The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament
Course: Systematic Theology II
Lecture: The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament
I. The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
II. The Person of the Spirit
III. The Work of the Holy Spirit
A. The work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament
1. Old Testament references to the Holy Spirit
2. The Spirit’s empowerment in the Old Testament
d. Civil Rulers
By civil rulers I have in mind a category that Moses would fit into who was not a king of Israel but none the less acted as the ruler of Israel. This is a category that would accommodate a Moses and a Saul; people who are rulers of Israel whether they hold the position of king or not.
Numbers 11 is a fascinating chapter as it relates to the work of the Spirit in the Old Testament
Moses has been given the responsibility by God of leading and handling the disputes of (imagine this) the whole nation of Israel. How many of those people are there who are wondering through the wilderness for 40 years over which Moses has responsibility? How many roughly? One million is a conservative estimate. Estimates vary from one million to three million. Let’s take the most conservative estimate of a million people. Louisville is how big? The greater Louisville area is shy of a million, I think. It is probably somewhere around 800,000 or so. So think of you being pastor of Louisville; you having responsibility for all of the people in Louisville just to give you a feel for what this was like for Moses. He was feeling under enormous pressure especially when Israel wasn’t happy and grumbled over and over. In Numbers 11 we pick up at point where things are not going well. The people are complaining.
Numbers 11:10 Now Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, each man at the doorway of his tent; and the anger of the Lord was kindled greatly, and Moses was displeased.
This was after the manna was sent and some of them collected it and some of them didn’t collected a double amount when they were suppose to, they weren’t following the rules right so the Lord brought a judgment upon them
Numbers 11:11 So Moses said to the Lord, “Why have You been so hard on Your servant? And why have I not found favor in Your sight, that You have laid the burden of all this people on me? Numbers 11:12 “Was it I who conceived all this people? Was it I who brought them forth, that You should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom as a nurse carries a nursing infant, to the land which You swore to their fathers’? Numbers 11:13 “Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they weep before me, saying, ‘Give us meat that we may eat!’ Numbers 11:14 “I alone am not able to carry all this people, because it is too burdensome for me.
Numbers 11:15 “So if You are going to deal thus with me, please kill me at once, if I have found favor in Your sight, and do not let me see my wretchedness.”
Do you get the irony in this? If you care about me at all, kill me because it's that bad. If you talk about depths of despair as a leader, this is it.
Numbers 11:16a The Lord therefore said to Moses,
I have a solution for you problems. Here is where the Spirit comes into the discussion.
Numbers 11:16b “Gather for Me seventy men from the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and their officers and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you.
Numbers 11:17 “Then I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit who is upon you, and will put Him upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you will not bear it all alone.
How many in Israel have the Spirit according to this text? One, Moses. Moses has the Spirit, not the host of Israel, not the believing in Israel. Are there others believing in Israel besides Moses? Yes there are some, there is Aaron, there is Caleb and Joshua. There are some. There are others believing in Israel. How many have the Spirit? Moses.
Numbers 11:24 So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord. Also, he gathered seventy men of the elders of the people, and stationed them around the tent.
I need to picture this for you. What God says is that I want you get these seventy men and take them outside of the camp of Israel to a tent and I will come down upon you there.
Numbers 11:25 Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him; and He took of the Spirit who was upon him and placed Him upon the seventy elders. And when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do it again.
What does that sound like? Pentecost. Very much like Pentecost. Why do you think they prophesied? The Spirit of God was upon them. It was confirmation, empirical verification that the Spirit had come upon them so people would know that our elder so and so got the Spirit upon him. How do know that? He prophesied, he was one of the ones prophesying. So the Spirit came upon them, they prophesied but they didn’t do it again. By the way this is interesting in terms of the question the cessationist/continuist question of whether or not the Spirit performs the initial sign of his coming repeatedly or permanently. Here it is surely not the case. He did it once and he did not have to do it again. He only had to do it one time. He made the point, yes these are the people filled with the Spirit, good enough.
Numbers 11:26a But two men
Two of the seventy, so actually there were only 68 out at the tent. Two of the seventy who should have been there didn’t go out there but the Spirit of God came upon them anyway back in the community of Israel with all of the other people.
