Tag Archives: ministry of the Spirit

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. 

Luke 10:25-37: ‘What shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ ‘Who is my neighbor?’

“What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” “Who is my neighbor?” At first these questions seem contradictory. Some even accuse the questioners of attempting to entrap Yeshua. However, honest seekers of truth regularly challenged rabbis with tough questions, as did Abraham, Moses and others.

Continue reading Luke 10:25-37: ‘What shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ ‘Who is my neighbor?’

Galatians 1:6-9 — What is the ‘different gospel’ addressed in this letter? A look at Ephesians 2-4

We continue to explore the “gospel” that Paul delivered to the Galatians by reading what is recorded of his messages to those congregations and his parallel explanations in letter to other congregations. Today, we explore Ephesians 2-4 and its discussion of the “new man” and “old man.”

Continue reading Galatians 1:6-9 — What is the ‘different gospel’ addressed in this letter? A look at Ephesians 2-4

Galatians introduction, part 2 — 2nd Corinthians 3 on ‘new covenant,’ ‘old covenant’ and ministries of condemnation and righteousness

The kind of presuppositions we bring to the New Testament can color our view of the Bible as a whole. This is a discussion series on the more difficult passages of the New Testament that anti-nomians often use to try to take us away from Torah and lead us to “freedom.”

Today, we look at 2nd Corinthians 3, which includes an involved discussion on the “new covenant,” “old covenant” and a “veil” over it, “ministry of the spirit,” “ministry of condemnation/death” and “ministry of righteousness.” As this passage is commonly interpreted, Paul taught that Christ abolished the “old covenant,” doing away with the “ceremonial law,” which was anything connected to the tabernacle/temple ministry. That would include Shabbat (Sabbath) and the other “appointed times to the LORD” as well as “clean” and “unclean” foods. This discussion will explore how Paul explained himself in this letter and in other writings on the same topic.

Continue reading Galatians introduction, part 2 — 2nd Corinthians 3 on ‘new covenant,’ ‘old covenant’ and ministries of condemnation and righteousness