “word.” It is the equivalent of “dabar” in Hebrew. This always denotes the prophecy of God. Words of wisdom and knowledge given by God is also “prophecy” (James 1:5; 3:15 and 17). They are given by God to Christ, they are given “through the Spirit,” through the Spirit of Christ, and revealed to us by the holy spirit, which speaks only what it hears and does not speak on its own initiative.

We find an excellent example of this in the first Chapter of Revelation. In verse 1, we are told that God gave the prophecy to Jesus Christ. John said it was communicated by the Angel of God, which is called “the Spirit” in Chapters 2 and 3. How was John able to see and hear this prophecy? In Revelation 1:10, John told us that he was “in spirit;” he was in the holy spirit.

Paul said that these manifestations come “. . . down from the same spirit” (κατὰ τὸ αὐτὸ πνεῦμα); κατὰ literally means “down from.” The expression “same spirit” refers to “the same spirit” (τὸ αὐτὸ πνεῦμα), in verse 4, and not to “the Spirit” (τοῦ πνεύματος) in the previous phrase. The grammar of Paul can be complex, but he always uses the expression “the Spirit” (τοῦ πνεύματος) to describe the Spirit of Christ: “the Lord is the Spirit.” This will become clear in the next Chapter.

God distributes spiritual gifts through the holy spirit

In 1 Corinthians 12: 9, 10, and 28–30, Paul explains that God distributes spiritual gifts to the members of the Body of Christ. In verses 9 and 10, he describes gifts of healing, the effecting of miracles, prophesying, the distinguishing of spirits, various kinds of tongues, and the interpretation of tongues. In verses 29–30, he says, “All are not prophets, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? All do not have gifts of healing, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they?” Paul has only missed “the distinguishing of spirits” from his listing of spiritual gifts in verses 9 and 10.

In 1 Corinthians 12:11, the subject of the phrase “distributing (gifts) to each one as He/it wills” may be “God” from verse 6 or “the spirit of God” in verse 11. As mentioned earlier, a person’s spirit represents his/her will, so either interpretation would be logical.

The third-person singular of the Greek allows either interpretation, allowing either the masculine or neutral gender to be used. However, the grammar and the meaning of 1 Corinthians 12:11 are identical to Hebrews 2:4: “God also testifying . . . by gifts of the holy spirit according to His own will.”

Literally, this reads, “καὶ Πνεύματος Ἁγίου μερισμοῖς κατὰ τὴν αὐτοῦ θέλησιν”—“And holy spirit distributions according to His will.”

This raises the obvious question: Can a person without the holy spirit receive a spiritual gift from God? Where do these gifts come from?

Dispensation theory

Many have surmised that since God distributes spiritual gifts as He wills, the holy spirit was not taken from the Church; rather, God simply stopped giving the gift of tongues. In 1 Corinthians 13:8, Paul says that “tongues will cease.” But here, we need to distinguish the gift of tongues, “the tongues of men and angels,” described in verse 1, from the “tongue emitting sound” (laleo glossa). In Acts 10:45–46, we are told that Peter and those with him heard “the tongue emitting sound” (laleo glossa) when the Gentiles received the holy spirit. Then, Peter said, “They have received the holy spirit, even as we.” Here, there is no evidence of a gift of other tongues and no evidence that other languages were spoken 4. If the meaning of laleo glossa is really “speaking tongues” or “speaking languages,” as translated in English versions, how would this have been a sign that the Gentiles had received the holy spirit? Would it be unusual for Gentiles to speak languages?

“Effects” that are not spiritual gifts

The words of knowledge, wisdom, and faith, in 1 Corinthians 12:8–9 are not spiritual gifts. Every person who receives the holy spirit experiences these effects. God gives all believers “a measure of faith,” as Paul says in Romans 12:3, and a primary function of the holy spirit is to “speak what it hears.” Jesus told us not to worry about the things we should say when we are delivered up to the authorities, “for it will not be you speaking, but the spirit of your Father speaking through you” (Matthew 10:20). We may also speak a word of wisdom or knowledge by the spirit of God when we deliver a sermon or speak to others about Jesus.

Isaiah said that the spirit of God is “the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and of might, the spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD” (Isaiah 11:2). This describes the spirit of God itself and not spiritual gifts.

The spirit of God is not another “Person”

The beginning of the belief in a third person

In Chapter 8, we describe the confusion of the early Church regarding the concept of manifest in the flesh. Many could not understand how the holy spirit in John the Baptist could also be the Spirit of Christ, which was manifested in the Son of Man. They began to believe that the Holy Spirit poured out on the Day of Pentecost was the Holy Spirit in the prophets. Finally, they interpreted Jesus’ instruction to baptize “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the holy spirit” (Matthew 28:19), as the identification of a third person, called the Holy Spirit.

