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Spirit of Messiah – part 1: Signs of the Kingdom

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(Ruach HaKodesh, Session 5a)

 

This session of the Ruach HaKodesh series looks at the Holy Spirit in the Gospels. In this episode, part one, we will examine the role the Spirit played in Yeshua’s immersion and in His ministry. We will also take a brief rabbit-trail on the topic of blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

The following is a condensed version of the audio teaching, including all the references and sources cited. You can also subscribe to this podcast here.

 

Introduction

We saw in Session 4 that the Tanakh anticipated a coming individual who would be filled with the Spirit and usher in the end-time outpouring of the Spirit on all Israel. It is clear, in reading the Apostolic Scriptures, that the apostles saw Yeshua as the fulfillment of those prophecies.[1]E.g., Matthew 12:18 and Luke 4:18 explicitly apply Isaiah’s prophecies to Yeshua’s ministry. The thrust of every book of the Apostolic Scriptures is the exhilarating revelation that the Messiah, the anointed King of Israel who would accomplish the final redemption, is Yeshua of Nazareth.

The following is a broad outline of this session:

  • The backdrop to Yeshua’s ministry
  • The Holy Spirit working in and through Yeshua
  • The anticipation in the Gospels of this Spirit being poured out on His followers

 

Backdrop to Yeshua’s Ministry

According to James Dunn,

In the period prior to Jesus, the understanding of the Spirit as the Spirit of prophecy and as the Spirit of the age to come had developed into the widespread dogma that the Spirit was no longer to be experienced in the present. The Spirit had been known in the past as the inspirer of prophetic writings, but after Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi the Spirit had been withdrawn. . . . The Spirit would be known again in the age of the Messiah, but in the interim the Spirit was absent from Israel.[2]James D. G. Dunn, “Holy Spirit” in Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, Vol. 1, W. A. Elwell, ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1988), 986-91. As ...continue

Some see a hint of this in Amos’ words of judgment against Israel:

“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD, “when I will send a famine on the land— not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the LORD, but they shall not find it.” (Amos 8:11–12)[3]Cf. also, Psalm 74:9 and Zech 13:2-6, which likewise refer to an absence of the gift of prophecy.

So, when we get to the Gospels, it is very significant that we see the gift of prophecy beginning to return. This is exemplified in the Holy Spirit filling individuals leading up to Yeshua:

  • Mary in conceiving Yeshua: Matthew 1:18-20; Luke 1:35
  • Elizabeth: Luke 1:41
  • Zechariah: Luke 1:67
  • Simeon: Luke 2:25-27
  • The prophetess Anna: Luke 2:36-38[4]The Holy Spirit is not specifically mentioned in connection with Anna, but with her being a prophetess God’s Spirit is clearly implied.
  • John the Baptist: Luke 1:15, 17, 80

In these examples, we see individuals break out into prophetic “song” in praise of God and in anticipation of the impending redemptive events surrounding the birth and life of Yeshua.[5]We even see Yeshua break forth into such a “song” through the Holy Spirit: Luke 10:21. We also see a specific Spirit-filled prophet (John the Baptist) whose job was to prepare the way for Yeshua.

 

The Spirit in Messiah

There is a connection between Spirit and Messiah, as we saw in the prophets: Messiah is filled with the Spirit, and Messiah brings the Spirit. Spirit and Messiah go hand in hand, so much so that the Spirit of God is referred to as “the Spirit of Messiah.”[6]Romans 8:9; Philippians 1:19; 1Peter 1:11; cf. Acts 16:7; cf. also Genesis Rabbah 2:4, see below. After all, anointing and the Spirit go hand in hand. Messiah (mashiach) and Christ (christos) both mean “anointed one.”

Yeshua is the Messiah, the Anointed One. This raises the obvious question: When was He anointed? We will suggest that it took place symbolically yet clearly at His immersion (baptism).

