Holy Spirit in Action upon Persons of Earlier Times
1. How does the Bible in itself as a book disprove those who deny that there is such a thing as holy spirit?
IT IS useless for materialistic men of today to argue that there is no such thing as holy spirit. A product of its operation upon men of earlier times is still with us, world wide. That product has survived the efforts of men and nations to destroy it. What is it? An indestructible book called The Holy Bible. In spite of fierce opposition by men and demons, that sacred Book has the widest circulation among all the books written by men. There are men and women who will defend that Book with their very lives.
2. Why is the Bible not different from other books as regards the hands used in writing it?
2 The Holy Bible is admittedly different from all other books. Why? Not in its being written by mere men of our human family. Nobody claims that the Bible was written by hands other than those of mere men. But what kind of men were they? Were their writings of their own origination? This bears on the matter.
3-5. (a) What does the Bible tell us about how it was written? (b) How does Peter confirm this in 2 Peter 1:15-21?
3 The Bible itself tells us that its contents of sixty-six smaller books were written by men. The Bible itself tells us the kind of men that its writers were. It also shows what was the invisible force that actuated those men to do the writing. There was spirit behind them when doing the writing. That spirit is not to be attributed to Satan the Devil, for all along he has been bent on misleading the entire inhabited earth. The spirit behind Bible writing was not the spirit that is behind the present old order of things. But as respects the kind of men that did the writing and as respects the spirit that moved them to write, let us note the brief statement of the apostle Peter, a martyr to true Christianity:
4 “So I will do my utmost also at every time that, after my departure [in martyrdom], you may be able to make mention of these things for yourselves. No, it was not by following artfully contrived false stories that we acquainted you with the power and presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, but it was by having become eyewitnesses of his magnificence. For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when words such as these were borne to him by the magnificent glory: ‘This is my son, my beloved, whom I myself have approved.’ Yes, these words we heard borne from heaven while we were with him in the holy mountain.
5 “Consequently we have the prophetic word made more sure; and you are doing well in paying attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until day dawns and a daystar rises, in your hearts. For you know this first, that no prophecy of Scripture springs from any private interpretation. For prophecy was at no time brought by man’s will, but men spoke from God as they were borne along by holy spirit.”—2 Peter 1:15-21.
6. What corroboration is there of Peter’s reference to the transfiguration of Christ, and what made his two letters inspired writings?
6 Peter himself became one of those men who wrote and spoke from God “as they were borne along by holy spirit.” Because of this fact, Peter gave a faithful witness to what he and the apostles James and John, as eyewitnesses, had seen and heard when Jesus Christ was transfigured before them on a lofty mountain in Palestine. Three other disciples of Christ furnish a written record of that transfiguration of Jesus Christ some months before his violent death outside the walls of Jerusalem. (Matthew 17:1-9; Mark 9:2-9; Luke 9:28-36) So Peter’s testimony is corroborated by trustworthy men. In the Bible, two letters bearing Peter’s name were written by him, a man; but this fact did not make his letters writings of mere human manufacture. Peter’s letters had holy spirit behind them. Hence they were inspired by Jehovah God, the Source of holy spirit.
7. In 2 Peter 3:15, 16 how did Peter show that he ranked Paul’s writings as part of the inspired Bible?
7 In his second letter Peter ranks the writings of the apostle Paul as being part of the inspired Bible writings. Peter said: “Consider the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul according to the wisdom given him also wrote you, speaking about these things as he does also in all his letters. In them, however, are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unsteady are twisting, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.” (2 Peter 3:15, 16) Today there are critics who argue that a mere man (Paul) wrote those letters, so that they are of man’s invention. Such critics are twisting the Scriptures, “to their own destruction.”
8. Concerning the Scriptures written by men who spoke and wrote from God, what did Paul say in 2 Timothy 3:16, 17?
8 With regard to the Sacred Scriptures written by men who wrote and spoke from God, the apostle Paul had this to say: “All Scripture is inspired of God [literally, God-breathed (theópneustos)] and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.”—2 Timothy 3:16, 17, and Kingdom Interlinear.
9. By references to those Scriptures what was Paul able to prove about the basis for Christianity?
9 Paul himself was such a competent “man of God.” He was thoroughly conversant with the ancient Hebrew Scriptures. By means of references to those inspired Scriptures Paul was able to prove the God-given basis for true Christianity.—Acts 17:3.
