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Series 2005Part 8
The Holy Spirits Connection with the Throne
The Lord Jesus Christ Poured the
He through the Holy Spirit gave commandments unto the Apostles whom he had chosenActs 1:2. Commandments is from entellomai, a word generally used of a King giving a command. It carries with it the unconditional obligation to obedience. It is not unusual that Luke, the writer of Acts, would use this word, for throughout the forty days Jesus spent with His disciples after His resurrection, He spent the time speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God1:3.
Then He commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me1:4. Here commanded is from parangello, a word in ordinary Greek mostly used of military orders. Used here to speak of Christ, it denotes the authority that is His as the anointed One of the Lord God Almighty.
But yetconsidering there is military language in Acts, we recall the words of Jesus to Peter as He told him, Turn back thy sword to its place; for all who did take the sword, by the sword shall perishMatthew 26:52.Youngs Literal Translation
We also remember how Jesus had told His disciples near the end of His time with them: My kingdom is not of this world: if My Kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight (engage in agonizing conflicts)...John 18:36.
The word fight in the above verse is significant. In the Original it is agonizomai. Used in the context of this verse, it means to struggle with difficulties and dangers like a soldier in fierce battle. Our word agonize comes from it. But seeing how Jesus used it gives an unusual hope. The agony of struggles need not consume us, no matter what adversary we may face. We are learning that we do not have to take up the battle ourselves with our human devices. The battle is the LordsI Samuel 17:47.
There is another use of agonizomai, however, which means to enter a contest like an Olympian. Paul made use of it in this sense in the following Epistle to the Colossians. He spoke of ...Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect (complete, mature) in Christ Jesus: whereunto I also labor, striving (agonizomai, entering the endeavor with the zeal of a trained athlete) according to His working (with the energetic power of Christ), which worketh in me mightily (as an energetic force from heaven)Colossians 1:27-29. What a passage! Just take it and soak in it for a while. Let the Holy Spirit open it to youand in you
Then see this about one of Pauls co-workersEpaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always laboring fervently (agonizomai) for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete (complete and full) in all the will of GodColossians 4:12. What a powerful ministry was in this man! He had learned what the real fight was all about.
Paul shared here a secretwhich, no doubt, he taught Epaphrasthat will help us if we but receive it for ourselves. Think on it and let it take hold of you. For it is God which worketh (as an energetic force) in you both to will and to do of His good pleasurePhilippians 2:13. Adding to this, he also said in II Cor 2:14, Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ... Clearly, We give thanks to God as He leads us from triumph to triumph in the train of Christs triumph. Another interpreter said, God makes our life a constant pageant of triumph in Christ.
All of thisyes, all of thiscame because of the release of the power of Gods Spirit from His Throne after Jesus ascended back into the heavens to be seated at His Fathers right hand.
Even in the face of what Jesus had said about fighting, when we see the opening of Acts, we perceive right away that the commissioned officers under His charge would face fierce conflicts. But, when they discovered that Christ was going into heaven, to be seated on the right hand of God (I Peter 3:22), they were on the verge of discovering their source of a never failing triumph, no matter what conflict might come upon them.
Paul, who never knew Jesus in the flesh, discovered the significance of His being seated on the right hand of God and wanted the people to whom he ministered to know what had been revealed to him. What Paul saw, however, was truth so high that it could not be taught. It must be born in the understandingand heartof a person by the Holy Spirit. Thus we find Paul praying, particularly as he was in prison. The Letters he wrote from there revealed the supplications he made on behalf of the people he cared for in Asia Minor. For one thing, he prayed they could know how great was the power which He wrought (which God put into operation) in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His Own right hand in the heavenly placesEphesians 1:20.
We discuss Pauls praying in The Discipline of Intercession, a book from us thats available.
Luke wrote the Book of Acts as the continuation of what he had written in his Gospel. At the close of the Gospel he recorded that Jesus commanded of His disciples, ...tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued (clothed) with power (Gr. dunamis, enabling power) from on highLuke 24:49. Then on in Acts he continued with this: ...He (Jesus) showed Himself alive (presented Himself by proven demonstrations that He was alive) after His passion (after suffering death) by many infallible (incontestable) proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God: and, being assembled together with them, commanded them (as an officer giving charge to his men) that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith He, ye have heard of Me.
Jesus had promised them, I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter (a Paraclete, a close-standing helper), that He may abide (remain, live) with you for everJohn 14:16. This reminds us of Isaiah 11:2 which we discussed a few articles back when we considered that the Spirit of the Lord would rest upon the Rod out of the stem of Jesse, Isaiahs prophetic designation of Christ Jesus, the Messiah.
Indeed, the disciples were not to go forth in their commission till the Father had raised the Lord Jesus from the dead, had brought Him back into the heavens and had set Him at His Own right hand. Thenand only thencould He send the promised Holy Spirit upon the disciples. For them to embark upon their mission before they were endued with the power from the Throne would have meant failure for them.
There is no word in all of Scripture claiming that the power Jesus poured upon the waiting disciples was only for the first century believers. There is no place in the Bible that even gives a hint that this would be the case. Quite the contrary. Peter, the first New Covenant preacher who preached under the anointing of the Holy Spirit of promise tells this: For the promisegiven by the Lord Jesus concerning the Holy Spiritis unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall callActs 2:39.
Jesus wanted His disciplesand usto partake of the glory He had shared with the Father since before the world began. He had said to His Father in His great high priestly prayer, The glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are OneJohn 17:22. We see here a further result of the Spirits outpouring. From His high place in the heavens, the Lord Jesus poured out upon the disciples that which would make them ready for their mission. He gave them the power and the glory of His Kingdom, then released them on the worldas one in Him.
