The Holy Spirit of the Old Testament
(Sermon Notes) By Warren Zehrung 5/8/2021
Next week is the Day of Pentecost. It behooves us to contemplate the Spirit of God. From the beginning, let’s understand that The Holy Spirit of the Old Testament, and The Holy Spirit of the New Testament are one and the same—God’s eternal Spirit!
Ephesians 2:18 For through [Christ Jesus] we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
Ephesians 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
If there is one subject the world is terribly confused and deceived about, it is the matter of God’s Holy Spirit. Out of all the churches in the world, the Church of God is most blessed to have been given a right understanding on the nature of God and of His Holy Spirit. Sometimes you get the feeling that the apostles were caught totally off-guard by the occurrences of that first Pentecost. Let me ask you the question:
Were the apostles and brethren at that first Feast of Pentecost following Jesus’ ascension into heaven totally surprised when they were filled with the Holy Spirit?
Acts 2:4 They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
The answer is: The apostles and brethren were not surprised at all when they were filled with the Holy Spirit.
Unlike the deceived world today, they had a very good understanding of the Holy Spirit because of the Old Testament Scriptures and the things Jesus told them to expect.
The Holy Spirit is God’s mind, love and life. God has a spiritual, eternal Life. It is His unlimited power to create beyond the limit of our imagination, and comprehension. The Holy Spirit is God’s personality, His manifold traits, His character. God’s Holy Spirit is every characteristic of God – His righteousness, gentleness, peace, compassion, excellence, generosity, mercy… The complete attributes of God’s Spirit are beyond the grasp of our finite minds.
On that first Pentecost after Jesus was crucified, God began sending His Spirit into the New Testament Church brethren. Jesus had told them:
John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that it (not he) may abide with you forever;
John 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; which the world cannot receive, because it sees it not, neither knows it: but ye know it; for it dwells with you, and shall be in you.
Coming up to Pentecost, the apostles’ expectation of God’s Spirit was at a heightened level – though their greater understanding of spiritual things would not come until after their conversion. In fact, Jesus had recently explained to them that very point. It was the night after Jesus’ final Passover and Footwashing service, and He was expounding many things to the apostles.
John 16:12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
Jesus was giving them deep spiritual concepts that can only be Spiritually discerned. Jesus was telling the apostles that they would not be able to truly grasp spiritual concepts until after they had received God’s Holy Spirit.
The King James translators cut their teeth on the Trinity doctrine, so we have to be very careful. The King James translators could only translate these verses – believing that the Holy Spirit was a personal being – like God the Father and Jesus Christ are personal beings of the highest order. That Trinity doctrine was pervasive and universal – especially in Rome and England – where the Bible was being translated into English.
The Trinity doctrine is of pagan origin – and it was ubiquitous in 1611 when the New Testament was being translated from the Greek Scriptures. In God’s Church we know that the Trinity doctrine is a heretical and false idea. It had its roots from Nimrod, shortly after the flood. The first century Church had it straight, but by the time of Constantine, (~300 AD), false, Pagan religion had taken over.
The Greek here in John 16 contains none of these masculine, personal, pronouns (He, Him, His, Himself, and the like) that we find in the King James Version (KJV). I will read it first – directly out of the King James Version where the King James translators understood the Holy Spirit to be the third person of the Trinitarian Godhead.
John 16:13 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 shew you things to come.
None of those masculine, personal, pronouns are in the Greek! That terrible translation continues to throw the entire world into confusion and deceit. Let me give you my translation – substituting ‘Holy Spirit’ wherever ‘He’ is mistranslated. It is a little awkward, but it will help to drive home the correct meaning.
John 16:13 Howbeit when the [Holy Spirit], the Spirit of truth, is come, [God’s Holy Spirit] will guide you into all truth: for [the Holy Spirit] shall not speak of itself; but whatsoever [the Holy Spirit] shall hear, that shall [the Holy Spirit] speak: and [the Holy Spirit] will reveal to you things to come.
John 16:14 [The Holy Spirit] shall glorify me: for [the Holy Spirit] shall receive of mine [Jesus’ teachings], and shall disclose it unto you.
John 16:15 All things that the Father has [God’s Doctrine] are mine [Jesus says]: therefore said I, that [the Holy Spirit] shall take of mine, and shall release it unto you.
Here is the meaning… After you have received God’s Spirit at Pentecost, [the Holy Spirit] will bring all my teachings clearly into your minds – those spiritual concepts that I received from the Father – will be understood by you.
Even at the last Passover, the apostles were not yet able to grasp deep spiritual concepts.
1Corinthians 2:14 The natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
How much did those brethren know about the workings of God’s Spirit prior to that occasion? What were they expecting when Jesus Christ told them to await the Promise of the Father?
Luke 24:49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
‘Power from on high’ is telling us a little about this gift of God.
Acts 2:33 is written after Pentecost, but the Promise was made prior to Pentecost:
Acts 2:33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
Acts 1:4 And, [Jesus] being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the Promise of the Father, which, He said, ye have heard of me.