10. Why have Bible prophecies continued to come true even till now, although men did not know how God would work prophecy out?
10 There is a reason why prophecies contained in the Bible continue to come true, even in our twentieth century. The reason is that these prophecies are not the predictions of mere men who try to make private interpretations as to how the trend of world affairs will work out. To the contrary, the Bible prophecies are from God, these being given through men devoted to Him. God works out his prophecies although men are ignorant of just how God does it. This point was stressed by Peter, when he said to a crowd of Jews in the temple at Jerusalem: “In this way God has fulfilled the things he announced beforehand through the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer . . . whom heaven, indeed, must hold within itself until the times of restoration of all things of which God spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets of old time.” (Acts 3:18-21) The Bible records the prophecies of the God who does not lie, even though he spoke by means of prophets.
11. How did Peter, when speaking to the congregation of one hundred and twenty disciples in Jerusalem, emphasize that God’s prophecies simply had to come true?
11 Because Bible prophecies are from God by means of his holy spirit, they simply have to come true. That fact was further voiced by Peter when he said to a congregation of about one hundred and twenty disciples of Christ in Jerusalem: “Men, brothers, it was necessary for the scripture to be fulfilled, which the holy spirit spoke beforehand by David’s mouth about Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus.”—Acts 1:15, 16.
12. How did Peter and other disciples join in prayer and indicate that Psalm 2:1 written by David had to come true?
12 Later, Peter joined his fellow disciples in a prayer that emphasized how another prophecy by David had to come true. Acts 4:24, 25 says: “They with one accord raised their voices to God and said: ‘Sovereign Lord, you are the One who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all the things in them, and who through holy spirit said by the mouth of our forefather David, your servant, “Why did nations become tumultuous and peoples meditate upon empty things?”’” (Psalm 2:1) Thus those first-century Christians realized that the sacred Hebrew Scriptures were the product of God’s holy spirit in action upon men of earlier times.
13. (a) According to 2 Samuel 23:1-3, who was to be credited for the parts of the Hebrew Scriptures composed by the anointed David? (b) What were the things responsible for the outworking of prophecies by means of David?
13 Since the psalmist David is here directly mentioned by name, we may well ask: How did he feel about speaking and writing things that were made part of the sacred Hebrew Scriptures? He does not take the credit for his writings, which have been preserved as of special value and importance even to us today. In proof of this, here is the record concerning this anointed king of all Israel, as preserved for us in 2 Samuel 23:1-3: “And these are the last words of David: ‘The utterance of David the son of Jesse, and the utterance of the able-bodied man that was raised up on high, The anointed of the God of Jacob, and the pleasant one of the melodies of Israel. The spirit of Jehovah it was that spoke by me, and his word was upon my tongue. The God of Israel said, to me the Rock of Israel spoke.’” So the things that worked for the coming true of prophecies by means of David were not his long-range foresight and his ability to make private interpretations of matters. God’s spirit that was active upon David and God’s maneuvering of matters were responsible for outworkings.
14. Besides David, how did Isaiah and Jeremiah indicate that their recorded parts of the Scriptures were not their own compositions?
14 David is not the only one to confess that his recorded parts in the Holy Bible were not of his own original composition. Other prophets, whose inspired books are preserved in the Bible, honestly admit that it was the word of Jehovah God that came to them. For instance, Isaiah opens up his major book of prophecy by saying: “The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz that he visioned concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah: Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth, for Jehovah himself has spoken.” (Isaiah 1:1, 2) Jeremiah introduces his major book of prophecy, saying: “The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, one of the priests that were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin; to whom the word of Jehovah occurred in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, the king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reigning.”—Jeremiah 1:1, 2.
ANCIENT DEEDS OF VALOR BY MEANS OF HOLY SPIRIT
15. How has holy spirit that was responsible for Bible writings shown itself mightier than the sword of powerful military leaders?
15 Let nobody sniff contemptuously at the things produced by holy spirit in the form of sacred writings. The pen that was moved by God’s holy spirit in the hand of Bible writers has proved to be far mightier than the sword of Caesar, of Napoleon Bonaparte, of Adolf Hitler. In fact, holy spirit has been capable of accomplishments far more spectacular than writing with pen and ink. Men of ancient times are on record as having done valorous things by means of this mighty force from the invisible Almighty God.
