God's Promise of a New Era

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God's Promise of a New Era

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Did God promise a Spirit-filled descendant of David would lead and judge His people?

“A shoot [Christ] will come up from the stump of Jesse [father of King David]; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD—and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth … Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist” (Isaiah 11:1-5 Isaiah 11:1-5 1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: 2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; 3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: 4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. 5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
American King James Version×
, NIV).

How does God propose to change the human heart?

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Then … you shall be My people, and I will be your God” (Ezekiel 36:26-28 Ezekiel 36:26-28 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them. 28 And you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.
American King James Version×
; compare Isaiah 59:20-21 Isaiah 59:20-21 20 And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and to them that turn from transgression in Jacob, said the LORD. 21 As for me, this is my covenant with them, said the LORD; My spirit that is on you, and my words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, nor out of the mouth of your seed, nor out of the mouth of your seed’s seed, said the LORD, from now on and for ever.
American King James Version×
).

God’s Spirit is not a substitute for the knowledge of right and wrong that comes from God’s commandments and laws. Rather, through His Spirit God supplies the power we need to obey His Word and do His will.

Has God promised to make His Spirit available to everyone?

“And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh …” (Joel 2:28 Joel 2:28And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
American King James Version×
).

God has a long-range plan for changing human nature and reopening the door for all of humanity to receive His Spirit. The door was closed when Adam and Eve rejected Him and chose the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That door is the key to that change. It is also the key to a new relationship people can have with God—by repenting and accepting the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus the Messiah, for the forgiveness of sin.

Is God committed to bringing these universal changes to pass?

“Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah … I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more” (Jeremiah 31:31-34 Jeremiah 31:31-34 31 Behold, the days come, said the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they broke, although I was an husband to them, said the LORD: 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, said the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, said the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
American King James Version×
).

God has committed Himself to make His Spirit available to all the tribes of Israel—to a future restored nation of all the descendants of Abraham through His grandson Jacob. At that time He will use their example to teach all other nations how to repent so they also can receive the Holy Spirit.

“So this is what the Lord GOD says: Now I will bring the people of Jacob back from captivity, and I will have mercy on the whole nation of Israel. I will not let them dishonor me. The people will forget their shame and how they rejected me when they live again in safety on their own land with no one to make them afraid. I will bring the people back from other lands and gather them from the lands of their enemies.

“So I will use my people to show many nations that I am holy. Then my people will know that I am the LORD their God, because I sent them into captivity among the nations, but then I brought them back to their own land, leaving no one behind. I will not turn away from them anymore, because I will put my Spirit into the people of Israel, says the Lord GOD” (Ezekiel 39:25-29 Ezekiel 39:25-29 25 Therefore thus said the Lord GOD; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy on the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name; 26 After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelled safely in their land, and none made them afraid. 27 When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations; 28 Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them to their own land, and have left none of them any more there. 29 Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit on the house of Israel, said the Lord GOD.
American King James Version×
, NCV).

How will the new Israel, a people led by God’s Spirit, influence other nations?

“Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:3 Isaiah 2:3And many people shall go and say, Come you, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
American King James Version×
).

As the fruits of God’s Spirit—such as harmony, cooperation and concern for others—multiply within the newly reconstituted Israel, other nations will see these results and want to share them. They will come to Jerusalem seeking guidance. “In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you’ ” (Zechariah 8:23 Zechariah 8:23Thus said the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.
American King James Version×
). This, of course, will occur only after Jesus’ second coming.

What had to precede God’s making His Spirit available to all human beings?

“Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.’ Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious … You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God …” (1 Peter 2:6-10 1 Peter 2:6-10 6 Why also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believes on him shall not be confounded. 7 To you therefore which believe he is precious: but to them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. 9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light; 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
American King James Version×
).

God first had to send Jesus as His Son, as a human being, to become mankind’s Redeemer and Savior. Jesus had to die to make possible the forgiveness of sin so the Holy Spirit could go to all who would repent. Then He had to establish His Church (Matthew 16:18 Matthew 16:18And I say also to you, That you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
American King James Version×
) so He would have a “royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9 1 Peter 2:9But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light;
American King James Version×
) trained and ready to assist Him in teaching God’s ways to man when He returns to establish His Kingdom. That is why God is now, through the power of His Spirit, converting and training “His own special people” as members of the Church Jesus established.

Was Jesus’ birth related to God’s plans for Jacob’s descendants that has not yet come to pass?

