Outpouring of the Holy Spirit

by Paul Franco on September 20, 2010

As we study all of the bible together as a whole, we realize that the Lord carefully prepared the way for His son. And He prepared that way for over a millennium. The Lord spent nearly 1,500 years on types and shadows, sacrifices, blood, prophets, priests, redemption’s, and temples, laying that foundation, so that when He did send His Son, we would understand His coming and interpret His Word correctly. He spent many years laying this immovable foundation in the Scriptures as He pointed to Christ. The base was laid so that His incarnation would be understood, in order that we may have a context in the Old Testament to properly understand it. As we look upon the Son who shed His blood at Calvary, we can understand and appreciate the fullness of Christ’s redeeming work, our need of that work, and the efficacy of the Sons work to meet our need. The context of Old Testament Scripture helps us understand what Messiah has truly accomplished.

Liberalism has denied the Gospel because they have denied the Old Testament. They have denied the foundation of Old, that there is an offended diety whose wrath must be appeased by a blood sacrifice. Therefore they cannot properly interpret the New Testament.

In a very similar way, the work of the Holy Spirit and our need of His work and the efficacy of His work to meet our need is well defined and illustrated in the Old Testament. And just as our preaching of Christ goes astray and is impoverished when our understanding is not informed by the Old Testament, so too our doctrine and teaching of the Holy Spirits work goes astray and is impoverished when our understanding is not informed by the Old Testament .

The Old Testaments description of the Spirits work should be the center of our emphasis regarding our need and His provision. Many controversies regarding the work of the Holy Spirit may find some resolution by this approach. We can identify the center of emphasis and keep it centered by the Old Testament. Our Old Testament Scriptures identifies the center of that work, and keeps it centered where it ought to be in our understanding of its work in these glorious promises that God has made to His people.

God promised and defined the work of the Holy Spirit in abundance within the texts of the Old Testament. If the church would return to the preaching of the Old Testament by drawing from its waters the truths concerning the Holy Spirit, it would help believers adequately apply His work to our lives.

In the book of Isaiah we read some of the sweetest Gospel promises such as chapter 55 where God says to come to His waters without money and without cost, for His love toward the sinner has been given freely (in Christ). Come you wicked! For a full pardon, and let your soul delight itself in abundance for He is merciful. I live off of verses like this, contained in them is the message of the Messianic suffering servant whom we know to be Jesus Christ the Son of the living God. And He rises up to center stage in the book of Isaiah as the coming savior of Israel and the Gentiles. And we see Him as the hope for Israel and all idolatrous nations and people even to the ends of the earth, as He says “come to the Messianic Suffering Servant and be saved.”

Now the Helper who the Messiah sends is always present when the Lord Jesus is mighty to save His people. Indeed, none of His people would be saved without Him.

Isaiah chapter 30
describes our need for the Holy Spirit, the promise of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirits efficacy. Their need for the Holy Spirit was unbelief, for unbelief is always the problem with the stony heart. Israel is in a shower of unbelief even when Assyria is breathing down their necks, as we read in V1 “Woe to the rebellious children,” says the LORD, “Who take counsel, but not of Me, And who devise plans, but not of My Spirit, That they may add sin to sin.” Not to seek the Lord, (when God has promised Himself to them as their covenant keeping God) is unbelief and sin. And here is their counsel and thinking, V2 “Who walk to go down to Egypt, and have not asked My advice, To strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, And to trust in the shadow of Egypt!” V15 For thus says the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength,” but you would not. And you said, “No, for we will flee on horses”-therefore you shall flee! And, “We will ride on swift horses” -Therefore those who pursue you shall be swift! Israel is drowning in their unbelief!

Isaiah 32:9-14 also tells us that the women are complacent and everything seemed more real as an object of trust to these women then the LORD God. Egypt, their horses, their chariots, etc. were a more present hope to the Children of Israel than God and His covenant promises. It was not a time for complacency and false hope, but it was time for mourning, repentance, and fear because of God’s judgment. Yet, their complacency is the ultimate expression of their false hope and trust.

And God will send His righteous judgment upon these people, and how long will this unbelief last? Is there a cure for this persistent sin of unbelief? What can change this situation? When will the people change? Is there a remedy for these unrepentant, unbelieving people who claim that Jehovah is there God?

Nothing they can do and surely nothing they will do, can change their unbelief! They will stay in this state. UNTIL, the Spirit of God is poured out on us from on high says Isaiah 32:15! It will last until the out pouring of the Holy Spirit, for He is the cure and remedy for this situation!

