9th August 2009, mgh
This Article: (9 Pages)
- 1. The work of the spirit in the New... Testament
- 2. An important Link between New and Old
- 3. The Comforter or Helper
- 4. Case Studies in Acts
- 5. A Summary of ideas of Spirit
- 6. The spirit of man & obe
- 7. The name of the Father, of the son... and of the holy spirit
- 8. Holy Spirit Gifts
- 9. Joel and the Outpouring of the... Spirit of Elohim
1) The work of the spirit in the New Testament
The New Testament begins a new phase in the work of the Creator. The English New Testament text frequently uses the expression Holy Spirit (often translated as Holy Ghost). As we have shown the term is used somewhat less than is thought. However at even 11 instances this expression 'the Holy Spirit' is significant. And the 20 times that 'the spirit the holy' is used in the New Testament far outweighs the three times it appears in the Old Testament (Psalm 51;11, Isaiah 63:10-11).
The reason for the outpouring is explained by Isaiah, who deals with aspects of the spirit of the Lord. The quotation from Isaiah that follows speaks of the love, pity and compassion that the Lord had for the nation of Israel. He showed great mercy and performed miracles to show his love for the people so that they would believe in him and worship him with reverence and fear. When the nation was 'afflicted', the Lord in compassion was afflicted. Isaiah presents the mind of the Lord, and, the Lord as having feelings.
He loved his people and pitied them in their afflictions, but when they rebelled against him, it 'vexed his holy spirit'.
In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old. But they rebelled, and vexed (even /namely) spirit holy-his therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them. Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying , Where is he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? where is he that put (even /namely) spirit holy-his within him? That led by the right hand of Moses with his glorious arm, dividing the water before them, to make himself an everlasting name? (Isaiah 63:9-13)
In the same way, Paul in writing to the Ephesians refers to the attributes that cause 'grief' to the Spirit of Yahweh.
And grieve not 'the spirit the holy' of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)
From the Proverbs the two aspects of an excellent spirit are 'knowledge' and 'understanding' and are related to men of understanding..
He that has knowledge spares his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit. (Proverbs 17: 27)
The spirit in these verses reveals an intimate understanding of the mind of Yahweh and his relationship with his people.
The Old Testament records many extraordinary occurrences in the life of the Israelites such as the plagues poured out on Egypt and amazing victories in battles against their enemies. The holy sacred ruach of Yahweh relates to both personal attributes of the Creator and the specific power that he reveals in miraculous events and the way he has worked through the faithful, such as Moses, Elijah and Elishah.
The inspired writers of the New Testament found it essential to differentiate between the profane and the holy, that is between the all embracing 'spirit' of the Greeks and the specific 'spirit of the Lord', that is, the 'spirit' of the holy of the Hebrew Old Testament. They often described the spirit as 'holy' so there was no confusion in the minds of Jews or converts familiar with the Greek language and ideas.
The New Testament begins a new stage in the working out of God's purpose with the earth. To achieve his purpose, spectacular events were to occur in the land of Israel, ushering in the culmination of the process of redemption.
Just as the ancient nation of Israel had witnessed miraculous events at the institution of the nation, a new generation was to also witness amazing things as a new era was to begin in God's purpose. The covenant of the Law of Moses was to be replaced by a new covenant and the nation of Israel were to meet their Messiah and future king, who was ultimately rejected by the majority of people in the nation of Israel.
A special power (or tool) of the Creator was given to humans that Yeshua called 'the Holy Spirit'. This was to play a crucial and demonstrable role in showing to the people the power of their God and the identity of their Messiah. The holy spirit with the Apostles (and in their gifts given to others) ensured the knowledge of the Messiah was spread to the known world.
John the Baptist, Forerunner of the Messiah
Late in life, Zacharias and Elisabeth were told that they would have a child who had a special mission. This child was to be filled with a Spirit that was holy from 'his mother's womb' and just as Elijah had had Yahweh's spirit with him, John had a special work to prepare the hearts or spirit of the people to receive their Messiah.
For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with a spirit holy, even from his mother's womb... And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. (Luke 1 : 15-17)
John the Baptist's father had knowledge and faith and believed the promises and the words of the prophets. Like the prophets, he prophesied
And his father Zacharias was filled with spirit holy, and prophesied, saying, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he has visited and redeemed his people, And has raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; ..To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; (Luke 1: 67-72)
John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I comes, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with spirit holy and with fire.(Luke3:16-17)
Yahweh's power and intervention in the lives of two families was to begin the process that was to culminate in the fulfilling of the Law and the beginning of the New Covenant to bring all mankind into the redemption process and the hope of life eternal. A Spirit came upon Mary and through the power of Yahweh she conceived Israel's Messiah.
