Is It Important That the Holy Spirit Is a Person?

Chris

Administrator
Staff member
Is It Important That the Holy Spirit Is a Person?
By Dr. Matt Ayars
President Wesley Biblical Seminary

A few weeks ago I had a conversation with someone who denied the personhood of the Holy Spirit. “The Holy Spirit is the breath of God, he is not God, and certainly not a person. The Holy Spirit is an impersonal force,” he said. In a study done by the Institute for Religion and Democracy, 55% of evangelical Christians believe that the Holy Spirit is a force, not a person. A study conducted by Christianity Today showed that 59% of evangelicals denied the personhood of the Holy Spirit.

In the 6th century AD at the second Council of Constantinople, the church definitively affirmed the biblical witness of the divinity and personhood of the Holy Spirit. In other words, to believe that the Holy Spirit is not a person but an impersonal force is to stand outside of the Holy Spirit’s teaching about Himself. Following a “holy spirit” that is not a person is to follow false teaching, which is very dangerous.

But what difference does it make? Does it matter that the Holy Spirit is a person or a force?

Yes, the difference is huge.

There are major consequences to denying the personhood of the Holy Spirit, and they are not merely consequences discussed in the upper rooms of ivory towers by theologians and academicians. Getting this point of teaching wrong about the Holy Spirit compromises the very Gospel itself. So, here are three major consequences of denying the personhood of the Holy Spirit.

1. Denying the Personhood of the Holy Spirit Denies the Authority of Scripture

The Scriptures clearly teach that the Holy Spirit is a person. We see this is in the names and titles used for the Holy Spirit and the attributes of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can be lied to (Acts 5:3–4), and frustrated (Ephesians 4:30). You can’t lie to an impersonal force (e.g., a rock or the wind). The Holy Spirit is described by the Bible as having attributes that only God has (e.g., omnipotence (Ps. 139:7–10)); and, if God is a person (as Jesus reveals), then the Holy Spirit must be a person if he is God. To say that the Holy Spirit is an impersonal force is to deny the voice of Scriptures on the matter.

As we will explore in point three below, if the Holy Spirit is NOT a person, then Jesus’s promises that he will be with us always and that his work results in the restoration of the very presence of God in the hearts of people are all lies.

The bottom line is if you take the Scriptures seriously, you must take the personhood of the Holy Spirit seriously.

2. Denying the Personhood of the Holy Spirit Denies the Divinity of the Holy Spirit

As mentioned above, Jesus reveals that God is a person (John 1:1; John 14:9). If God is a person, and the Holy Spirit is God (as the Bible clearly teaches), then the Holy Spirit must also be a person. If the Holy Spirit is not a person, then the Holy Spirit cannot be God (i.e., co-equal with God the Father and God the Son).

Denying the divinity of the Holy Spirit means taking away from what the Holy Spirit is capable of in terms of applying the saving work of Jesus in the lives of believers (not to mention that it’s also blasphemy). Only God (including the Holy Spirit) is able to bring to life a valley of dry bones. People’s hearts are regenerated because of the power of the presence of God inside of them. That presence is mediated by the Holy Spirit. Some thing less than God himself is not able to generate resurrected life in sinners. Only the personal God indwelling believers is able to accomplish such a miracle.

3. Denying the Personhood of the Holy Spirit Denies the Truth and Power of the Gospel

This is a big claim, so how do arrive here? The good news of the Gospel is that humans were once estranged from God, but now—because of the saving work of Jesus—we are brought back into relationship with Him. Scripture employs a number of metaphors to make this point: (1) Christians are adopted as children of God; (2) Christians are citizens of the kingdom of God; (3) Christians are the bride of Christ; (4) Christians are forgiven; (5) Christians are a new creation. All of these metaphors—in one way or another—are only possible because humans are reconciled to God in a love relationship.

So, what does this have to do with the personhood of the Holy Spirit? If the Holy Spirit is NOT a person, then he cannot truly mediate the presence of God to his people. Once again, when Jesus promises His followers that He will be with them always, this is only true if the Holy Spirit is a person who is able to mediate the personal presence of Jesus to His followers. Paul says that the body of believers that makes up the church is the temple of God which houses His very presence. If the Holy Spirit is not a person, then this statement simply cannot be true.

