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Quest4Truth Episode 14

posted Nov 6, 2013, 1:20 PM by Rob Skiba   [ updated Feb 2, 2017, 9:58 AM ]
In this episode, Doug Hamp and Rob Skiba pick up where they left off, this time, exploring the first 6 verses of Revelation chapter 3. They discuss the "seven spirits of God" and how the Holy Spirit fits with them and the concept of the Trinity. Is the Holy Spirit a "person" or the "breath of God"? What about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit vs the "upon" manifestation, which brings power through the gifts of the Spirit? Who is Jesus coming to "as a thief in the night"? They do their best to answer these questions and more in this exciting episode of Quest4Truth!


ADDITIONAL NOTES FROM ROB SKIBA:

The Holy Spirit
 
I believe that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Yeshua (Jesus Christ), and during this age to convict men, regenerate the believing sinner, and indwell, guide, instruct, and empower the believer for Godly living and service.
 
The Trinity
 
I believe the Godhead consists of the Father and the Son, who both share the Holy Spirit as One. While I do believe these Three are One, thus referred to as a "Trinity," my issue is with how it is generally defined by the Catholic Church and likewise parroted by other denominations.


I do believe in the Trinity as depicted in the above graphic. 

It is true that the Trinity consists of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and that while each one is distinct, they are not each other, yet all are God. At one time I believed there were "three persons" to the Godhead. I no longer believe that. I believe the Holy Spirit is distinct, but ultimately it is a functional part of the Father - it is His Spirit:

Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. Isaiah 42:1

And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. Ezekiel 36:27

And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.Joel 2:29

Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. Zechariah 4:6

But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 
For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.
 
- Matthew 10:19,20

Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. - Matthew 12:18

But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
John 15:26

Biblically speaking, the Holy Spirit is clearly the Spirit of YHWH. Therefore, like E.W. Bullinger, I don't believe it is necessary to complicate the matter by assigning a word such as "person" to that which is nowhere described as such in the Bible. 

https://sites.google.com/site/quest4truthshow/Archived-Shows/quest4truthepisode14/Bullinger-HolySpirit.jpg?attredirects=0
[CLICK PIC TO ENLARGE]

In Hebrew, the word "ruach" is used 31 times as breath, 76 times as Spirit and 98 times as wind. The word first appears in Genesis 1:2...

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the SPIRIT of God moved upon the face of the waters. - Genesis 1:2

The Spirit "moved" across the waters then just as it did after the Flood:

And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a WIND to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged; - Genesis 8:1

Note: The ISV renders this same verse (Gen. 8:1) as:

God kept Noah in mind, along with all the wildlife and livestock that were with him in the ark. God's SPIRIT moved throughout the earth, causing the flood waters to subside. - Genesis 8:1

The "ruach" is what gives life:

And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the BREATH of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. - Genesis 6:17

All the while my breath is in me, and the SPIRIT of God is in my nostrils; - Job 27:3

The SPIRIT of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life. - Job 33:4

It's what leaves at death: 

Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their BREATH, they die, and return to their dust. 
- Psalm 104:29

The exact same principle holds true in the Greek:

And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my SPIRIT: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.
- Luke 23:46

What is interesting about the Luke 23 Scripture is the phrase, "gave up the ghost." While pneuma is not employed here for "ghost" the idea of BREATHING is! The phrase "gave up the ghost" is used for one's "dying breath" in a number of other places in the Bible as well. For instance:

And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. - Acts 5:5

And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost. - Acts 12:23

The phrase "gave up the ghost" comes from one Greek word ekpsuchó, which means, to expire, breathe one's last. Thus, yet again, we see that the spirit leaves the body at death through the MOUTH as breath.

It enters in and/or comes from the MOUTH and/or NOSTRILS as seen in multiple places in the book of Job (commonly recognized as the oldest book of the Bible). For instance:

That thou turnest thy SPIRIT against God, and lettest such words go out of thy mouth?  - Job 15:13 

He shall not depart out of darkness; the flame shall dry up his branches, and by the BREATH of his mouth shall he go away. - Job 15:30

My BREATH is strange to my wife, though I intreated for the children's sake of mine own body. - Job 19:17

All the while my breath is in me, and the SPIRIT of God is in my nostrils; - Job 27:3

Ezekiel 37:
Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause BREATH to enter into you, and ye shall live: 
6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put BREATH in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.
8 And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no BREATH in them.