And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Yeshua. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, a spirit holy shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. (Luke 1: 31-35)
Elisabeth, the mother of John the Baptist was also faithful and realised her son had an important role to play in introducing Jesus (Yeshua) who would open the way to salvation to Jew and Gentile.
And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled of spirit holy: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb (Luke 1: 41-42)
Because Simeon had faith and knowledge of prophecy, Yahweh's spirit came upon him and he was given information to identify the Saviour before his death,
And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was (the prophet)Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and spirit upon him was holy. And it was revealed unto him by the spirit of the Holy One, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. (Luke 2: 25-26)
There was a visible sign given that Jesus was the Messiah of Israel.
Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And 'the spirit the holy' descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. (Luke 3: 21-22)
A power that came out of, and from, the Holy One, from Yahweh, was seen to descend like a dove and was given visibly to Yeshua. From this point he possessed greater powers and skills than he had known previously.
2) An important Link between New and Old
Isaiah leads us in chapter 61 to the function of the holy spirit in the New Testament. The following quotation from Isaiah 61 is a significant link to the New Testament. It is a prophecy related to Israel's Messiah, but it could be argued that Isaiah also had the Spirit of Yahweh upon him as his book is a work of inspired prophecy, some of which was fulfilled at the time of the Messiah but much of which still remains to be fulfilled.
The Spirit of the Lord Yahweh is upon me; because Yahweh has anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of Yahweh, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of Yahweh, that he might be glorified. (Isaiah 61: 1-6)
Yeshua(Jesus) in Luke 4 quotes these words as referring to himself and his role in God's plan for mankind. The 'Spirit of the Lord is upon me' in Luke 4, is given as the 'Spirit of the Lord Yahweh' in Isaiah 61, indicating the source of this power.
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor...(Luke 4: 16-19)
This term 'the sprit of the Lord' in the Greek text occurs 5 times. Peter equates the Spirit of the Lord with 'the spirit the holy' in Acts 5:9 (cp 5:3). It was this spirit that takes away Philip after speaking to the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:39). Paul uses it twice.
But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2Cor 3:15-18)
Paul is clearly speaking of Yahweh as the Lord. The power of Yahweh, working through the Messiah and the Apostles had several forms and purposes. The various actions of Yahweh's spirit was to reveal to Israel their Messiah, to demonstrate his power to the nation through healing and miracles, to confirm the promises to Abraham and to preach the gospel of peace and of the Kingdom of God. Peter explains this,
The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: he is Lord of all: That word, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with spirit holy and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the slanderer; for God was with him. (Acts 10: 36-38)
Peter separates the power from the spirit holy indicating he knew the power Yeshua showed was different in some way from the spirit. Through the spirit, was how Yeshua preached peace, but through the demonstration of the power of Yahweh was how he convinced people he was sent from Yahweh. Yeshua himself says this,
I can of mine own self do nothing....
But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father has given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father has sent me. (John 5:30-36)
The spirit of Yahweh revealed to Simeon and Anna the prophetess, the promised redeemer of Israel at his birth, but many others were to see the signs and wonders later that confirmed Yeshua as their saviour. John the Baptist prepared the people for their Messiah and the evident bestowal of the spirit of Yahweh upon Yeshua at his baptism showed him as the Son of God.
Then the power of Yahweh was manifested when Yeshua commenced his ministry. Yeshua and the Apostles, then seventy were granted access to Yahweh's power to cure the sick and those mentally and physically afflicted. A common factor in these cures was usually the acknowledgement of the person's faith. On a very few occasions Yeshua and the Apostles restored those who had died to life (five at least, including Lazarus).
Yeshua, the Apostles and later Paul, could heal, but the Holy Spirit was especially to teach and preach. The Apostles were given the ability to speak in other languages in order that the word of God could be spread throughout the world. Those upon whom this power came had a very specific mission; to confirm the Messiah's teaching, to spread the hope of the Gospel to the known world, with power and indisputable authority.
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with spirit holy, and began to speak with other languages (tongues), as the Spirit gave them utterance.
And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language (dialect) (Acts 2: 2-6)
Some translations have 'tongues', as this is the literal Greek (Romans 3:13), but other use confirms it means language (see Rev 7:9, 17:15) The Apostles were publicly delegated to continue the work of Yeshua and could bestow a measure of this power on others, but there is no record in the New Testament to show that those who were not Apostles could pass this power on (Ananias lays his hands on Paul and he receives sight but he may have received the holy spirit after his baptism, Acts 9:17-18).
