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Some say that the Holy Spirit left Jesus before he died, ie. that the Father totally withdrew from Jesus as part of his bearing the punishment for sin. However:

13For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the defiled, sets apart for the cleansing of the flesh, 14how much more shall the blood of the Messiah, who through the everlasting Spirit offered Himself unblemished to Elohim, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living Elohim?
-- Hebrews 9:13-14 (ISR 1)

Question:

Is there any Biblical evidence that the Holy Spirit ever left Jesus before he died? If not, what does the Holy Spirit being present in Jesus during his death indicate?


NOTE:

  1. What makes the ISR different to other bibles?
  • Is there a particular reason you have transliterated and inserted a Hebrew word into an English translation of a Greek Epistle, and left it untranslated? – Sola Gratia Apr 12 '18 at 19:43
  • That was held by a second-century Gnostic group. In their Christology Jesus was a man in whom the Holy Spirit inhabited at his baptism and left at his crucifixion. However, this contradicts Hebrews 13:8. – Perry Webb Apr 12 '18 at 20:10
  • ISR stands for Institute of Scripture Research (The Scriptures 1998). It is a well known version, used on biblehub.com, a well-known Bible site. I did not invent this translation. – Jacob Apr 12 '18 at 20:32
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No, there was no separation of the Godhead at any time during the crucifixion. I believe there has been a great misunderstanding about Christ’s quoting of Psalm 22 on the cross.

Jesus quoted Psalm 22:1:

“My God, My God, why has thou forsaken Me.”

Based on this quote, many people have developed all kinds of theories of separation of the persons of the Trinity. This is based on an incomplete understanding of the context.

All one has to do is to continue reading in Psalm 22 to find out there was no separation and that the Father had NOT forsaken Christ.

22I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee. 23 Ye that fear the Lord, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel. 24 For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.

The entire context of Psalm 22 shows that God has NOT despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted and had NOT hid His face from Him and heard Him when He called.

Obviously, Christ would have understood the complete context of the Psalm and was most likely recounting this to Himself when He was on the cross. We can certainly understand that Christ (in His humanity) would have most definitely felt that God had forsaken Him. However, He would have also understood the true character of His Father who would not abandon Him. Hence, the reassurance of quoting the Psalm in His time of need.

As far as your reference to Hebrews 9; I am not sure what you were asking. Per the KJV:

13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

These verses communicate the superiority of Christ’s sacrifice over the OT temple sacrifices. The OT sacrifices could not purge sin only the sacrifice of Christ could do that. There is no indication of separation in either verse.

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    You are correct that Jesus was not abandoned by God as some have claimed based on a misreading of Psalm 22. However aren't we to understand that Jesus yielded up his breath/spirit as he died, per Luke 23:46 (and James 2:26)? – Ruminator Apr 13 '18 at 0:43
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In ancient Hebrew, Koine Greek, Latin (and older derivative languages), old German and even olde English there is no distinction between "spirit" and "breath" as there is in modern languages. This is because there was no such distinction in the mind of the ancients. So when Jesus said the following he was speaking of what we call "breath" and what we call "spirit":

KJV Luk 23:46  And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit [aka "breath"]: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost [aka "breath"].

And there is no point splitting hairs as to what James says:

KJV Jas 2:26  For as the body without the spirit [aka "breath"] is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

So when Jesus breathed his last he died. They were simultaneous and no sooner.

This is because the anatomy of man was established in Moses' writings:

KJV Gen_2:7  And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Paul refers to this principle as "the law of the breath/spirit of life":

KJV Rom_8:2  For the law of the Spirit [aka "breath"] of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Jesus restated the principle here:

ASV Joh 6:63  It is the spirit [aka "breath"] that giveth life; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I have spoken unto you are spirit [aka "breath"], and are life.

So Jesus was not separated from the holy spirit of God prior to death but he was separated in death. Conversely he was raised from death by the entrance of the breath of life:

KJV 1Pe 3:18  Because Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God; being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in [by the angency of] the spirit [aka "breath"];

The resurrection power of the breath/spirit of God entering into the dead is graphically illustrated here:

Rev_11:11  And after three days and an half the Spirit [aka "breath"] of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.

And here:

Eze 37:7  So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.  Eze 37:8  And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath [aka "spirit"] in them.  Eze 37:9  Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.  Eze 37:10  So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath [aka "spirit"] came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.

