Hundreds of years before Christ ever walked on the earth, prophets wrote of His coming, His works, and His plan of redemption. Isaiah writes in detail of the crucifixion of Jesus in Chapter 53 verse 5. David foretold of Jesus’ victory when he said “The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.” (Mark 12:36 NIV) The entire Old Testament is filled with information, analogies, and illustrations that lead to the coming of the Messiah. How did men write so accurately about events that would take place centuries in the future?
How is it possible that the bible has sixty-six books written by different men over a span of more than two thousand years yet they consistently reveal the word, will and nature of God without contradiction? The answer to both questions is very simple. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, who is God, yet is His own entity revealed the heart of God to these men. “But God has revealed it to us by His Spirit. The Spirit searches all things even the deep things of God.” (1 Cor. 2:10) “This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words” (1 Cor. 2:10) The bible was penned by men, but never had its origin in the will of man. The prophets spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Pet. 1:21).
In the Old Testament, all men did not have the Holy Spirit with them at all times rather temporarily as needed, but Joel prophesied that God would pour out His Spirit on all people. (Joel 2:28-29) This prophesy was fulfilled and is recorded throughout the book of Acts. Jesus told the disciples to stay in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit came on them. After that, they would have power to witness to people all over the world. The disciples stayed in the upper room when suddenly a mighty wind rushed through and tongues of fire sat on their shoulders. They spoke in other tongues and all of the people from other nations heard them and understood them. When Peter had finished speaking, three thousand people were saved! (Acts 1, 2)
Jesus also told the disciples not to worry about their self-defense in times of trial. “Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry about what to say. Just say whatever is given to you at the time, for it is not you speaking but the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 13:11) The early apostles experienced the speaking power of the Holy Spirit on numerous occasions. Peter and John were arrested and set free because of the words they spoke as led by the Holy Spirit. When they returned to the people who were assembled, Peter and John spoke God’s word and prayed, and the ground began to tremble as all the people were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word boldly. (Acts 4:1-31) As Paul followed the leading of the Holy Spirit, preaching in every city, he stated “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.” (Acts 20:32-33) Paul didn’t worry, for he had experienced the power of the Holy Spirit and he was confident that the Holy Spirit would guide him in trials and would provide the words needed to speak boldly.
If we allow Him to work through us, the Holy Spirit can perform the same actions in our everyday lives. Joel wrote that God’s Spirit would be poured out on all people. That includes us, if we have received Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Paul tells the Corinthians that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor. 2:10) The Holy Spirit will reside in us and give us the power to speak boldly in order to bring the message of Jesus to the world.
We can have Paul’s confidence by listening to the Holy Spirit as He testifies that we are God’s children (Rom. 8:16), and Jesus is Lord (1 Cor. 12:3). “And it is the Spirit who testifies because the Spirit is the truth. (1 John 5:6) God testified to us by signs, miracles, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. (Heb. 2:4) With all of these witnesses, we can be sure that our faith is firmly grounded, for we know that God speaks to us by His Holy Spirit, and by His word we can see the power manifested through us if we simply listen.
The Holy Spirit has been with God from the beginning for He is God, and is His own person. If we allow Him, He is the part of God that resides in us. Just as the Holy Spirit spoke to the prophets and the apostles, the Holy Spirit will speak to us, giving us the words to say in times of trial and as a witness to the people of this world who so deeply need a savior. We see in Acts that when the Holy Spirit speaks, people get saved! Now it is up to us to guard the message with the help of the Holy Spirit (2 Tim. 2:14) and to spread that message throughout the world, beginning in our own back yard.