3) The Comforter or Helper
In the Gospel of John, there are four references to the 'comforter' ('helper' or 'advocate' Greek: paraklētos) that would come after Jesus' resurrection. Much bad theology is built on John's use of Greek. There are 2 points to remember: Firstly John was a Hebrew so he didn't think in Greek. Secondly the idea only occurs in John's work and so should be treated with caution and understood in John's context.
The following quotations reveal an interesting aspect of the 'comforter'. All are from the Apostle John's writings and as the word does not appear elsewhere and only in John's writings, it is important to closely examine his use of the term, 'Comforter'. In John chapters 14, 15 and 16. they are applied before the resurrection and are the Messiah's own words. It is the same word as 'advocate' in 1John 2, which was written after the resurrection and Yeshua's ascension to heaven. It should also be noted in passing that it was to John that the Revelation was given by Yeshua and this indeed would have been a comfort and source of hope for many faithful in the following 2000 years.
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter/advocate, that he may abide with you for ever;.... But the comforter/advocate the spirit the holy, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14:16, 26)
Some take it that this 'comforter' was personified as 'he'. Both Pneuma (spirit) and Hagios (holy) are grammatically neuter, so theologians argue when it is spoken of using a masculine pronoun, that the holy spirit is 'he'. But it doesn't say holy spirit- it says 'the spirit of the Holy'. Though spirit and holy are neuter, when used together they refer to the mind and power of Yahweh. It is therefore right when speaking of the spirit of the holy to use a masculine pronoun.
Yeshua speaks of “the helper 'the spirit the holy', which (masculine form) the father will send in the name of me” (John 14:26)
In John 15:26 he writes of 'the spirit the truth'. In Greek grammar the spirit is neuter and truth is feminine, but together as an expression they speak of the mind of Yahweh which John rightly called 'He'.
But like 'the Holy' the term 'the truth' is a Hebrew name for the God of Israel as the Jews considered the very essence of God's character is 'truth'. Isaiah wrote that Israel was to “lean upon Yahweh holy in truth”(Isa.10:20) and
That he who blesses himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God truth (amen /truthful/faithful) (Isaiah 65:16)
John clearly states that this 'comforter' was the spirit of 'truth'. It was the ability to absorb, discern and disseminate the knowledge of God's plan and Gospel message. The Apostles gave many people the ability to understand the prophetic writings and to show that Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah, which is evidenced in the gospels and epistles of the New Testament and written for the early congregations of the first century. The emphasis in John's gospel is on the importance of 'truth'.
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4: 23-24)
Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but ye know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world sees 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. (John 14:17-20)
The spirit of truth is the character or spirit or mind of Yahweh. It is this 'him' that the world doesn't know. Both Yahweh and Yeshua will be with the Apostles, and so the spirit of truth is doubly established.
John speaks of truth and defines it as 'the word of the Father'
the word made flesh begotten of the father full of grace and truth. (John1:14)
The word being full of truth. Clearly John listened to Yeshua,
But when the comforter/advocate is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, which proceeds from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.(John 15: 26-27)
The advocate is the spirit of truth.
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the comforter/advocate will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. (John 16:7)
My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an comforter/advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1John 2:1)
The preceding quotations from John reveal that the comforter, intercessor or advocate, was the communication of the word of truth. After the resurrection Jesus would no longer be amongst them. But the Spirit of Yahweh would come upon the apostles to allow the dissemination of truth and to bring to remembrance the words and prophecies of Yeshua whilst he was in their midst so that the words would not be forgotten.
John uses the same word paraklētos meaning comforter/ advocate/ intercessor in 1 John 2:1 to speak of how Yeshua, although not on earth, is our advocate in heaven before Yahweh. The comforter/advocate/ intercessor is about a go-between, or about in modern terms a line of communication.
If the president of a modern nation wishes to speak to another president he is not on diplomatic terms with, he will speak through 'back channels' and in this way communicate. Before the age of telephone the idea of speaking through the means of 'something' was best expressed paraklētos where 'para' means 'near/beside' and 'kletos' means 'appointed' or 'called'. Paul was called (kletos) to be an apostle (Romans 1:1, 1 Cor. 1:1). The paraklētos is a thing appointed to our side to communicate through.
In modern terms the best analogy of what Yeshua sent his Apostles from his father is a dedicated communication 'hot-line'. This is why he called it “the holy spirit”. It was like the communication device an army commander would carry into battle that puts him in contact with headquarters. This was linked with greater skills that were also given, just as an army commander will have in his command some weapons. But to see how the power of Yahweh worked as opposed to the spirit we need to understand that in the combined operation the commander of troops does not have access to missiles. If greater power is needed the commander calls though his communication device to headquarters who send out the missiles.