Numbers 11:26 But two men had remained in the camp; the name of one was Eldad and the name of the other Medad. And the Spirit rested upon them (now they were among those who had been registered, but had not gone out to the tent), and they prophesied in the camp.
I have suspected that they were twins. So they were two of the seventy but did not go to the tent with the other 68, they stayed back in the camp but hey were two of the seventy so the Spirit rested upon them and they prophesied in the camp.
Numbers 11:27 A young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”
Why do you think that this young man was troubled by this; that Eldad and Medad were prophesying in the camp? One thing is that they didn’t do what they were supposed to do. They were supposed to go to the tent but here they stay in the camp. More importantly Moses is the key man. He is the ruler in Israel and they do not want Moses’ authority to be challenged. Here these two men have stayed back in the camp and do this. Where is Moses? He is out at the tent. What might the people do? Start following these two.
Numbers 11:28 Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ aide since youth, spoke up and said, “Moses, my lord, stop them!”
The same thing, worried about Moses’ authority.
Numbers 11:29 But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!”
This is a key verse on this issue. Moses had a totally different mindset toward what is happening. He says you are thinking of this altogether wrong. You are wanting me to retain unilateral authority in this camp.
Rather than thinking restrain these two from prophesying in the Spirit imagine what it would be like (remember this Moses with all of his problems, Moses with all his problem people) not if just 70 that had the Spirit, what if all of God’s people had the Spirit? Think of what that would do to their lives. This is a little tiny glimmer, vision, dream of Pentecost. The point is, how many people had the Spirit? One, then 70 and Moses can only dream of the day when all of God’s people have the Spirit. It is not a reality now; it is one at best Moses can dream about. Do you see the point? How many people in Israel had the Spirit? If you counted them up in the Old Testament counting the seventy you would end up with a little over 100 people of whom the Old Testament states these people had the Spirit. Mind you no blanket statement like we have in the New Testament; are you a believer in Jesus Christ, you have the Spirit. No blanket statement or teaching that indicates that all God’s people have the Spirit. That is absent in Old Testament teaching. What is present in Old Testament is this prophet, that prophet, another prophet has the Spirit, the other people don’t. That craftsman has the Spirit, perhaps a couple of others with him (there might be some indication that he and some others had the Spirit) not everybody in Israel. That judge, another judge had the Spirit, not all the people in Israel. Moses alone, then the seventy, not all of the people of Israel.
1 Samuel 11 – Saul and David
Why did the people of Israel want a king? To be like all of the other nations. So God gave them a king in the same kind of way that the other nations would pick a king; namely good looking, tall, strong, and kingly. The first king of Israel matches Israel’s expectations; we want a king like the rest of the nations, we want a king’s king; strong handsome and strong. So they pick Saul to be their king and God honors their request. Obviously for pedagogical purposes; that is God is looking past this to what He intends to teach them through it. Sometimes God answers dumb prayers. Have you ever experienced that in you life? He actually does give you something that you ask for but in retrospect you realize how foolish that was but it was pedagogical; God used that in you life to bring about some good things. In this case God really did grant their sinful, hardhearted, rebellious request for a king. So Saul is picked. He honors this by giving the Spirit to Saul.
1 Samuel 11:5 Just then Saul was returning from the fields, behind his oxen, and he asked, “What is wrong with the people? Why are they weeping?” Then they repeated to him what the men of Jabesh had said.
1 Samuel 11:6 When Saul heard their words, the Spirit of God came upon him in power, and he burned with anger.
1 Samuel 11:7 He took a pair of oxen, cut them into pieces, and sent the pieces by messengers throughout Israel, proclaiming, “This is what will be done to the oxen of anyone who does not follow Saul and Samuel.” Then the terror of the Lord fell on the people, and they turned out as one man.
Here is Saul acting almost like Sampson. The Spirit comes upon him and he is filled with strength, courage and boldness and performs this mighty deed and announces to the nation he is king in Israel and they need to follow him.
