“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” (1 Cor. 2:12)
What do the Scriptures say regarding the Holy Spirit? The nominal churches, both Catholic and Protestant, contend that the Holy Spirit is a distinct person, and they also say that three persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) are at the same time one person – “a great mystery.” Yes, truly it is a mystery, such as is characteristic of Babylon’s confusion. But to those who turn away from the traditions of men to the Word of God, all is clear and plain.
Whatever definition of the term “Holy Spirit” will meet all known conditions, and harmonize all passages of Scripture relating to the subject, may be understood to be the true meaning of the term. We will first give what we believe to be such a definition, and then examine the Scriptures related to the subject which might appear to some to contradict that definition.
We believe the Scriptures teach that the Holy Spirit is not a distinct person, but that it is the divine will, influence or power, exercised everywhere and for any purpose, at the divine pleasure. God exercises His spirit or energy in a variety of ways, using various agencies, and accomplishing various results.
Whatever God does through agents is as truly His work as if He performed the work directly, since all those agents are of His creation; just as a contractor for a building is said to build a house, though he may never have personally lifted a tool. He does it with his materials and through his agents. Thus, when we read that the LORD God created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 2:4), we are not to suppose that He personally did the work. He used various agents – “For he spake, and it was done [He gave his orders, and they were promptly executed]; he commanded, and it stood fast.” (Psa. 33:6-9) It did not spring instantly to order; for we read that time was used in creation – six “days”, or periods of time.
SPIRIT OF THE FATHER EXERCISED
We are told plainly that all things are of the Father – by His energy or spirit; yet that energy was exercised through His Son. (1 Cor. 8:6) The Son of God, afterward called Jesus, was used in the creation of the world. (John 1:3; Heb. 1:2) And when we turn to Genesis, we find it stated that the power which created was God’s Spirit – “And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (Gen. 1:2) Hence the only reasonable inference is that it was the spirit, energy or will of the Father, active through His Son – or the plan of God, executed by the Son.
Another way in which God’s Spirit was exercised was through the prophets. They spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit – by the will or energy of God. (2 Pet. 1:21) That is, God used them to express His mind, though His mind, His spirit, His thoughts, were not in them; for though they expressed it they could not understand His mind. (1 Pet. 1:12) God’s Spirit acted upon, but not in them.
In that servant age, the faithful servant carried the LORD’s message as it was laid upon him; but the sons of God, during the Gospel Age, are brought into fellowship with their Father and made acquainted with His plans. (Heb. 3:5; Gal. 4:4-7) Thus they are not merely acted upon mechanically by God’s Spirit or energy, but they partake of, or imbibe, His mind or spirit through His revelation of His plans to them, which they can receive in proportion as they submit their own wills and plans to His. And having His mind, they become co-workers together with Him in carrying out His plans. “The servant [though faithful] knoweth not what his lord doeth,” (John 15:15) but the confidential son is made acquainted with the plans and partakes of the Father’s Spirit and interest in His work.
The masculine pronoun he is often and properly applied to the Holy Spirit, because God, whose spirit it is, is represented as masculine, indicative of strength. It is called the Holy Spirit, because God is holy, and because there are other spirits (powers, influences), somewhat similar in operation, which are evil. God is true and righteous, hence the Spirit of God is called the “spirit of truth.” It is thus contrasted with the “spirit of error” and the influence which error exerts. (1 John 4:6) Satan is recognized as the chief or prince of evil, during the present time, and his influence or spirit is exercised in his servants, in much the same way that the Spirit of God works in His children. This is “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” (Eph. 2:2)
The number seven is often used to represent perfection or completeness, and so we read of the “seven Spirits of God.” (Rev. 1:4; 3:1) And in like manner we read of seven wicked spirits. (Matt. 12:45) The spirit or influence of evil proceeds from the devil, who has “no truth in him” (John 8:44); and the spirit or influence of truth proceeds from the heavenly Father. (John 15:26)
THE SPIRIT OF MAN SUBJECT TO INFLUENCE
Man is to some extent independent of either of these influences. He has a mind or spirit of his own (1 Cor. 2:11), but he is so constituted as to be subject to influence from without, either good or evil. In the present time God permits evil to triumph to some extent, for the testing and development of the body of Christ1, and also for the discipline of mankind in general.
