What Is the Initial Evidence of the Real Holy Ghost Baptism?

By ernest angley.

Font Size Font Size

What Is the Initial Evidence of the Real Holy Ghost Baptism?

The Bible teaches speaking with tongues. When the Holy Ghost comes in to set up His abode within a life today, He does just what He did on the day of Pentecost: with another tongue He speaks through the person being baptized. Speaking in tongues is the initial evidence of the Holy Ghost baptism.

For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people (Isaiah 28:11).

In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord (I Corinthians 14:21).

What Did Jesus Say about the Holy Ghost Baptism?

Jesus told the disciples that when the Holy Ghost came in, He would testify or speak. But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me (John 15:26).

Jesus said that the Spirit would testify, and that the disciples would be the ones to witness. And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning (John 15:27). 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). These verses speak of the witness by the disciples; read them along with John 15:26 which plainly tells that the Holy Ghost will speak when He comes in.

Just to make sure that Jesus meant exactly this, let us go to the second chapter of Acts and see what happened when the Holy Ghost filled the disciples at Pentecost: And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:4).

Did People Speak with Tongues after Pentecost?

Ten years after Pentecost, the Gentiles received the gift of the Holy Ghost; the Holy Ghost also testified through them when He came in. While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God (Acts 10:44-46).

Twenty-five years later we find some people receiving the same Holy Ghost in the same way. He took over their vocal organs and spoke in another tongue. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues (Acts 19:6).

There is no place in the Bible that tells us the method has been changed, so why try to find another way? If you ever receive the real Holy Ghost as the disciples did on the day of Pentecost, you, too, will speak with tongues.

Have Tongues Really Ceased?

Some say that speaking with tongues has ceased: whether there be tongues, they shall cease (I Corinthians 13:8). But we must take the whole verse and discover what Paul was really saying. Verse 8 tells us Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. Paul said prophecies would fail, knowledge shall vanish away. Have prophecies failed yet? Has knowledge vanished away? No, of course not; and tongues have not ceased, either.

For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away (I Corinthians 13:9-10).

Paul was not referring to Christ here: Christ had already come when Paul was writing this. Paul said we know now in part and prophesy in part, but, when we get to Heaven where all is perfect, then we will see clearly.

Is Speaking in Tongues the Most Important Part of the Holy Ghost Baptism?

Speaking with tongues was the physical, initial evidence of the Holy Ghost baptism of the early church Christians and it is the physical, initial evidence of Christians who receive it today. The main purpose of receiving the Holy Ghost is not just to have something speak through you; speaking in tongues is simply the first evidence that He has come in; there are many evidences of the Holy Spirit. At Mount Sinai it was not the thunder, lightning, fire nor trumpet which were paramount, but the giving of the Law; and at Pentecost it was not the sound of wind or the tongues of fire, or speaking with other tongues which was paramount, but the giving of the Holy Ghost.

Is There a Pattern for Receiving?

Initial means entrance, beginning or making the commencement, first evidence. Remember, there are many evidences of the Holy Ghost in one’s life, but we are talking about the first evidence or the beginning. Jesus told the disciples that the Holy Ghost would testify when He came in; they expected that evidence. The disciples already had love, consecration and were in one mind and one accord. What is the one thing they all did which they had not done previously? And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:4). This is the pattern of how people are to receive the Holy Ghost. It happened in the tenth chapter of Acts when the Gentiles received the Holy Ghost. The doubting Jews knew that the Gentiles had also received the Holy Ghost, not because of their joy, not because of the love of God in their hearts, but because they heard them speak with tongues (Acts 10:46). The initial evidence: speaking with tongues.

Peter said, And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. How did the Holy Ghost fall on them in the beginning? With the speaking in tongues. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God (Acts 11:15-17)?

Did Observers Recognize This Power?

Philip went down to Samaria and preached Christ. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. And there was great joy in that city (Acts 8:6-8). Verses 17-19 go on to say: Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. What happened when Peter and John laid hands on them that let Simon know they were receiving something other than what Philip had told them about? It couldn’t have been joy—they had great joy before Peter and John got there. Simon saw the physical evidence of speaking with other tongues. He thought it such a wonderful thing that he even offered them money; however, the gift of God cannot be purchased that way.

Have You Received the Holy Ghost?

Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed (Acts 19:2)? Paul was talking to believers here. To be a believer means your sins are gone. These people received something more than the born-again experience. What did happen to them? The Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues (Acts 19:6). Here again is the pattern of how people are to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed?

How Can You Receive Him?

Remember, the disciples were continually praising the Lord at Pentecost until the Holy Ghost came in. Consecrate your life to God. Yield yourself completely to Him. Rejoice in praises before Him and let Him come in.

All literature available on this page is owned exclusively by Ernest Angley Ministries and is available for your personal, noncommercial use only. You may freely download, print or distribute this literature without prior permission, as long as it is NOT altered and is distributed in its entirety.

US Office Line 330-920-1019

Prayer Line Toll-Free US & Canada 833-915-1447*

Local 330-929-5010

Business Office Canada 519-274-4913

Social Media:

Ernest Angley Ministries PO Box 1790 Akron, OH 44309 USA

Ernest Angley Ministries P.O. Box 25070 Stratford, ON. N5A 0B4 Canada

How to go to Heaven

How to get right with god.

the real holy ghost

What is the difference between the Holy Spirit and Holy Ghost?

For further study, related articles, subscribe to the, question of the week.

Get our Question of the Week delivered right to your inbox!

the real holy ghost

Who Is the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit Is Guide and Counselor to All Christians

Hans Neleman/Getty Images

  • Key Terms in Christianity
  • Christianity Origins
  • The New Testament
  • The Old Testament
  • Practical Tools for Christians
  • Christian Life For Teens
  • Christian Prayers
  • Inspirational Bible Devotions
  • Denominations of Christianity
  • Christian Holidays
  • Christian Entertainment
  • Catholicism
  • Latter Day Saints

the real holy ghost

  • General Biblical Studies, Interdenominational Christian Training Center

The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity and undoubtedly the least understood member of the Godhead.

Christians can easily identify with God the Father (Jehovah or Yahweh) and his Son, Jesus Christ . The Holy Spirit, however, without a body and a personal name, seems distant to many, yet he dwells inside every true believer and is a constant companion in the walk of faith.

Who Is the Holy Ghost?

Until a few decades ago, both Catholic and Protestant churches used the title Holy Ghost. The King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, first published in 1611, uses the term Holy Ghost, but every modern translation, including the New King James Version , uses Holy Spirit. Some Pentecostal denominations which use the KJV still speak of the Holy Ghost.

Member of the Godhead

As God, the Holy Spirit has existed through all eternity. In the Old Testament, he is also referred to as the Spirit, the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of the Lord. In the New Testament, he is sometimes called the Spirit of Christ.

The Holy Spirit first appears in the second verse of the Bible, in the account of creation :

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. (Genesis 1:2, NIV ).

The Holy Spirit caused the Virgin Mary to conceive ( Matthew 1:20 ), and at the baptism of Jesus , he descended on Jesus like a dove. On the Day of Pentecost , he rested like tongues of fire on the apostles . In many religious paintings and church logos, he is often symbolized as a dove .

Since the Hebrew word for the Spirit in the Old Testament means "breath" or "wind," Jesus breathed on his apostles after his resurrection and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit." (John 20:22, NIV). He also commanded his followers to baptize people in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The divine works of the Holy Spirit , both in the open and in secret, advance God the Father's plan of salvation . He participated in creation with the Father and Son, filled the prophets with the Word of God , assisted Jesus and the apostles in their missions, inspired the men who wrote the Bible, guides the church, and sanctifies believers in their walk with Christ today.

He gives spiritual gifts for strengthening the body of Christ. Today he acts as Christ's presence on earth, counseling and encouraging Christians as they battle the temptations of the world and the forces of Satan.

The Holy Spirit's name describes his chief attribute: He is a perfectly holy and spotless God, free of any sin or darkness. He shares the strengths of God the Father and Jesus, such as omniscience, omnipotence, and eternality. Likewise, he is all-loving, forgiving, merciful and just.

Throughout the Bible, we see the Holy Spirit pouring his power into followers of God. When we think of such towering figures as Joseph , Moses , David , Peter , and Paul , we may feel we have nothing in common with them, but the truth is that the Holy Spirit helped each of them change. He stands ready to help us change from the person we are today to the person we want to be, ever closer to the character of Christ.

A member of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit had no beginning and has no end. With the Father and Son, he existed before creation. The Spirit dwells in heaven but also on Earth in the heart of every believer.

The Holy Spirit serves as teacher, counselor, comforter, strengthener, inspiration, revealer of the Scriptures, convincer of sin , caller of ministers, and intercessor in prayer .

References to the Holy Spirit in the Bible:

The Holy Spirit appears in nearly every book of the Bible .

Holy Spirit Bible Study

Continue reading for a topical Bible study on the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit Is a Person

The Holy Spirit is included in the Trinity , which is made up of 3 distinct persons: The Father , the Son , and the Holy Spirit. The following verses give us a beautiful picture of the Trinity in the Bible:

Matthew 3:16-17 As soon as Jesus (the Son) was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God (the Holy Spirit) descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven (the Father) said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." (NIV)

Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (NIV)

John 14:16-17 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever-- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. (NIV)

2 Corinthians 13:14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ , and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (NIV)

Acts 2:32-33 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. (NIV)

The Holy Spirit Has the Characteristics of Personality:

The Holy Spirit has a Mind :

Romans 8:27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will. (NIV)

The Holy Spirit has a Will :

1 Corinthians 12:11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. (NASB)

The Holy Spirit has Emotions , he grieves :

Isaiah 63:10 Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them. (NIV)

The Holy Spirit gives joy :

Luke 10: 21 At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children . Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure." (NIV)

1 Thessalonians 1:6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.

He Teaches :

John 14:26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (NIV)

He Testifies of Christ:

John 15:26 When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. (NIV)

He Convicts :

John 16:8 When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt [Or will expose the guilt of the world] in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: (NIV)

Romans 8:14 Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (NIV)

He Reveals Truth :

John 16:13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. (NIV)

He Strengthens and Encourages :

Acts 9:31 Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord. (NIV)

He Comforts :

John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; (KJV)

He Helps Us in our Weakness:

Romans 8:26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. (NIV)

He Intercedes :

He Searches the Deep Things of God:

1 Corinthians 2:11 The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. (NIV)

He Sanctifies :

Romans 15:16 To be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles with the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. (NIV)

He Bears Witness or Testifies :

Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: (KJV)

He Forbids :

Acts 16:6-7 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. (NIV)

He Can be Lied to :

Acts 5:3 Then Peter said, " Ananias , how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? (NIV)

He Can be Resisted :

Acts 7:51 "You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit!" (NIV)

He Can be Blasphemed :

Matthew 12:31-32 And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. (NIV)

He Can be Quenched :

1 Thessalonians 5:19 Quench not the Spirit. (NKJV)

  • Basics to Prayer
  • What Does the Holy Spirit Do?
  • 6 Tips on How to Pray
  • The Bible Says 'No' to Talking to the Dead
  • The Trinity Doctrine in Christianity
  • 35 Bible Verses About Life
  • Bible Scripture For Support When Bad Things Happen
  • Understanding the Holy Trinity
  • The Purpose of Baptism in the Christian Life
  • Christian Symbols Illustrated Glossary
  • Methodist Church Beliefs and Practices
  • Jesus' Baptism by John - Bible Story Summary
  • Armor of God Bible Study
  • Bible Verses About God's Love for Us
  • Is It Okay to Pray, "If It Be Your Will, Lord?"

By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.

Catholic Answers Logo

The Third Person of the Holy Trinity

the real holy ghost

Holy Ghost. —

I. SYNOPSIS OF THE DOGMA

The doctrine of the Catholic Church concerning the Holy Ghost forms an integral part of her teaching on the mystery of the Holy Trinity , of which St. Augustine (De Trin., I, iii, 5), speaking with diffidence, says: “In no other subject is the danger of erring so great, or the progress so difficult, or the fruit of a careful study so appreciable”. The essential points of the dogma may be resumed in the following propositions: The Holy Ghost is the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity . Though really distinct, as a Person , from the Father and the Son, He is consubstantial with Them; being God like Them, He possesses with Them one and the same Divine Essence or Nature . He proceeds, not by way of generation, but by way of spiration, from the Father and the Son together, as from a single principle. Such is the belief the Catholic faith demands.

II. CHIEF ERRORS

In addition to these systems and these writers, who came in conflict with the true doctrine about the Holy Ghost only indirectly and as a logical result of previous errors, there were others who attacked the truth directly: (I) Towards the middle of the fourth century, Macedonius, Bishop of Constantinople , and, after him, a number of Semi-Arians, while apparently admitting the Divinity of the Word, denied that of the Holy Ghost. They placed Him among the spirits, inferior ministers of God , but higher than the angels. They were, under the name of Pneumatomachians, condemned by the Council of Constantinople , in 381 (Mansi, III, col. 560). (2) Since the days of Photius, the schismatic Greeks maintain that the Holy Ghost, true God like the Father and the Son, proceeds from the former alone.

III. THE THIRD PERSON OF THE BLESSED TRINITY

This heading implies two truths: (1) The Holy Ghost is a Person really distinct as such from the Father and the Son; (2) He is God and consubstantial with the Father and the Son. The first statement is directly opposed to Monarchianism and to Socinianism ; the second to Subordinationism, to the different forms of Arianism , and to Macedonianism in particular. The same arguments drawn from Scripture and Tradition may be used generally to prove either assertion. We will, therefore, bring forward the proofs of the two truths together, but first call particular attention to some passages that demonstrate more explicitly the distinction of personality.