16, 17. (a) When Moses held out the rod over the Red Sea, from where did the dynamic energy issue to split the sea waters? (b) How does Isaiah 63:11-14 verify the correct answer?
16 As an illustration, let us take the writer of the first five books of the Bible, Moses. Back in the year 1513 B.C.E., he stood on the western bank of the Red Sea. He stretched the rod in his right hand out over the sea. Look! The waters parted and let the Israelites cross through before the pursuing Egyptians could catch up with them. Did any dynamic energy that issued forth from Moses cause that miracle? Impossible! Not from the prophet Moses, but from the heavenly Source of all dynamic energy came the irresistible force able to split the water barrier that had blocked escape for the Israelites from great danger. (Exodus 14:21 through 15:21) So today, when Jehovah’s people are being disciplined and find themselves in trouble, it is just the time for them to call to mind Jehovah’s ancient act and to raise the question:
17 “‘Where is the One that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds [Moses and Aaron] of his flock? Where is the One that put within him His own holy spirit? The One making His beautiful arm [of strength] go at the right hand of Moses; the One splitting the waters [of the sea] from before them in order to make an indefinitely lasting name for his own self; the One making them walk through the surging waters so that, like a horse in the wilderness, they did not stumble? Just as when a beast itself goes down into the valley plain, the very spirit of Jehovah proceeded to make them rest.’ Thus you led your people in order to make a beautiful name for your own self.”—Isaiah 63:11-14.
18. Similarly, how is the same God about to make a “beautiful name” for himself in our twentieth century?
18 Those verses from Isaiah’s prophecy point back to when Moses’ people were delivered from their enslavement to the ancient Egyptians. There, in the spring of the year 1513 B.C.E., God made an imperishable name for himself, a name of matchless beauty. But now, too, in our twentieth century, the time has come for this same God to make a ‘beautiful name for his own self.’ On a vastly grander scale he will perform a deliverance resembling what he performed at the Red Sea. Happy will all persons be to whom God’s name Jehovah will then become “beautiful.”
19. As indicated in Hebrews 11:29, it was according to what quality of Moses that things happened?
19 Hence let us not underestimate the dynamic energy of Jehovah’s holy active force. It is equally as powerful today as it was thirty-five centuries ago. The prophet Moses did not underestimate its potency. He had faith in the Divine Source of that miracle-working spirit. According to Moses’ faith was the way that things happened: “By faith they passed through the Red Sea as on dry land, but on venturing out upon it the Egyptians were swallowed up.” (Hebrews 11:29) In such a manner it was demonstrated that God rewards those who exercise faith in him. (Hebrews 11:6) Note further the record at Numbers 11:16, 17, 24-29 regarding faithful Moses and the spirit.
20, 21. (a) Why must those in ancient times who proved faith in God have had some measure of holy spirit? (b) What three men of faith are mentioned in Hebrews 11:4-7, and what does it say of them?
20 Faith is part of the “fruitage of the spirit.” So it says in Galatians 5:22, 23. Evidently those proving faith in God must have a measure of his spirit. A partial list of men and women of faith during ancient times is given us in Hebrews, chapter eleven. They form part of a “so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us.” (Hebrews 12:1) The list of witnesses goes all the way back to the first reported witness for Jehovah God, namely, Abel, the younger brother of Cain the son of Adam and Eve. There were other witnesses of Jehovah during those days before the global deluge of 2370-2369 B.C.E. The names of three antediluvian witnesses of the Most High God were given in Hebrews 11:4-7. We read:
21 “By faith Abel offered God a sacrifice of greater worth than Cain, through which faith he had witness borne to him that he was righteous, God bearing witness respecting his gifts; and through it he, although he died, yet speaks. By faith Enoch was transferred so as not to see death, and he was nowhere to be found because God had transferred him; for before his transference he had the witness that he had pleased God well. Moreover, without faith it is impossible to please him well, for he that approaches God must believe that he is and that he becomes the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him. By faith Noah, after being given divine warning of things not yet beheld, showed godly fear and constructed an ark for the saving of his household; and through this faith he condemned the world, and he became an heir of the righteousness that is according to faith.”