If the aim of Jesus’s saving work is to restore the presence of God with us, then the Holy Spirit must be a person to truly bring the presence of God to believers. If the Holy Spirit is not a person, then the truth and power of Jesus’s saving ministry are denied.

Because of Jesus, God’s personal presence is available to us now. That presence is likewise brought to us by the Holy Spirit, only if the Holy Spirit is a person.

Conclusion​

Imagine you’re lost in a dark cave and you cry out to God for help. In terms of saving you, God has two options: (1) toss you a flashlight, or (2) come to you and walk you out Himself. If the Holy Spirit is merely an impersonal force, then God has opted for #1. The problem with #1 is that it is not what Scripture teaches about the nature of salvation. According to Scripture, in salvation, God actually shows up and walks with us. This is only possible if the Holy Spirit is a person. Because the Holy Spirit is a person, God Himself is with you, which is the promise of the Gospel.

https://www.raptureforums.com/bible-study/is-it-important-that-the-holy-spirit-is-a-person/
 

Jonathan

Well-Known Member
Well, I will have to say that, of the Trinity, the Holy Ghost is the one who I have the most difficulty wrapping my mind around or feeling a connection to. In that since, I can understand the tendency to think of Him as force. An Omnipotent, Devine force but not having a soul or a conscience, etc.

I DO NOT BELIEVE THIS MYSELF.

But I can definitely relate to it. For example, both in the OT and the NT, Jesus and God communicated with mankind via verbal language. Not only that, Jesus made his home among men, constantly interacting with them on a human level if taken at face value.

Unless I am mistaken, The Holy Spirt never flat out "Said" anything to anyone. Did he communicate in others ways? Without doubt. Has his presence here amongst us been powerful and define? Again, without doubt."

All I am saying is I can understand how some would sort of default into thinking of the Holy Spirit as a force rather than a person. It doesn't mean I agree with them.
 

Andy C

Well-Known Member
Many people find the doctrine of the Holy Spirit confusing. Is the Holy Spirit a force, a person, or something else? What does the Bible teach?

The Bible provides many ways to help us understand that the Holy Spirit is truly a person—that is, He is a personal being, rather than an impersonal thing. First, every pronoun used in reference to the Spirit is “he” not “it.” The original Greek language of the New Testament is explicit in confirming the person of the Holy Spirit. The word for “Spirit” (pneuma) is neuter and would naturally take neuter pronouns to have grammatical agreement. Yet, in many cases, masculine pronouns are found (e.g., John 15:26; 16:13-14). Grammatically, there is no other way to understand the pronouns of the New Testament related to the Holy Spirit—He is referred to as a “He,” as a person.

Matthew 28:19 teaches us to baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is a collective reference to one Triune God. Also, we are not to grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). The Spirit can be sinned against (Isaiah 63:10) and lied to (Acts 5:3). We are to obey Him (Acts 10:19–21) and honor Him (Psalm 51:11).

The personhood of the Holy Spirit is also affirmed by His many works. He was personally involved in creation (Genesis 1:2), empowers God’s people (Zechariah 4:6), guides (Romans 8:14), comforts (John 14:26), convicts (John 16:8), teaches (John 16:13), restrains sin (Isaiah 59:19), and gives commands (Acts 8:29). Each of these works requires the involvement of a person rather than a mere force, thing, or idea.

The Holy Spirit’s attributes also point to His personality. The Holy Spirit has life (Romans 8:2), has a will (1 Corinthians 12:11), is omniscient (1 Corinthians 2:10–11), is eternal (Hebrews 9:14), and is omnipresent (Psalm 139:7). A mere force could not possess all of these attributes, but the Holy Spirit does.

And the personhood of the Holy Spirit is affirmed by His role as the third Person of the Godhead. Only a being who is equal to God (Matthew 28:19) and possesses the attributes of omniscience, omnipresence, and eternality could be defined as God.

In Acts 5:3–4, Peter referred to the Holy Spirit as God, stating, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.” Paul likewise referred to the Holy Spirit as God in 2 Corinthians 3:17–18, stating, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

The Holy Spirit is a person, as Scripture makes clear. As such, He is to be revered as God and serves in perfect unity with Father and Son to lead us in our spiritual lives.

https://www.gotquestions.org/Holy-Spirit-person.html
 

soundingthealarm

Fleethewrath2come
The Holy Spirit did not come to testify of Himself, so whenever you HEAR or READ of someone proclaiming Jesus, THAT is the Holy Spirit TALKING/WORKING through them.