This had nothing to do with prestige, symbols, titles, candles, robes, or religious pageantry. It was just with the power of the Holy Spirit and the glory of Gods Kingdom that they were clothed. Because those early disciples did as Jesus commanded, and waited in Jerusalem, according to the orders He gave them, we later find them described as those who turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6).
Peter, when he preached on the Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem, after the Holy Spirit had come upon the disciples, made it clear in his message that what had come upon them had come from the right hand of God where Jesus was seated. See this from his Pentecostal message: ...This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He hath shed forth (poured out liberally) this, which ye now see and hear.
The Holy Spirit Who came upon those early disciplesand has remained in the earth for ushas come from the Throne of Gods Kingdom. His abiding with us gives us a continuing connectiona lifelinewith the eternal Throne of God.
What we call the Old Testament was the only Scripture known to the disciples when Jesus was commissioning themunless we count the Septuagint which was the Hebrew Old Testament translated into the common Greek of that day and widely used in the first and second centuries. One powerful Old Testament text embraced by both the Lord Jesus and the writers of the New Testament came from Psalm 110, especially verse 1. In fact, this particular verse has more reference to it in the New Testament than any other from the Old. We might well say that it is the leading text of both the Epistles to the Ephesians and to the Hebrews. See this verse here as interpreted in the King James Version, with the inserted words as found in the Original Hebrew: The LORD (JHWH) said unto My Lord (Adoni), Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstoolPsalms 110:1.
The first word Lord in this verse is from the four-consonant Name of the Covenant God of Israel. This is represented in English as JHWH. There were no vowels written, or spoken, with this Name since it was too holy to be pronounced. (There is question today as to whether it should be called as Jehovah or Javeh.) It was the Israelites designation of the Lord God with Whom they were in Covenant. The letters of His unpronounceable name may well be the same as those of the Hebrew word meaning to be. It most probably means The One Who Is, Who Always Has Been, and Who Always Will Beand Who Causes to Be. To me, it is questionable whether either of the above translations should be used as they are today. I believe it is better, and more reverent, to make reference to Him as the Lord God.
What David wrote in Psalms 110under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and as a man in Covenant with Godwas that the Lord God of Israel said to Adoni, Sit Thou at My right hand...
Adoni was Davids Name for the One we know as the Lord Jesus Christ. The only time this Name is spelled Adoni in all the Hebrew Old Testament is in Ps 110:1. This One that David called My Lord is the same One designated as Gods Anointed in Psalm 2. He is the One to Whom His Father promised the nations for His inheritance.
We might well say this verse from Psalm 110 is the most important verse in the Old Testament. It is the Word of our Heavenly Father inviting His anointed Son to take THE reigning place in all of heaven. This is the place most desired by the serpent from Eden and by the man of sin whom we meet in II Thessalonians 10. These, the devil and the anti-Christ, have no hope. The Lord Jesus has taken this placealreadyat the right hand of the Lord God because He has conquered Death.
Let us see these opening words of the Epistle to the Hebrews as it recalls the accomplishments of the Lord Jesus, culminated by His being seated on the right hand God...Who at sundry times (in many portions) and in divers manners (in many ways) spoke in time past unto the fathers by the Prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son (literally, a Son), Whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by Whom also He made the worlds (appointed the ages); Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the Word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on highHebrews 1:1-3.
When see these words from Ephesians 1:18-23 where we have Paul praying that the eyes of your understanding (or, in some translations, your heart) might be enlightened (flooded with light); that ye may know (in an absolute way) what...is the exceeding greatness of His (enabling) power to us-ward who believe, according to the working (the energetic force) of His mighty power (the ruling power of His strength), which He wrought (put into effect) in Christ, when He raised him from the dead, and set Him at His Own right hand (as foretold in Ps 110:1) in the heavenly places, far above all principality (chief rulers in the spiritual realm, both good and evil), and power (authorities who work under the principalities), and might (dynamic forces that often times oppose Gods Kingdom and us), and dominion (the lordships that seek to rule in opposition to Christ), and every name that is named, not only in this world (this present age), but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the Head over all things to (in behalf of) the Church (universal), which is His Body, the fullness of Him (the full formation of Him) that filleth all in all (that brings to completion all things in all people in all realms of being in all the world).
The preceding passage from Ephesians is so full of light and revelation that Paul knew it could not become known through the efforts of a teacher alone. It must be revealed by Gods Spirit. Therefore, he prayed that it might become knownin a way that defies contradiction, as Ive written beforein the hearts and understanding of the people to whom he was writing. Until the Holy Spirit has come into a life, this can never be known, except in an intellectual way that leaves one without its power.
So, Jesus told His disciples to tarry...in the city of Jerusalem until they were endued with (clothed, enveloped, completely taken over by) the Spirit from on highLuke 24:49
So here we are at the beginning of the Book of Acts where Jesus is about to leave His disciples to return to heaven to be seated on the right hand of His Father in Heaven. From there He would pour outin a liberal portionthe Holy Spirit. This would enable the disciples who were then with Himand all who would follow in their trainto carry out the commission with which He charged the disciples in the last words of the Gospel of Matthew. It was a commission that reaches us.
According to Ephesians Jesus is set at Gods Own right hand. According to Hebrews, He sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. According to Psalm 2, He is set on Gods holy hill of Zion from which He oversees all the work of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Paul summarizes this for us in Colossians 3:1If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Luke takes us on to see the practical outworking of this in the Book of Acts which he begins with all that Jesus began both to do and teach. Did this mean the work of Jesus was only begun? Does it continue today? I think so.
We expect to go on in Acts with our next article.
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