The Empowerment of the Holy Spirit

In 1 Cor 12.1-10 we have what is called “the charismatic gifts” of the Holy Spirit, but they are really “manifestations” of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12.7). There is a concept when studying eschatology that says “that which has happened before will happen again” (Ecc 1.9). Adam was created and was king over the Kingdom of God on earth until he sinned. His name means “blood of God” because when you take the first letter of his name (aleph) and put it with “dam” (blood) it has that meaning. He was made in the image of God and he was created and sent as the ruler over this Kingdom. He was similar to the role Joseph had with Pharaoh.

Now, there are some terms to know in this study. The Shekinah is the dwelling presence of God inside of a believer, the Ruach ha Kodesh is the Holy Spirit and the power of God (Acts 1.7-8) that comes upon a believer. We are clothed with the Kivod, which is the radiance and glory of God. The Menachem is the comforter that comes with us and alongside of us. Then there is the Davar, which is the word of God.

When Adam was created, he had all of these in their fullness and operating. When he sinned, he lost all these manifestations. One of the roles of the Messiah is that he will restore these back to man. The Kingdom of God was withdrawn back to God and it did not pass to Satan, but man was not the ruler anymore. Satan became the ruler over man in a sense because you become the servant of whoever you obey, but Satan was not the ruler over the Kingdom of God. This is why we need a redeemer (Isa 59.20) and so the Lord makes promises to mankind.

The Lord sent prophets teaching the people about this redemption and the people looked forward to that day. Many came and were “anointed” and empowered by God (Isa 44.28-45.1; Jer 1.5-10) but the Messiah is THE anointed one to bring about the redemption. Anyone sent by God is anointed and empowered by God to accomplish the task in which he was sent (prophet; priest; king; teacher) but that doesn’t make them “the Messiah.”

When Messiah came, the people expected to be anointed and empowered also. They believed that the Spirit would come upon them and they would prophesy, perform healings, see dreams and visions and have the manifestations upon them (Num 11.16-29; Joel 2.28; Isa 59.20; Isa 32.15). This would not be limited to the priests, kings and prophets but all who would be redeemed would experience this. In other words, the Kingdom of God has come upon them and has returned to the world. Another name for the Kingdom of God, or Heaven, is the “Olam Haba” and Heb 6.5 references these concepts where Paul writes “and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come (Olam Haba).”

These manifestations were seen as “part of God” and were seen as being used with personal pronouns (he; she; him; her). For instance, the Shekinah is feminine in Hebrew and is seen as a “she”, the bride. Wisdom is seen as “she” in Prov 8; 1.20; and 3.15. The Menachem is seen as masculine (he) and used synonymously with the Ruach ha Kodesh (John 16.5-8). The name of God (YHVH) is seen as the sum total of all of these. The name was revealed to Moses in Exo 6.3 and revealed his divine nature, power and attributes.

In Exo 3.13-14 Moses asks the Lord “what shall I say to them” when the people ask about the Lord’s name. The Lord says to Moses “ehyeh asher ehyeh” which means “I’ll be what I’ll be.” Tell them “Ehyeh” has sent you to them. In other words, “I will be whatever the people need.” God is a spirit (ruach) and any manifestation is from him. They understood that the “comforter” (Menachem-Lam 1.16-17,21) is a manifestation of the Shekinah, presence of God. They knew that the Shekinah was within, and the Ruach came upon.

When this concept was translated into Greek, both words (Ruach and Shekinah) were translated with the word “pneuma.” Without the understanding that there were two concepts involved not one, confusion set in. For example, in John 20.19-22, Yeshua resurrects and appears to the Apostles and he breaths in (epi) them the “Holy Spirit.” This could only happen after he was resurrected (John 7.37-39). But in Acts 1.4-8 he tells them to wait in Jerusalem and they would be baptized in the Holy Spirit. That is confusing until you realize that they translated the concept of the Shekinah and Ruach with pneuma (spirit). What the Apostle received in John 20 was the Shekinah “in them” and in Acts 2 it was the Ruach “upon” them. In Acts 2, the believers were empowered by the Holy Spirit because the Kingdom of God has returned “in part” as promised (Acts 2.38-39). The Shekinah and the Ruach are two different manifestations (presence and power).

Many today have the Shekinah within them, but do not have the Ruach in power upon them. These manifestations, and others, were seen among the believers (Acts 8.4-18). All of these are a part of what is called the benefits of the Messiah (1 Tim 6.1-2). Let’s go a little deeper.

Yeshua talks about the “comforter” in John 14.26. This manifestation is mentioned in 2 Cor 1.4, Isa 51.12 and 66.13. In the first century, when the Gospels and Epistles were written, the “Menachem” and the “Ruach” were seen as interchangeable. They were two different manifestations, but were related. The basis for the Menachem (comforter) is seen in Lam 1.16-17,21 and it had the same numerical value in Hebrew as “branch” which was a Messianic title. The purpose of the Menachem was to teach things to you, and then in turn you would teach others. A derivative of Menachem is “n’chamu” (Isa 40.1). Also, Noah’s name in Hebrew is “Noach” which means “rest.” This word is then related to “m’nuchah” which means a matrimonial rest” and it is the “rest” we have in the Messiah (Heb 4.1-11).