 

Yeshua’s Immersion

We read about Yeshua’s immersion in the following parallel passages:

  • Matthew 3:13-17
  • Mark 1:9-11
  • Luke 3:21-22
  • John 1:29–34

All four of these passages describe an incredible filling with the Holy Spirit that Yeshua received. This filling, as I hope to show, constituted His anointing. Peter states in Acts how “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power.” (Acts 10:38)

 

Ordination and Anointing

There are a few questions related to this story. First of all, why did Yeshua go to John to be immersed? Even John objects to the arrangement. But Yeshua replies that it is necessary. Why? Perhaps one reason is that this immersion constituted a symbolic ordination. Compare this with Exodus 29:4-7. In these verses Moses was to immerse Aaron, after which Aaron was anointed as priest. In other words, immersion and anointing go together.

It seems very possible, then, that Yeshua, recognizing His role as the Suffering Servant, and thus as a priest who would bear the sins of Israel and atone for them (cf. Num 18:23; Is 53:6, 11), likewise recognized that at the initiation of His priestly work it was necessary to undergo a mikveh. Yochanan’s attendance at His mikveh symbolically fulfilled the role of Moses when he initiated the priesthood upon Aaron and his sons, and gives the reason why Yeshua would have said “it is necessary for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Furthermore, the subsequent descent of the Spirit in the form of a dove matches the anointing with oil also required for the ordination of the high priest.[7]Tim Hegg, Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, Vol I (TorahResource, 2007), pp. 110-111.

Note the verbal connection between “coming down” (καταβαίνω, katabaino) in Matt 3:16 and the LXX of Psalm 133:

“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down (katabaino) on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down (katabaino) on the collar of his robes!” (Psalms 133:1–2)

In other words, there is a connection between this “coming down” of the Spirit on Yeshua and the “coming down” of the oil of anointing on Aaron the priest.

Another parallel stands in the fact that kings were anointed by God’s prophet. Thus we read in the Tanakh that Samuel the prophet anointed both Saul and David. Traditionally, Elijah was expected to anoint Messiah.[8]Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho 8, 49. In this case, John stands in the place of Samuel the prophet, and Yeshua is in the place of David. Remember that both Samuel and John were lifelong Nazirites who were prophets, and they were both of priestly ancestry.

Note that David was anointed multiple times: first by Samuel secretly, and later publicly by the men of Judah and then by all Israel.[9]1Sam 16:13; 2Sam 2:4; 5:3. While this event in the Gospels stands as a sort of symbolic anointing, it is possible that Messiah will be anointed literally with oil at His public coronation upon His return.

 

The Significance of the Waters

The Midrash Rabbah comments on the book of Genesis:

“The spirit of God moved over the surface of the waters” (Gen 1:2). This refers to the spirit of Messiah, as you read, “And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him” (Isa 11:2). In what merit will he eventually come? He will come “moving over the surface of the waters,” i.e. he will come in the merit of repentance which is likened to water, as it is written, “Pour out thy heart like water” (Lam 2:19). (Genesis Rabbah 2:4)

This well-known passage is remarkable for several reasons. First of all, while I think this implication was unintended, this implies the deity of Messiah: God’s Spirit is His Spirit.[10]Cf. Romans 8:9; other verses in note 6 above. Secondly, we see a link between the work of the Spirit in bringing order to the chaotic primeval waters during creation, and Messiah’s ministry.

In fact, Yeshua does exercise dominion over the waters during His earthly ministry:

  • Yeshua walking on water: Matthew 14:22-33; Mark 6:45-51; John 6:15-21.
  • Yeshua calming the storm: Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 4:36-41; Luke 8:22-25.

This was prefigured in the first redemption with Moses and the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. (Cf. Psalm 77:19; 107:29.) Thus, Messiah was revealed as such through the waters of repentance (John’s immersion) and He demonstrated His role as Redeemer by exercising dominion over the waters.

