The Holy Spirit & His Work

What is the first work attributed to the Spirit of God according to the scriptures?

In the story of the creation of the world, we are introduced to the Godhead. When the earth was without form and void, the Spirit of God was brooding upon the face of the waters.

“And the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Genesis 1:2.

The Hebrew word for “moved” is brooded or hovered. All beginnings start with Elohim, the author. And the Holy Spirit is one of the members of the Godhead. 

Matthew Henry beautifully explains this on his commentary of Genesis chapter 1:

“The Hebrew word is Elohim, which bespeaks, the power of God the Creator. El signifies the strong God and what less than almighty strength could bring all things out of nothing? The plurality of persons in the Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. This plural name of God, in Hebrew, which speaks of him as many, though he is one, was to the Gentiles perhaps a savor of death unto death, hardening them in their idolatry; but it is to us a savor of life unto life, confirming our faith in the doctrine of the Trinity, which, though but darkly intimated in the Old Testament, is clearly revealed in the New. The Son of God, the eternal Word, and Wisdom of the Father, was with him when he made the world (Pro 8:30), nay, we are often told that the world was made by him, and nothing made without him, John 1:3, John 1:10; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:16; Hebrew 1:2.” Matthew Henry.

“For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD and there is none else.” Isaiah 45:18.

How was Christ able to work miracles?

“But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.” Matthew 12:28.

“But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come unto you.” Luke 11:10.

Ellen G. White’s comment on this verse is quite interesting, pay close attention to what she says about the Spirit of God: “The evidence of His [Jesus’] power and mercy exasperated them [the Pharisees]. They could not prevent the Saviour from working miracles, they could not silence His teaching, but they did everything in their power to misrepresent Him and to falsify His words. Still, the convicting Spirit of God followed them, and they had to build up many barriers in order to withstand its power. The mightiest agency that can be brought to bear upon the human heart was striving with them, but they would not yield.” The Desire of Ages p.322.1.

Matthew Henry explains the gist of the character of the Pharisees by telling us that they were “enemies to Christ and His doctrine.” Understanding that Christ was under the power of the Holy Spirit and performing the works that His Father commanded Him to do, we understand that this sect was in fact the enemy of God.  

“The Pharisees were a sort of men that pretended to more knowledge in, and zeal for, the divine law, than other people; yet they were the most inveterate enemies to Christ and his doctrine.” Matthew Henry.

“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” Acts 10:38.

What happens when we reject this power?

To reject the power of God is sin. 

In Matthew 12:22 Jesus heals someone who is possessed with devil causing him blindness and rendered them dumb, or mute. After Jesus heals this person the Pharisees said that this healing was done under the power of Satan. This was a rejection of the power of God and offended Christ. 

“Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.” Matthew 12:22.

“But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils.” Luke 11:15.

The Bible commentary explains this rejection as the unpardonable sin. 

“They [the Pharisees] attributed to satanic agencies the holy power of God, manifested in the works of Christ. Thus the Pharisees sinned against the Holy Ghost. Stubborn, sullen, ironhearted, they determined to close their eyes to all evidence, and thus they committed the unpardonable sin.” 5BC 1092.4.

How is conviction produced in the mind of the sinner?

“And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” John 16:8.

Note: See also (Genesis 6:3). And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.

“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8  And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9  Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10  Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11  Of judgment because the prince of this world is judged.” John 16:7-11.

What office does the Spirit perform for the Christian?

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

“If ye love me, keep my commandments. 16  And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17  Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18  I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” John 14:15-18.

“When Christ gave His disciples the promise of the Spirit, He was nearing the close of His earthly ministry. He was standing in the shadow of the cross, with a full realization of the load of guilt that was to rest upon Him as the Sin Bearer. Before offering Himself as the sacrificial victim, He instructed His disciples regarding a most essential and complete gift which He was to bestow upon His followers–the gift that would bring within their reach the boundless resources of His grace. “I will pray the Father,” He said, “and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” John 14:16-17. The Saviour was pointing forward to the time when the Holy Spirit should come to do a mighty work as His representative. The evil that had been accumulating for centuries was to be resisted by the divine power of the Holy Spirit.” Acts of the Apostles Chap. 5 “The Gift of the Spirit”


“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.” John 14:16.

What other work does the Spirit perform?

“But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” 2 Thessalonians 2:13.

What is the Word of God said to be?

“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:17

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 105:119

In what manner did the Spirit make known the word?

“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Peter 1:21

How did the Lord speak to these holy men?

“After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” Genesis 15:1.   


“And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.” Numbers 12:6.


“The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.” Isaiah 1:1.  

“Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.” Ezekiel 1:1.

Was this gift of the Spirit to be confirmed mostly to the time of the Old Testament?

“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.” Joel 2:28.

How did Peter by inspiration render this term afterward?

“And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.” Acts 2:17

A more evident fulfillment: “If this prophecy of Joel met a partial fulfillment in the days of the apostles, we are living in a time when it is to be even more evidently manifest to the people of God. He will so bestow His Spirit upon His people that they will become a light amid the moral darkness; and great light will be reflected in all parts of the world. O that our faith might be increased, that the Lord might work mightily with His people.” 4BC 1175.2.

What does Paul call the Spirit?

“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.” Ephesians 1:13.

What is the seal of the living God, which is placed in the foreheads of His people?

“It is a mark which angels, but not human eyes, can read; for the destroying angel must see this mark of redemption. The angel with the writer’s inkhorn is to place a mark upon the foreheads of all who are separated from sin and sinners, and the destroying angel follows this angel.” 4BC 1161.4-5.

This seal is settling into the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“Just as soon as the people of God are sealed in their foreheads–it is not any seal or mark that can be seen, but a settling into the truth, both intellectually and spiritually, so they cannot be moved–just as soon as God’s people are sealed and prepared for the shaking, it will come. Indeed, it has begun already; the judgments of God are now upon the land, to give us warning, that we may know what is coming” 4BC 1161.6.

Why was it designed this way? Why did Jesus say it was necessary for Him to go unto the Father?

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” John 16:7.

Were the gifts of the Spirit referred to in this promise?

“Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive and gave gifts unto men.” Ephesians 4:8.

What are these gifts?

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.” Ephesians 4:11.

Were all these gifts given by the same Spirit?

“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.” 1Corinthians 12:4.

What commission did Christ give to His disciples?

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2Corinthians 5:17.

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15.

Why didn’t they proceed immediately to that work? What were they waiting for?

“And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” Luke 24:49.

“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8.

What are we called to do?

Preach the Simple Gospel, Not Startling Speculations:

“They were to be found following the Master, praying, waiting, watching, and working. They were to be representatives to the world of the character of Christ. That which was essential for a successful Christian experience in the days of the disciples is essential in our day.” 6BC 1051.4.

The purpose of preaching the gospel is to attain everlasting life.

“All that was done and said had this one object in view–to rivet truth in their minds that they might attain unto everlasting life.” 6BC 1052.2.

How long did Jesus promise to be with those who preach the gospel?

“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Matthew 28:20.