Truth, Understanding, Insight

Holy Spirit

9th August 2009, mgh


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).


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