 

The Significance of the Dove

Why was the Holy Spirit “as a dove”? In later Christianity it is common to see the dove as a symbol of the Holy Spirit, based on this passage. But in rabbinic literature, connections between a dove and the Holy Spirit are minimal.[11]Aside from b.Chagigah 15a, referenced below, we see the voice of the bat kol is likened to a dove in b.Berachot 3a, and the “voice of the ...continue I am going to suggest two main allusions here, both pointing back to the book of Genesis.

The most obvious is the allusion to Noah and the flood story (Genesis 8:8-12). He sent out a dove, and the dove came back with an olive leaf in her mouth. The olive leaf might suggest to us a connection with oil used for anointing.

The second but not-so-obvious allusion arises via one of the few rabbinic references connecting the Holy Spirit with a dove:

“And the spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters [Gen 1:2] — like a dove which hovers over her young. . .” (b.Chagigah 15a)[12]Note the parallel passage in y.Chagigah 77b has “eagle” instead of “dove”, most likely alluding to Deut 32:10-12; see notes ...continue

Here the activity of the Holy Spirit hovering over the waters of creation is likened to the fluttering of a dove. If such a connection existed in the days of the apostles, it is possible that the Holy Spirit coming on Yeshua as a dove would have evoked Genesis 1:2. In other words, the Spirit hovering over Messiah in the waters of His immersion symbolizes a sort of new creation, the eschatological redemption, taking place through the person of Messiah. Just as Gen 1:2 was reworked in Deut 32:10-12 to cast the redemption of Israel from Egypt in creation imagery, so too the redemption secured through Yeshua is cast in creation imagery. Both the former redemption and the latter redemption are a new creation, as it were.

 

The Extent of the Revelation

The passage says that “He” (i.e. Yeshua) saw the heavens open and the Spirit descend (Matt 3:16). It doesn’t specify whether everyone present also saw these things and heard the voice from heaven, or if this was just a private experience. At the very least we know that John the Baptist also saw and heard these things (John 1:32).

The voice from heaven proclaimed Yeshua’s identity. Notice how similar this is to the voice that came at Yeshua’s transfiguration (Matt 17:5; Mark 9:7; 2 Pet 1:17). Son of God was a title of the kings of Israel, and especially the ultimate King of Israel.[13]Psalm 2:7; 2Sam 7:14; 1Chron 17:13; cf. 22:10. Israel is also referred to as God’s Son: Ex 4:22; Hos 11:1. Just like the Servant of the Lord ...continue

Yeshua did not commence His ministry until this moment. He had to receive His anointing and go through testing before he could begin His public teaching. That is why He didn’t begin His ministry until he was 30 years old (Luke 3:23). His whole life prior was preparation for God’s perfect timing.

 

Yeshua’s Ministry

Immediately after His immersion we see Yeshua being led by the Spirit into the wilderness for a time of testing (Matt 4:1; Mark 1:12; Luke 4:1). We then read how He was empowered by the Spirit to begin teaching in synagogues (Luke 4:14-21). The Spirit accompanied Him throughout His earthly ministry, empowering Him to perform miracles and to heal. The Spirit was even involved in His death, resurrection, and commission to His disciples just prior to His ascension:

  • He offered Himself through the eternal Spirit: Hebrews 9:14.
  • Yeshua’s Messiahship was proven by the Spirit and His resurrection: Rom 1:4; 8:11.
  • Yeshua gave the Great Commission via the Spirit: Acts 1:2.

Yeshua had the Spirit in the fullest measure possible. He is the quintessential example of what it looks like to be filled with the Spirit. Compare this with the midrash:

“He measured weight to the wind [ruach, ‘spirit’]” (Job 28:25). Rabbi Acha said, “Even the Holy Spirit resting upon the prophets does so only by measure, one prophet speaking one scroll of prophecy and another speaking two scrolls.” (Leviticus Rabbah 15:2)

None of the prophets had the fullest measure of the Holy Spirit. Moses was the closest, enjoying the deepest measure of prophecy. But all of them were limited. Yeshua, however was given the Spirit without measure according to John 3:34.

