Lecture 11: The Holy Spirit and Christ
Course: Systematic Theology II
Lecture: The Holy Spirit and Christ
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
3. Prophetic vision of the role of the Spirit in the later days
Review - In the Old Testament I talked about there being two sets of passages as they relate to the Spirit.
One set of passages talks about the Spirit’s actual empowerment in Old Testament people. (I almost said “saints” but then I remembered Balaam who is judged by Old Testament writers to have been a pagan who led Israel into sin. Nut Balaam was filled with the Spirit in the book of Numbers, the Balaam oracles. In some ways, those Balaam oracles provide tremendous support for the doctrine of inspiration; that God could even work through Balaam with his desire to satisfy the wishes of Balak in cursing Israel. But what does he do? He pronounced blessing on Israel and God’s word proclaimed through him.) In the Old Testament you find these passages where God’s Spirit comes upon them (most of them were saints) and accomplishes a particular work that is done in and through those individuals at that time. We looked at four categories of them: Judges, Prophets, Civil Rulers and Craftsmen. As you look at those, it looks pretty clear form all those examples that the Spirit’s coming upon those individuals the fundamental reason that accounts for the other two characteristics is that His coming is for a specific purpose; task oriented. He comes upon the prophet to speak the word of the Lord with boldness or upon a judge to be empowered to stand up against the enemies of Israel. So it is a task oriented function which probably accounts for why the selectivity and it probably accounts for the temporary nature of the Spirit’s coming upon people in the Old Testament.
In striking contrast there are these other passages in the Old Testament that speak in such different ways about the Spirit’s coming that will be clearly in a future day, upon your offspring, upon your descendents, in the latter days; all of these indicators in the text that are indicating some eschatological reality, some last days happening when God will work in a decisive way to bring righteousness to His people and restoration to the environment, the land and to the nations of the world. All of these things are going to happen when the Spirit comes. A few passages that indicated this; Isaiah 32, Isaiah 44, Ezekiel 36, Joel 2. The prophecy of Joel is quoted by Peter on the day of Pentecost. They thought these people are drunk and Peter says no it is only the third hour of the day, this is that which the Prophet Joel said, that I will pour forth of my spirit on all mankind; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; he quotes Joel 2 as being fulfilled in Acts 2. Here we have the beginning of the fulfillment of what was prophesied by Joel.
In terms of biblical revelation, redemptive history, I don’t think that we can jump from Joel 2 to Acts 2 so quickly because there is something else that happens in redemptive history between Old Testament and Pentecost that relates to the Spirit.
B. The Holy Spirit in the Life and Ministry of Jesus
Some ways in which the Old Testament anticipates the fulfillment of the latter day’s restoration that will take place. If you look at the Old Testament there are different ways that you can categorize thing. You can categorize passage that relate to God bringing about His restoration in the latter days in three categories.
1. When Messiah comes
When Messiah comes God will work to bring about this marvelous restoration.
Micah 5:1 “Now muster yourselves in troops, daughter of troops; They have laid siege against us; With a rod they will smite the judge of Israel on the cheek. Micah 5:2 “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.” Micah 5:3 Therefore He will give them up until the time When she who is in labor has borne a child. Then the remainder of His brethren Will return to the sons of Israel. Micah 5:4 And He will arise and shepherd His flock In the strength of the Lord, In the majesty of the name of the Lord His God. And they will remain, Because at that time He will be great To the ends of the earth. Micah 5:5 This One will be our peace. When the Assyrian invades our land, When he tramples on our citadels, Then we will raise against him Seven shepherds and eight leaders of men.
Malachi 3:1 “Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the Lord of hosts. Malachi 3:2 “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. Malachi 3:3 “He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness. Malachi 3:4 “Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years. Malachi 3:5 “Then I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers and against those who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the wage earner in his wages, the widow and the orphan, and those who turn aside the alien and do not fear Me,” says the Lord of hosts. Malachi 3:6 “For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.
Isaiah 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.
This is at the end of the dry bones chapter. At the end of it is this marvelous promise of a coming day when righteousness will prevail.
Ezekiel 37:24 “My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them.
My servant David – the Messiah who we come to find out is Jesus of Nazareth. Obviously a Messianic reference to the one who we know of as Jesus.