By 150, Justin Martyr wrote to the Roman Senate, identifying the Father, Son, and holy spirit as occupying the first, second, and third places: “We reasonably worship Him, having learned that He is the Son of the true God Himself, and holding Him in the second place, and the prophetic Spirit in the third, we will prove.”5

Justin Martyr’s “proof” did not come from the Bible, but from the writings of Plato, which he explained in Chapter 60 of his First Apology. Justin Martyr believed the spirit of Prophecy was one of the created Spirits who came into being through the speaking of the Word in Genesis 1:2. This belief was echoed by Origen in 229.

The spirit of God proceeds from the Father

“The spirit of truth which (ὃ) proceeds (ἐκπορεύεται) from the Father”

John 15:26

Jesus told us that the spirit of God proceeds from the Father, using the Greek word ἐκπορεύεται.

The word ἐκπορεύεται appears eight times in the New Testament, and there are three uses of this word in the Book of Revelation that really help us understand its meaning:

  • Out of their mouths proceed fire (Rev 9:17)
  • Fire flows out of their mouths (Rev 11:5)
  • From His mouth comes a sharp sword (Rev 19:15)

The most striking picture of the spirit of God proceeding from the Father is found in Daniel 7:10, where we see “a river of fire flowing and coming out before” the Ancient of Days. From here, the spirit of God was described as a “river” and as a “fire” throughout the New Testament. Daniel 7:10–13 is probably the only Old Testament passage that shows us the Father, Son, and holy spirit after the Day of Pentecost.

This spirit of God is not a “birthed” Spirit; it is not another being. Nor does it appear in the form of Angels like the Spirit of Christ.

The Greek grammar was misunderstood by Western churches.

We have avoided the word “He” in describing the spirit of truth. The personal pronouns that appear in John 14–16 are deceiving. They are only a function of the Greek language. Greek, like the French and Latin languages, requires all pronouns to have a gender, and “He” appears only because the Greek word for comforter is masculine. If you read these same verses in the Concordant Literal Version of 1926, you will find that all these verses use the pronoun “it” when referring to the spirit of God.

There are a few cases, such as Romans 8:16 and Romans 8:26, in which the Greek calls for “the Spirit itself,” as appeared in the original King James, but modern translators have substituted “the Spirit Himself.” The irony is that these verses are speaking of the Spirit of Christ and not the spirit of God. However, even though the Spirit of Christ is a “person,” the Greek does not use the personal pronoun “He.”

It is admitted by Trinitarian theologians today that Greek grammar in the New Testament does not support the idea that the holy spirit is a person.6

This confusion of Greek grammar began when the Bible was translated into Latin and read by the Western Churches. However, it is not only grammar that leads us to believe that the spirit of God is “a person.” The spirit of God is described with personal “attributes.”

The anointing that “teaches you” all things

As explained in 1 Corinthians 14:30, the spirit of God speaks revelations through people, “if anything is revealed to another who sits by.”

In Acts 13:2 we read, “and the holy spirit said . . .” Here, we can only presume that the holy spirit spoke by revelation through a person. We see a clear example of this in Acts 15:28, where the Apostles attribute the revelation of James in verses 13 to 21 to the speaking of the holy spirit.

This speaking of the spirit of God was explained in Matthew 10:20: “For it is not you who speak, but it is the spirit of your Father who speaks in you.”

In the English text, the personification of the spirit of God seems to begin in John 14:26, “He will teach,” and John 15:26, “He will testify.” However, the masculine pronoun “He” is necessary for the Greek word “Helper,” which immediately precedes it and is a masculine noun. Like French and other languages, all nouns are either masculine, feminine, or even neutral, and the pronouns that refer to these nouns must also be masculine, feminine, or neutral.

However, even with this understanding, it is still very difficult for English readers to understand why John 16:13–14 does not “speak of” a person:

But when he, the spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever he hears, he will speak, and he will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for he will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.

Even though we are told that the pronoun “he” goes back to the word “helper” in verse 7, it appears to us in every aspect that the holy spirit is acting as “a person.”

How do we understand this?

The answer is in 1 John 2:27:

As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.

Here, the teacher and speaker are called “the anointing.”

The Concordant Literal Version, first published in 1926, ignored the Greek masculine pronouns for “counsellor.” John 16:13 reads:

Yet whenever that may be coming—the spirit of truth—it will be guiding you into all the truth, for it will not be speaking from itself, but whatsoever it should be hearing, will it be speaking, and of what is coming will it be informing you. (CV)7

The anointing of the spirit of God was described with feminine pronouns in Isaiah 11:2:

The spirit of the Lord she-shall rest upon Him,
The spirit of Wisdom and Understanding,
The spirit of Counsel and Might,
The spirit of Knowledge and of the Fear of the Lord.

The Hebrew feminine pronouns in Isaiah tell us that the holy spirit on Christ was not a “person” but an “anointing.” When referring to the Spirit of Yihvah as God (as in Isaiah 40:13), masculine pronouns are used.

Paul compared the spirit of God to the spirit of a person

Many believe that because the spirit of God has a will, it is another person. However, in fact, the spirit of a person represents their will, as Jesus said: “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).

Our spirit, like the spirit of God, has a will and a desire, but that does not make our spirit “another person.”

