In the context of the living Word for all times–past, present, and future, what is the “Holy Spirit”? Does the “Holy Spirit” relate to the “Holy Ghost”? Are they the same simply because some people use “Holy Spirit” instead of “Holy Ghost”, intentionally or otherwise?
For the best understanding of the “Spirit”, we must be consistent in our use and understanding of the terminology within the Bible. We do this to be sure we understand the promise of eternal life by what is literally presented in His Word with all meanings reconcilable by what the Bible says. The King James Bible (the “Bible”) recognizes the use of both terms, “Holy Ghost” and “Holy Spirit”. Unfortunately, most all of the newer “versions” incorrectly purporting to be the Bible universally change “Holy Ghost” to “Holy Spirit” when rendering their interpretation even when doing so is wrong.
In fact, the term “Holy Ghost” is used eighty-nine (89) times in the New Testament of the King James Bible, and the term “Holy Spirit” is used only four (4) times as follows (underlining emphasis is added to the verses):
If we can change “Holy Ghost” to “Holy Spirit”, what about changing the four (4) occurrences of “Holy Spirit” to “Holy Ghost”? If someone makes an improper substitution do they themselves change the intent of the Word and the Bible, if the original intent was expressed in the Bible as written?
The following review of “Holy Spirit” and “Holy Ghost” underscores the significance of the distinction between those terms for the best understanding of the Word.
By way of background, words in all languages are known to have several possible definitions that are often quite close in meaning. The context of usage always determines which definition is intended and thus correct. Not surprisingly then, all language forms of communication depend upon the context of use for the best (correct) communication. This holds true with the scriptures, simply because the context directs the meaning by the intent associated with the word(s) used. For example, commentators say the Greek word “psuche” can be translated “soul”, “heart” and “life” depending upon the context, and yet the terms differ greatly, and the meaning intended is determined by their usage. On that basis, the Greek root word is the same for both “Spirit” and “Ghost”, but we cannot stop there. “Spirit” and “Ghost” do not automatically mean exactly the same thing when we consider the context of their usage in the Bible.
Moving on, we know each part of the trinity, the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost is the “Spirit”. Each is “holy” and together they comprise one holy “Spirit” (1 John 5:7). Hence, the “holy” Spirit (or “Holy Spirit”) may mean any or all of the trinity as the Spirit depending upon the context. Accordingly, for a proper understanding of the Word at any time, we must always know and understand the context in which the word “Spirit” is used in the Bible. For example, we know the Word is part of the Spirit of God as the Word is Spirit and God (e.g., see, John 1:1). Thus, the Word is a holy Spirit, because the Spirit of God overall is holy. As all of God is holy, so too is each aspect of Him–the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost. (1 John 5:7).
The Spirit as the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost are referenced, compared, and better understood by Romans 8:9-11, when Paul said:
9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
For anyone to say the term “Holy Spirit” could not include the Word (or the Father) could also suggest, or at least infer, the Word is disconnected from the Spirit of Truth (the Holy Ghost). Such an inference cannot be so. Recall, the Holy Ghost conceived Jesus the Word as the spirit/will of the man-child Jesus inside the womb of the virgin woman named Mary, and the Word is the Spirit of God which made Jesus Emmanuel (“God with us”).
For reproof, speaking for the past, present and future in order for the Word to be timeless and alive for everyone at any time (i.e., at all times), and knowing God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34), we start by knowing the Holy Ghost was not yet given to any person who was not a prophet of God before the resurrection of Jesus the Christ. Jesus said: He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) John 7:38-39 (Emphasis added). (John made sure people grasped the distinction, but can we say the Holy Ghost is NOT a holy Spirit? No. All of God is Holy and Spirit!)
During the time Christ Jesus was walking the earth, the “Spirit” was the Word as the will of the Father for all mankind as per the context of “this spake he of the Spirit” in the preceding verses (John 7:38-39). Of course, the Word alone and by itself is not the trinity, and the “Spirit” is not only the Holy Ghost, but each of the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost are God, as God is a Spirit! Therefore, comparing John 7:38-39 (above) with Luke 11:11-13 (above) we know the Holy Spirit is not the Holy Ghost at that time, simply because of the context, i.e., the Holy Ghost had not yet been given to man prior to and during the ministry of Jesus and before He was raised from the dead (glorified).
Therefore, calling the Holy Ghost the “Holy Spirit”, or changing the Word by replacing Holy Ghost with Holy Spirit not only changes the true meaning and intent of God as written in the King James Bible (the “Bible”), it interjects an element of uncertainty and confusion in the converse, i.e., is the Word in or out of the definition of “Holy Spirit”?
Conversely, we do not interchangeably call the “Holy Spirit” the “Holy Ghost” either. Because the term “Spirit” may be used to mean the Word by itself, and knowing the Word is most assuredly Holy, why would anyone change the “Holy Spirit” in Luke 11:13 to “Holy Ghost” when Jesus actually intended, and said, “Holy Spirit”? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? Luke 11:13 (Emphasis added). (Jesus was speaking in reference to all times possible, before and after the Holy Ghost was given to man, because the Spirit generally was always available!)
Also consider, Jesus said “Holy Spirit” once with the companion verses using “good things” (plural), and He said “Holy Ghost” about ten (10) times, including John 20:22 when He first presented the Holy Ghost to His disciples after His glorification (resurrection). Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: John 20:22 (Emphasis added). Of course, the disciples already had a belief in Him as the source of the Word of God, because they most assuredly believed on Him and followed Him as their own Lord and master when He was alive the first time! Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. John 6:67-69. Still, all of the so-called ““versions” of the Bible, (books other than the King James), replace “Holy Ghost” with Holy Spirit” intending them to be the same, and yet they destroy the understanding of the Spirit as whole! Consider: The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10.)