What will happen when Messiah comes? His people will have a shepherd unlike he talked in chapter 34 about the shepherds of Israel who had blown it terribly; who fed themselves but they didn’t feed their sheep (quite an appropriate passage for pastors to meditate on often) But here comes a good shepherd (you can think of John 10) who will care for His sheep and what will happen? They will walk in His ordinances, they will be careful to observe His commandments. They will be an obedient people.
Ezekiel 37:25 “They will live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived; and they will live on it, they, and their sons and their sons’ sons, forever; and David My servant will be their prince forever.
They will live on the land that I gave to Jacob – do you remember what means? Being out of the land indicates what? Judgment, God’s discipline on them for their sins. Bringing them back into the land is a sign of what? Bringing them back to Himself is symbolized by bringing them back to the land given to them by God.
When Messiah comes, look at what is going to happen.
Ezekiel 37:26 “I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever. Ezekiel 37:27 “My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people.
and I will be their God, and they will be My people – covenant completed, covenant accomplished. The covenant in the Old Testament has three parts to it. Not every place do you see all three mentioned; this text you do. It has three parts: I will be your God, You will be My people, and I will dwell in the midst of you. Here you have all three indicated.
Ezekiel 37:28 “And the nations will know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever.” ’ ”
Here is one category of passages that indicate the final days, the last days when God will bring about righteousness on the earth, restore His people, bring peace, justice, obedience, they will walk in His statutes; covenant completed, they will be His people, God will be their God. What a marvelous vision.
2. When the Spirit Comes.
This is another set of passages which answer the question, what will God do to bring about His final restoration, to righteousness to the earth, to bring peace and justice and obedience. What will He do? He will send the Spirit.
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. 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.
Have you heard real recently, you will walk in My statutes, you will be careful to observe My ordinances? I just read it to you out of Ezekiel 37 When who comes? Messiah. Look at Ezekiel 37:24
Ezekiel 37:24 “My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them.
Look at Ezekiel 36:27. When Messiah comes His people will be obedient. He will work so that they will obey Him. When the Spirit comes, His people will be obedient; He will work so that they will obey Him.
Once you see this, you begin seeing all kinds of parallels between Christ and Spirit.
Both sets of passages talk about a future day, future to the prophets and a day which when God works by sending Messiah, by sending the Spirit. A day which accomplishes the same thing; righteousness, peace, justice, and obedience is accomplished when the Messiah comes and when the Spirit comes.
We ought to ask the question which is it?
3. When the Spirit/Messiah comes
Messiah comes as He comes with the Spirit. The Spirit comes as the Spirit comes anointing the Messiah. The great final day of God’s restoration happens when the Spirit comes, when the Messiah comes; as they come together as the Spirit anointed Messiah. Why else would Jesus say in Matthew 12:24
Matthew 12:24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.”
They can’t deny that a miracle has taken place, they were witnesses to it, so the only option they have got is to try to come with another explanation. You have two choices; either God does it or Satan does it. So they say He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.
Jesus’ response to them is in Matthew 12:28
Matthew 12:28 “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
What is He saying? He is saying two things extremely important. 1) He does what He does in the power of the Spirit. 2) The kingdom of God has come upon you. The age to come comes when the Messiah anointed by the Spirit comes into this world and does His restorative work. He and the Spirit working in tandem together accomplish this.
Key texts that relate to the Spirit anointed or Spirit empowered Messiah who comes. What texts do we put in this category that talk about the same kind of thing happening when Messiah comes, restoration will occur, when the Spirit comes restoration will occur, when the Spirit anointed Messiah comes?
Isaiah 11:1 Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.
Who is Jesse? The father of David. So David’s father is Jesse. Obviously in the line of David.
Isaiah 11:2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. Isaiah 11:3 And He will delight in the fear of the Lord, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make a decision by what His ears hear; Isaiah 11:4 But with righteousness He will judge the poor, And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked. Isaiah 11:5 Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, And faithfulness the belt about His waist.
What will be the effect of this? When He comes and accomplished His work what will the world look like?
Isaiah 11:6 And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them. Isaiah 11:7 Also the cow and the bear will graze, Their young will lie down together, And the lion will eat straw like the ox.
Isaiah 11:8 The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den.
This is the one that gets me the most. Imagine you with your little tike and he or she crawls over to the hole of a cobra and just sit there quietly smiling, no problem. There is peace, there is harmony
Isaiah 11:9 They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord As the waters cover the sea.
