Dan Juster

Director
Tikkun Ministries International
 
 
"I believe one of the differences between the New Covenant and Mosaic Covenant regarding access to the Spirit is related to abundance. Ezekiel also anticipates the promised Spirit moving us to obey (Ezekiel 36:27). This is something more than was the case before the New Covenant."



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
"Through the immersion in the Spirit we are equipped as communities to carry on the same work of Yeshua: healing the sick, casting out demons, and preaching the good news to the poor. In light of the signs, we announce, as did Yeshua and the disciples, that the Kingdom of God has come."
 
 

The Availability of the Spirit Before the New Covenant Period

Last month I was involved in an intense discussion with a Tikkun congregational leader concerning the availability of the Holy Spirit before the coming of Yeshua. The leader convinced me that much more was available in the time of preparation, that is the pre-New Covenant period. How else could David say, "Take not your Holy Spirit from me?" (Ps. 51:11) How else could the psalmists, not only David himself, write such inspired words? How could there be such holy people as Anna and Simeon in Luke 2, or people like Zechariah and Elizabeth who are described as holy and obedient to the Law in Luke 1? Some of these were not leaders, prophets or kings, they were just ordinary people who were described as righteous and holy. Was this possible without the work of the Spirit? Israel corporately had the Spirit and a significant measure of the Spirit was available to the individual.

How Much More is Available in the New Covenant

Yet, I was puzzled by the texts that said that with the coming of the New Covenant there would be a significant difference. God promises, "I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh" (Joel 2:28ff.). For example, the passage describes how prophetic ability will be given to all. I believe one of the differences between the New Covenant and Mosaic Covenant regarding access to the Spirit is related to abundance. Ezekiel also anticipates the promised Spirit moving us to obey (Ezekiel 36:27). This is something more than was the case before the New Covenant. Romans 7 notes that the problem of disobedience is not with the Law, which is "holy, just and good", but with human inability. According to the New Covenant, now through the Spirit, the righteous requirement of the Law is fulfilled by those who walk by the Spirit (Romans 7:1-15, 8:4). I conclude that through God's grace - our ability to identify with the death and resurrection of Yeshua puts to death the power of the old man over us - there is now available an abundance of the Spirit. This is embraced through immersion in water (baptism).

If the Spirit was available in the pre-New Covenant period, how much more is this the case after Yeshua's death and resurrection? Yeshua indicates that something more will be available when He tells His disciples that it is to their benefit that He goes away in the physical dimension that He might then pour out his Spirit on them. "Unless I go away the Counselor will not come to you, but if I go I will send him to you" (John 16:7). Was the Spirit available before? Yes, but paradoxically in some way much more after the ascension of Yeshua, since if Yeshua did not go, the Spirit would not be sent. Hadn't the Holy Spirit already been sent before the time of Yeshua? In some sense no, at least not with the general abundance that Yeshua indicated would now be the case.

The Case for the Immersion in the Spirit

Recently I finished reading a very important book by Pentecostal theologian Frank Macchia entitled The Baptism in the Holy Spirit. It is the best presentation of what the Baptism is and the best argument I have ever read for it as something that is to be distinguished from conversion. Martin Lloyd Jones' Joy Unspeakable was previously in my view the best, and is still highly recommended. Macchia argues that immersion in the Spirit is central to the New Covenant Scriptures and permeates these Scriptures. Immersion in the Spirit is an experiential matter, an overwhelming sense of the presence of God in and upon the person, an enveloping in love that is dramatic. As Lloyd Jones had argued, one who has had this experience does not have to wonder whether or not it has been received. It is a prime benefit of the New Covenant. This gift of the Spirit is transformative and enables us both to experience the love of God at a whole new level and to love God in return. It ideally produces a growing in holiness. It is usually accompanied by supernatural gifts, but no one gift signifies proof of this immersion. Tongues, perhaps, is the most common gift, but it cannot be equated with the baptism in the Spirit and this baptism may be received without the sign of tongues.

Through the immersion in the Spirit we are equipped as communities to carry on the same work of Yeshua: healing the sick, casting out demons, and preaching the good news to the poor. In light of the signs, we announce, as did Yeshua and the disciples, that the Kingdom of God has come. Thereby many people embrace the Good News and enter the Kingdom of God. In addition, we are able to build up one another through supernatural gifts and manifestations. The motivation must be love (I Cor. 13, 14).