Another concept goes with the word “davar” which means “word” (Psa 33.6; 1 Sam 3.21) and is associated with the Ruach (spirit, breath). The Holy of Holies is referred to as the “devir” and it specifically refers to the area above the Ark where the Lord spoke. It was the “speaking place” between the wings of the Cherubim (Exo 25.22). Another name for the Holy of Holies is the Devir.

In John 4.10-23, Yeshua is returning from Shavuot at Jerusalem. He talks to the Samaritan woman about the “living water” (mayim chaim) and this was seen as equal to the Holy Spirit (John 7.39) in the area of true teaching (Jer 17.13-15; Psa 36.8-9; Ezek 47; Deut 32.2; Joel 2.23; Hos 10.12). He said an hour was coming when people will not worship “on this mountain” (Mt Gerizim) nor in Jerusalem. He said that the Samaritans worship what they do not know, but the Jews worship what they do know, for salvation is from the Jews. He said that the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipper will worship the Father in truth and in spirit. This was before Acts 2 and the resurrection and there were people worshipping “in truth and in spirit” at that time(now is). The Samaritans (and this could be applied to the Romans, Greeks and others) were worshipping what they didn’t know. We are told that the Jews knew what they were worshipping in the first century.

The Jewish people understood salvation, at least in the first century (salvation is of the Jews), and their role was to teach this concept (Mal 4.6; 2 Kings 2.12; Zech 8.23; Matt 11.14; 17.11; Mark 9.11-13). What you read in Jewish books today does not mean that is what they believed back then in all cases. As an example, the Jewish people today are non-eschatological. They had gone through three wars with Rome and all of these were based on prophecies about the Messiah in one way or another. So, the scholars changed their approach and said that they were not going to study prophecy anymore. They wanted no more problems.

Another example would be the Hasidic Jews. They are not considered Torah observant by other Jews that are. This is because the Hasid’s are off in another world. They created an environment that is unrealistic. The observance of things has become more important than the heart of it. Their views come about because they don’t know the Scriptures. Remember, their views do not represent all the Jewish people, so that is why we need to go back to the first century to see what they believed and to understand the environment in which the Gospels and Epistles were written. Yeshua said in Matt 11.11 that he who is least in the Kingdom of God was greater than John the Baptist. Why? Because he was slain before the resurrection. Those that believed after him have access to the benefits of the Kingdom of Heaven, which was greater than what John had experienced.

In Acts 18.24-28, we learn of Apollos, who was eloquent and mighty in the Scriptures. He was instructed in the way of the Lord (Torah) and was an accurate teacher. But, he was only acquainted with the baptism of repentance of John. He was taken aside and the way of God (in Yeshua) was explained. The Kingdom of God had come and he believed. He moved into the benefits of the Kingdom and taught that Yeshua was the redeemer. Salvation through faith in Yeshua brings you into the promised benefits of the Kingdom, which include the Shekinah, the Ruach, the Kivod and the Menachem. Coming to God in the way that he prescribed will lead you into experiencing these benefits.

The manifestations listed in 1 Cor 12.1-11 are not dependent on the maturity of a believer. The power of the Ruach ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) comes upon you and the following manifestations are the gift. Lets look at these quickly. The word of wisdom is called “chachmah” and these are eternal truths. It gives you an answer to an unanswerable question for all time. The Proverbs are an example of this. The word of knowledge is the ability to know something you would not otherwise have known. Faith is “emunah” and is confidence in God. You just “know that you know” and it is given in a specific situation. Gifts (plural) of healing is when the power of God comes upon you, and the gift is healing. Miracles is when something is done that is humanly impossible. Prophecy is a word from God. They are likened to “mirrors” in Hebrew thought because it is an exact reflection of what God said. They can be sung (called a “niggun”-1 Sam 10.5) or written (Jer 36.1-4). Most prophecies today, or those things that people call prophetic are not from God (Lam 3.37). The discernment of spirits is when you can know when something is of God or not. Prayer and fasting can play a role. Ezra had bragged about the Lord to the King so much that he felt ashamed to go to the King for an escort, so he asked the Lord what to do (Ezra 8.21-31). In dealing with demons, the Lord will lead you. Don’t speak to them in prayer (this is idolatry) because prayer is worship (Hertz Siddur, p 250). Go directly to God. Kinds of tongues are two-fold. There are known tongues (Acts 2) and these are the languages of the world. Then there are unknown tongues (1 Cor 13.1). Then, there is the prayer language of a believer but this is not to be used in a congregation. It can be used at the will of the believer, it’s for your benefit. You cannot be taught “tongues” and this is done in many congregations. This is unique and no man will understand. The Spirit prays for you, according to the purposes of God (Rom 8.26). The interpretation of tongues is not a translation, but is just that, an interpretation of what the Spirit is saying.

The Spirit will distribute these manifestations to each one as he wills, not the believer (1 Cor 12.11; Lam 3.37; Heb 2.4). We don’t control the Spirit of God. Nobody has the “gift of…” as some claim. The power of God cannot be “turned on and off” like a water faucet. You submit yourself to God’s control and purposes. That is what “in the Spirit” means (Rev 1.10). Now, as you study 1 Cor 12-14, work through these verses using what you have now learned. See how it applies individually and in a congregation. Analyze them and see how all these work together.

Posted in Articles, Prophecy/Eschatology, Understanding the New Testament

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