This is comprehensive transformation of society, of nature, of individual human life; people are transformed, society is transformed, everything is transformed. When will this happen? When the Spirit anointed Messiah comes.
Think about Isaiah 11:2
Isaiah 11:2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
Do you realize what this saying. Jesus was knowledgeable, why? Because the Spirit was upon Him. Jesus was wise because the Spirit was upon Him. This dovetails with what we talked about earlier in terms of Jesus living His life in the power of the Spirit. If you don’t say that, what is the point of saying the Spirit of the Lord will be upon Him, and listing these qualities. It is sort of like if you and I from ourselves are able to produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control, then what is the point of walking in the Spirit? What is the point of the fruit of the Spirit being manifest in us if we have it in us? This is kind of a Galatians 5:22-23 reality. It is Jesus who Spirit is anointed. Who because of that is wise, knowledgeable, and the various qualities that are there.
The one that I love and cherish the most is at the end of Isaiah 11:2 and the beginning of Isaiah 11:3. The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord and he takes that one and says one more thing about it. Isaiah 11:3a And He will delight in the fear of the Lord. Do you know what the Spirit filled man or the Spirit filled woman is marked by? Delighting in the fear of the Lord. Fear of the Lord is two things; loving righteousness and hating evil because God loves righteousness and hates evil and because God rewards those loves righteousness and hate evil. God is against those who mock righteousness and pursue evil. He delights in the fear of the Lord it is my meat to do the will of my Father in answer to the question Jesus had been talking with the Samaritan woman and His disciples had come back with food and say are you hungry. And He says no I don’t want anything to eat. And they ask what have you eaten, has someone brought you something to eat? No, My food, My meat is to do the will of My Father who is in heaven. He delighted in the fear of the Lord.
The main point is He is the Spirit anointed Messiah. What does He do? The same stuff you see there, the same stuff you see here; restoration, righteousness, obedience, peace, justice brought about when the Messiah comes, when the Spirit comes. They come together; when the Spirit anointed Messiah comes
Isaiah 42:1 “Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations.
My chosen one in whom My soul delights – That interesting in light of the previous passage; his delight will be in the fear of the Lord. Now here is the Father saying about the Son; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. The is interesting juxtaposition
Isaiah 42:2 “He will not cry out or raise His voice, Nor make His voice heard in the street. Isaiah 42:3 “A bruised reed He will not break And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice. Isaiah 42:4 “He will not be disheartened or crushed Until He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law.”
Comprehensive transformation of the nations that happen when the Messiah, verse 1, I have put my Spirit upon Him on my Spirit anointed servant who comes will bring this about
In Some ways this is the most important one of the batch for a very clear reason. Do you know what that reason is? When Jesus went home to Nazareth, He walks into the synagogue, they hand Him the Isaiah scroll and He turns to where it was written in Isaiah 61. Obviously providence was at work here, He didn’t manipulate that part of it, God took care of that for Him.
Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, Because the Lord has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners; Isaiah 61:2 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, Isaiah 61:3 To grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
A garland instead of ashes – ashes would symbolize, morning, grief, funeral and garland would indicate fragrance and life and celebration
They will be called – that is us.
He didn’t quote all of it. In Luke 4:16-20 He comes into Nazareth after the temptation in the wilderness.
Luke 4:16 And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. Luke 4:17 And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written, Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed, Luke 4:19 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” Luke 4:20 And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him.
In a Synagogue you would stand up to read Scripture and you would sit down and the symbolism of that was the Word of God has a place and authority that the commentary on the Word of God does not. Then they would sit and speak. One thing in the Reformed tradition that you have to be careful of, preaching becomes almost the word of God; they do distinguish it, but the height of the pulpit and everything like that. The symbolism here is so telling. You stand up to read and you sit down to comment. That is God’s word, this is mine.
Jesus sits down and they are waiting for His commentary.
Luke 4:21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
Look at what is quoted by Jesus in Luke 4. Look at where it ends. What is the last phrase He quotes?
Luke 4:19 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”
Go back to Isaiah 61, look at what comes next.
Isaiah 61:2 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn,
In Isaiah 61:2 you have sandwiched together, juxtaposed, a first and second coming of Christ. You have a favorable year of the Lord; that is now, this is the day of salvation, repent, believe the gospel, be saved. And you have the day of vengeance of our God when it is too late. Christ will come again and He will bring judgment upon the nations. The Son of Man came in the first instance; John 3:17.