Since the spirit of evil often transforms itself into an angel of light (truth), is it any wonder that it puts forward the children of disobedience, in whom the spirit of error works, and makes a pretense they are saints? (2 Cor. 11:14,15) Is it any wonder that, under the guise of greater honor to our LORD, it succeeds in deceiving many into unscriptural doctrines, clouding the mind and covering many glorious truths?
During the Gospel Age, when justified believers fully surrender their human minds to God to be molded and fashioned after the divine mind, under the guidance and influence of the Spirit of Truth, they are brought into conformity with the divine purpose, will and aim, and to the extent of this mental conformity they become partakers of the divine nature, which they will receive in its fullness when they have obediently followed the Spirit’s guidance, even unto death.
Thus the consecrated are transformed (made new creatures) by the renewing of their minds by the Holy Spirit of God. Thus they are changed from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of God. (Rom. 12:2; 2 Cor. 3:18) This is termed the begetting of the spirit: that is, it is the beginning of the divine life. Such are therefore reckoned as sons of God on the divine plane. In surrendering the mind, the whole being is surrendered, since the mind or will is the controlling power.
Those who resign themselves to God are “led by the Spirit of God” (Rom. 8:14), “taught of God,” (John 6:45, Isa. 54:13) and can serve God “in newness of spirit.” (Rom. 7:6) They will have a “spirit of meekness.” (Gal. 6:1) As the Apostle says, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.” (Eph. 1:17,18)
By contrast, too, we can see that as Satan is the adversary of God and His plans, Satan’s spirit, mind, energy, and influence, would be exercised to oppose the Church. He does not oppose openly, but under guise of the Spirit of God. As the “spirit of fear” (2 Tim. 1:7) he attacks many, and if they follow him, they never make progress, but become unfruitful in the knowledge and love of God. The spirit of fear says, “It is a great mistake to think that Christ died for all, and it is presumption to believe that all will eventually be released from bondage to death.” The same spirit of fear says, “Your own sins are not forgiven; you are still a miserable sinner.”
Thus does the spirit of error, fear and bondage contradict the statements of the Spirit of Truth, which says that Christ gave His life “a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Tim. 2:6); that “all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth” (John 5:28,29); and that “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:1)
As the spirit or mind of God leads to peace, joy and faith in His promises, the spirit of error leads to faith in things not promised, joy in earthly pleasures, and peace in slumber. As we read (Rom. 11:8), it is a “spirit of slumber,” and alas! how many have been deluded into this condition. Because the influence of the spirit of error is exerted in this subtle way, it is called a “seducing spirit; and the Apostle assures us that “Now the Spirit [of Truth] speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the [true] faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” (1 Tim. 4:1) To what extent Satan has succeeded in seducing God’s children, and supplanting truth with error, all must judge by noting the testimonies of the Word of Truth.
The spirit of the world is another name for the “seducing spirit,” the world being largely under the control of the spirit of the prince of this world. His spirit or influence works in and largely controls the children of this world. And the spirit or influence of the world is one of the mighty levers wherewith the prince of this world opposes the Spirit of Truth.
How great and strong the influence exercised by these evil spirits – the spirit of Satan, the spirit of the world under his control, the “spirit of Antichrist” (1 John 4:3), the spirit of bondage, of fear, of pride, of error and of sin. Hence the injunction that we test, try and prove the spirits, not by their claims and outward appearances merely, but by the Word of God. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God…Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” (1 John 4:1,6)
THE SPIRITUALLY MINDED
Those having the mind or Spirit of God are said to be heavenly or spiritually minded. The spiritually minded are so transformed, so entirely different from what they were in their former earthly minded condition, that they are called “new creatures.”
