In John 16:7-8, Jesus says:

“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. And He, when He comes, will convict the world regarding sin, and righteousness, and judgment” (‭NASB2020‬‬)

The helper here is also translated as the “spirit” in some translations. It seems obvious that Jesus is referring to the spirit. But this seems to indicate that the Spirit did not come until after Jesus. But how can this be? 1st Samuel 16:14 says:

“Now the Spirit of the Lord left Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord terrified him.” ‭‭‭(NASB2020‬‬)

Note the difference here. Is this a different spirit? If so, does that make it a quad God instead of a Trinitarian one?

  • 2
    Take not thy Holy Spirit from me Psalm 51:11. But you need to define your term 'manifest' and demonstrate its use (in connection with the Holy Spirit) in scripture (for the sake of clarity and detail).
    – Nigel J
    Commented Nov 24, 2021 at 9:53
  • 1
    I've heard this explained that the Holy Spirit only temporarily filled people in the Old Testament, compared to after Christ's sacrificial death and resurrection.
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Nov 24, 2021 at 10:37
  • @NigelJ when did I ever say manifest?
    – Luke Hill
    Commented Nov 24, 2021 at 17:00
  • In the fifth word of your header question.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Nov 24, 2021 at 17:53
  • 3
    @LukeHill Well, that's not what 'manifest' means. I suggest an edit.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Nov 24, 2021 at 21:42

4 Answers 4


The salient distinction is not between different "spirits" but between different "tenures".

In the OT, the Spirit of God anointed individuals for certain tasks or offices:

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; - Isaiah 61:1

And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee (Saul), and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man. - 1 Samuel 10:6

The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” - 1 Samuel 16:1

This Spirit that was upon Saul (to anoint and empower him as King) and was subsequently taken away from Saul (upon disobedience/faithlessness) is the same Spirit that came upon David at his anointing to be King.

Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him (to be king) in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah. - 1 Samuel 16:13

Though the passage reads "from that day forward" it is not to be understood as a promised presence forever, as indeed, David himself did not understand it that way:

Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. - Psalm 51:9-11

The life of Sampson is a particularly illustrative case:

And the Spirit of the LORD began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol. - Judges 13:25

Then the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him, and although he had nothing in his hand, he tore the lion in pieces as one tears a young goat. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done. - Judges 14:6

And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon and struck down thirty men of the town and took their spoil and gave the garments to those who had told the riddle. In hot anger he went back to his father's house. - Judges 14:19

When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting to meet him. Then the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him, and the ropes that were on his arms became as flax that has caught fire, and his bonds melted off his hands. And he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, and put out his hand and took it, and with it he struck 1,000 men. - Judges 15:14-15 

And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the LORD had left him. - Judges 16:20

Then Samson called to the LORD and said, “O Lord GOD, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes.” - Judges 16:28

The promise of Jesus Christ, however, is that this same Spirit of God is now given irrevocably:

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.  - John 14:16-17

Notice also the strongly trinitarian flair in this and the remainder of the passage as the presence of the Holy Spirit/comforter/spirit of truth is conflated with the presence of Jesus (I will come to you) and with the presence of the Father (we will come unto him and make our abode):

I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

Thus it is the presence of the Father and the Son within a person which now renders the presence of the Holy Spirit as permanent.

  • Up-voted +1. Cogent, logical and thoroughly compelling.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Nov 24, 2021 at 17:54
  • Presence of the Holy Spirit is only permanent to a clean heart as KIng David pleads to God, to create in him ,a clean heart. The Holy Spirit is not permanent nor will reside in a heart tainted by sin. The Holy Spirit in the OT is the same Holy Spirit that was promised by Jesus Christ, otherwise the OP is correct on insinuating "quad". Commented Nov 26, 2021 at 23:02
  • @jongricafort "he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever". Sounds permanent. Commented Nov 27, 2021 at 0:23
  • @MikeBorden Yes, the Holy Spirit can only resides permanently in an immaculate heart, a heart that was not tainted by even the slightest sins or stain of original sin. Remember, "all have sinned", and so the Holy Spirit cannot resides in a fallen man permanently. Only to Jesus and Mary can the Holy Spirit resides permanently, as God was the one who prepared and ordained it. -CCC721 Commented Nov 27, 2021 at 0:46
  • @jongricafort Jesus is speaking to the disciples in the upper room. He promised the Holy Spirit to come and abide with them forever (including Peter) and then Peter later denied Him three times. Peter did not have an immaculate heart but he received the promise. What, in John 14, speaks of an immaculate heart as a pre-requisite for the Holy Spirit's permanence? Commented Nov 27, 2021 at 2:47

