We have established from the Bible that the Holy Spirit is a person, He is God, and He is separate and distinct from God the Father and God the Son. However, is He equal to God the Father and God the Son (Jesus)?
Before we answer that question let us examine the equality of God the Father and God the Son. First and foremost, Jesus is fully divine (Colossians 2:9. John 10:30. John 14:9).
Nevertheless, while being fully divine, Jesus subordinated Himself to God the Father (John 5:43. John 5:19. John 10:25, 29. John 12:49). Furthermore, the submission of Jesus is seen in the fact that He was sent by God the Father (John 6:29. John 8:29. John 8:42). Jesus sought the glorification of the one He was submitted to – God the Father (John 7:18).
Similarly, the Holy Spirit is fully divine, yet He subordinates Himself to Jesus (John 14:26. John 16:13). Furthermore, the submission of the Holy Spirit is seen in the fact that He was sent by the request of God the Son (John 14:16. John 15:26. Acts 2:33). The Holy Spirit seeks only to glorify the one He is submitted to – God the Son – Jesus (John 16:14,15).
From the scriptures, we can see that the Holy Spirit in His present work, while fully divine, is subordinated to God the Son. God the Son is subordinated to God the Father. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is subordinated to both God the Father and God the Son. The Trinity, each being fully God, submit themselves to one another to maintain unity. We are then without excuse for not submitting to one another and to the authorities that God has placed into existence in the Church and the World to maintain the unity (1 Peter 2:13-25. 1 Peter 5:5. Hebrews 13:17. Romans 13:1,2 ).
The Seven Spirits of God (Revelation 5:6)
You might be saying – I thought the Holy Spirit was one Spirit? I believe this verse in the apocalyptic book of Revelation (3) is pointing out that while there is one Holy Spirit, He has seven facets, characteristic manifestations, or ministries. These characteristic ministries are stated in the Old Testament prophesy about the then-future time during Jesus’ Earthly ministry when the Holy Spirit would come upon Him in His fullness (Luke 3:21-23. Luke 4:1. John 3:34).
And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD (KJV Isaiah 11:2)
In the Bible, God reveals a person’s characteristics through their name. Therefore, studying these seven names of the Holy Spirit will help us to understand Him and what He desires to accomplish in our lives.
1. Spirit of the Lord
The word Lord here is Yahweh that is often translated as Jehovah. This name reveals that the Holy Spirit is not just God, but the covenant-keeping God. He will see to it that all the promises in the Bible are fulfilled (Exodus 34:6,7). The fact that He watches over the covenant to enforce explains why the warning not to blaspheme the Holy Spirit is given (Luke 12:10). That is, to reject the Holy Spirit’s offer of being born again leaves nothing after death but God’s wrath in Hell (1) (John 16:7-15). Furthermore, He is the one that communicates the will of God the head of the church – the Lord Jesus – from Heaven to Earth (Acts 1:2. Acts 13:4. Acts 20:28. Romans 8:9. Colossians 1:18-20).
2. Spirit of Wisdom
It is the work of the Holy Spirit to impart wisdom to those that receive Him. This is evident in the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:8. Mark 13:11. Luke 12:11,12). A great definition of wisdom… it is the ability to use knowledge.
3. Spirit of Understanding
It is the work of the Holy Spirit to impart understanding to those that receive Him (1 John 5:20. Acts 1:16. Acts 4:25. Acts 28:25. 2 Peter 1:21 ).
4. Spirit of Counsel
The Holy Spirit is the one that gives us God’s counsel in all our plans (Proverbs 3:5,6. John 14:26. Acts 13:2. Acts 15:28. Acts 16:6. Acts 20:23. Acts 21:11. 2 Corinthians 13:13).
5. Spirit of Might, Strength or Power
The Holy Spirit is the one that gives strength or power to do the work of Jesus (Isaiah 40:31. Acts 1:8. Acts 4:8. Acts 4:31. Acts 10:38. 1 Thessalonians 1:5,6. Hebrews 2:4).
6. Spirit of Knowledge
It is the work of the Holy Spirit to impart knowledge to those that receive Him. This is evident in the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:8. Luke 2:25-30).
7. Spirit of the Fear of the Lord
The Holy Spirit teaches us to fear the Lord (Acts 9:31). To fear the Lord is not to be afraid of God, but rather having infinite respect and reverence for His holiness (Exodus 20:20). This holiness is so powerful that its proclamation shook the temple in Heaven (Isaiah 6:3,4). It is the love of God that draws us to salvation (Romans 2:4); however, the fear of God must be added to this love for holiness to be perfected in our lives (2 Corinthians 7:1).
In summary, God the Holy Spirit is equal to God the Father and God the Son. However, God the Holy Spirit has willingly submitted to God the Son (Jesus) who has willingly submitted to God the Father. Thus modeling the mutual submission that is to characterize the Body of Christ (1) (i.e., the Church) (Ephesians 5:21. 1 Corinthians 12:20-27).
Holy Spirit series:
- God the Holy Spirit (Part I): Introducing the Holy Spirit
- God the Holy Spirit (Part II): The Holy Spirit is God!
- God the Holy Spirit (Part III): Is the Holy Spirit equal to God the Father and Son?
- God the Holy Spirit (Part IV): Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the Holy Spirit
- God the Holy Spirit (Part V): The Paradox of the Paraclete
- God the Holy Spirit (Part VI): How is the Holy Spirit Like a Dove?
- God the Holy Spirit (Part VII): Religious Folklore – We Do Not Get all of the Holy Spirit when Saved
(1) Left-click on the underlined phrase to open another article in a different tab with more explanation.
(2) Torrey, R. A., The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit, New Kensington: Whitaker House, 1996, ISBN 0-88368-384-9
(3) The book of Revelation is written in a symbolic or allegorical style.