A. In the New Testament the word spirit and, perhaps, even the expression spirit of God signify at times the soul or man himself, inasmuch as he is under the influence of God and aspires to things above; more frequently, especially in St. Paul, they signify God acting in man; but they are used, besides, to designate not only a working of God in general, but a Divine Person , Who is neither the Father nor the Son, Who is named together with the Father, or the Son, or with Both, without the context allowing them to be identified. A few instances are given here. We read in John, xiv, 16, 17: “And I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Paraclete , that he may abide with you for ever. The spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive”; and in John, xv, 26: “But when the Paraclete cometh, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceedeth from the Father, he shall give testimony of me. “St. Peter addresses his first epistle, i, 1-2, “to the strangers dispersed … elect, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, unto the sanctification of the Spirit , unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ “. The Spirit of consolation and of truth is also clearly distinguished in John, xvi, 7, 13-15, from the Son, from Whom He receives all He is to teach the Apostles , and from the Father, who has nothing that the Son also does not possess. Both send Him, but He is not separated from Them, for the Father and the Son come with Him when He descends into our souls (John, xiv, 23).

Many other texts declare quite as clearly that the Holy Ghost is a Person , a Person distinct from the Father and the Son, and yet One God with Them. In several places St. Paul speaks of Him as if speaking of God . In Acts, xxviii, 25, he says to the Jews: “Well did the Holy Ghost speak to our fathers by Isaias the prophet”; now the prophecy contained in the next two verses is taken from Isaias , vi, 9, 10, where it is put in the mouth of the “King the Lord of hosts”. In other places he uses the words God and Holy Ghost as plainly synonymous. Thus he writes, I Cor., iii, 16: “Know you not, that you are the temple of God , and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” and in vi, 19: “Or know you not, that your members are the temple of the Holy Ghost, who is in you … ?” St. Peter asserts the same identity when he thus remonstrates with Ananias (Acts, v, 3-4): “Why hath Satan tempted thy heart, that thou shouldst lie to the Holy Ghost … ? Thou hast not lied to men, but to God .” The sacred writers attribute to the Holy Ghost all the works characteristic of Divine power. It is in His name, as in the name of the Father and of the Son, that baptism is to be given (Matt., xxviii, 19). It is by His operation that the greatest of Divine mysteries, the Incarnation of the Word, is accomplished (Matt., i, 18, 20; Luke, i, 35). It is also in His name and by His power that sins are forgiven and souls sanctified: “Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them” (John, xx, 22, 23); “But you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ , and the Spirit of our God ” (I Cor., vi, 11); “The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us” (Rom., v, 5). He is essentially the Spirit of truth (John, xiv, 16-17; xv, 26), Whose office it is to strengthen faith (Acts, vi, 5), to bestow wisdom (Acts, vi, 3), to give testimony of Christ, that is to say, to confirm His teaching inwardly (John, xv, 26), and to teach the Apostles the full meaning of it (John, xiv, 26; xvi, 13). With these Apostles He will abide for ever (John, xiv, 16). Having descended on them at Pentecost, He will guide them in their work (Acts, viii, 29), for He will inspire the new prophets (Acts, xi, 28; xiii, 9), as He inspired the Prophets of the Old Law (Acts, vii, 51). He is the source of graces and gifts (I Cor., xii, 3-11); He, in particular, grants the gift of tongues (Acts, ii, 4; x, 44-47). And as he dwells in our bodies and sanctifies them (I Cor., iii, 16; vi, 19), so will he raise them again, one day, from the dead (Rom., viii, 11). But he operates especially in the soul, giving it a new life (Rom., viii, 9 sq.), being the pledge that God has given us that we are His children (Rom., viii, 14-16; II Cor., i, 22; v, 5; Gal., iv, 6). He is the Spirit of God , and at the same time the Spirit of Christ (Rom., viii, 9); because He is in God , He knows the deepest mysteries of God (I Cor., ii, 10-11), and He possesses all knowledge. St. Paul ends his Second Epistle to the Corinthians (xiii, 13) with this formula of benediction, which might be called a blessing of the Trinity : “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ , and the charity of God , and the communication of the Holy Ghost be with you all.”—Cf . Tixeront, “Hist. des dogmes”, Paris , 1905, I, 80, 89, 90, 100, 101.

B. While corroborating and explaining the testimony of Scripture , Tradition brings more clearly before us the various stages of the evolution of this doctrine. As early as the first century, St. Clement of Rome gives us important teaching about the Holy Ghost. His “ Epistle to the Corinthians” not only tells us that the Spirit inspired and guided the holy writers (viii, 1; xlv, 2); that He is the voice of Jesus Christ speaking to us in the Old Testament (xxii, 1 sq.); but it contains further, two very explicit statements about the Trinity . Inc. xlvi, 6 (Funk, “Patres apostolici”, 2nd ed., I, 158), we read that “we have only one God , one Christ, one only Spirit of grace within us, one same vocation in Christ”. In lviii, 2 (Funk, ibid., 172), the author makes this solemn affirmation; se lar theos, kai se o kurios Iesous Chriotos kai to pneuma to alion, e te pistis kai e elpis ton eklekton, oti… which we may compare with the formula so frequently met with in the Old Testament : se kurios . From this it follows that, in Clement’s view, kupios was equally applicable to o theos (the Father), o kurios, Iesous Christios , and to pneusa to alion ; and that we have three witnesses of equal authority, whose Trinity , moreover, is the foundation of Christian faith and hope. The same doctrine is declared, in the second and third centuries, by the lips of the martyrs, and is found in the writings of the Fathers. St. Polycarp (d. 155), in his torments, thus professed his faith in the Three Adorable Persons (“Martyrium sancti Polycarpi” in Funk, op. cit., I, 330): “Lord God Almighty, Father of Thy blessed and well beloved Son, Jesus Christ . in everything I praise Thee, I bless Thee, I glorify Thee by the eternal and celestial pontiff Jesus Christ , Thy well beloved Son, by whom, to Thee, with Him and with the Holy Ghost, glory now and for ever!” St. Epipodius spoke more distinctly still (Ruinart, “Acta mart.”, Verona edition, p. 65): “I confess that Christ is God with the Father and the Holy Ghost, and it is fitting that I should give back my soul to Him Who is my Creator and my Redeemer.”

Among the apologists, Athenagoras mentions the Holy Ghost along with, and on the same plane as, the Father and the Son. “Who would not be astonished”, says he (Legat. pro christian., n. 10, in P.G., VI, col. 909), “to hear us called atheists, us who confess God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Ghost, and hold them one in power and distinct in order [… ten en te enosel dunamin, kai ten en te taksei diairesin ]?” Theophilus of Antioch , who sometimes gives to the Holy Ghost, as to the Son, the name of Wisdom ( sophia ), mentions besides (Ad Autol., lib. I, n. 7, and II, n. 18, in P.G., VI, col. 1035, 1081) the three terms theos, lolos, sophia , and, being the first to apply the characteristic word that was afterwards adopted, says expressly (ibid., II, 15) that they form a trinity ( trias ). Irenaeus looks upon the Holy Ghost as eternal (Adv. Haer., V, xii, n. 2, in P.G., VII, 1153), existing in God ante omnem constitutionem , and produced by Him at the beginning of His ways (ibid., IV, xx, 3). Considered with regard to the Father, the Holy Ghost is His wisdom (IV, xx, 3); the Son and He are the “two hands” by which God created man (IV, praef., n. 4; IV, xx, 20; V, vi, 1). Considered with regard to the Church , the same Spirit is truth, grace, a pledge of immortality, a principle of union with God ; intimately united to the Church , He gives the sacraments their efficacy and virtue (III, xvii, 2, xxiv, 1; IV, xxxiii, 7; V, viii, 1). St. Hippolytus, though he does not speak at all clearly of the Holy Ghost regarded as a distinct person, supposes Him, however, to be God , as well as the Father and the Son (Contra Noet., viii, xii, in P.G., X, 816, 820). Tertullian is one of the writers of this age whose tendency to Subordinationism is most apparent, and that in spite of his being the author of the definitive formula: “Three persons, one substance”. And yet his teaching on the Holy Ghost is in every way remarkable. He seems to have been the first among the Fathers to affirm His Divinity in a clear and absolutely precise manner. In his work “Adversus Praxean” he dwells at length on the greatness of the Paraclete . The Holy Ghost, he says, is God (c. xiii in P.L., II, 193); of the substance of the Father (iii, iv in P.L., II, 181-2); one and the same God with the Father and the Son (ii in P.L., II, 180); proceeding from the Father through the Son (iv, viii in P.L., II, 182, 187); teaching all truth (ii in P.L., II, 179). St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, or at least the Ektesis tes pisteos , which is commonly attributed to him, and which dates from the period 260-270, gives us this remarkable passage (P.G., X, 933 sqq.): “One is God , Father of the living Word, of the subsisting Wisdom…. One the Lord, one of one, God of God , invisible of invisible.

One the Holy Ghost, having His subsistence from God …. Perfect Trinity , which in eternity, glory, and power, is neither divided, nor separated….Unchanging and immutable Trinity .” In 304, the martyr St. Vincent said (Ruinart, op. cit., 325): “I confess the Lord Jesus Christ , Son of the Father most High, one of one; I recognize Him as one God with the Father and the Holy Ghost.”

But we must come down towards the year 360 to find the doctrine on the Holy Ghost explained both fully and clearly. It is St. Athanasius who does so in his “Letters to Serapion ” (P.G., XXVI, col. 525 sq.). He had been informed that certain Christians held that the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity was a creature. To refute them he questions the Scriptures, and they furnish him with arguments as solid as they are numerous. They tell him, in particular, that the Holy Ghost is united to the Son by relations just like those existing between the Son and the Father; that He is sent by the Son; that He is His mouth-piece and glorifies Him; that, unlike creatures, He has not been made out of nothing, but comes forth from God ; that He performs a sanctifying work among men, of which no creature is capable; that in possessing Him we possess God ; that the Father created everything by Him; that, in fine, He is immutable, has the attributes of immensity, oneness, and has a right to all the appellations that are used to express the dignity of the Son. Most of these conclusions he supports by means of Scriptural texts, a few from amongst which are given above. But the writer lays special stress on what is read in Matt., xxviii, 19. “The Lord”, he writes (Ad Serap., III, n. 6, in P.G., XXVI, 633 sq.), “founded the Faith of the Church on the Trinity , when He said to His Apostles : ‘Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.’ If the Holy Ghost were a creature, Christ would not have associated Him with the Father; He would have avoided making a heterogeneous Trinity , composed of unlike elements. What did God stand in need of? Did He need to join to Himself a being of different nature? … No, the Trinity is not composed of the Creator and the creature.” A little later, St. Basil, Didymus of Alexandria , St. Epiphanius , St. Gregory of Nazianzus , St. Ambrose, and St. Gregory of Nyssa took up the same thesis ex professo , supporting it for the most part with the same proofs. All these writings had prepared the way for the Council of Constantinople which, in 381, condemned the Pneumatomachians and solemnly proclaimed the true doctrine. This teaching forms part of the Creed of Constantinople , as it is called, where the symbol refers to the Holy Ghost, “Who is also our Lord and Who gives life; Who proceeds from the Father, Who is adored and glorified together with the Father and the Son; Who spoke by the prophets”. Was this creed, with these particular words, approved by the council of 381? Formerly that was the common opinion, and even in recent times it has been held by authorities like Hefele, Hergenrother, and Funk; other historians, amongst whom are Harnack and Duchesne, are of the contrary opinion; but all agree in admitting that the creed of which we are speaking was received and approved by the Council of Chalcedon , in 451, and that, at least from that time, it became the official formula of Catholic orthodoxy.

IV. PROCESSION OF THE HOLY GHOST

We need not dwell at length on the precise meaning of the Procession in God . (See The Blessed Trinity .) It will suffice here to remark that by this word we mean the relation of origin that exists between one Divine Person and another, or between one and the two others as its principle of origin. The Son proceeds from the Father; the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son. The latter truth will be specially treated here.

A. That the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father has always been admitted by all Christians; the truth is expressly stated in John, xv, 26. But the Greeks, after Photius, deny that He proceeds from the Son. And yet such is manifestly the teaching of Holy Scripture and the Fathers.

(1) In the New Testament .—(a) The Holy Ghost is called the Spirit of Christ (Rom., viii, 9), the Spirit of the Son (Gal., iv, 6), the Spirit of Jesus (Acts, xvi, 7). These terms imply a relation of the Spirit to the Son, which can only be a relation of origin. This conclusion is so much the more indisputable as all admit the similar argument to explain why the Holy Ghost is called the Spirit of the Father. Thus St. Augustine argues (In Joan., tr. xcix, 6, 7 in P.L., XXXV, 1888): “You hear the Lord himself declare: ‘It is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you’. Likewise you hear the Apostle declare: ‘ God hath sent the Spirit of his Son into your, hearts’. Could there then be two spirits, one the spirit of the Father, the other the spirit of the Son? Certainly not. Just as there is only one Father, just as there is only one Lord or one Son, so there is only one Spirit , Who is, consequently, the Spirit of both … Why then should you refuse to believe that He proceeds also from the Son, since He is also the Spirit of the Son? If He did not proceed from Him, Jesus, when He appeared to His disciples after His Resurrection , would not have breathed on them, saying: ‘Receive ye the Holy Ghost’. What, indeed, does this breathing signify, but that the Spirit proceeds also from Him?” St. Athanasius had argued in exactly the same way (De Trinit. et Spir. S., n. 19, in P.G., XXVI, 1212), and concluded: “We say that the Son of God is also the source of the Spirit .”

