Who Is the Holy Spirit?
Special Edition to Parts 1-4
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Moses stood at the burning bush and heard the voice of God. He spoke with God "as a friend" and received His commandments, personally. Moses repeatedly saw miracle after wondrous miracle such as the parting of the Red Sea and the miraculous delivery of manna, quail and water to the Israelites in the desert. One would think Moses would be quite content with his relationship to God and as witness to His infinite power. But not so.
Moses said to the Lord, "I pray that you will let me see you in all of your glory." (Exodus 33:19.) God replied, "All right. I am the Lord, and I show mercy and kindness to anyone I choose. I will let you see my glory and hear my holy name, but I won't let you see my face, because anyone who sees my face will die." (33:19-20.) Would you join Moses in seeing God's glory? Hundreds of thousands of people refused. "The people trembled with fear when they heard the thunder and the trumpet and saw the lightning and the smoke coming from the mountain. They stood a long way off and said to Moses, 'If you speak to us, we will listen. But don't let God speak to us, or we will die!' 'Don't be afraid!' Moses replied. 'God has come only to test you, so that by obeying him you won't sin.' But when Moses went near the thick cloud where God was, the people stayed a long way off." (Exodus 20:18-21.) Moses' reassurance and example of an intense desire to know God "face to face" didn't help. Not one person joined him "where God was."
Fifteen hundred years later, Moses stood in the glory of God as he requested. "They went up on a very high mountain where they could be alone. There in front of the disciples, Jesus was completely changed. His face was shining like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. All at once Moses and Elijah were talking with Jesus…a bright cloud passed over them. From the cloud a voice sad, 'This is my own dear Son, and I am pleased with him. Listen to what he says!' When the disciples heard the voice, they were so afraid that they fell flat on the ground." (Matthew 17:1-6.)
The disciples of Jesus were so afraid they collapsed like dead men. What were they afraid of? The same thing the Israelites were afraid of. The same thing the high priest who entered the Holy of Holies in the Temple was afraid of. Death. Not surviving. Yet death is what God wants and needs from us. The altars of the Old Testament were covered with blood and sacrificial death for sin was a central practice. The "Place of the Skull" and the cross upon which Jesus hung there was covered with His blood. He was the final Sacrificial Lamb. But unlike any previous sacrifice, Jesus transcended death, and now invites us to do the same, to be born again. However, being reborn requires dying to our old selves, a continual process until the "final day of redemption."
How we still are afraid of self-denial, of allowing ourselves to become personally weak "so that the Holy Spirit can be stronger in us." How we cling to what is self-serving rather than God-serving. Self-honoring, rather than God-honoring. How we hurt others in the name of promoting ourselves rather than blessing others in the name of God. How easier it is to stand far from the frightening glory of the sacred mountain and ask someone else to risk all they are and come back to tell us about God, about what God has to say. How safer it is to know about God than to know God. For who can stand in God's glory as he is? No one. But we can stand in God's glory as who Christ makes us. Our own righteousness, which the Scriptures call filthy rags from God's viewpoint, would be consumed, vaporized, in His Presence. So would our own strength, our own will, our own ambitions and our very lives. So, it is safe to get to know a lot about God. We can do that and remain "true to ourselves", which is a popular idea but results in ultimate death, precisely what we fear. Remaining true to ourselves is virtually signing a pact with the devil. The devils want us to remain true to ourselves and will help us all they can to do that, including enticements of prosperity, comfort, accolades of others, fame and personal glory. We feel like we are doing the right things and are thus "blessed", until it is time to cash in our souls. We, who have felt blessed all along now face true, irreversible death to body, mind and spirit, which is what we feared all along. This is what kept us from going boldly into God's glory.
How many of the things we do, we think, we feel, we believe, we envision, have the blessings of Satan? Now that thought scares me! I would rather live a torturous, miserable life in Christ than carry one single blessing of Satan! Perhaps that's one part of the reason why so many of our brothers and sisters in Christ over the centuries sung praises of joy in the midst of inconceivable torture and persecution for their faith. I would rather be tortured by Satan than ever receive a single blessing from him. How about you? Interesting thing here. Writing that statement is a challenge to the "principalities and powers" of evil. I don't write it lightly or boldly. I write it prayerfully, resting in my Father's love and in His protection and the fulfillment of His most perfect will for me on this earth and hereafter. We are not to tempt Satan anymore than we must not tempt God. However, we must collectively take a stand, wearing the armor of God, against evil in all forms. "Keep us from temptation and deliver us from evil."
I don't want to be "true to myself," but rather true to my faith and to my Lord and God. "Those who worship God must worship Him in Spirit and truth." So true worship is done in His Holy Spirit, in His Manifest Presence, and in His truth. Many things that appear to be blessings may well be blessings, but are blessings from hell. The obvious movement toward a global world government and economy and the resultant world wide stabilization and peace and prosperity may appear as a blessing to many, and indeed it is, a blessing from hell. (I remind you of the Book of Revelation.) It is crucial we exercise the "discernment of spirits" and the source of what we perceive as blessings.
Jesus said to "Seek first the kingdom of God, and all else will be added unto you." No translations I studied rendered this instruction as "Seek first the kingdom of God so that all else will be added unto you." Seeking the kingdom for personal, self-serving gain will provide us a blessing, from hell. There comes a time in the lives of many Christians when they feel, like Moses, despite their fullness of the knowledge about God, a profound hunger to know God, to have more of God Himself, not knowledge about Him. And that even includes God's blessings! That's why Psalmist David wrote, "Bless the Lord, O my soul" and not the reverse.
Many of you can relate to being separated from a loved one. Are you content with knowing about him or her? Are you content with having his or her blessings? Or would you rather see his or her face, standing in his or her presence? Jesus proclaimed, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God!" There is no indication in Matthew 5 that Jesus was referring to an after-death experience. But which one of us has a pure heart? The heart of the Holy Spirit of God is the only pure one in all time and creation. God desires our broken and contrite hearts, and our willingness to give them up, so He can transplant His heart into us. Then we shall see Him and stand in His glory without fear of dying or losing anything. His Holy Spirit can then live in us and work through us. We can then live delightfully and fully in Him and for Him rather than in and for ourselves. No less than a rebirth and transformation.
Who is the Holy Spirit? He is the pulsating, pure, infinitely strong and loving Sacred Heart of the Father and the Son, making His home within us. God is offering and desiring to place that sacred mountain that the Israelites feared in us. Rather than falling down, like those disciples, as dead men in fear, we can fall down as dead to ourselves in being totally overwhelmed by God's gift of His Spirit and love. Then rise, walk, and worship Him in His Spirit and His Truth, forever.
John S. Hilkevich, Ph.D.
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Weekly Reflections © August 31, 2000
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