Then, there is the example in Ezekiel 37 used in the above video (click pic to enlarge):


Continuing in Ezekiel's vision of life coming back into the dead, dry bones...

Ezekiel 37:
10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the BREATH came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
11 Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.
12 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
13 And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,
14 And shall put my SPIRIT in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord.
 

If Ezekiel 37 isn't a slam-dunk for this thesis, I don't know what is! Clearly it was this BREATH of YHWH (which is His Spirit) that reanimated the dead, dry bones after the flesh and sinews were added. The text cannot possibly be more clear.

But, just for the sake of argument, here are some more Scriptures on the breath/wind/spirit of YHWH:


Compare that also with Isaiah 40:7:


In the New Testament we see Paul telling Timothy...

All Scripture is God-BREATHED and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, - 2 Timothy 3:16

Peter confirms this, stating that all prophecy comes from/through the moving of the Holy Spirit, causing them to SPEAK:

For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. - 2 Peter 1:21

We again see the Spirit being associated with what comes out of the mouth:

But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speakFor it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. - Matthew 10:20

And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. - Luke 23:46 (KJV)

That is actually not a very good translation there in the KJV. It says, "he gave up the ghost" but what it really says in the Greek (as stated above) is "he breathed His last" as it is generally rendered in most other English translations:

Then Jesus cried out with a loud voice and said, "Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit." After he said this, he breathed his last. - Luke 23:46 (ISV)

As He was about to die, Jesus cried out and entrusted His ruach/pneuma/Spirit to His Father as He released it as His last breath.

When the Holy Spirit came down on Pentecost, it did so not as a "person" but with the sound of a mighty rushing wind and it manifested as tongues of fire:

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. - Acts 2:1-3

And verse 4 of this same chapter, gives yet another example of the Holy Spirit/ruach/pneuma being associated with the mouth:

And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. - Acts 2:4

To me, the most obvious example of all is given in the Gospel of John:

And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: - John 20:22

When Yeshua breathed on the disciples in John 20:22, I do not believe that another "person" entered the room. The Hebrew word "ruach" and the Greek word "pneuma." both mean "breath/wind/spirit" - in this case, I believe it is the breath of YHVH, which filled Yeshua and which was breathed again through Him to His disciples. 

But many will point to Scriptures like John 14:26 as proof that the Holy Spirit is a person:

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. - John 14:26 KJV

The problem is, the Greek word used here for "he" is ekeinos (Strong's 1565), which is a demonstrative pronoun that means "that, that one there, yonder" as opposed to the standard pronoun autos (Strong's # 846), which is a personal pronoun meaning, "he, she, it, they, them, same" as seen repeatedly for instance in 1 John 3:24:

And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us. - 1 John 3:24


In the John 14:26 passage as well as John 15:26, the word "ekeinos" could have just as easily been translated (with its actual definition) as "that one" and have been far more consistent with the whole of Scripture concerning the Holy Spirit.


When considering Greek words such as "autos", should we really base our doctrine on the English translator's choices of personal pronouns, which can (and often were) used in different ways concerning the same subject (the Holy Spirit)? Many argue in favor of the translation "he" but even in our English Bibles, we find that the word "it" is used rather often:

And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and IT abode upon him.
John 1:32

The wind [pneuma] bloweth where IT listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit [pneuma]. - John 3:8

The Spirit ITSELF beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: - Romans 8:16

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit ITSELF maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. - Romans 8:26

Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when IT testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. - 1 Peter 1:11

Further complicating the issue is the fact that the Hebrew word "ruach" is a Noun/Feminine and the Greek word "pneuma" is a Noun/Neuter. 