John 3:17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
But in the second instance, you will see the Son of Man descending from the clouds as said to Caiaphas at His trial before His crucifixion Matthew 26:64 quoting from Daniel 7.
Matthew 26:64 Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
He will come as judge and will bring destruction to the nations; the day of f vengeance of our God. Here you have them sandwiched together in this one text which would seem to indicate that when the Spirit anointed Messiah comes everything stated there is going to happen. Think of all these texts, wouldn’t you think when the Messiah comes, for a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders, the zeal of the Lord of Hosts will accomplish it. When?
Isaiah 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.What is going to happen? He is going to reign over the world in righteousness.
What is going to happen when Messiah comes in Ezekiel 37
Ezekiel 37:24a “My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd;
His people will follow Him, they will obey Him
What is going to happen when the Spirit comes?
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.
The Spirit’s coming and obedience, aren’t they connected? Absolutely. So when the Spirit comes, what is going to happen? Obedience. Doesn’t it look like these Old Testament promises of a future day when God will work everything that is there will be fulfilled instantaneously? The shock to people during Jesus’ day and the shock to us that they are not fulfilled instantaneously but incrementally. It looks as though they will be fulfilled punctiliarly instead they are fulfilled progressively.
My favorite example of this is John the Baptist in Matthew 11:2-5. John the Baptist is in Jail and sent his disciples to ask are you the expected one or shall we look for another?
Matthew 11:2 Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples Matthew 11:3 and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?”
In my judgment this the most unbelievable question in the Bible. The question is are you the anointed one, or are you the Messiah? Think who asking this.
John the Baptist who baptized Jesus and at the baptism the Spirit descended. Before the Spirit descended what was John told about that event? John 1:33
John 1:33 “I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’
John the Baptist who points to Jesus and says behold the Lamb of God. Think of what he is saying in that. Who brought lambs before? People brought lambs, in the Day of Atonement priest provided a lamb and it worked for a while but it had to be offered again. Here is the Lamb of God provided by god, not a human being not sinner, not priest, but by God who takes away the sin of the world. John said that about Jesus.
John 1:29 The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
John the Baptist who said in Mark 1:7
Mark 1:7 And he was preaching, and saying, “After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals.
John the Baptist who said in John 3:30 when people came to him and said John do you like this? Your disciples are going after Jesus. Are you a little bit upset about this? And he responded.
John 3:30 “He must increase, but I must decrease.
John the Baptist who asked are you the Messiah. How did he answer? who said in John 1:23, No I am not the Messiah, I am the forerunner of the Messiah, I am the voice crying in the wilderness
John 1:23 He said, “I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.”
This same John the Baptist now asks this question, are you the Anointed One or shall we look for another? Where does this come from? Where is John? Rotting in Jail. What is the relevance of that? That signifies that justice is not reigning, Herod this unrighteous king who has committed adultery who John pointed this out to him and Herod reigns free over Israel. An unrighteous, adulterous, immoral king is reigning over Israel. John the Baptist, the forerunner of Messiah is in Jail. What is wrong with this picture? What is John thinking? Why does he ask the question? Because John knows his Old Testament. He knows these Scriptures. He knows Isaiah 9:6-7. He knows Isaiah 11, Isaiah 42, Isaiah 6. He knows these passages that when Messiah comes He is going to bring in righteousness but where is it? They call this a paradigm shift.
You wake up one morning and what you see is the sun rising, the sun is actually moving around the earth then comes Copernicus and then the next morning you wake after you have had a talk with Copernicus I see what looks like a sun rise but in fact what I am seeing is the sun appearing to move because the earth is rotating on its axis. What does it look like? It looks like the sun is moving but it isn’t. This is a paradigm shift.
John went through a paradigm shift. He was totally convinced that Jesus Christ of Nazareth was the Messiah. Can you imagine the consternation of his soul, the agony he must have gone through as he languishes in prison waiting for righteousness, waiting for Jesus to do something? All he knows about is he is out there in this itinerant ministry with this few people following him and it is not coming together. So go ask Him, are you the Anointed One or shall we look for another?
Matthew 11:4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: Matthew 11:5 the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
What is the point? John, don’t miss it, part of what is promised when the Messiah comes is happening. Part of the package of restoration is beginning.
Another incident of a paradigm shift. The disciples with Jesus in Acts 1:6.