This is simplistic, and the situation is better understood by observing the work of the Elohim, the Mighty Ones, often called angels (messengers). They speak for Yahweh himself as seen when the angel spoke to Abraham (Genesis 18) and to Moses out of the burning bush (Exodus 3:2-4), which shows they have direct communication with Yahweh's thinking at a given time. They also carry out work in Yahweh's power such as the plague in Israel due to David's numbering (I Sam. 24:17). Yet it is clear that to only Yahweh himself belongs the power such as was used when Joshua fought at Gibeon (Joshua 10) and Jehoshaphat at Berachah (2 Chron. 20). In essence the Apostles had, after Pentecost, a portion of the type of communication ability the Elohim (angels) would have. The Apostles could give a portion of their skills to others.
Luke records Yeshua's final instructions to his disciples, as John did, but in a more clear, precise and straightforward manner. The disciples were given instructions about the work that was entrusted to them. They had been witnesses of all that had happened in Jerusalem. Yeshua said he would leave the disciples, but the Father would give them a special tool, the 'promise of my Father', to assist them to preach and teach. (Luke 24:46-49).
That 'the comforter' is described as 'he' does not imply a person, as it was clearly stated by the apostle John that the 'comforter' was the 'spirit of truth'. Luke describes it as a miraculous or mighty power from the Father (Luke 24:49). The comforter was masculine being Yahweh's power by which all that the Messiah had said would come to their remembrance.
4) Case Studies in Acts
The early chapters of the book of Acts explain the function of the Holy Spirit. The Apostles were able to convey the message of the Gospel of the Kingdom through their ability to speak in the languages of the surrounding nations. The authorities were amazed because the disciples were regarded as 'unlearned men'. In Acts 2, an outpouring of the Holy Spirit is described.
Suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
They were all filled with spirit holy, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance....Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. (Acts 2:2-4,6)
As mentioned before, the Apostle John said that the Messiah had promised the disciples that the Spirit of Truth would help to bring to their minds the many things that the Messiah had taught them. It is made clear in the following verse that the purpose of the Holy Spirit was to help them and give them courage to speak of the Kingdom and continue the work begun by the Saviour.
And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spake the word of God with boldness. (Acts 4: 31)
Stephen was described by the disciples as 'a man full of faith and 'of spirit holy' (Acts 6: 5). It is also recorded that Stephen was 'full of faith and power, (and) did great wonders and miracles among the people.' (Acts 6: 8) Some of the Apostles carried out healings and miracles through the Spirit. But this was not 'the Holy Spirit'
The purpose of the Holy Spirit was shown in how these men spoke 'the word of God with boldness', without fear. They had great faith and an unwavering belief in God's promises. The wonders they performed among the people were to reinforce the message of the Gospel that they were bringing to the people and showing God's power.
The working of the Spirit of the Holy
There are not a lot of outstanding cures recorded in the book of Acts. There are two quite significant ones however. Peter and John cured the lame man on the steps of the Temple. (Acts 3: 1-11) The people were amazed and Peter and John were able to use this as an opportunity to preach to the people.
And when Peter saw it , he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.
But ye denied the Holy and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; And killed the Prince of life, whom God has raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. (Acts 3: 12-15)
It is recorded that about five thousand of the men who heard the words of Peter and John believed. (Acts 4: 4) The miracle would have been of great joy to the lame man, but its real impact was on the people who saw the miracle and then heard the words of the Apostles. It was a tremendous aid to their preaching and a demonstration of God's power.
Peter raised Dorcas from the dead, but this was a unique miracle for a woman, who was greatly respected for her works and faith. Her revival would have also been a testimony to the people of the Gospel and the hope of resurrection. (Acts 9: 36-41) But what was the result?
And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord. And it came to pass, that he tarried many days in Joppa with one Simon a tanner. (Acts 9: 42-43)
This was a most significant event and it was “known throughout all Joppa”. Again it was a means of teaching and spreading the Gospel message to many people.
Paul publicly healed many people. At Lystra the healing of a man who had been cripple from birth resulted in such a public stir that due to the opposition to his message he was stoned (Acts 14:19). On the island of Melita Paul healed father of Publius, who was the chief man on the island which would have no doubt had a significant impact on the people of Melita (Acts 28: 7-8).