It wasn’t very long and Saul sinned grievously against the Lord. What did Saul do in the subsequent chapters here; 12-15? Two things in particular Saul did. 1) He sacrificed. What was wrong with sacrificing? Instead of waiting for Samuel to come, he decided that he had waited long enough, Samuel is not coming, he will function as priest. God viewed that as presumptuous and out of place for Saul to do and so held this against Saul. 2) God told him to wipe out the Amalekites. How much was he to wipe out? All of them including Amalek the king, including their cattle. Here comes Samuel and asks what is that bleating of sheep that I hear? And Saul’s response is I have saved the best to sacrifice unto the Lord. Samuel’s response was, "it is better to obey than to sacrifice, to heed than the fat of rams." Saul is called on the carpet for these two offenses. What is the judgment upon Saul? The kingdom is taken from him and given to another. How is that manifested in Saul’s life? The Spirit is removed from Saul. I Samuel 16:14
1 Samuel 16:14 Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord terrorized him.
That is an incredible text. It ought to put fear and trembling into all of our hearts. Clearly this indicates something that we have not seen before, perhaps is implicit but here is explicit. When Bezalel received the Spirit for the work of craftsmanship in building the Tabernacle, are we to think that Spirit stayed upon Bezalel the rest of his life? Since the Spirit’s coming is blank (fill in the blank for me) therefore in all likelihood the Spirit’s coming is blank (fill in the blank). Since the Spirit's coming upon him is for some temporary service; build the Tabernacle, that is going to take a while but it is not going to take the rest of his life. Then in all likelihood the Spirit’s coming upon Bezalel is likewise, temporary. That is implicit. What we find in Saul is an explicit statement that the Spirit who was on Saul can be lifted, taken from Saul.
As far as the rest of the verse “evil spirit from the Lord terrorized him,” my main interest is not there I will make a thirty second comment on that just because I know that someone will ask me. This doesn’t mean that the Spirit from the Lord is the same thing as the Spirit of God; that is, God does not do evil nor does He endorse evil to be done but He reigns over all evil so that there were evil spirits who were eager to get at Saul. Why have they not done so earlier? Because God said, "no," and the Spirit of God in Saul would prevent it. All God has to do is lift His hand and evil spirits who long to wreak havoc may have their way. This is exactly what happens in the book of Job. Who afflicts Job in all the ways that happen to Job? Satan. Who controls when, how much, if? God does. So couldn’t you even say that the affliction that was of Job was from the Lord? I think you have to say that because Job says it. We know this correct because the book ends after the fortune is restored to Job. His friends and brothers come to comfort him for all the affliction the Lord had brought upon Job. That is the author of Job’s commentary on what has happened. His commentary is this affliction from the Lord that has come upon Job.
Job 42:11 Then all his brothers and all his sisters and all who had known him before came to him, and they ate bread with him in his house; and they consoled him and comforted him for all the adversities that the Lord had brought on him. And each one gave him one piece of money, and each a ring of gold.
Is this an evil spirit from the Lord? Here is my analogy. In Portland Oregon (where I once lived) for some reason in Portland they love dogs and there is an inordinate inexplicable love for pit bulls. These are wicked dogs. I have seen pit bulls up close. They have jaws that are made of iron. When they latch on to you, you literally cannot physically open the jaw of a pit bull dog. He will shake you until your body rips apart. They are absolutely vicious animals. In Portland I would walk miles through neighborhoods and dogs were always a problem but there was this one place where I knew a pit bull lived in a dog house behind a chain link fence. Every time I walked by, this pit bull would first of all growl and then he would charge out of that dog house and his head would bang right up against that chain link fence. There was an indentation in the fence where his head constantly hit that thing. Many times I would stop there and look at that dog just absolutely ready to kill and think that the only thing that is saving me is that fence. If that fence wasn’t there I would be dead in minutes. Here is my picture for you. That pit bull is an evil spirit and what holds that evil spirit back is God. Anytime He wishes He may open the gate. He doesn’t have to make evil happen. He simply, for His purposes, whether it be for judgment, discipline or what ever the case may be, He simply allows it to happen by His absolute sovereign choice and it will. That is how I understand an evil spirit from the Lord.
The main point is that the Spirit is taken from Saul.
1 Samuel 16:13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him [David] in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel arose and went to Ramah.
I think the implication that is permanently, for the rest of his life.