And so on.

Regarding:

KJV Heb 9:14  How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

I would offer my translation:

How much more shall the blood of Christ who because of everlasting breath [aka "spirit"] presented himself unblemished to God [for priestly duty] give you a clear conscience from death activities [ie: animal sacrifices] in order to serve the living God?

The important bits are:

  • Jesus was given life by the re-entrance of God's holy breath/spirit
  • he didn't "offer himself" as a sacrifice but rather "presented himself" alive for priestly service
  • his blood permits the believing Jew to forego animal sacrifices with a clear conscience and to serve the God of life

     

       

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  • I agree with the notion that the Holy Spirit left Jesus' body when he died. However, I don't necessarily believe that that it is the animal sacrifices that are "dead works" (we see these are to return with Messiah's approval as Ezekiel tells us). I believe the 'dead works' are in our consciences, i.e. guilt and shame about past sin we have repented of. – Jacob Apr 12 '18 at 20:39
  • I also disagree that dead works refers to animal sacrifices. Nowhere does the scriptures define it as such. Animal sacrifices are not returning either, that's a misunderstanding of Ezekiel 40-48. A wicked one if I were to be honest. And are you saying the only purpose of Christ's sacrifice was to take away animal sacrifices? I hope that's not what you're implying. – diego b Apr 13 '18 at 1:27
  • How do the scriptures Define dead works? – Ruminator Apr 13 '18 at 1:37
  • Diego, it's not clear who you are addressing: Ruminator or myself? I personally see a clear return of Temple worship, including sacrifice, not only in Ezekiel, but also in Revelations 11:1-2: "Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff and was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the number of worshipers there. But exclude the courtyard outside the temple. Do not measure it, because it has been given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months." Clearly this is in the end times and there is an altar and worship going on. – Jacob Apr 13 '18 at 3:19
  • I don't see how either understanding could be called 'wicked.' This isn't a place for accusation, but for reason and a diligent pursuit of truth. Why don't you actually back up your claim "that's a misunderstanding of Ezekiel 40-48" instead of resorting to acrimony? – Jacob Apr 13 '18 at 3:22
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To answer your question, it is absolutely necessary to treat theological and Christological issue: a) what is the reality of God, His Spirit and His Logos-Son and b) how Jesus, the Logos-Son incarnate in history, is related to the Holy Spirit after the Incarnation? Below I shall address those issues and try eventually to find the solution to your question also.

The New Testament, and the Bible in general, does not have a very strict terminology with regard of "soul" and "spirit" and sometimes they are used interchangeably as standing for the created reasonable soul of human being, through presence of which he moves, desires and, which is even more important, thinks. However, the New Testament also speaks of the uncreated Spirit of God through whom one can receive the "new birth" (John 3:3). Humans, qua created and limited, have the presence of the Spirit in a dynamically apportioned way, for it is impossible for finite beings to possess the infinite divine Spirit in His fullness, for only God can claim this. Now, Spirit possesses all what belongs to God, for He "knows even the depths of God" (1 Cor. 2:10), and in this way the Spirit is equal to God, for epistemological equality in the invisible and purely spiritual realm amounts to ontological equality; and by the same token also the Son is equal to the Father and the Spirit, for the Spirit receives everything from the Son, who has everything of the Father (John 16:15). This fullness of the Spirit and the Son with all infinite riches of God in actual infinity is not temporal and processual/gradational, but eternal and instantaneous, and this common fullness with the same infinite reality of the Three - the Father, the Spirit and the Son - has been there even before the world was created, in all eternity, and such a volitional act as creation of the universe can in not even a tiny bit change anything in the changeless trinitarian relationship of love in the Godhead, for God is eternal changeless love of divine Persons, and that is the meaning of the verse "God is love" (1 John 4:8). In fact, a Mono-Personal Absolute cannot be the God of love, for before creation of the world He would love only Himself, and be thus the Absolute lonely Egoist; but the Christian God, the eternal Father loved eternally His co-eternal Son even before He created the world through Him (John 17:24).

This said, we can firmly hold in mind's gaze: Trinitarian Persons are indivisible. To give just an analogy: can you disentangle water from wetness? Not, of course. Infinitely more so, you cannot disentangle the Persons of the Trinity from each other, although neither are they mixed, as to lose the Personal distinctions, for the Father is not the Son and the Son is not the Holy Spirit, even if the reality of the Three is one and identical.

