Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

Shavuot (Pentecost): Spirit-transformed to follow God’s Law

Shavuot for Jews. Pentecost for Christians. We can have a great dialogue with our brethren in faith in the Holy One of Israel about the lessons taught in this memorial of the revelation of God. The Word was spoken and written at Sinai, become flesh in Yeshua the Mashiakh (Jesus the Christ), and put into action by the transformation of the Spirit.

Continue reading Shavuot (Pentecost): Spirit-transformed to follow God’s Law

John 16:12-15: The Helper guides into ‘all truth,’ speaking directly from God

“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. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.” (John 16:12–15 NAS95)

Yeshua taught many things about the Kingdom of God, but now the close students had to understand many things. John, at the end of his gospel, said: 

“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.” (John 21:25 NASB)

We can wish that John had more paper, more storage and had written more of Yeshua’s words down for us. What was said was what needed to be said. What else we need to know is what was written down. Part of the Spirit’s role is to help us remember what was said and apply it. 

You probably know people in your life who know the word of God better than you know and don’t believe a word of it. What do you do with the Word of God?

As you read through the Scriptures you start to notice lots of repetition, not just a simple repeat of words but also repeat of themes. 

In a time when possessing one’s own written copy of the scriptures was very expensive, students would memorize large portions of scripture so they would have it with them at any time. 

The most effective communication ― transmission of a message and motivating action ― is repetitive. 

Many passages in the Bible are repetitive ― for a reason. Repetition helps with memorization.

Chiastic literary structure pairs lines or thoughts in one section of a passage (group of verses, chapter or group of verses) with lines later on. The crux, or chi (Greek letter X, pronounced kai), of a chiastic passage is the line not repeated or the last line. There are several common chiastic patterns: 

  • A B C D E D’ C’ B’ A’ [thought E is the point]
  • A B C D E A’ B’ C’ D’ [thought E is the message]
  • A B C A’ B’ C’ [thought C is the message]

An excellent example of a chiastic structure is in John 1:1–14: The crux is Jn. 1:9; the “true Light” had come into the world.

Chiasmus of Revelation

Another example in passing is the book of Revelation. There are many allusions, or references back to the writings of the Prophets. There’s a giant chiastic structure in Revelation. The entire book is a chiastic structure, but there are smaller ones embedded throughout the book, too. The crux of Revelation is judgment; that is the “punchline.” God is going to take down the one who rules this world and he will not get up again. He is going down forever. 

A (prologue, Rev. 1:1–8) 
      B (seven assemblies, 1:10–3:22) 
        C (seven seals, 4:1–8:1) 
           D (seven trumpets, 8:2–11:18) 
               E (judgment, 11:19–14:20) 
           D’ (seven plagues, 15:1–16:21) 
              E’ (fall of Babylon, 17:1–19:10) 
        C’ (millennium, 19:11–21:8) 
     B’ (new Yerushalayim, 21:19–22:9) 
A’ (epilogue, 22:8–17)

Lessons on chiasma

When you see things repeated, pay attention. There are messianic themes throughout the Scriptures, not just in the lives of certain proto-Messianic figures such as Joseph or King David but even in physical places. Certain places have Messianic teachable moments as well including Shiloh. Shiloh is an object lesson that God had put His name in a particular place but He also removed His name from that place when they didn’t want to be led by God anymore. 

Another common pattern in Scripture is a pattern called parallelism. They are a double-barreled one-liner. You see it a lot in poetry. Hebrew parallelism helps explain the lesson via an “in other words” device. It’s common in Psalms:

“[A] I will meditate on Your precepts [A’] And regard Your ways. [B] I shall delight in Your statutes; [B’] I shall not forget Your word.” (Psa. 119:15–16)

Meditation on God’s Law involves observing, i.e., studying, how God acts. “Delighting” in God’s Law involves keeping it front of your mind. Delighting in God’s word means that we do not forget it. It’s not just a smile on your face, it’s a smile that actually does something good.

“[A] Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? [A’] And who may stand in His holy place? [B] He who has clean hands [B’] and a pure heart, [C] Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood [C’] And has not sworn deceitfully.” (Psa. 24:3–4)

“Clean hands” means a pure “heart,” i.e., thoughts and resulting behavior. Such purity of thought means that what one says and how one acts is really what’s in one’s heart.

“The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.” (Luke 6:45)

A pure heart is when one’s thoughts, behavior, and speech are pure. 

Lessons on parallelism

  • Context in Scripture can help us check our views and understand difficult passages.

Context in life can help us not lose hope or become self-absorbed.

Prophetic figures or references to historical events call the reader to reflect on the past, learn from the past to understand the present and future.