John 5:26-27 “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.
 

Tall Timbers

Imperfect but forgiven
I went and looked up the definition of person to see what all the hullabaloo was about. When I think of the Holy Spirit, I think of Spirit, I think of God. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, both three and one. I think of the Holy Spirit as God, which He is. The Holy Spirit has been my comforter, praise the Lord. The Holy Spirit drew me to Jesus through the Living Word. The definition of person that I looked up included the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
 

JustLikeHeaven

Well-Known Member
Well, I will have to say that, of the Trinity, the Holy Ghost is the one who I have the most difficulty wrapping my mind around or feeling a connection to. In that since, I can understand the tendency to think of Him as force. An Omnipotent, Devine force but not having a soul or a conscience, etc.

I DO NOT BELIEVE THIS MYSELF.

But I can definitely relate to it. For example, both in the OT and the NT, Jesus and God communicated with mankind via verbal language. Not only that, Jesus made his home among men, constantly interacting with them on a human level if taken at face value.

Unless I am mistaken, The Holy Spirt never flat out "Said" anything to anyone. Did he communicate in others ways? Without doubt. Has his presence here amongst us been powerful and define? Again, without doubt."

All I am saying is I can understand how some would sort of default into thinking of the Holy Spirit as a force rather than a person. It doesn't mean I agree with them.
I couldn’t wrap my finite brain around it either and I thought the HS was a force too..a deity, the third of the Trinity. But now, since studying eschatology for almost 2 years, I see Holy Spirit is referred to as a Whom and a He, not an IT. Knowing He can be grieved has also changed my thoughts on it.


Also, this lets me know without a doubt now that the “HE” referred to as the restrainer that needs to be removed from the world before the tribulation can begin, is for sure the Holy Spirit and why so many are confused at this stance because they do not see the Holy Spirit as a HE, but an IT…so they try to refute that it’s referring to the Holy Spirit. I guess it will all make sense soon, when we are finally with all three in Heaven. :D
 

TheRedeemed

Well-Known Member
This is a great discussion and prompted me back to before I was saved.

At that time I was just like every other unsaved young person, career, money, nice car, nice house, entertainment, nights out etc., were all the ‘important’ things, just like the rest of my workmates and friends.

However, anytime someone took the Lord’s name in vain I used to tut and tit, and frown at the user of such a phraseology, without knowing why! In fact I used to avoid the person who did this too, but still didn’t understand why.

Now, being saved and understanding the truth of the matter, I can only conclude that the Holy Spirit in my/our midst was also frowning and tutting and making Himself known to me.

An impersonal ‘it’ could not stir a person’s feelings nor trigger some physical or emotional response in a person. I have never doubted the identity of the Holy Spirit from the moment I got saved back in 2005. In that day 16 years ago, He came and resided in me and has been there ever since.

Praise the Lord in all 3 of His forms, and be delighted that He resides in us all as a token of ownership who will never, ever abandon us nor allow any other spirit to take up residence.
 

Rocky R.

Well-Known Member
We will see God ... face to face. So yeah, we will see each part of the Trinity. Matthew 5:8; John 3:2; John 14:9. Moses, Jacob and Job, to name just a few, saw God face to face. So why not us?
Ah, just the brother I wanted to ask! Remember in Genesis when, in an unfathomable show of grace, God came down and played with Jacob in a wrestling match that lasted all night? In Genesis 32:28 we read, "And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”

Whoa, there! Struggle with God and prevailed?? I believe the Scripture, and what's most astonishing here is that it is GOD who said it. Is the definition of "prevail" here different in Old King James language? Am I missing something here? I can understand Jacob winning a match against a man, but a wrestling match with God? NOBODY can pin Him. I imagine it lasted through the night because the LORD was probably just laughing and playing with Jake the whole time, while all through the match Jacob must have been crying, huffing, puffing, and begging to take a break between rounds.

Want to know something more astonishing? Genesis 32:25 reads, "Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him." What gives?! I know God's just playing with the man, as apparently a single, light touch from God was enough to knock Jacob's pelvis out of joint! If the lightest touch can do that, can you imagine what would happen to Jacob if God slapped him? Does "He saw that He did not prevail against him" mean "He saw that despite His greater might, the man Jacob kept on going"... If interpreted in that way, I can make logic sense of it since we know God was just playing and not fighting. But what do you think God meant when He said that Jacob prevailed??
 