Jesus was telling them about the coming of His Holy Spirit.
Acts 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with Holy Spirit not many days hence.
There is no specific article here, so the Greek does not read “THE Holy Spirit,” but it reads, you shall be baptized with Holy Spirit…
Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Jesus made it clearly known to His men that they should receive Holy Spirit from the Father. That would mark the inauguration of the Church of God.
Luke 11:13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
“Father, give us of your Spirit, and help us to implement it. Again, there is no specific article, ‘the’ in the Greek here… shall your heavenly Father give Holy Spirit. So, between the writings of the Old Testament and the teachings of Jesus Christ, the apostles understood a great deal.
Hebrews 11 contains many names of men and women of faith in the Old Testament who were converted and had received God’s Holy Spirit. Believing what God had promised in regard to their redemption in the Old Testament.
Hebrews 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
The apostles and the brethren at Pentecost already knew all their stories. What was their concept of the Holy Spirit before it was poured out and came and sat on them? You do not pour out a person?
Acts 2:18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
Acts 2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
Those who espouse the Trinity doctrine do not like to emphasize the Holy Spirit sitting on the recipients, because it does not fit their narrative.
Why was the fulfillment of the Feast of Pentecost such an impressive and spectacular occasion, with so much visual and audible authentication – with the appearance of fire, and the roaring of a fierce rushing wind? At Pentecost when God’s Holy Spirit came upon the first Church saints there was a remarkable spectacle observed by all in order to punctuate the fact that something truly unpresented was occurring.
God’s Spirit is not a bird, and does not look like a dove. Anyone who has ever seen a dove descending knows that they land slowly and gently – not like a bolt of lightning. God’s Spirit was manifested in this way for a witness that something truly extraordinary was taking place.
Acts 2:2 Suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
The Old Testament and Jesus’ teachings reveal an incredible volume of Biblical knowledge about the Holy Spirit – revealed prior to the first Feast of Pentecost following Jesus death and resurrection.
Let’s set the record straight! This prior knowledge of God’s Spirit is important to review because it was so vehemently denied when the Worldwide Church of God became apostate – abandoning the Truth, and confusing even the faithful brethren to a great extent. We lost approximately 70% of the members because of the deception, with a great many more brethren being terribly confused – many to this day. Even the leader, Victor Kubik, of one of the major offshoots of WCG recently – in a sermon – confused who the father of Jesus was. Commenting on Matthew 1:18 and Luke 1:35: He said, “The Holy Spirit was the father of Jesus.” Someone pointed out his error, and later he came back to try and explain what he said and thought.
And, brethren, let me warn you again about Google – they are an enemy of the Truth. If you Google, “Who was Jesus’ father,” you will get, “Panthera is the name of a soldier said by Celsus to be Jesus’ real father.” Brethren, that is total heresy.
We need to know the truth about God’s Spirit. Let’s flashback about 32 years to when I was serving in Pasadena, CA. In a headquarters’ sermon in 1989, Dr. Kyriacos J. Stavrinides declared that, “God’s Holy Spirit is not mentioned anywhere in the Old Testament.” I was flabbergasted.
I thought, “How could he be so ignorant of the Scriptural facts?” I was sitting in the congregation, and he was on the stage speaking. I heard him say that, and could not believe what I was hearing!
As Sabbath services concluded, I immediately went up to Dr. Stavrinides as he came down off the stage at the end of his sermon, and I asked him, …“What about these old Testament Scriptures that specifically speak of God’s Holy Spirit?” Two Scriptures came to my mind immediately. I first quoted David:
Psalm 51:11 … Take not thy Holy Spirit from me.
Genesis 1:2 … The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Dr. Stavrinides declared to me, “Those Scriptures are not about God’s Holy Spirit.” Refusing to discuss it, he defiantly walked away as though that was the last word on the subject.
Unbeknownst to me, and everyone else in the congregation, and without admitting his agenda, Dr. Stavrinides had begun representing Joseph Tkach’s false Trinitarian theology. It was still pretty much a secret agenda in 1989.
Rejecting God’s truth, Worldwide’s ‘new’ belief and doctrinal position was that the Holy Spirit was a third person in a trinity of beings. They spoke of the Holy Spirit being fully a person Himself. They said that the Holy Spirit, as a person, has been present with the Father and the Son since before time began – all three of them. “It was so simple – anyone could understand it,” they said. Trinitarianism is the doctrine that holds the unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three persons in one Godhead.
Dr. Kyriacos J. Stavrinides, that famous violinist, a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music, London, the University of London and the University of Surrey. Dr. Stavrinides, who spoke modern Greek, stated that he had always understood that God was three beings in one. He produced a lengthy video series based on the Catholic Church doctrine of the Trinity. David Hulme, a strong supporter, urged that this doctrine be “spoon fed” to the Church members to prevent a rapid loss of membership.
Dr. Kyriacos J. Stavrinides, a professor at Ambassador College, was asked to help craft an official church statement on the nature of God.
