The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is God. He is a person and yet part of the triune nature of God who exists in three persons. The Holy Spirit is eternal, as is the Father and the Son (Jesus Christ). It is essential that we develop a relationship with the Holy Spirit and this needs to be central to our life. He is a gift (as is Jesus) to us and this gift is given to us to teach us and guide us in our lives. He lives inside of genuine Christians and we can be filled in our spirit with the Holy Spirit which results in living in power to glorify God and bring the Kingdom of God to the earth.
THE PROMISE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit was promised in the Old Testament. Then we see John the Baptist. He was the second cousin of Jesus (Elizabeth was Mary's cousin - Luke 1:36) but seperated from Jesus. Keep in mind also that John the Baptist was the only person the Bible says was filled with the Holy Spirit before he was born and was the last Old Testament prophet. One day John testifies to priests and Levites who are sent from Jerusalem about Jesus and the very next day John sees Jesus walking toward him. John proclaims,"Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29). In John 1:32-33, we read the second thing God revealed to John, "And John bore witness, saying, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'
John knew that Jesus was the fulfillment of Isaiah:
"For I will pour 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. They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams" (Isaiah 44:3-4 NIV).
A little later, we read in John 7:37-39 an extremely interesting passage when we understand the context. It reads:
"On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified."
The beginning of the passage tells us that this was the last day, a great day of the feast. This was not the Feast of Pentecost. This was the last day of a very important seven-day feast, the Feast of Tabernacles. the Feast of Tabernacles, also known as the Feast of Booths or in Hebrew "Sukkot," is the seventh and last feast that the Lord commanded Israel to observe. This feast is all about joy (unlike the other Feasts) and was celebrated with music, dancing and singing all night long. It was also a time when they brought their tithes and offerings to the Temple (Deuteronomy 16:16-17). Israel was commanded to "gather from your threshing floor and from your winepress" (Deuteronomy 16:13) in advance and so many sacrifices were made that it required all twenty-four divisions of priests to be present to assist in the sacrificial duties. Note that the significance of "tabernacles" or "booths" is explained in Leviticus 23 where God told Moses about the seven feasts they were to celebrate. We read:
"And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days. You shall keep it as a feast to the Lord for seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations. You shall celebrate it in the seventh month. You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God'" (Leviticus 23:40-43).
However, the Tabernacle of God is also central to this as the material for the building of the Tabernacle of God was collected during the days before this Feast and King Solomon dedicated the Temple during this Feast (1 Kings 8:2;8:65). It is thought that Jesus was born during this Feast and it's interesting that John would say in John 1:14 that the Word (Jesus) became flesh and "tabernacled with us." So this Feast is very symbolic of God dwelling with us.
A central and one of the most joyous observances during this Feast was known as the Nisuch ha-Mayim (lit. "Pouring of the water") or Water Libation Ceremony. This was performed every morning of the Feast. According to the Talmud, Sukkot is the time of year in which God judges the world for rainfall (e.g. Zecheriah 14:16-19); therefore this ceremony, like the taking of the Four Species, invokes God's blessing for rain in its proper time. The water for the libation ceremony was drawn from the Pool of Siloam (Hebrew: Breikhat HaShiloah) in the City of David and carried up the Jerusalem pilgrim road to the South Gate (or "Water Gate") of the Temple. Afterwards, every night in the outer Temple courtyard, tens of thousands of spectators would gather to watch the Simchat Beit HaShoeivah (Rejoicing at the Place of the Water-Drawing), as the most pious members of the community danced and sang songs of praise to God. The dancers would carry lit torches, and were accompanied by the harps, lyres, cymbals and trumpets of the Levites. According to the Mishnah, (Tractate Sukkah), "He who has not seen the rejoicing at the Place of the Water-Drawing has never seen rejoicing in his life."
The last great day of Sukkot (this Feast), was called Hoshana Rabbah. The High Priest led a final procession to the pool of Shiloach (Siloam) where he would fill a golden pitcher with water and then return to the courtyard of the Temple. The High Priest poured out the water in one hole of the altar and wine in a smaller hole (to drain at the same speed because of the diferent consistencies) so it would run down the steps into the street. While this was done, the great crowd of people would wave their "lulavot" (a bouquet of the "four species") and loudly sing "Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!" as well as the "Hallel" which is Psalm 113-118. So Jesus is at the Temple and seeing this ceremony, and then tells everyone that He is the Temple and has water for the thirsty. Jesus then says that he who believes in Him will have living water flow out of their hearts, implying that believers are temples as well.