Hidden

Well-Known Member
This is a great discussion and prompted me back to before I was saved.

At that time I was just like every other unsaved young person, career, money, nice car, nice house, entertainment, nights out etc., were all the ‘important’ things, just like the rest of my workmates and friends.

However, anytime someone took the Lord’s name in vain I used to tut and tit, and frown at the user of such a phraseology, without knowing why! In fact I used to avoid the person who did this too, but still didn’t understand why.

Now, being saved and understanding the truth of the matter, I can only conclude that the Holy Spirit in my/our midst was also frowning and tutting and making Himself known to me.

An impersonal ‘it’ could not stir a person’s feelings nor trigger some physical or emotional response in a person. I have never doubted the identity of the Holy Spirit from the moment I got saved back in 2005. In that day 16 years ago, He came and resided in me and has been there ever since.

Praise the Lord in all 3 of His forms, and be delighted that He resides in us all as a token of ownership who will never, ever abandon us nor allow any other spirit to take up residence.

Amen and Amen. When I am distressed or in a really tough situation, I pray to God and I can feel the Holy Spirit's comfort and guidance. He has been with me for so many years that I've come to never doubted that He exists and that He is a person. Generally I pray to the Father in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and with the aid of the Spirit. But He is One God that exists in Three Persons and I know He is close and only a prayer away.
 

Andy C

Well-Known Member
Ah, just the brother I wanted to ask! Remember in Genesis when, in an unfathomable show of grace, God came down and played with Jacob in a wrestling match that lasted all night? In Genesis 32:28 we read, "And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”

Whoa, there! Struggle with God and prevailed?? I believe the Scripture, and what's most astonishing here is that it is GOD who said it. Is the definition of "prevail" here different in Old King James language? Am I missing something here? I can understand Jacob winning a match against a man, but a wrestling match with God? NOBODY can pin Him. I imagine it lasted through the night because the LORD was probably just laughing and playing with Jake the whole time, while all through the match Jacob must have been crying, huffing, puffing, and begging to take a break between rounds.

Want to know something more astonishing? Genesis 32:25 reads, "Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him." What gives?! I know God's just playing with the man, as apparently a single, light touch from God was enough to knock Jacob's pelvis out of joint! If the lightest touch can do that, can you imagine what would happen to Jacob if God slapped him? Does "He saw that He did not prevail against him" mean "He saw that despite His greater might, the man Jacob kept on going"... If interpreted in that way, I can make logic sense of it since we know God was just playing and not fighting. But what do you think God meant when He said that Jacob prevailed??
Was Jacob wrestling God, or an Angel, or possibly an evil spirit?

I can find no studies suggesting he actually fought God.

We do know man can not prevail against God, and the person Jacob wrestled is called a man in the scriptures.
 