The Spirit and Reaching the Lost

Early Pentecostalism is associated the immersion in the Spirit with power for witnessing or sharing the Good News. Acts 1:8 makes this connection clear. "You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

The Simple Expectation of Peter in Acts 2

Peter sums up the very simple theology of entrance into the Kingdom that Yeshua brought. To his Jewish audience he states, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, for the forgiveness of sins. And you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). This is the normal order. The time to expect and be baptized in the Spirit is during water immersion.

When Cornelius and his extended household believed and received the immersion in the Spirit and spoke in tongues, Peter desired to apply water baptism quickly and commanded them to be baptized. This was proof to the apostles that God had received the Gentiles - water immersion was not applied to those who were disqualified (Acts 10:45-48, Acts 11:15-18). Note that Peter in this last passage quotes the words of Yeshua, "John baptized with water but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."

There is no text in the New Covenant Scriptures that would lead us to believe that immersion in the Spirit is some hidden and undetectable thing. In every case it is powerfully experiential. This mighty immersion in the Spirit is a key explanation of the explosive growth in first century New Covenant communities in Israel and around the world. As the gospel summarizes in Mark 16:17 and 20, signs followed those who believed and confirmed the word by those very signs.

It is important to add that the immersion in the Spirit is to be maintained. We can slip from the experience and be refilled again, but ideally as Eph. 5:18 says we are to "be being filled" (the Greek here uses the continuous tense) by the Spirit by singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.

The Messianic Jewish Movement and its Greatest Need

It is important that we Messianic Jews embrace the full import of this. The resistance to the Gospel among our people is very great and no amount of identification with our people and culture, as important as this is, will be sufficient. "We must demonstrate the power of God in a Jewish context to the Jewish community at large! Would that there was as much of an emphasis on the need for us to be filled with the Spirit and empowered as there is on Jewish calling and authentic Jewish life in our Messianic Jewish movement! We must pray and seek the Lord for revival, and outpourings of the Spirit for every individual and for every community.

By Daniel Juster
Dan Juster leads the overall ministry Tikkun International Donate to Tikkun International.
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Comments:
11:47 03Jan12 David Wright -
This is so true and is essential to our identity as messianic believers. Our commission is to go out INTO THE WORLD, to heal the sick, to raise the dead, to cast out demons as well as to preach the good news. We can pretend to speak the right words without the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit but the "signs and wonders" demonstrate the reality of our message.

15:03 03Jan12 Jacquelyn Bennett -
My experience is that I received the Holy Spirit the moment I believed in Yeshua. My eyes were opened to the Word, prayer and worship. I have had experiences in my walk that have been intense but sometimes I feel safer with the not-so-intense. As the return of Messiah approaches the Spirit turns us to unity and Israel and preparation for the difficult testing and purifying ahead. the dreams and visions increase and the prayers increase in fervency as we cry out Maranatha! G-d and His goodness prevail in the most dire circumstances and we are more than conquerers through Him who loves us. Hang on! The King comes riding on the clouds!

ReplyCpmment(Dr Juster, Thank you for your comment. As I noted, some do receive immersion in the Spirit at this time. Cornelius and his household did. My point is that it is a clear experience.)

00:46 04Jan12 Roger Erdahl -
I loved the article; as a Gentile believer with a Kosher heart, I've been told. I gain so much from a Messianic Jewish take on scripture.

03:19 04Jan12 Miriam Maranzenboim -
Amen & amen. Would that every congregation spell it out clearly as you did & truly believe in & UTILIZE the POWER. At the ICEJ feast of tabernacles this year Rev. Pawson said that one miracle is worth 1,000 sermons. If the Jewish people [who seek a sign] were to finally see one [via the messianic believers] mountains would begin to move here!

