THE MYSTERY OF THE INDWELLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
1 Corinthians 2:6-16
by Cooper Abrams
A WORD FOR THE WISE. 1 Corinthians 2:6 "Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory" (1 Corinthians 2:6-7)
Dr. Walter Yoho, one of my college professors, who wrote a commentary on this book, says this is the greatest passage in the Bible which expresses man's need for Holy Spirit to illuminate the Scriptures.
The word "perfect" means "mature" which refers to being well trained and grown in discipline and the knowledge of God. "Princes of this world" are the rulers of this world, or those who crucified Christ. (also verse 8) Paul says "We speak wisdom, however, among them that are mature: yet a wisdom not of this world, nor of the rulers of this world, who are coming to nought." (verse 6 - paraphrase)
Verse 7 says, But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory" (1 Corinthians 2:7). Note that this mystery, which was before unrevealed, was planned of God for our glory.
Definition of a Mystery: A great hidden truth which God, had not revealed before. In Greek-Roman world a mystery was a secret and special rite or even a stage production centering around the relations of various heathen gods and goddesses. These secret rites were only for those initiated and those properly advanced in the mystery cult. The heathen priests tried to enshroud their mysteries in the closest secrecy. However, these mysteries of the Bible were to be revealed openly and men were obligated to spare and openly teach the now revealed truths. (Romans 16:25-26) Even though these truths are freely spared with all who will listen, only those who have the truth "illuminated" to their understanding can appreciate them. (see 1 Cor. 2:14)
1 Corinthians 2:8 states the proof that this truth was not yet revealed was the fact the rulers of this world, who crucified Christ, would not have done it if they had known.
Verse 9 is a quote of Isaiah 64:4, "For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him." (Isaiah 64:4)
In a nut shell, verses 1 Corinthians 2:9-16 states that the believer has the revealed truth of God, and can understand it because he has the "mind of God" (verse 16), and it is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which enables a Christian to know this truth, which is not apart of sinful man's human wisdom.
In the Old Testament the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit was not revealed to Israel. God's spirit was active, but He was not revealed as the third member of the Trinity.
Numbers 11:25 "And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease."
Numbers 24:2 "And Balaam lifted up his eyes, and he saw Israel abiding in his tents according to their tribes; and the spirit of God came upon him."
Judges 3:10 "And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war."
Judges 14:6 "And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand: but he told not his father or his mother what he had done."
Judges 14:19 "And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle. And his anger was kindled, and he went up to his father's house."
1 Samuel 16:13 "Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah."
Note that in each case where the Holy Spirit was working it is said He "came upon" the person whom God would use. The only exception in the Old Testament is David as quoted above in 1 Samuel 16:13. The Spirit of God came upon him as a boy when he was anointed king and never departed. The name Holy Spirit is only found three times in the Old Testament (Psa. 51:11, Isa. 63:10-11) and the term Holy Ghost, used in the King James Bible is not used.
The Bible says the Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity (Matt. 28:19, 2 Cor.13:14). He is always referred to as a person and never as an "it." This means He is not simply a power or force, but as the Third Person of the Godhood, He excerizes all the power of Almighty God. The "Holy Ghost" and "Holy Spirit" are one and the same. The Greek word translated "Ghost" and "Spirit" are the same word "pneuma." In the King James Bible the word is translated "Ghost" eighty nine times, one time as "Holy Spirit", and one hundred and twenty four times "Spirit."
Example: See Luke 11:13, here the Greek word "pneuma" is translated "Spirit," in Luke 12:12 the identical word is translated "Ghost." In old English the word was used interchangeably. The Hebrew word is "ruwach". Both the Greek and Hebrew word means "wind or breath."
The word "Trinity" simply means "three parts that are one." It is the word used to refer to the Biblical doctrine that God is three persons, yet one God.(To read my article which gives a biblical explanation of the Trinity plese click this line)
Acts 5:3-4, Ananias lied to the Holy Spirit, who is called God. Theologically it can be stated as this: "Are there more Gods than one? There is but one only, the living and true God. How many persons are there in the Godhead? There are three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory." God is always referred to as "one" God in both the Old and New Testaments ( Deut. 6:4-5, Isa. 44:6-8; 45:21-23; 1 Cor. 8:5-6).
Man can only explain things in the context of the material and physical world he lives in. God is Spirit and is not subject to time, space and matter as is the physical world God has made for us. The reason man has a hard time understanding how God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are One is that man has nothing in his material world to compare it with. He is trying to describe something he has nothing to compare it with. Nothing in the material world of man can describe the Biblical truth that God is One God and three persons. The only verse in the Bible that uses something material to describe the Spirit is found in John 3:8. Jesus said, "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit." Jesus was saying although you cannot see the Spirit, you know He is there because you see the effect of His presence has on the things He touches. We know that the Trinity is true, because we have it revealed in the Bible. God states that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are One God. It is a revealed truth from God that is a mystery to the world, yet fully accepted by the born again child of God, who believes and trusts God.