(b) The Holy Ghost receives from the Son, according to John, xvi, 13-15: “When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth. For he shall not speak of himself; but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak; and the things that are to come, he shall shew you. He shall glorify me; because he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it to you. All things whatsoever the Father hath, are mine. Therefore I said, that he shall receive of mine, and shew it to you.” Now, one Divine Person can receive from another only by Procession, being related to that other as to a principle. What the Paraclete will receive from the Son is immanent knowledge, which He will afterwards manifest exteriorly. But this immanent knowledge is the very essence of the Holy Ghost. The latter, therefore, has His origin in the Son, the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Son. “He shall not speak of Himself”, says St. Augustine (In Joan., tr. xcix, 4, in P.L., XXXV, 1887), “because He is not from Himself, but He shall tell you all He shall have heard. He shall hear from Him from whom He proceeds. In His case, to hear is to know, and to know is to be. He derives His knowledge from Him from Whom He derives His essence.”St. Cyril of Alexandria remarks that the words: “He shall receive of mine” signify “the nature” which the Holy Ghost has from the Son, as the Son has His from the Father (De Trinit., dialog. vi, in P.G., LXXV, 1011). Besides, Jesus gives this reason of His assertion: “He shall receive of mine”: “All things whatsoever the Father hath, are mine”. Now, since the Father has with regard to the Holy Ghost the relation we term Active Spiration, the Son has it also; and in the Holy Ghost there exists, consequently, with regard to both, Passive Spiration or Procession.

(2) The same truth has been constantly held by the Fathers.—This fact is undisputed as far as the Western Fathers are concerned; but the Greeks deny it in the case of the Easterns. We will cite, therefore, a few witnesses from among the latter. The testimony of St. Athanasius has been quoted above, to the effect that “the Son is the source of the Spirit “, and the statement of Cyril of Alexandria that the Holy Ghost has His “nature” from the Son. The latter saint further asserts (Thesaur., assert. xxxiv in P.G., LXXV, 585); “When the Holy Ghost comes into our hearts, He makes us like to God , because He proceeds from the Father and the Son”; and again (Epist., xvii, Ad Nestorium, De excommunicatione in P.G., LXXVII, 117): “The Holy Ghost is not unconnected with the Son, for He is called the Spirit of Truth , and Christ is the Truth ; so He proceeds from Him as well as from God the Father.” St. Basil (De Spirit . S., xviii, in P.G., XXXII, 147) wishes us not to depart from the traditional order in mentioning the Three Divine Persons, because “as the Son is to the Father, so is the Spirit to the Son, in accordance with the ancient order of the names in the formula of baptism”. St. Epiphanius writes (Ancor., viii, in P.G., XLIII, 29, 30) that the Paraclete “is not to be considered as unconnected with the Father and the Son, for He is with Them one in substance and divinity”, and states that “He is from the Father and the Son”; a little further, he adds (op. cit., xi, in P.G., XLIII, 35): “No one knows the Spirit , besides the Father, except the Son, from Whom He proceeds and of Whom He receives.” Lastly, a council held at Seleucia in 410 proclaims its faith “in the Holy Living Spirit , the Holy Living Paraclete , Who proceeds from the Father and the Son” (Lamy, “Concilium Seleuciae”, Louvain, 1868).

However, when we compare the Latin writers, as a body, with the Eastern writers, we notice a difference in language: while the former almost unanimously affirm that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and from the Son, the latter generally say that He proceeds from the Father through the Son. In reality the thought expressed by both Greeks and Latins is one and the same, only the manner of expressing it is slightly different: the Greek formula ek tou patros dia tou uiou expresses directly the order according to which the Father and the Son are the principle of the Holy Ghost, and implies their equality as principle; the Latin formula expresses directly this equality, and implies the order. As the Son Himself proceeds from the Father, it is from the Father that He receives, with everything else, the virtue that makes Him the principle of the Holy Ghost. Thus, the Father alone is principium absque principio, aitia anarchos prokatarktike , and, comparatively, the Son is an intermediate principle. The distinct use of the two prepositions, ek (from) and dia (through), implies nothing else. In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the Greek theologians Blemmidus, Beccus, Calecas, and Bessarion called attention to this, explaining that the two particles have the same signification, but that from is better suited to the First Person , Who is the source of the others, and through to the Second Person , Who comes from the Father. Long before their time St. Basil had written (De Spir. S., viii, 21, in P.G., XXXII, 106): “The expression di ou expresses acknowledgment of the primordial principle [ tes prokatarktikes aitias ]”; and St. Chrysostom (Horn. v in Joan., n. 2, in P.G., LIX, 56): “If it be said through Him , it is said solely in order that no one may imagine that the Son is not generated”. It may be added that the terminology used by the Eastern and Western writers, respectively, to express the idea is far from being invariable. Just as Cyril, Epiphanius , and other Greeks affirm the Procession ex utroque , so several Latin writers did not consider they were departing from the teaching of their Church in expressing themselves like the Greeks. Thus Tertullian (Contra Prax., iv, in P.L., II, 182): “Spiritum non aliunde puto quam a Patre per Filium”; and St. Hilary (De Trinit., lib. XII, n. 57, in P.L., X, 472), addressing himself to the Father, protests that he wishes to adore, with Him and the Son, “Thy Holy Spirit , Who comes from Thee through Thy only Son”. And yet the same writer had said, a little higher (op. cit., lib. II, 29, in P.L., X, 69), “that we must confess the Holy Ghost coming from the Father and the Son”, a clear proof that the two formulae were regarded as substantially equivalent.

Proceeding both from the Father and the Son, the Holy Ghost, nevertheless, proceeds from Them as from a single principle. This truth is, at the very least, insinuated in the passage of John, xvi, 15 (cited above), where Christ establishes a necessary connection between His own sharing in all the Father has and the Procession of the Holy Ghost. Hence it follows, indeed, that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the two other Persons, not in so far as They are distinct, but inasmuch as Their Divine perfection is numerically one. Besides, such is the explicit teaching of ecclesiastical tradition, which is concisely put by St. Augustine (De Trin., lib. V, c. xiv, in P.L., XLII, 921): “As the Father and the Son are only one God and, relatively to the creature, only one Creator and one Lord, so, relatively to the Holy Ghost, They are only one principle.” This doctrine was defined in the following words by the Second Oecumenical Council of Lyons [Denzinger, “Enchiridion” (1908), n. 460]: “We confess that the Holy Ghost proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son, not as from two principles, but as from one principle, not by two spirations, but by one single spiration.” The teaching was again laid down by the Council of Florence (ibid., n. 691), and by Eugene IV in his Bull “Cantate Domino” (ibid., n. 703 sq.).

It is likewise an article of faith that the Holy Ghost does not proceed, like the Second Person of the Trinity , by way of generation. Not only is the Second Person alone called Son in the Scriptures, not only is He alone said to be begotten , but He is also called the only Son of God ; the ancient symbol that bears the name of Saint Athanasius states expressly that “the Holy Ghost comes from the Father and from the Son, not made, not created, not generated, but proceeding”. As we are utterly incapable of otherwise fixing the meaning of the mysterious mode affecting this relation of origin, we apply to it the name spiration , the signification of which is principally negative and by way of contrast, in the sense that it affirms a Procession peculiar to the Holy Ghost and exclusive of filiation. But though we distinguish absolutely and essentially between generation and spiration, it is a very delicate and difficult task to say what the difference is. St. Thomas (I, Q. xxvii), following St. Augustine (De Trin., XV, xxvii), finds the explanation and, as it were, the epitome, of the doctrine in the principle that, in God , the Son proceeds through the Intellect and the Holy Ghost through the Will . The Son is, in the language of Scripture , the image of the Invisible God , His Word , His uncreated wisdom . God contemplates Himself and knows Himself from all eternity, and, knowing Himself, He forms within Himself a substantial idea of Himself, and this substantial thought is His Word. . Now every act of knowledge is accomplished by the production in the intellect of a representation of the object known; from this head, then, the process offers a certain analogy with generation, which is the production by a living being of a being partaking of the same nature; and the analogy is only so much the more striking when there is question of this act of Divine knowledge, the eternal term of which is a substantial being, consubstantial with the knowing subject. As to the Holy Ghost, according to the common doctrine of theologians, He proceeds through the will. The Holy Spirit , as His name indicates, is Holy in virtue of His origin, His spiration ; He comes therefore from a holy principle; now holiness resides in the will, as wisdom is in the intellect. That is also the reason why He is so often called par excellence , in the writings of the Fathers, Love and Charity . The Father and the Son love one another, from all eternity, with a perfect, ineffable love; the term of this infinitely fruitful mutual love is Their Spirit , Who is co-eternal and consubstantial with Them. Only, the Holy Ghost is not indebted to the manner of His Procession precisely for this perfect resemblance to His principle, in other words for His consubstantiality; for to will or love an object does not formally imply the production of its immanent image in the soul that loves, but rather a tendency, a movement of the will towards the thing loved, to be united to it and enjoy it. So, making every allowance for the feebleness of our intellects in knowing, and the unsuitability of our words for expressing the mysteries of the Divine life, if we can grasp how the word generation , freed from all the imperfections of the material order, may be applied by analogy to the Procession of the Word, so we may see that the term can in no way be fittingly applied to the Procession of the Holy Ghost.

V. THE FILIOQUE

Having treated of the part taken by the Son in the Procession of the Holy Ghost, we come next to consider the introduction of the expression Filioque into the Creed of Constantinople . The author of the addition is unknown, but the first trace of it is found in Spain . The Filioque was successively introduced into the Symbol of the Council of Toledo in 447, then, in pursuance of an order of another synod held in the same place (589), it was inserted in the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed . Admitted likewise into the Symbol Quicumque , it began to appear in France in the eighth century. It was chanted in 767, in Charlemagne ‘s chapel at Gentilly, where it was heard by ambassadors from Constantine Copronymus. The Greeks were astonished and protested, explanations were given by the Latins, and many discussions followed. The Archbishop of Aquileia , Paulinus, defended the addition at the Council of Friuli, in 796. It was afterwards accepted by a council held at Aachen , in 809. However, as it proved a stumbling-block to the Greeks, Pope Leo III disapproved of it; and, though he entirely agreed with the Franks on the question of the doctrine, he advised them to omit the new word. He himself caused two large silver tablets, on which the creed with the disputed expression omitted was engraved, to be erected in St. Peter’s. His advice was unheeded by the Franks ; and, as the conduct and schism of Photius seemed to justify the Westerns in paying no more regard to the feelings of the Greeks, the addition of the words was accepted by the Roman Church under Benedict VIII (cf. Funk, “Kirchengeschichte”, Paderborn, 1902, p. 243).

The Greeks have always blamed the Latins for making the addition. They considered that, quite apart from the question of doctrine involved by the expression, the insertion was made in violation of a decree of the Council of Ephesus , forbidding anyone “to produce, write, or compose a confession of faith other than the one defined by the Fathers of Nicaea “. Such a reason will not bear examination. Supposing the truth of the dogma (established above), it is inadmissible that the Church could or would have deprived herself of the right to mention it in the symbol. If the opinion be adhered to, and it has strong arguments to support it, which considers that the developments of the Creed in what concerns the Holy Ghost were approved by the Council of Constantinople (381), at once it might be laid down that the bishops at Ephesus (431) certainly did not think of condemning or blaming those of Constantinople . But, from the fact that the disputed expression was authorized by the Council of Chalcedon , in 451, we conclude that the prohibition of the Council of Ephesus was never understood, and ought not to be understood, in an absolute sense. It may be considered either as a doctrinal, or as a merely disciplinary pronouncement. In the first case it would exclude any addition or modification opposed to, or at variance with, the deposit of Revelation ; and such seems to be its historic import, for it was proposed and accepted by the Fathers to oppose a formula tainted with Nestorianism. In the second case, considered as a disciplinary measure, it can bind only those who are not the depositaries of the supreme power in the Church . The latter, as it is their duty to teach the revealed truth and to preserve it from error, possess, by Divine authority, the power and right to draw up and propose to the faithful such confessions of faith as circumstances may demand. This right is as unconfinable as it is inalienable.

VI. GIFTS OF THE HOLY GHOST

This title and the theory connected with it, like the theory of the fruits of the Holy Ghost and that of the sins against the Holy Ghost, imply what theologians call appropriation . By this term is meant attributing especially to one Divine Person perfections and exterior works which seem to us more clearly or more immediately to be connected with Him, when we consider His personal characteristics, but which in reality are common to the Three Persons. It is in this sense that we attribute to the Father the perfection of omnipotence, with its most striking manifestations, e.g. the Creation , because He is the principle of the two other Persons; to the Son we attribute wisdom and the works of wisdom, because He proceeds from the Father by the Intellect ; to the Holy Ghost we attribute the operations of grace and the sanctification of souls, and in particular spiritual gifts and fruits , because He proceeds from the Father and the Son as Their mutual love and is called in Holy Writ the goodness and the charity of God .