When the earthly house is dissolved, sacrificed, dead with Christ, these new creatures have a building of God – a new house – a glorious body, in harmony with, and fit for, the indwelling of the new mind. (2 Cor. 5:1) As in Jesus’ case, the new body will be received in the resurrection – not by all, but by those mentally or spiritually begotten of the Spirit of Truth. The resurrection is the birth of this new creation. Jesus was the first thus born. (Rev. 1:5 – Diaglott) Thus they reach the perfect spiritual condition, and become spiritual beings, fully changed into the glorious likeness of the Lord Jesus (Rom. 6:5), who is now “the express image of the Father’s person.” (Heb. 1:3) Such things as pertain to the heavenly condition, and can be seen only by the eye of faith through God’s Word, are called spiritual things.
Now we are prepared to understand Paul’s teaching in 1 Cor. 2:9-16: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man [the natural man], the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”
Those having the mind or Spirit of God are prompted to search into the deep things of God, to study that they may know and do His will as obedient sons. Having the mind or Spirit of the Father, they take heed to His Word and plans that they may work in harmony with Him: “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit [or mind] which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God…But the natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor. 2:12,14) They are understood only by those who have the spirit or mind of God, the spirit of His plan, and the spirit of the Truth.
These are more and more filled with the Spirit of Truth and the spirit of obedience to it, not by comparing spiritual things with natural things, as the natural man does, but by “comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” (1 Cor. 2:13) No natural man can understand or rightly judge of the motives which prompt the spiritually minded “new creature” to willingly sacrifice things valuable to the natural man. Hence they are counted as fools by the worldly minded (1 Cor. 4:10), by those who have “the spirit of the world.” (1 Cor. 2:12)
The mind or spirit of Christ is the same as the spirit of God, for Christ sacrificed His own spirit (will), and was filled with the spirit of God – “For even Christ pleased not himself.” (Rom. 15:3)
Jesus said, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63) That is, they express the mind or spirit of God, and life is obtained by giving heed to them. It is for this cause that Jesus said, “Search the Scriptures.” (John 5:39) We are not merely to read them as a duty, but to search them diligently as a privilege, so that we may know the spirit or mind of God. If we would be filled with the Spirit of God we must drink deeply of the fountain of Truth – his Word. Our earthen vessels are very imperfect and leaky, and it is easy to let the spiritual things slip (Heb. 2:1), in which case the spirit of the world, which is all around us, quickly rushes in to fill the vacuum. Therefore it behooves us to live very close to the fountain of Truth, the Word of God, lest the Spirit of God be quenched, and we be filled with the spirit of the world.
If constantly filled from the fountain of Truth, we will not receive the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God. And it is thus that we may know the things which God has in reservation for us – even the deep things of God. Thus we see that what the natural man could not know, those receiving the mind, influence, or Spirit of God, may know. (1 Cor. 2:12) Therefore, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus,” (Phil. 2:5) for “if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Rom. 8:9)
The Holy Spirit or mind should not be confounded with the fruits of the spirit or the gifts of the spirit, though its possession always yields the peaceable fruits of patience, meekness, love, etc. In the beginning of this age its possession was often accompanied, not only by fruit, but also by miraculous gifts of teaching, tongues, miracles, etc. (1 Cor. 12:1,8-10); but these, as well as their necessity, have largely passed away, as the Apostle foretold they would (1 Cor. 13:8-10), the gift of teaching still remaining because still needful for the edification of the Church. (1 Cor. 14:3-5)
Believing that the foregoing is a consistent and correct statement of the Bible teaching on this subject, which the Scriptures quoted, we think, prove, we proceed to examine the texts generally supposed to conflict with this understanding. It should be borne in mind, however, that the translators of the Scriptures from Greek into English were Trinitarians, and naturally translated as much in harmony with their belief as they could.