So, in neither case, can we really justify the usual masculine pronoun of "he"? Of course, when referring to the ruach/pneuma/spirit as something coming from either the Father or Son, the masculine noun may be appropriate (and when used in reference to masculine nouns such as "Paraklētos"), but otherwise, I don't believe we should be basing our entire doctrine on the English Bible translator's choice of the word "he" from a word that could just as easily be translated as "it" - or even "she" for that matter.

When recognizing that "ruach" is a feminine noun, consider also what Proverbs 8 has to say concerning one of the seven spirits of God. In Isaiah 11:2, we see that one of the seven spirits is "wisdom." All through Proverbs 8, wisdom and understanding are described in feminine terms!

And the spirit of the Lord 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; Isaiah 11:2

Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice? She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths. She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors. - Proverbs 8:1-3

Many suggest that the Holy Spirit speaks with "his own voice." The ruach/pneuma/Spirit of YHWH is not a rogue entity. Even Yeshua said that He does not speak with His own voice. Yes, He uses His vocal chords, but He does so to speak the Father's words.

For I have not spoken on My own, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a command as to what I should say and what I should speak. - John 12:49

And I know that what he commands brings eternal life. What I speak, therefore, I speak just as the Father has told me." - John 12:50

Don't you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words I speak to you I do not speak on My own. The Father who lives in Me does His works. - John 14:10

How is the Father "living in" Yeshua? Through the Spirit! Thus, the words that come through the Spirit are the Father's, whether emanating from the lips of Christ or whispering in that "still small voice" within the hearts and minds of Believers in Him.

Some demand that I believe as they do concerning this issue. They have the "hubris" to declare that I'm a "cult leader" and/or that I am not even a Christian because I don't share their Catholic dogma. But c
onsider what the Apostle John wrote:

 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. - 1 John 2:22,23

If considering the Holy Spirit to be a "person" was so critical to our faith, why did John leave "Him" out of the above Scriptures? As Doug Hamp and I talked about in Q4T Episode 12, where do we see belief in the (Catholic defined) doctrine of the Trinity a necessity for salvation? What is required for salvation?Paul narrows it down to this:

Romans 10:
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Anyone who requires more than that is "preaching a different Gospel" and is therefore a "false teacher." You should pay no attention to such people.

The Bible never tells us to view the Holy Spirit as a "person", nor does it demand such a belief as a requirement for salvation nor for fellowship with other Believers.  Thus, this modern "inquisition" of public slander, ridicule, libel and defamation of character that some feel justified in spearheading against me has no Biblical justification whatsoever. I am not telling anyone what to believe. I am only stating what I believe based on my own reading of Scripture. I would encourage you to toss out "the doctrines of men" and search these things out for yourself. And remember, we have a job to do, which does not include shooting our own. The Holy Spirit is more than capable of correcting any errors we may have in our beliefs.

And people need to stop with the "blasphemy of the Holy Spirit" accusations! Nothing I have said here constitutes the Biblical definition of this "unforgivable sin." The context of what constitutes this particular sin is clearly seen in... 

Matthew 12:
24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.
25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:
26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?
27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.

28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.

29 Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.
30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

I certainly am NOT speaking against the Holy Spirit, nor am I attributing to Beelzebub that which is really done by the Spirit of God. Neither are my detractors doing so with their view. Therefore, such accusations are completely unfounded and should not be used in this discussion.

I simply believe that referring to the Holy Spirit is a distinct "person" or "individual" in the Godhead causes many problems. For instance - in addition to what has already been written above - consider:

Without a doubt, Yeshua came from His Father, and therefore, He shares all of His Father's attributes, but yet He remains as a separate person seated at the Father's right hand. While it is a given that at some point in eternity past (John 1), Yeshua became the "only begotten Son" of YHWH (the Father), if the Holy Spirit were indeed a "third person," then in the Incarnation, Yeshua would not be the only begotten of the Father, but rather He would have been the only begotten of the person of the Holy Spirit who impregnated Mary. 

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy GhostThen Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. - Matthew 1:18-20

I find this idea very problematic. How many Father's does Yeshua have? If you remain dogmatic about the Holy Spirit being a separate "person/individual" in the Godhead, then you simply cannot escape this conundrum. You are forced to believe that the Holy Spirit (person) is Yeshua's Father and not YHWH. There is no way around that.