A person’s spirit can also be aggrieved (Ephesians 4:30) or insulted, as the writer of Hebrews explains in Hebrews 10:29. Many versions translate Hebrews 10:29 as “and hath done despite unto the spirit of grace.”

The Apostle Paul explained that the spirit of God is like the spirit of a man in 1 Corinthians 2:10–12:

But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so, no one knows the things of God except the spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

Paul concluded by saying, “For ‘who has known the mind (νοῦν) of the LORD that he may instruct Him’ [Isaiah 40:13]? But we have ‘the mind (νοῦν) of Christ’” (Philippians 2:5).

The verse Paul quoted from Isaiah reads, “Who has directed the Spirit of Yihvah?”

This clearly proves that the minds of the Spirit of God and God are the same since Paul has substituted “LORD” for “Spirit of the LORD.” We can also see this in Acts 5:3–4.

In Greek mythology, there is a dog called “Cerberus,” who guards the gates of Hades. Hercules tried to subdue Cerberus at the gates (his twelfth labor). Cerberus is a three-headed dog with three brains and three distinct states of consciousness.

God is not like this. God has only “one mind,” one center of consciousness.

The correct understanding of the Word is essential

Essentially, there are four or five main theologies of Christ, and each of them differs in how they see the holy spirit. Those in error do not understand that the Word was the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament.

Apostolic Theology

The Holy Spirit in the prophets was Christ’s Spirit, the firstborn of creation, sent out of the Father at the beginning of creation. He was, and is, the image of the invisible God who was manifest in the flesh. As “the Word,” He spoke the words of the Father and was sent by the Father. The spirit of truth that proceeded from the Father on the Day of Pentecost is the spirit of God. It speaks the words of Christ, bringing comfort to believers and distributing spiritual gifts as it wills.


The Spirit of Christ in the Old Testament and the spirit of truth are the same.

The Trinity

Both Christ and the spirit of truth existed eternally with the Father and are equal to the Father. At times, they choose to submit to the Father because they play different roles in salvation. This is called the “economy” of the Trinity.

So-called “Unitarians” and “Binitarians”

Unitarians believe that Christ was a man chosen by God to carry out His mission. He did not pre-exist. Any spirit of God mentioned in the Bible is only a “force” or “power” of God.

Many so-called “Binitarians” believe that Christ pre-existed but the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament was only a power of God. However, some, who are labelled Binitarians by Trinitarians, do not actually believe in the idea of one God in two distinct persons. Rather, they believe in the plurality evidenced by the word “ELOHIM,” and they believe Christ was only the speaker for the invisible God, who is the one true God.

The earliest belief of the Gentiles

In A.D. 150, Justin Martyr described the “spirit of prophecy” as a “third person” in his First Apology to the emperor of Rome. But the earliest writing of Gentiles did not.

The letter of bishop Clement of Rome to the Corinthians in A.D. 90 is the earliest Christian writing we have that was not written by an Apostle. His letters to the Corinthians were included in the New Testament in the fifth-century Codex Alexandrinus.

Clement was trying to deal with schisms in the Church. He directly referred to Paul’s advice of 1 Corinthians 3 and reiterated the text of Ephesians 4:4–6.

In Chapter 2, Clement wrote, “A full outpouring of the holy spirit was upon you all.” In Chapter 46, he said, “Have we not [all] one God and one Christ? Is there not one spirit of grace poured out upon us?”

Here, he repeated three of Paul’s “ones” in Ephesians 4:4–6, “there is one body, and one spirit . . . one hope . . . one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all.”

In Chapter 58, he repeated five of Paul’s “ones:”

“Lives indeed the God, and lives the Lord Jesus Christ, and the holy spirit, and the faith and hope of the elect.”

ζη γαρ ο θεος και ζη ο κυριος Ιησους Χριστος και το πνευμα το αγιον, η τε πιστις και η ελπις των εκλεκτων

Ironically, Trinitarians believe this passage supports the Trinity, interpolating η τε . . . as “who are the faith and hope of the elect.” But this is not correct, we can compare η τε . . . in this passage to the Greek text of John 6:18, ἥ τε θάλασσα, “and the sea.” Notice that he does not say “and lives the holy spirit” και ζη το πνευμα το αγιον, he would have done this if he saw the holy spirit as “another person.”

  1. C.F.D. Moule, An Idiom Book of New Testament Greek, Cambridge University Press, 1959, pg 113
  2. J. Weingreen, A Practical Grammar for Classical Hebrew, Second Edition. 1959, pg 136, par. 63
  3. See Against Heresies, Chapter 29.5.4
  4. See the Expositors Greek Testament, 1897, Commentary on Acts 10:46.
  5. First Apology, Chapter 13
  6. See Wallace, “Greek Grammar and the Personality of the Holy Spirit,” and “Prooftexting the Personality of the Holy Spirit: An Analysis of the Masculine Demonstrative Pronouns in John 14:26, 15:26, and 16:13–14,” by Andrew David Naselli and Philip R. Gons.
  7. Verses presented from the Concordant Literal Version (CV) are presented with the permission of the Concordant Publishing Concern.