However, despite the miracles, Paul himself suffered, with the power of the spirit being denied him personally. Paul also referred to Timothy's infirmities. The reason given to Paul in his case was that through infirmities and weakness comes strength. If Paul, the great apostle to the gentiles and a dedicated worker for the furtherance of the Gospel of the Kingdom, suffered, it is obvious that the Spirit to miraculously heal is not always available. This is a most significant message for any servant of Christ/Messiah.
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of adversary to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.
Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. (2 Corinthians 12: 7-10)
In that time healing was only for the greater work, the witness, of the power of God.
5) A Summary of ideas of Spirit
The spirit of Yahweh that sustains all life is also the mind and power of God revealed in the Bible in various and varied ways. It is clear the term is broad and ranges from describing the general all pervading life and energy force to the emotion of Yahweh himself.
The specifically defined 'spirit of Elohim' and 'spirit of Yahweh' as used in the Old Testament speak of work done solely to accomplish Yahweh's will in the purpose that he has with the earth and mankind on the earth. The nation of Israel has been guided by Yahweh and his intervention occurred when needed at critical times in their history. Yahweh's power, through his spirit working in selected humans was employed to ensure Israel's survival.
In the New Testament there was also clear evidence of the Spirit of the Lord (Yahweh) at work in the first century, as it had been in Ancient Israel's experiences, with the Apostles entrusted with the work of revealing the Creator and the hope of salvation, through the ministry and sacrifice of their redeemer, Yeshua. The special work of the holy spirit in the Apostles and the preservation of the writings of the Prophets and the Apostles brought this hope to all nations.
Often the Holy Spirit is regarded today by individuals as the power by which they may be healed or come to knowledge of God, but the evidence that we have presented reveals that the work of Spirit of Yahweh has been solely for the preservation of Israel, with the specific work of the holy spirit being the establishment of Christianity and the future fulfilment of God's promises to man.
The spirit given skill of the New Testament times was given publicly, directly and visibly to both Yeshua and the Apostles. The Apostles could 'break off' and give of a bit of that spirit by putting on their hands. No other but the 12 Apostles and Paul could give it. And of most importance it was never given for any personal benefit.
The Bible is an authoritative book and the sole source of knowledge about God. The Spirit of Yahweh, or also 'the spirit the Holy' inspired men to write and many times it is stated that 'Yahweh said'. The Bible is today the voice of Yahweh revealing to us his will and purpose. In the world around us and in the evidence of history we can see the fulfilment of prophecy and the power of God working among the nations.
The work of the holy spirit was finished when John penned the last words of the Revelation. The promise of the work through the holy spirit was to that generation. The Bible, including the work done with the holy spirit, is now sole source of guidance and instruction for those who love Yahweh and his son Yeshua, and, who seek for life beyond our present mortal existence and peace brought to a world in which injustice and violence now prevail.
6) The spirit of man & obe
In each of us there is a spirit that is a projection of our mind and emotions (Prov 18:14, Eccl.3:21). We can project joy or sadness. In a group there can be mass emotion, as seen at sporting matches or religious revivals where parts of the crowd act as one having one spirit of the moment. Whether it is religious or not the source is the same. This is not from Yahweh but from the humans. The mind of Yahweh is a different 'spirit' to the 'spirit' of the mind of humans (Isaiah 55:8). They must not be confused, just as the wind is different from our breath.
The spirit of man is dangerous when used with repetitive words to affect the minds of people, such as used by dictators and by some modern religious leaders. The Hebrew word 'obe' (familiar spirit) implies 'prattling and mumbling'. Those who did this Yahweh condemned to death (Leviticus 20:27). The 'hyped' obe is evident for what it is as we have a description of what it feels like to hear the word of God.
In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on men, Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake. Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up: It stood still, but I could not discern the form of it: an image was before mine eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice, saying, (Job 4:13-16)
It is clear from this and every description, that the word of God comes suddenly, requires no effort on our part and the voice is from outside, not in our head, or from us. If it is 'mumbling' from us it's 'obe' as evident in pagan tribal spirit worship, and it's condemned
7) The name of the Father, of the son and of the holy spirit
This phrase is much spoken of. But it might be given more prominence than it is worthy of. The phrase only occurs once in the whole Bible.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and 'of-the holy spirit' (Matthew 28:19)
Once only! The Bible always follows God's own rules of everything being established in the mouth of two or three witnesses (Deut 17:6 19:15, Mat. 18:16, 2 Cor. 13:1). Every important incident through the entire Bible has at least 2 references to it. There are four gospels and no corroborating witness to this. On the Bible's own terms this phrase is not specifically important. This is one of only 9 times that the Greek text has the exact term 'of the holy spirit'.