Furthermore, if the Holy Spirit is indeed a separate person, just as the Son is, where is He seated in reference to the Father? Unlike the Father and Son, there is no third throne in Heaven for the Holy Spirit, nor does it even have a name. These are all troublesome questions that must necessarily arise out of the standard (Catholic) definition for the Trinity.

I believe the writers of the Nicene Creed may have dealt with similar issues, which is why they worded their creed as follows:

The Nicene Creed

The Synod at Nice set forth this Creed.
The Ecthesis of the Synod at Nice.

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of his Father, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten (γεννηθέντα), not made, being of one substance (ὁμοούσιον, consubstantialem) with the Father. By whom all things were made, both which be in heaven and in earth. Who for us men and for our salvation came down [from heaven] and was incarnate and was made man. He suffered and the third day he rose again, and ascended into heaven. And he shall come again to judge both the quick and the dead. And [we believe] in the Holy Ghost. And whosoever shall say that there was a time when the Son of God was not (ἤν ποτε ὅτε οὐκ ἦν), or that before he was begotten he was not, or that he was made of things that were not, or that he is of a different substance or essence [from the Father] or that he is a creature, or subject to change or conversion — all that so say, the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes them.

You'll note that even they did not state that the Holy Ghost/Spirit was another "person" in the Godhead. They merely stated that they believe in it. As do I! I will never deny the existence of the Holy Spirit! It is very real and I welcome its work in my life on a regular basis. However, the idea I am challenging is whether or not it should be considered a "He" as in another person (i.e. Third Person of the Trinity), who works alongside the Second Person of Yeshua/Jesus, and the First Person of the Father YHVH. The attendees of the Nicene Council (AD 325) stopped short of calling the Holy Spirit a person. It wasn't until more than 50 years later at the Council of Constantinople (AD 381) that the Holy Spirit would later be defined as a person, and the Nicene Creed thus modified to reflect that view.

Concerning the [modified] Nicene Creed, the online Catholic Encyclopedia writes:

As approved in amplified form at the Council of Constantinople (381), it is the profession of the Christian Faith common to the Catholic Church, to all the Eastern Churches separated from Rome, and to most of the Protestant denominations.

Soon after the Council of Nicaea new formulas of faith were composed, most of them variations of the Nicene Symbol, to meet new phases of Arianism. There were at least four before the Council of Sardica in 341, and in that council a new form was presented and inserted in the Acts, though not accepted by the council. The Nicene Symbol, however, continued to be the only one in use among the defenders of the Faith. Gradually it came to be recognized as the proper profession of faith for candidates for baptism. Its alteration into the Nicene-Constantinopolitan formula, the one now in use, is usually ascribed to the Council of Constantinople, since the Council of Chalcedon (451), which designated this symbol as "The Creed of the Council of Constantinople of 381" had it twice read and inserted in its Acts. The historians SocratesSozomen, andTheodoret do not mention this, although they do record that the bishops who remained at the council after the departure of the Macedonians confirmed the Nicene faithHefele (II, 9) admits the possibility of our present creed being a condensation of the "Tome" (Greek tomos), i.e. the exposition of the doctrines concerning the Trinity made by the Council of Constantinople; but he prefers the opinion of Rémi Ceillier and Tillemonttracing the new formula to the "Ancoratus" of Epiphanius written in 374. Hort, Caspari, Harnack, and others are of the opinion that the Constantinopolitan form did not originate at the Council of Constantinople, because it is not in the Acts of the council of 381, but was inserted there at a later date; because Gregory Nazianzen who was at the council mentions only the Nicene formula adverting to its incompleteness about the Holy Ghost, showing that he did not know of the Constantinopolitan form which supplies this deficiency; and because the Latin Fathers apparently know nothing of it before the middle of the fifth century.