Now, Christology: who is Christ? He is the Logos-Son Incarnate, that is to say, Logos-Son having adopted the human nature, or human created body invested with intelligent created soul. Thus, Logos, who always is with the Father and the Spirit inseparably, has adopted the human ensouled body, which is another wording for "human nature". At the death on the Calvary Jesus gave His human created soul to the "hands of the Father", as the dying man does, but this human created soul does not perish on the hands of God, for how can anything die received by the vivifying "hand" of the Father; of course this "hand" is not a physical hand but a metaphor for His Spirit (in fact, the Spirit of God is equated with the "finger of God" in the parallel passages of Matthew 12:28, Luke 11:20), and this is the meaning of 1 Peter 3:18, that His body died, but His soul was vivified by Spirit, that is to say, by the vivifying "hand of the Father", and by the Logos-Son also, who, as God, has authority and power to vivify, for Logos, qua God, could not die, for it is ontologically impossible for God's eternal Logos to die; but we justly say, that Logos in a certain sense, suffered and died on the Cross, for Logos' human body became, by adoption, by His volition, eternal aspect of His Personality, so that after the Incarnation we can think of the invisible divine Person of Logos only together with His human nature and human body, and since His body really died, we somehow say that "God's Logos died", "God's co-eternal Son died". But of course, when we say this, we imply that His body died, that is to say, the Logos' created soul was separated from His created body; as, for instance, when Paul passionately desires for death, he in fact desires that his soul is separated from the physical body and joining eternally Christ (Phil 1:23) (for it is impossible to suppose that he longs for total annihilation in this manner, for annihilation and complete "switching off" of consciousness before the general resurrection simply cannot be more desirable for Paul than being with his beloved Christian community on earth, but being, after physical death, with Christ with a greater intensity of graceful interaction - that is truly more desirable even than being with the beloved brethren-Christians on earth). Thus, neither Father, nor Holy Spirit never ever have left the Logos, either before the Incarnation, or after the Incarnation (when the Incarnate Logos, the Logos who became also son of a man, was called Jesus Christ and eternally so henceforth), or on the Calvary, when He in His human nature was undergoing unspeakable sufferings and eventually also underwent death - the separation of His, Uncreated Logos' created soul from His, Uncreated Logos' created body.

Apologizes for the length of the answer, but it is difficult to make shorter such a breathtakingly difficult issues.

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  • @Dovnvoter :) downvote, if it pleases you, I really and sincerely do not care a bit for my ratings, but please, communicate your difficulty and disagreement with the answer, for this is so interesting and that is the purpose of this site - to discuss things, for who cares about points and upvote-downvotes! – Levan Gigineishvili Apr 12 '18 at 22:28
  • I agree. This is about a dialogue! Levan, what is the difference between the Father and the Holy Spirit/Spirit of God in your opinion? – Jacob Apr 13 '18 at 3:14
  • @Jacob Thanks for the interest! We know from the Scriptures that the Holy Spirit issues from the Father (John 15:26), thus, is not identical with the Father and is sourced by the Father not as some impersonal power, but is a Person, for He has all personal features (gives knowledge, inspires prophets, comforts, approves of, investigates). Thus, the Father has a causal priority, for He is the Source, but since He is the eternal Source, the H.Spirit is co-eternal to Him, and since the Source eternally gives His entire essence to His Spirit, thus H.Spirit is ontologically equal to the Father. – Levan Gigineishvili Apr 13 '18 at 6:03
  • Is not the essence of the Father Spirit, as in "the Father is Spirit" (John 4:24)? In Jeremiah 23:24 we read, "do not I fill heaven and earth? Psalm 139:7-8 reads, "Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there." – Jacob Apr 13 '18 at 18:26
  • @Jacob In a generic sense all three of the Trinity – the Father, the Holy Spirit, the Logos/Son are Spirit, for they all are infinite and as such have no body whatsoever (only the Logos adopted the finite/created human soul and body). But in a specific, personal sense the Holy Spirit is distinct from both the Father and the Son, sharing one divinity with Them. To compare: there are rollerblades of different brands, all rollerblades, but there is also brand “Rollerblades” rollerblades, which is not more rollerblade than others, so neither H. Spirit is more Spirit than the Father and the Son. – Levan Gigineishvili Apr 13 '18 at 21:19

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