Having establihed in articles part 1 and 2 that the anointing of Jesus by the Holy Spirit in the first century was proof that Israel was being restored (Romans 15:8), we now turn our attention to the first century followers of Jesus and the promise that they too would receive the Holy Spirit. The Spirit which anointed Jesus to confirm the restoration of Israel, would likewise be poured out upon his disciples to confirm that Israel’s restoration and redemption had not been postponed, but was unfolding in the first century.
Before we jump into the significance of the day (feast) of Pentecost and the pouring out of the Spirit on Israel at that time, let’s first observe a few of the promises that Jesus made to his disciples in anticipation of that great event. As we do, we should be mindful of the words of Paul…
“For I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers” (Romans 15:8)
Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit to Israel, served as confirmation that the promises (of kingdom-restoration) made to their fathers would continue to be fulfilled – through them.
“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”
“When they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”
“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth.
“These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.
“I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.
There is much that we could say regarding each of these texts, but for the sake of time we must not. I am well aware of the natural tendency and temptation to “read ourselves into” these promises regarding the Holy Spirit. However, we must always remember that the promise of the Spirit was a promise made to Old Covenant Israel for her “last days” (Joel 2:28, Acts 2:17), to signify and accomplish her Messianic restoration – even her resurrection – which when accomplished, would flow to all nations.
Before we end this article, let’s look at a few of the Old Testament scriptures which teach that the Holy Spirit was to be poured out upon Israel. It was from texts such as these that Jesus “confirmed the promises made to the fathers”, by promising his first century disciples the gift of the Holy Spirit.
For the land of my people in which thorns and briars shall come up; yea, for all the joyful houses and for the jubilant city. Because the palace has been abandoned, the populated city forsaken. Hill and watch-tower have become caves forever, a delight for wild donkeys, a pasture for flocks; until the Spirit is poured out upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fertile field, and the fertile field is considered as a forest. Then justice will dwell in the wilderness and righteousness will abide in the fertile field. And the work of righteousness will be peace, and the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever. Then my people will live in a peaceful habitation, and in secure dwellings and in undisturbed resting places.
“But now listen, O Jacob, My servant, and Israel, whom I have chosen: Thus says the Lord who made you and formed you from the womb, who will help you, ‘Do not fear, O Jacob My servant; and you Jeshurun whom I have chosen. ‘For I will pour out water on the thirsty land and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring and My blessing on your descendants; and they will spring up among the grass like poplars by streams of water.’ “This one will say, ‘I am the Lord’s; and that one will call on the name of Jacob; and another will write on his hand, ‘Belonging to the Lord,’ and will name Israel’s name with honor.
It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. “Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. “I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, blood, fire and columns of smoke. “The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. “And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be delivered; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who escape, as the Lord has said, even among the survivors whom the Lord calls.
In the articles to follow, we will fully demonstrate through these verses what should be obvious at first glance. The outpouring of the Spirit upon the nation of Israel was the “sign of the times” which indicated that the restoration of Israel was being accomplished in the first century through Christ and his Church.
Continued in Part 4….