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7 But I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I am leaving; for if I do not leave, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. (John 16:7 NASB)

vs.

26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and remind you of all that I said to you. (John 14:26 NASB)

13 So if you, despite being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” (Luke 11:13 NASB)

Who sends the Holy Spirit? The Son or the Father?

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I am unaware of anything in Scripture that even remotely forces one to choose between who sends the Holy Spirit, Father or Son!

It can surely be either one or both since Jesus declared that, "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30) which must mean, among other things, that they act in concert, concord, collaboration.

Thus, we find that:

  • Jesus sends the Holt Spirit, Luke 24:49, John 15:26, 16:6; Thus, the Holy Spirit is also called, "The Spirit of Christ", Rom 8:9, Phil 1:19, 1 Peter 1:11
  • the Father sends the Holy Spirit, Rev 5:6, John 14:26; Thus, the Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of God, Matt 3:16, 12:28, Rom 8:9, 14, 15:19, 1 Cor 2:11, 14, etc.
  • the Holy Spirit is sent from heaven, 1 Peter 1:12.

This very idea of the Holy Spirit being BOTH the Spirit of Christ and the Father is testament to the closeness of these three great persons. Recall that,

John 16:13, 14 - However, when He the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak what He hears, and He will declare to you what is to come. He will glorify Me [Jesus] by taking from what is Mine [Jesus'] and disclosing it to you.

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The answer is both! However, the Spirit comes specifically from the Father, even if it is the Son who is sending Him, as we can read here:

John 15:26 NKJV
26"But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.
(Holy Bible: New King James Version. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1982.)

I would also like to point out that these passages are evidence against the claim that the Holy Spirit is co-equal with God, since Jesus is also recorded as saying this:

John 13:16 NKJV
16Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him.
(Holy Bible: New King James Version. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1982.)

Who is greater, the one sent or the one who sent him? Jesus said, "he who sent him". Who send the Holy Spirit? As you cited: both the Son and the Father. Hence, the Holy Spirit is not co-equal with them, but rather, the Father and Son are greater.

Now, although both the Son and Father send the Holy Spirit, does that mean that the Son is co-equal with the Father?

John 14:28 NKJV
28You have heard Me say to you, "I am going away and coming back to you." If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, "I am going to the Father," for My Father is greater than I.
(Holy Bible: New King James Version. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1982.)

Who is greater than Jesus? Jesus said, "My Father".

This also poses the question: Can the Son and Holy Spirit be God if there is anyone who is greater than them?

Eph. 4:6 NKJV
6one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
(Holy Bible: New King James Version. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1982.)

Who is above all? Paul said, "God". Hence, God has no equal, nor are there any greater than Him, which means that the Son and Holy Spirit are not God.

Rather, who is the one God who is above all? Paul said, "Father".

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  • 3
    @RayButterworth "A servant is not greater than his master." Are you implying that the servant is equal with the master?
    – carsonfel
    Mar 8 at 16:40
  • 2
    not (X > Y) implies X <= Y, so there is still a chance that X == Y Mar 8 at 16:41
  • 2
    Carsonfel An excellent answer +1 wish it could be 100 Hope to see more answers like this based on the scriptures. Mar 8 at 17:33
  • 1
    @carsonfel, I wasn't disagreeing with the idea that holy spirit is less than God, I was disputing only the false logic that "not greater than" must mean "less than". Mar 9 at 1:33
  • 2
    @RayButterworth it's only false taken in isolation, but in the context of the passage, it indeed means "less than".
    – carsonfel
    Mar 9 at 6:49
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Before answering whom it is who sends the Spirit, one must be careful to understand the relationship between the Father and the Son.

The Son is human in whom God dwells and through whom God speaks.

To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:19, KJV)

For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak. (John 12:49-50, KJV)

Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. . . . He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me. (John 14:10,24, KJV)

According to the Bible, God is in Christ, and God, who is in Christ, is the one from whom Christ's words originate. Essentially, then, Jesus is not the one speaking, but the Father.

It follows that when Jesus said "I will send," he was speaking the Father's words; and when he said "the Father will send" he is identifying the source of those words.

Conclusion

The Father will send His spirit, in Jesus' name. It is the Father who is God in Christ and speaking through him to promise us the Holy Spirit.

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This answer is inspired by Ashley Roberts' comment.

John 14:

26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and remind you of all that I said to you.

Jesus was talking about the Paraclete. The Father would send in the name of the Son. He affirmed that 2 chapters later in John 16:

7 But I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I am leaving; for if I do not leave, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.

Sending the Helper was contingent on Jesus' going to the cross.

These two passages are strong evidence that Jesus' role is primary in the decision of sending the Helper.

On the other hand, Luke 11:

13 So if you, despite being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”

This passage is not specifically about the special role of the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete.

Who sends the Holy Spirit? The Son or the Father?

Both agree to send the Paraclete but Jesus' role is necessary and primary.

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  • By Jesus saying that the Father will send the Spirit “in [his] name”, he is saying that the Father, at that point, is acting as a proxy for Jesus. This is how the contemporaneous hearer would have understood the phrase. E.g. [Knock at the door]; “State your name”;”My name is John, I come in the name of Peter Ben Joseph. You are invited to attend a wedding feast next month!” So the initiator of the sending is Jesus, in this case. Not to negate Dottard’s points in his answer above 🙏🏆 Oct 18 at 19:58
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    This is great! Thanks :)
    – Tony Chan
    Oct 18 at 20:22
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Therefore, since He has been exalted at the right hand of God, and has received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father, He has poured out this which you both see and hear. Acts 2:33

Now Jesus is ascended and exalted to the Father, to sit at God's right hand, he can also send the spirit of God.

Jesus having represented the Father in every way without fault is now the spirit in himself.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 But we all, with unveiled faces, looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

It is the 'spirit' of God that empowers and guides the sheep God has chosen. Jesus and his humble and obedient heart is the essence of what God's spirit is. That's why we have many expressions like, the 'spirit of grace', the 'spirit of wisdom'. These are not separate entities, but represent the heart and will of God - as Jesus did and does as the firstborn of many brethren.

As the appointed heir, he has all that the Father has.

in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the ages. Heb 1:2

Either can 'send the spirit'.

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Interesting view of "the Father is greater than I" and the master greater than the servant in John 13:16. In context, Jesus is comparing a human master and his slave/servant, not to Jesus Himself and His Father (God). Therefore, there is no superior vs inferior view.

In saying, "the Father is greater than I" Jesus as His Son is not speaking of superior vs inferior, rather He is speaking of rank. It is clear that a Father is "superior" in rank to His Son. Example: A general is superior to a private in rank, but not in nature nor essence; they are both male, human beings, and physical.

Also, Jesus has divested Himself of His omnipresence, omnipotence, omniscience in order to Incarnate Himself and die as a human being. That being the case, the Father who is Spirit is Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and only in that case is He "greater" than His physical Son.

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  • Welcome, "Also, Jesus has divested Himself of His omnipresence, omnipotence, omniscience in order to Incarnate Himself", sadly not one word of that is biblical. -1
    – steveowen
    Oct 18 at 0:56
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The Father promised, and it is the Son who gives and who baptizes.

He (the Spirit) is from the Father's bosom, but His Word (Jesus) does the giving/baptizing in the Spirit.

Ask Him (the Spirit) for yourself! "He will teach you ALL things..."

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