22. From the facts, why is it evident that each one of those three men had a measure of holy spirit?
22 Abel, Enoch and Noah are specially named because they were foremost in the exercise of faith. Still, there were Noah’s wife and three sons and three daughters-in-law who entered into the ark with Noah and were preserved through the global deluge. (1 Peter 3:19, 20) Abel must have had a measure of holy spirit, for he had one of its fruits, namely, faith. There can be no question that Enoch the son of Jared also had a measure of holy spirit, for, in the light of what Jude 14, 15 tells us, God used Enoch to give the first recorded prophecy uttered by man. (Genesis 5:18-24) Noah was also used as a prophet of Jehovah. He was a “preacher of righteousness.” (2 Peter 2:5; Genesis 9:24-29) Who can deny that Noah did a noteworthy deed of valor amidst a world of ungodly people? Yet, he did not perform this courageous exploit in his own strength. Behind him there was God’s holy active force.
23, 24. (a) What quality of God was being exercised while Noah’s ark was being built? (b) According to Genesis 6:1-3, what determination did God make, and why?
23 In Noah’s day God’s spirit was also active toward mankind. That time of building the ark was marked by the “patience of God.” (1 Peter 3:20) God was exercising great self-control, forbearance, this allowing for wayward men to repent as they saw the construction of the ark going on and heard Noah ‘preach righteousness.’ But who responded to the activity of God’s spirit? Just Noah and his wife and their sons Shem, Ham and Japheth along with their three wives. God did not purpose to put forth special efforts in behalf of men indefinitely, striving, as it were, with them for their sakes. Genesis 6:1-3 tells us what God determined upon and the earthly circumstances under which he made the determination:
24 “Now it came about that when men started to grow in numbers on the surface of the ground and daughters were born to them, then the sons of the true God began to notice the daughters of men, that they were good-looking; and they went taking wives for themselves, namely, all whom they chose. After that Jehovah said: ‘My spirit shall not act toward man indefinitely in that he is also flesh. Accordingly his days shall amount to a hundred and twenty years.’”
25. When time was up, what would God do to give mankind a fresh start?
25 That crossbreeding intermarriage of the materialized “sons of the true God” and the “daughters of men”—how shocking it was! Such a turn of events should not go on indefinitely! That was what God determined upon. So for only one hundred and twenty years more his spirit would express itself in patience as it had been doing toward mankind. When time was up, he would bring a tremendous change! His long-exercised self-restraint would be lifted. Intermarriage of materialized spirit angels with women of flesh would be terminated by a global deluge that would bury even the mountaintops! Afloat in the huge waterproof ark, Noah and his family of pure, uncontaminated human stock would pass safely through the cataclysm, to give mankind a fresh start. No longer would that world of ungodly people be allowed to vex, grieve God’s spirit. He would not grant them exemption from punishment.—Note Ephesians 4:30; Isaiah 63:10; Hebrews 10:29.
26, 27. (a) More than eight centuries after Noah built the ark, what other building project did God back up? (b) How did Noah’s ark compare with the sacred tabernacle and its courtyard?
26 Thus by means of the God-fearing survivors of nonhybrid human stock God gave the human family a new, righteous start. To this end God had backed up Noah’s building operations. More than eight centuries later God backed up another building project of importance. In the code of laws given to the prophet Moses on Mount Sinai, God called for the building of a sacred tabernacle.
27 At this holy tent of meeting the twelve tribes of Moses’ people, the nation of Israel, were to meet regularly with their God, and his priests were to serve in offering sin-atoning sacrifices for the whole nation. This tabernacle and its fenced-in courtyard were not the huge construction such as Noah’s ark was. Noah’s ark was of such a size that it could have accommodated nine courtyards, three tabernacle courtyards to each of the three stories of Noah’s ark. The construction of Noah’s ark called for a great deal of engineering skill, which God could supply to Noah and his sons. Israel’s tabernacle called for artistic skill.
28. How is it manifest from Exodus 31:1-6 that God backed up the building of the tabernacle with his spirit?
28 Since God ordered Israel’s tabernacle of worship to be built, he backed up the construction of it. Just how? For an answer we turn to Exodus 31:1-6 and note references to God’s active force:
“And Jehovah continued to speak to Moses, saying: ‘See, I do call by name Bezalel the son of Uri the son of Hur of the tribe of Judah. And I shall fill him with the spirit of God in wisdom and in understanding and in knowledge and in every kind of craftsmanship, for designing devices, for working in gold and silver and copper, and in working of stones to set them and in working of wood to make products of every kind. As for me, look! I do put with him Oholiab the son of Ahisamach of the tribe of Dan, and in the heart of everyone wise of heart I do put wisdom, that they may indeed make everything I have commanded you.’”
