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What Is the Holy Spirit?

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The Day of Pentecost was remembered two weeks ago in many churches around the world. Did you ever wonder why this Holy Day—mentioned in the book of Acts and other books of the Bible—was observed by the Church that Jesus began?

As you may now have come to understand, the Day of Pentecost became well known as the time when God's Church received the Holy Spirit . This dramatic event was accompanied by what looked like tongues of fire descending upon the church members (Acts 2:3 Acts 2:3And there appeared to them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat on each of them.
American King James Version×
).

Since the Day of Pentecost was observed so recently by many Christians, let's confirm what the Holy Spirit is and see how it affects our lives as Christians.

The Power of the Highest

To begin with, the word “spirit” is translated from the Hebrew ruach and the Greek pneuma. Both words denote breath or wind—an invisible force. Scripture says that “God is a Spirit” (John 4:24 John 4:24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
American King James Version×
).

So, just what is the Holy Spirit? One of the simplest descriptions is this: It is the “ power of the Highest. “

Rather than the Holy Spirit being a distinct person or entity, the Bible most often refers to it as and connects it with God's divine  power.

The prophet Micah was inspired to write: “But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the Lord” (Micah 3:8 Micah 3:8But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare to Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.
American King James Version×
, emphasis mine throughout).

Jewish scholars, examining the references to it in the Old Testament Scriptures, have never defined the Holy Spirit as anything but the power of God. In the New Testament, the apostle Paul referred to it as the “spirit of power, love and a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7 2 Timothy 1:7For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
American King James Version×
.)

Informing Mary that Jesus would be supernaturally conceived in her womb, an angel told her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you,” and the divine messenger described this Spirit to her as “the power of the Highest [which] will overshadow you” (Luke 1:35 Luke 1:35And the angel answered and said to her, The Holy Ghost shall come on you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God.
American King James Version×
).

Then, in a noteworthy Pentecost-related statement, Jesus told His followers, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8 Acts 1:8But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come on you: and you shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth.
American King James Version×
).

God's Word shows that the Holy Spirit is the very nature, presence and expression of God's power actively working in His servants. Indeed, it is through His Spirit that God is present everywhere at once throughout the universe and affects it at will. He is omnipresent.

Confronted with such scriptures, even the New Catholic Encyclopedia admits:

“The OT [Old Testament] clearly does not envisage God's spirit as a person…God's spirit is simply God's power. If it is sometimes represented as being distinct from God, it is because the breath of Yahweh acts exteriorly…The majority of NT [New Testament] texts reveal God's spirit as some thing , not some one  ; this is especially seen in the parallelism between the spirit and the power of God” (1965, Vol. 13, “Spirit of God,” pp. 574-576).

The reference work A Catholic Dictionary similarly acknowledges,

“On the whole the New Testament, like the Old, speaks of the spirit as a divine energy or power” (William Addis and Thomas Arnold, 2004, “Trinity, Holy,” p. 827).

Describing the Holy Spirit

In contrast to God the Father and Jesus Christ, who are consistently compared to human beings in Their form and shape, the Holy Spirit is consistently represented by various symbols and manifestations in a completely different manner—such as breath, wind, fire, water, oil [remember the parable of the ten virgins trimming their oil lamps?], a dove and a down payment on eternal life.

And so, as we remember the Day of Pentecost and the many Christians who observed this particular Holy Day of God this year, let's be reminded that it is the “power of the Highest.”

For more information on the subject of the Holy Spirit, be sure to go online and read or request your own copy of Is God a Trinity? It's good to be well informed on this important topic and the meaning of the Day of Pentecost.