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Figures Friday

God bless you in the name of our lord and savior Jesus Christ, who knew who he was and what his Father had given him (John 5:32).

Since the Day of Pentecost things have never been the same. Pentecost, like all God’s previous marvelous works, didn’t happen only to amaze and astound. This meant something spectacular. It signified something special in God’s plan and purpose. Jesus spoke prophetically about this amazing gift of holy spirit that was to come.

John 16:12-13:
I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 Howbeit when he [it], the Spirit of truth [the gift of holy spirit], is come, he [it] will guide you into all truth: for he [it] shall not speak of himself [itself]; but whatsoever he [it] shall hear, that shall he [it] speak: and he [it] will shew you things to come.

All these 2nd person pronouns are plural. The “you” and the “ye” in verse 12, and the two “yous” in 13 are all plural. God would reveal it unto them collectively.

The way the spirit of truth is personified in these verses is a figure of speech. This figure, personification, animates the gift. Not identifying the figure has caused the gift of holy spirit to be mistakenly referred to as a “person.” Jesus is speaking of the gift of the holy spirit that would come after the day of Pentecost as if it were a person. That doesn’t make it a person; it emphasizes the impact of its presence.

It was the gift of holy spirit that came on Pentecost. The Holy Spirit is God, and He has always been around. He was mentioned first in Genesis 1:1 (i.e. Spirit of God), and mentioned for the final time in Revelation 22:17. In order to rightly divided the scriptures we must properly distinguish between the Giver, Holy Spirit, and His gift, holy spirit. It was the gift that Jesus personified in John 16.

Remember in I Corinthians 13, love is spoken of as a person, a person being kind, long-suffering, gentle. Love isn’t a person either. It is spoken of using this figure of speech personification to emphasize the impact of love when it is present. It forbears; it never fails. Jesus’ use of personification in speaking of the gift does the same thing. It emphasizes the impact that the gift would have when it arrived. We don’t think love is a person and neither should we think of the gift as a person either. The holy spirit Jesus is talking about is not a person. It’s important to recognize the figure of speech. Jesus continues and speaks specifically of the impact it would have.

John 16:14-15a:
He [it, the gift of holy spirit] shall glorify me: for he [it, the gift of holy spirit] shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine…

Man, look at Jesus’ boldness, his audacity. How could he make such an outrageous statement? He could make this claim because he knew it was true. He had the certainty the truth provided. He knew his Father, and he knew what was his as his Father’s son. If we would only be so confident and declare the same. Let’s walk in his steps and be that bold ourselves.

John 16:15:
All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he [it, the gift of holy spirit] shall take of mine [which is really whose? The Father’s], and shall shew it unto you.

That’s the function of the gift they would receive on and after the Day of Pentecost ─ to glorify God by showing them what things are theirs. The gift should be doing the same for us. When they would learn what this gift would do, God would get the glory. As we operate the gift, we should learn more and more about what God has provided for us, His children. God should continue to get the glory as His people continue to walk in the steps of Jesus Christ (I Peter 2:21; Ephesians 3:20).