FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
August 8, 2014
The Holy Spirit: do we really know Him? – Part IV
“The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him. The spirit of wisdom and [the spirit of] understanding, the spirit of counsel and [the spirit of] might, the spirit of knowledge and the [spirit of] fear of the Lord. His delight is in the fear of the Lord, and He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears.” Isaiah 11: 2, 3, N.K.J.V.
Receiving the Holy Spirit in His Seven Manifestations. This jubilant prophecy, included in the plan of redemption, points primarily to Christ’s public anointing, inauguration, and empowerment by the Holy Spirit in “the body prepared for Him” according to the volume of the book” (Ps. 40: 7; Heb.10:7) so that He could fulfill His Messianic office and mission on earth within the divinely-specified time of three-and-a-half years, 27 C.E. to 31 C.E. Jesus was baptized by water, then anointed by the Holy Spirit in 27 C.E.
The work that our Savior was to do on the earth had been fully outlined in the prophecy of Isaiah 11: 2, 3. He, the Promised Seed (Gen. 3:15; Gal. 3:16), would be inaugurated as the Messiah, the Anointed One, who would receive of the Father through the Holy Spirit:
(1) “The Spirit of the Lord.” – Lord here is the Hebrew Yehovah or Yahh, “the self-Existent or Eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name for God; the Lord.”
(2) The spirit of wisdom. – Wisdom, the Hebrew chokmah, “wisdom, skillful, wisely, wit (all in a good sense).”
Solomon said by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, this “Wisdom is better than strength.” Eccl. 9: 16. “Wisdom is better than weapons of war; but one sinner destroys much.” Eccl. 9: 18. O that all the people of the Middle East, both ethnic Israel and Palestinians, and the superpowers taking sides and supporting/funding/arming both or one side of these centuries-old conflict, where alliances are superficial and fleeting, humble themselves, return to God, obey His royal law of love and liberty, and “turn their swords into plowshares.”
Only then will they experience the “peace that passes understanding.” Only then will mistrust, lies, subterfuge, espionage, bigotry, prejudice, and hatred, leading to bloodshed, war, destruction, and all suffering, cease. Only then will they, and everyone, experience the divine rest only Jesus can offer. See Matthew 11: 28-30.
(3) “The spirit of understanding.”- Understanding here is the Hebrew biynah, “knowledge, meaning, perfect understanding, wisdom.”
(4) The spirit of counsel.” – Counsel here is the Hebrew etsah, “advice; plan, prudence, advisement; counselor, purposes.”
(5) The spirit of might. – Might here is gebwrah, “force (literal or figurative), valor, victory, force, mastery, mightily (act, power), strength.”
(6) The spirit of knowledge. – Knowledge, Hebrew daath, “cunning unawares, knowledge. Christians are to be “wise as serpents yet harmless as doves.”
(7) The spirit of fear. – Fear here is the Hebrew yirah, “moral reverence, dreadful, exceedingly, fearfulness.” This is the awe of God that leads to fear to offend His love.
Centuries earlier, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Solomon wrote: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”Prov. 1: 7. His father David, “the man after God’s own heart” (1 Sam. 13: 14; Acts 13: 22- 25) testified: “Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him.” Ps. 85:9. “The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him and delivers them.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to them that fear Him.” Ps. 34: 7- 9, etc. The last merciful messages of the everlasting gospel to be given to the world before earth’s probation closes, begins with the first angel’s message: “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come, and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.” Rev. 14: 6, 7.
As John saw Jesus approaching, moved by the Holy Spirit, he declared what has been echoed and re-echoed since then until “every nation, kindred, tongue and people” shall have heard it: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” (John 1: 29, 36). He said: “He must increase and I must decrease.” John 3: 30. If we have been
truly born-again through the twin baptisms of water and the Spirit, our mission and goal going forward is for Jesus to Increase and self to Decrease that our spiritual wretchedness and nakedness be covered with His righteousness. How? “When we submit ourselves to Christ, our hearts are united to His, our will is merged in His will, our minds become one with His, our thoughts are brought into captivity to Him. This is what it means to be clothed with the garments of His righteousness.” (E.G. White, Christ’s Object Lesson, p. 312).
This prophecy applies secondarily to all of Christ’s truly born-again disciples, as Jesus taught Nicodemus (John 3: 1-21), and who become “co-laborers with Him “(1 Cor. 3: 9) in the work of soul-saving. They also receive the seven manifestations of the Spirit, and, over time, bear the nine fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5: 22, 23). Such victorious believers, whom the Bible calls living (not dead) saints, have embraced justification by faith as their title to heaven, and sanctification by faith as their fitness for heaven.