Even in Yeshua’s humanity, the Holy One, blessed be he, filled him with his Spirit. And the Spirit of HaShem spoke to him, and his word was upon his tongue, and therefore he could speak the words of God. He is not like another prophet, for even the greatest of them had only a measure of the Spirit, as it appears plainly from the verse in 2 Kings 2:9 where Elisha says to Eliyahu, “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.”[14]Yechiel Tzvi Lichtenstein, Commentary on John 3:34. As quoted in Jordan Levy, “The Ruach HaKodesh in Early Messianic Judaidm,” in Gifts of the ...continue

Yeshua performed miracles through the power of the Holy Spirit. Some might assume that He was able to perform miracles by virtue of His divinity. But as Paul indicates in Philippians 2, Yeshua gave up the use of His divine prerogatives in order to become human. The Gospels don’t portray Him as a super-human god-man. Yeshua is presented as fully human, and yet in some mysterious way also fully divine. Therefore, in His life on earth, He walked fully as a man. Yet He was a man empowered by the Spirit. He is the ultimate example for us of what it looks like to walk in the Spirit. His stride is not so great as to prevent us from placing our feet in his footprints. Yeshua is the example for us to emulate.

 

Signs of the Kingdom

The Holy Spirit at work in Yeshua’s ministry was seen as proof of the coming Kingdom. As we saw in session 4c, the prophets foretold that the Holy Spirit would be one of the amazing blessings that would accompany Messiah’s Kingdom. Thus, the incredible manner in which the Holy Spirit worked through Yeshua in His ministry was proof of the proximity of that Kingdom. In the remainder of this episode, we will look at two passages that indicate this, one in Matthew 11 and one in Matthew 12. In part two of this session, we will examine a third passage: Luke 11.

 

John’s Question

Matthew 11:2-11 (paralleled in Luke 7:18-28) says:

Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’ Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” (Matthew 11:2–11)

John the Baptist’s question to Yeshua seems unsettling. John is the one who testified to Yeshua’s anointing, His Messiahship. How could he now be in a place of such doubt?[15]Some suggest that John’s question was whether there would be one Messiah or two: “Are you the only one who is coming, or should we expect ...continue Perhaps the question is more understandable in light of John’s current position: In prison. The discrepancy between John’s present reality and the prophetic expectation of the Kingdom would certainly have been cause to reassess what exactly was going on. Yeshua’s admittedly cryptic reply alludes to some important prophecies in Isaiah: Isaiah 29:18–19; 35:5–6; and 61:1. In other words, what is taking place is, in fact, a little taste of the Kingdom.

Still, we have to admit that John had a good point with his question. And in fact, his question has been asked by many over the centuries and continues to be asked today: If Yeshua is really the Messiah, how come He didn’t fulfill all the prophecies of Messiah? How come He didn’t restore Israel and bring global peace? I think Yeshua knew this would be hard for some people to swallow. That is why He adds, “Blessed is the one who keeps from stumbling over me.” This alludes to Isaiah 8:14 which speaks of Messiah as “a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling.” (Cf. Romans 9:32-33; 1Peter 2:8.)

 

The Coming Kingdom

Yeshua’s message about the Kingdom is sometimes confusing. Is He talking about a literal future Kingdom, or merely a “spiritual” Kingdom? Our position is that the answer is “both.” Yes, Messiah will return to establish a literal Kingdom on this earth as foretold by the prophets. But the radical message of Yeshua’s teaching is that we can enter that Kingdom now, spiritually, in advance of its literal fulfillment here on earth. We can even enjoy some of the good things of the coming Kingdom now, in this life, by taking hold of Yeshua and accepting Him as our King.

Yeshua and the apostles were like the spies who spied out the land of Canaan. “We have seen the Land, and it is indeed a good Land. And here is some of its fruit! Here is proof of how good it is; taste for yourself!” That is what the Holy Spirit, the miracles, and the gifts of the Spirit are like. They are some of the fruit of the coming Kingdom. But they are just the appetizer!