Acts 1:6 So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”
What are thinking? Where is the kingdom, where is the righteousness. The want know that and Jesus puts them off.
Acts 1:7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; Acts 1:8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
Old Testament promises or prophesies that relate to the age to come in the latter days, I will do this, they point forward to what appears to a point action fulfillment. It appears that at this point when Messiah comes, when the Spirit comes, when the Spirit anointed Messiah comes this is what I am going to do; the world is going to be transformed. The surprise is that in the fulfillment you have an Isaiah 61:2a and an Isaiah 61:2b. You have the favorable day of the Lord and you have the day of vengeance of our god juxtaposed In Isaiah 61:2 sandwiched together with no hint that there is a separation. But in the fulfillment they are separated by at least 2000 years so far.
How are they fulfilled? They are fulfilled not instantaneously but progressively from cross to second coming, fulfilled not in a punctiliar fashion but fulfilled progressively between cross and second coming. It is amazing what this model does in helping you read the Bible. Because what you see is Inaugurated Eschatology (already not yet eschatology). It is what you have to have in mind to answer this question. The Old Testament promises a future kingdom, a future eschatological kingdom, not the kingdom of David the son of Jesse but the Son of David who would come and reign over the nations. His kingdom that would last forever that the zeal of the Lord would accomplish. When is it fulfilled? It is fulfilled now and yet to come. It is already here but not yet fully. Are we in the kingdom? Yes and no. Is yes the entirely true answer? If it is, read the paper this morning and you tell me how this is the reign of Christ over the earth. Watch the news tonight and you tell me how this is peace and righteousness and the nations have been brought to submission at the feet of Christ. But we would not say no the kingdom is not here because Christ is at the right hand of the Father reigning over the nations, we have be transferred according to Colossians 1:13 from the dominion of Satan into the kingdom of His beloved Son. So are we in the kingdom? Yes and no. Has the future eschatological righteousness come? Yes and no. Has the Spirit come? Acts 2, yes. Has the Messiah come? Yes. Has everything connected with the Messiah happened? No. Has everything connected with the Spirit happened? No. So how are we to read Ezekiel 36:27?
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.
What does that look like? It looks like when the Spirit comes it is done. But the fulfillment is progressive. So He puts His Spirit in us and He causes us to walk in His statutes how? By incremental transformation into the likeness of Christ until by a totally transformed nature we now walk according to His statutes and are careful to observe His ordinances.
Everything will be fulfilled. That is why I am a dispensationalist. I don’t want to leave out the land, it is there. This is Israel, who else was it that Ezekiel said would be back in the land? I think covenant theologians just fail miserably at this point. If you hold to authorial intent, what other Israel is there that he is talking about than ethnic national Israel? In my view everything is going to happen, but how does it happen? Progressively until all of it is done in the end.
The main point as it relates to Jesus is it is as the Spirit anointed Messiah comes, it is this already not yet, this whole progressive fulfillment begins. It is as He comes with the Spirit. It is not true that His coming with the Spirit alone accomplishes everything the prophets talked about. I am not claiming that. When Jesus comes as the Spirit anointed Messiah, what is not accomplished that we have seen in these texts; Joel 2, Ezekiel 36? What is lacking when Jesus comes as the Spirit anointed Messiah as it relates to the rest of us? The Spirit hasn’t been poured out on us. When Jesus comes as the Spirit anointed Messiah to my counting biblically there are two people on planet earth who have the Spirit; John the Baptist and Jesus. Zachariah it says the Spirit came upon him, there was a short time when had the Spirit, perhaps Anna when she prophesized, perhaps others had the Spirit for a brief time. But in terms of the ministry of Christ John the Baptist and Jesus had the Spirit. But this says I will pour out my Spirit on all mankind, I will put my Spirit within you. So the Spirit anointed Messiah coming accomplishes something wonderful but it just begins the process that is extended when Jesus the Spirit bearer becomes the Spirit giver. Jesus the Spirit bearer has to become the Spirit giver.
1. The Spirit involved in the incarnation
Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 1:20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
Luke 1:35 Mary asks how will this be I am a virgin and the angel says.
Luke 1:35 The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.
The miracle in all of this is not the virgin birth; I don’t know how we got that wrong in our theological nomenclature. There is nothing miraculous per se any more than any other birth. It was nine months earlier, that is when the miracle took place; the miraculous conception of Jesus without a human father.