The following is a literal translation of the Greek text of the Constantinopolitan form, the brackets indicating the words altered or added in the Western liturgical form in present use:

We believe (I believe) in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, and born of the Father before all ages. (God of God) light of light, true God of true God. Begotten not madeconsubstantial to the Father, by whom all things were made. Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven. And was incarnate of the Holy Ghost and of the Virgin Mary and was made man; was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, suffered and was buried; and the third day rose again according to the Scriptures. And ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of the Father, and shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead, of whose Kingdom there shall be no end. And (I believe) in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father (and the Son), who together with the Father and the Son is to be adored and glorified, who spoke by the Prophets. And one holycatholic, and apostolic Church. We confess (I confess) one baptism for the remission of sins. And we look for (I look for) the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to comeAmen."

In this form the Nicene article concerning the Holy Ghost is enlarged; several words, notably the two clauses "of the substance of the Father" and "God of God," are omitted as also are the anathemas; ten clauses are added; and in five places the words are differently located. In general the two forms contain what is common to all the baptismal formulas in the early Church. Vossius (1577-1649) was the first to detect the similarity between the creed set forth in the "Ancoratus" and the baptismal formula of the Church at Jerusalem. Hort (1876) held that the symbolis a revision of the Jerusalem formula, in which the most important Nicene statements concerning the Holy Ghost have been inserted. The author of the revision may have been St. Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386). Various hypotheses are offered to account for the tradition that the Niceno-Constantinopolitan symbol originated with the Council of Constantinople, but none of them is satisfactory. Whatever be its origin, the fact is that the Council of Chalcedon (451) attributed it to the Council of Constantinople, and if it was not actually composed in that council, it was adopted and authorized by the Fathers assembled as a true expression of the Faith. The history of the creed is completed in the article Filioque. (See also: ARIUSEUSEBIUS OF CAESAREA)

Modern scholars such as Cris Putnam and others are correct in stating that the mainstream definition concerning the Doctrine of the Trinity and the "person" of the Holy Spirit is 1,700 years old. The reason for this is, of course, because it is a Catholic Doctrine! NewAdvent.org (an on-line Catholic Encyclopedia) makes this abundantly clear:

The doctrine of the Catholic Church concerning the Holy Ghost forms an integral part of her teaching on the mystery of the Holy Trinity, of which St. Augustine (On the Holy Trinity I.3.5), speaking with diffidence, says: "In no other subject is the danger of erring so great, or the progress so difficult, or the fruit of a careful study so appreciable". The essential points of the dogma may be resumed in the following propositions:

    • The Holy Ghost is the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity.
    • Though really distinct, as a Person, from the Father and the Son, He is consubstantial with Them; being God like Them, He possesses with Them one and the same Divine Essence or Nature.
    • He proceeds, not by way of generation, but by way of spiration, from the Father and the Son together, as from a single principle.
Such is the belief the Catholic faith demands.  [Source]

Others may choose to take their marching orders from the Catholic Church, but I do not. I prefer to stick with the Biblical definitions. In other words, I prefer to base my doctrine and beliefs on the solid weight of the thousands of years of Hebraic understanding that predates the Catholic Church's influence. After all, the Catholic Church did not write the Bible, the Hebrews did! And as Doug rightly pointed out in this episode of Quest4Truth, the Jews never had a concept of the Holy Spirit as another "person" apart from YHWH.

Ultimately, my view of the working of the Holy Spirit is NO DIFFERENT than that of any of my detractors. The absurd marathon debates I've found myself in lately concerning this issue are all about a modern Inquisition to make me (and others) adhere to Catholic definitions. The whole thing is completely ridiculous really. Whether the Holy Spirit is the Biblically defined breath of YHWH or the Catholic defined "third Person" of the Trinity makes no difference whatsoever. The end result is exactly the same. Either way, we all believe in the Holy Spirit and we all (should) allow the Holy Spirit to do His/Its job in and through us. Personhood or breath of YHWH has no bearing on our faith, nor our ability to be used by God. Men have made an issue out of something that should not be one. Those who are making this an issue are not doing so by Divine decree of Scripture, but rather by the decree of the Catholic Church:

Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith. Which Faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the Catholic Faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity. Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. 
...So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not Three Gods, but One God. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not Three Lords but One Lord. For, like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by Himself to be God and Lord, so are we forbidden by the Catholic Religion to say, there be Three Gods or Three Lords. The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father, and of the Son neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.
...This is the Catholic Faith, which except a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved.