“The angel said to her, ‘Don’t be afraid, Mary; God has shown you his grace. Listen! You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of King David, his ancestor. He will rule over the people of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will never end’ ” (Luke 1:30-33 Luke 1:30-33 30 And the angel said to her, Fear not, Mary: for you have found favor with God. 31 And, behold, you shall conceive in your womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name JESUS. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give to him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
American King James Version×
, NCV).

Did the Holy Spirit have a powerful role in Jesus’ birth and mission?

“The angel said to Mary, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will cover you. For this reason the baby will be holy and will be called the Son of God’ ” (Luke 1:35 Luke 1:35And the angel answered and said to her, The Holy Ghost shall come on you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God.
American King James Version×
, NCV).

“The One whom God sent speaks the words of God, because God gives him the Spirit fully. The Father loves the Son and has given him power over everything” (John 3:34-35 John 3:34-35 34 For he whom God has sent speaks the words of God: for God gives not the Spirit by measure to him. 35 The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand.
American King James Version×
, NCV).

The four accounts of Jesus’ life and work—the four Gospels—attribute His divine powers to the power of the Holy Spirit. For example, when He was “led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Matthew 4:1 Matthew 4:1Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
American King James Version×
) and had successfully resisted the temptations (Matthew 4:3-11 Matthew 4:3-11 3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If you be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. 5 Then the devil takes him up into the holy city, and sets him on a pinnacle of the temple, 6 And said to him, If you be the Son of God, cast yourself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning you: and in their hands they shall bear you up, lest at any time you dash your foot against a stone. 7 Jesus said to him, It is written again, You shall not tempt the Lord your God. 8 Again, the devil takes him up into an exceeding high mountain, and shows him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And said to him, All these things will I give you, if you will fall down and worship me. 10 Then said Jesus to him, Get you hence, Satan: for it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve. 11 Then the devil leaves him, and, behold, angels came and ministered to him.
American King James Version×
), “Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah” (Luke 4:14-17 Luke 4:14-17 14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. 15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. 16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. 17 And there was delivered to him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
American King James Version×
).

Did Jesus apply Isaiah’s prophecies to His mission?

“And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.’ Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing’ ” (Luke 4:17-21 Luke 4:17-21 17 And there was delivered to him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, 18 The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. 20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 And he began to say to them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
American King James Version×
; compare Isaiah 61:1-2 Isaiah 61:1-2 1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is on me; because the LORD has anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
American King James Version×
).

Jesus announced the beginning of His ministry as a physical human being at the synagogue in His hometown of Nazareth on a Sabbath day. He did this by reading a prophecy pertaining to the Messiah from Isaiah 61:1-2 Isaiah 61:1-2 1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is on me; because the LORD has anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
American King James Version×
. He then confirmed that He was the One of whom Isaiah had prophesied. He confirmed that He had been anointed by God as the Messiah with the Holy Spirit and that this Spirit was empowering him to begin His ministry of proclaiming the gospel.

Jesus, however, read only the portion of Isaiah’s prophecy that applied to His first coming. The same prophecy also describes what He will do when He returns: “He has sent me to comfort all those who are sad and to help the sorrowing people of Jerusalem. I will give them a crown to replace their ashes, and the oil of gladness to replace their sorrow, and clothes of praise to replace their spirit of sadness. Then they will be called Trees of Goodness, trees planted by the LORD to show his greatness. They will rebuild the old ruins …” (Isaiah 61:3-4 Isaiah 61:3-4 3 To appoint to them that mourn in Zion, to give to them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. 4 And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.
American King James Version×
, NCV).

What God began at that time in Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, is only the beginning of what He will accomplish through His Spirit. In the book of Revelation Jesus is quoted as saying, “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star” (Revelation 22:16 Revelation 22:16I Jesus have sent my angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
American King James Version×
). John, the writer of Revelation, continues: “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 Revelation 22:17And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that hears say, Come. And let him that is thirsty come. And whoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
American King James Version×
).

This message, from the last chapter of the Bible, invites everyone to partake of God’s Spirit and enjoy its fruit. Only its fruit can satisfy the spiritual thirst and longings of all human beings. The work of preparing mankind to receive God’s Spirit began at Jesus’ first coming.

Let’s see how God is using His Spirit to prepare the few He is calling to be the light of the world now and in the future—kings and priests assisting Jesus in converting the whole world.