Series: Sword of the Spirit – Course: Knowing the Spirit
Lesson: The Spirit in the Old Testament – Topic 3: The Holy Spirit: The Revealer of God’s Truth and God’s Will
Teacher: Colin Dye
Announcer: Welcome to Sword of the Spirit, written and presented by Colin Dye, senior minister of Kensington Temple and leader of London City Church. Sword of the Spirit is a dynamic teaching series equipping the believers of today to build the disciples of tomorrow. We pray that you find these programs inspiring, and a catalyst in deepening your knowledge of God, your relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, and your intimacy with the Holy Spirit.
Colin Dye: Hello, and welcome to The Sword of the Spirit, a school of ministry in the Word and the Spirit. Our topic is Knowing the Holy Spirit. And my objective throughout this series is to introduce you to God the Holy Spirit, this wonderful third person of the trinity. And we’ve been looking at how the Holy Spirit is revealed in the Old Testament and we’re looking at the pictures that are used of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament. He is the wind of God, He is the water of life, He is the fire—the fire of God. We also know that the Holy Spirit operates like oil to bring healing and to bring health and to touch our lives. We also know the Holy Spirit is like the holy dove of God—that gentle presence of God that settles on our lives. We’ve also been speaking about the work of the Holy Spirit. Make no mistake about it, the operation of the Spirit of God is the operation of God Himself. The Bible speaks about this in the story of creation. “In the beginning, God created heaven and earth.” And it speaks about the time when there was darkness over the surface of the waters and the Bible says the Holy Spirit is hovering over the waters like a bird brooding over its nest or like a sparrow hawk hovering on the wind, waiting for God’s Word so that the Spirit can leap into action. And then the Bible says, “And God said, ‘Let there be,’” and the Spirit sprang into action to bring creation into being. What a wonderful privilege we have of getting to know that same Holy Spirit. We also know that the Holy Spirit, who is used by God to bring this creation into being, is also used to bring the new creation into our lives. And just as the Holy Spirit shapes the world in the first instance in that first creation of the physical world, so God commands His Spirit to come into our lives to bring light and life into our darkness. It’s God’s Spirit that can bring revelation into your life concerning who Jesus is. It’s God’s Spirit who can bring shape into your life—just as the Spirit shapes creation, so the Holy Spirit can shape a new creation in your life. We know that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit who also controls history. God works in history by the Holy Spirit and through the Holy Spirit. And so the Holy Spirit can control your life and bring God’s history and God’s purposes into your life. And so we’re going to continue to study the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, to see how the Spirit of God is revealed throughout all of the experiences and circumstances of the people of God and the nations that are mentioned in the Old Testament. But while we teach this, I want you to remember that God’s Spirit is very real and He can shape your life and He can touch your life right where you are.
Welcome to The Sword of the Spirit, Knowing the Spirit seminar. The Sword of the Spirit series is a school of ministry in the Word and the Spirit. We’re looking at the topic, Knowing the Holy Spirit, which of course is far more than a topic; we want to get to know Him personally. And in the first session, I was teaching about the Old Testament background to the Holy Spirit—what we can find out about the Holy Spirit from the Old Testament. We looked at some of the word pictures used of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament. And then we began to look at the seven ways in which the Holy Spirit worked in the Old Testament. First of all, we saw in the Old Testament that the Holy Spirit worked in creation—shaping creation. Then we saw the Holy Spirit works controlling history. That’s the second way in which the Holy Spirit works. And then now we’re coming to look at number three, how the Holy Spirit reveals God’s truth and God’s will. He is the revealer of God’s truth and God’s will. Let me refresh your memory. We are looking at the Old Testament foundation teaching on the Holy Spirit, then later on, we’re going to come and look at the work of the Holy Spirit and the person of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. It’s interesting to see that there is this continuity. Every part of the work of the spirit is described in foundational form in the Old Testament. Of course, it’s developed in the New Testament, and here we have a very familiar New Testament theme about the Holy Spirit revealing God’s truth and revealing God’s will, but it actually is taught so clearly in the Old Testament.
