Wednesday, June 11, 2014
The Holy Spirit, Part 14
In Isaiah 32:15 we read “Until the Spirit is poured out upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is counted as a forest.” To focus on the verse in particular we must pan back and view the context of the passage. Reading Isaiah chapter 31 we find the prophet rebuking Israel for trusting in idols such as Egypt for aid. He tells revolting Israel that He will personally come and fight for them; the result is that as God defends it, it shall be delivered, and when He passes over it, it shall be preserved, Isaiah 31:5.
This is something of the same miraculous preservation seen in Egypt during the initial Passover, when the firstborn of Egypt were slain while the firstborn of the Jews were spared, revealing a profound difference between God’s people and the unsaved. It also reveals that God needs no help fighting His battles, and there shall come a time when He will fight for Israel and deliver them miraculously: “Then Assyria shall fall by a sword not of man, and a sword not of mankind shall devour him,” Isaiah 31:8.
Chapter 32 opens with promises from God that things shall be made right, where good is recognized as such, and so is evil; and both will be recompensed accordingly. Calamity and scarcity will fall upon God’s earthly people UNTIL such time as He pours out His Spirit from on high, Isaiah 32:15. Then the land will flourish. The work of righteousness brings peace; when peace comes because righteousness is enthroned, quietness (calm, order) and assurance come, Isaiah 32:17. The prophet Joel speaks of a time when the Holy Spirit is “poured out from on high.” “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions,” Joel 2:28.
When will this amazing thing Isaiah and Joel make mention of come to pass? Peter, in his first sermon at Pentecost, tells us. Rising to give a defense for speaking in tongues, Peter recalls Joel’s prophecy and applies at least a partial fulfillment that very day. “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you…this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel,” Acts 2:14, 16. Why was it fulfilled only in part? Israel as a whole had agreed to crucify and kill their Messiah; they rejected the Christ when He presented Himself to them. It is when Israel has been made ready to receive their King that the fullness of the blessing can come to the nation of Israel. What the first generation of Jewish Christians received at Pentecost, the reception of the Holy Spirit and His indwelling power, will occur to believing Israel as a whole when at last they receive, after much tribulation and sorrow, their rejected Savior: “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn,” Zechariah 12:10.
The Spirit’s presence is the surest sign of God’s acceptance of you; for God the Holy Spirit has come to dwell in you and give you the adoption as one of His children. On a small side note, take a look at Isaiah 31:3. Here we see a difference between the composition of flesh and spirit. God compares Himself to the army of Egypt as to who would be better to rely upon for aid. One may rely on the Egyptians or God. The strength of their horses ends when flesh does; for they are comprised of it. God is Spirit, John 4:24. This term then can clearly mean a being composed of material other than physical matter. It is no strain on credulity then to accept that man, made in God’s image (who is Spirit) also possesses this immaterial body housed within the flesh. For cults and sects that teach otherwise, Scripture soundly condemns the idea of man being a single unit, and that if the body dies so too does the soul and spirit.