Messianic figures: Yosef, Moshe, Aharon, Shimshon (Samson, partly), David

Prophetic figures: Mitsraim (Egypt), Edom, Babylon

Lesson: Reflection on what God has done in our lives and in the world can help us find peace with whatever we’re experiencing in the present and “the meaning of life.”

The Helper would bring to mind and explain Yeshua’s testimony about the Kingdom of God. 

The apostles came to understand how what Yeshua did fulfilled ― pleroo, i.e., filled up, made complete ― God’s “preview of the Coming Attraction” through the prophets.

You can see the Helper’s work in passages in the Gospels that include reference to reflection on what was written in the TaNaKh (Torah, Prophets and Writings, i.e., Hebrew scriptures of the Bible).

The role of the Helper in communicating God’s instructions and intentions first happened around the time God gave the Testimony (10 Commandments) at Sinai and when Israel was entering the Land.

Yeshua said three times that the Helper would “take of Mine” (John 16:14, also v. 15) and give it to the Eleven. What was being transferred was what the Spirit “heard” from the Father. A similar transference happened with Moshe on the approach to Sinai:

“So Moses went out and told the people the words of the LORD. Also, he gathered seventy men of the elders of the people, and stationed them around the tent. Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him; and He took of the Spirit who was upon him and placed Him upon the seventy elders. And when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do it again.” (Num. 11:24–25)

The Spirit that was on Moshe would be on the 70, too, ordained to bear the burden of fielding the concerns (gripes) of the people, so it all wouldn’t fall on Moshe alone (Num. 11:17). Moshe couldn’t carry the burden of all the complaints of the people on his shoulders, so he appointed 70 elders to share the work. 

You see that later in the book of Numbers that Yeshua ben Nun (Joshua) was ordained similarly:

“So the LORD said to Moses, ‘Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him; and have him stand before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation, and commission him in their sight. You shall put some of your authority on him, in order that all the congregation of the sons of Israel may obey him.’ ” (Num. 27:18–20)

It’s great to see this. Notice that it says that God’s Spirit already was “in” him, rather than “on” him as it was for the 70 elders in Numbers 11. You see this later in the life of King Shaul as well. He was filled with the spirit but it didn’t remain. The Spirit was replaced with a bad spirit and no longer heard God speaking to him. 

Yeshua ben Nun didn’t just receive power, but authority as well. “Take of what is Mine and give it to you.” The Spirit is to lead them into all truth. It doesn’t mean that whatever that pops into our heads is the truth. Rather, the Spirit is there to help us recall what God has said before. When we need them to call to account for the hope within us, the Spirit gives us the words to say. Our prayer should be what we what the Apostle Ya’akob framed our need for God’s Spirit as part of the personal transformation promised in the “New Deal” (New Covenant) foretold (Jer. 31:31–34; Ezek. 36:25–26):

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (Jas. 1:2–8)

Yeshua warned them that as they came after Him, they will come after them. Yeshua is telling them they will not be left helpless. They will be given the words to say and the wisdom to know what they mean. As God teaches us of what the Kingdom of God is really like, we can see the lessons in the parallelisms. One phrase is defined and clarified by the next. 

Wisdom isn’t self-absorption and navel-gazing, which are destructive. 

God wants us to ask for wisdom, how to understand the Kingdom of God vs. the world around us.

We always need to look at the context of a verse when it baffles us. Looked at previous verses, previous chapters and even read the entire book. Sometimes you have to take a 30,000 view of it. 

Why are these chaisms there? There is a big picture that we can’t see. For example in Hebrews 11, those heroes did not see everything but they trusted that God could see that they were going to end well. If you can see beyond your front bumper, you might get hit. You have to look beyond where you are to see where you are going. Just “feeling good” isn’t a good way to live. 

God has not left us alone, He has given us His Helper, not just for the deep groaning but to give us wisdom and understanding. 

The things related to the Torah are the baseline, that’s the basic requirements. You want an “attaboy” for the bottom rung? If you want to be more than a servant, if you want to be Yeshua’s friend, you need to want to know God’s heart about the matter, just God’s rules on a matter. You have to long for a heart change, a motivational change that goes beyond our thoughts into our deeds and our hearts. Who are you when no one is looking? Who are you when someone depends on you? 

What the Spirit does for us is to remind us of what Messiah Yeshua did for us on the cross. He bore the burden of our guilt, absorbing it and unloading it onto His Son. 

Because of that God wants us to be new people, not chained to our old lives. We are all trying to leave the old man or old woman behind. God has not left us alone. We can call out at anytime. That is what is great about prayer and meditation on God’s word. 

