Q. We call the Holy Spirit “God,” and we also say that they receive the Holy Spirit during the feasts. How can we define the Holy Spirit?
A. There are many cases in the Bible that one word is used for different meanings. For example, when we look for the word “law” in the New Testament, the law fundamentally indicates the Ten Commandments which were given in the time of Moses or detailed explanations related to them (Ro 7:7; Jas 2:11; Jn 8:5, 17). However, sometimes it refers to the Pentateuch including the law or even the entire Old Testament (Gal 4:21; Lk 24:44; Jn 12:34). Of course, they are related to one another, but strictly speaking, they mean different things.
It is the same with the word, “Holy Spirit.” Originally, the Holy Spirit refers to God who has a personality, but we also say that we receive the Holy Spirit when we receive a special ability by the presence of the Holy Spirit with us.
The Holy Spirit is God with a personality
The Holy Spirit means “God’s spirit that is holy.” Some insist that “spirit” is not a person but a formless active force like an electric wave or energy so the Holy Spirit, too, is simply an energy force of God. However, this insistence brings a preposterous conclusion that God and Jesus are not beings with personality but mere active energy; because the Bible testifies that God is spirit, and Jesus is spirit, too.
Jn 4:24 “God is spirit . . .”
2 Co 3:17 Now the Lord [Jesus] is the Spirit . . .
The Holy Spirit sometimes grieves, groans, intercedes, and thinks. If the Holy Spirit were not a being with personality but an active force like energy, could He grieve, groan, intercede or think?
Eph 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God . . .
Ro 8:26-27 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.
We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
The Holy Spirit is the same as God the Father and God the Son
People may misunderstand that God and the Holy Spirit are different because the Holy Spirit is written as the spirit of God, but the Holy Spirit and God are one and the same. Just as I and my spirit do not exist as two separate beings but one and the same as myself, the spirit of God does not exist separately from God, but He is God himself.
1 Co 2:10-11 . . . but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
The Holy Spirit knows the thoughts of God, which can be known only by God. This cannot happen if God and the Holy Spirit are different.
God the Father, who is the Holy Spirit, came to the earth as a son―He is God the Son Jesus.
Isa 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Ro 9:5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised!
Jesus who was born as a baby on this earth was testified to be God forever praised because Jesus is fundamentally God the Father. If Jesus is God, because God is the Holy Spirit, Jesus is the Holy Spirit, too.
Ro 8:26-27 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
Ro 8:34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died―more than that, who was raised to life―is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
The Bible says that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us, and also says that Jesus intercedes for us. It is because the Holy Spirit is Jesus.
1 Pe 1:10-11 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.
2 Pe 1:20-21 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
The Apostle Peter said that the prophecies concerning the Christ to come, namely, the prophecies in the Old Testament, were written by “the Spirit of Christ,” and again he said that the Bible was written by the prophets who were carried along by the “Holy Spirit.” This also shows that the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of Jesus are one and the same.
As we’ve just studied, the Holy Spirit and God Jehovah and Jesus are one and the same. Though they have different titles and names, they are the same one God. It is the same logic which is applied when we name the identical material―water, ice, or vapor.
Gifts of the Holy Spirit
When the Holy Spirit, namely, God, comes, we receive special abilities. These are the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Bible says that the same Spirit gives us the message of wisdom, the message of knowledge, faith, prophecy, speaking in different kinds of languages, and so on (1 Co 12:4-11). By the way, about receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit, sometimes the Bible simply says that we receive the Holy Spirit. That’s why some may misunderstand that the Holy Spirit itself is the abilities, but as we stated before, the power itself is not the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is fundamentally God with a personality; the omniscient and omnipotent God who fills the whole universe comes to the saints and gives them the gifts of special abilities. Therefore, it is appropriate to understand that we receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit when we say they receive the Holy Spirit.
Ac 2:4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Ac 10:44-46 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.
The apostles spoke in other languages, and the family of Cornelius spoke in tongues when Peter preached the gospel; it was because they received the gift of speaking in other tongues from the Holy Spirit. This clearly shows that the ability itself is not the Holy Spirit, but that the gift of the Holy Spirit, namely, the ability, appears when the Holy Spirit comes upon the saints. So, we can understand the words, “We receive the Holy Spirit by keeping the feasts of the new covenant,” as “The Holy Spirit, though invisible, comes on us and gives us the gifts of wisdom, knowledge, faith, and so on.”
People in the world usually regard “the gift of the Holy Spirit” as other things like tongues or healing which is visible, but in fact the Bible mentions the wisdom to realize the Christ, or the words of knowledge, or faith preferentially than tongues and healing (1 Co 12:7-10, 28). And it says that the greatest among the gifts of the Holy Spirit is, love.
1 Co 12:31-13:3 But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
The feasts of the new covenant are the very truth which Heavenly Father and Mother established with great love by sacrificing Themselves even to the point of death to save sinners who were destined to die. Hence the most sure way to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit is to engrave the love of Father and Mother deep on our hearts and keep the feasts of the new covenant.