As a person the Holy Spirit was:
2. In Luke 24:29 Jesus just before returning to heaven promised the
"power from on high".
(also see Acts 1:8)
3. Jesus said in John 16:7, that the Holy Spirit's would be greater than His own presence. The phrase "it is expedient" means "it is better for you." Jesus was a God incarnate in man. Being in a physical body he could only be in one place at one time. God's Spirit could be in all believers at all times.
4. Jesus preparing the disciples for His return to Heaven and the new Church age, or age of Grace, told of the coming of the "Comforter". John 14:16-17. Note is says "He will abide with you forever".
The word Comforter is the Greek word "Paraclete" which means "advocate" or "one called along side."
The Holy Spirit "came upon" men that God used for a period of time needed to perform a task God gave them. Old Testament believers were not indwelled continuously as in the Church Age.
Seventy men, are appointed judges over Israel and God put His Spirit upon them. Numbers 11:17,25. Note verse 29. Moses, when asked to rebuke two men in the camp that were prophesying, states he wished God would put His spirit on all the Lord's people.
In Judges 3:10, the "the spirit of the Lord came upon" Othniel and he judged Israel.
The spirit of the Lord came upon Saul. 1 Samuel 10:6 In 1 Samuel 16:14 The spirit of God had departed from Saul. The evil spirit "from" God was a mental disturbance. God "allowed" this mental disturbance to torment Saul. See James 1:13 states clearly that God does not tempt a man to do evil. Saul because of his sin and disobedience to God set himself up for the illness, and God allowed it to proceed.
1 Samuel 16:13 states David was indwelling by the Holy Spirit from the time of his anointing as king, while he was yet a boy. It is interesting to note that even though David was indwelled of the Holy Spirit, he many times still committed sin. (more will be said of this further on)
The presence of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament was selective and temporary, while today in the church age it is universal and permanent among believers.
2. In Acts 2:1-13, the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples permanently.
Note how He came:
Verse 5, is vital to understanding of why it came in such a dramatic way. The miracles of Jesus, were done to give the Jews a "sign" that Jesus was the Promised Messiah. This sign miracle was seen and witnessed by these devout Jews" from every nation on earth! They were devout Jews who believed the Scriptures and were looking for the coming Messiah. Their devoutness was proven in that they had traveled great distances, at great risk and expense to be in Jerusalem, to celebrate the Jewish feast day called, Pentecost. Acts 2:41 states they believed the sign and the message of Peter that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah, and 3000 of them were saved and baptized that day!
Pentecost was the Jewish feast day, coming 50 days from the Passover. It was called in Exodus 23:16, the "Feast of the Harvest", or in Numbers 28:26 the "Day of the First-Fruits." It should be noted that the day the indwelling of the Holy Spirit came and the day the church of the Lord Jesus began was the day of the "First Fruits"! See Rom. 8:23, James 1:18.
There are only four accounts of these happenings in Scripture.
2. Acts 8:14-17...The Samaritan Jews, believed Philip and trusted Jesus as their Messiah. They believed and were a part of the O.T. Dispensation. When they received the truth of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit they received the indwelling.
3. Acts 10:44-48...Peter sent of the Holy Spirit to Cornelius, who was a Roman gentile, preaches to them Christ and this gentile is saved and his household. They too received the Holy Spirit as it happened at Pentecost. Peter them goes back to the Jews and tells them what had happened. (Acts 11:1-18) SEE Verse 17-18) These Jews because of the sign given knew that salvation had come to the gentiles.
4. Acts 19:1-7.. In this account John the Baptist's disciples received the Holy Spirit and entered into the church age. They were already saved Jews, who trusted God, but now they became a part of the Body of Christ!
2. All believers are indwelled, but there is a separate "filling" of the Holy Spirit, which is dependent on ones spiritual condition. Many have confused the two, and the resulting error is the false teachings of the Charismatic Movement, and Pentecostals.
Ephesians 5:18, commands us to be "filled" with the Spirit. Note the context of this verse. Paul is instructing us of the need to be totally yielded to God. Verse 7, says believer are not to be partakers of the sins of the world. The "filling of the Spirit" can be repeated, but one is only once indwelled. Romans 8:9 teaches that if a person is not indwelled by the Holy Spirit of God he is not a child of God, "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."
The mystery of the permanent indwelling of the believer in the Church was unknown in the Old Testament. The only hint of it was in Joel 2:28. Peter in his sermon of Acts 2, mentions this verse.