Thus the master workman Bezalel was filled with God’s spirit.
29, 30. (a) The operation of what from God brought about the completion of the tabernacle structure in good time? (b) When and how did Bezalel and Oholiab see God’s approval upon their work expressed?
29 With such an energetic force from the Source of all dynamic energy behind the workers, the construction of the sacred tabernacle and of all its furnishings was certain to be carried out to completion. By the end of the lunar year all things were ready to be assembled, and the tabernacle was ready to be set up. Exodus 38:22, 23 records this thrilling accomplishment, saying: “And Bezalel the son of Uri the son of Hur of the tribe of Judah did all that Jehovah had commanded Moses. And with him was Oholiab the son of Ahisamach of the tribe of Dan, a craftsman and embroiderer and weaver in the blue thread and the wool dyed reddish purple and coccus scarlet material and fine linen.” For Bezalel and Oholiab the first day of the new lunar year (Nisan 1, 1512 B.C.E.) must have been a heart-satisfying day. On that day it was that the “tabernacle of the tent of meeting” was set up at Jehovah’s command, and Bezalel and Oholiab beheld a miracle:
30 “The cloud began to cover the tent of meeting, and Jehovah’s glory filled the tabernacle.” This was an evidence to Bezalel and Oholiab that they had done their work well and that Jehovah approved of it. His spirit had worked through them.—Exodus 40:1-34.
31, 32. (a) For how long did that tabernacle serve God’s purpose? (b) How is it evident that holy spirit backed the constructing and completing of Solomon’s temple?
31 This tabernacle of the tent of meeting stood and served its purpose for 485 years, until King Solomon completed a temple in Jerusalem in 1027 B.C.E. and inaugurated it for God’s worship.
32 Construction of this temple by Solomon the son of David was also backed up by God’s spirit, for David received the architectural plan of this new structure by inspiration. As 1 Chronicles 28:11-19 states: “He gave insight for the entire thing in writing from the hand of Jehovah upon me, even for all the works of the architectural plan.” When this magnificent temple was inaugurated on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, Jehovah displayed his approval of the new building for his worship: “The house itself was filled with a cloud, the very house of Jehovah, and the priests were not able to stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of Jehovah filled the house of the true God.”—2 Chronicles 5:13, 14.
33. What, then, is behind God’s pure worship?
33 So, let us be sure of one vital thing: Holy spirit is behind Jehovah’s pure worship. It is powerfully active in favor of those who practice and uphold the clean worship of the one true God. Illustrations of this presented themselves during the time when specially chosen judges governed Israel in the Land of Promise.
ITS STIRRING ACTIVITY WHEN JUDGES GOVERNED
34. How did holy spirit operate through Judge Othniel?
34 For departing from pure worship, the Israelites came under the oppressive power of the king of Syria. “And the sons of Israel began to call to Jehovah for aid. Then Jehovah raised a savior up for the sons of Israel that he might save them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, the younger brother of Caleb. What took place now? “The spirit of Jehovah now came upon him, and he became the judge of Israel. When he went out to battle, then Jehovah gave Cushan-rishathaim the king of Syria into his hand so that his hand overpowered Cushan-rishathaim. After that the land had no disturbance for forty years.”—Judges 3:9-11.
35. How did holy spirit operate in the case of Judge Gideon?
35 In the course of time circumstances became such that they called for Jehovah to raise up another judge for the deliverance of his people Israel. “And all Midian and Amalek and the Easterners gathered together as one and proceeded to cross over and camp in the low plain of Jezreel. And Jehovah’s spirit enveloped Gideon so that he went blowing the horn, and the Abiezrites got to be called together after him.” (Judges 6:33, 34) By the use of this man of faith, Jehovah gave a remarkable victory to his people, a victory that is referred to in later Bible history.—Isaiah 9:4-6; 10:26; Psalm 83:9-12; Hebrews 11:32, 33.
36. What did holy spirit accomplish through Judge Jephthah?
36 Again and again the holy active force from Jehovah became operative in behalf of men of faith whom He used to do famous things in history. The time was when the oppressed Israelites had to confront the aggressive Ammonites in battle. “Jehovah’s spirit now came upon Jephthah, and he proceeded to pass through Gilead . . . to the sons of Ammon.” Eager for victory to Jehovah’s praise, Judge Jephthah vowed a vow that proved costly to him. So Jehovah used him to trounce the Ammonites.—Judges 11:29 through 12:7.