Now the scriptures teach right the way through, an association between the Holy Spirit and the revelation of God’s truth that He brings through His messengers, the prophets. This is the basis of the prophetic ministry. And in Numbers chapter 11 and verse 29, we find there the first hint of the link between the Spirit and prophecy. Some Bible scholars call Him the Spirit of prophecy or the Spirit of witness. And we find here in Numbers 11:29, Moses replying to the rather agitated Joshua. You see, Joshua was Moses’ assistant and he was very jealous for Moses’ reputation. And the Holy Spirit had come graciously upon the seventy elders. Moses said, “I can’t carry this burden on my own,” God said, “I’m going to take the spirit that is on you and put it upon these elders, then they’ll be able to carry the burden.” And when the Spirit came upon the elders, they prophesied. And two of these elders who weren’t with the rest, who were outside the camp, the Spirit came upon them in the same way. They prophesied, but they kept on prophesying, and Joshua said, “Moses, you’ve got to stop them because they’re prophesying and you know, your reputation’s at stake here. You’re the prophet around here.” And so Moses replies, Numbers 11 verse 29, “Are you zealous for my sake? Oh, that all the Lord’s people were prophets and the Lord would put His Spirit upon them.” Now you can see the link between prophetic revelation and the coming of the Holy Spirit—a very important strand of teaching. I’m going to weave this strand into a pattern that, by the time we finish this course, you will understand very, very well, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of revelation. He comes to bring the revelation of the knowledge of God. And there is a link between the Spirit coming upon a person and the prophecy and prophetic speech that flows. Moses says, “I would that all the Lord’s people were prophets and the Lord would put His Spirit upon them all.” We’ve already seen how in 1 Samuel 19 that when the Spirit came upon people, they became prophetic. And what happens is, Saul is chasing David and King Saul sent messengers to take David, and here we are, 1 Samuel 19 verse 20. [complete reference 1 Sam. 19:20-24] “Then Saul sent messages to take David and when they saw the group of prophets prophesying and Samuel standing as leader over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul and they also prophesied. And when Saul was told, he sent other messengers and they prophesied likewise. Then Saul sent messengers again the third time and they prophesied. Then he also went to Ramah, and came to the great well that is in Sechu. So he asked and said, ‘Where are Samuel and Saul?’ [correct name is ‘David’] And someone said, ‘Indeed, they are at Naioth in Ramah.’ So he went there to Naioth in Ramah. Then the Spirit of God was upon him also, and he went on and prophesied until he came to Naioth Ramah.” Oh well. Verse 24, “And he also stripped off his clothes and prophesied before Samuel in like manner and lay down naked all that day and all that night. Therefore, they say, ‘Is Saul also among the prophets?’” Well, of course we will deal with Saul’s fleshliness later, but let’s notice this at this time; when the Spirit comes upon somebody, they prophesy. This is a strong link. And for the purposes of this teaching point right now, I want to remind you, that the Spirit, when He comes, He comes to bring revelation—prophetic revelation—of the knowledge of the will of God. And in Micah chapter 3 verse 10, we have the suggestion that not only does the Spirit supply inspiration when He comes upon somebody to speak the Word of the Lord, but also the boldness and courage to deliver that revelation. Micah 3 verse 8, “But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the Lord, and of justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin.” We need that these days. We need that fresh boldness from the Holy Spirit to proclaim the Word of the Lord. Not just to see it and know it for ourselves, but by the Holy Spirit to proclaim it to others and to have the boldness, even if it means identifying peoples’ sin and preaching the message of holiness and God’s judgment against sin. Joel chapter 2: 28—the coming of the Spirit there, clearly, it says, will manifest in the gift of prophecy or at least in prophetic revelation. “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.” So here we have Moses’ wish that all God’s people will become prophets and the Lord will put His Spirit upon them all—we see that wish expressly prophesied. God says, “’In the last days, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh and your sons and daughters shall prophesy. Your old men shall dream dreams; your young men shall see visions.’” So we see here that the coming of the Spirit brings prophesy, brings prophetic revelation into peoples’ lives. And in Ezekiel chapter 37 verses 1 and 2, the Spirit brings the prophet to the valley of dry bones and there reveals God’s truths through a vision: “The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the midst of the valley and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all round and behold, there were very many in the open valley, and indeed, they were very dry.” So we have the Holy Spirit taking Ezekiel, in the Spirit, to a place of revelation. So the Holy Spirit is associated with revelation; with the revealing of God’s will. In 2 Samuel 2 verse 32, [correct reference is 2 Sam. 23:2] we find here that the Spirit reveals God’s truth, either by direct or indirect communication. Samuel 2:23, [23:2] “The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me,’ said Samuel, ‘and His Word was on my tongue.’” And in Nehemiah 9 and verse 30, the Levite said, “Yet for many years You had patience with them and testified against them by Your Spirit in Your prophets. They would not listen; therefore, You gave them into the hand of the peoples of the land.” And so we have all of these passages listed for you. Job 32 verse 8, “But there is a spirit in man and the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding.” All of these verses describe how the Holy Spirit brings revelation and gives insight into His will. Zechariah 7 verse 2. [correct reference is Zech. 7:12] “Yes, they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the words which the Lord of Hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Thus, great wroth came upon them from the Lord of Hosts.” So the Holy Spirit first of all, shapes creation; secondly, controls history; thirdly, reveals God’s truth and will; and fourthly, He teaches the way of faithfulness. He teaches the way of faithfulness. Nehemiah chapter 9 verse 2, [correct reference is Neh. 9:20] “You also gave Your good Spirit to instruct them and did not withhold Your manna from their mouth and gave them water for their thirst.” So the Holy Spirit came to instruct the people of God in the wilderness. He brings the revelation of God’s will and here teaches the way of faithfulness. He instructs. Psalm 143 and verse 10, “Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God. Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness.” How does the Holy Spirit teach? How does the Holy Spirit instruct? By bringing us an understanding of the way of God and the way of God’s faithfulness. He teaches prophetic truth through revelations to all God’s people. And in this He points to God’s ways of faithfulness and fruitfulness. Now number five, He awakens people to God. That’s the work of the Holy Spirit. He awakens people to God. We read in the Old Testament about men and women walking in the Holy Spirit and under the revelation of the Holy Spirit, being wakened to a reality of God in their lives. He convicts people of their sins. He leads them in repentance and truth. He urges them towards righteousness and obedience and He encourages them to respond to God’s instruction and fellowship with praise and prayer. One of the most powerful passages that describes this is Psalm 51—Psalm 51. I’d like you to turn to it. Psalm 51. And here we have King David crying out to God about his sin—the sin which he had been convicted about and brought to repentance over, by the Spirit. Now look at verses 10 and 12—10 through to 12—to show how the Holy Spirit alerted King David to the spiritual reality of his sin and how He drew a positive response from him. Look at this. Psalm 51 verses 10-12. “Create in me a clean spirit, [word should be ‘heart’] O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence nor take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and uphold me with Your generous Spirit.” So the Holy Spirit moved on David to bring him to a place of repentance and drew him right back into relationship with God. This is how the Holy Spirit works. Isaiah chapter 40—chapter 44, rather—verses 3-5 show how the Holy Spirit causes people to turn to Him. “For I will pour water on him who is thirsty and floods on the dry ground. I will pour my Spirit on your descendants and my blessing on your offspring. They will spring up like-among the grass like willows by the watercourses. One will say, ‘I am the Lord’s,’ another will call himself by the name of Jacob. Another will write with his hand, ‘the Lord’s,’ and name himself by the name of Israel.” So the Holy Spirit moves on people just like water upon dry ground. So when you’re feeling dry and you need your heart to be awakened, the Holy Spirit pours out upon you to soften your heart and to make you fruitful and responsive. That really is a picture of revival. And we need this awakening influence of the Holy Spirit. That’s why revivals are called by some people, ‘great awakenings.’ God’s Spirit touches peoples’ lives. He pours like water being poured upon dry ground. We are seeing this in our nations right now as we turn to God. He is walking-working very, very powerfully with us in that way. Now in Ezekiel 39 and verse 29 it says, “’And I will not hide my face from them anymore, for I have poured out my Spirit on the house of Israel,’ says the Lord.” So when God turns His face, He pours out His Spirit, and if He’s hidden from them, that’s because they need to be freshly awakened and the Holy Spirit comes and touches them and He touches us in that same way. And there’s so many passages like this. in Ezekiel 11 verses 19 and 20, “Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them and take the stony heart out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh that they may walk in my statutes and keep my judgments and do them. And they shall be my people and I will be their God.” That is a central covenantal promise of God and it involves the Holy Spirit. So when we talk about the Holy Spirit coming into the life of a Christian believer, we know it is God fulfilling His covenant purpose. And so the Holy Spirit makes all the difference in our lives and He comes to awaken us and to bring the changes that God wants in our lives. Now number six, the Holy Spirit equips us for leadership. He equips individual people for leadership. One of the main purposes of the Holy Spirit coming upon people in Old Testament times is for leadership. And then if you remember, in Genesis chapter 41 verses 33-42—that’s the full passage—we have Pharaoh acknowledging that in Joseph was in whom the spirit of the gods, as it says, dwells. He didn’t understand the language too well; he didn’t understand the God of Israel too much, but he knew that there was something different about Joseph. And that’s the way in which the Holy Spirit works in your life. When the Holy Spirit comes into your life, He equips you for whatever God calls you to do and calls you to be. And so He calls you into leadership in that way. And this is a school of ministry, and I know there are going to be people watching these programs, people watching these videos; people here, of course in the presentation today, who are called to leadership. So you need to open your heart to the Holy Spirit in every detail. Now, in Numbers chapter 11, the full passage, verses 16-29, we won’t read it out, but that passage makes it clear that the same spirit which equipped Moses and rested upon Moses was necessary also for Israel’s national leaders at that time. And so Moses looked for these seventy elders to possess these leadership qualities and God gave them the Holy Spirit, just as He had given the Holy Spirit to Moses. Now the book of Judges is a great book to read about