Holy Spirit | A response to evangelicals
The Elusive Holy Spirit Of G-d: Now You’ve Got It, Now It’s Gone Again
By Amos Wittenberg, UK
It is remarkable how “believers” – that is, Jesus worshippers – leave simple logic at home when evaluating the core of their assertions of biblical support for their idolatrous practices.
Perhaps no biblical text is more central in the thinking of Jesus worshippers than Isaiah 53. So important is this text that it can easily be argued that without its interpretation as a prophecy of a suffering and dying saviour who atones for the sins of the world Jesus worshippers will themselves realise that there is zero scriptural evidence for this essentially pagan concept.
Reading Dr Mitch Glaser’s paper Isaiah 53 in 20th Century Jewish Evangelism (available elsewhere on my timeline) my attention was caught by the following passage:
But at the time, as a young believer, many things were “black and white” to me! I was sure that if the Rabbis did not interpret Isaiah 53 as being fulfilled by Jesus, then their choice not to do so was it intentionally deceptive!
I do not believe there was a real and actual cover-up to keep this chapter from the Jewish people – at least, not on the part of the majority of our sages. Nonetheless, it was so clear to me that Isaiah 53 was a reference to Jesus the Messiah that I felt betrayed by my own religious leaders – as if someone were trying to keep something from me.
These semi-conspiracy theories continue to this very day. For example, many believers think that Isaiah chapter 53 is intentionally left out of the weekly Haftarah portions read in the synagogue. Was Isaiah 53 intentionally left out? It is possible, but many other chapters were omitted as well.
The plain fact is that the clarity with which I – and perhaps you – see the Messianic fulfilment of this passage is not shared by everyone who reads Isaiah 53. We must allow room for the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit. I have discovered over the years that although Isaiah 53 clearly points to the Messiah and His work, this is not self-evident to those in whom the Holy Spirit is not working.
Let me translate this into plain language. What Glaser says is
- the “forbidden chapter” hoax is a “semi-conspiracy theory”. Of course, Glaser prevaricates. He cannot disavow his fellow-“believers” who spread this lie about the evil rabbis all over the world – right from the inception of Jesus worship. But he is honest enough, just about, to admit that the cover-up does not exist, and that it is “as if” someone is hiding something.
- Isaiah 53 does NOT clearly point to any messiah UNLESS the Holy Spirit does its work of enlightenment and illumination – a nice bit of padding, by the way: enlightenment and illumination are the same thing.
The two points are intimately related. For whom exactly is it “as if” someone is hiding something? Precisely for those in whom the Spirit is working. And in whom is the Spirit working? You guessed it: in someone who already worships Jesus or someone who receives this Spirit from G-d Most High.
So, away with the idiotic hoax that Jews somehow hide Isaiah 53 because, if anyone would read it without any prejudice, they would immediately see the plain truth: Jesus died for my sins. By Glaser’s reasoning “the rabbis” have nothing to fear from Isaiah 53 because no one who does not have the Spirit working in them will “get” Isaiah 53.
Glaser’s Holy Spirit is a strange fellow. Apparently it worked perfectly fine for many of you for many years. “Of course Isaiah 53 is about Jesus. What else could it possibly mean?” was your understanding. Glaser’s contention is that this was because the Spirit was working in you, and not because the messianic meaning of Isaiah 53 was plain for all to see.
And now that you have “fallen from grace” and “denied Yeshua” – oh horror of horrors! – what happened to the workings of the Spirit in you?
Has G-d Most High revealed His truth to you by the Spirit and then subsequently blinded you by withdrawing the Spirit from you?
Or have you committed the ultimate sin against the Spirit and “denied Yeshua” despite the fact that the Spirit illuminates you?
Let’s look at these two possibilities one by one. The first: G-d Himself has withdrawn the Spirit from you and now you are going to hell. As far as I remember this would be Calvin’s position: G-d grants salvation to whom He pleases and can withdraw His divine favour at a whim, without reason. Hurray for a sovereign G-d without any morals.
The second: you did it yourself, you sinned and ignored the Spirit. What does that mean? Well, by Glaser’s reasoning it was not you who saw Jesus in Isaiah 53 but it was the Spirit who showed it to you. That is, you did not have any choice in the matter initially. You are only responsible for not rejecting that which the Spirit already clearly showed to you. Hurray for a G-d Who grants you free choice selectively: never on the way in, but only on the way out.
All this is of course a perfect way of un-asking any questions. It is also a classical “heads I win, tails you lose” stratagem.
So what about that Spirit? What does the Bible – the Only Testament, I mean – say about the Spirit?
וַאֲנִי זֹאת בְּרִיתִי אוֹתָם אָמַר ה’ רוּחִי אֲשֶׁר עָלֶיךָ וּדְבָרַי אֲשֶׁר שַׂמְתִּי בְּפִיךָ לֹא יָמוּשׁוּ מִפִּיךָ וּמִפּי זַרְעֲךָ וּמִפִּי זֶרַע זַרְעֲךָ אָמַר ה’ מֵעַתָּה וְעַד עוֹלָם
[And as for Me, this is My covenanting them, says Hashem: My Spirit which is on you and My words which I put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth and from your offspring’s mouth and from your offspring’s offspring’s mouth, says Hashem, from now and forever.] (Isaiah 59:21)
I have been liberal with the Capitals in my Translations although Hebrew does not have capitals. Christian translations frequently use tendentious Capitalisation to make the text say something that simply ain’t there in the Hebrew: Son, Child, Redeemer, Saviour, Messiah, Lord are Keywords That Come To Mind.
In this case, however, I claim that my Capitals are justified. For every one plain to see, without any magical Spirit to show it to you, we read in this verse about G-d’s Spirit, that which we Jews call the רוח הקודש [Ruach haKodesh = the Spirit of Holiness or the Holy Spirit]. It also clearly and unambiguously makes a promise, unconditional and irrevocable: Hashem has covenanted with His people that they will forever have that Spirit “on them” and Hashem’s words will never never never depart from them and their children, for all generations.
So who can claim that the Spirit illuminates them when they read the very words of G-d which He Himself promised would never depart from their ancestors and their ancestors’ offspring for all generations? And who reads Isaiah 53 in the light of that illumination?
And if the odd Christian reads this – and odd they have to be, to even want to read this – I have a suggestion. Set aside your fears for a moment and just evaluate what you have read. Where do you find fault? Do you need to appeal to the Holy Spirit to continue in your Jesus worship? If so, you should read about Baron Munchausen’s neat trick. He could lift himself up by his own bootstraps. That is obviously a fairy tale. Some fairy tales are a nightmare.