I believe this explains the otherwise difficult statement in verse 11: “Among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” This could be easily misunderstood to mean that John the Baptist won’t be in the Kingdom. It is often interpreted as support for dispensationalism, a division between the Old Testament era and the New Testament era. John was the greatest in the Old Testament era. But even the least person in the New Testament era is greater than John. In other words, the worst Christian is better than the best Jew.

But that is not what Yeshua is saying. His point is that in the Kingdom, everyone will be filled with the Spirit to such a great measure that it will surpass even the greatest of prophets in this era. In the Messianic Era, everyone will know God on a level even higher than Moses.[16]Jeremiah 31:34; 1Corinthians 13:12; cf. Leviticus Rabbah 1:14. What we have now doesn’t even compare with how good it will be in the Kingdom.

 

The Holy Spirit vs. Beelzebul

Matthew 12:22-32 (paralleled in Mark 3:22-30; Luke 11:14-23; 12:10) says:

Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.” Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can someone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” (Matthew 12:22–32)

Again, in this passage, the Holy Spirit working in Messiah’s ministry is proof of the proximity of the Kingdom. Note that Luke 11:20 offers a slight variant: “But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” “Finger of God” is an allusion to Exodus 8:19. In that passage there was a battle between two sources of miracles: God’s miracles (performed through Moses) and the magicians’ miracles performed through occult power. When they came to a miracle that they could not duplicate, they conceded that “the finger of God” was at work.

In our current passage, the Pharisees accuse Yeshua of being a magician, just like Pharaoh’s magicians. But Yeshua proves to them that His ministry is not based on the occult, but on the Spirit of God. If He is not a magician, as they claimed, then He is none other than the Prophet like Moses.

 

Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit

Our passage above brings up a topic that is worth addressing further. Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is mentioned in Matthew 12:31-32; Mark 3:29; and Luke 12:10. This is sometimes referred to as the unpardonable sin: It appears that this is the only sin for which a person can never receive forgiveness. But what exactly does it mean to blaspheme the Holy Spirit?

The Greek word for “blasphemy” in this passage is βλασφημία (blasphemia). It means “speech that denigrates or defames: reviling, denigration, disrespect, slander.”[17]BDAG, s.v. “βλασφημία,” 178. Our English word “blasphemy” has become a religious technical term. But in the days of Yeshua and the apostles it simply meant slander. Thus this passage is simply talking about slandering the Holy Spirit, speaking negatively or denigratingly of Him.

In context, Yeshua was being accused of performing miracles by the power of Satan (Beelzebul), rather than by God’s Spirit. The work of God was being attributed to Satan. God’s name was being slandered. There is a subtle parallel between this and the third commandment:

“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.” (Exodus 20:7)

In both cases, the effect of slandering God and His reputation is something that is apparently unforgiveable.

But is it really unforgivable? The first half of Matthew 12:31 seems to contradict the second half: On the one hand, every sin is forgivable. But on the other hand, there is one sin that isn’t forgivable. Verse 32 also seems confusing: Why would it be forgivable to slander Yeshua (the Son of Man), but not forgivable to slander the Spirit?

There is a close parallel with two passages from the book of Hebrews:

“For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.” (Hebrews 6:4–6)

“For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10:26–29)

In both of these passages, there is mention of the Holy Spirit, and arriving at an unforgivable state. But interestingly, in both of these passages there is no distinction between rejecting/slandering Yeshua and rejecting/slandering the Spirit like there is in the Gospels. Why is that?

A suggestion is that prior to Yeshua’s resurrection, His true identity was hidden. He specifically told people not to publicize the fact that He was the Messiah, the Son of God. When Yeshua was blasphemed on the cross, He prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34). But after His resurrection that changed. Now His identity was clearly manifest, and the disciples were explicitly commissioned to bear witness of His exalted Messianic status.