(a) “Quench not the spirit.” (1 Thes. 5:19) To quench signifies to extinguish, as to extinguish a fire or light. The Greek word from which it is translated occurs eight times in the New Testament, and in every other text it refers to quenching fire or light. With this thought in mind, note that by reason of having God’s holy mind or spirit the Church is called “the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14); but if we should be seduced into worldliness by the spirit of the world, our light would be quenched, or extinguished. “If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness [be extinguished], how great is that darkness!” (Matt. 6:23)
(b) “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” (Eph. 4:30) To seal is to mark or designate. The children of this world may be distinguished by certain marks, and so may the children of God, the new creatures in Christ. The mark of the one class is the spirit (mind, disposition, will) of the world; in the other class the seal or mark is the spirit (mind, disposition, will) of God. From the moment of true consecration to God, the evidence, marks or sealing may be seen in words, thoughts and actions. These marks grow more and more distinct daily, if we keep growing in grace, knowledge and love. In other words, the spirit (mind) of God becomes our mind or spirit in proportion as we give up our own human will or spirit, and submit in all things to the will or Spirit of God. Thus we are to let or permit the same mind to be in us that was also in Christ Jesus our Lord – a mind to do only the Father’s will. Hence, our new mind or spirit is holy or God-directed.
In this text the Apostle urges that we do nothing which will be a violation of our covenant, and thus a grief to the Holy Spirit or mind of God in us, or in other words, which would wound our conscience as new creatures in Christ.
(c) “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.” (John 16:13) The disciples, as Jews and natural men, had been looking at things from an earthly standpoint, expecting a human deliverance and a human kingdom. Jesus had talked of the Kingdom, but not until now had He explained that He must die, and must leave them to go into a far country to receive the Kingdom and to return. (Luke 19:12) Comforting them, He assures them of another who would lead them and teach them – a Comforter that the Father would send in His name, or as His representative for the time. They must not get the idea that the coming comforter is to be another Messiah, or a different teacher; hence He says, “he shall not speak of himself;” that is, he shall not teach independently and out of harmony with my teaching, “but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak.” That is, the same things which I have taught, which you have been hearing, he will elaborate and teach more fully – “He shall glorify me, for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine [his plans and my plans are all one]: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you.” (John 16:14,15)
The new teacher will not turn your minds from me to himself; but all the teachings of the coming Comforter will be in harmony with my teachings, and to show you more fully that I am the Messiah. Neither need you doubt the truth of the Comforter’s teachings, for it is the Spirit of Truth, and proceeds from the Father. (John 15:26) This Spirit of Truth will be my messenger to communicate to you my doctrines, and will show you things to come.
Even so it has been: the Spirit of Truth has been showing to the Church during this age more and more of the coming glory and glorious work of Christ and the depth of the riches of God’s plans to be fulfilled in Him. Thus Christ has been glorified in the Church.
God is the author of Truth, and all the Truth which has reached and guided the Church during this age has therefore proceeded from Him, from whom cometh every good and perfect gift. He has sent it through channels long since prepared – through the prophetic and typical teachings of the past, opened up to us through the inspired words of Jesus and the Apostles. Thus has God’s Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, led us day by day and shown us “things to come.”
(d) “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, 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)
The fact that the Father sends the Holy Spirit shows that it is under His authority and control, just as your powers are under your control. (See 1 Cor. 14:32) Only those who have followed in the footsteps of Jesus, sacrificing the human will and receiving the mind or Spirit of God, can understand the import of these words of Jesus. To the natural man, an explanation of this text is impossible; but he who has the mind of Christ realizes that it is a comfort indeed. No matter how painful the crucifying of the flesh may be, we have learned to view it all from God’s standpoint, and to esteem present affliction as light, compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us. Thus the Holy Spirit shall be in you; your spirit or will having been transformed, made new, is now holy. Produced by the Truth, it is the Spirit of Truth and may be lost only through your receiving a spirit of error, a spirit of slumber, or the “spirit of the world,” any of which, if received, will quench and drive out the Holy Spirit of Truth from the heart.