[CLICK HERE for the full creed]

The above is generally attributed to St. Athanasius, Archbishop of Alexandria (296 - 373 A.D.). Some question this, but the Online Catholic Encyclopedia concludes:

Then would follow speculation as to its author, and what wonder, if, from the subject-matter of the Creed, which occupied the great Athanasius so much, his name was first affixed to it and, unchallenged, remained.

Therefore, I adjure you think twice before joining this modern Inquisition. Do you want to act in accordance with Divine Scripture ( 1 John 2:22,23), or rather the doctrines of men... from the Catholic Church?

Other interesting quotes:

"The word Trinity is not found in the Bible . . . It did not find a place formally in the theology of the church till the 4th century." -- The Illustrated Bible Dictionary

"In Scripture there is as yet no single term by which the Three Divine Persons are denoted together. The word [tri'as] (of which the Latin trinitas is a translation) is first found in Theophilus of Antioch about A. D. 180 . . . Shortly afterwards it appears in its Latin form of trinitas in Tertullian." However, this is no proof in itself that Tertullian taught the Trinity. The Catholic work Trinitas - A Theological Encyclopedia of the Holy Trinity, for example, notes that some of Tertullian's words were later used by others to describe the Trinity. But then it states: "But hasty conclusions cannot be drawn from usage, for he does not apply the words to Trinitarian theology." - The Catholic Encyclopedia

"Neither the word Trinity nor the explicit doctrine appears in the New Testament." - The New Encyclopedia Britannica

"To Jesus and Paul the doctrine of the trinity was apparently unknown; . . . they say nothing about it." -- Yale University Professor E. Washburn Hopkins, Origin and Evolution of Religion.

"As early as the 8th century, the Theologian St. John of Damascus frankly admitted what every modern critical scholar of the NT now realizes: that neither the Doctrine of the Trinity nor that of the 2 natures of Jesus Christ is explicitly set out in scripture. In fact, if you take the record as it is and avoid reading back into it the dogmatic definitions of a later age, you cannot find what is traditionally regarded as orthodox Christianity in the Bible at all." -- Tom Harpur, For Christ's Sake.

"Jesus Christ never mentioned such a phenomenon, and nowhere in the New Testament does the word 'Trinity' appear. The idea was only adopted by the Church three hundred years after the death of our Lord." -- Historian Arthur Weigall, The Paganism in Our Christianity

"Neither the word Trinity, nor the explicit doctrine as such, appears in the New Testament, nor did Jesus and his followers intend to contradict the Shema in the Old Testament: 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord' -- Deut. 6:4 . . . The doctrine developed gradually over several centuries and through many controversies . . . By the end of the 4th century . . . the doctrine of the Trinity took substantially the form it has maintained ever since." -- The New Encyclopedia Britannica, Micropædia, Vol. X, p. 126. (1976)

"The formulation 'one God in three Persons' was not solidly established, certainly not fully assimilated into Christian life and its profession of faith, prior to the end of the 4th century. But it is precisely this formulation that has first claim to the title the Trinitarian dogma. Among the Apostolic Fathers, there had been nothing even remotely approaching such a mentality or perspective." - The New Catholic Encyclopedia ,(1967), Vol. XIV, p. 299.

"Christianity derived from Judaism and Judaism was strictly Unitarian [believing that God is one person]. The road which led from Jerusalem to Nicaea was scarcely a straight one. Fourth century Trinitarianism did not reflect accurately early Christian teaching regarding the nature of God; it was, on the contrary, a deviation from this teaching." -- The Encyclopedia Americana, (1956), Vol. XXVII, p. 294L.