We can know what Yeshua said by analysing the words. The name of 'the father' is not 'father', but a Hebrew phrase given to Moses (Exodus 3:13). Not as most translations have 'I am', but, 'I will be' which is the same Hebrew word as in verse 12,
And he said, 'Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee:... ' (Exodus 3:12)
The name of 'the Father' is, in English, “I will be who I will be”. The name of 'the son' is Yeshua, the same as the Hebrew for 'Joshua', which means 'Yah shall save'. The name of 'the holy spirit' was given to us by John. Yeshua called it 'the advocate/intercessor' and the spirit of truth. Therefore the name is 'He who will be who he will be, Yah shall save, the advocate/intercessor'. But this does not tell us what was meant by baptising into the name. So what does Yeshua mean by the instruction?
The apostles spoke a lot about following Yeshua's commands (1Jn.2:3, 2Peter2:21,1 Thess.4:2). They were told, according to Matthew, to go out and do this thing and there is not one record that they literally did this. The actions of the Apostles show us what Yeshua meant. Peter said,
Repent, and be baptised each one of you in the name of Yeshua Anointed, for forgiveness of sins, and you shall receive the gift 'of-the holy spirit' (Acts 2:38)
According to Luke, Peter baptised in the name of 'Yeshua Anointed', not in the name of the father and the holy spirit, though he spoke of the gift 'of the holy spirit'.
Peter baptised those of Cornelius' household “in the name of the Lord” (Acts 10:48). This is possibly the name of Yahweh, as Luke sometimes used 'the lord' to refer to Yahweh (Acts 18:25) and often wrote 'the lord Yeshua' (Acts 19:5) when referring to Yeshua. Peter did not here give a gift of the holy spirit as it was given, in a special case, directly from God. Peter, it seems, did not baptise in the name of the holy spirit. However Peter led the decision to baptise as a result of the evidence of the gift of the holy spirit.
Paul says he was told by Ananias to “be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of himself (Yeshua see context)” (Acts 22:16).
Paul was told to call on the name of Yeshua, the 'Just One' He was first given his sight then was filled 'of spirit holy', then was baptised (Acts 9:17-18). Luke does not say Paul was given of the gift of the holy spirit, as those such as Philip and Ananias couldn't give it to Paul. What came upon Paul was greater than the gifts of the holy spirit, as Paul himself could give of the spirit he had. Neither Paul or Ananias mention being baptised in the name of anyone. Paul was to call on the name of Yeshua, something quite different.
Paul shows his understanding when he found twelve baptised by John the Baptist at Ephesus. Paul re-baptised them “in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Act 19:5). They were not baptised into the name of Yahweh or or the holy spirit. But after they were baptised, through Paul, they received of the power (or hand) of spirit the Holy (One), that gave the two specific gifts of languages and prophecy (Acts 19:6). It does not say the twelve received 'the holy spirit' they received a part of the power of the spirit belonging to the Holy One, from Paul.
Philip, who was not of the Apostles, went to the Samaritans.
But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.(Act 8:12)
When he baptised it was in the 'name of Yeshua Anointed'. He didn't baptise in the name of Yahweh or the holy spirit. He couldn't even give of the holy spirit (Acts 8:12,16). We are given a complete description of Philip baptising the Ethiopian Eunuch. The Eunuch confessed “Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (Act 8:37) and Philip baptised him without any more words, and certainly the Eunuch never received a gift of the holy spirit as Philip couldn't give it.
We must conclude that the words recorded by Matthew were not for Philip (or us), but only for the Apostles. In fact Matthew tells us this as he says the eleven went to meet Yeshua (Matthew 28:16). In reading any text the first rule is to see who the words are directed to, and in what context they are said. The words were only for the Apostles. They only were able to baptise in the name of the holy spirit. Mark records the same incident
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and 'of-the holy spirit' (Matthew 28:19)
Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved (Mark 16:15-16)
Mark records Yeshua spoke of dramatic miracles the eleven would do, including not being hurt by drinking deadly things, clearly beyond the province of the gifts of the holy spirit. This was for the Apostles only, it is clearly not directed at us. But we can put the two incidents together. Yeshua said that whoever believes in 'the name' and is baptised shall be saved. The name is the plan of He who will be, in the work of Yah shall save and in the work of the advocate/ intercessor, the spirit of truth. This 'name' was summarised by Mark as 'the Gospel'. This we can do.
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. (1Cor 12:13),
In the context the 'one spirit' is the “Spirit of God” where 'no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the spirit Holy” (1Cor 12:3), which was the work of the holy spirit by the Apostles, including Paul. Paul explains what he means. Being baptsied in 'the name' was to 'put on' Christ.