The story doesn’t end here in terms of making the case. Saul sinned grievously against the Lord. What happened? The Spirit is taken from him. David sinned grievously against the Lord in what incident? Bathsheba. Let’s compare the sins. Saul sacrifices when he should have waited for Samuel. He doesn’t kill all of the people he ought to. David, the whole thing begins with II Samuel 11. Look how the chapter begins
2 Samuel 11:1 Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem.
David took a self appointed vacation. The point of that comment by the narrator of the story is, you know where David should have been, he should have been out there leading his troops in battle. He was King David who killed his ten thousands and Saul his thousands. This is David king of Israel, mighty warrior, where is he? On the rooftop having a great time while his troops are at war. Here is sin number one: It is negligence. It is not stated explicitly, but it is there. By the way, self appointed vacations, you can count on it, there is going to be trouble. Because you whole mindset in not with the Lord, not seeking to be obedient to the Lord, you are straying from the Lord. Here is David on the rooftop and it just so happens that this beautiful comes out to bathe and he sees her and calls her to himself and has sexual relations with this woman. So here we go from negligence to overt adultery, overt sexual immorality. Then what happens next? Bathsheba sends word to him that she is with child. So David thinks he knows the way out of this. It hasn’t been very long yet, no one suspects, so he will just bring her husband home and arrange for them to be together and no one will suspect. David's "great plan" is foiled by a Hittite who is so noble and has such great integrity that he will not, when offered, go and seek the pleasure of his wife because the men with whom he is fighting do not have this opportunity. What does David do next? He tells Joab to put him in the front and make sure he dies in battle. So Bathsheba is freed up. Count the sins. Saul didn’t kill enough people and he sacrificed ten minutes before Samuel showed up, versus David's negligence as king, seeking out an adulterous relationship, committing an adulterous relationship, seeking to deceive the nation into thinking that the child was fathered by Uriah and plotting to murder Uriah the Hittite, who was a noble innocent man in this whole matter. Weigh the sins and think what David would be thinking when Nathan comes to him and tells him the story about this poor man who has just one little sheep. The man in Nathan's story loves this little sheep. It is his pride and his joy and a rich man who has lots of sheep and comes and takes this one man’s sheep. What should be done with this man? "He should be killed," says David. Nathan points the finger at David and says, "you are the man." David realizes the gravity of his sin. What is David to think at that moment? Will God do to me what He did to Saul? Did David know what the Spirit of the Lord being taken from Saul and evil spirit from the Lord meant in Saul’s life? Yes, he knew it intimately because as Saul went increasingly deranged, who was it that became the target of Saul’s irrational hatred? David. Many of the Psalms -- God deliver me from the enemy, save my life, he pulled me out the pit -- many of those Psalms are Psalms of David fleeing from Saul, being pursued by Saul, believing that his life was in jeopardy by this enraged, irrational Saul. So did David know what it means if God lifts His Spirit from the king and the judgment of God’s hand comes upon his life? Yes, he knew it and he feared it. So what did he do? He prays Psalm 51:
Psalm 51:11 Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
What does he pray, among other things? "Lord do not do to me what you did to Saul." (that is my paraphrase) "Do not take your Holy Spirit from me."
e. The characteristics of the Spirits empowerment in the Old Testament
All of this to sum up. There are three characteristics of the Spirit’s empowerment in the Old Testament. What is in common with all three of these with Spirit empowering a prophet, empowering a craftsman, empowering a judge, empowering a Moses or the seventy or a Joshua or a David or a Saul?
Highly selective. It is just Moses. Numbers 11, I will take the Spirit who is on you, not the Spirit who is on the community of the faithful, not the Spirit who on Israel, but the Spirit who is on you. You see how it makes no sense to say the Spirit was on the community of Israel if he takes the Spirit and puts Him on the seventy. Presumably they would have already had the Spirit then. It doesn’t make sense, so what God does is He takes the Spirit that is on Moses and put Him on the seventy. It means that just Moses and just the seventy have the Spirit. Just Saul has the Spirit, just David has the Spirit, just a prophet has the Spirit, just Bezalel. So you go down the line and you realize that this is very selective.