The gifts of the Holy Ghost are of two kinds: the first are specially intended for the sanctification of the person who receives them; the second, more properly called charismata , are extraordinary favors granted for the help of another, favors, too, which do not sanctify by themselves, and may even be separated from sanctifying grace. Those of the first class are accounted seven in number, as enumerated by Isaias (xi, 2, 3), where the prophet sees and describes them in the Messias . They are the gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety (godliness), and fear of the Lord. The gift of wisdom, by detaching us from the world, makes us relish and love only the things of heaven. The gift of understanding helps us to grasp the truths of religion as far as is necessary. The gift of counsel springs from super-natural prudence, and enables us to see and choose correctly what will help most to the glory of God and our own salvation. By the gift of fortitude we receive courage to overcome the obstacles and difficulties that arise in the practice of our religious duties. The gift of knowledge points out to us the path to follow and the dangers to avoid in order to reach heaven. The gift of piety, by inspiring us with a tender and filial confidence in God , makes us joyfully embrace all that pertains to His service. Lastly, the gift of fear fills us with a sovereign respect for God , and makes us dread, above all things, to offend Him. As to the inner nature of these gifts, theologians consider them to be supernatural and permanent qualities, which make us attentive to the voice of God , which render us susceptible to the workings of actual grace, which make us love the things of God , and, consequently, render us more obedient and docile to the inspirations of the Holy Ghost. But how do they differ from the virtues? Some writers think they are not really distinct from them, that they are the virtues inasmuch as the latter are free gifts of God , and that they are identified essentially with grace, charity, and the virtues. That opinion has the particular merit of avoiding a multiplication of the entities infused into the soul. Other writers look upon the gifts as perfections of a higher order than the virtues; the latter, they say, dispose us to follow the impulse and guidance of reason; the former are functionally intended to render the will obedient and docile to the inspirations of the Holy Ghost. For the former opinion, see Bellevue, “L’oeuvre du Saint-Esprit” ( Paris , 1902), 99 sq.; and for the latter, see St. Thomas, I-II, Q. lxviii, a. 1, and Froget, “De l’habitation du Saint-Esprit dans les Ames justes” ( Paris , 1900), 378 sq.

The gifts of the second class, or charismata, are known to us partly from St. Paul, and partly from the history of the primitive Church , in the bosom of which God plentifully bestowed them. Of these “manifestations of the Spirit “, “all these things [that] one and the same Spirit worketh, dividing to every one according as he will”, the Apostle speaks to us, particularly in I Cor., xii, 6-11; I Cor., xii, 28-31; and Rom., xii, 6-8. In the first of these three passages we find nine charismata mentioned: the gift of speaking with wisdom, the gift of speaking with knowledge, faith, the grace of healing, the gift of miracles, the gift of prophecy, the gift of discerning spirits, the gift of tongues, the gift of interpreting speeches. To this list we must at least add, as being found in the other two passages indicated, the gift of government, the gift of helps, and perhaps what Paul calls distributio and misericordia . However, exegetes are not all agreed as to the number of the charismata, or the nature of each one of them; long ago, St. Chrysostom and St. Augustine had pointed out the obscurity of the question. Adhering to the most probable views on the subject, we may at once classify the charismata and explain the meaning of most of them as follows. They form four natural groups: (I) Two charismata which regard the teaching of Divine things: sermo sapientae, sermo scientiae , the former relating to the exposition of the higher mysteries, the latter to the body of Christian truths. (2) Three charismata that lend support to this teaching: fides, gratia sanitatum, operatio virtutum . The faith here spoken of is faith in the sense used by Matt., xvii, 19: that which works wonders; so it is, as it were, a condition and a part of the two gifts mentioned with it. (3) Four charismata that served to edify, exhort, and encourage the faithful, and to confound the unbelievers: prophetia, discretio spirituum, genera linguarum, interpretatio sermonum . These four seem to fall logically into two groups; for prophecy, which is essentially an inspired pronouncement on different religious subjects, the declaration of the future being only of secondary import, finds its complement and, as it were, its check in the gift of discerning spirits; and what, as a rule, would be the use of glossolalia —the gift of speaking with tongues—if the gift of interpreting them were wanting? (4) Lastly there remain the charismata that seem to have as object the administration of temporal affairs, and works of charity: gubernationes, opitulationes, distributiones . Judging by the context, these gifts, though conferred and useful for the direction and comfort of one’s neighbor, were in no way necessarily found in all ecclesiastical superiors.

The charismata, being extraordinary favors and not requisite for the sanctification of the individual, were not bestowed indiscriminately on all Christians. However, in the Apostolic Age, they were comparatively common, especially in the communities of Jerusalem , Rome , and Corinth . The reason of this is apparent: in the infant Churches the charismata were extremely useful, and even morally necessary, to strengthen the faith of believers, to confound the infidels, to make them reflect, and to counterbalance the false miracles with which they sometimes prevailed. St. Paul was careful (I Cor., xii, xiii, xiv) to restrict authoritatively the use of these charismata within the ends for which they were bestowed, and thus insist upon their subordination to the power of the hierarchy. Cf. Batiffol, “L’Eglise naissante et le catholicisme” ( Paris , 1909), 36. (See Charismata .)

VII. FRUITS OF THE HOLY GHOST

Some writers extend this term to all the supernatural virtues, or rather to the acts of all these virtues, inasmuch as they are the results of the mysterious workings of the Holy Ghost in our souls by means of His grace. But, with St. Thomas, I-II, Q. lxx, a. 2, the word is ordinarily restricted to mean only those supernatural works that are done joyfully and with peace of soul. This is the sense in which most authorities apply the term to the list mentioned by St. Paul (Gal., v, 22, 23): “But the fruit of the Spirit is, charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity.” Moreover, there is no doubt that this list of twelve—three of the twelve are omitted in several Greek and Latin manuscripts—is not to be taken in a strictly limited sense, but, according to the rules of Scriptural language, as capable of being extended to include all acts of a similar character. That is why the Angelic Doctor says: “Every virtuous act which man performs with pleasure is a fruit.” The fruits of the Holy Ghost are not habits, permanent qualities, but acts. They cannot, therefore, be confounded with the virtues and the gifts, from which they are distinguished as the effect is from its cause, or the stream from its source. The charity, patience, mildness, etc., of which the Apostle speaks in this passage, are not then the virtues themselves, but rather their acts or operations; for, however perfect the virtues may be, they cannot be considered as the ultimate effects of grace, being themselves intended, inasmuch as they are active principles, to produce something else, i.e. their acts. Further, in order that these acts may fully justify their metaphorical name of fruits , they must belong to that class which are performed with ease and pleasure; in other words, the difficulty involved in performing them must disappear in presence of the delight and satisfaction resulting from the good accomplished.

VIII. SINS AGAINST THE HOLY GHOST

The sin or blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is mentioned in Matt., xii, 22-32; Mark, iii, 22-30; Luke, xii, 10—cf. xi, 14-23; and Christ everywhere declares that it shall not be pardoned. In what does it consist? If we examine all the passages alluded to, there can be little doubt as to the reply. Let us take, for instance, the account given by St. Matthew, which is more complete than that of the other Synoptics . There had been brought to Christ “one possessed with a devil, blind and dumb: and he healed him, so that he spoke and saw”. While the crowd is wondering, and asking: “Is not this the Son of David?”, the Pharisees , yielding to their wonted jealousy, and shutting their eyes to the light of evidence, say: “This man casteth not out devils but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.” Jesus then proves to them the absurdity, and, consequently, the malice of their explanation; He shows them that it is by “the Spirit of God ” that He casts out devils, and then He concludes: “Therefore I say to you: Every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but the blasphemy of the Spirit shall not be forgiven. And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come.” So, to sin against the Holy Ghost is to confound Him with the spirit of evil, it is to deny, from pure malice, the Divine character of works manifestly Divine. This is the sense in which St. Mark also defines the sin in question; for, after reciting the words of the Master: “But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost shall never have forgiveness”, he adds at once: “Because they said: He hath an unclean spirit.” With this sin of pure downright malice, Jesus contrasts the sin “against the Son of man”, that is the sin committed against Himself as man, the wrong done to His humanity in judging Him by His humble and lowly appearance. This fault, unlike the former, might be excused as the result of man’s ignorance and misunderstanding.

But the Fathers of the Church , commenting on the Gospel texts we are treating of, did not confine themselves to the meaning given above. Whether it be that they wished to group together all objectively analogous cases, or whether they hesitated and wavered when confronted with this point of doctrine, which St. Augustine declares (Serm. ii de verbis Domini, c. v) one of the most difficult in Scripture , they have proposed different interpretations or explanations. St. Thomas, whom we may safely follow, gives a very good summary of opinions in II-II, Q. xiv. He says that blasphemy against the Holy Ghost was and may be explained in three ways. Sometimes, and in its most literal signification, it has been taken to mean the uttering of an insult against the Divine Spirit , applying the appellation either to the Holy Ghost alone or to all Three Divine Persons. This was the sin of the Pharisees , who spoke at first against “the Son of man”, criticizing the works and human ways of Jesus, accusing Him of loving good cheer and wine, of associating with the publicans, and who, later on, with undoubted bad faith, traduced His Divine works, the miracles which He wrought by virtue of His own Divinity. On the other hand, St. Augustine frequently explains blasphemy against the Holy Ghost to be final impenitence, perseverance till death in mortal sin. This impenitence is against the Holy Ghost, in the sense that it frustrates and is absolutely opposed to the remission of sins, and this remission is appropriated to the Holy Ghost, the mutual love of the Father and the Son. In this view, Jesus, in Matt., xii, and Mark, iii, did not really accuse the Pharisees of blaspheming the Holy Ghost, He only warned them against the danger they were in of doing so. Finally, several Fathers, and, after them, many scholastic theologians, apply the expression to all sins directly opposed to that quality which is, by appropriation, the characteristic quality of the Third Divine Person . Charity and goodness are especially attributed to the Holy Ghost, as power is to the Father and wisdom to the Son. Just, then, as they termed sins against the Father those that resulted from frailty, and sins against the Son those that sprang from ignorance, so the sins against the Holy Ghost are those that are committed from downright malice, either by despising or rejecting the inspirations and impulses which, having been stirred in man’s soul by the Holy Ghost, would turn him away or deliver him from evil. It is easy to see how this wide explanation suits all the circumstances of the case where Christ addresses the words to the Pharisees . These sins are commonly reckoned six: despair, presumption, impenitence or a fixed determination not to repent, obstinacy, resisting the known truth, and envy of another’s spiritual welfare.

The sins against the Holy Ghost are said to be unpardonable, but the meaning of this assertion will vary very much according to which of the three explanations given above is accepted. As to final impenitence, it is absolute; and this is easily understood, for even God cannot pardon where there is no repentance, and the moment of death is the fatal instant after which no mortal sin is remitted. It was because St. Augustine considered Christ’s words to imply absolute unpardonableness that he held the sin against the Holy Ghost to be solely final impenitence. In the two other explanations, according to St. Thomas, the sin against the Holy Ghost is irremissible, not absolutely and always, but inasmuch as, considered in itself, it has not the claims and extenuating circumstances, inclining towards a pardon, that might be alleged in the case of sins of weakness or ignorance. He who, from pure and deliberate malice, refuses to recognize the manifest work of God , or rejects the necessary means of salvation, acts exactly like a sick man who not only refuses all medicine and all food, but who does all in his power to increase his illness, and whose malady becomes incurable, due to his own action. It is true that, in either case, God could, by a miracle, overcome the evil; He could, by His omnipotent intervention, either nullify the natural causes of bodily death, or radically change the stubborn will of the sinner; but such intervention is not in accordance with His ordinary providence; and if He allows the secondary causes to act, if He offers the free human will only the help of ordinary but sufficient grace, who shall seek cause of complaint? In a word, the irremissibleness of the sins against the Holy Ghost is exclusively on the part of the sinner, on account of the sinner’s act.

More from Catholic.com

A Holy Trinity in Ancient Egypt

The ancient Mediterranean was full of religious expression, and Kemetic culture’s concept of a divine family influenced early Christians.

Osiris flanked by Horus on the left and Isis on the right

To most people today, “the Trinity” is a distinctly Christian concept, referring to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. But as African American studies scholar Jennifer Williams writes, this wasn’t the first religious trinity . Christianity borrowed the idea from ancient Egyptians, making some significant changes along the way.

JSTOR Daily Membership Ad

Williams notes that early Christians found inspiration for their spiritual system in religions from around the Mediterranean. The region was full of stories involving resurrection, salvation, virgin births, and central figures who were the sons of supreme gods. In ancient Egypt—or Kemet, as it was known to its people at the time—one key concept was the relationship among three deities, Asar, Aset, and Heru. (Most Americans today know them better by the names the Greeks gave them: Osiris, Isis, and Horus, respectively.)

Like many Egyptian gods, these divine beings started out as humans. Asar was a revered king who was murdered by a usurper but became king of the afterlife, or spiritual realm. His wife, Aset, took their son, Heru, into hiding, and Heru eventually returned to reclaim the earthly throne.

Kemetic culture relied on the principle of Ma’at, or order. This included the grouping of deities in families or pairs, such as the Asar-Aset-Heru trinity.

“Enacting change on the tangible and intangible realms usually required more than one deity so that the essence of one deity would not overwhelm the balance of the worlds seen and unseen,” Williams writes.

A part of Ma’at was the complementary male and female principles, both in the universe and in human society. Egyptians passed property and titles down matrilineally. And while men typically occupied the formal positions of political authority, royal women also had a powerful role in decision making.

At the start of the Middle Kingdom, around 2040 BCE, Williams writes, Egypt was largely patriarchal, and celebrations often focused on Asar. But during the New Kingdom, a time of powerful queens that began around 1570 BCE, Aset gained new attention. She became known as the protector of the living and the most powerful healer among the gods. Over time, the worship of Aset spread to Greeks and Romans, particularly among women. Her identity sometimes merged with other goddesses, like Astarte and Hera.

But Aset, and the Egyptian trinity more generally, didn’t map cleanly onto the emerging Christian system.

“The roles of father and son fit Asar and Heru,” Williams writes. “However, the role of the Holy Spirit, an entity dwelling inside a believer’s or God’s body in tangible realm, does not correspond with Aset’s role in the Kemetic Trinity.”

Weekly Newsletter

Get your fix of JSTOR Daily’s best stories in your inbox each Thursday.

Privacy Policy   Contact Us You may unsubscribe at any time by clicking on the provided link on any marketing message.