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (Gal 3:27)
This being the sum total of evidence, we may conclude that the Apostles knew that Yeshua was not asking his Apostles to mouth a set of words over a person. Rather the people had to take on the name by understanding fully the purpose of Yahweh, as understood in the meaning of his name, and also the purpose of Yeshua as understood in the meaning of that name. The Jews of that time understood the purpose of Yahweh concerning the kingdom, but they needed to understand the name of Yeshua or the salvation through Yeshua. However, Cornelius as a Gentile needed to firstly, become part of the name of Yahweh, as a close reading of the text indicates Cornelius and his house were not proselytes. This would explain why Luke says in Cornelius' case he was baptised into “the name of the Lord” (Yahweh) where all others were baptised into the name of Yeshua.
Yeshua's words to the Apostles specifically told them (not the disciples and not us) they were now to be teachers of the knowledge of Yahweh's plan (I will be who I will be), the way of salavation (Yah will save) and that they would be supported in their teaching work by the holy spirit.
8) Holy Spirit Gifts
This phrase 'Holy Spirit gifts', as such, does not occur in the Bible.
There may be people today who make claims that they possess the Holy Spirit but there is little evidence in the Bible that special powers are available to humans today. The Bible is very specific about the work and function of the Holy Spirit.
The expression 'gift of the Holy Spirit' is referred to in five places. Take a close look at Hebrews 2:4 and its context.
For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him ;
God also bearing witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts (Greek: merismos) of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will? (Hebrews 2: 2-4)
This section of the Bible is specifically referring to the Messiah, who was revealed to the people through his message of salvation. A word for word translation reads,
with various miracles and spirit holy dividing-to-give according-to that himself determines
With the bestowal of special powers by Yahweh, Messiah showed by signs and miracles that he was indeed the Messiah. This word 'gift' in the Greek has also been translated as 'dividing asunder of soul and spirit' in Hebrews 4: 12. Yeshua broke off and gave of the spirit that he had.
There is another instance when it is recorded that there was a gift of the Holy Spirit given. Peter had been given a vision of unclean animals and was told to kill and eat. Peter protested that he had never eaten unclean animals. (Acts 10: 9-17) However Peter had been shown a most important stage in the redemption of mankind. The hope of salvation was to now be extended to the Gentiles. Peter was then sent to Cornelius, a Roman Centurion, together with his kinsmen and close friends, who listened to the preaching of Peter. This is a most significant event. Also note that the Greek word used in Acts 10 is different to that which referred to the Messiah in Hebrews 2.
And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.
To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believe in him shall receive remission of sins.
While Peter yet spake these words, the spirit the holy fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift (Greek: dorea) of the Holy Spirit.
For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the spirit the holy as well as we? (Acts 10: 42-47)
Peter was commanded to preach to these Gentiles and he spoke of the Messiah, judgement and the remission of sins. The people believed, magnified God and were able to speak in unfamiliar languages, as the apostles had on the day of Pentecost. This was irrefutable evidence that the Gentiles were now incorporated in the plan of redemption. Peter, with the Jews, had witnessed the sign of the extension of the Gospel message to all nations and tongues.
Simeon, a faithful Israelite, had understood the role of the Messiah as extending the hope of Israel to the Gentiles. We see that Peter was given emphatic confirmation by the evidence of a portion of the holy spirit coming on Cornelius, that Isaiah's prophecy had to be fulfilled.
And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, “Lord, now let thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which you have prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” (Luke2:27-32)
Simeon was quoting from Isaiah 42, which is a prophecy of the Messiah. As an aside the spirit of the Holy One guided Simeon in his actions but did not give him a new revelation. Simeon's actions in the Temple were a public witness to the nation.
On the day of Pentecost when the Apostles received the Holy Spirit, Peter spoke publicly to the people of salvation and the promise of redemption and forgiveness of sins.
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift (Greek: dorea) of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2: 38)
We note here that the word gift (dorea) as applied to these people is the same as applied to Cornelius. It is NOT the word (merismos) applied to the Messiah in Hebrews 2:4. There is obviously a clear distinction. The gift (merismos) offered by Messiah to the mass of people was healing, forgiveness of sins and the hope of salvation.
In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul gives advice about gifts. The word used in this chapter is again another word in Greek 'charisma'. The gifts enumerated could be classed as special abilities that were important in the maintenance of the early congregations.
