Hebrew and Greek Both use a single word to denote wind, breath and spirit, ruah and pneuma, respectively. The Hebrew ruah enjoys a great deal of conceptual overlap, so that the basic meaning is an unseen force of vitality, as in the wind, which can be strong or mighty, the vigor or vitality of a man, or the power and might of God. (Wood, D. R. W., & Marshall, I. H. (1996). New Bible dictionary (3rd ed.). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.) Indeed, the emphasis seems to be on what is expereinced in terms of power and demonstration of force.

However, this doses not imply an absence of personality, individuality or intelligence. Clearly, with reference to God, the Spirit of the Lord or of God speaks, thinks, acts, choses, inspires, convicts and experiences emotion. Similarly the spirit of man has emotion and is capable of supporting all of the characteristics of human personality and individuality. There are also evil spirits spoken of in the Bible, which are not impersonal (cf. Gen. 3:1), but which resist and obstruct the purposes of God, under an organizing principle of rebellion and militeristic hiarchy (cf. Matt. 12:26; Mar 3:23; Eph 6:10-12; Luke 10:18; 11:18; 1 Thess. 2:18; Rev. 2:13; 12:9). Evil spirits ‎ are “a power which man experiences as an affliction, an injurious limitation to full relationship with God and with his fellows (chiefly in the Synoptic Gospels and Acts: Mt. 8:16; Mk. 1:23, 26f.; 9:25; Lk. 4:36; 11:24, 26; Acts 19:12f., 15f.; 1 Tim. 4:1; Rev. 16:13f.) (Wood, D. R. W., & Marshall, I. H. (1996). New Bible dictionary (3rd ed.). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press).

The dynmaic force that constitutes a human being as a fully living organism is spirit (Wood, D. R. W., & Marshall, I. H. (1996). New Bible dictionary (3rd ed.). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.), although physical and intellectual chanractersitics overlap. However, a man can be phsycially alive, while actaully not possessing life and God originally intended because of a fault in the area of spirit, that dyanamic that makes a relationship with god possible. There is a sense in which the realtionship between God and men is primarily a matter of Spirit to spirit, but without the dichotomous Greek aversion to the physical.

Similarly the terms Spirit of God or Spirit of the Lord do not imply impersonality. Even if they do imply somthing immaterial about God’s activity, they do imply a tangible experience of that activity nonetheless. Immaterial does not mean not real! Immaterial is not illusional! The activity of God which is attributed to the Spirit is at one and the same time personal and tangible, with characteristics that signifiy indpendent personal existence, including volition, speech and thought. In short, the same charactersitics that are true of human beings in conenction with the human spirit are attributed to God in connection to his indivdual personality and existence.

Israel as a nation seems to have relied upon the charismatic endowment of the the Spirit as the impetus behind their activity as leaders and rulers (Wood, D. R. W., & Marshall, I. H. (1996). New Bible dictionary (3rd ed.). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press). This is especially evident from Judges and 1 Samuel. The prophets claim to speak under God’s direct influence or as a result of the Spirit’s enabling and urging (‎Is. 59:21; 63:11ff; Mi. 3:8; Ho. 9:7; Ne. 9:20, 30; Zc. 4:6; 7:12 ) Indeed, Roger Stonstad makes the point that Luke uses these instances as fromulaic for his description of the activity of the Holy Spirit in the early church (Charismatic Theology of Saint Luke) (cf. Numbers 11). Indeed he goes on to make the point that for Luke the sudden prominence of the Holy Spirit at the commencement of the life and ministry of Jesus, and the church at Pentecost, is the fulfilment of the promises made in the Old Tesatment that the coming of the kingdom of God would be marked with an outburst of Spirit activity.

Luke’s perspective seems to be influenced by the promises in the OT that the end-time would be marked by special and demonstrative activity of the Holy Spirit in connection with God’s people. Indeed, this eschatological coming of the Spirit is for Luke synonymous with the dawning of the new age (cf. Acts 2:14-21), initiated by the coming of Christ, but not yet having reached its full climactic arrival, until Christ’s return. Nevertheless the Holy Spirit is promised in the OT as the mark of the new age promised by God, wherein his people who have failed to succeed under the law, will now succeed under the power of the Spirit (‎Is. 32:15; 42:1; 44:3f. 61:1; Je. 31:31–34 ; Ezk. 36:26f.; 37; 39:29; Joel 2:28f.; Zc. 12:10; Joel 2:28-29). This sense may have been heightened greatly by the diminishing of emphasis on the Spirit in the period between the testaments and the rabbinic empahsis insistance that the activity of the Spirit was in the past (Wood, D. R. W., & Marshall, I. H. (1996). New Bible dictionary (3rd ed.). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press). The significance of and suprise in Jerusalem at the sudden outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, when the disicples spoke in tongues and prophesied must have been enflamed by such a lack expectation!

The OT sows the seed of the NT idea that the anointing of the Spirit of God comes upon the disciples in the context of the church and its fulfillment of the mission of God (cf. Joel 2:28-29; Acts 1:8). There the prophets, priests and kings are anointed with oil, which comes to symbolize a more of an existential and a permanent endowment of the the Spirit of God, to equip them for their office and duties (Wood, D. R. W., & Marshall, I. H. (1996). New Bible dictionary (3rd ed.). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press). This idea is more fully developed in the NT but with a very important broadening of the availability of the Holy Spirit to every believer. The broadening of the availability of the Spirit to every believer in the church is the mark of the transition that was initiated by the coming of Christ, and which brought in the kingdom of God through the ministry of Jesus, who received the Spirit’s anointing to initiate his ministry (Luke 3:22) and promised the same anointing to his disciples at a future time after his ascension, as the initiation of their mission into the world (Luke 24:46-49).

In the OT, the presence of God, often called the Shekinah, because of the association of the glory of God from Sinai coming as a personal indwelling reality in Israel’s worship facility (first the Tabernacle and then the temple), later became assoicated with the Spirit of the the Lord (‎ Is. 63:11f) (Wood, D. R. W., & Marshall, I. H. (1996). New Bible dictionary (3rd ed.). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press). In the NT that association is fully coellesced by Paul who declares the body of the believer to be the temple of God, which he indwells through the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19). While the rabbi’s see the law as the voice of the Spirit after the close of the OT, the NT rejects that idea, notably in the teaching of Paul, who argues that the Spirit has replaced the law, particularly as the impetus for righteousness in the life of the believer (cf. Galatians). ‎

‎”Fourth, the Spirit of God will “move” them to follow (“walk in”) his laws (v. 27). Inability to keep the law was a primary concern presented by the apostle Paul. He lamented his struggle and failure to keep the law in his own strength (Rom 7:13–25) and followed that lament with the solution in Rom 8:1–39. The solution to his dilemma was living in the power of the Holy Spirit (cf. Gal 5:16–26).” (Cooper, L. E. (2001). Vol. 17: Ezekiel (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers).


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