In other words, it is the rejection of the clear, undisputable revelation of God’s power that is unforgivable. In Messiah’s earthly ministry, His working by the Spirit was unambiguous. It left no room for doubt that God was at work. It required a deliberate deceptive accusation by His opponents in order to explain away the miraculous. And that was their sin of slandering the Holy Spirit. It was the sin of blatantly denying the obvious work of God. This is indicated by Yeshua elsewhere:

“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father.” (John 15:22–24)

As Lancaster comments,

In other words, only those eye-witnesses of the Spirit’s work through the Master’s miracles can be considered culpable of reviling the Holy Spirit. Moreover, the slander against God’s work must be intentional, not born of uncertainty or mistaken assessment, but rather from malice and an intentional attempt to deceive others.[18]D. T. Lancaster, Torah Club Vol. 4: Chronicles of the Messiah (Marshfield, MO: FFOZ), p. 812.

We need to keep in mind that some of the heroes in the Bible committed very grievous sins, but found forgiveness. Paul explicitly states that he was previously a blasphemer (1Timothy 1:13), and yet he was forgiven. Scripture is clear that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Messiah (Romans 8:38-39). God’s grace truly is amazing. The only thing that can keep us from forgiveness is our rejection of Him. Outside of Yeshua there is no forgiveness. But “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

 

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References   [ + ]

1. E.g., Matthew 12:18 and Luke 4:18 explicitly apply Isaiah’s prophecies to Yeshua’s ministry.
2. James D. G. Dunn, “Holy Spirit” in Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, Vol. 1, W. A. Elwell, ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1988), 986-91. As reproduced in David Horton, ed., The Portable Seminary (Bloomington, MN: Bethany House, 2006), p. 151.
3. Cf. also, Psalm 74:9 and Zech 13:2-6, which likewise refer to an absence of the gift of prophecy.
4. The Holy Spirit is not specifically mentioned in connection with Anna, but with her being a prophetess God’s Spirit is clearly implied.
5. We even see Yeshua break forth into such a “song” through the Holy Spirit: Luke 10:21.
6. Romans 8:9; Philippians 1:19; 1Peter 1:11; cf. Acts 16:7; cf. also Genesis Rabbah 2:4, see below.
7. Tim Hegg, Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, Vol I (TorahResource, 2007), pp. 110-111.
8. Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho 8, 49.
9. 1Sam 16:13; 2Sam 2:4; 5:3.
10. Cf. Romans 8:9; other verses in note 6 above.
11. Aside from b.Chagigah 15a, referenced below, we see the voice of the bat kol is likened to a dove in b.Berachot 3a, and the “voice of the turtle dove” (Song of Songs 2:12) is translated in the Targum as “the voice of the Spirit of Salvation”.
12. Note the parallel passage in y.Chagigah 77b has “eagle” instead of “dove”, most likely alluding to Deut 32:10-12; see notes on Gen 1:2 in Session 4a.
13. Psalm 2:7; 2Sam 7:14; 1Chron 17:13; cf. 22:10. Israel is also referred to as God’s Son: Ex 4:22; Hos 11:1. Just like the Servant of the Lord character in Isaiah, “Son of God” singles out Yeshua as the quintessential Israelite who represents the nation; cf. Matthew 2:15.
14. Yechiel Tzvi Lichtenstein, Commentary on John 3:34. As quoted in Jordan Levy, “The Ruach HaKodesh in Early Messianic Judaidm,” in Gifts of the Spirit (FFOZ, 2013), p. 163.
15. Some suggest that John’s question was whether there would be one Messiah or two: “Are you the only one who is coming, or should we expect another (additional) Messiah?” However, the Greek makes this interpretation less plausible. The word for “coming one” is ἐρχόμενος (erchomenos), the same word John the Baptist uses in Matthew 3:11: “The one coming after me.” The word “one,” required in English translations, is not found in the Greek. This is not a question of quantity (one or two Messiahs) but a question of identity (who is the Messiah).
16. Jeremiah 31:34; 1Corinthians 13:12; cf. Leviticus Rabbah 1:14.
17. BDAG, s.v. “βλασφημία,” 178.
18. D. T. Lancaster, Torah Club Vol. 4: Chronicles of the Messiah (Marshfield, MO: FFOZ), p. 812.


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