The Holy Spirit

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All of creation is a symphony of the Holy Spirit which is joy and jubilation.~  Hildegard

“Shekhinah is said to rest on the heads of those who do good deeds…the human body is a wick, and a light is kindled above…The light on one’s head needs oil, the oil of good deeds!” (The Zohar)

Ru’ah ha-Kodesh (Hebrew) – cultivation of the Holy Spirit

In John 3 is the story of a Pharisee named Nicodemus who was a ruler of the Jews who sneaks out at night (possibly because he didn’t want the other Jewish leaders to know what he was doing) to speak to Jesus, “Rabbi, we know that you have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”  Jesus responds to Nicodemus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  Nicodemus not understanding, asks Jesus how a person can re-enter their mother’s womb and be born again.  Jesus explains that unless one is born of water and the Spirit they will not enter into the kingdom of God.  “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.  The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

windmillsJesus is referring to the redemptive, transformative work of God’s Holy Spirit in a believer’s heart.  Being born of water symbolizes purification brought about by awareness of sin and then repentance. Also, God’s Spirit is frequently represented by the descriptor of “wind” or “breath.”  Not knowing where the wind comes from or where it is going is significant in that humans have no control over obtaining God’s Holy Spirit, but it is entirely by God’s will.  By prayer, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and willfully submitting ourselves to God we can open our hearts to the possibility of the infilling of His Spirit.  God’s Holy Spirit will not reside in the condition of an impure heart.

The Spirit of God is not just for Jews and Christians, but for any monotheistic believer.  The Old Testament in Isaiah 56:7 states, “…these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” During the time of the Old Testament, there were two nations, that of the Hebrews and non-Hebrews or Gentiles.  However, this scripture also points to a future time as was symbolically evident on the day of Pentecost.

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After Jesus was resurrected and physically appeared to not only the disciples but many others, “To these [apostles], He also presented himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of things concerning the kingdom of God.  Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, ‘Which,’ He said, ‘you heard it from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’  So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, ‘Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?’  He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and even to the remotest part of the earth.” (Acts 1:3-8)

Later the Apostles went to Jerusalem and in the upper room, “These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the other of Jesus, and with His brothers.” (1:14)  It is important to note that they were united in prayer, with one purpose which was fulfilling God’s will.

“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.  And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.  And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.  Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven.  And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing then speak in his own language.  They were amazed and astonished, saying, ‘, Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born?’  Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Capadocia, Pontus, and Asia.  Phrygia, and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes.  Cretans and Arabs—we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.  And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity¸ saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’  But others were mocking, and saying, ‘They are full of sweet wine.” (Acts 2:1-13)

Peter then stood up and spoke to the crowd telling them that they were not drunk on wine, but that this is what was spoken of through the Prophet Joel:

And it shall be in the last days, God says, “That I will pour forth My spirit on all humankind; and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, and your young men will see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit and they shall prophesy.  And I will grant wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke.  The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come.  And it shall be that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord [God] will be saved.(Acts 2:15-21)

The symbolism of all the believers in the gathering having visible evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit along with being able to understand what each was saying without knowing each other’s language refers to the unity and oneness in the Spirit of believers from ALL nations

The Apostles were given “power” by God’s Spirit to perform miracles including prophecy, healings, and bringing the dead back to life.  It is always God’s power and not our own that provides a witness to non-believers.  For when a non-believer observes miracles performed by those who are filled with God’s Spirit acknowledging God as the source of their power, they receive observable proof of God’s mighty power.

Jesus emphasizes the importance of being prepared by being filled with the Holy Spirit for his return in the Parable of the Ten Virgins:

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.  Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them.  But the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps.  Now while the bridegroom was delaying they all got drowsy and began to sleep.  But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold¸the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’  Then all the virgins rose and trimmed their lamps.  The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’  But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too, go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut.  Later the other virgins also came, saying ‘Lord, open up for us.’  But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’  Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” (Matthew 25:1-13)

This parable of Jesus refers to the last days when he returns.  The lamps symbolize being prepared with the infilling of God’s Holy Spirit.  The brides who were not prepared represent those whose hearts were not righteous by constantly seeking God, consistent in reading the Word, and not putting Jesus’ words into action.  Jesus strongly tells his disciples that no one knows the day or the hour of his return, and if a believer is caught unawares by their ongoing sinful behavior, they will not enter into the kingdom of God.

The expression of God’s Spirit is similar to when we think or talk, but without language. Sometimes we think or talk while imagining something in our mind, or sometimes we just think without a mental visual.  God’s Spirit  is like a breath of air that gently comes down upon us or sometimes even as a stronger wind, but which always comes from above.  God’s Spirit comes to us with a message which may be visions, and/or a sense of knowing.  Whether a vision, sensing or knowing, all is embedded within the feeling of being enveloped in a blanket of love, wisdom and compassion.  That is how we know with certainty the experience is from God.  Also, God’s Spirit feels like a supercharged electrical current that comes down from God, and in turn the believer can focus this current outwards for healings carried on a flow of compassion .

So, God’s Spirit fills the believer for the purpose of direction, guidance, and the expression of miracles, but a spirit filled believer will also experience the Holy Spirit when God is giving a specific message for a specific purpose.  Historically, the revivals that occurred around the world were begun with the gift of the Holy Spirit accompanied by signs and wonders.  We know based upon prophecy in the Bible that the last days will be filled with God’ signs and wonders so that the fullness of believers will be accomplished.

We must be prepared, for we don’t know the time of His coming.  However, Jesus states that we will know by the events happening that the time is close, just as when leaves turn in the autumn we know that winter is near.   All monotheistic religions must reach out to each other in love and acceptance, and in turn express God’s love to the world by service and witness.

End Times described by hadiths relating to the Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) teachings:

The signs of the Last Day will “…follow one another like the pieces of a necklace falling one after the other when its string is cut. (Tirmidhi)

Also, Allah’s Messenger (saas) said: “The Harj (will increase).”  They asked, “What is the Harj?” He replied, “(It is) killing (murdering).” (Bukhari)

The Hour will come with violence, bloodshed, and anarchy become common. (Al-Muttaqi Al-Hindi, Muntakhab Kanzul Ummaal)

Corruption has appeared in both land and sea because of what people’s own hands have brought about so that they may taste something of what they have done so that hopefully they will turn back. (Surat ar-Rum:41)

Great cities will be ruined and it will be as if they had not existed the day before. (Al-Muttaqi al Hindi, Al-Burhan fi Alamat-al-Mahdi Akhir al-Zaman)

My Muslim brothers and sisters, you are being called to be a light to the nations, so earnestly seek God’s will and Holy Spirit to empower you for the task God is giving you.

 

 

 

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