The Spirit

 

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Preface
Abbreviations Used

Introduction
General Subjects
Exposition
  Matthew
  Mark
  Luke
  John
  John 14-16
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  1 Corinthians
  2 Corinthians
  Galatians
  Ephesians
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  1 & 2 Thess.
  1 & 2 Timothy
  Titus
  Hebrews
  James
  1 & 2 Peter
  1 John
  Jude
  Revelation
Gifts of the Spirit
Inter-Ecclesial Offices
Word Studies
Bibliography
Index
Epilogue Acknowledgements
Exposition of The Spirit in Matthew
   

Matt. 3:11
"He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."

Problem:

This is a verse used by some to try to justify their claim of "getting the Spirit." Fire is usually equated with an emotional experience.

Solution:

  1. While it is true that "tongues of fire1" were evident on the day of Pentecost and that fire was evident at other times when the power of God was manifested, the immediate context shows that this is not the idea meant.

    "And his winnowing fork in His hand and He will thoroughly clean His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

  2. Those that were "wheat" Jesus gathered by His preaching. They were baptized with the Holy Spirit.

    Those that were "chaff" were destroyed in the "fire" of AD 70 by Titus and Vespasian. This is the primary application of the verse.

  3. Of course, the ultimate sense is also meant. When Christ returns the saint will be given eternal life and a full measure of the Spirit. The sinner or chaff will be told "Depart from me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels." (Matt. 25:41).

  4. Mark’s record is conclusive, (1:8). He does not mention "and fire" nor does he mention anything about judgement. This proves that "fire" refers to destruction of the chaff and not to the giving of the Holy Spirit.2

  5. This verse cannot be used as in the problem because "to be baptized with fire" is to be destroyed. Emotionalism is not evidence of "getting the Spirit".3

1 The fire in the shape of tongues was to indicate the purpose of the manifestation and it did. Immediately afterward they spake in tongues. This compares with other manifestations. The burning bush that was not consumed indicated Jewry would not be destroyed. The dove at Christ’s baptism indicated He would preach a gospel of peace.
2 The same proof is evident in Acts 11:16 and Acts 1:5.
3 The stimulation of the brain by an electric current, Voodoo drumming, certain drugs such as mescaline, and orgiastic dancing can produce hysterical excitement but no Christian would claim that result is "getting the Spirit".

Matt. 10:20
"For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you".

These words of Jesus are very similar to Mark 13:11; Luke 12:11,12; and 21:15 although all were spoken at different times. Verse 23 ties the period of their application to the other gospel passages. The Lord shows the conditions they might expect, not immediately, but after His ascension. Once this is realized, the connection with the Parakletos1 is evident. Luke 21:15 identifies the gift (Spirit which speaketh in you) as the "word of wisdom" and this is confirmed by Acts 6:10.

These words cannot apply to us as is evident from the context. Rather we must "handle accurately the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15).


1 see notes on John 14-16.
Matt. 12:31-321
"Blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven ... whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven". (RSV)

This was the sin of not recognizing the obvious miracles that Jesus performed by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Pharisees asserted that "this fellow casts out demons by Beelzebub, the prince of the demons." In other words they asserted that the miracles, which they knew must be the work of God, were done with the help of an evil spirit!


1 see also Mark 3:29; Luke 12:10.
Matt. 12:43; Luke 11:24
"Now when the unclean spirit goes out of man . . ."

The narrative concerning the unclean spirit concludes: "Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation" (v.45). This statement indicates that the preceding two verses form a parable of comparison and are not to be taken literally. The parable has been explained as follows

The nation of Israel had experienced a cleansing by the teaching of John the Baptist. There "went out to him Jerusalem… and were baptized of him" (Matt. 3:5,6). The house was "cleaned" - "swept and garnished" (v. 44), but it was without its real occupant - the Messiah. "He came to his own, (house, RSV) and his own received him not" (John 1:11). The refusal of Israel to respond to the teaching of Christ merited the description: "and the last state of that man (Israel) is worse than the first" (prior to the cleansing of John’s teaching). (Matt. 12:45). Jesus said: "The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgement with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and behold, a greater than Jonas is here." (v. 41). The parable was in effect, a prophecy. In AD70 the frenzied ("demonized") resistance of the Jews to the Roman invasion resulted in their national destruction1.’

From this explanation we gather that "unclean spirit" refers to "sinful practices and beliefs". "Trespasses and sins" are termed in Eph. 2:2,3 "the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience."


1 AWSA, P. 174.
Matt. 12:45; Luke 11:26
"Then it goes, and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself".

The unclean spirit of v. 43 returned to the house of Israel, along with seven other more sinful practices and beliefs. It is difficult to know whether seven is to be regarded as a number or as completeness.