Aset does parallel the Virgin Mary in some respects. Artists clearly borrowed images of Aset and Heru to create images of the holy Christian mother and child. But the Roman Empire, in which the concept of the Christian Trinity developed between the first and fourth centuries CE, was both patriarchal and patrilineal, and had no concept equivalent to Ma’at.

“A feminine deity would not translate into the new social-political-spiritual system centered on masculine deities which upheld patriarchy,” Williams writes.

That left Mary without Aset’s divine powers—and outside the Christian Trinity.

Support JSTOR Daily! Join our new membership program on Patreon today.

JSTOR logo

JSTOR is a digital library for scholars, researchers, and students. JSTOR Daily readers can access the original research behind our articles for free on JSTOR.

Get Our Newsletter

More stories.

An illustration of a hand holding a set of hand cuffs

  • A True Crime Syllabus

La Befana by Bartolomeo Pinelli, 1821

A Visit from La Befana

Photographs of white snowflakes on a dark blue background.

Winter Holidays

Aerial view of Darwin, Australia

Darwin Down Under

Recent posts.

  • Ape Memories, Hearing Aids, and The Color Purple
  • New Zealand’s Quest to Save Its Rotund, Flightless Parrots
  • Poland’s Colonial Dreams
  • Keeping Time: A New Year’s Collection

Support JSTOR Daily

Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

What are the roles of the Holy Ghost?

Prepare yourself spiritually.

The Holy Ghost, a member of the Godhead, bears witness of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. He is the source of personal testimony and revelation. He can guide us in our decisions and protect us from physical and spiritual danger. He is known as the Comforter, and He can calm our fears and fill us with hope. Through His power, we are sanctified as we repent, receive saving ordinances, and keep our covenants. In order to serve effectively as priesthood holders, it is essential that we learn to listen to and follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost.

Resources to Help You Prepare

These resources are to help you prepare for the “Learn together” section of the meeting.

John 14:16–27 (The Comforter can teach us and bring all things to our remembrance)

John 15:26 ; Doctrine and Covenants 42:17 ; Moses 1:24 (The Holy Ghost bears record of the Father and the Son)

Galatians 5:22–23 (Paul describes the fruit of the Spirit)

2 Nephi 32:5 (The Holy Ghost will show us what we should do)

3 Nephi 27:20 (Receiving the Holy Ghost sanctifies us)

Moroni 8:26 (The Holy Ghost fills us with hope and love)

Moroni 10:5 (The Holy Ghost teaches us the truth)

Gary E. Stevenson, “ How Does the Holy Ghost Help You? ” Ensign or Liahona, May 2017, 117–20

Henry B. Eyring, “ My Peace I Leave with You ,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2017, 15–18

Juan A. Uceda, “ The Lord Jesus Christ Teaches Us to Pray ,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2016, 30–32

Robert D. Hales, “ The Holy Ghost ,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2016, 105–7

“Voice of the Spirit” (video)

“Enemy Territory” (video)

Questions to Ponder before You Teach

What personal experiences could you share with the young men that would teach them about the roles of the Holy Ghost?

Why is it important for the young men to learn to recognize and follow the promptings of the Spirit? How can you help them to be worthy of and seek His companionship?

What can the young men do to prepare to learn? For example, they could read a talk, watch a video, or study a scripture related to this doctrine.

Teaching in the Savior’s Way

The Savior shared simple stories, parables, and real-life examples to teach in a way that made sense to His disciples. What personal experiences can you share with the young men to help them understand the roles of the Holy Ghost and feel a desire to seek and be worthy of such experiences?

Meeting Outline

1. counsel together and share experiences.

Led by a member of the quorum presidency; approximately 5–10 minutes

Lead a discussion about items such as the following:

Our quorum: Who is missing today? What visits do we need to make? Who should we invite to an upcoming activity? Who needs our help and prayers?

Our duties: What assignments do we need to make? What assignments have we fulfilled? How have we invited others to come unto Christ, and how can we invite others now?

Our lives: Remind the quorum of the discussion from the last meeting. What experiences have we had with applying what we learned? What experiences have we had in the past few weeks that strengthened our testimonies of the gospel?

If possible, discuss these items beforehand in a quorum presidency meeting.

2. Learn Together

Led by a leader or teacher or a member of the quorum; approximately 25–35 minutes

After studying the above resources and following the inspiration of the Spirit, you may select one or more of the activities below to help quorum members understand the doctrine.

Write the following questions on the board: Why do we need the Holy Ghost? How can the Holy Ghost help us? Invite the young men to search Elder Gary E. Stevenson’s talk “ How Does the Holy Ghost Help You? ” or watch the video “Voice of the Spirit,” looking for answers to the questions on the board. As appropriate, share experiences you have had with receiving inspiration from the Holy Ghost, and invite the young men to share any experiences they have had. They could also share things they will do to better listen for and follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost.

Find some stories from recent general conference talks that illustrate the various roles of the Holy Ghost. Consider including President Henry B. Eyring’s experience with his son or with the Austrian Saints in “ My Peace I Leave with You ” or Elder Juan A. Uceda’s experience as a missionary in Peru in his talk “ The Lord Jesus Christ Teaches Us to Pray .” Invite each young man to read one of the stories, retell it to the quorum in his own words, and identify the role of the Holy Ghost in that story. Encourage the young men to share their own experiences when the Holy Ghost has helped them.

Invite the young men to search the following scriptures, identify the role of the Holy Ghost in each, and share how His influence can bless them: John 14:26 ; 15:26 ; Galatians 5:22–23 ; 2 Nephi 32:5 ; 3 Nephi 27:20 . The young men could also search sections of Elder Robert D. Hales’s talk “ The Holy Ghost ” to learn about roles of the Holy Ghost. Invite the young men to list times in their lives when they will need the influence of the Holy Ghost. When will it be important for the Holy Ghost to show them what they should do? At what times might the young men need to feel the comforting influence of the Holy Ghost? Consider sharing a personal experience when you have received the help of the Holy Ghost.

Show one of the videos listed in this outline, and ask the young men to listen for what the video teaches them about receiving guidance through the Holy Ghost. Ask each young man to share something he learns. Invite them to think about and write down how they feel about this quote and the importance of living worthy of and following the Spirit. Encourage them to ponder what they can do to more fully seek the companionship of the Holy Ghost.

Invite the young men to look in the hymnbook in the Topics index under “Holy Ghost” to find a hymn that teaches about how the Holy Ghost can help us. Ask them to share lines from the hymns they chose. Consider singing one of the hymns as a quorum.

3. Plan to Act

Ask the young men to discuss any feelings or impressions they had during the meeting. What was meaningful to them? Is there something they can do personally or as a quorum to apply what they have learned?

Give the young men a few minutes to record what they will do in the coming weeks to act on their impressions. Invite them to share their ideas.

Remind the young men that they will have the opportunity to share their experiences at the beginning of the next meeting.

Related Youth Activities

Plan a Mutual activity that will help the young men apply what they learned in this lesson.

5 Things You Should Know about the Holy Spirit

the real holy ghost

Jesus said: “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7). Now, I don’t want to bring cold coals to Newcastle by giving you information with which you are already familiar, so let me just briefly give some background on this verse. You know that the Greek word translated here as “Helper” is parakletos . In its technical form, it has a legal dimension; it refers to one who would be an advocate. In its wider context, it speaks of comfort, of protection, of counsel, and of guidance. Jesus also spoke of the Spirit as the Helper in John 14 and introduced Him as “the Spirit of truth” (John 14:17; 16:13).

I think it best for me to simply say a number of things concerning the identity of this Helper with little embellishment.

1. The Holy Spirit is a unique person.

First, we need to notice that the Holy Spirit is a unique person and not simply a power or an influence. He is spoken of as “He,” not as “it.” This is a matter of import because if you listen carefully to people speaking, even within your own congregations you may hear the Holy Spirit referenced in terms of the neuter. You may even catch yourself doing it. If you do, I hope you will bite your tongue immediately. We have to understand that the Spirit of God, the third person of the Trinity, is personal. As a person, He may be grieved (Eph. 4:30), He may be quenched in terms of the exercise of His will (1 Thess. 5:19), and He may be resisted (Acts 7:51).

2. The Holy Spirit is one both with the Father and with the Son.

Second, the Holy Spirit is one both with the Father and with the Son. In theological terms, we say that He is both co-equal and co-eternal. When we read the whole Upper Room Discourse, we discover that it was both the Father and the Son who would send the Spirit (John 14:16; 16:7), and the Spirit came and acted, as it were, for both of Them. So the activity of the Spirit is never given to us in Scripture in isolation from the person and work of Christ or in isolation from the eternal will of the Father. Any endeavor to think of the Spirit in terms that are entirely mystical and divorced from Scripture will take us down all kinds of side streets and eventually to dead ends.

3. The Holy Spirit was the agent of creation.

Third, the Holy Spirit was the agent of creation. In the account of creation at the very beginning of the Bible, we are told: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (Gen. 1:1–2). The Hebrew word translated as “Spirit” here is ruach , which also can mean “breath.” The ruach elohim , “the Breath of the Almighty,” is the agent in creation. It is not the immateriality of the Spirit that is in view here, but rather His power and energy; the picture is of God’s energy breathing out creation, as it were, speaking the worlds into existence, putting the stars into space. Thus, when we read Isaiah 40:26 and the question is asked, “Who created these?” we have the answer in Genesis 1:2—the Spirit is the irresistible power by which God accomplishes His purpose.

Tangentially, one of the questions of Old Testament scholarship concerns the extent to which we are able to discover the distinct personhood of God the Holy Spirit from the Old Testament. In other words, can we understand the nature of His hypostasis in the Old Testament alone? When we read Genesis 1, it is not difficult to see that we have in the second verse, certainly in light of all that has subsequently been revealed, a clear and distinct reference to the third person of the Trinity.

In his book The Holy Spirit , Sinclair B. Ferguson notes that if we recognize the divine Spirit in Genesis 1:2, that provides what some refer to as the missing link in Genesis 1:26, where God said, “Let us make man in our image.” Ferguson observes that this is a clear antecedent reference to the Spirit of God who is at work in Genesis 1:1–2.

This issue reminds us, incidentally, that it is helpful to read our Bibles backward. As we read from the back to the front, we discover the truth of the classic interpretive principle attributed to Augustine: “The New [Testament] is in the Old [Testament] concealed, and the Old is in the New revealed.” In other words, we discover the implications of those teachings and events that come earlier in the Scriptures.

4. The Holy Spirit is the author of the new birth.

Fourth, the Holy Spirit is the agent not only of creation, but also of God’s new creation in Christ. He is the author of the new birth. We see this in John 3, in the classic encounter between Jesus and Nicodemus, where Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). This truth, of course, is worked out in the rest of the Scriptures.

5. The Spirit is the author of the Scriptures.

Fifth, the Spirit is the author of the Scriptures. Second Timothy 3:16 tells us, “All Scripture is breathed out by God.” The Greek word behind this phrase is theopneustos , which means “God-breathed.” In creation, we have the Spirit breathing His energy, releasing the power of God in the act of creation. We have the same thing in the act of redemption, and we see it again in the divine act of giving to us the record in the Scriptures themselves. The doctrine of inspiration is entirely related to the work of God the Holy Spirit. Peter affirms this view, writing, “No prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). The men who wrote the biblical books were not inventing things. Neither were they automatons. They were real people in real historical times with real DNA writing according to their historical settings and their personalities. But the authorship of Scripture was dual. It was, for instance, both Jeremiah and God, because Jeremiah was picked up and carried along. Indeed, in Jeremiah’s case, God said, “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth” (Jer. 1:9). He did so without violating Jeremiah’s distinct personality, and he then wrote the very Word of God. This is why we study the Bible—because this is a book that exists as a result of the out-breathing of the Holy Spirit.

Concerning the identity of the Helper, we could go on ad infinitum , but we must be selective rather than exhaustive. His identity is as “another Helper.” The word translated as “another” here is allos , not heteros . Jesus promised a Helper of the same kind rather than of a different kind. The Spirit is the parakletos , the one who comes alongside. Jesus said He would “be with you forever . . . he dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-17). In other words, His ministry is both permanent and personal.

This article is part of the 5 Things You Should Know collection.

Free eBook by R.C. Sproul

Get this resource on the purpose, practice, and power of prayer.