37. Whom did Jehovah raise up to save the Israelites out of the Philistines’ hands, and by means of what?
37 Years later, the Philistines became especially oppressive to the Israelites. Hence God provided for the birth of an unusual man named Samson. He was to “take the lead in saving Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.” To that end, God’s active force backed him up. “In time Jehovah’s spirit started to impel him in Mahaneh-dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.” Thus it was not by Samson’s own physical powers that he manifested the greatest strength of any man ever yet on earth.—Judges 13:5, 25.
38. What did Samson do when he encountered a roaring lion, and how did he settle matters when Philistines acted unfairly in solving his riddle?
38 Once, as Samson was walking alone, suddenly there appeared before him a “maned young lion roaring upon meeting him.” How did unarmed Samson fare? “Then Jehovah’s spirit became operative upon him, so that he tore it in two, just as someone tears a male kid in two, and there was nothing at all in his hand.” Shortly thereafter the Philistines tricked him over a riddle so as to put him to great expense. This boomeranged upon the Philistines. Again, “Jehovah’s spirit became operative upon him, so that he went down to Ashkelon [in Philistia] and struck down thirty men of theirs and took what he stripped off them and gave the outfits to the tellers of the riddle.”—Judges 14:5-19.
39. What happened when the Israelites turned Samson, bound with new ropes, over to the Philistines?
39 Even new ropes proved to be none too strong for Samson when he was being turned over, bound, to the malicious Philistines. “Jehovah’s spirit became operative upon him, and the ropes that were upon his arms came to be like linen threads that have been scorched with fire, so that his fetters melted off his hands. He now found a moist jawbone of a male ass and thrust his hand out and took it and went striking down a thousand men with it.”—Judges 15:11-15.
40, 41. How did Samson kill more Philistines at his death than he had killed during his judgeship of Israel?
40 God’s greatest accomplishment by means of Samson against the Philistine worshipers of the false god Dagon was the final one. It demonstrated that God’s spirit does not tire out and weaken.
41 Betrayed by the woman Delilah and blinded by the vengeful Philistines, Samson stood in between two pillars in the temple of Dagon at Gaza, Philistia. In that key position “Samson braced himself against the two middle pillars upon which the house was firmly established, and got a grasp on them, one with his right and the other with his left hand. And Samson proceeded to say: ‘Let my soul die with the Philistines.’ Then he bent himself with power, and the house went falling upon the axis lords and upon all the people that were in it, so that the dead that he put to death in his own death came to be more than those he had put to death during his lifetime.”—Judges 16:23-30.
42. With whom is Samson’s name associated in Hebrews 11:32-34?
42 Samson is listed among those men of earlier times who had that faith in God which is a fruit of His spirit. “And what more shall I say?” So the writer of the book of Hebrews asks in chapter eleven, and answers: “For the time will fail me if I go on to relate about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David as well as Samuel and the other prophets, who through faith defeated kingdoms in conflict, effected righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, stayed the force of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from a weak state were made powerful, became valiant in war, routed the armies of foreigners.”—Hebrews 11:32-34.
JEHOVAH’S ANOINTED ONE
43. What change took place with David right after Samuel anointed him with oil at Bethlehem?
43 A notable name that the writer of Hebrews mentions is that of David the son of Jesse of Bethlehem. When he was a teen-age shepherd boy, David was anointed with oil by the prophet Samuel to be the king-designate of all twelve tribes of Israel. What immediately followed his anointing? “The spirit of Jehovah began to be operative upon David from that day forward. Later Samuel rose and went his way to Ramah. And the very spirit of Jehovah departed from [the then reigning king] Saul.” (1 Samuel 16:13, 14) Finally unfaithful King Saul turned in desperation to a spirit medium, for her to put him in communication with the dead, if possible. Shortly thereafter he died in battle with the Philistines.
44. How did God deal with David after King Saul died in battle?
44 As for David, he began to enter upon the kingship to which he had been anointed by Samuel. The God whom he steadfastly worshiped empowered him to do exploits, even to subduing all the Promised Land. Not only that, but God inspired him to speak and write prophecy. He turned out to be a true prophet: Hence “it was necessary for the scripture to be fulfilled, which the holy spirit spoke beforehand by David’s mouth.”—Acts 1:16; 4:24, 25.