There are people who know the truth, they know the Bible better than you do yet they don’t want to do it. We can only pray that ranks of those who don’t care shrinks as the lies are removed and the liar, haSatan, is taken away. 

Our time to respond to God is not determined by the calendar. Everyone of us has a day to decide if we want to enter His rest, that day is called today. We are to enter and remain in His rest, not as tourists but as citizens. 

Speaker: Jeff. Summary: Tammy. 

John 15:25–16:11: Tag-team Comforters of Israel

Apostle Yokhanan frequently describes Yeshua’s role as Advocate and the Spirit’s role as Helper, particularly in John 14–16. The gospels of Mark and Matthew use the term a couple of times. 

The Helper not only will remind believers of Yeshua’s words but also fully bring prepare them to  comfort. 

The Greek word for helper in Jn. 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7 (cf. Mt. 10:19f; Mk. 13:11; Lk. 12:11f) is παράκλητος paraklētos (G3875), derived from the word παρακαλέω parakaleō (G3870).

God’s Parakletos for Israel foretold

In the Septuagint (Greek translation of the “Old Testament”), parakletos is used for the Hebrew word נחַם nocham (H5164, repentance) and its verb root נָחַם nacham (H5162, to breathe deeply or to sigh out of a deep sorrow). This is the kind of deep sorrow, a sorrow too deep for words that the Holy Spirit translates for us and lifts up to the Father. 

In the intertestamental literature (between the time of the writing of Malachi and Matthew), the name Menakhem, or “instrument of nacham,” is another name for the Mashiakh (Messiah, Christ). The Menakhem would be the consolation of Israel. The prophets promised return from exile(s) and foretold the coming of the Mashiakh. This idea of the Menakhem was not just someone who would come in on a horse but also one who would take away one’s distress and bring comfort. 

The Comforter is also an Advocate who speaks to us before the Father and the Messiah also is an advocate who brings comfort to His people. You see this mirrored in Revelation, when the Menakhem will take away the sorrow and there will be no more distress or anguish. 

Just as God breathed into man to become living being and to become a “reborn” person in the Kingdom of God, God “sighs” over the agony of those who suffer.

According to Scripture, both the Mashiakh and the Spirit of God act as “the consolation of Israel.”

Hated without a cause

Yeshua returned to the message of God’s Helper ― παράκλητος / מְנַחֵם. 

“They hated me without a cause.” (Jn. 15:25)

Those who persecute Yeshua and His disciples hate God, Who sent the Messiah.

The power of God displayed through Yeshua’s words, miracles and actions were in line with Messianic prophecy testify, and the Spirit confirms these by reminding us of them and putting them into the context of the plan of the Kingdom of God. The Jewish leadership were well-versed in Torah and had memorized large portions of Scripture so knowledgeable speakers could quote just a small snipped of Scripture and the hearers who were very learned would understand the entire context of the snipped quote. 

Yeshua is warning His Apostles that just as people hated Him, they will hate them too. 

This is a quotation from Psalm 35:

“Do not let those who are wrongfully my enemies rejoice over me; Nor let those who hate me without cause wink maliciously. For they do not speak peace, But they devise deceitful words against those who are quiet in the land. They opened their mouth wide against me; They said, ‘Aha, aha, our eyes have seen it!'”(Psa. 35:19–21; cf. 69:4)

What is “winking maliciously”? This is “narrowing the eyes” or pinching your eyes together. There’s a lot of angst and anger in the expression. It’s an outward sign of aggression. The Hebrew euphemism is שֹׂנְאַי חִנָּם sheyn’ai khinnam = hating graciously, i.e., freely, without cost. 

What is “hating graciously”? The Talmud gives us an insight into that phrase. Sages reflecting on the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70 also noted how “free hate” was a big problem for that generation. This hatred was like an illness eating away at the heart of the people of Israel:

“Why was the Second Sanctuary destroyed, seeing that in its time they occupied themselves with studying Torah, obeying mitzvot and practicing charity? Because in it prevailed hatred without a cause. That fact serves to teach you: gratuitous hatred weighs in the balance against the three cardinal sins of idolatry, fornication, and murder.” (Yoma 1.3.5.R–S (9b))

Yeshua touched on this issue when He rebuked them saying: 

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.” (Matthew 23:23 NASB)

You see this in the kangaroo court nature of the proceedings against Yeshua, Stephen and later the Apostle Paul. The Jewish court was not concerned about justice and doing what was right. They did not protect their fellow Jew but threw them to the Roman wolves.