This is the hardest one to demonstrate. It clearly is the case with Saul; 1 Samuel 16:14 the Spirit of the Lord was taken from Saul. So we know that happened there. It is implicit though in the other cases.
(3) Task oriented
The fist two points serve the third one. This is the critical one; it is the one that explains the other two. He comes to enable something to done, whether it is a word spoken accurately, boldly or the Tabernacle being built with precision and accuracy or boldness to stand up against the enemies of Israel or the ability to judge the people’s disputes, lead the people forward, have the responsibility over the people. Whatever it is it is a task assigned to individuals. That task indicates that, that individual not other or those individuals not others and that task indicates the time which the Spirit would be upon the person. So for David, for example, even though he feared the Spirit would be taken from him (do not take your Holy Spirit from me), God was gracious. God forgave David’s sin and so David remained King of Israel his entire life. The Spirit was upon him for his whole life. Is that evidence for the permanent possession of the Spirit at least of the selective ones upon who He comes? No, it is evidence that the task was lifelong. That is why I think some prophets like Elisha, "the Spirit of the Lord rested upon him." I think the implication is for life because he was a lifelong prophet.
This one is the most critical because it explains why just these people and not others and why this long and not longer or why for life and in other cases not.
The question related to why we as believers have the Holy Spirit for life; so that we can pass on the Gospel for our entire life.
This is missing the point. By selective I mean among the redeemed, among those who are truly God’s people. It is Moses not the rest. There certainly some other true believers in Israel beside Moses; there is the seventy, I take it those would be true believers. Distinguish this, task oriented with a more wholesale, whole life purpose that is true of the Spirit’s coming in the New Covenant. My point is this is going to be in comparison to the New Covenant work of the Spirit when these things get exploded. Because of your question I am jumping way ahead. When the Spirit comes it won’t be selective. Think Joel 2
Joel 2:28 “It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. Joel 2:29 “Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.
It is not selective, it won’t be temporary, it won’t be merely empowered to do something. There is a sense in which all of this will be retained; a sense in which that is true in the New Covenant but it is this much more.
Student Question: The model I am presenting to you is anything but a uniformly held model among evangelicals; that is I know men on our faculty who differ with me vehemently on this and I differ with them vehemently on this because there is such a theological necessity of accounting for sanctification in the Old Testament. So it just has got to the same. It is a theological argument. What I am presenting to you is a biblical argument; that is I am looking at texts. Some say, "No it can’t be." The Spirit’s work in the New Covenant has got to be basically the same in the Old Covenant." "How do account for sanctification?" Let me show two things that you have got to consider. One is Romans 8:3-4, just as a sample passage. There are many others I could point to.
Romans 8:3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, Romans 8:4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
What is this saying about the Spirit in the Old Testament? What is this saying about sanctification and the Old Testament? What are we talking about when we say “Law”? The Law of Moses, Old Testament Law. During what time period? Old Covenant, Israel.
"What the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh" – Think Romans 7, the Law is holy righteous and good, there is nothing wrong with the Law it is a perfect standard of righteousness. So what is the problem? The problem is me and you; that is we face the Law with a flesh that says, "I don’t want to keep it."
The Law could present the standard of righteousness. It could not make us or enable us to keep the standard of righteousness.
What the Law could not do, God did – When did He do this? Is this back in the times of Abraham? Is this back in the Garden of Eden? Has this been there of all the times for God’s people? No. What the Law could not do, God did, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin. He condemned sin in the flesh. When is this happening? What is He talking about? Incarnation, cross -- aren’t we talking about something in redemptive history? Something has happened now that makes things different from what was before. Before was; what the Law could not do. That was before. That was Old Covenant reality. Now Christ has come, isn’t this a separation of eras?
Romans 8:4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us – that is sanctification. Keeping the Law is what God wants us to do
Romans 8:4b in those who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Part of my answer is, if we think that we should hold a view of continuity between the Testaments so that everything that is present to us was present to them, we are not thinking correctly. We are not taking into account redemptive history in which, when Christ comes, when He sends the Spirit there is something radically new. Part of my answer to your question has to do with, there ought to be dissimilarities, discontinuity between the two.