10:50 04Jan12 Daniel Buffenmeyer -
This is a very good teaching and I also believe that being filled with the spirit is essential to believers everywhere. During my time with the Messianic movement, I noticed that our synagogue drifted from a spirit filled congregation to one that became more consumed with a visible expression of Jewish ritual in order to appeal to the surrounding religious community. I came to believe that no matter how Jewish I try to present my lifestyle, I will never be accepted as authentic by any Jew, because I am a Gentile. No one in our day is more Jewish than the Apostle Paul, yet even the Jewish leaders of his day rejected him. However, I do remember when I was reading the complete writings of Smith Wigglesworth, a man who seemed to walk under the anointing of the Spirit, he described one of his trips to Israel. While there, he spoke powerfully under the anointing of the Spirit with many signs and wonders following. Many people received healing. After the service, some leading Rabbis (who attended the services) actually tried to find him and visited him in his hotel because they wanted to understand more about the power that Wigglesworth seemed to have. If the Lord would allow us to walk in that kind of power, I believe many more would come to faith.

  -- Dr Juster replies: The Holy Spirit is the great leveler and breaks through on culture barriers and brings direct encounters with Him. Yes, I want to honor Jewish tradition where it is right and biblical, I want to include it, but I also to make sure that we have a primary emphasis on the realities of the New Covenant that are offered to us.

12:45 5Jan12 David Waggoner -
I would suggest another book "Receiving the Power" by presbyterian pastors Rev Z Brad Long and Douglas McMurray of PRMI.org, the charismatic Presbyterian/Reformed group. They have a good study in "Spirit Upon" and "Spirit Within" from both the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. They go into it more indepth in their seminar Dunamis II : In the Spirit's Power.

10:58 8Jan12 Sue Blake -
My take is that it is also available to grafted in believers that seek it. In 2 Tim 1:7 it is no accident that He list power before Love and a sound mind. It takes the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish this! When a Jew is empowered, it is awesome!

16:50 9Jan12 Maryke Moodie -
Amen! Thank you for the article and reminding us of this very essential aspect of our walk and purpose. The Holy Spirit makes all the difference. Almost like Jacob's wrestle with G-d until he was assured of the blessing, we have to press in in order to move forward.

05:43 16Jan12 Mariel -
I've been in the messianic movement for over 5 years and have loved it for the deepening of my faith in Y'shua and the Father. As a whole, the groups I have been in, have neglected the power of the Holy Spirit and prayer. This is one of the failings that has lead to more legalistic thinking and practice. We have loved the word of God but left off the heart of God to heal the sick, cast out demons and pray more.

14:40 23Jan12 Stephanie Hilliard -
I was one who did not receive the Baptism of the Ruach HaKodesh at the same time as my water baptism. Some years later, Adonai sent someone to baptize me in the Ruach. It was an emotionally intense experience (I felt like a bride after her wedding night). But more than that...my life has never been the same since then. My real growth as a believer started at that point and has continued in ways I would never have guessed. Thanks for this article because we in the Messianic Jewish community cannot fulfill our Commission without this deep presence of the Ruach in our lives.

23:06 29Aug12 Dan Rhodes -
As the L-RD G-D placed in me a desire to repent by hearing His WORD, My joy overflowed, and with G-Ds sweet Holy Spirit my joy has remained. As I read and studied the Holy Scriptures I was taught by the Holy Spirit while reading Acts and other Scriptures that the Holy Spirit is for all true believers; to teach us

01:00 31Aug15 Dan -
When King YESHUA came into my life forgiving my many, many transgressions, the peace and cleanness I received was nothing I had ever experienced before. After that marvel, the boldness of the Lord came upon me and I wanted to tell everyone how much YESHUA loved them. I was in an elite unit at Fort Bragg at that time; many didn't want to hear about G-D, but they did. I received dreams, I would be awakened at night with a scripture verse in my head and being told to read it. I've experienced demons coming out of people in bondage, healings; if we want to work, Hashem will give us plenty to do; the baptism in the Holy Spirit is essential to us. How can we do HASHEM's work without His sweet Holy Spirit giving us power to overcome the serpent? We pray in the Spirit to know the will and receive boldness from our Father.


Also in this issue of the newsletter:
Moshe Morrison: Say It Twice
Peter Tsukahira: Israel and God's Tsunami
Asher Intrater: Love Involves Pain
Asher Intrater: Unity and the Messianic Remnant in Israel