REQUEST MY COPY

Search a pre-defined list

The Whole Bible The Old Testament The New Testament ────────────── Pentateuch Historical Books Poetical Books Wisdom Literature Prophets Major Prophets Minor Prophets ────────────── The Gospels Luke-Acts Pauline Epistles General Epistles Johannine Writings ────────────── Genesis Exodus Leviticus Numbers Deuteronomy Joshua Judges Ruth 1 Samuel 2 Samuel 1 Kings 2 Kings 1 Chronicles 2 Chronicles Ezra Nehemiah Esther Job Psalms Proverbs Ecclesiastes Song of Songs Isaiah Jeremiah Lamentations Ezekiel Daniel Hosea Joel Amos Obadiah Jonah Micah Nahum Habakkuk Zephaniah Haggai Zechariah Malachi Matthew Mark Luke John Acts Romans 1 Corinthians 2 Corinthians Galatians Ephesians Philippians Colossians 1 Thessalonians 2 Thessalonians 1 Timothy 2 Timothy Titus Philemon Hebrews James 1 Peter 2 Peter 1 John 2 John 3 John Jude Revelation

OR Select a range of biblical books

Select a Beginning Point Genesis Exodus Leviticus Numbers Deuteronomy Joshua Judges Ruth 1 Samuel 2 Samuel 1 Kings 2 Kings 1 Chronicles 2 Chronicles Ezra Nehemiah Esther Job Psalms Proverbs Ecclesiastes Song of Songs Isaiah Jeremiah Lamentations Ezekiel Daniel Hosea Joel Amos Obadiah Jonah Micah Nahum Habakkuk Zephaniah Haggai Zechariah Malachi Matthew Mark Luke John Acts Romans 1 Corinthians 2 Corinthians Galatians Ephesians Philippians Colossians 1 Thessalonians 2 Thessalonians 1 Timothy 2 Timothy Titus Philemon Hebrews James 1 Peter 2 Peter 1 John 2 John 3 John Jude Revelation

Select an Ending Point Genesis Exodus Leviticus Numbers Deuteronomy Joshua Judges Ruth 1 Samuel 2 Samuel 1 Kings 2 Kings 1 Chronicles 2 Chronicles Ezra Nehemiah Esther Job Psalms Proverbs Ecclesiastes Song of Songs Isaiah Jeremiah Lamentations Ezekiel Daniel Hosea Joel Amos Obadiah Jonah Micah Nahum Habakkuk Zephaniah Haggai Zechariah Malachi Matthew Mark Luke John Acts Romans 1 Corinthians 2 Corinthians Galatians Ephesians Philippians Colossians 1 Thessalonians 2 Thessalonians 1 Timothy 2 Timothy Titus Philemon Hebrews James 1 Peter 2 Peter 1 John 2 John 3 John Jude Revelation

OR Custom Selection:

Use semicolons to separate groups: 'Gen;Jdg;Psa-Mal' or 'Rom 3-12;Mat 1:15;Mat 5:12-22'

decorative arrow

Click to Change

Return to Top

The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: Is There a Counterfeit Holy Spirit?

toggle collapse

Is There a Counterfeit Holy Spirit?

The Identity of the Holy Spirit – Question 21

The Bible says there is such a person as the devil. He is a counterfeiter and a liar. Thus, whatever things that God does we find the devil attempting to counterfeit. This is certainly the case when it comes to the work of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is God, the Third Person of the Holy Trinity. He is the member of the Godhead who does the God’s work on earth today. Consequently, we should expect His work to be counterfeited. Scripture tells us that it is. We can make the following observations.

1. There Is a Counterfeit Spirit

The Bible speaks of not only the genuine Spirit of God but also of a counterfeit spirit. The Apostle Paul warned the church at Corinth about such false spirits. He wrote them with the following warnings.

But now I fear that you will be tricked, just as Eve was tricked by that lying snake. I am afraid that you might stop thinking about Christ in an honest and sincere way. We told you about Jesus, and you received the Holy Spirit and accepted our message. But you let some people tell you about another Jesus. Now you are ready to receive another spirit and accept a different message... Anyway, they are no more than false apostles and dishonest workers. They only pretend to be apostles of Christ. And it is no wonder. Even Satan tries to make himself look like an angel of light. ( 2 Corinthians 11:3 , 4 , 13 , 14 CEV).

From this passage we find that there are counterfeits to the person of Jesus, Christ, the gospel message of Christ, as well as the Holy Spirit. They are all counterfeited by the devil. Therefore, we should be aware that not everyone who uses the words “Christ” “gospel” or “Holy Spirit” are actually presenting the truth of God. Indeed, oftentimes they are counterfeiting God’s truth.

Furthermore, the devil appears as an “angel of light.” This means that his counterfeiting of God’s work is not always obvious. Thus, we need to be discerning when we hear the terms Christ, gospel, and Holy Spirit.

2. We Must Test the Spirits

This brings us to our next point. We are warned about a counterfeit Holy Spirit. A thing that is counterfeit always is made to look as close as possible to the genuine article. This lets us know that everything that claims to proceed from the Holy Spirit is not necessarily from the Holy Spirit. We must test the spirits. John wrote.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world ( 1 John 4:1 NASB ).

Believers must test all claims which supposedly come from the Holy Spirit since there are many false prophets in our world.

The Final Antichrist Will Produce Lying Wonders

The Apostle Paul warned about a future antichrist that would do “lying wonders.” He explained what will happen in this manner.

This evil man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. He will use every kind of wicked deception to fool those who are on their way to destruction because they refuse to believe the truth that would save them ( 2 Thessalonians 2:9 , 10 NLT ).

Notice that this individual will produce counterfeit “power” as well as counterfeit “signs.” Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to “test the spirits.”

Paul wrote elsewhere about this need to test everything. He said.

But test all things. Hold on to what is good ( 1 Thessalonians 5:21 HCSB).

Believers are to test all things. How do we do this? We do it by comparing everything to the written Word of God. If someone claims to be speaking for God, yet his teaching contradicts God’s Word, then that teaching must be rejected. It does not matter if “signs and wonders” are given.

In sum, we must always be aware of the counterfeiting that the devil is constantly doing. The only way we can know what is genuine, and what is not, is by knowing God’s Word. It will always be our faithful guide.

Summary – Question 21 Is There a Counterfeit Holy Spirit?

From the Bible we find that there is such a person as the devil. He is a liar and a deceiver. We also find that he counterfeits the truth of God.

Scripture warns believers that the Person and work of the Holy Spirit can be counterfeited. In fact, this was already happening at the beginning of the Christian era. Indeed, the Apostle Paul warned that false spirits were already are in the world deceiving people. The Apostle John gave the same warning. He said that we should not believe every spirit because many false prophets were already out in the world.

We are also told that a final antichrist will come on the scene will deceptive miracles. He will lead many people away from the truth of God.

Consequently we should not necessarily believe someone when they ascribe some work, or teaching, to the Holy Spirit. Even if signs and wonders are given we still should not believe them unless their teaching conforms to God’s written Word. It is His Word which must test all things.

Search Results in Other Versions

Search results by book, blb searches, search the bible.

Advanced Options

There are options set in 'Advanced Options'

Theological FAQs

Other Searches

Multi-Verse Retrieval

* 'Number Delimiters' only apply to 'Paragraph Order'

Let's Connect

Daily devotionals.

Blue Letter Bible offers several daily devotional readings in order to help you refocus on Christ and the Gospel of His peace and righteousness.

  • BLB Daily Promises
  • Day by Day by Grace
  • Morning and Evening
  • Faith's Checkbook
  • Daily Bible Reading

Daily Bible Reading Plans

Recognizing the value of consistent reflection upon the Word of God in order to refocus one's mind and heart upon Christ and His Gospel of peace, we provide several reading plans designed to cover the entire Bible in a year.

One-Year Plans

  • Chronological
  • Old Testament and New Testament Together

Two-Year Plan

  • Canonical Five Day Plan

Recently Popular Pages

  • Matthew Henry :: Commentary on 1 Corinthians 11
  • H5080 - nāḏaḥ - Strong's Hebrew Lexicon (nkjv)
  • The Bible's First Promise by C. H. Spurgeon
  • David Guzik :: Génesis 1 – El Reporte de la Creación de Dios
  • David Guzik :: Study Guide for Genesis 1
  • David Guzik :: Salmo 119
  • H430 - 'ĕlōhîm - Strong's Hebrew Lexicon (kjv)
  • H3068 - Yᵊhōvâ - Strong's Hebrew Lexicon (kjv)
  • The 66 Books of the Bible - Study Resources
  • Harmony of the Gospels - Study Resources - Study Resources

Recently Popular Media

  • Jehovah's Witnesses, Jesus and the Holy Trinity (Walter Martin)
  • Genesis 1:1-8 (1979-82 Audio) (Chuck Smith)
  • Intro. - Universal Beginnings (Chuck Missler)
  • Psalms 1-15 (1979-82 Audio) (Chuck Smith)
  • Ephesians 1 (1982-85 Audio) (Chuck Smith)
  • The Person of the Holy Spirit (Chuck Smith)
  • Revelation 1 (1982-85 Audio) (Chuck Smith)
  • Genesis 4-5 (1979-82 Audio) (Chuck Smith)
  • Creation or Re-Creation (Chuck Missler)
  • Revelation 16 [1990s] (Chuck Missler)

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

Verse Tools Arrow

Blue Letter Bible

Login to your account.

Email / username or password was incorrect!

Check your email for password retrieval

 Keep me logged in!

Did you forget your password?

Register a new BLB account

Complete the form below to register  [?]

Error: That Email is already registered

Error: Please provide a valid Email

Error: Passwords should have at least 6 characters

Error: Passwords do not match

Error: Please provide a valid first name

Error: That username is already taken

Error: Usernames should only contain letters, numbers, dots, dashes, or underscores

← Login to Your Account

Passwords should have at least 6 characters. Usernames should only contain letters, numbers, dots, dashes, or underscores.

Thank you for registering. A verification email has been sent to the address you provided.

Did You Know BLB Is User Supported?

Your partnership makes all we do possible. Would you prayerfully consider a gift of support today?

Cookie Notice: Our website uses cookies to store user preferences. By proceeding, you consent to our cookie usage. Please see Blue Letter Bible's Privacy Policy for cookie usage details.

Old Testament

New testament.

By Billy Graham   •   February 20, 2006   •   Topics: Holy Spirit

What is the difference between the Holy Ghost and the Holy Spirit? I've heard both terms all my life, but I've never asked my pastor or anyone else about it because I didn't want to appear stupid.

Don’t be afraid to ask your pastor or someone else who is spiritually mature if you don’t understand something. God doesn’t want you to be ignorant of His truth, and they will want to help you. God has given people like this to us “to strengthen and encourage you in your faith” (1 Thessalonians 3:2).

The terms “Holy Spirit” and “Holy Ghost” mean exactly the same thing; both refer to the third Person of the Trinity (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit). The phrase “Holy Ghost” is simply an older term that dates back several hundred years, and is found in some old versions of the English Bible (such as the King James Version). Because the word “ghost” has a different meaning today than it did several hundred years ago, modern translations of the Bible always use “Holy Spirit.”

Remember that the Holy Spirit is God Himself, and He is at work both in the world and in our hearts. When we come to Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to live within us; in fact, we can’t even come to Him until He convicts us of our sins and convinces us of our need to commit our lives to Christ. Jesus said, “When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8).

But God has given His Spirit to us for another reason: to teach us and open our eyes to God’s truth as it is found in the Bible. Is this happening in your life?

More Stories

Will Graham Devotion: What Does It Mean to Be Filled With the Spirit?

Who Is the Holy Spirit?

Is the Holy Spirit Real?

Watch Live as Anne Graham Lotz Discusses the Power of the Holy Spirit

The Irreplaceable Holy Spirit

Read Today's Devotion

The secret of real living.

Today's Daily Devotion

What Is The Holy Ghost?

What Is The Holy Ghost? The “Holy Spirit”, the “Spirit of God ” and the “Holy Ghost” are all one and the same . Regardless which expression is used, they have the same meaning.

To begin with, the Greek word for Spirit is the same as it is for Ghost, especially if it is described as Holy.

DEFINITION: Spirit and Ghost: (G4151)

Greek; πνεῦμα  Transliteration: (pneuma) <G4151> (Ref. Strong’s concordance) from <G4154> (pneo); a current of air, i.e. breath (blast) or a breeze; by analogy or figurative a spirit, i.e. (human) the rational soul, (by implication) vital principle, mental disposition, etc., or (superhuman) an angel, demon, or (divine) God, Christ’s spirit, the Holy Spirit :- ghost, life, spirit (-ual, -ually), mind. Compare <G5590> (psuche).

—Strong’s Greek & Hebrew Dictionary

This Ghost (or Spirit) is Holy (of God). The Bible often reflects this type of phenomenon as a movement of the “Holy Ghost”, “Spirit of God” or “God” acting upon or within a believer . (See also.  Verses Where “He” & “Him” Should Be Referred To As “It” )

(Acts 2:17) “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:”

(2 Peter 1:20-21)  “… no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 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”

(Acts 1:16) “Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus .”

(1 Corinthians 3:16) “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”

(1 Thessalonians 4:8) “He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.”

(Psalm 51:10-11) “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.  11Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.”

(1 Corinthians 12:3-6) “Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. 4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.”

(Acts 5:3-4) “But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?  4Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.”

We know that God is a Spirit (John 4:24) and the Holy Ghost is a Spirit (John 7:39). Paul, in reference to God, told us that there was only One Spirit (Ephesians 4:4) not three. This understanding can be seen in various translations.(1 Corinthians 12:3-6; Acts 5:3-4); and

(John 7:39 (CEV)) “Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit, who would be given to everyone that had faith in him. The Spirit had not yet been given to anyone, since Jesus had not yet been given his full glory.” (John 7:39)

A Source Of Spiritual Power

All spirits possess power or abilities or varying types of power or abilities. The very reason we are alive today is directly related to a spirit; the spirit God gave man (you and I) for our existence (James 2:26).

The word Holy Ghost has two distinct components:

1. It reflects the existence of a form (a Spirit or Ghost) of Power; and

2. This power (spirit) comes from a source that is Holy (God); a source of which man can receive

(Luke 1:35) “And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost  (not Jesus)  shall come upon thee, and the  power of the Highest  shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

(Luke 24:49) “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 .”

(Acts 1:8) “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.”

(Romans 15:13) “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope,  through the power of the Holy Ghost .”

These scriptures in essence reflect the Power of God which man may acquire upon meeting certain conditions. This is of course with the understanding that it is only a measure (or portion) of God’s power that we receive. When we are filled with the Holy Ghost (or Spirit of God ) it is the same as saying we have received (or possess) A SOURCE OF SPIRITUAL POWER FROM GOD (2 Timothy 1:7). The manifestation of that power is the gift we receive from God (1 Corinthians 12:6-11).

Contrary to those who claim that the phrase being “ filled ” with the Holy Ghost means being full of God’s spirit is essentially just a play on words. It is not to be taken literally. We do not literally receive all of God.