And once the Holy Spirit is poured out upon us from on high, then the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is counted as a forest. All of a sudden the spiritual wilderness of unbelief is transformed into a fruitful field of faith in Messiah. And the growth resulting from the Spirit being out poured will be so much that the fruitful field becomes a forest, and now your vegetable plants have become trees and have grown so fast and so big. All because of the Spirit being poured out on these people.

The earlier chapters of Isaiah have pictured the need for the Holy Spirit. The ground is parched, the land is thirsty and dry, it is a place where jackals, owls, and snakes live, and the lands throughout the earth are made a wasteland and desolate. This is a picture of Israel and all of humanity. Israel is a test case, they have all of the advantages from the revelation, knowledge, and wisdom of the law, and yet it does not work to save them. Even with all of this they still refuse to worship YAHWEH. And if Israel was unable to keep covenants with God, where does that leave the rest of the nations? If Israel is lost in idolatry with all of the advantages they have, then this proves that man is so depraved and lost that he cannot keep a relationship with God, (apart from the Holy Spirit that is). Israel is the test case, as God supernaturally lead them out of bondage, gave them covenants, His divine law, prophets, spoke to them from the mountain, and drove their enemies from them, giving them a land of their own, they were still unable to serve YAHWEH with their heart. This dry ground pictures every nation and all humanity. It is a picture of all of our lives without the Spirit of God.

Isaiah 35:1-10 The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose. 2 It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, even with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the excellence of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, the excellency of our God. (They shall see what they’ve never seen before) because everything has always looked better than YAHWEH to the dry heart, but now they are going to see the glory of the LORD and the excellency of our God. 3 Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees.4 Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God; He will come and save you.” 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.6 Then the lame shall leap like a deer, And the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert. (God pours out the Holy Spirit and saves His people! This is not a drizzle of water, but this is a great flood)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.8 A highway shall be there, and a road, And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, Shall not go astray.9 No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast go up on it; It shall not be found there. But the redeemed shall walk there, 10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, And come to Zion with singing, With everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, And sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

John the Baptist sent men to Jesus while in prison to ask if He is the one or shall they look for another. Jesus quotes verses 5 and 6 and sends them back to John saying “I am the one, and now that I am here these promises are beginning to be fulfilled.” The waters are going to burst forth in the desert upon my people Israel, I am Israel’s savior, I am the Messiah, and I am the King that saves. He said they should not look for another. This is the out pouring of the Holy Spirit, and will cure the problem of unbelief!

Nicodemus, Nicodemus! Israel won’t be saved until God fulfills those promises that He has made, and your hope ought not to be in your pharisaic law keeping, for this is not Israel’s hope! Israel’s hope is that when Messiah comes the flood gates will be opened and the Spirit is going to be poured down on Israel and these unbelieving Jews are going to be born with water and the Spirit. Are you the teacher of Israel and you do not understand these things. Where is your hope Nicodemus? Yes, water and the Spirit, (not water baptism), but these promises of the out pouring of the Holy Spirit.

Isaiah 41:14-20 “Fear not, you worm Jacob, You men of Israel! I will help you,” says the LORD And your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. 15 “Behold, I will make you into a new threshing sledge with sharp teeth; You shall thresh the mountains and beat them small, And make the hills like chaff. 16 You shall winnow them, the wind shall carry them away, And the whirlwind shall scatter them; You shall rejoice in the LORD, And glory in the Holy One of Israel. 17 “The poor and needy seek water, but there is none, Their tongues fail for thirst. I, the LORD, will hear them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. 18 I will open rivers in desolate heights, And fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, And the dry land springs of water. 19 I will plant in the wilderness the cedar and the acacia tree, The myrtle and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the cypress tree and the pine And the box tree together, 20 That they may see and know, And consider and understand together, That the hand of the LORD has done this, And the Holy One of Israel has created it.

The poor and the needy are dehydrating in the wilderness of unbelief, and they seek out water and find none! But, God says He will not forsake them, for He will hear them. However, God is going to allow the land to become a dry, dry, dry desert wasteland, so that when He does come and save no one will be able to say that Baal, pharaoh, king of Assyria, or the works of man saves! The patience of God to save in such a manner is to prove that no man, woman, or child can do anything to save themselves. The prophecy of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit spoken of in the Old Testament is so that we may see, know, and consider that the hand of the LORD has done this and the Holy One of Israel has created it (salvation).

Isaiah 43:16-21 Thus says the LORD, who makes a way in the sea And a path through the mighty waters, 17 Who brings forth the chariot and horse, The army and the power (They shall lie down together, they shall not rise; They are extinguished, they are quenched like a wick): 18 “Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. 19 Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. 20 The beast of the field will honor Me, The jackals and the ostriches, Because I give waters in the wilderness And rivers in the desert, To give drink to My people, My chosen. 21 This people I have formed for Myself; They shall declare My praise.

