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"And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him." (Gen.22:2-3)
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Br. Samuel Babu, Believers Brethren Assembly, (BBA), Majlis - Bahrain For the last few days, we have been relentlessly praying for Br. Samuel Babu, who suffered Cardiac Problems and was admitted in Salmaniya Medical Complex, Bahrain. It was well pleasing for our Lord to call HIS child to the Eternal Home, where there is no pain, no sorrow, no tears, no sickness and no death. He went to be with the LORD around 10:30 PM Bahrain Time today (Friday 23rd 2015). Let us uphold the grieving family members to the Throne of Grace. May the Lord bestow upon them heavenly Grace, Peace and strength and console them with the word of God.
 
 
 
DOCTRINAL

PNEUMATOLOGY

(A study on the Holy Spirit)

Dr. Silas C. Nair

 

VI. THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT BEFORE PENTECOST

 

The Spirit, as one of the Persons in the Triune Godhead has always worked. But his work before Pentecost, at Pentecost and after Pentecost may be distinguished.

 

A. FROM THE FALL TO THE MESSIAH

 

This work of the Spirit was partial, occasional, special, and prophetic. In O. T. Spirit came upon men (Gk. EPI). In NT Spirit indwells men (Gk EN) Jn.14.17 etc. In O. T. dispensation

sometimes Holy Spirit dwelt in men. In NT dispensation sometimes Holy Spirit came upon men (Cf. Gen.41.38; Ex.31.3; Num.27.18; Dan.5.11; Lk.24.49; Act 1.8). In O. T. on chosen individuals the Spirit came. In NT Spirit indwells the Body of Christ and also the body of all individual believers (1 Cor.12.13). In. O. T. Spirit came upon men and filled them for some specific work without reference to their character. In NT His filling always depends upon cleansing and holiness.

 

i). The Tabernacle and the Temple

 

The Lord told Moses, “Let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them” (Ex.25.8). He gave them detailed instructions to make this sanctuary and its furniture. Bazalel, the son of Uri of the tribe of Judah was filled with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of workmanship (Ex.31.2- 5). It was not Bazalel’s natural ability, but the enabling power of the Spirit that fitted him for this work. Again, Aholiab and other gifted artisans were given wisdom so that “they may make all that I have commanded you” (v.6-7). David was not permitted to build the temple of God. But he gave the plans “for the vestibule, its houses, its treasuries, its upper chambers, its inner chambers, and the place of the mercy seat” which he had by the Spirit, to Solomon his son. Nothing was left to human imaginations or wisdom.

 

ii). The Leaders of the people

 

Moses led the people of Israel from Egypt through the wilderness. He was meek (Num.12.3) and faithful (Heb.3.2- 5). Though he had learned all the wisdom of Egypt it was the enabling of the Spirit in him that fitted him to be a leader of the people. When the task became increasingly wearisome to him, God told Moses to gather seventy elders of Israel. He said, “I will take the Spirit that is upon you and will put the same upon them and they shall bear the burden of the people with you that you may not bear it yourself alone” (Num.11.17). When Moses came to the end of his life and was not allowed to lead the people into the land of Canaan He told Moses, “Take Joshua the son of Nun with you a man in whom is the Spirit and lay your hand on him” (Num.27.18). Thus Joshua was filled with the Spirit of wisdom and the leadership was passed on to him (Deut.34.9).

 

iii). The Judges and Kings of Israel

 

When Israel came to the land of promise they were first ruled by Judges and later when they asked for a king by kings of Israel. The Spirit of the Lord came upon Otheniel (Jud.3.10); The Spirit of the Lord took possession of Gideon (6.34); the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah (11.29); the Spirit of the Lord began to stir Samson (13.25) and at times came mightily upon him (14.6, 19).

The Spirit of the Lord came upon Saul the first king of Israel (1 Sam.11.16) and mightily upon David (16.13). The judges and kings ruled the people on behalf of the Lord and it is He by His Spirit who enabled them to rule.

 

iv). The prophets of Israel

 

Moses was a prophet. But there were others also who prophesied during this time though it has not been written down to us. The seventy elders and Eldad and Medad prophesied when the Spirit rested upon them (Num.11.25, 26). Even the Mesopotamian Balaam prophesied by the Spirit of God (Num.24.2-3). Amasai, the chief of thirty men (1 Chr.12.18), Jahazel, the Levite (2 Chr.20.14-15), Zachariah the priest (2 Chr.24.20), Micah the prophet (Mic.3.8) etc. also prophesied when the Spirit of the Lord came upon them. It was the Spirit of Christ that was in the prophets who testified before hand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow (1 Pet.1.10-11).

 

B. THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT DURING THE MESSIANIC PERIOD.

 

i) John the Baptist.

John the Baptist was the forerunner of the Messiah. The Lord broke the silence of 400 years and sent John (Jn.1.6) to prepare the way of the Lord. John was the last of the  prophets. His parents Elizabeth (Lk.1.41) and Zachariah (Lk.1.67) were filled with the Spirit. The prophecy regarding John was that he too will be filled with the Spirit from his mother’s womb (Lk.1.15). He would be a Nazarite (Lk.1.13-17) cf.Num.6.1- 21. He would minister in the spirit and power of Elijah in that he would be bold and uncompromising even before a ruthless king. The result of the ministry would be the hearts of the people being turned towards the Lord. (Cf.Mal.4.6; Isa.40.3-5)

 

ii) Virgin birth of the Lord.