The earliest example I am aware of, of an anointing or outpouring of God's Spirit onto people with miraculous signs accompanying, occurred in the desert when Moses complained to God about the job he was given. This was the event that established what was later called the Sanhedrin.

Numbers 11:

So Moses went out and told the people what the LORD had said. He brought together seventy of their elders and had them stand around the tent. Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took some of the power of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied—but did not do so again. However, two men, whose names were Eldad and Medad, had remained in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but did not go out to the tent. Yet the Spirit also rested on them, and they prophesied in the camp.

This seems to be very similar to the account of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2, and to Jesus' baptism. Instead of the Spirit descending in a flame in the shape of a dove, God's presence descends like a cloud. But in all three cases, the anointing of the Spirit is proven by proximate miracles.

You asked at the end of your question about how this relates to the doctrine of Trinity. The Scriptures do not delineate things in this fashion. My impression is that in Scripture it is irrelevant rather than correct or incorrect to assign exactly three persons to the Godhead and try to decide which of them is doing what.

Take for example the seven Spirits of God in the prophecies of Isaiah 11:2. Seven, not three. The first of these seven is the "Spirit of the LORD" - when you see 'LORD' in all-caps in English it represents the Divine Name. I have seen no serious opinion that this "Spirit of the LORD" is literally distinct from the others; rather, these are divine aspects being described.

The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.

Consider also what Jesus tells us is the Great Commandment in Deuteronomy 6:4:

“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

One, not three. (And this is a major source of reluctance of Jews to accept Jesus as Messiah, by the way.) I am not telling you that Trinity is wrong, by the way. Rather, to say there are seven Spirits of God, or three persons of God, or God is one, to me these are not contradictory claims, and the distinction is to me not terribly important. I look at the events in the desert, at Jesus' baptism, and at Pentecost similarly. In all three cases, the Spirit of God is at work. God is one, God's Spirit is at work in the world, and there are mysteries in such things, and that is enough for me.

  • In Isaiah 11, could it be that the Spirit of the Lord (singular) is 3 different things (wisdom and understanding, counsel and strength, knowledge and fear), sort of like the gift (singular) of the Spirit is 9 different things in Galatians 5? Commented Nov 25, 2021 at 13:28
  • Yes, I see the Isaiah verse as describing three pairs of related attributes of the singular Spirit of HaShem. The fruits (plural) of the Spirit in Galations 5 I think is not exactly the same - one Spirit brings forth in us many fruits. This is in contrast to the works (plural) of the flesh enumerated just before.
    – wberry
    Commented Nov 25, 2021 at 15:53
  • I'm pretty sure fruit is singular in Galatians 5:22 so it's fruit is 9 things rather than fruits are 9 things. Commented Nov 26, 2021 at 13:59

The Spirit of God has always been in the world since the beginning. The very beginning and the end of the Bible mentions Him.

KJV Genesis 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

KJV Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

What happened at the Pentecost was that the Spirit of God descended in fullness of power and presence unlike never before.

Why after the resurrection of Christ and not before?

Because Christ won against Satan and received all authority . Satan claimed the world as his property before the death of Christ - this is clearly seen in the third temptation where Satan said

KJV Matthew 4:9 - And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

But Christ said after His resurrection

KJV Matthew 28:18 - And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

Now that Christ received power over this sinful planet because of His victory on the cross, the Holy Spirit descended in His fullness.


Did the Holy Spirit manifest in people before Jesus?

The answer is YES.

