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The Holy Spirit and the Prince — Part 2

Isaiah series

The Holy Spirit and the Prince — Part 2
Posted on May 21, 2021  - By Tom Horvat

We continue our study together in the prophecy regarding Messiah the Prince and the characteristics of His person and ministry as it relates to the Holy Spirit. Academically, this falls under pneumatology, the study of the Spirit. But even with all the emphasis on the Spirit today ― the gifts, “living in the Spirit”, etc ― there seems to be deep ignorance of the Holy Spirit in redemptive history. 

We must keep in mind that the Holy Spirit revealed in the Old Testament is the same Spirit revealed in the New Testament. Yes, there is much more light shed upon His person and work in the New, but there is no such thing as a ‘dispensational division’ in what is revealed. 

Rather, there is a continuation and fullness that accompanies the revelation of the Son and the Father. We are blessed to have this revelation and should never abuse it through misguided or misinformed teaching.

Even with all the emphasis on the Spirit today, there seems to be deep ignorance of His role in redemptive history

In Part 1, we looked into each of the descriptions given of the Spirit in Isaiah 11:2-3, ending with the spirit of counsel and might. We continue with the next two that give a full and powerful testimony of the beauty and perfection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord

Knowledge, without the fear of the Lord, generates pride and all manner of evil inventions in the fallen mind of man. It breeds constant divisions and strife, a lack of humility, and a lack of willingness to be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to wrath.

On the other hand, the Lord’s people perish for a lack of true knowledge. Smooth-talking and fancy dressed ‘preachers’ come along and, in their greed, exploit you ― the listeners (2 Peter 2:3). The word ‘exploit’ from the ASV is translated in the KJV as “make merchandise” of you. 

Modern preaching has become a lucrative business, where those trained in church ministry see their congregants as merchandise. They trade their souls for the money they put in the offering. These merchandisers have no settled convictions, no solid truth on which to ground their listeners. They have to remain open and accommodating so they do not offend or hurt feelings, but must adapt their messages to the prevailing winds of modern culture.

Knowledge, without the fear of the Lord, generates pride and all manner of evil inventions in the fallen mind of man

Notice how that pales in comparison to the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord in the Messiah:

  • Caused astonishment. Jesus’ ministry in Galilee drew large crowds (Matthew 4:25). And when He saw them, He drew them aside to a mountain and taught them. When He finished, there was one thing very clear to the hearers: Jesus’ teaching was like none of the other trained teachers in Israel. 

Listen to their reaction in Matthew 7:28-29: “And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at His teaching, for He was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.”

After He visited Nazareth, He came to Capernaum and taught on the Sabbath days and received the same response: “…and they were astonished at His teaching: for His word possessed authority (Luke 4:32).

It is in John 7:14-16 that we find the reason this humble, “untrained” carpenter could communicate so well: “About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching. The Jews therefore marveled, saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when He has never studied?” So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but His who sent me.” Doctrine that comes with the power of the Holy Spirit astonishes and amazes us!

  • Created interest. It is recorded in Luke 4:14-22 that, after our Lord’s victory over the devil’s temptations, He returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit and eventually came into the synagogue in Nazareth. There, He stood up and read a prophecy of Isaiah that He declared was fulfilled in Himself. 

It says that the eyes of His hearers were ‘fixed’ on Him, and after listening to Him, they wondered at the gracious words which were falling from His lips. But in the same setting, as Christ spoke truthful words to them, they became angry to the point of wanting to kill Him. 

Jesus wielded the two-edged sword ― the word of God ― by the power of the Holy Spirit. They wondered at His gracious words and raged at His truthful words. No one remained neutral upon hearing Jesus teach. He held their interest and elicited a response.

No one remained neutral upon hearing Jesus teach. He held their interest and elicited a response

  • Caused fear. Another account of a confrontation with a host of demons is recorded in Luke 8:26-37. There was a man in the country of Gerasenes, tormented by demons, naked, and living with the dead among the tombs ― not in a house. Jesus healed him and cast out the demons. When the people of the villages heard of this, they went out and saw the man with our Lord, clothed and in his right mind, and they became frightened! 

Interestingly, there is no mention of any fear on their part when the man was possessed with demons. But when he is delivered by the power of Christ, they begged Him to depart from them because they were gripped with great fear. The Spirit’s power was something they could not imagine. 

The spirit of discernment 

Now, as we look at Isaiah 11:3, we want to map an example from the life of Christ to see what the spirit of discernment meant. The Hebrew word for “understanding” in Isaiah 11:3 means “to smell” or “to give a keen smell”. 

One of many examples of this empowerment of the Holy Spirit is found in Luke 6:6-8. Notice that it says, “[…] He knew their thoughts”. Only God knows the thoughts of men. Before there is a word on our tongue, God “sniffs” out our thoughts to get to that word. He knows what we will say next. He knows the thoughts and intents of our heart. All things are open before the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. Similar instances can be found in Luke 9:46-47; 11:14-17; 20:20-23.

I pray for each reading this today, that God will give you the spirit of wisdom and knowledge of Himself; that knowing He knows you — your thoughts and intents — and loves you with an everlasting love because of the cross of Christ, He becomes the only comfort for your heart.

Tom Horvat

About Tom Horvat

Tom Horvat completed his BA in education and theology at Washington Bible College. He pastored a house church for 15 years and served as a volunteer chaplain in a local prison for 20 years. He is now retired and pursuing interests in hiking, kayaking, nature study and wood crafting. He is passionate about ecology and published a book entitled New Creation Ecology that is available on Amazon. Tom has seven children and 13 grandchildren with his wife of over 40 years.



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