In 1993 the Pastor General of the Worldwide Church of God, Joseph W. Tkach, Sr. oversaw the introduction of a series of changes to the church’s fundamental doctrines. As part of this change Dr. Kyriacos J. Stavrinides produced 14 video tapes ~28 hours of lecture on video tape, plus a 48-page supplementary handout entitled “Understanding the Nature of God,” which all the ministry was required to watch and listen to. The study had its foundation in classic Catholic Trinitarianism. Dr. Stavrinides used terms like “Piety,” from the pages of the Catholic Encyclopedia. He also produced a 31-page supplementary handout entitled “The Modern Trinitarian Problem,” “prove” that the Church needed to change its teachings about the nature of God.
Brethren, the Bible says no such thing!
The doctrine of the Trinity became the test of orthodoxy for main-stream Christianity because for worldly people, the Trinity is their primary affirmation about God being (verb)—three beings (noun). The test for orthodoxy means that if you do not believe in the Trinity – you cannot be a Christian. Brethren that is pure heresy – as old as Paganism itself.
But make no mistake about it brethren, the Beast Power will use this test of orthodoxy to prove that members of the Church of God are the heretics.
2Thessalonians 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
So it is good and necessary that we review the Word of God to see what the apostles and first century saints actually knew about God’s Spirit – beginning with some Old Testament Scriptures.
Genesis 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Gen 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
Gen 1:6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
Jesus, by the Spirit of God – created everything on earth and in the heavens:
John 1:3 All things were made by Him; and without him was not anything made that was made.
Genesis 1:9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
Genesis 1:10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
Psalm 104:30 Thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.
Genesis 1:11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
Mountains, Plains, Rivers and streams, Minerals and all resources, Stars, Moon and planets, Oceans and Islands – all created by the Spirit of God.
Things visible and invisible, Spiritual and physical.
The apostles fully understood the vast workings of God’s Spirit.
Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Job 33:4 The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.
Psalm 139:7 Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
The apostles knew of God’s omni-presence through His Holy Spirit. The apostles knew of David – who had God’s Spirit. The prophet Nathan Rebukes David:
2Samuel 12:1 And the LORD sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor.
2Samuel 12:2 The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds:
2Samuel 12:3 But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.
2Samuel 12:4 And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him.
2Samuel 12:5 And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die:
2Samuel 12:6 And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.
2Samuel 12:7 And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;
2Samuel 12:8 And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.
2Samuel 12:9 Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.
2Samuel 12:10 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken [Bathsheba] the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.
2Samuel 12:11 Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbor, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.
2Samuel 12:12 For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.
2Samuel 12:13 And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.
David said unto Nathan, I have sinned – that admission was a step in the right direction. Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God
Psalm 51:1 A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
Psalm 51:2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
Psalm 51:3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
Psalm 51:4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
David was saying: “Whatever punishment you exact on me my LORD is more than fair and just.” How was it possible that David could sin so grievously against God? David had grown far away from God – doing his own thing without God in the picture.
Psalm 51:9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right Spirit within me.
Psalm 51:11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me.
The apostles knew about God’s Spirit more than we can imagine.
2Samuel 12:13 And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.
2Samuel 12:14 Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.
All who would have seen the boy would blaspheme God being reminded of David’s sin. David’s Child Dies:
2Samuel 12:15 And Nathan departed unto his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was very sick.
2Samuel 12:16 David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth.
2Samuel 12:17 And the elders of his house arose, and went to him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them.
David was praying, “If my boy dies, he will have no offspring, no children nor grand-children, forever…” Millions will never live – because of my sin…
How do you measure sin’s cost to the Plan of God? It is incalculable!
2Samuel 12:18 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead: for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead?
2Samuel 12:19 But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead.
2Samuel 12:20 Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat.
2Samuel 12:21 Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread.
2Samuel 12:22 And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?
2Samuel 12:23 But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.
A few more Scriptures from the Old Testament showing how much the apostles knew about the workings of God’s Holy Spirit.
Psalm 139:7 David prayed, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?”
Nehemiah 9:20 You gave your Good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst.
Isaiah 48:16 Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and His Spirit, hath sent me.
Haggai 2:4-5 …My Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.
Psalm 106:32-33 …They rebelled against the Spirit of God, and rash words came from Moses’ lips.
The Holy Spirit of the Old Testament is one and the same Spirit of God the Father and Jesus Christ expressed in the New Testament.
God’s Spirit is able to bring every single one of His traits and attributes to His saints – determined only by our ability to utilize it reliably and conscientiously.
The Holy Spirit is God’s mind, love and life. It is His unlimited power, His personality, His manifold traits, His character. God’s Holy Spirit is every characteristic of God – His righteousness, gentleness, peace, compassion, excellence, generosity, mercy… the list is endless.
We are totally unable to comprehend every characteristic of God’s Spirit with our human intellect for God is far too great.
Closing Hymn from Psalm 139, Page 105:
“Where Shall I Go from Your Spirit, O God?
End: The Holy Spirit of the Old Testament