The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament – Isaiah

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse: 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. Isaiah 11: 1-3a (NIV)

This is the first mention of the Spirit in the Book of Isaiah, he will refer to the Spirit a total of thirteen times.  Other prophets talk about the Spirit but Isaiah and Ezekiel have the most references about Him.  I feel this verse is important because it directly connects Jesus with the Spirit, and adds a layer to the Spirit’s work not only in Jesus but in us.  It also introduces the gifts and working of the Spirit that we can see Him doing in the Church today.

Since I have stressed other verbs that have been used to describe the Spirit coming upon someone, we need to look at the one here for “will rest on.”  Nûwach (Strong’s #5117) is the word used and it carries the idea of “remaining,” which again if you think about it perfectly describes what happened in Jesus’ life.  This is not “the rest” or stop working idea that is shabath that is used when God rested after creation.

(Please read the post about Jesse.  The imagery of a stump and roots would show that the family line of Jesse through David was all but dead at the birth of Jesus; but God is faithful to His promises.)

The remaining verses carry several themes as they paint a clearer picture of the Holy Spirit, His work, and His interaction with Jesus and us.  Obstinate children who look to Egypt for help is the theme of 30: 1 and the final three references of 63: 10 -14 are about the Children of Israel during the Exodus and their rebellion.

  • 30: 1, 32:15, and 34: 16 bring together several chapters that deal with going to Egypt for help instead of looking to the Spirit for help even though He has the power to change the landscape into a productive environment and He will keep the animals in their homes.
  • 32: 15 and 44: 3 state that the Spirit would be poured on His people and reflects the verse from Joel 2.
  • Who has understood the Spirit (mind) of the Lord and who has instructed Him 40:13 is part of the great chapter that transitions from woes and judgements to the good news of Jesus and the work of the Gospel.
  • 42:1, 44: 3, 48: 16, 59:21, 61: 1 all speak to Jesus and His earthly work and then go on to Pentecost and the Church.

One thought on “The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament – Isaiah

  1. Pingback: Week 8 – The Holy Spirit | Mark's Bible Study

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