The Holy Spirit was first described in Genesis1:2.

And the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God moved over the waters.

I've seen answers on this site that interpreted this passage or associated this passage to "Mystery of Incarnation". The Holy Spirit hovers, moved or overshadowed the "waters". What "waters", are we referring to? The water in the womb of Mary, that the Holy Spirit sanctified to form the Logos. After Genesis1:2 or the Logos was formed mystically in the waters in the womb, only then, God can say, "Let there be Light" in Genesis1:3.

And the next passage that the Holy Spirit can be seen was, when God breath into Adam nostrils the Holy Spirit...in Genesis2:7

And the Lord God formed man of the slime of the earth: and breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul.

The Holy Spirit is the giver of life, the breath of God.

This is why Jesus and the Father are One and both God, because from their breath, they breathed out the Holy Spirit to give and restored divine life in a soul.

The OP cited passages in John's gospel..

In John 16:7-8, Jesus says:

“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. And He, when He comes, will convict the world regarding sin, and righteousness, and judgment” (‭NASB2020‬‬)

Jesus did not explicitly said, the "Holy Spirit" but stated the word "Helper". The word "Helper" was also attributed to Eve. In Catholicism, Jesus is the New Adam, and Mary is the New Eve.

How can we reconcile this teaching from the gospel of John?

Jesus came into this world in a form of a slave, Jesus was fully man and fully God, and His divinity seems stripped, as St.Paul described it..

Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross. -Philippians2:6-8

How to ponder this profound mystery?

We must look at Jesus, not yet anointed by the Holy Spirit from birth up to thirty (30) years old. And the "anointing" only came at Baptism in the Jordan River, where God the Father was seen and the "Holy Spirit" descended on Jesus, and Jesus became the "Advocate or Helper" of all the Apostles.

How about the "another Advocate" or the "Helper" that Jesus was promising the Apostles that He will send by asking the Father? The "Helper" is not a Spirit but a person too like Jesus. And this will lead us in the Upper Room, the Descent of the Holy Spirit.

In the Upper Room, who among the Apostles can be anointed as the "Helper or another Advocate"? Remember, the Holy Spirit cannot reside in a heart tainted by sin, as King David pleaded God to "create in him a clean heart", in order for the Holy Spirit to abide in him.

We can see that the Apostles must prepare their hearts and minds to receive the Holy Spirit, and so, none of them are worthy to fulfill the role of "Helper or another Advocate". It was the the Theotokos who teach and guided the Apostles how to receive the Holy Spirit, that overshadowed Her.

To recap, the Holy Spirit was breath in to Adam, How about Eve? Adam as an anointed High Priest or Bishop can anoint Eve to become his "helper or a deacon" in the garden of Eden which is a temple of God. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/resource/55702/adam-high-priest-of-humanity

Jesus on the other hand, was anointed when the Holy Spirit descended on Him, it was not breath in by the Abba Father, but it's more than overshadowing, it is an indwelling, to empower Jesus in His redemptive mission.

In the Upper Room, the Holy Spirit descended to all the Apostles, but since their hearts was not yet fully form or cleanse to allow the Holy Spirit to dwell perfectly and completely, they are not yet prepare to fulfill the role of Jesus, the Advocate, and so, the "another Advocate" will not come from the Apostles, but from the chosen Woman whom the Holy Spirit already overshadowed, but not yet fully, perfectly and mystically indwelt at that time, but at the Foot of the Cross, something happen, the Seven Sorrows that the Blessed Virgin Mary embraced had prepare or hewn Her Immaculate Heart to allow the Holy Spirit to dwell in Her perfectly, completely and mystically.

In closing the Holy Spirit indwelt the Theotokos, Her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart became the "perfect dwelling place for the Holy Spirit". and this can be seen in Proverbs9:1 and Sirach24:12. And the Holy Spirit dwelling in Theotokos is a teaching of the Catholic Church, see Catechism.