2. The Ministry of Jesus by the Spirit
a. The life of Jesus
He was baptized in the Spirit
Matthew 3:16 After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him,
In my own view I don’t believe that means that He received the Spirit for the first time at His baptism. I rather think that when the angel says to Mary “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you;” that indicates the Spirit being involved not just in the mechanics, or the genetics, the biology of a virgin conception but producing one who is the Holy One of God who is filled with the Holy Spirit. I think that it is far more reasonable to conclude that He was filled by the Spirit at conception; born into this world with the Spirit. I think that there is reason for thinking that in light of His early childhood, grew in wisdom and stature with God and man and His obedience and His submission, living His sinless life by the Spirit. But we do have this statement at the baptism of Christ which I take it as a kind of anointing of the Spirit for His public ministry. You even find this in the book of Acts that people that already received the Spirit are filled with the Spirit. After Pentecost they have the Spirit but they are filled with the Spirit, why is that? For some particular ministry that needs to take place. So there is a sense in which the Old Testament pattern that we saw of task oriented continues. It is just that it continues with a whole lot more.
b. He goes into the wilderness led by the spirit
Luke 4:1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness
c. He goes back to Nazareth in the power of the Spirit
Luke 4:14 And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district.
d. He proclaims the Spirit is upon Him
Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed,
e. He casts out demons by the Spirit of God
Matthew 12:22 Then a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute was brought to Jesus, and He healed him, so that the mute man spoke and saw. Matthew 12:23 All the crowds were amazed, and were saying, “This man cannot be the Son of David, can he?” Matthew 12:24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.” Matthew 12:25 And knowing their thoughts Jesus said to them, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand. Matthew 12:26 “If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? Matthew 12:27 “If I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? For this reason they will be your judges. Matthew 12:28 “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Matthew 12:29 “Or how can anyone enter the strong man’s house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. Matthew 12:30 “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters. Matthew 12:31 “Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. Matthew 12:32 “Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.
f. Jesus lived His life by the power of the Spirit
A summary statement by Peter of How Jesus lived His life.
Acts 10:38 “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
g. His death and resurrection were empowered by the Spirit
Hebrews 9:14 indicates that Jesus gave up His life, He went to the cross by the eternal Spirit. So it was the Spirit upon that enabled Him to go to the cross.
Hebrews 9:14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
(2) He was raised from the dead by the Spirit
Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
The whole of His life from conception to resurrection the Spirit is on Jesus in order for Him to live His life.
3. Jesus and the Future of Coming of the Spirit
What has not happened when Jesus the spirited anointed One comes into our world? What has not happened is that we do not have that Spirit. Can’t you see that in the background, Jesus knowing that only as we have the Spirit that we will be able to live the kind of life He lived. Romans 8:3-4
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.
So don’t you know that Jesus knows that the Spirit that has been upon Him must be upon them? Did they have the Spirit yet? Did His disciples have the Spirit? No. The clearest text John 7:37-38. When Jesus went to Jerusalem for the great feast, on the last day of that feast stands up and says
John 7:37 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. John 7:38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ ”
Remember water Isaiah 44, water in Ezekiel 36 the water of life that is given, life to the dry ground that produces poplars that grow. So water comes, life is given. Look at what John says in his commentary in John 7:39
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.
So this rivers of living waters flowing from your innermost being is Spirit. All of these people who believed in Christ during His ministry did not have the Spirit. Why? Because the Spirit hadn’t been given. Why hadn’t the Spirit been given? Because Jesus had not been glorified. In Acts 2:33 Peter says
Acts 2:33 “Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.
having been exalted to the right hand of God – He is glorified
So Jesus at Pentecost pours forth the Spirit. So Jesus knows that they don’t have the Spirit and they need the Spirit. The Spirit that is upon Him needs to be upon them.
How do we account for when Jesus was sending the disciples out casting out demons and were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them (Mark 6:13)? Remember that same kind of Spirit anointing that was on Elisha and David and on Moses that continues. You see that continue in the book of Acts. That kind of task oriented empowerment to do something continues. So I take it that that is what it is.
How is regeneration affected in the time of the disciples and earlier? We don’t know. It is impossible to give a full biblical answer to that prior to the Spirit coming upon people in the New Covenant era. I think that there is good reason to affirm that regeneration happened. I think that it is likely that it was done by the Spirit, the Spirit who was in the midst of the community.