Hello readers. We’re continuing our look through the New Testament as we hope to come to a deeper understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity, a doctrine of God that sets Christianity apart from all other religions. We’ve been going through the book of Acts. Tonight, our look will not focus on Jesus, which it usually is, but will rather focus on the person of the Holy Spirit, though we will mention Jesus also. We’re going to be in Acts 21 and looking at verses 10-14:
10After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jews of Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’ ”
12When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. 13Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”14When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”
The focus here is on verse 11. Agabus was a prophet who was mentioned earlier and now he shows up again to make a prophecy. What is interesting is the source of the prophecy and the way the source is acting. The Holy Spirit says this. Agabus is getting a prophecy and saying that the words are what the Holy Spirit is saying.
In biblical understanding, God would always be the main source of prophecy and to attribute a prophecy to the Holy Spirit speaks of how the writer of the text viewed the Holy Spirit. As we have seen in Acts 5, the Holy Spirit was seen as deity. When we got to Acts 13, we saw even more signs of this and saw that personal actions were attributed to the Holy Spirit. As we look at this text, we do not find anything that goes against our earlier thesis, but rather we find more support for it which leads to questioning the JW idea of the Holy Spirit being a force.
This is further emphasized by the idea of the way the prophetic utterance is spoken as it parallels the way the Old Testament prophets spoke in saying what the Lord said. Agabus came and put the Holy Spirit on the same level.
Note also the word about Jesus in verse 13. Paul is ready to die for the name of the Lord Jesus. This points to a high Christology in Paul in that he is instead of speaking of the name of Jesus rather than the name of YHWH. If you’re a Trinitarian, this makes sense in that you have Jesus on the same level as the Father and can say due to ontological equality that you are ready to die for the name of Jesus. It doesn’t make sense for an Arian. It’s interesting how the name of Jesus is emphasized so much in the NT but not the name of YHWH. (Which also interestingly never occurs in the NT.)
We shall continue our study tomorrow.