The Holy Spirit
Welcome to our online home Blog, House of Mercy, DC! In this blog series, we are going to be shedding light on the Holy Spirit. We want to start by clarifying some misconceptions about the Holy Sprit. We all know that name is very important to identity. Therefore, in this article, we start with the proper way to address the Holy Spirit. Here is an article that I read a few years ago and I find it helpful on this subject. It is written by Pastor Tim Enloe whose ministry focuses on the Holy Spirit for the body of Christ. Read with the desire to gain understanding that will enrich your spiritual life. May the Holy Spirit Himself enlighten your spirit man! Amen.
Pastor Peter Akinsanya
Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost?
Pastor Tim Enloe
I recently had a person ask me, “Are the Holy Spirit and the Holy Ghost two different beings? You get the Holy Spirit when you are saved, but you get the Holy Ghost when you speak in tongues, right?”
This question highlights how much confusion there is about the ministry of the Spirit in general and, within that confusion, the significant amount of it that is caused by misunderstood or poor terminology.
Though the questioner raised several points needing clarification, I want to speak to the terms “Holy Ghost” and “Holy Spirit.” A word of warning; this may rattle some deified tradition, but to me, accuracy is always more important than maintaining the status quo.
You have probably noticed that modern English Bible translations do not use the term “Holy Ghost;” and that for good reason. The King James Version (KJV) was translated originally in the year 1611; this version used the terms Holy Spirit and Holy Ghost interchangeably in the New Testament and used the term Holy Spirit solely in the Old Testament.
In the Old Testament–which was written in Hebrew, the term ruach (meaning spirit/Spirit, breath or wind) is translated as “Spirit/spirit.” The only time you’ll find the word “ghost” in the KJV Old Testament is the phrase “give/gave up the ghost”, speaking of someone dying. This phrase is a 1611-era figure of speech that is substituted by the translators for the actual Hebrew verb, gava, which means to die or breath your last breath. There is absolutely no usage of the word “ghost” in the Hebrew Old Testament.
In the New Testament–which was written in Greek, the term pneuma (also literally meaning spirit/Spirit, breath or wind) is used exclusively to speak of God’s invisible Spirit, the third Person of the trinity.
The Greek word for “ghost” is phantasma, meaning “ghostly apparition.” Phantasma is used twice in the Greek New Testament–both times speaking of being frightened by what the Disciples thought was at first sight a “ghostly apparition”, namely Jesus walking towards them on the water (see Matt 14:26 and Mark 6:49). They were literally afraid of what they thought was an unholy ghost!
Though the KJV inconsistently renders pneuma as both Ghost and Spirit, the original is clearly, consistently intended to read as “Holy Spirit”. No place is this more evident than in Acts 2:4, where the KJV translates the one word, pneuma, as both Ghost and Spirit within the same verse! This perhaps demonstrates the superstition of the era in which this version was translated, but also our need for modern, reliable Bible translations and scholarship.
I am not intending to blast the KJV as being full of errors or hurt those who have been strengthened by reading God’s Word in this translation. I am trying to clear up a 400 year old misunderstanding that has potentially caused many to fear the ministry of the Paraclete who desires to help us, not scare us.
There is definitively no usage of “Holy Ghost” in the original Hebrew or Greek Bibles. Simply put, biblically, there is no such being as the Holy Ghost. Both the Hebrew term ruach and Greek term pneuma are rightly translated as Spirit, not Ghost in modern English translations.
Both the biblical terms for spirit center around life and action, not death and fear–as phantasma, or ghost, implies. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Life, not the spirit of death, a phantasm or phantom.
I pray that our practice of sometimes holding tradition over truth will be challenged–because in this case, the mistranslation of Ghost has likely encouraged many to have additional superstitious fears about a ghostly apparition instead of desiring the Holy Spirit’s practical, desperately needed ministry.
So how about letting the term “Holy Ghost” give up the ghost?
FIRE BAPTISM? Ouch!!!!!
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The last post generated a great question from Diane, “What about the Baptism of Fire?”
Is there a separate experience for believers known as the “Baptism of Fire” or does it speak of:
1. The trials believers will inevitably face or
2. The tongues of fire on Pentecost?
There are two references in the scriptures to “baptize with the Holy Spirit AND FIRE” (Matt 3:11, Luk 3;16). Only John the Baptist uses this combination and it is a prophetic declaration about how people can recognize the Messiah; He will accomplish these acts (whether they are two distinct events or one event marked by two descriptions, phases or facets).
I think the two possible definitions mentioned above are very plausible, but let me add a third which seems to follow John the Baptist’s flow of thought. Let’s work through Luke 3:15-17:
15 Now while the people were in a state of expectation and all were wondering in their hearts about John, as to whether he was the Christ,
SUMMARY: IS JOHN THE MESSIAH?
16 John answered and said to them all, “As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
SUMMARY: “NO, THE MESSIAH WILL DO THINGS I CANNOT DO; HE WILL BAPTIZE (IMMERSE) IN PEOPLE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT AND FIRE.”