The mind of Christ, or the new spirit, leads us to search the Scriptures, God’s storehouse of Truth. Thus the Spirit of Truth works in us. It also enables us to comprehend God’s Word; for the more we can get to see from God’s standpoint the more reasonable to us does His Word become, that we through patience and “comfort of the scriptures” might have hope, while enduring present afflictions. (Rom. 8:26; 15:4)
(e) “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:4) In this case, not only were the disciples filled with the spirit or mind of God, which was God working in them, but God by His Spirit also acted upon them, conferring special gifts, for a special purpose.
It seems absurd to think of one person being in several hundred persons, but many hold this view of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, because of their unscriptural theory. In thinking of it, every intelligent person has to think of the power or influence of God in those men, no matter how stoutly they say that it is a person who is diffused into a number of persons. We cannot too carefully discriminate between the Spirit of God and these miraculous gifts by which those acceptable to God were at first marked out. These gifts were for the establishment of the Church, and were different in different members; but they were not to be compared with the fruits of the Spirit – joy, peace, faith, patience, love, etc. To have the latter proved adoption, but not so the gifts, for though a man had gifts of tongues and of miracles, he might be but a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. The Holy Spirit has abode in the members of the Church throughout the Gospel Age, as was promised, though many of the gifts, being no longer needful, have passed away, as the Apostle predicted. (1 Cor. 13:8-11)
(f) “But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back part of the price of the land?” (Acts 5:3) Satan had filled Ananias’ heart with his spirit of covetousness. God had filled Peter with His spirit, and one of the gifts of God’s Spirit, conferred upon Peter, was the gift of “discerning of spirits.” (1 Cor. 12:10) In Acts 5:3, the lying is said to be unto the Holy Spirit (the spirit or mind of God), and in the following verse, it is said to be unto God. The idea is the same, and thus we have the term Holy Spirit defined to be the mind of God, whether in the Father or in His representatives and agents as, in this instance, in Peter.
(g) “Then Peter said unto her [Sapphira], How is it ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord?” (Acts 5:9) As with Ananias, so with his wife, their lying was reckoned to be not to Peter and the Church as men, but to God, Peter being His agent and representative through the Spirit.
(h) “And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” (Matt. 12:32) Read the context: Jesus had just exercised the power of God by casting out a devil. The Pharisees saw the miracle and could not deny it; but, to turn aside its force, they said it was performed by the power of the devil and not by God’s power. But in answer, Jesus claims that He cast out devils by the Spirit (influence or power) of God. Then He upbraids them for being so malicious, a generation of vipers, so set on the traditions of their church that their eyes were blinded against the simplest kind of reasoning. It was so plainly evident that the power which opposed and cast out evil must be good, that they were inexcusable in ascribing it to Satan. They might and would be freely forgiven for supposing Jesus to be an impostor, and hence for blaspheming Him; but they were wholly inexcusable for that gross prejudice which would ascribe such a good deed to the power of Satan. This, their sin, would not be among those forgiven. It must be punished; it will neither be forgiven in this present life, nor in the next, the Millennial Age; it indicates more than Adamic depravity, and must have stripes.
(i) “The Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.” (Acts 8:29) We fail to see in this anything demanding another God. We think the influence or Spirit of God could indicate this to Philip in a variety of ways. In what way he was influenced is not stated and is immaterial to us.
(j) “While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.” (Acts 10:19,20) We would make the same criticism of this as of the former objection. It is immaterial how the power or Spirit of God conveyed this information to Peter. Possibly it came as an inspired thought into his mind, or possibly he was guided by three men’s voices and three visions, and accepted these as evidence that God wished him to go.