There is no biblical distinction, or quantitative measures, which determine how much Holy Ghost one person receives in comparison to the next person, but there is a distinction in the varying types of manifestations that can take place. It is the Holy Ghost (or the power of God) which enables individuals to speak in other tongues, prophesy, heal the sick, etc.

In order for any individual (human) to have any of these listed abilities some external (spiritual) source of power must be provided to man. The Holy Ghost is that source of power given to man from God which enables man to manifest any or all of these unique spiritual abilities (or gifts).

Man only receives a measure (or portion) of “the Spirit” unlike Jesus who was given (not by measure) all things into his hand.

(John 3:33-35) “He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. 34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. 35 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.”

See Also: ( Frequently Asked Questions )

2. receiving the gift of the holy ghost, 3. is jesus the holy ghost, 4. the holy ghost and jesus ability to do miracles, 5. the holy ghost was not unique to pentecost, 6. do you feel the holy ghost all the time, 7. did the holy spirit appear as a bird literally (john 1:32), 8. why did john refer to the comforter as he or him instead of it, 9. why is the holy ghost shown as one of the three witnesses in heaven (1john 5:7), 10. why does matthew 1:18 say the holy ghost caused jesus birth instead of the father, 11. why did christ say baptize in the name of the father, son, and the holy ghost, if there are not three personages (matthew 28:19), 12. why does paul mention the holy ghost along with the father and the son if it is not a person (ii corinthians 13:14).

Top Of Page

Taylor Marshall

Stay salty my friends.

the real holy ghost

Should We Say Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit? Is there a difference?

By dr taylor marshall.

the real holy ghost

Comments Policy: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. If your comment contains a hyperlink to another site, your comment automatically goes into "Comments Purgatory" where it waits for release by way of moderation.

web analytics

What Does the Bible Say about Ghosts?

What Does the Bible Say about Ghosts?

When I was young, ghosts were a popular topic on television shows and movies. As an imaginative kid, I’d sometimes wake up in the middle of the night, hear the howl of wind or a faint scratching at my bedroom door, and cling to my sister.

“It’s a ghost!” I’d whisper, terrified.

Friends would spin wild tales about haunted houses on the outskirts of town, and everyone knew you weren’t supposed to tiptoe through graveyards after midnight.

Over the years, the idea of ghosts was added to my growing list of childhood fantasies and cultural untruths. But reading through the Bible, I’m often surprised to discover a mention of ghosts, not only by the disciples of Christ but elsewhere.

What does the Bible say about ghosts? Are they real?

In truth, it depends on your definition. While the Bible is clear that spirits of deceased humans do not remain on earth as “ghosts” and haunt the living, the Bible is also clear that there are indeed spirit beings that inhabit the earth — angels or demons doing the work of God or of evil.

Are There Any Ghosts in the Bible?

Today, most modern dictionaries define a ghost as a disembodied spirit, perhaps an apparition of a dead person or a demon. The word “ghost” is used in a few ways in Scripture. In the King James Version, the Bible uses “ghost” almost interchangeably with “spirit,” for example: the Holy Ghost, such as in Matthew 28:19 , when Jesus tells the disciples, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” ( KJV ).

But in other, more modern translations, “ghost” is used more sparsely, and typically for things referencing specters or apparitions.

For example, in the Gospel of Mark we’re told the disciples were overcome with fear after they saw Jesus walking on water, for “they thought he was a ghost” ( Mark 6:49 , NIV ). And in Luke, after Jesus’s crucifixion, the disciples saw him and again thought him to be a ghost. But Jesus reassured them he was not, showing them his hands and feet and eating some broiled fish as proof of his full resurrection.  

The word translated as “ghost” in Matthew 14:26 is the Greek word phantasma , meaning illusion, phantom, specter, or most commonly, ghost. In Luke 24:37 , the Greek word is pneuma , or wind, breath, or immaterial substance, much like a ghost.

There are also a few other places where a ghost or ghostly figure was mentioned in the Bible. For instance, in 1 Samuel 28 , Saul consulted a medium, who brought forth the spirit of what Saul believed was the recently deceased prophet Samuel, to explain why God had left him.

In Job 4 , Job’s friend Eliphaz the Temanite described a frightening encounter he had in the middle of the night, when, “A spirit glided past my face, and the hair on my body stood on end. It stopped, but I could not tell what it was” ( Job 4:15-16 ).

And in Isaiah 29:4 , the prophet Isaiah told the people of the city of Ariel they will be “brought low,” and their voice “will come ghostlike from the earth.”

What Does the Bible Say about Life after Death?

These are only brief mentions, for it is clear that ghosts are not what many have imagined them to be, even during Bible times. For while some assume the apparition of a spirit is, perhaps, the “ghost” of a late relative come to communicate, the Bible sets us straight: this does not happen.

When people die, they die. They cannot communicate from beyond the grave.

As it says in Job 7:9-10 , “As a cloud vanishes and is gone, so one who goes down to the grave does not return. He will never come to his house again; his place will know him no more.”

And as Psalm 146:4 says, “When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.”

Hebrews 9:27 notes that “people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.”

That judgment results in one of two things, the Bible tells us: heaven or hell.

As it says in John 3:16 , “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

For those who believe, they are bound for heaven ( Luke 23:39-43 , 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 , Philippians 1:23 ), while those who do not are sent to hell ( Matthew 25:46 , Luke 16-22 -24).

Often, people confuse demons or “familiar spirits” as if they are the ghosts of people who have died. God issues strong words urging people to avoid these spirits at all costs.

In Leviticus 19:31 , we’re urged “not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists,” which are seen as detestable to the Lord. In fact, we’re told, “A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads” ( Leviticus 20:27 ). This is reiterated in Deuteronomy 18:9-15 .

For example, what Saul did, above, in asking a medium to bring forth the spirit of Samuel, is an example of how far he strayed from the Lord as the first king of Israel — and why he was replaced by King David.

Familiar spirits are not the departed family member but some other spirit impersonating them — or a demon.

Are Ghosts Demons?

Some of what we might interpret as ghosts are actually demons. The apostle Paul, in 2 Corinthians 11:14-15 , describes how Satan sometimes masquerades as an angel of light.

We know there are spiritual beings at work in the world. The Bible often depicts how angels visited people to bring them messages from God, such as the three angels who visited Abraham to tell him of his wife’s pregnancy ( Genesis 18 ), or the angel who told the virgin Mary she would give birth to the Christ child ( Luke 1 ).

But there are evil spirits, too, at work in the world.

In 1 Peter 5:8 we’re warned the devil is always on the prowl around “like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”   

For this reason, Peter urges us to be alert and sober, and Paul urges us to put on the armor of God for the spiritual battle ahead of us.

As Paul writes, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” ( Ephesians 6:12 ).

Mark 5:1-18 tells about a man who might have appeared to many as a ghost. He lived among the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones, until Jesus encountered him and understood he was possessed by evil spirits. Jesus drove out the spirits, named Legion, from this man, and the man was healed.

Many who saw this man might have thought he was communicating from beyond the grave, while in reality he was possessed by demons filled with trickery and evil intent.

Should Christians Try to Communicate with Loved Ones Who Have Passed?

When someone we love passes away, our grief can be terrible. We might feel tempted to communicate with them in some way, thinking that consulting a medium or otherwise talking to their spirit will help comfort us or set things right.

But the Bible makes it clear that Christians shouldn’t communicate with those who have passed. First, it’s a practice detestable to God per Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Second, their soul has already departed, whether for eternal punishment or eternal life.

As we’re told in Isaiah 8:19-22 , “When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.”

Should Christians Be Worried about Ghosts?

While evil-spirit “ghosts,” or demons, are fearful and upsetting, Christians don’t need to worry about them. As 1 Peter 5:8 and Ephesians 6:11-12 advise, we should be aware of them and armor up against them with the sources God gives: truth, prayer, faith, etc. And we can trust that God will protect us from evil spirits.

As we’re told in 1 John 4:4 , “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

And, as we’re told in 2 Thessalonians 3:3 , “The Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.”

If you hear a bump in the night, first know that it is probably just a bump in the night. But rest assured that if we’re worried about the souls of departed ones “haunting us,” this is one thing we most decidedly do not need to worry about.

Photo credit: © Getty Images/leolintang

Jessica Brodie author photo headshot

  • Share full article

Advertisement

Supported by

Forget Halloween, Bring Ghost Stories Back to Christmas

If your idea of festive joy is being haunted by past memories or driven insane by mysterious specters, have we got the tradition for you.

An actor in costume as Jacob Marley emerges from the shadows, lit by a sharp, neon green light. He is in tattered Victorian-era clothing, and carries weights and chains. He has a white beard, and his hair is sticking straight up.

By Isabella Kwai

Reporting from London

At the most wonderful time of the year, there is one tradition that John Maguire remembers fondly: his Liverpudlian grandmother trying to scare the daylights out of him.

Without much money for Christmas celebrations, he and his family leaned instead on a centuries-old form of festive entertainment on the cold and dark evenings.

“We’d turn all the lights off, and put the candles on, and she’d tell us a story,” Mr. Maguire said. Not nice stories — ghost tales and other myths. “It used to keep me awake at night.”

Now a grown-up, 46-year-old creative director at Arts Groupie, a group that promotes theater and other arts, he wants more people to have that painful pleasure. This year he revived the tradition , popularized during Victorian times, of sharing ghost stories at Christmas. He and other authors read chilling Victorian tales aloud to a quiet, dim library, lit by (electronic) candles.

“Dickens didn’t have the luxury of television,” he said. He still holds a belief that, at a time when green screens can manifest every potential horror, “nothing is more chilling than your own imagination.”

Christmas can be a time of cheery joy, family fun and romantic high jinks, as many a Hallmark Christmas film suggests . But if that doesn’t do it for you — Bah! Humbug! — there is another way. Perhaps your idea of a getting into the holiday spirit is the haunting of past memories, a glimpse of a specter or being driven mad by former wrongdoings.

Families in Victorian England, where written ghost stories flourished in periodicals at Christmas, would have agreed. You know the most famous of them: the 1843 Dickens classic “ A Christmas Carol ,” in which ghosts help a miserly man change his ways. Its popularity is clear in the countless retellings onscreen and in theaters (including by The Muppets ).

But his other stories, many published specifically to be read at Christmas, may now feel more appropriate for Halloween. There is “The Signal-Man” (a railway worker is troubled by an apparition); “The Haunted House” (a group of friends renting a rundown manor realize they are not alone); and “The Trial for Murder” (the ghost of a man seeking justice haunts jurors at his own murder trial).

Plenty of others have contributed to the genre, including writers like Elizabeth Gaskell , Henry James and Montague Rhodes James. Editors populated their periodicals with stories of gothic horror, dreams and eerie events.

Though the origins are misty, experts say the tradition of telling ghost stories in the winter predates the Victorians. But mentions of the supernatural at Christmas became popular in the 19th century, as literacy rates improved and the traditions of the season as we know it were emerging — Christmas trees and cards were both introduced to Britain at the time. What else to do, on the long and dark nights as winter solstice closed in?

”The family would come together, they would play games, they would end the evening with a storytelling around the fire,” said Jen Cadwallader, a professor of English at Randolph-Macon College in Virginia.

The success of “A Christmas Carol” helped shift Yuletide ghost stories from the family parlor into the mainstream, and its publication prompted a flurry of Christmas novellas and short stories for a thirsty audience.

“It just reminded people that, hey, ghosts really sell at Christmas time,” said Tara Moore, a professor at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania.

(Though Americans share the fondness for “A Christmas Carol,” historians say Christmas ghost stories did not quite cross over with the same fervor, perhaps because such spookiness became more associated with Halloween there.)

Since 2005, the BBC has produced adaptations of ghost stories at Christmas; this year’s Christmas Eve entry stars Kit Harington of “Game of Thrones” in an adaptation of a tale by Arthur Conan Doyle. Theater companies have adapted ghost stories for stages like Shakespeare’s Globe .

But do people still want Christmas to be scary?

George Hoyle, who runs the South East London Folklore Society, thinks they do. Mr. Hoyle discussed the history of the tradition before reading a famous tale to audiences at a local cafe this month.

“It is a scary place, but it’s safe at the same time, because we are all together,” he said of contrasting the coziness of a warm cafe with the spooky tales. Mulled wine and minced pies were served.

Several of Mr. Maguire’s ghost story nights sold out, and the company also hosted a competition for locals to submit their own ghost tales to be performed.

“It’s mankind’s oldest form of entertainment,” he said. “It’s cold, it’s dark, and people want to have that kind of fear factor.”

Ghost stories tend to remind people to reflect on their morals, values and how precious time is spent, something that still resonates in today’s working world, said Professor Cadwallader. “We are as busy as the Victorians were — and we still find it comforting to step out of time for a little bit.”

So, gather some friends. Draw the blinds. Read some tried and tested chillers, like Elizabeth Gaskell’s “The Old Nurse’s Story,” or Montague Rhodes James’s “The Mezzotint.” Listen — what was that sound? A whisper? A guilty conscience? Or the sound of Christmas on its way?

Isabella Kwai is a breaking news reporter in the London bureau. She joined The Times in 2017 as part of the Australia bureau. More about Isabella Kwai

Is ‘The Shining’ Hotel Really Haunted?

The real hotel that inspired Stephen King sounds scarier than the Overlook.

The Big Picture

  • Stephen King was inspired to write The Shining after he had strange encounters at The Stanley Hotel.
  • Rumors of the hotel being haunted existed before The Shining 's release, but reports of paranormal activity escalated to new heights after the release of the movie.
  • The ghost of chambermaid Elizabeth Wilson and other spirits are said to haunt the hotel, with paranormal activities often reported by guests and staff.