LESSON: Having rid ourselves of evil we cannot remain in this state of emptiness. We must replace it with good, otherwise the evil returns manifold. "Overcome evil with good". cf. Eph. 4:22-321.


Matt. 16:4
"A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign."

Problem:

This verse is wrested to try to prove (by claimants of present possession of the Holy Spirit) that they do not have to demonstrate their claims.
"It is an old catch-cry, when someone talks about this subject, for someone else to demand a capricious ‘instant miracle’. When it is not forthcoming, then the opponents of the belief loudly proclaim their victory . . . There is of course no sign for a 'wicked and adulterous generation' for the Holy Spirit is not given for capricious miracles and never was. Nevertheless, miracles do happen today amongst the faithful 2."

Solution:

  1. ‘Miracles’ do happen today, but that is no evidence that anyone today possesses the Holy Spirit in any form.

  2. It is ridiculous for the claimant to cite this verse to show that he need not perform a miracle to substantiate his claim.
    1. Christ had just finished feeding over 4,000 men, women, and children from seven loaves and "a few small fish" (15:34-38).
    2. Before that, Jesus healed the "lame, crippled, blind, dumb and many others" for three days (15:30-32).
    3. Before that, Jesus had healed a girl who was mentally ill (15:28).

    With all these outstanding signs that he was the Messiah the Pharisees and Sadducees still required a sign!

  3. Let the modern claimant of the Spirit do these miracles and all Christadelphians would believe that he had the Spirit.

    The fact is he has done nothing and still expects his brethren to disobey the biblical instruction:

    "test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world3."


1 see J. Carter, "Parables of the Messiah", TCM, P. 83-86.
2 AMAX
3 1 John 4:1-3.

Matt. 16:17
"Blessed are you Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven".

Problem:

The confession of Peter "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" has been cited as an example of instant Divine illumination by the Spirit.

Solution:

  1. The statement does not support the claim at all. It says no more than that Peter had not derived the context of his remarks from a merely human fleshly source.
  2. The evidence is, in fact, that Peter had understood what he said for some significant time previously (Matt. 14:33; John 1:41; 6:69). Even men who were mentally ill made the same confession as Peter did; and they learned of the Divine Sonship of Jesus from the same source as Peter did. (Luke 4:41).
  3. Clearly the knowledge had come to Peter from God through Christ, for Jesus said:

"the words that Thou gavest me I have given to them; and they received them, and truly understood that I came forth from thee, and they believed that Thou didst send me." (John 17:8).

Conclusion:
As with the disciples (on that occasion) so all the knowledge we acquire of Christ comes from God through His Word (spoken and written to them, written to us)1.


1 TEST, Vol. 44, P. 455.
Matt. 22:43
"Then how does David in the Spirit1 call Him ‘Lord’," (cf. Mark 12:36 "in the Holy Spirit").

David was a prophet (Acts 2:30) and wrote under the inspiration of God, through the gift of prophecy, many Messianic Psalms. Psalm 110, which Matt. 22:44 quotes from, is one of those which David wrote by the Spirit gift of prophecy.


1 see 2 Sam. 23:2; Acts 1:16; 2 Peter 1:21.
Matt. 28:19
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit1."

"This passage has been proposed as teaching the baptism of a believer into the Holy Spirit, with the idea that he is filled with the Holy Spirit. But the grammatical construction just will not allow such an idea. If the text read baptism into the Father, into the Son, and into the Holy Spirit the idea might be sustained. But this is not so; it is a baptism into a name; and it is a baptism into one name not three names . . . . This is doctrinally important; there is only one name. We have Peter on the day of Pentecost as the interpreter of these words of the Lord, and we must be guided by him as to what he (Christ) meant . . . in Matt. 28. Speaking by the Holy Spirit he gave this interpretation of his Master’s words:

‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you in (into) the name of Jesus Christ’ (Acts 2:38).

In Acts 4:12, Peter declares emphatically "there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." So the name of Jesus Christ must be equivalent to "the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit"… here is no warrant to read into them the idea that each believer was to receive a baptism of the Holy Spirit, as ‘the means whereby God communicates His blessings in these days of His Son’s sojourn in heaven.’ "2

This one "name" is the name of Divine Manifestation - YAHWEH3. When a sinner is added to the name, the immersed believer is IN the name (Acts 10:48).

The reader is referred to ‘John 14-16 additional notes’ for a suggestion as to the meaning of ‘the Holy Spirit’ in this verse.


1 The reader is referred to "A collection of the Evidence for and against the Traditional Wording of the Baptismal Phrase in Matt. 28:19", cf. TEST, Vol. 32, P. 80-82, 105. See http://jesus-messiah.com/apologetics/catholic/matthew2819.html viewed 4 July 2017.
2 PGHS, P. 61.
3 That the disciples did not attach the importance some have done to the specific use of the four letters which form the name (YHWH) is evident from Acts (cf. 3:6; 4:9-12).

