A] Eze 1:19,20 – Beings in heaven energized by God’s spirit
And when the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them; and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; they turned not when they went.
Eze 1:20, 21 Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went; thither was the spirit to go: and the wheels were lifted up beside them; for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up beside them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.
Ezekiel has the vision of Four Living Creatures. God is described as one seated below the glorious Cherubims:”O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth.” (Isa 37:16 ESV)
Here we also see the spirit of the living creatures energizing the wheels.
B] Eze 2:1,2 God spoke by his spirit
And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak with thee. And the Spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet; and I heard him that spake unto me.
Here we see how God speaks to man – by his spirit. The spirit enters Ezekiel and he can hear the voice of God. The spirit was active in prophets guiding them in accordance with God’s will. The prophets in turn would instruct Israel of the revelation.
“And we have the word of prophecy made more sure; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of private interpretation. For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:19-21 ASV)
What transpired in life of Ezekiel and others, Peter summarizes excellently in his epistle. Peter’s understanding of the spirit has not changed i.e. God speaks to men by his spirit.
Question: Did Peter or Ezekiel pray to the Holy spirit?
Suggested Answer: No. Both believed the holy spirit of God was “OF” God. They only prayed to God but God’s spirit worked in both their lives and moved them with understanding and power.
Question: Can the spirit speak?
Suggested Answer: It is argued that since the expression spirit speaks appears the spirit must be a person. The spirit by definition is ‘wind’, ‘air’, ‘mind’ etc [hebrew rûach]. It is important to note that the work of the spirit includes performing miracles, creating, giving knowledge, speaking, moving people, etc. But all this was done by the will of God.
Yes the spirit can speak but that is function of the spirit. The spirit’s ability to speak does not make the spirit a biune God, but the Spirit is “Of God”
Question: Who created us? God or spirit?
Suggested Answer: This phrase appears in Job: “The Spirit of God hath made me, And the breath of the Almighty giveth me life.” (Job 33:4 ASV).
This phrase appears in Genesis: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Gen 1:1)
So, one may say God created by his spirit, But it is incorrect to head off in this direction: The spirit created me independent of God! Now, why would you want to separate God and his spirit and make them into two Gods.
“For my life is yet whole in me, And the spirit of God is in my nostrils” (Job 27:3 ASV)
Here Job meant that his life is from God and that God created mankind by his breath and he is alive. Now is the BREATH oF GOD another God?
Question: Who spoke to David – God or spirit?
2Sa 23:2 The Spirit of Jehovah spake by me, And his word was upon my tongue.
This is how Jesus phrased it:
“He saith unto them, How then doth David in the Spirit call him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Till I put thine enemies underneath thy feet? If David then calleth him Lord, how is he his son? ” (Matthew 22:43-45 ASV)
“David in the Spirit” means God spoke to David through his spirit i.e. David was God guided or David spoke God’s words!
Question: Why does Paul speak of the spirit as a Person?
“And in like manner the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity: for we know not how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered; and he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:26-27 ASV)
Suggested Answer: The role of the spirit has not changed. David spoke and prayed in the spirit. We see many examples of David praying to God in the spirit as recorded in the psalms. The difference between David and Paul’s audience is that the spirit is now poured out to all early believers rather than a select few prophets like in the Old.
The role of the spirit as we have seen consistently is that the spirit acts on behalf of God. In the life of believer the spirit’s role is to draw them to God. The main confusion for Trinitarians is the Greek usage of Spirit and the personification of the role of God’s spirit.
These early believers also did not pray TO the spirit.
They prayed IN the spirit.
The spirit helped those believers to CONNECT to God – the primary role of the spirit.
The spirit has best been described as ‘tongue of fire’, ‘fire lamps’ ,’dove that flies’ but the function of the spirit is to do the will of God!
The greek word for spirit as used in the new testament is:
current of air, that is, breath (blast) or a breeze; mind…
The definition of spirit is in contrast to the physical “HE”. A HE has gender but wind has no gender in English. The ‘role’ of the spirit is personified.
C] Eze 3:12-14 The spirit experience of Ezekiel (Back to Ezekiel)
Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me the voice of a great rushing, saying, Blessed be the glory of Jehovah from his place. And I heard the noise of the wings of the living creatures as they touched one another, and the noise of the wheels beside them, even the noise of a great rushing. So the Spirit lifted me up, and took me away; and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; and the hand of Jehovah was strong upon me.
Ezekiel again encounters the living creatures. Ezekiel is given a vision and is assured that YHWH’s actions are righteous and is worthy to be praised. God is glorified by these mighty living creatures that do his bidding which are exceedingly fierce and mighty. Ezekiel has a mighty task before him and the role of the spirit is to guide Elijah to complete the task.
While Ezekiel had the spirit experience it is worth noting that the general Israelites did not. Their experience of the spirit was through Ezekiel. Further God was pleased to work with Ezekiel.
Question: “The spirit lifted Ezekiel” – Does it imply that the spirit have hands?
Suggested Answer: Just like when it says the Spirit spake does it imply that the spirit has a tongue and a jaw bone so also the spirit does not require arms and wings to life one up.
Eze 3:24 Then the Spirit entered into me, and set me upon my feet; and he spake with me, and said unto me, Go, shut thyself within thy house.
Eze 8:3 And he put forth the form of a hand, and took me by a lock of my head; and the Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the gate of the inner court that looketh toward the north; where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provoketh to jealousy.
Eze 11:5 And the Spirit of Jehovah fell upon me, and he said unto me, Speak, Thus saith Jehovah: Thus have ye said, O house of Israel; for I know the things that come into your mind.
Eze 13:3 Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!
Eze 39:27,28, 29 when I have brought them back from the peoples, and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations. And they shall know that I am Jehovah their God, in that I caused them to go into captivity among the nations, and have gathered them unto their own land; and I will leave none of them any more there; neither will I hide my face any more from them; for I have poured out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord Jehovah.
There are more references in Ezekiel. It is worth understanding the usage of the spirit in the light how the spirit worked in Ezekiel’s life. The reference in 39:29 has the reference of God ‘pouring‘ his spirit on the Israelites after their punishment.
To say the spirit of God is his power is an over simplified definition and to say the spirit of God is the third person of a triune God is stretching it way too much.