17 “His winnowing fork is in His hand to thoroughly clear His threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into His barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
SUMMARY: “THE MESSIAH WILL DIVIDE THOSE WHO ACCEPT HIM (WHEAT) FROM THOSE WHO REJECT HIM (CHAFF); THE WHEAT WILL EXPERIENCE FAVOR WHILE THE CHAFF WILL EXPERIENCE JUDGMENT FIRES.”
From this brief analysis, it appears to be a two sided experience for two separate groups of people: those who accept the Messiah and those who reject the Messiah.
Verse 17 is the key to understanding this concept. Matthew’s account (3:11-12) verse 12 is almost identical to Luke 3:17; the same two sides to the coin are presented. Those who accept the Messiah will experience Spirit Baptism; those who reject him will experience fire baptism.
This seems like the most logical explanation in context.
Fire baptism for me? No thanks!
Posted in Speaking in Tongues/Glossolalia, Spirit Baptism
Posted by admin
I frequently encounter a misunderstanding over the usage of the term “baptism”–both in scripture and modern theology. Bringing some biblical clarity to this fuzziness seems to often help people see the promise of Spirit baptism as an unclaimed blessing from God.
Just as a word of introduction, the practice of water baptism pre-dates the New Testament times by at least a thousand years–most likely more. Baptism in water was even performed commonly at the time of Jesus by law-observing Jews. I believe that Jewish baptism probably got it’s start with the parting of the Red Sea, but it was certainly fleshed out with the brazen laver in the tabernacle/temple. This laver was used to ceremonially wash the priests who would minister before the Lord. If you’ve ever seen pictures of the temple mount in Jerusalem, you can find excavations of “micvahs” at the southern end of the temple ruins; these were public baptistries for the penitent as they would enter the temple and worship God. These micvahs are a likely spot where the 3,000 may have been water baptized on the Day of Pentecost. The obvious metaphor in Jewish baptism is getting clean before a holy God.
There are four distinct baptisms mentioned in scripture; let’s look at them in chronological order.
1. John’s Water Baptism
John was the prophetic forerunner of the Messiah and part of his role was to bring to light the need for repentance. The scripture clearly speaks that John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance (Acts 19:4). Though Jesus himself experienced this baptism, it is technically pre-Christian because His work on the cross had not yet been completed. In a similar way that John’s ministry announced the coming fulfillment, John’s baptism was a precursor, foreshadowing the next baptism.
2. Baptism in the Body of Christ
This baptism involves no water because it is a metaphor for becoming part of the Body of Christ at the time of salvation; it has a dual meaning in that it is a metaphor for both our conversion and our joining the family of God. 1 Cor 12:13 demonstrates this metaphorical language as the entry point into the Body of Christ, the moment we are Born Again. Unlike John’s baptism, this baptism is still intact and is the single greatest event that can take place in a person’s life!
3. Christian Water Baptism
In the Great Commission, Jesus instructs us to baptize the new disciples in water with the acknowledgement of the nature of the triune God. This command marks the obsolescence of John’s Baptism as we clearly see with Paul’s reaction to the Ephesians converts in Acts 19. We see Christian water baptism being a foundation stone of the early church’s discipleship model and understand that like John’s baptism it demonstrates repentance, but it also now signifies identification with the death, burial and resurrection of the Messiah, Jesus. This Baptism is not obsolete and should be obediently observed by all followers of Jesus.
4. Spirit Baptism
Like the Baptism into the Body of Christ, this baptism involves no literal water but marks a significant spiritual moment. Matthew, Mark, Luke John and Acts all prophesy that Jesus the Messiah will Baptize His followers in the Holy Spirit. In Acts 1:8, Jesus spoke to His assembled followers–who had now put their faith in Him as the resurrected Christ, they were Born again as you and I now are–and told them that they would receive supernatural ministry power at a future event, namely Spirit baptism. This promise is initially fulfilled in Acts 2 at Pentecost but is also demonstrated as a consistent pattern for apostolic discipleship in Acts 8, 9, 10 and 19 where new converts are quickly Spirit baptized.
It is clear from scripture that this baptism is not about salvation, but rather about receiving ministry power to help other people. It is also clear that this baptism is not experienced at salvation as a part of the Spirit’s work of regeneration, but is an event to be desired and pursued by Born Again followers of Jesus. This baptism has not expired and is still available to every believer today (Acts 2:38-39).
Here is a chart that I have modified from Dr. Les Holdcroft which simply categorizes the four baptisms:
BAPTISM TIME SUBJECT AGENT ELEMENT SCRIPTURE
John’s Pre- Penitent John Water Acts 19:4
Baptism Resur- Sinner
Baptism At Penitent Holy Body of 1 Cor 12:13
into Salv- Sinner Spirit Christ
Water After Convert/ Elder Water Mat 28:19
Baptism Salv- Disciple
Spirit After Believer Jesus Holy Acts 2:4
Baptism Salv- Spirit
(This chart is modified from Dr. Holdcroft’s “The Holy Spirit” first edition, 1962, page 131.)
Posted in Spirit Baptism, Spiritual Leadership