Here is my second answer to your question. The Spirit is not absent among the people in the Old Testament but He is not, in my judgment, individually present. There is no Old Testament teaching like, Do you not know that you are temples of the Holy Spirit. Where is that in the Old Testament? Where is the Temple in the Old Testament? It is out there, it is apart from me. What is the Temple? It is the place where God resides. Now in the New Testament, do you not know that you the temple of the Holy Spirit. Do mean that reality of God living within and expressing His glory the Temple is now true of me and of you? Your jaw ought to drop, you ought to be astonished. God dwelling in me, in you. Where is that taught in the Old Testament? The answer is nowhere.
What is taught?
Isaiah 63:10a But they rebelled And grieved His Holy Spirit;
The Holy Spirit has been there, the Holy Spirit has been there in the community of Israel.
Isaiah 63:10b Therefore He turned Himself to become their enemy, He fought against them. Isaiah 63:11 Then His people remembered the days of old, of Moses. Where is He who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of His flock? Where is He who put His Holy Spirit in the midst of them,
That is the closet thing you get to Old Testament teaching to the indwelling of the Spirit. And it is not an indwelling personally it is an indwelling communal; He who put His Holy Spirit in the midst of them.
Remember Jesus' statement in John 14
John 14:17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.
My two answers to this question are: 1) The New Testament leads us to think that there ought to be a big difference between the two. We ought not to think of sanctification in the same way (That is Romans 8:3-4). 2. My second answer is the Spirit is still there but in a very different way is He at work. There is a net gain that happens in the New Covenant.
3. Prophetic vision of the role of the Spirit in the later days
There are two sets of passages in the Old Testament that relate to the Spirit. One is, passages that relate to actual empowerment of the Spirit on the people in the Old Testament; like a prophet, a judge, a king, a Moses upon whom the Spirit comes for various kinds of purposes. Task oriented, selective, and in all likelihood temporary. In addition to those passages there is a set of passages about the Spirit that don’t speak of His actual work now, they speak of a future day when God is going to do a miraculous marvelous work.
Isaiah 32:15 ff.
It right in the middle of this context. This context is you Israelites have no idea how bad things are going to be because you are ease. You are sitting there drinking partying having a great time but you have no idea judgment is right around the corner.
Isaiah 32:11 Tremble, you women who are at ease; Be troubled, you complacent daughters; Strip, undress and put sackcloth on your waist,
They are complacent. They are not even thinking about anything being wrong. They are wearing their party clothes, put on sackcloth because you have no idea about what is about to happen.
Isaiah 32:13 For the land of my people in which thorns and briars shall come up; Yea, for all the joyful houses and for the jubilant city. Isaiah 32:14 Because the palace has been abandoned, the populated city forsaken. Hill and watch-tower have become caves forever, A delight for wild donkeys, a pasture for flocks;
You are ease right now but god is going to bring devastation upon your land, it is going to be ruined. Smile toward heaven, that is not the end of the story, it could be, it ought to be, but it is not the end of the story.
Isaiah 32:15 Until the Spirit is poured out upon us from on high, And the wilderness becomes a fertile field, And the fertile field is considered as a forest.
God comes in His grace. Now it is wilderness because of God’s judgment upon the land. The wilderness becomes a fertile field. The fertile field becomes so lush the crops grow so high it is considered a forest.
Isaiah 32:16 Then justice will dwell in the wilderness And righteousness will abide in the fertile field. Isaiah 32:17 And the work of righteousness will be peace, And the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever.
Shalom will come because the Spirit has come.
Isaiah 32:18 Then my people will live in a peaceful habitation, And in secure dwellings and in undisturbed resting places;
Here is this promise of a day. When is it going to happen? There is no way to tell from this when this will happen. But a future day when God will pour His Spirit upon people and this transformation will take place. What kind of transformation? It implies personal transformation, righteousness because what does it state implicitly? Societal righteousness, peace will take place. How do you get societal righteousness and peace without personal and individual righteousness and peace? So it implied. What is implied here is explicit in other passages but clearly it indicates comprehensive transformation when the Spirit comes.
Isaiah 44:1 “But now listen, O Jacob, My servant, And Israel, whom I have chosen: Isaiah 44:2 Thus says the Lord who made you And formed you from the womb, who will help you, ‘Do not fear, O Jacob My servant; And you Jeshurun whom I have chosen.