Matt. 28:20
"Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."
John 14:16
"The Father ... shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever."

Problem:

These and similar verses are used to bolster the theory that the Holy Spirit would be with his "disciples" for ever.

Solution:

  1. The duration of the Comforter1 is clearly defined by the first passage which should be properly translated as

    or "to the close of the age" (RSV)
        "until the completion of the age" (Mars)
        "day by day, until the close of the age" (Wey).

  2. Mars., NASB and the RV Margin have in place of "alway", "all the days2" which agrees with Weymouth.

    Putting these two together we have that: Christ was with the disciples until his ascension; after his ascension he was with them by the Holy Spirit "all the days" until the "consummation of the age".

  3. The age referred to is of course the apostolic age. The pronoun cannot be any clearer:

    "teaching them (the converts of v. 19) to observe all that I (Christ) commanded you (the disciples of v. 16); and lo, I (Christ) am with you (same disciples) all the days, even to the end of the age". NASB.

    The promise was made specifically to these Apostles. When they died that promise was fulfilled.

  4. "Ever" in John 14:16 is "to the Age"3.

  5. Christ did not therefore, promise the Holy Spirit for all time but only until the "end" of the Apostolic age4. This agrees with the history of what happened. At the end of the Apostolic age Jesus gave John, the last of the apostles, the Book of Revelation. The Scripture was then complete and there was no further need of the Spirit gifts.

  6. Where is the claimant who can perform the signs of the parallel passage in Mark 16:18?

  7. The "end of the age" cannot refer to the present age because Christ’s statement clearly infers that there would be a time when he would no longer be with the disciples, (i.e. after "the end of the age"). We know, however, that at the end of this present age Christ will be with the faithful and not separated from them.

  8. The words of the Lord Jesus in John 9:4-5 are most interesting. "We must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day; night comes, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world".

    The context is one of miracles - the healing of the blind man, and the refusal of the Jews to accept this sign of the Lord Jesus’ anointing. A word by word examination shows these verses to be very much part of the context.

"WE MUST WORK THE WORKS..."

When we compare these words with John 5:36, we see that the above-mentioned clause means that the working of miracles, by the power of the Holy Spirit, was a testimony from God to the authority of the Lord Jesus and later of the apostles (cf. Heb. 2:34; Mark 16:20). The Lord uses the term "we" (RV and RSV) and not "I", so indicating that the verse relates not only to the Lord himself but also to the apostles.

"NIGHT COMES, WHEN NO ONE CAN WORK"

The Lord is most definitely saying that the time would come when the Holy Spirit works would cease. Micah 3:6 is most interesting in this connection, for the Spirit there prophesies that the sun would go down on the prophets and the day would be black over the Jewish nation, and that it would be night without vision (cf. Joel 2:31). Associated with this prophecy in Micah 3 is the destruction of Jerusalem because of the stubbornness of the Jewish leaders (v. 12).

"AS LONG AS I AM IN THE WORLD, I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD"

Whilst the Lord Jesus departed to the Right Hand of the Ancient of Days before Pentecost, he was still in a real sense with the apostles in their ministry. Mark 16:20 reads, "And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it". Matthew 28:20 "…lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age". That the "close of the age" refers to the close of the Mosaic5 age is evidenced by Hebrews 9:26 and 1 Peter 1:20, an age which closed with the destruction of Jerusalem which commenced in AD 70 and was completed as prophesied in Micah 3:12 in AD 135.

In short, then, in John 9:4-5 the Lord Jesus clearly teaches that the Holy Spirit would be withdrawn at the end of the age, i.e. AD 70, approximately 38-40 years after it was given to the disciples at Pentecost6.


1 cf. footnote 1 at John 14:26 and the notes on the Comforter.
2 RV margin at Matt. 28:20.
3 Young’s. While aion is an elastic word the meaning here when compared with Matt. 28:20 is quite clear. Liddell and Scott have the primary meanings of aion as:
   (1) a man’s lifetime (in which sense it is plainly used in John 13:8 and 1 Cor. 8:13, RV) or
   (2) an era, which has both a beginning and an ending (e.g. Matt. 13:22). Both definitions fit and show that Christ is assuring the disciples that the Holy Spirit would remain with them as long as they lived.
4 The words of Mark 16:15-20 and Paul in Col. 1:23 indicate that a witness had been made unto all nations in their time.
5 This author regards the end of the Mosaic age and the end of the Apostolic Age as the same period of time.
6 TBSM, Vol. 7, P. 29.