"Christianity did not destroy paganism; it adopted it. . . . From Egypt came the ideas of a divine trinity." And in the book Egyptian Religion, Siegfried Morenz notes: "The trinity was a major preoccupation of Egyptian theologians . . . Three gods are combined and treated as a single being, addressed in the singular. In this way the spiritual force of Egyptian religion shows a direct link with Christian theology." – Historian Will Durant

IN SUMMARY:
I think it is more appropriate to believe that the Holy Spirit is indeed very real and plays an active and distinct role in our salvation and walk with YHVH, but that it is the powerful, life-giving breath of the Father (YHWH) and not a separate individual "person" apart from Him. Again, as E.W. Bullinger said:


For more, please watch Quest4Truth Episode 14 (above)

Special Thanks to Josh Peck for allowing me an opportunity to elaborate on my views in this regard:
Skip ahead to 117 minutes in for the specific discussion concerning
the Holy Spirit and my belief concerning the Trinity.

NEW INFORMATION:

In a recent interview on Derek Gilbert's View From the Bunker radio broadcast, in a debate with Dr. Russ Houck, Cris Putnam brought forth some quotes from the "Church Father", Tertullian, from his work, Against Praxeas (ch. 25):

What follows Philip's question, and the Lord's whole treatment of it, to the end of John's Gospel, continues to furnish us with statements of the same kind, distinguishing the Father and the Son, with the properties of each. Then there is the Paraclete or Comforter, also, which He promises to pray for to the Father, and to send from heaven after He had ascended to the Father. He is called "another Comforter," indeed; but in what way He is another we have already shown, "He shall receive of mine," says Christ, just as Christ Himself received of the Father's. Thus the connection of the Father in the Son, and of the Son in the Paraclete, produces three coherent Persons, who are yet distinct One from Another. These Three are, one essence, not one Person, as it is said, "I and my Father are One," in respect of] unity of substance not singularity of number. 

That was actually a great defense against the Constantine/Catholic Church argument, which I myself held to (as seen above) because I was unaware of that quote from Tertullian, which predates the various Councils. Kodos to him for finding it. And I mean that sincerely. It was a great find. Frankly, I'm surprised he didn't pull that card long ago. It would have certainly impacted our prior discourse. Perhaps he just discovered it himself in prep for the debate? I don't know, but well played it was. That said...

1) Although I also like much of Tertullian's writings myself, he did not write Scripture and so we need to keep that in mind. All doctrine needs to come from Scripture alone.

2) He apparently wrote his trinitarian formula after becoming a Montanist
[Justo L. Gonzáles, The Story of Christianity, Volume 1: The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2010), 91–93]

3) Some accounts claim that before his conversion to Christianity, Montanus was a priest of Apollo or Cybele. Tom Horn should be able to shed some light on that issue I would think. Montanus believed he was a prophet of God and that the Paraclete spoke through him. He proclaimed the towns of Pepuza and Tymion in west-central Phrygia as the site of the New Jerusalem, making the larger Pepuza his headquarters.
[Tabbernee, William (2009), Prophets and Gravestones: An Imaginative History of Montanists and Other Early Christians, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson]

Oh well, nobody is perfect, but at least those who subscribe to "personhood" can now up their belief to about 1800 years ago. Too bad they still can't nail it down to the Bible though. If they could, they might just regain a convert here, back to that belief system. But they'd also have to refute the numerous Scriptures that clearly state the Holy Spirit is the breath of YHWH. 

The actual definitions of the Hebrew word "ruach" and the Greek word "pnuema" mean: breath, wind, spirit (note nothing in the definitions indicate a "person"). And all of the NUMEROUS references found in Scripture depicting the "breath of God" most certainly are not a "metaphor." This is about as clear and straight-forward as Scripture can be:

When he had said this, he breathed on them and told them, "Receive the Holy Spirit." - John 20:22

This Scripture is not open to subjective interpretation. It cannot be any more plain or direct, and must not be ignored or trivialized with rhetoric about metaphors. Now, simple question:

Who gave the Holy Spirit in the above passage, and from what part of the body did the ruach/pneuma/Spirit come?

Answer that and you've found just one solid Biblical definition among many in both the OT and NT for how we are to understand the Holy ruach/pneuma/Spirit. And it required no intervention from people influenced by Apollo [antichrist] or the Cybele [mother of the pagan gods]. 

Just some food for thought...
 
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