What is point of these verses? What is the main point of God addressing Israel the way that He does? They are His. He chose them, He made them, and they belong to Him. What is involved in that? What did He choose them to be? His people. What does that imply? Holiness, they obey Him, they follow Him, they are glad to be the people of God. But is that true of Israel? No; we want a king like the other nations. Is it true of Israel that want to be, they are proud to be the people of God? Absolutely not, but didn’t God chose them to be that? You will be my people; I will be your God. Isn’t that the Covenant? Mustn’t God keep His Covenant promise? What is a God going to do? A God who makes a Covenant of this kind; You will be my People; I will be your God. Look at the people He has got. God, no thanks. We are kind of interested in Baal, we are looking him over. Asheroth has a lot to offer us. We are kind of looking around here checking out the carious options we have. But one thing is clear YAHWEH we don’t want you. What is God going to do? Scrape the Covenant? In one sense the New Covenant does this but in another sense the New Covenant fulfills the Old Covenant. What is God going to do? He has got to if He going to come true on what He has said You will be my people; I will be your God. He has to change them so that from their hearts of heart they want to be the people of God. They want God to be their God.
Isaiah 44:3 ‘For I will pour out water on the thirsty land And streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring And My blessing on your descendants;
Notice that is not “you” it is future on your offspring, somewhere down the road.
Isaiah 44:4 And they will spring up among the grass Like poplars by streams of water.’
Get that image. Instead of dry barren country which Israel is full of, anywhere there is a steam in Israel there are trees, foliage, vegetation. If there is water there is going to be life. Look at the equation He makes between Spirit and water and water and life. Think of Jesus in John 7
John 7:38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ ”
The here is John comment on this
John 7:39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. John 7:40 Some of the people therefore, when they heard these words, were saying, “This certainly is the Prophet.”
Isaiah 44:5 “This one will say, ‘I am the Lord’s’; And that one will call on the name of Jacob; And another will write on his hand, ‘Belonging to the Lord,’ And will name Israel’s name with honor.
The day is going to come when God says to prophet when I will pour out my Spirit upon the people of Israel, upon your offspring and the result of the Spirit being within them is you will bring them to life, He will bring them to vitality in such a way that it will be their inner longing to display to the world, we are Yahweh’s people, we are proud to be the people of God.
By the way, I can’t help in thinking in light of the Spirit coming, in light of the Spirit glorifying Jesus (you have to put a lot together) when Jesus says he who denies Me before men, I will deny before the Father who is in heaven. How can that be? Think Spirit. What is the Spirit going to do in this text, verse 5? He is going to work in peoples hearts so that they do what? We belong Yahweh. When the Spirit comes, what will He do? He will glorify Jesus. So will not one in whom the Spirit has taken up residence, will not that one from his or her heart by the Spirit say Jesus is Lord (1 Corinthians 12:3)?
1 Corinthians 12:3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
If the Spirit isn’t there then the person would say Jesus is accursed. If you deny me before men, you don’t have the Spirit. Why do you think Paul asked the Ephesian believers disciples of John the Baptist in Acts 19 the question he asked them.
Acts 19:2 He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”
Why that question? Why not just ask them are you Christians? If they had believed in Jesus, what is the evidence of that? They have the Spirit. There is a connection, Christians-Spirit, believe in Christ-Spirit. You are sons of God through Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
Because you are sons
Galatians 4:6 Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
That is what this text is about. It is about a time when the Spirit comes He will bring life to people, He will cause them to want to be the people of God, to long to identify themselves with God.
This is one of the most important passages as it relates to this issue.
Ezekiel 36:22 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went.
What does he mean when he says It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act? When we say I am doing something for your sake, what does that often times mean? Doing this for you benefit, I am doing this to help you, I doing this for you sake not mine. Is that what God is saying, I am not doing this for you benefit Israel? No He is not saying that. Keep reading, you will see that everything that is being done here is for their benefit. When He says it not for your sake He means it is not because you deserve it. You have not merited, there is nothing that you have done that warrants my doing this, but for the holiness of My name I am doing this. What does that mean? He has pledged Himself. You will be my people; I will be your God. God is on record, He must fulfill His promise. It is not an option at this point once He has said I have chosen you.