45. For all those exploits of faith the praise goes to whom, and, in proof of his word in Zechariah 4:6, what event did Zerubbabel and High Priest Joshua celebrate?
45 For all the extraordinary exploits performed by those men of earlier times the praise must go to the God of inexhaustible dynamic energy. Such exploits include the writing of the thirty-nine books of the inspired Hebrew Scriptures, from Genesis to Malachi. In the prophetic book of Zechariah an encouraging word is given to Governor Zerubbabel, who was charged with rebuilding at Jerusalem the temple that had been destroyed by the Babylonians in the year 607 B.C.E. The word to the temple rebuilder was: “‘Not by a military force, nor by power, but by my spirit,’ Jehovah of armies has said.” (Zechariah 4:6) Backed by something more powerful than a military force or other physical force, Governor Zerubbabel and his colaborer, High Priest Joshua, braved the enemy opposition and so were privileged to celebrate the complete rebuilding of Jehovah’s temple at Jerusalem in the year 515 B.C.E.
FOREGLEAMS OF EXPLOITS OF OUR TIMES
46. In what way are those human exploits by means of holy spirit more than mere facts of history?
46 The word of encouragement to Zerubbabel was given under inspiration more than half a millennium before our Common Era. Yet it is just as meaningful to us today as it was away back there in the prophet Zechariah’s day. Why so? Because we believe in Jehovah as the Divine Source of superhuman dynamic energy. The exploits of valor and faith that the Almighty God performed by the action of his holy spirit upon men and women of earlier times are more than facts of history. They were also foregleams of exploits that He would accomplish from the time of his Messiah, his Anointed One, onward, even down to our own generation.
47, 48. (a) The foretold Messiah was introduced by a man of what unusual birth? (b) With what was Messiah’s forerunner to be filled from his mother’s womb forward, and what would he do?
47 The foretold Messiah was introduced nineteen centuries ago by another man whose very birth was also extraordinary. His birth was not due to the normal procreative powers of his father and mother. They were then past the age of producing children. Their reproductive powers needed to be revived in order to produce their one and only child, a son whom the father, priest Zechariah, was to name John.
48 In telling of the coming of the greatly desired son, the angel Gabriel said to Zechariah at the temple: “He will be filled with holy spirit right from his mother’s womb; and many of the sons of Israel will he turn back to Jehovah their God. Also, he will go before him with Elijah’s spirit and power, to turn back the hearts of fathers to children and the disobedient ones to the practical wisdom of righteous ones, to get ready for Jehovah a prepared people.”—Luke 1:5-17; compare Malachi 4:5, 6.
49. So, was the true Messiah to introduce himself or be introduced, and how?
49 Being introduced by such a forerunner, the true Messiah was not to be some ambitious person who would assume to be the Messiah and who would announce himself to the nation of Israel and go around heralding himself so as to attract a body of followers. (Isaiah 42:2-4) Rather, he would be formally introduced to seekers for Messiah by a man sent by God and having God’s backing.—Isaiah 40:3-5; John 1:6, 7.
50. What did Joel 2:28-32 say would take place after Messiah came?
50 After Messiah’s coming the stirring prophecy of Joel 2:28-32 was to be fulfilled: “And after that it must occur that I shall pour out my spirit on every sort of flesh, and your sons and your daughters will certainly prophesy. As for your old men, dreams they will dream. As for your young men, visions they will see. And even on the menservants and on the maidservants in those days I shall pour out my spirit. And I will give portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun itself will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah. And it must occur that everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will get away safe; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will prove to be the escaped ones, just as Jehovah has said, and in among the survivors, whom Jehovah is calling.”
51. (a) In view of Joel’s prophecy, what questions is it high time for us to ask? (b) Why should one now call upon the name of Jehovah?
51 It is now high time to ask, Who are the ones that receive what Jehovah promised to pour out on every sort of flesh? Under the driving force of that which is poured out such ones must prophesy. Their prophesying is very timely inasmuch as it is to precede and foretell the “coming of the great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah.” Persons who heed such prophesying may find themselves among the escaped ones. They may be among the “survivors.” If we judge by all the circumstances of our times since 1914 C.E., the “day of Jehovah” that is ahead of us portends to be indeed “great and fear-inspiring.” Do we desire to “get away safe”? If that is our desire, then it becomes advisable for us to ‘call on the name of Jehovah,’ the One whose spirit is behind the coming new order.