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Spartan Sprinter 1

Formerly known as Shaun

WRESTLING WITH GOD​


A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
How a simple wresting match foretold the history of the nation Israel.
That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maidservants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.
Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel,
(he Struggles with God) because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”
Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”
But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.
So Jacob called the place Peniel,
(face of God) saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.
(Gen 32:22-31)
After 20 years with his uncle Laban in Paddan Aram, Jacob was coming back to the land that would one day bear his name. Sending his two wives, their two handmaidens, his eleven sons (Benjamin wasn’t born yet) and all their possessions across the river, Jacob stayed behind to spend the night alone, or so he thought.
A man showed up at dusk and wrestled with Jacob all night long. The match would have ended in a draw at daybreak if the man hadn’t dislocated Jacob’s hip just by touching it. Maybe that’s when it dawned on Jacob. His opponent had disabled him with just a touch so this wasn’t any ordinary man. That meant he could have ended the match any time he wanted to. He’d let it go on all night for a reason. Who was this guy?
Since a blessing is only given by a senior to a junior, in asking for one Jacob was admitting his subordinate status. Just who the man was became clear later when Jacob, having realized that he’d seen God face to face, named the place Peniel. Later on God would dwell in the desert with Israel’s descendants, the only people in history so honored. And still later He would again come to them, this time in the form of the man who wrestled with Jacob. (Scholars who hold to a literal interpretation of Scripture identify the man as Jesus, in one of His many Old Testament appearances.)
Looking at the passage on the symbolic level gives us a ton of insight. In the first place, by changing Jacob’s name to Israel, God established the nation’s destiny in the world. Constantly struggling with God and with men. No other people have so obviously fit this description.
With Abraham, Sarah, Peter and Paul, once their names were changed, they stayed changed. Not so with Jacob. Sometimes in the Bible he’s called Jacob, other times it’s Israel. Even after his death, his descendants were known by both names depending on the state of their relationship with God. When they were being obedient (in the Spirit) they were called Israel. When they were in the flesh, it was Jacob. Sometimes, the Lord used both names in the same sentence, as in Deut. 33:28;
So Israel will live in safety; Jacob will dwell secure in a land of grain and new wine, where the heavens drop dew.
It’s interesting that God was willing to wrestle Jacob all night long. Anyone else that powerful would have crushed and humiliated his opponent, ending the match quickly without breaking a sweat. But God in His great love for us doesn’t want defeated subjects. He’ll allow us to struggle for as long as it takes for us to realize just how much better off we’ll be after we willingly submit.
If God hadn’t supernaturally weakened Jacob would he have ever yielded? And even after he was injured, Jacob demanded something in return for agreeing to end the match. Is that meant to indicate that Israel will struggle with God right to the end? It appears so. But God refused to give up too, indicating that He’ll never abandon Israel. He’ll stay engaged, permitting the struggle to continue until Israel is so weakened that submission to Him is the only option left. This idea is demonstrated is a prophecy from Hosea that will be fulfilled just before the 2nd Coming when Israel is facing certain defeat by the armies of the anti-Christ.
“Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; He has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence (Hosea 6:1-2).
Note the fact that Jacob’s wrestling match began in the evening and ended in the morning. It’s the same as the order of creation. The root of the Hebrew word for evening means chaos and the word for morning means order. As long as Israel struggles with God, the nation will be in chaos. Only after submission will they see clearly and receive their long desired blessing, their Messiah. Only then will order be restored.
In giving him a new name, God said that Jacob has struggled with God and men and has overcome. This is a prophecy of the future and is not indicative of the past or present. It’s a promise for a time still coming when Israel will finally emerge victorious from its long night of struggle.
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins (Isaiah 40:1-2)
And so in this one passage we see an overview of the future of the nation that would bear Israel’s name, skillfully woven into the events of a simple wrestling match.
Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Rom. 15:4)
But there’s a personal application here as well. In the most chaotic moments of your life the Lord confronts you. As you wrestle with Him it becomes clear that while He’ll let you wrestle for as long as you like, you cannot prevail. Then with a touch of His hand you are weakened to the point of submission, and you cling to Him begging for His blessing. As He imparts it, He promises you a new name, (Rev. 2:17) a great victory, and restores order to your life. A new day dawns bright and clear, and if you’re limping a little it’s because He wants you to lean on Him. Such is the love He has for you. Selah 08-28-05
 

Andy C

Well-Known Member
Was Jacob wrestling God, or an Angel, or possibly an evil spirit?

I can find no studies suggesting he actually fought God.