The Holy Spirit was to come upon Mary to overshadow her in a creative act. (Lk.1.35) The conception took place in a mysterious way, which is not disclosed. The conception was miraculous but the birth was normal. As some teach Mary did not remain a virgin after the birth of Jesus. Perpetual virginity of Mary is not taught in the Scriptures. This miraculous conception was necessary for Jesus to have a sinless humanity.

 

iii) The anointing of Jesus for the ministry.

At the time of the baptism of the Lord Jesus the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him (Lk.3.21, 22). This was the method by which the Messiah was to be

identified and proclaimed to the nation of Israel by the Baptist (Jn.1.32-34)

 

When Jesus came to the synagogue of Nazarath on the Sabbath and read from the book of Isaiah:

“ The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the gospel

To the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives

And recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim

The acceptable year of the Lord (Lk.4.18-19 cf. Isa.49.8, 9; 61.1,2)”

 

He affirmed that this prophecy was fulfilled on that day. The Holy Spirit who Himself is the anointing, anointed the Lord Jesus for his messianic ministry.

 

iv) The Holy Spirit empowered Jesus for the ministry.

Jesus came to do the will of the Father. In His voluntary humiliation Jesus allowed Himself to be lead and empowered by the Holy Spirit. We have the four servant songs in the Book of Isaiah. a. 42.1-9; b. 49.1-13; c.50.4-11; d.52.13 – 53.12 To fulfill the ministry of the servant the Spirit was upon Him (Isa.42.1). All that was prophesied about the Servant in the above four servant songs came to pass as a result. In his humiliation he did not forsake any of His divine attributes, since this was not possible. God is immutable. Yet he performed miracles in the power of the Spirit (Matt.12.28). The empowering of the servant was not a momentary thing, but a relationship he had all his life. (Cf. Acts 10.38).

 

v) The death of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Not only in the birth and ministry but also in his death the Holy Spirit was active. Christ through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God (Heb.9.14). There is no definite article ‘the’ in the original Greek. Therefore some have argued that Christ through His own eternal spirit offered Himself to God. There is also no definite article in 2.4 “the gifts of the Holy Spirit” and 6.4 “partakers of the Holy Spirit” in the book of Hebrews. But it is clear that in both these instances the reference is clearly to the Holy Spirit. Thus in 9.14 also the reference is to the Holy Spirit. But in what way through the eternal spirit Jesus offered Himself is not explained to us. As in the miraculous conception the mystery remains here also.

 

vi) The post resurrection ministry of the Lord Jesus.

After his resurrection Jesus continued his ministry on the earth for 40 days. He through the Holy Spirit gave commandments to his chosen apostles during these days (Acts 1.2).

Jesus had told them earlier that the Holy Spirit will teach them all things (Jn.14.26). They failed to understand many truths that the Lord Jesus taught them during the days of his flesh, but it was through the supernatural ministry of the Holy Spirit they understood it. The Holy Spirit was to guide them into all the truth (Jn.16.13-15). “He will take of what is mine and declare it unto you” said the Lord.

 

vii) Jesus rose from the dead by the work of the Holy Spirit.

It is the Father who raised Him (Acts 2.32; Eph.1.20). Jesus rose himself from the dead (Jn.10.17, 18; Jn.2.19). At the same time it is also true that He rose by the Spirit. In his humiliation Jesus submitted himself to do the will of the Father through the direction of the Holy Spirit. In His resurrection from the dead he was declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of Holiness (Rom1.4). Peter says: He was put to death in the flesh but made alive in the Spirit (1 Pet.3.18). Here again many believe that the term ‘in the spirit’ speaks of His own spirit.

 

viii) Jesus promised the Holy Spirit and sent the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.

Jesus said before his ascension: I will send the promise of the Father upon you (Lk.24.49). Peter explained the happenings of the day of Pentecost thus: The exalted Lord

Jesus Christ having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit. He poured out this which you now see and hear (Acts 223). The Lord Jesus Christ sent the Holy Spirit to be in the believer and also in the Church to direct the life and ministry of the believer and also of the Church.

Luke 11.11-13: In His teaching on prayer Jesus Christ told the disciples that the heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.

In the parallel passage in Mathew instead of ‘the Holy Spirit’ it is mentioned ‘good things’ (Matt.7.11)

Jesus Christ was the One who promised to send the Holy Spirit even without the disciples asking Him. According to the revelations they had received till then, it was not possible for them to understand the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Whether in the Old Testament or in the New Testament we do not find anyone asking God for the Holy Spirit and receiving it.

According to the promise of the Lord, on the day of Pentecost Holy Spirit came to permanently indwell the Temple. Now the Holy Spirit indwells every believer and it is not necessary for us to ask for the Holy Spirit. The disciples never understood the mission of the Holy Spirit till He came and dwelt in them on the day of Pentecost.

 
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