Most Christians know who Jesus is; they have some vague idea of who the Father is, but they have no clue when it comes to the Holy Spirit. Some would say He is the third person of the trinity; others would say He is some energy emanating from God but has no intellect on His own. When it comes to when a believer receives the Holy Spirit, the confusion deepens even further. Some believe it is a one-time event at salvation; others would disagree and claim it happens multiple times during your life.
The Bible says we need the Holy Spirit to live as Christians, but how are we supposed to live by the Spirit if we can’t agree on who or what the Holy Spirit is?
Most, if not all, of this confusion, comes from Christians elevating their traditions and experiences above Biblical truths. But the fact is: what we believe does not matter if it does not line up with the Bible. The Bible has to be our highest spiritual authority, and it has to have the last word on how we understand who God is. If we cant accept this, then Yeshua is not our Lord. (Luke 6:46) If He is not our Lord, we are not saved. (Matt 7:21-23) if we are not saved, we do not have the Holy Spirit.
So how does the Bible answer our question about the Holy Spirit?
In Matt 10:20 and John 14:16, John 4:24, Yeshua says the Holy Spirit is Yehovah, our Father. If we want to understand the Holy Spirit, we have to understand who the Father is.
Who is Yehovah, our Father?
The Bible identifies Him as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The God who loves us and has given us His Son Yeshua so whoever shows their faith in what Yeshua did for us, in how they live their lives, will be saved. The Bible goes on to say, in Hebr 13:8, Numbers 23:19, Yehovah never changes. He is yesterday, today, and forever the same. If He never changes, and He is the Holy Spirit, then the Holy Spirit never changes. This means we can not look exclusively to the New Testament to know who the Holy Spirit is; we have to begin with the Old Testament.
In the Old Testament, Yehovah is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God who saves Israel from Egypt and gives them the Torah at Mount Sinai. He saved them from Egypt because of grace, not because of works but after salvation; He gave them the Torah to know how to live as saved people. If they rejected the Torah, Yehovah killed them in the desert. If they kept the Torah and obeyed it, Yehovah blessed them beyond imagination and proved He was their God.
If Yehovah is the Holy Spirit, and Yehovah never changes, He is still very passionate about His Torah, and He even kills those who reject it.
The Torah says if we promise Yehovah something, but we then change our minds, we have sinned, and we have to pay for the sin with our lives. In the book of Acts, we read about Ananias and Saphira, a married couple who believed in Jesus and served in the church in Jerusalem. They had sold a piece of property, and they had promised Yehovah to give an exact sum of money to the church. They then changed their minds and went back on their promise. The consequences of this were that the Holy Spirit did what He did in the Old Testament. He killed them both as a punishment for rejecting the Torah.
Yehovah never changes; He will still punish those who claim to belong to Him but then choose with their own free will to reject the Torah.
The consequences of rejecting the Torah is not just cutting our earthly lives short. If what had happened to Ananias and Saphira happened in modern mainstream Christianity, people would have said they were at least believers in Christ, so they would at least go to heaven after God killed them. But the truth is, if we read the Bible, it clearly says rejecting the Torah means we reject Yehovah AND Yeshua. So, according to the Bible, they did not end up in heaven. (John 13:29, Matt 7:21-23)
Ok, this is what the Bible says, but then you might be wondering why do we have so many Christians worldwide claiming to be Spirit-filled living lives proving their claims? They can testify to miracles, seeing people set free by the power of the name of Jesus, and at the same time, they all reject the Torah. If what I am saying is true, how do I explain this contradiction?
Yeshua answer this question for us in Matt 7:21-23, Luke 6:46, and Deut 13. He says, in Matt 7:21-23, Luke 6:46, if we do all the “right things” in the name of Jesus, but we disobey His teachings, we are not saved. In Deut 13, it says Yehovah will allow people to do all of these miracles, and allow them to reject the Torah, to test the people around them. Yehovah uses these people to draw the unsaved to Himself and test them to see where their heart is. Are they willing to obey Him and love Him (John 14), or are they just interested in what He can give them? To answer your question, they are not saved, and Yehovah allows them to do this as a test.
To understand why they are not saved, we need to remind ourselves why we need salvation in the first place:
The Bible says because all men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of Yehovah. What is sin? The Bible says sin is lawlessness, breaking God’s law the Torah. Why did Jesus die on a cross? To pay our penalty for all the times, we have broken God’s Torah. In the book of Romans, Paul says that if we believe this, we will not continue to break God’s Torah. We will repent from being lawless to being law-abiding people of Yehovah. Repentance forgives us (1.John 1:9), and faith in the cross reconciles us to Yehovah. This tells us salvation is repentance + faith in the cross. If there is no repentance, our faith is dead and can not save us (James 2). If our faith is dead, we are not saved, and we do not have the Holy Spirit.
Then it is possible to do all the right things “in the name of Jesus” and still be rejected by Yeshua when we die. (Matt 7:21-23)
The Bible warns us in Matt 7:21-23, 24:24, miracles or spiritual manifestations is not a sign of being filled with the Holy Spirit. The sign we are to look for is a repented life; someone who obeys the Torah. We see this in John 14, where it says those who love Yeshua will abide by His Torah, and if they love Him, Yehovah will come and take up residence in them.
This shows us when we receive the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is given to us at salvation when we repent to Moses, and we believe in the cross. When this happens, we do not automatically know and understand how to live by the Torah. We only understand we have broken Yehovahs law; we need reconciliation and forgiveness, so we decide to repent and believe.
To grow and mature as Christian, we need to learn how to obey the Torah. The more we know, the more we will be given of the Holy Spirit. Even though we are all given the Holy Spirit when we repent and believe, we are also continually filled with the Holy Spirit, the more we learn the Torah and apply it to our lives.
What about Spiritual gifts and speaking in other tongues?
Deut 13 says Yehovah has allowed other religions and people who claim to be Christians but are not, to have spiritual gifts of miracles, healings, and tongues. This is why we should never look to the manifestation of miracles or tongues as a sign of being spirit-filled; the sign is Torah obedience and a willingness to obey.
1.Cor 12 and the book of Ephesians says we will be given Spiritual gifts as we mature in our walk with Yehovah. Our spiritual gifts are given to us to bring glory to Yehovah and draw other people to Him.
Therefore we know, from the Bible, gifts like healing, miracles, prophecy, tongues are all for the believer today.
What is the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit is Yehovah, our Father.
When do we receive the Holy Spirit?
We receive when we repent back to Moses’s law and believe Yeshua died for us.
When do we have a baptism of the Spirit?
We are continually filled as we learn to mature in our faith and how to apply the Torah to our lives.
Is it possible to be filled with the Spirit and reject the Torah?
No, because Yehovah never changes. If He never changes, it is an impossibility for Him to anoint someone who rejects His Torah.
What about those who claim to be Spirit-filled, have Spiritual gifts, and even miracles testifying to it, but they reject the Torah?
Deut 13 says Yehovah allows them to do this as a test. A test for those who witness their ministry to see if they love Yehovah and show their love for Him by obeying His Torah (John 14) or if their faith is dead and can not save them. Matt 7:21-23 says when they die, Yeshua Himself will reject them.