God has set some in the congregation, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts (Greek: charisma) of healing, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. (1Corinthians 12: 28)
If we examine this list carefully there is a certain hierarchy. The Apostles were responsible for prophecy and teaching. They also had a limited ability to heal and by miracles confirm the truth of their message. Like Cornelius and the Apostles, some were able to understand and speak languages by which they could teach others from different nations, but in Paul's list of gifts this was least important, and clearly only given to 'some'.
We have in these examples, three different words that have been translated as 'gift' and apply to different situations. But in all cases teaching and prophecy are pre-eminent. In addition we must remember these documents are what is now ancient history, and describe the remarkable events which ensured at that time the gospel was spread to the whole world and that we today have the text of the New Testament.
9) Joel and the Outpouring of the Spirit of Elohim
There is an Old Testament prophecy that could cause misconceptions in our era. It is to be found in Joel 2 and reads as follows:
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: (Joel 2: 28)
This quotation is referred to by Peter. The opinion of some Christians is that today we are awaiting the second coming of the Messiah and this refers to our times. It needs to be noted that this was a prophecy to Israel, to their sons and daughters. The last verse, which states 'before that great and notable day of the Lord come,' suggests a latter day application, but it is clearly a prophecy to Israel. Peter said
But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: (Acts 2: 16-20)
The Jews of the first century were witnessing the fulfilment of Isaiah's prophecies. There was an expectation that Messiah's return would be soon. So when Peter was speaking of this prophecy, they would think it would be within the next generation. That day was a foretaste of what would happen in the future. We know this as Peter does not say that the prophecy was fulfilled by the events on that day.
Peter is very happy to say the death and resurrection 'fulfilled' the prophets (Acts 1:16, 3:18. Also Stephen 13:27,29,33) But what Peter is recorded as saying in the Greek text is somewhat different in regards to this quote from Joel. Literally he says,
but, nevertheless this/the same exist this spoken of through the prophet Joel (Acts 2:16)
To say that 'the same exists' spoken of through Joel, is not saying it was fulfilled, he is saying it is 'like' that time. In fact it could not have been fulfilled as Peter also quotes the context, and that was not fulfilled. We can confirm this as Matthew uses the same Greek phrase when speaking of John the baptist the “voice of one crying in the wilderness”,
This/the same is what exist the/this speak through Isaiah the prophet (Matthew 3:3)
An analysis shows that in no way can the coming of John the Baptist fully fulfil Isaiah 40:3 as Isaiah writes,
Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she has received of Yahweh's hand double for all her sins. ..the Lord Yahweh will come with strong hand..: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him (Isaiah 40:2, 10).
At the time of John the Baptist Jerusalem's warfare was not finished and even now Yahweh is yet to come with his reward. Just as there is to be another crying in the wilderness (Elijah) to fulfil the detail of Matthew's quote, so too Peter's quote from Joel is yet to be fully fulfilled.
Since that time there has been nearly two thousand years and we have not yet seen the signs and wonders spoken of as concurrent with spirit being poured out on all flesh. That the spirit would be poured out on Israel is spoken of elsewhere. Ezekiel for example speaks of the regathered Jews being reformed with a new spirit
Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. And they shall come there, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence.
And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God. (Ezekiel 11: 17-20)
Just as in Peter's day, some miracle will be needed to convince the modern nation of Israel now regathered that their Messiah has indeed come. Paul observed that the Jews required a sign, whereas the Greeks sought after wisdom (1Corinthians 1:22). Just as in those days the Jews required a sign, so they will in modern times.
Of what sort was the evidence of the spirit the apostles showed? The kind that would make international headlines, such as a public instant healing of one known to be medically untreatable. But Joel says there will be a day of outpouring of the spirit of Yahweh: to bring deliverance to the political nation of Israel, when other nations seek to rule Israel.
Let the priests say.. Spare thy people, O Yahweh.. that the nations should rule over them: wherefore should they say.., Where is their God? (Joel2:17) And Yahweh shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executes his word: for the day of Yahweh is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? (Joel 2:11)
It is this day that will see the outpouring of Yahweh's spirit on 'all flesh'. Note the 'all' is qualified in Joel's prophecy, it is not all people living but two classes: the Jewish people styled 'your sons and daughters' and those called by Yahweh Elohim 'my servants'. But in that same day many will “not abide” the outpouring of the wrath of Yahweh.
Until that day we have access, if we read it, to the work of the spirit of Yahweh, his mind revealed though his power to humans, which was the written word that we still have. Of what use are new revelations, if we haven't worked out what the one we have says? The work of the holy spirit was the word of God,
which effectually works also in you that believe. (1Thess. 2:13)
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