Now earlier in John 2:18-21, Jesus claimed that His body was the Temple:
"So the Jews answered and said to Him, "What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?" Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." Then the Jews said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?" But He was speaking of the temple of His body."
We have an incredible vision of this in The Old Testament (Ezekiel 47:1-12):
Then he brought me back to the door of the temple; and there was water, flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the front of the temple faced east; the water was flowing from under the right side of the temple, south of the altar. He brought me out by way of the north gate, and led me around on the outside to the outer gateway that faces east; and there was water, running out on the right side.
And when the man went out to the east with the line in his hand, he measured one thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the water came up to my ankles. Again he measured one thousand and brought me through the waters; the water came up to my knees. Again he measured one thousand and brought me through; the water came up to my waist. Again he measured one thousand, and it was a river that I could not cross; for the water was too deep, water in which one must swim, a river that could not be crossed. He said to me, "Son of man, have you seen this?" Then he brought me and returned me to the bank of the river.
When I returned, there, along the bank of the river, were very many trees on one side and the other. Then he said to me: "This water flows toward the eastern region, goes down into the valley, and enters the sea. When it reaches the sea, its waters are healed. And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live. There will be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters go there; for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes. It shall be that fishermen will stand by it from En Gedi to En Eglaim; they will be places for spreading their nets. Their fish will be of the same kinds as the fish of the Great Sea, exceedingly many. But its swamps and marshes will not be healed; they will be given over to salt. Along the bank of the river, on this side and that, will grow all kinds of trees used for food; their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. They will bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for medicine."
This is rich with symbolism (in parenthesis)... Ezekiel sees the Temple (Jesus) and water (Holy Spirit) flowing out from the south gate, creating a river that rises over Ezekiel and the banks are full of trees (Christians). The water (Holy Spirit) flows from the Temple (Jesus), down into the valley and enters the sea (our innermost being) and heals us. The man (Jesus) brings Ezekiel through the waters (Holy Spirit) until Ezekiel is swimming in the water (Holy Spirit). Everything that moves with the river lives but it's swamps and marshes (areas without the Holy Spirit) where the river doesn't flow will not be healed. The trees on each bank of the river will bear food (spiritual food) and fruit (works), the leaves (hands of Christians) won't wither and will bring healing, the fruit (works) won't fail, and they will bear fruit (works) regularly every month.
So this ceremony was fulfilling what Ezekiel saw, and it wasn't a physical temple, it was a spiritual temple. Wherever the water flowed, there were fruit trees all around. It says in Psalm 1:3 of a person who follows God, "He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper." There was also fruit in all these trees. In John 15:16 we read, "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you." We also see fisherman gathering all these fish. Jesus said, ""Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19; Mark 1:17). There was also healing and in Isaiah 53:4-5, "Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed."
The temple that Ezekiel saw was the temple of Jesus Christ. Later, after Jesus is crucified, we read, "But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out" (John 19:34).
In 1 Corinthians, Paul reminds us, "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?" (1 Corinthians 6:19).
Jesus said to the woman at the well, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life" (John 4:13-14).
So Jesus will create this river to flow out of us (temples) to bring life and Pentecost is the fulfillment of this. Everywhere the river flows it causes life to spring up but nothing happened in the swamps and marshes.We read in Isaiah 35:7, "The parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water; in the habitation of jackals, where each lay, there shall be grass with reeds and rushes." We need to Holy Spirit to flow into every area of our life. we can also quench the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19) or just go in the river ankle deep (Ezekiel 47:3) but that doesn't really affect us and we can walk right out. If we want more of the Holy Spirit and His influence in our life, we can go knee deep and we start to feel the reality of the river but get out easily as well. The man who led Ezekiel went waist deep and then to the point where he had to swim and was immersed. John said Jesus was going to immerse us in the Holy Spirit and this is fulfilled in Acts 2:4, "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." Luke says that being baptized with the Spirit is a fulfillment of the promise of Joel 2:28-32:
""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. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. "And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as the Lord has said, among the remnant whom the Lord calls."
Finally we have a vision in Revelation 22:1-5:
"And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever."
"And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely" (Revelation 22:17).
© Todd Tyszka
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