Deuteronomy 7:6 “For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
Of all the people on the face of the earth, you are not the best, the biggest, the strongest, in fact you are tiniest of people but in fact I chose you. Once God has chosen and has said to them you will be my people, they have to be. His name is at stake in whether or not Israel is a holy people, the people of God.
Ezekiel 36:23 “I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord,” declares the Lord God, “when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight. Ezekiel 36:24 “For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land.
What does, I will take you from the nations mean? What does their being in the nations indicate? Judgment. Why are they in the nations? The dispersion happened because of Judgment. They sinned; the Judgment of God upon them; Assyria takes them captive, Babylon takes them captive. When God is merciful to them and restores them they come back to the land. The very first indication is God is going to show mercy, He is going to bring us back, His hand will once again upon us, He will favor us again.
Ezekiel 36:25 “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.
Here it is again, Spirit- water. John 7.
Ezekiel 36:26 “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
What is a heart of stone? A heart that is cold, hard, dead, unable to respond to God.
What is a heart of flesh? Vibrating, pulsating, alive, warm, vital.
Ezekiel 36:27 “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.
Where has the Spirit been so far? Among you, in select individuals for very partial (Dr Ware may have misspoken and mean particular work) work like building tabernacles, ruling people.
Look at what will happen. I don’t know what Arminians do with text, to honest with you.
Ezekiel 36:28 “You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God.
Covenant fulfilled so you will be My people, and I will be your God. God keeps His promise. How will it happen? I will remake you, I will work from the inside out by putting My Spirit within you.
This a parallel text to Ezekiel 36. This is the New Covenant text. Instead of saying I will put my Spirit within you He says I will put my Law within you. On you hearts I will write it and you won’t have to teach each other again for they will all know me from the least to the greatest declared the Lord. Do you see the parallel here between I will put my Spirit within you and I will put my law within you.
Jeremiah 31:31 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, Jeremiah 31:32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 31:33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Jeremiah 31:34 “They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
Ephesians 5:18-19 and Colossians 3:16
This is another parallel.
Ephesians 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, Ephesians 5:19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;,
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
In Ephesians 5 “be filled with Spirit” is parallel to Colossians 3 “let the word of Christ richly dwell within you” because in both cases it is the same expression; speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.
Joel 2:28 “It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. Joel 2:29 “Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.
your sons and daughters will prophesy – think of Galatians 3:28, No distinction between male and female.
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions – no age distinction.
Even on the male and female servants – no class distinction
I think, in my own judgment, when Peter quotes this passage in Acts 2, Peter does not understand the full extent yet. He doesn’t understand it until Acts 10. He thinks Joel 2 means I will pour out my Spirit on the believing community of Israel. So you have in Jerusalem at the time of Pentecost people from the Diaspora. You have all these Jews there from all these different places speaking in tongues, languages that other people can understand evidencing that they received the Spirit. Just like Numbers 11. They have received the Spirit speaking in these languages indicating that, that has been the case. Peter says this is that which the prophet Joel said I will plant my Spirit on all of these Jews who now believe in Christ. Then comes Acts 10. Peter rise up and eat. Oh no Lord. What does he learn from that? He goes to Gentiles, preaches the Gospel and it is like he comes back to Jerusalem and he said “Oi, Vai!” what is a good Jew to do? I couldn’t help, I preached the Gospel and they believed and they received the Spirit just like we did. All who put their faith in Christ, no boundary. Look what is overcome: Selective, absolutely wiped out. It is all who put their faith in Christ, all who are truly believers receive the Spirit. Temporary? No, the Spirit is here for keeps. We New Covenant people should never pray what David did in Psalm 51; Lord, do not take your Holy Spirit from me. That cannot happen to a New Covenant believer. We can grieve the Spirit, we can quench the Spirit, there are lots of things we can do to hinder the work of the Spirit, but we cannot do something by which God would take the Spirit from us. Permanent. Task Oriented? The purpose for the Spirit’s coming is wholesale transformation; life, society, world.