(k) “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.” (Acts 13:2) We are not told in what manner the Holy Spirit said or indicated the setting apart especially of these two. It is very probable, however, that they were called and set apart by the Holy Spirit in much the same manner that all true ministers of God are now called and set apart. All the fully consecrated (begotten) children of God are called to preach, each according to his ability. The Spirit says to us all, “Why stand ye…idle?...Go ye also into the vineyard.” (Matt: 20:6,7) When any of the consecrated have special ability or opportunity to teach or expound God’s Word, this should be recognized as a special call to the ministry.
In speaking of his call to the ministry (Gal. 1:1), Paul mentions his authority of the Father and Son, but ignores the Holy Spirit entirely; which would be inexcusable if the Holy Spirit were a person, and, in fact, the person actually appointing him. But it is entirely consistent when we regard the Holy Spirit as the holy influence from the Father or the Son, or from both conjointly, as their purposes are one. This verse reads: “Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead).”
(l) “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us,…” etc. (Acts 15:28) This chapter of Acts describes a controversy in the Church (whether circumcision was necessary for salvation) which was taken to the Apostles and elders in Jerusalem. The decisions reached in the matter seemed to be the judgment of the Church, and in harmony with God’s will and plan. God’s will or mind was ascertained by the same method which we should use today, through his Word and His providential leadings in harmony with His Word. The Church accepted the conclusion drawn as the Holy Spirit’s teaching. Examine Acts 15:13-18.
(m) “…and [the Apostles] were forbidden of the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia.” (Acts 16:6) Like the others, this text in no way indicates that the Holy Spirit is a person. We do not know how God’s power or influence directed their course away from Asia, but possibly it was by unfavorable circumstances, or by a vision. No matter how, the lesson is that God was guiding the Apostles. An illustration of one of the Spirit’s ways of leading them is given in Acts 16: 9,10: “And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavored to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.” All these various dealings teach us that the methods by which God taught and led in those days were not very different from those he now uses.
(n) “Save that the Holy Spirit witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.” (Acts 20:23) Nothing here indicates personality. Acts 21:10-14 gives an illustration of how the holy power of God informed Paul of the bonds awaiting him at Jerusalem.
(o) “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” (Acts 20:28) Paul, addressing the Church, not the world, says, “And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man [in Christ] to profit withal….And God hath set some in the Church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers…” etc. (1 Cor. 12:6,7,28) This explains how God through His Holy Spirit sets men apart to various offices which he deems needful to the Church. It contradicts the thought of the Holy Spirit being another person, and shows that God did the work by His Spirit. These elders of the Church had consecrated themselves to the LORD’s service, and were chosen because of special fitness and talents, by their brethren (in whom also was the Holy Spirit, the will of God), to be overseers of the flock. And though called to office through human instrumentality, they accepted the service as of God’s direction and appointment.
(p) “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God…Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Spirit teacheth...” (1 Cor. 2:10,13 – Read the context) This, as we have already shown, proves that the Holy Spirit or mind of God in us, as His children, enables us to comprehend His plan, etc., even the deep things of God, by coming into full harmony with Him through His Word. We have also noticed the context (verse 12), where Paul, in explaining the subject, tries to make it plain by comparing “the Spirit which is of [from] God,” in us, with “the spirit of the world,” which influences “the natural man.” It is clear that the spirit of the world is not a person, but a worldly mind. The spirit or mind of God in His children is no more a person than is the spirit of the world with which it is here contrasted.
(q) “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor. 2:14) This is a forcible statement of what we have already seen. One filled with the worldly spirit is unprepared to see the “deep” and glorious things of God – the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. This is a close test if applied. Have you the Spirit of God? Have you been taught by it (through the Word) any “deep things” which the natural, worldly man cannot appreciate?