But what about the companion verses of Matthew 7:11? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Matthew 7:11 (Emphasis added). Is it okay to change “good things” to Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost? No. The “good things” are the aspects of the Spirit–from the Father by His will, the Word and the Holy Ghost to do the will of the Father! Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1:17. Therefore, during the time of Jesus while the Old Covenant was being “phased out”, Jesus had both the Word and the Holy Ghost in Him making Him the voice of God the Father. (As mentioned previously in the context of the Old Covenant, Jesus also replaced Melchisedec who was the archetype of the Holy Ghost during Old Testament times. As set forth in the next module, we who are His are the ambassadors of Christ by that same Holy Ghost and have the pure Word to do His works.)
Once again, immediately after Jesus was baptized by John in water, the Holy Ghost descended upon Him. And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. Luke 3:22; see also Matthew 3:17 and 17:5, Mark 1:11, and 2 Peter 1:17. We know the Holy Ghost is the “Spirit of truth” and a “comforter.” 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. More specifically, Jesus referred to the Spirit of Truth (Holy Ghost) as “another” comforter. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. John 14:16-17 (Emphasis added). In so doing, Jesus was also recognizing Himself as a “comforter”–as being “of the Spirit”. The Spirit of truth (i.e., the Holy Ghost) is the another comforter that bears witness in power to the truth of the Word according to the Father’s will. (A “comforter” is a guide, consoler, intercessor, educator, and a source of edification to name a few, and the Word is most certainly a guide for all believers.)
According to the Word written in the New Testament of the King James Bible as the will of God, and the very Christ sent by God the Father to deliver it to us, we know: 1.) At times prior to the death and resurrection of Jesus, but during His life on earth when He spoke the rhema of God as a man, the references to the “Spirit” or “Holy Spirit” can mean the Word only, provided He did not use a future context. 2.) In the context of the life of Jesus Himself, and times after His death and resurrection referring to the brethren such as Paul and others, the references to the “Spirit” or “Holy Spirit” mean BOTH the Word as the spirit of the man Jesus (Romans 8:9) and Holy Spirit as the Word in Him, AND the Holy Ghost as the spirit of Him that raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8:11) depending upon the context.
In addition, Jesus said: If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? Luke 11:11-13 (Emphasis added). But note, the companion verses to Luke 11:11-13 are set forth in Matthew and read like this: Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Matthew 7:9-11 (Emphasis added). (“Evil” in the preceding verses (Luke 11:11-13 and Matthew 7:9-11) refers to the sinful flesh of man as compared to God (spirit), and the phrase “good things” is plural.)
Therefore, just as a son could ask his dad for a piece of bread or an egg in the context of the present which further simplifies the understanding, a person could ask for the Holy Spirit (“good things”) in the present when Jesus said it. By the context of His statement, Jesus was not referring to a future time. He intended the present as an immediate time, i.e., when the “ask” is made. Why? Once again, during the time of Christ the Holy Ghost was not yet given to man other than Jesus Himself. (John 7:38-39 above).
Any use of the “Spirit” is always in relation to the Father by whom we receive God’s will and come to know Him by doing it. Why then did anyone start this confusion by universally changing “Holy Ghost” to “Holy Spirit” which is not God’s will to do so because He is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33)? One answer is money! For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 1 Timothy 6:10.
The King James Bible is, and has been, in the public domain and free to everyone since the 1600’s. Profiting from sales of the King James Bible is pretty much impossible because anyone anywhere can publish it at will. However, if a person or publisher changes the pure Word of the Bible, they create a new “version” they can “own”, publish, and sell for a profit as their own legally protectable property. ALL of the commercially available “versions” of the Bible produced after the King James have routinely changed the words of the Bible and are saleable as unique works of authorship under the Copyright Laws.
At the same time the Jews were becoming less than remorseful for their sins, and considering the nature of the Old Covenant is a “doctrine of works” (mentioned previously), the Jewish prophets and holy men were moved by the Holy Ghost to foretell of the coming of the Christ–the Messiah as their deliverer under a New Covenant. Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 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 1:20-21. As proven in the next module, Jesus was/is that Messiah–the Christ.
As the Messiah for the Jews, then and now, Jesus would bring the spirit of the Law to prominence as the New Testament covenant. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. 2 Corinthians 3:5-6. Surprisingly, many Jews today continue to pursue the will of their flesh by rejecting the Word and the New Covenant for salvation according to the will of God. In fact, one Jew I know of in particular referred to Jesus as, “a loud-mouthed Jew who caused a lot of trouble”. Considering that assessment of Jesus today, one can only imagine the hostility and disdain the High Priest named Caiaphas beheld toward Jesus when he wanted Him dead for the good of the people. Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people. John 18:14.
For completeness, compare:
During Old Testament times, the prophets were "moved" (i.e., caused to do something at the behest of another), because the Holy Ghost did not indwell (i.e., dwell within) the bodies of the holy men as “making an abode” bearing witness to the Word under the Old Covenant. The Holy Ghost was not given to man as a comforter until after the glorification (resurrection) of Jesus which had not yet occurred. See, John 7:39. How then do we reconcile the indwelling of the Holy Ghost in John the Baptist? Luke 1:15 says, For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.
Also consider, But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. John 1:13-15. John received the indwelling of the Holy Ghost from the womb, but he already had the spirit of the Word in him as Elias, an Old Testament prophet. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. Matthew 11: 13-14. And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist. Matthew 17:10-13.
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