God’s anointing coming upon people for leadership. We read about how God enabled people like Othniel, Gideon, and Jebthah and Samson, and the Holy Spirit came upon them and enabled them to be judges, enabled them to rise up in leadership and to bring deliverance to Israel. Saul and David, the first two kings, were personally chosen by God as rulers and then God put His Spirit upon them and out of the Davidic line came the kingship in ancient Israel. And these two kings were clearly anointed by God and released by the Holy Spirit into their leadership. We see also how prophets were anointed. They were called, inspired, and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Prophets like Elijah, Elisha, and Isaiah—we see the anointing of God coming upon them and there are the verses there in the Old Testament for you to look up. I also want you to notice, too, that the priests were anointed for their leadership. That’s how they were equipped. In Exodus chapter 29 and Leviticus chapter 8—make a note of those two passages, those two chapters—we see the anointing that came to the priests. So we have both prophets, priests, and now—prophets, kings, and now also priests anointed and equipped for very special acts of service. Now when we look at the Holy Spirit working in Old Testament times, we see Him moving in all of these very, very special ways. He touches peoples’ lives. He breathes the breath of God into them. And specifically, the seven items we’re listing of the work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, and let’s go through them again. Number one, He shapes creation. Number two, He controls history. Number three, He reveals God’s truth and His will. Number four, He teaches God’s way of faithfulness. Number five, He awakens people to God. Number six, He equips individuals for leadership. And number seven, He equips individuals with skill and strength. He equips individuals with whatever is necessary to do God’s will. In Exodus chapter 31 we have an example of Bezalel, who was filled with the Holy Spirit for a special task to build and to make things for the tabernacle. Exodus 31 verses 1-3: “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘See, I have called him by name—Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur of the tribe of Judah. And I have filled him with the spirit of God in wisdom and understanding, in knowledge and in all manner of workmanship.’” What was this for? In order to build the things necessary for the tabernacle. So the Holy Spirit can equip you with practical equipping to do things that you need to do in a practical way. This is the skill necessary and we need skill in the work of the Lord; in the building of the house of the Lord. He also equipped Zerubbabel with the Holy Spirit to build the temple. And in Zechariah verses 4-6, “So he answered and said to me, ‘This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord.”’” So the Holy Spirit’s an equipping Spirit. Whatever you’re called to do, you can depend upon the Holy Spirit to equip you to do it. Whatever it is. no matter how practical it is or how seemingly spiritual it is, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit who equips you to give you what you need and the skill that you need to work for Jesus Christ and to serve the Lord. Now sometimes this means taking your talent to a higher level in the Holy Spirit. But sometimes it means giving you an ability that you never ever had before and that’s the wonderful blessing of the Holy Spirit—the creative Spirit.
Now before we leave the Old Testament, I want to take you, quickly, to two very important phrases. You’ll see in Exodus chapter 31 verse 3—we’ve just read it—the phrase ‘being filled with the Spirit’ is used. Now we want to pick that up later on in the New Testament because we’re going to talk—see how the Holy Spirit fills us. Now we get some valuable insight from the Old Testament about the Holy Spirit. He fills people, we see He’s the creator, controller, the revealer, the awakener, the equipper; but if we just had the Old Testament, we would not be very sure about the Holy Spirit as a person. Even in Psalm 139 verse 7 where it says where can we go from His presence and how can we flee from the Spirit of the Lord. Let’s look at that verse. Psalm 139 and verse 7. And it says, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence?” Now this suggests that the Holy Spirit brings God’s presence. But it doesn’t necessarily prove that the Holy Spirit is a person in His own right; it can just mean that He carries the presence of God in some way. Now when we come to the New Testament, we will see that there are some clear foundations in the Old Testament. The New Testament makes it clearer. All of these images of the Old Testament we’ve been looking at show us pictures about Him, but we need to understand more clearly who He is. He is the one who acts on behalf of God. He acts to implement the Father’s will. We call Him the Chief Executive of the godhead; the one who moves out of the godhead to touch peoples’ lives and to execute God’s will. Of course, God is one—God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit are, as you like, directors of this godhead, but there is one who is the Chief Executive. The Father is the Chairman, the Son is the Manager, the Spirit is the Chief Executive. Now of course, this picture breaks down because they’re not three, they are one, but we’ll come to that later. We do need to understand this, though, the Holy Spirit moves very, very powerfully in the Old Testament acting on behalf of God.
And that brings today’s teaching to an end. And I pray that God has blessed you and He will continue to bless you as you go through this series on Knowing the Holy Spirit. And I pray that God will bring you closer and closer to this wonderful third person of the trinity, God the Holy Spirit. So till next time, goodbye and God bless you.
Dye, Colin. Knowing the Spirit
Kensington Temple, 2007
Hagin, Kenneth E. How you can be led by the Spirit of God
Faith Library Publications, 2008
Bonnke, Reinhard & Canty, George. Holy Spirit–Revelation & Revolution
E-R Productions, 2007
Yonggi-Cho, David. The Holy Spirit, my senior partner
Charisma House, 1996