Alas! How often we have felt the force of this distinction between natural and spiritual as we talked with some of the professed teachers of today, many of whom are blind leaders of the blind, confessing and sometimes boasting of their ignorance of “the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (1 Cor. 2:9) Thereby they proclaim that they have not the mind of God, do not know His plans, and cannot have much of His Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, when they have not much of the Truth from which that Spirit flows. The test here given of our possession of the Spirit is our ability to discern and appreciate the deep things of God which are hidden from the worldly. “God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit.” (1 Cor. 2:10)
(The above was adapted from Pastor Russell Reprint 370.)
QUESTIONS OF GENERAL INTEREST
QUESTION: Do the Youthful Worthies have the Holy Spirit?
ANSWER: In the sense of a new will, a holy disposition, the Youthful Worthies have the Holy Spirit; but they do not have the Holy Spirit of begettal. The Scriptures speak of the two general outpourings of the Holy Spirit. (Joel 2:28,29) In both cases the Holy Spirit is given; but it is not given as a begettal in both cases. The spirit of begettal to sonship (John 1:12,13; Rom. 8:14-16) is now given to the Gospel Church alone, and will not be given to the world. The world will receive the Holy Spirit [but not the begettal] in its second outpouring, as Adam and Eve had it before their fall, and as Jesus had it as a human being before Jordan. It is in the latter sense that the Youthful Worthies are now receiving the Holy Spirit. In due time, during the Little Season at the end of the Millennium, we opine, they will receive the Spirit-begettal as the beginning of their change of nature.
QUESTION: To what extent should we expect a class not begotten of the Spirit to understand the Plan of God, the Sin-offerings, the Mystery, the Covenants, etc., also the Epiphany message? Is not a clear insight into these things an evidence of Spirit-begettal?
ANSWER: We are to expect the Youthful Worthies now appreciatively to understand everything in the Bible as due, except those of its features that pertain to the development and operation of the Spirit which is begotten in the Church, and the things that pertain to spirit beings. Accordingly, they may and in many cases do understand the Plan of God, the Sin-offerings, certain features of the Mystery and the Covenants and practically everything in the Epiphany Message. The general features of God’s Plan even honest worldlings who are not consecrated can understand, as all of us have witnessed; and all of these will understand them when the books of the Bible are opened, made plain, before the great White Throne. (Rev. 20:12; Isa. 29:18,24) The reason why the Youthful Worthies may understand everything in the Bible as due, except the development and operation of the Spirit which is begotten in the Church, and spirit beings, is that “the secret of the LORD is with them that fear [reverence] him.” (Psa. 25:14) Their honesty, humility, meekness, hunger and holiness of heart are such as please the Lord; and He is therefore pleased to tell them His secrets as due, insofar as they can grasp them, which, of course, excludes things purely spiritual. If they could appreciatively understand the development and operation of the Spirit which is begotten in the Church, and spirit beings, this would be a proof of their Spirit-begettal. Their not appreciatively understanding these is a proof that they are not Spirit-begotten.
QUESTION: What should the Youthful Worthies do to obtain “a good report”?
ANSWER: Practically the same things that the Ancient Worthies did and that the Little Flock [did]; continue to be dead to sin, error, self and the world, meditating on God’s Word, by watchfulness, by prayer, by spreading God’s Word, by developing a character in harmony with God’s Word and by enduring evil in harmony therewith. In a word, by being faithful to their consecration vows they will obtain a good report through faith and obedience.
(By Brother Paul Johnson, E-4-page 412-414, 418)
Please direct all correspondence to:
P.O. Box 2246, Kernersville, NC 27285-2246
 Pastor Russell wrote specifically about and for the Little Flock; however, many of these thoughts are applicable to the unbegotten members of the Household of Faith who are not “new creatures.” See Questions of General Interest.
 “Ghost” in the King James Version is a bad translation of pneuma, generally and properly rendered “spirit.” We have made this substitution where appropriate.