Stephen King has a knack for creating the perfect, eerie setting for his novels, so much so that the setting often feels like a character on its own. One of the most famous examples is The Shining and its setting of the Overlook Hotel . During a stay in The Stanley Hotel in Boulder, Colorado, King had a series of strange encounters that inspired him to write The Shining and set it in a haunted hotel reminiscent of The Stanley. In fact, when King set out to make his own miniseries of The Shining , The Stanley Hotel was used a filming location , bringing the story back to its roots.

Since the release of the novel and the subsequent film, rumors have continuously been spread claiming that the Stanley Hotel is haunted, with people still showing up to this day to find out firsthand. A lot of horror films tend to garner speculation when they film in or are inspired by real-life locations, but The Shining took this to new heights. The question is, is any of it true?

The Shining

A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where a sinister presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from both past and future. 

What Was Stephen King's Inspiration for the Overlook Hotel?

To fully understand where the mystery begins we have to go back to the beginning, 1974 specifically, when King was just beginning what would eventually become The Shining and was struggling to write it. At the time, the novel had the working title of "Darkshine" and was set in an amusement park , however, he wasn’t satisfied with the setting or the story itself. It was meant to follow a psychic boy in an amusement park, but he abandoned the idea — that is until he and his wife Tabitha checked into the Stanley Hotel while in Boulder. They only stayed one night, but that one night would change everything.

At the time of their stay, the hotel was shutting down for the winter season , meaning most of its guests were checking out. King roamed the quiet halls that night and went down to the hotel bar where he met the bartender named Grady. And when he finally went back to his room (room 217, which is naturally the hotel's most requested room to this day), his mind was abuzz with ideas and inspiration. From the remoteness of the hotel’s location to the large, almost disorientingly so, size, and the emptiness of its many rooms, King says that by the time he went to bed that night, the entire story was firmly planted in his mind. That night, King says he dreamed of his three-year-old son running around the halls of the hotel, eyes wide and screaming as he was chased by a fire hose.

“I woke up with a tremendous jerk, sweating all over, within an inch of falling out of bed,” He said. “I got up, lit a cigarette, sat in a chair looking out the window at the Rockies, and by the time the cigarette was done, I had the bones of the book firmly set in my mind.”

Is the Stanley Hotel Really Haunted?

The Stanley Hotel first opened back in 1909, and guests were blown away by the fact that, even though it was surrounded by woods, it still managed to have electricity, modern bathrooms, maids, cooking staff, and even telephones, according to the hotel's wesbite. For years, the hotel was seen as an idyllic mountain getaway, but by the 1970s the hotel fell into disrepair and was facing demolishment. That is until The Shining was released and rejuvenated the hotel’s business. But interestingly enough, its reputation for hosting the spooky and scary goes back far earlier than The Shining ’s influence, to just two years after the hotel first opened its doors.

After a flood in the valley, the hotel’s power went out for the first time, so gas lanterns were installed in each room to provide the guests with light. But a leak caused a buildup of gas in none other than room 217. A chambermaid named Elizabeth Wilson entered the room with a lit candle, setting off an explosion which she miraculously survived despite being launched from the room down to the dining hall on the first floor. She returned to work at the hotel in 1913 and remained an employee until 1950, and according to guests of the hotel and even the staff, her spirit still lurks in room 217 . According to guests though, her spirit isn’t a scary one but rather a helpful one, they claim they’d wake up in the morning to organized suitcases and a tidy room. However, it has been said that she isn't a fan of unmarried couples sharing a bed, with some guests recounting feeling a cold presence between them while they sleep.

Who Are the Ghosts That Supposedly Haunt the Stanley Hotel?

But it isn’t just Wilson’s spirit that supposedly haunts the hotel, as many believe Mr. Stanley (who passed in 1940) can still be seen around the hotel , with his most prominent locations being in the bar or billiard room. His wife Flora is also said to be found playing the piano at night. Guests who stay on the fourth floor have also made note of hearing children’s laughter in the hall but found it empty when they looked. In fact, the entire fourth floor is said to be the most active, with room 428 having the most encounters . There are heavy footsteps heard, furniture is rearranged as its occupants sleep, and some guests have even claimed to see a cowboy sitting at the end of their bed. The hotel has even been the focus of paranormal investigation shows such as Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures .

As if that wasn’t creepy enough, the hotel also hosts a series of underground tunnels and a pet cemetery. The tunnels were used for the staff of the hotel to easily travel from the hotel’s amenities to the guest’s rooms without being seen, as back in that time it was seen as unprofessional for staff to be seen by guests. And as for the pet cemetery? Many of the hotel’s staff’s pets have been laid to rest there, with a golden retriever named Cassie said to still haunt the place , bringing newspapers and scratching at doors to be let in.

So if you’ve ever wondered if the Stanley Hotel is haunted, the answer seems to be a resounding yes — with both guests and staff having confirmed paranormal sightings around the hotel. Though it may just be something you’ll have to see for yourself if you’re still not a believer.

The Shining is available to stream on Apple TV in the U.S.

WATCH ON APPLE TV

IMAGES

  1. T.W. Barnes "The Real Holy Ghost"

    the real holy ghost

  2. The Holy Ghost

    the real holy ghost

  3. Repent and recieve the real holy ghost

    the real holy ghost

  4. What Is the Initial Evidence of the Real Holy Ghost Baptism?

    the real holy ghost

  5. Book of Mormon Evidence: Filled with the Holy Ghost

    the real holy ghost

  6. "The Real Holy Spirit" Sermon Bumper

    the real holy ghost

VIDEO

  1. HOLY GHOST CHECK*

  2. $$THE HOLY GHOST IS MY POTENTIAL(FAITHFUL🤓)$$

  3. OCTOBER 2023 HOLY GHOST SERVICE #ENLARGE #RCCGYouthConvention2023 #PastorEAAdeboye​ #RCCGIYC2023

  4. Holy Ghost!

  5. Detective RJ's Holy Ghost Hayride: A Fun-Filled Faith Journey

  6. Holy Ghost Official Teaser

COMMENTS

  1. Who Is the Holy Spirit?

    Pastor Luis Ángel Díaz-Pabón Updated January 06, 2023 Invisible, perhaps, but real. The Holy Spirit is probably the least understood person of the Trinity. Among the myths and the mistaken concepts that are shared, He has been described as a force, a ghost, and a second-class or replacement god.

  2. Holy Spirit in Christianity

    For the majority of Christian denominations, the Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost, is believed to be the third person of the Trinity, a triune God manifested as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, each being God. Nontrinitarian Christians, who reject the doctrine of the Trinity, differ significantly from mainstream Christianity in their beliefs about the Holy Spirit.

  3. What Is the Initial Evidence of the Real Holy Ghost Baptism?

    When the Holy Ghost comes in to set up His abode within a life today, He does just what He did on the day of Pentecost: with another tongue He speaks through the person being baptized. Speaking in tongues is the initial evidence of the Holy Ghost baptism. For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people (Isaiah 28:11).

  4. Holy Spirit

    In Judaism, the Holy Spirit, otherwise known as the Holy Ghost, is the divine force, quality and influence of God over the universe or his creatures. In Nicene Christianity, the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. In Islam, the Holy Spirit acts as an agent of divine action or communication.

  5. Holy Ghost

    (June 2019 Liahona and Friend) An explanation of who the Holy Ghost is and some of the ways He can help us. "The Holy Ghost Is Real" (December 2007 Friend) Elder Craig A. Cardon shares how he felt the influence of the Holy Ghost while listening to a talk when he was ten years old.

  6. What is the difference between the Holy Spirit and Holy Ghost?

    The term "Holy Spirit" occurs 7 times in the KJV. There is no clear reason as to why the KJV translators used Ghost in most places and then Spirit in a few. The exact same Greek and Hebrew words are translated "ghost" and "spirit" in the KJV in different occurrences of the words.

  7. Who Is the Holy Spirit? Third Person of the Trinity

    Updated on May 07, 2019. The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity and undoubtedly the least understood member of the Godhead. Christians can easily identify with God the Father (Jehovah or Yahweh) and his Son, Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit, however, without a body and a personal name, seems distant to many, yet he dwells inside every ...

  8. Holy Ghost

    A. That the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father has always been admitted by all Christians; the truth is expressly stated in John, xv, 26. But the Greeks, after Photius, deny that He proceeds from the Son. And yet such is manifestly the teaching of Holy Scripture and the Fathers. (1) In the New Testament .—.

  9. Holy Ghost

    The Holy Ghost works in perfect unity with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, fulfilling several roles to help us live righteously and receive the blessings of the gospel. He "witnesses of the Father and the Son" (2 Nephi 31:18) and reveals and teaches "the truth of all things" (Moroni 10:5). We can receive a sure testimony of Heavenly ...

  10. A Holy Trinity in Ancient Egypt

    To most people today, "the Trinity" is a distinctly Christian concept, referring to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. But as African American studies scholar Jennifer Williams writes, this wasn't the first religious trinity.Christianity borrowed the idea from ancient Egyptians, making some significant changes along the way.

  11. What are the roles of the Holy Ghost?

    Find some stories from recent general conference talks that illustrate the various roles of the Holy Ghost. Consider including President Henry B. Eyring's experience with his son or with the Austrian Saints in "My Peace I Leave with You" or Elder Juan A. Uceda's experience as a missionary in Peru in his talk "The Lord Jesus Christ Teaches Us to Pray."

  12. 5 Things You Should Know about the Holy Spirit

    4. The Holy Spirit is the author of the new birth. Fourth, the Holy Spirit is the agent not only of creation, but also of God's new creation in Christ. He is the author of the new birth. We see this in John 3, in the classic encounter between Jesus and Nicodemus, where Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and ...

  13. Speaking in Tongues: Have You Received the Holy Ghost Since You Believed?

    This allows us to pray for the needs around the world that only the Holy Ghost knows exist. As stated, speaking in tongues is the evidence that we have received the Spirit of God. Every believer that received the Holy Ghost in the Bible spoke with tongues. As we mature in Christ, it changes our prayer life.

  14. Holy Ghost

    Holy Ghost. the third Person of the adorable Trinity. His personality is proved (1) from the fact that the attributes of personality, as intelligence and volition, are ascribed to him ( John 14:17 John 14:26; 15:26; 1 Corinthians 2:10 1 Corinthians 2:11; 12:11).He reproves, helps, glorifies, intercedes ( John 16:7-13; Romans 8:26). (2) He executes the offices peculiar only to a person.

  15. Is There a Counterfeit Holy Spirit? by Don Stewart

    1. There Is a Counterfeit Spirit The Bible speaks of not only the genuine Spirit of God but also of a counterfeit spirit. The Apostle Paul warned the church at Corinth about such false spirits. He wrote them with the following warnings. But now I fear that you will be tricked, just as Eve was tricked by that lying snake.

  16. What is the difference between the Holy Ghost and the Holy Spirit?

    The terms "Holy Spirit" and "Holy Ghost" mean exactly the same thing; both refer to the third Person of the Trinity (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit). The phrase "Holy Ghost" is simply an older term that dates back several hundred years, and is found in some old versions of the English Bible (such as the King James Version).

  17. Holy Spirit

    Pentecost Pentecost, oil on canvas by El Greco, c. 1600; in the Prado, Madrid. This work depicts the moment when the Holy Spirit, represented as a dove, descended in the form of tongues of fire and rested on the Virgin Mary and the Apostles during Pentecost. (more) Holy Spirit, in Christian belief, the third person of the Trinity.

  18. What Is The Holy Ghost?

    What Is The Holy Ghost? The "Holy Spirit", the "Spirit of God " and the "Holy Ghost" are all one and the same. Regardless which expression is used, they have the same meaning. To begin with, the Greek word for Spirit is the same as it is for Ghost, especially if it is described as Holy. DEFINITION: Spirit and Ghost: (G4151)

  19. WHAT IS THE HOLY GHOST

    there is a lot of confusion on this topic. how do we show that we have the holy ghost, what does it mean to have it, and what does it do? -god gets all the g...

  20. Can you explain what 1 Corinthians 12:3 means?

    Man can deceive man, but man cannot deceive God. 1 Corinthians 12:3 is talking about the real person the heart attitude and desires of a man or woman. Therefore I make known to you, that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus is accursed"; and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit. (NASB) 1 Corinthians 12:3.

  21. Should We Say Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit? Is there a difference?

    by Dr Taylor Marshall 15 Comments Nowadays, the only English speakers using the term "Holy Ghost" are 1) Traditional Catholics; 2) Charismatics ("Holy Ghost Revival"); 3) King James only Fundamentalists; 4) Anglicans who use the older liturgies (which retain Holy Ghost throughout).

  22. What Does the Bible Say about Ghosts?

    The word "ghost" is used in a few ways in Scripture. In the King James Version, the Bible uses "ghost" almost interchangeably with "spirit," for example: the Holy Ghost, such as in Matthew 28:19 , when Jesus tells the disciples, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and ...

  23. THE REAL HOLY GHOST

    SAVED BY GRACEWe can't earn salvation; we are saved by God's grace when we have faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. All you have to do is believe you are a sinne...

  24. Forget Halloween, Bring Ghost Stories Back to Christmas

    Dec. 20, 2023. At the most wonderful time of the year, there is one tradition that John Maguire remembers fondly: his Liverpudlian grandmother trying to scare the daylights out of him. Without ...

  25. Is 'The Shining' Hotel Really Haunted?

    The real hotel that inspired Stephen King sounds scarier than the Overlook. ... The ghost of chambermaid Elizabeth Wilson and other spirits are said to haunt the hotel, with paranormal activities ...