Though self (the carnal mind and fleshly desires) keeps trying to reassert itself, energized by the infilling of the seven manifestations of the Holy Spirit, they overcome even as Christ overcame (Rev. 3: 21). Their life-long struggle, often a silent battle and a march, is led by “the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees, nor knows Him “(John 14:17). Such Holy Spirit-led ones are often misunderstood even by family members or fellow church members. Isaiah prophesied that Jesus “would trod the winepress alone.” Isa. 63: 3. Of this lonely, thorny path, E. G. White wrote:
“What support Christ would have found in His earthly relatives if they had believed in Him as One from heaven, and had co-operated with Him in doing the work of God! Their unbelief cast a shadow over the earthly life of Jesus. It was part of the bitterness of that cup of woe which He drained for us . . . With their short measuring line they could not fathom the mission which He came to fulfill, and therefore could not sympathize with Him in His trials.
Their coarse, unappreciative words showed that they had not true perception of His character, and did not discern that the divine blended with the human. They often saw Him full of grief [See Isaiah 53]; but instead of comforting Him, their spirit and their words only wounded His heart . . . These things made His path a thorny one to travel. So pained was Christ by the misapprehension in His own home that it was a relief to Him to go where it did not exist. Often He could find relief only in being alone, and communing with His heavenly Father.” – Sons & Daughters, p. 145.
John initially declined Christ’s request to baptize Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You.” But Jesus told him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” John obeyed. John 3: 14, 15. Are we, as Christians, also fulfilling all righteousness of both requirements? John’s baptism is that of repentance, that is, the “godly” one “that needs not to be repented of” (2 Cor. 7: 9, 19; cf. Heb. 6:6) accomplished by watery burial—the most fitting symbol/ordinance and public declaration of dying to the world and burying “the old man,” emerging as spiritually new-born babes, to grow up, over our lifetime, by the daily baptism of the Holy Spirit as a “Refiner’s fire” “till we all come into the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Eph. 4: 13. Many are baptized by water but shirk from the Holy Spirit’s fiery baptism.
The prophecies defining John the Baptist’s message and work of reform, and even clothing and lifestyle (Luke 1: 15-17; Matt 3: 1-4; Malachi 3: 1; 3: 5,6) were fulfilled in Christ’s time. He was the forerunner of Christ, “the prophet of the Highest” (Luke 1: 76, 77) the “voice of one crying in the wilderness” (John 1: 23) who would “prepare the way of the Lord” by calling “the lost sheep of Israel” to repentance, “laying the ax to the root.” Such was the nature of the work and message of Elijah during the height of apostasy of ancient Israel. Elias is the Greek for Elijah, as Eliseus is for Elisha.
The third and final fulfillment of this triple-application Elijah-prophecy is the reformatory work being done by antitypical Elijahs and John the Baptists in the last global movement, warning the world and preparing a people for the Christ’s Second Advent. What it also involves Paul states in a question for all: “What? Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit? 1 Cor. 6: 19, 20; 1 Cor. 3: 16, 17.
“The prophet Malachi declares [Malachi 4: 5, 6 quoted]. Here the prophet describes the character of the work. Those who are to prepare the way for the second coming of Christ, are represented by faithful Elijah, as John came in the spirit of Elijah, to prepare for Christ’s first advent. The great subject of reform is to be agitated, and the public mind is to be stirred.
“God has shown that health reform is closely connected with the third angel’s message as the hand is with the body. . . . Those who indulge appetite and passion, and close their eyes to the light, for fear they will see their sinful indulgences for which they are unwilling to forsake, are guilty before God. Whoever turns from the light in one instance hardens the heart to disregard the light upon othermatters. Whoever violates moral obligations in the matter of eating and dressing prepares the way, to violate the claims of God in regard to eternal interests.
“Our bodies are not our own. God has claims upon us to take care of the habitation [Eph. 2: 22] He has given us, that we may present our bodies to Him a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable. [ Rom. 12: 1, 2]. Our bodies belong to Him who made them, and we are duty-bound to become intelligent in regard to the best means of preserving them from decay. If we enfeeble the body by self-gratification, by indulging the appetite, and by dressing in accordance with health-destroying fashions, in order to be in harmony with the world, we are enemies of God [see James 4: 4].
Providence has been leading the people of God out from the extravagant habits of the world, away from indulgence of appetite and passion, to take their stand on the platform of self-denial and temperance in all things. The people whom God is leading [by the Holy Spirit] will be peculiar [or special, 1 Pet. 2: 9; Exo. 19: 5, 6; Deut. 14: 2, 3; 26: 18, 19; Titus 2: 14, 11-13]. They will not be like the world. . . . He says, Beware; restrain, deny, unnatural appetite. If we create a perverted appetite, we violate the laws of our being, and assume the responsibility of abusing our bodies and of bringing disease upon ourselves.
“Self-denial is essential to genuine religion. Those who have not learned to deny themselves are destitute of vital, practical godliness.” – Ellen G. White, Counsels on Health, pp. 72-74, Pacific Press Publishing Association. (Emphasis and verses in brackets supplied)
(To be continued next week)