The chariots and horses, and the power of the armies are extinguished by YAHWEH. The faithful remnant of Israel are encouraged not to look back at this particular time of Israel’s history, because the LORD will do a new thing and you will know it. Every true Christian knows that it is Christ alone who saves and that he can do nothing to save himself. This is not about jackals and ostriches or a physical river in the desert, but this is imagery concerning the wonderful work of God who gives drink to His chosen people. This chosen people YAHWEH has formed for Himself and they shall declare His praises.

In these passages we see the need and the promise of the work of the Holy Spirit, and God alone has done this. The LORD will form a new people for Himself and He will give them drink, rivers of water, which refers to the work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit alone forms His people, He alone gives them life, and He alone can ensure the final result mentioned, “they shall declare My praise.”

In Isaiah 43:22 we are immediately brought back to the dry land of unbelief. This commentary is not only speaking of the unbelief of the nation of Israel, but that of all humanity. The descriptions are so revealing concerning the heart of man, “But you have not called upon me, O Jacob; and you have been weary of Me, O Israel.” Every heart of stone reveals its true nature as God exposes the unregenerate heart “But you have not called upon me, O Jacob”, no one calls upon the name of the LORD, we all have gone astray, and everyone says in his own heart “who needs god, I’m just fine without him”. To be more precise, the wicked heart says “who needs THIS GOD”, “YAHWEH”. The failure of Israel to call upon YAHWEH is a witness to their unbelief. “And you have been weary of Me, O Israel,” the people were griping and complaining about the covenant brought about by their father’s, they were grumbling because YAHWEH required all these things of them, the sacrifices and pilgrimages to the temple three times a year. They were weary of the God of their fathers! And they felt like they were stuck in a covenantal marriage with YAHWEH, and they wanted out. They were weary of it. V43:23 You have not brought Me the sheep for your burnt offerings, Nor have you honored Me with your sacrifices. I have not caused you to serve with grain offerings, nor wearied you with incense. 24 You have bought Me no sweet cane with money, Nor have you satisfied Me with the fat of your sacrifices; But you have burdened Me with your sins, You have wearied Me with your iniquities. Isa 43:25 “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins.” And God is weary of their sins and says I will blot out your sins because of My own sake, because I’m tired of looking at them. I’m not blotting them out for your sake, but because I’m so weary of them I will do this. Isa 43:26 “Put Me in remembrance; Let us contend together; State your case, that you may be acquitted.” They couldn’t remember YAHWEH, they couldn’t even remember Him for forty days at the exodus and they were given the Sabbath that they would remember weekly His mighty rescue of them from the bondage of slavery out of Egypt and they forgot. Isa 43:27 Your first father sinned, And your mediators have transgressed against Me. 28 Therefore I will profane the princes of the sanctuary; I will give Jacob to the curse, And Israel to reproaches. And this grim state of being is what it is like without the Holy Spirit.

Despite how dark and dismal the past is, God’s grace in this situation is going to transform their weariness and their worship of false god’s. Their unbelief, sin, and judgment will be reversed by YAHWEH. Isa 44:1 “Yet hear now, O Jacob My servant, And Israel whom I have chosen. 2 Thus says the LORD who made you And formed you from the womb, who will help you: ‘Fear not, O Jacob My servant; And you, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.”

Why should they fear not?

Isa 44:3 “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; 4 They will spring up among the grass Like willows by the watercourses.’ 5 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.

All this water in Isaiah is typological of the Holy Spirit which God promised to pour out on Israel His people which are redeemed and purchased by Jesus Christ. The Father promises the Son, and when the Son completes His work, the Sons people will be willing to serve Him in the day of His power when the Son pours out the Spirit upon His people (the dry land), which is seen in Acts 2. We see a miraculous transformation, and this conversion is accomplished by the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit regenerates the wicked heart, the world knows it! And who can refute what the Holy Spirit has done in the heart of man? None! And Christ infuses His people with the Holy Spirit and we see this in the book of Acts and many other times in the history of the church.

These people were running back to Egypt and they were worshiping Baal, then God did something marvelous, and they begin to say “I am the LORD’S” which is covenantal language. YAHWEH says “I will be your God, and you will by my people” and now they love God. We are dead and dry, as God has painted these pictures for us. We are barren and thirsty, and we are in desperate need of the out pouring of the Holy Spirit as the prophet Isaiah has proclaimed. And when the Holy Spirit is poured out upon our hearts we will spring up among the grass like the willows by the watercourses and He will plant us like trees in the wilderness. May we all pray that the Holy Spirit would be poured out upon this dry and barren land once again.

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