What does the Bible mean, "Thus says the Holy Spirit"?
by Peter Salemi
"Thus Saith the Holy Spirit"?
Many argue that the Holy Spirit is a person just as Jesus and the Father are persons because of the numerous scriptures that say that the Holy Spirit "spoke" as these scriptures say: "Thus saith the Holy Ghost," (Acts 21:11).
"Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers," (Acts 28:25).
"…the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them" (Acts 13:2). Do these scriptures indicate that the Holy Spirit is a person? Absolutely not!
When you look at all of these scriptures the Holy Spirit spoke by a "prophet" see Acts 13:1; 21;10. Esaias or Isaiah is quoted to have given the prophecy by the Holy Spirit. The Nelson’s King James study Bible footnote to Acts 13 says, "The commissioning of Barnabas and Saul for this missionary Endeavour was the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit most likely spoke through one of the prophets since there were prophets in that group and that was the usual means of communicating the Spirit’s message" (1 Cor. 14)" (pp.1688-89, emphasis added).
Jamieson Faussete and Brown similarly says, "the Holy Ghost said—through some of the prophets mentioned in Acts 13:1." So when the Holy Spirit "said" something it was always through a prophet.
The People’s New Testament as well says, "By an inspiration given to some one of these prophets." (Emphasis added). Notice Acts 1:16, "Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus." The spirit "moved" (see 2 Peter 1:21) David, and he spoke.
2 Samuel 23:1-2 says clearly, "Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said,
"The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue." Clearly, God’s words, which come from the mind of God, which is the Holy Spirit, are put into the mind of the prophet, and the Spirit of God speaks by the prophet, not that the Holy Spirit is a person and speaks on his own. The Lord’s thoughts and revelations are spoken by the Prophet.
On the Day of Pentecost the Apostles were "filled" with the Holy Spirit. Paul said that "All scripture is given by inspiration of God," (2 Tim 3:16). The prophet speaks because of Inspiration given to them by God because God "fills" them with his power, the power of God that inspires them. Many people get inspired. Inspiration is not limited to just people. Some are inspired by music, movies, the attitudes of people etc… So this again has nothing to do with a third person of a trinity but the Christian filled with the Spirit.
Why the phrase, "The Holy Spirit said"? The Holy Spirit of God is spoken of as God’s "presence," (Psalm 51:11; 139:7). Thus, when the Bible says, "the Holy Ghost said," (Acts 13:2) it is God Himself speaking to people by means of His Holy Spirit. Even the Apostle Paul wrote,
"For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit," (1 Corinthians 5:3; Colossians 2:5). So even though Paul the person was not there, he was there in "spirit," his influence was there. Just like God, the person, either Father or Son is not there, but his presence, his influence by the Holy Spirit is there present with the church.
What About Acts 10:19? "The Spirit" spoke to Peter? While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, "Behold, three men seek thee." Peter also called him "Lord." Not only does this passage tell us that the Spirit spoke, it tells us what the Spirit said. Does this suggest then, that the Spirit in this particular passage is a person? Absolutely! BUT NOT A THIRD PERSON OF A TRINITY!
When one reads the entire story, one finds that an "angel of the lord" is involved. Now angels are "spirits" (Heb 1:7). The Angel appeared to Cornelius (Acts 10:3, 4). He told him to go to Peter.
Now Peter says he heard a "voice" (v.13). This voice came from a "spirit" (v.19). This is repeated in Acts 11:7 and 12. Nowhere does it say its the Holy Spirit. This episode resembles many other episodes in the Bible of men speaking with angels. Like John the Baptist father, when the Angel told him he would have a son. This also took place during the hour of prayer like Peter (Acts 10:9, 30; Luke 1:10-11). So this "spirit" that spoke to Peter, was the same Angel that arranged this whole meeting in the first place.
Now why is he called "Lord"? (Acts 10:4, 14). Barnes Commentary explains, "This is the expression of surprise and alarm. The word 'Lord' should have been translated 'sir,' since there is no evidence that this is an address to God, and still less that he regarded the personage present as the Lord. Compare the notes on Acts 9:5. It is such language as a man would naturally use who was suddenly surprised; who should witness a strange form appearing unexpectedly before him; and who should exclaim, Sir, what is the matter?” (emphasis added).
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