CCC721 Mary, the all-holy ever-virgin Mother of God, is the masterwork of the mission of the Son and the Spirit in the fullness of time. For the first time in the plan of salvation and because his Spirit had prepared her, the Father found the dwelling place where his Son and his Spirit could dwell among men. In this sense the Church's Tradition has often read the most beautiful texts on wisdom in relation to Mary.101 Mary is acclaimed and represented in the liturgy as the "Seat of Wisdom." In her, the "wonders of God" that the Spirit was to fulfill in Christ and the Church began to be manifested:

So, when we say Mary is the "Seat of Wisdom", and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Wisdom that was qanah or birthed in Proverbs8:22, it means the Spirit of Wisdom that anointed all Old Testament elect, like King Solomon, is the same Spirit that anointed Jesus as Christ in the Baptism at Jordan River, and Jesus became the Advocate, and the same Spirit of Wisdom descended in the Upper Room, that anointed the Blessed Virgin Mary to fulfill the role of "Helper or another Advocate". In the words of one of the Great Marian Saints, a Doctor of the Church, named St.Alphonsus Liguori...

"In His eagerness to show you mercy, God send Jesus the Advocate, and to increase your confidence even more, He sent an another Advocate....

...go to Mary and you will find salvation."

Mary is the "Helper" or the "Another Advocate", because like Jesus Christ in the Baptism at Jordan River, received the anointing upon the Descent of the Holy Spirit, it is the same in the Upper Room, when the Holy Spirit descended fully, perfectly and mystically to the hewn heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

"Wisdom has built her house, She has hewn out her seven pillars."-Proverbs9:1

While St.Augustine said, "Man is restless until it rest in Thee.", the Almighty God, the Spirit of God was also "restless" in the Old Testament, because She cannot find a perfect dwelling place, and so the Holy Spirit "carved or hewn" a perfect dwelling place for Her, by carving the Seven Pillars of the Seven Sorrows, and finally the Spirit of God, the Spirit of created Wisdom, can now finally rest...

"Then the creator of all things commanded, and said to me: and he that made me, rested in my tabernacle."-Sirach24:12

In closing, Veni Creator Spiritus now rested in a Tabernacle or in the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Seat of Wisdom.

Mary Seat of Wisdom, grant us wisdom and pray for us.

Sweet heart of Mary be my salvation.

To entertain your confusion about "quad", it would seem to appear that the Spirit of Wisdom that was "qanah, birthed or created" must be seen in the contemplative reflection of St.Maximillian Kolbe in a much more mysterious words "quasi-incarnation", but this topic is too broad to include in my answer.

  • I am expecting all the deceived anti-Marian who claimed to be christian to downvote without even commenting why.. This is expected. No problem with me. Satan and his demons hates Mary, and what can you expect.. Commented Nov 27, 2021 at 1:46
  • 2
    I am down-voting because of your claim that the waters over which the Spirit of God hovered in Genesis 1:2 were the waters of Mary's womb. Commented Nov 27, 2021 at 2:58
  • @MikeBorden Yes! Is the the pre-figure symbol of Mary's womb. All creation must begin with the Logos, and so, "Let there be Light", cannot be uttered, unless the "Logos is incarnated mystically, as Jesus said , " I am the Light". How can God utter, "Let there be Light", when the Logos is not yet formed or the waters not yet hovered? Commented Nov 27, 2021 at 3:22
  • @jongricafort Catholic here. Thats a very odd interpretation and a weird excuse for a downvote. The waters are not the waters of Mary's womb. Genesis is a non-literal account which is a proper interpretation for Catholics as outline in the catechism.
    – Luke Hill
    Commented Nov 27, 2021 at 4:54
  • @LukeHill Its the pre-figurement of Mystery of Incarnation, The Holy Spirit hovers the water, means, the Holy Spirit sanctifies the water in the womb to form the Logos. Genesis1:1 is the "Way of the Cross" if you know "Bereshit" Hebrew tetragrammaton. Genesis1:2 is the "Mystery of Incarnation". After this verse only then, God utter "Let there be Light". Because, how can God create the "light" if the Logos was not not yet form mystically in His volition? Commented Nov 27, 2021 at 6:00

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