WRESTLING WITH GOD​


A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
How a simple wresting match foretold the history of the nation Israel.
That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maidservants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.
Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel,
(he Struggles with God) because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”
Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”
But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.
So Jacob called the place Peniel,
(face of God) saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.
(Gen 32:22-31)
After 20 years with his uncle Laban in Paddan Aram, Jacob was coming back to the land that would one day bear his name. Sending his two wives, their two handmaidens, his eleven sons (Benjamin wasn’t born yet) and all their possessions across the river, Jacob stayed behind to spend the night alone, or so he thought.
A man showed up at dusk and wrestled with Jacob all night long. The match would have ended in a draw at daybreak if the man hadn’t dislocated Jacob’s hip just by touching it. Maybe that’s when it dawned on Jacob. His opponent had disabled him with just a touch so this wasn’t any ordinary man. That meant he could have ended the match any time he wanted to. He’d let it go on all night for a reason. Who was this guy?
Since a blessing is only given by a senior to a junior, in asking for one Jacob was admitting his subordinate status. Just who the man was became clear later when Jacob, having realized that he’d seen God face to face, named the place Peniel. Later on God would dwell in the desert with Israel’s descendants, the only people in history so honored. And still later He would again come to them, this time in the form of the man who wrestled with Jacob. (Scholars who hold to a literal interpretation of Scripture identify the man as Jesus, in one of His many Old Testament appearances.)
Looking at the passage on the symbolic level gives us a ton of insight. In the first place, by changing Jacob’s name to Israel, God established the nation’s destiny in the world. Constantly struggling with God and with men. No other people have so obviously fit this description.
With Abraham, Sarah, Peter and Paul, once their names were changed, they stayed changed. Not so with Jacob. Sometimes in the Bible he’s called Jacob, other times it’s Israel. Even after his death, his descendants were known by both names depending on the state of their relationship with God. When they were being obedient (in the Spirit) they were called Israel. When they were in the flesh, it was Jacob. Sometimes, the Lord used both names in the same sentence, as in Deut. 33:28;
So Israel will live in safety; Jacob will dwell secure in a land of grain and new wine, where the heavens drop dew.
It’s interesting that God was willing to wrestle Jacob all night long. Anyone else that powerful would have crushed and humiliated his opponent, ending the match quickly without breaking a sweat. But God in His great love for us doesn’t want defeated subjects. He’ll allow us to struggle for as long as it takes for us to realize just how much better off we’ll be after we willingly submit.
If God hadn’t supernaturally weakened Jacob would he have ever yielded? And even after he was injured, Jacob demanded something in return for agreeing to end the match. Is that meant to indicate that Israel will struggle with God right to the end? It appears so. But God refused to give up too, indicating that He’ll never abandon Israel. He’ll stay engaged, permitting the struggle to continue until Israel is so weakened that submission to Him is the only option left. This idea is demonstrated is a prophecy from Hosea that will be fulfilled just before the 2nd Coming when Israel is facing certain defeat by the armies of the anti-Christ.
“Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; He has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence (Hosea 6:1-2).
Note the fact that Jacob’s wrestling match began in the evening and ended in the morning. It’s the same as the order of creation. The root of the Hebrew word for evening means chaos and the word for morning means order. As long as Israel struggles with God, the nation will be in chaos. Only after submission will they see clearly and receive their long desired blessing, their Messiah. Only then will order be restored.
In giving him a new name, God said that Jacob has struggled with God and men and has overcome. This is a prophecy of the future and is not indicative of the past or present. It’s a promise for a time still coming when Israel will finally emerge victorious from its long night of struggle.
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins (Isaiah 40:1-2)
And so in this one passage we see an overview of the future of the nation that would bear Israel’s name, skillfully woven into the events of a simple wrestling match.
Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Rom. 15:4)
But there’s a personal application here as well. In the most chaotic moments of your life the Lord confronts you. As you wrestle with Him it becomes clear that while He’ll let you wrestle for as long as you like, you cannot prevail. Then with a touch of His hand you are weakened to the point of submission, and you cling to Him begging for His blessing. As He imparts it, He promises you a new name, (Rev. 2:17) a great victory, and restores order to your life. A new day dawns bright and clear, and if you’re limping a little it’s because He wants you to lean on Him. Such is the love He has for you. Selah 08-28-05
Its an interesting passage/topic that Rocky posted, and to be honest, one I never studied or even gave much thought to.

Everyday, I learn something new, or understand much better in reading His Word.
 

crunchymama

Well-Known Member
Amen and Amen. When I am distressed or in a really tough situation, I pray to God and I can feel the Holy Spirit's comfort and guidance. He has been with me for so many years that I've come to never doubted that He exists and that He is a person. Generally I pray to the Father in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and with the aid of the Spirit. But He is One God that exists in Three Persons and I know He is close and only a prayer away.
The second my DH died, I knew, because the peace of God came over me and I thought "He just died of a bloodclot" (and sure enough- he did). But that peace hasn't left me, and it's been almost 3 weeks now. The Holy Spirit is more real to me than any person alive right now. The peace and comfort He is giving me is sustaining me in ways only He could. I do not understand how any Christian can deny the Holy Spirit.
 

Salluz

Aspiring Man of God
I'm not sure if anyone has brought this up, but is the Holy Spirit the one talking in Rev. 14:13?

And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!” - Revelation 14:13
 
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