You see this also in the story of King Saul and David. Saul knew that he had sinned so egregiously that his crown and anointing was given to David. Saul had been chosen as the leader but he was deviating from God’s instructions. God stopped talking to Saul and that pain of that silence was devastating to Saul but he took it out on David. He even tried to break into God’s back door by speaking with mediums. 

David wrote Ps. 35 during this period of turmoil. 

Israel had stopped listening to God during the Maccabean period moving into the First Century. There was a revival when the people returned to the Land after exile in Babylon but they quickly devolved after that. The people stopped listening so God stopped talking. The prophets who were heralding the consolation of Israel, the Messiah, were ignored. 

The Sages shifted their views in what the Messiah was supposed to be to the point where today there are many different views of Messiah but none of them match the truth. 

You can understand why Yeshua is quoting Psalm 35 here. The majority of the leaders thought they were doing the will of God by helping Saul chasing down David. 

Spirit convicts on sin, righteousness, judgment

The three convictions by the Spirit upon the world will be “sin and righteousness and judgment” (Jn. 16:8). 

They didn’t want to listen to God or ask for God’s help to understand what was coming. They didn’t want clarity from God. There were a few who reached out to Yeshua such as Nicodemus. There were also a group of priests we read about in the Book of Acts reached out too, but they were not the majority. 

Most of the Jewish leadership heard the words of God about the coming Menakhem–Mashiakh, but they didn’t want to listen or ask for God’s help ― Helper ― to discover and recognize God at work. They were more concerned about the Romans taking away their position than they were about knowing their Messiah. They hated Messiah Yeshua without cause. 

“and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me;” (John 16:10 NAS95)

Dependence on visual signs of God’s power at work can be a roadblock to trust in God.

Yeshua said to a royal official from Capernaum who asked Him to come heal his sick son: “ ‘Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe.’ ” (John 4:48) He trusted Yeshua’s word without Yeshua being physically present with his son. That fait was rare. 

You also see that Yeshua had “breathed ― passed along ― the Spirit to 10 closest students, Thomas the Twin came in but wanted lots of physical evidence of Yeshua’s resurrection. On Yeshua’s visit to them eight days later, Thomas confesses not only the truth of Yeshua’s resurrection but Yeshua’s identity as God. Thomas didn’t even touch Yeshua to confirm. Yeshua told him: 

“Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.'” (Jn. 20:29)

This is the reason that Yeshua, the Parakletos had to leave and the other Parakletos had to come. They needed more boldness and more power now that Yeshua would not be physically present on the earth. 

“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.” (1Pet. 1:6–9)

This is why Yeshua had to leave. We see the immense, horrific trials that people who hate God freely do to those who trust in God, yet they trust God with their lives. For example, the martyrs who have been butchered by ISIS in Syria, Libya and Iraq are not throwing their lives away but are making a proclamation of God’s greatness. 

It is not random that the Apostle Yokhanan uses the same word to describe both Yeshua and the Holy Spirit. The people kept demanding a sign and Yeshua said the only sign you will get is the sign of Jonah. The people of Nineveh were told that 40 days and you will be dead. They repented so much that they even made their animals repent. This foreign nation had more trust in God than the nation the prophet Jonah came from.

They had a prophet Yokhanan the Baptist, they had Yeshua, they had the Apostles going two-by-two throughout the land. They had a chance to repent and did not take it. 

Everyone has a bias. There is no such thing as objectivity and detached. But you can test and see if your bias is valid or not. You can have a hypothesis but as the experiment goes, do you skew your readings to fit your hypothesis or can you acknowledge the hypothesis is wrong? 

Even those who have no fleshly connection to Yeshua can put their trust in God because of the Holy Spirit. 

“concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged” (Jn. 16:11) Light had come, so darkness (places unlit) must run:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (Jn. 1:1–5; cf. spiritual things being spiritually discerned, 1Cor. 2:14)

The English word translated as comprehend is καταλαμβάνω katalambanō in Greek (G2638), which means to lay hold of so as to make one’s own or to seize. That’s why some translations use overcome or overpower.

People shrink from the light because they don’t want their deeds to be exposed. The ruler of this world brings darkness and confusion but in the light, it goes away because of the tag-team of Messiah Yeshua and the Holy Spirit. 

You become a new person with a new heart. It’s not a matter of a list of do’s and don’ts but God changes your inclinations so that you don’t want to do what is wrong. Yeshua and the Holy Spirit knows our deepest anguish. Yeshua lived it Himself and the Holy Spirit experiences it in us. That is why the Holy Spirit can translate our deepest groaning to God for us. 

Speaker: Jeff. Summary: Jeff and Tammy.