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The Holy Spirit of Promise
by Lawrence R. Flake
The Holy Spirit of Promise is one of many descriptive name-titles of the Holy Ghost and refers to a specific function of the Holy Ghost. In John 14:16, the Savior, who had been a comforter to his disciples, assured them that after his departure into heaven they would receive another comforter: "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever." The next verse speaks of this Comforter as "the Spirit of truth," who "dwelleth with you, and shall be in you" (verse 17). The Lord subsequently identified this promised Comforter as the Holy Ghost (verse 26). Doctrine and Covenants 88:3 reiterates and clarifies: "Wherefore, I now send upon you another Comforter, even upon you my friends, that it may abide in your hearts, even the Holy Spirit of promise; which other Comforter is the same that I promised unto my disciples, as is recorded in the testimony of John."
The Holy Spirit of Promise is the power by which ordinances and other righteous acts performed on this earth, such as baptism and eternal marriage, are ratified, validated, and sealed in heaven as well as on earth. Paul taught the Ephesians that after acting on their faith in Christ they "were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise," which was the surety of their "inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession" (Eph. 1:12-14). The sealing of earthly covenants and performances is conditional and depends upon the recipient's personal commitment and worthiness. If a person who has received the Holy Spirit of Promise subsequently becomes unrighteous, the seal is broken until full repentance and forgiveness occur (DS 1:55; 2:94-99).
The necessity of sealing by the Holy Ghost is emphasized in the following passage: "All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead" (D&C 132:7). Earthly representatives of the Lord, such as bishops and elders may be deceived by an unworthy person, but no one can deceive the Holy Spirit, who will not ratify an ordinance received unworthily. This safeguard is attached to all blessings and covenants associated with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The ultimate manifestation of the Holy Spirit of Promise is in connection with having one's calling and election made surethat is, receiving "the more sure word of prophecy" testifying that an individual is sealed up to eternal life (D&C 131:5). The Holy Spirit of Promise validates this blessing or seals it upon the person. Referring to the Holy Spirit of Promise the Lord says, "This Comforter is the promise which I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the Celestial Kingdom" (D&C 88:4; cf. MD, pp. 361-62).
(See Basic Beliefs home page; Teachings About the Godhead home page; Teachings About the Holy Ghost home page)
McConkie, Bruce R. Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, Vol. 3, pp. 333-37. Salt Lake City, 1973.
Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 2, Holy Spirit of Promise
Copyright © 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company
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