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September 01, 2016

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Related to the concept of being filled by the Holy Spirit is the idea of the Spirit being "poured out," as in Acts 2. Witnesses will often ask how a person can be "poured out." However, this phrase was used several times in Scripture of persons, and apparently had a metaphorical or idiomatic meaning that first century Jews would have understood. See, for example,

Job 30:16 "And now my soul is poured out within me; days of affliction have taken hold of me."

Psalm 22:14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast;

Php 2:17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.

2Ti 4:6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.

If Job, David and Paul were all persons and were said to be "poured out," there's no reason to believe that the Holy Spirit could not be a person and also be "poured out."

Indeed, the idea of "pouring" is metaphorical even if we were to regard the Holy Spirit as being a force. One does not "pour" gravity or electricity or the wind. Are JWs saying that the Holy Spirit is a liquid?

Another argument I've heard is that Jesus baptized people with the Holy Spirit, and you can't baptize with a person.

Another argument I've heard comes from Jesus statement that no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son. If the Holy Spirit were a person, then he'd know and be known by the Father and the Son.

Here are a couple of verses that show the Holy Spirit as a person.

“For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;” (Acts 15:28)

“Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,” (Acts 16:6)

Since the Holy Spirit is "Spirit" we are baptized into him “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)

This is reasoning in a circle. Jehovah’s Witnesses need to show that the Holy Spirit is an impersonal force before they can even begin talking about supposed personifications.

Doesn't it first need to be demonstrated that the Holy Spirit exists at all?

Doesn't it first need to be demonstrated that the Holy Spirit exists at all?
Of course. But if we're arguing from Scripture this is trivial. And if you're not, then your having a completely different discussion.

"....Here, Jesus speaks of the Holy Spirit as a Counselor who is going to come and help to teach the disciples. It is very interesting that John actually violates Greek grammar in order to emphasis the personhood of the Holy Spirit. How does he do that? The word “spirit” in Greek is neuter – to pneuma. That doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit is neutral, that he is not a person, any more than in German if you said das mädchen, “the girl”, means that girls are neuter. It is just that in Greek it has a neuter pronoun for the word “spirit.” But John uses the masculine pronoun for referring back to the Holy Spirit. Instead of saying “when the Spirit comes, it will guide you in all truth” he says “He will guide you.” He uses the masculine pronoun even though it has a neuter antecedent – which is actually violating grammar – in order to emphasis that we are talking here about a person who is going to be in us and with us and guiding us...."

( http://www.reasonablefaith.org/defenders-2-podcast/transcript/s7-1 )

No, not when the two people talking both already believe in the Holy Spirit.

Doesn't it first need to be demonstrated that the Holy Spirit exists at all?
No, not when the two people talking both already believe in the Holy Spirit.

Another objection I've heard is that if the Holy Spirit is a person of the triune Godhead, it is surprising that the Holy Spirit is not prayed to in the New Testament. It seems that the Father is predominantly prayed to, and Jesus is spoken to in visions and prayed to (for instance the marathana prayer, in 1 Cor.16.22), but the Holy Spirit is not the recipient of prayers. Often modern worships songs directly address the Holy Spirit in prayer; may I ask why you think there is an absence of prayer to the Holy Spirit, and whether it is legitimate, biblically, to pray to the Holy Spirit. Thank you

>> The Holy Spirit lacks a name.

This whole line of reasoning seems so strained when once I recall the definition of the concept of "God's Name" as I had been taught: The Name of God is all forms in which He reveals himself to us in the ways that He will bless us and save us." Or, better, God's Name is Who He is and what He does.

>> may I ask why you think there is an absence of prayer to the Holy Spirit, and whether it is legitimate, biblically, to pray to the Holy Spirit. Thank you

An excellent observation, John. I find that in matters of prayer, the Holy Spirit, as the Comforter (Paraclete, John 14:16)is the facilitator of true spirituality. Thus in prayer life, He answers prayer (as in Acts 4: 23-31; 6:2; 12:44) as expected of God. Even thinking of the shorn, repentant Samson, his prayer could only be resolved by the Spirit of God who had endowed that judge with spectacular strength.

Thus this argument:
God answers prayer.
The Holy Spirit answers prayer.

Thus, if we call on God to answer prayer and the Holy Spirit responds, do we then pray to the Holy Spirit?

All I know, He also works with groans and sighs (Rom. 8:26)

JW: The Holy Spirit lacks a name

C: Not so. He has a perfectly good name.

JW: Really? What is his name?

C: Yahweh of course, or if you like, Jehovah

JW: No it isn't...that's the name of the Father.

C: Really? In what passage is the Father called Yahweh?

JW: O come on...they mean the same. The Father is God-God. That's Jehovah.

C: The Holy Spirit is God-God. And the Bible does identify Him as Yahweh.

JW: What's this?

C: According to Hebrews 3, the Holy Spirit was tested in the wilderness. It is the Holy Spirit that says "your ancestors tested and tried me, though for forty years they saw what I did".

JW: So what?

C: According to Psalm 95 it was Yaheweh who said this. And in Exodus 17, it was quite clearly Yaheweh who was tested.

JW: OK....

C: There can be only one way that both are true: The Holy Spirit is Yaheweh.

JW: But that's your translation.

C: The New World Version describes it the same way. The New World Version also describes baptism as a thing to be done in a single name: "Go, therefore, and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit."

JW: Well, we do not deny that God the Father has the name Jehovah. And the Son has the name Jesus. But the Holy Spirit has no name.

C: The passage does not say "in the name of the Father and in the name of the Son and in the holy spirit." It does not even say "in the names of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit." One singular name is said to apply to all three. That singular name is, of course, Yahweh

Another argument I've heard comes from Jesus statement that no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son. If the Holy Spirit were a person, then he'd know and be known by the Father and the Son.

Matthew 11:27:

All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.
Is it too trite to suppose that the Holy Spirit has had this knowledge revealed to Him by the Son?

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