Pentecost, the day the church was birthed (Acts 2) saw a new focus on the person and work of the Holy Spirit. This is the day of fulfilment of the Old Testament scriptures and the empowering of both the church and individuals.
In the Old Testament, the term used for the Holy Spirit is “the Spirit of God” or “his Spirit”, e.g. at creation we see “the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” (Genesis 1:2). He was bearing witness to the spoken Word of God. Throughout the Old Testament we read how God raised up prophets and national leaders who ministered when prompted by the Spirit of God (Numbers 24:2; 1 Samuel 10:10; 11:6; 2 Chronicles 15:1; 24:20; Isaiah 48:16; Ezekiel 11:24; Zechariah 7:12). When the tabernacle was being built, we read of skilled individuals who were filled with the Holy Spirit and were then able to work in all manner of crafts (Exodus 31 and 35). During this dispensation the Holy Spirit rested on specific people for a specific time and for a specific purpose.
Jesus, who bridged the Old and New Covenants had a very special relationship with the Holy Spirit and became the pattern for every New Testament believer.
In Isaiah 11:2 we see the seven-fold description of the Holy Spirit on Jesus:
• The Spirit of the Lord shall rest (literally remain, hence John the Baptist said “On Him who the Spirit remains John 1:32) upon Him.
• The Spirit of wisdom (Hebrew ‘hakema’ meaning skilful, wise in administration, shrewdness, prudence, the application of knowledge both ethically and morally),
• and understanding (Hebrew ‘biyna’ meaning the ability to act with confidence).
• The Spirit of counsel (Hebrew ‘Esa’ which is the ability to give advice and to direct, but not to coerce),
• and might (Hebrew ‘gebura’ which is to have the force and power to bring the victory – ultimately Jesus’ return in glory).
• The Spirit of knowledge (Hebrew ‘dahat’ which is know how, perception and cunningness),
• and of the fear of the Lord (Hebrew ‘iyrha’, which is honour and respect). There is always a respect of God in any believer or church which is moving forward with God under the unction of the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:31).
Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in Jesus, heralding a new dispensation of the Holy Spirit.
The apostle, John, records an intimate description of how the New Testament believer is empowered by the Holy Spirit in the new covenant. He uses the word parakletos five times to explain our relationship with the Holy Spirit (four times in the gospel of John and once in the first letter of John). The word itself has an interesting history with its origin being a cry for help. By the 4th century BC it had the concept of being used to describe the cry for help of a defendant in a law court: the parakletos would make intercession on behalf of the defendant and would be an advocate on the defendant’s behalf, not based on the defendant’s identity but based on the identity of the parakletos. John’s use of the word describes the operation of the Holy Spirit within the believer as both intercessor and advocate.
John’s first use of the word, parakletos, is found in John chapter 14:
And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper (parakletos), that He may abide with you forever – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. John 14:16-18 (NKJV)
In this passage we see that Jesus is the first parakletos and therefore, the Holy Spirit will continue the relationship between the disciples and Jesus. In our case our relationship with Jesus is only alive through the Holy Spirit, who is intended to be with us forever. It should be noted that Jesus is telling us that the Holy Spirit dwells, or lives in us. Unlike any other religion, we have God on the inside of us (Col 2:9-10)! We also see that only disciples will recognise the Holy Spirit working and confirming that we are in God’s family, not orphans, because He is coming back.
These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper (parakletos), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to you remembrance all things that I said to you. John 14:26 (NKJV)
In John 14:26 we see another activity of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life – teaching them and bringing to remembrance the words of Jesus. The Holy Spirit helps us to study and will bring back into our thinking what we have studied. This does not mean that we can casually read the Bible or just listen to other people teaching, we are supposed to dig deep into the Word and the Holy Spirit will bring understanding and revelation as we meditate on God’s Word. These are the Words that will come alive to us and will be brought back to our thinking as we need to be reminded of them.
But when the Helper (parakletos) comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning. John 15:26-27 (NKJV)
Here we see that the Holy Spirit will bear witness to Jesus. That means the Holy Spirit bears witness to the truth of Jesus’ birth, life, death, burial and resurrection in our hearts and that every believer is now a witness of Jesus by the Holy Spirit. We were not actual witnesses of Jesus’ death nor of His burial. But we are witnesses of the power of our risen Lord who is alive forevermore!