The Baptism of the Holy Spirit
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is for today and has always been available for all believers who will trust God and receive everything He has for them. John the Baptist prophesied that Jesus would baptize in the Holy Spirit and fire (Luke 3:16). After the disciples’ baptism in the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, the new believers asked, “What should we do?” They were told to repent, be baptized, and receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).
The Pentecost experience was a fulfillment of Jesus’s promise to the apostles that they would be “baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5). Before His Ascension, Jesus had instructed His followers: “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). This promise was the Holy Spirit (John 14:16–18). This wasn’t a new promise—the gift of the Holy Spirit had been promised since Old Testament times (Is. 28:11, 12; Joel 2:28, 29).
One of the main purposes of the Holy Spirit is to transform Christians into powerful witnesses for the gospel (Acts 1:8). Before Pentecost, Peter fearfully denied he knew Jesus. After his baptism in the Spirit, however, Peter stood and boldly preached the gospel with power! His message resulted in the salvation of three thousand people! (Acts 2).
On other occasions in Acts, new believers experienced this same baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:31; 8:16; 10:44–46). The baptism in the Holy Spirit enabled the early church to spread the gospel of Christ throughout the world.
The Holy Spirit came down from heaven and completely im- mersed (baptized) believers gathered in the upper room of a house in Jerusalem. They had been waiting for His coming as Jesus had commanded. Peter said this experience fulfilled Joel’s prophecy: “I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh” (Joel 2:28, 29).
Male and female, young and old were to be included in this out- pouring. They were to prophesy, dream dreams, and see visions. God’s Spirit was to empower both men and women (Acts 2:38, 39). Although the Holy Spirit is invisible to the natural eye—Jesus compared Him to the wind in John 3:8—His baptizing work can be seen and heard. One of the awesome outward confirming signs is speaking in tongues, which took place on several occasions people received the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:2–4; Acts 10:44–46; Acts 19:6).
To receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit you must be hungry and thirsty for God (Is. 55:1, 2; John 7:37–39)-have an intense desire for more of Jesus. Satisfy the spiritual dryness within you and be filled with the fullness of Him, as the Bible commands (Eph. 3:19).
Surrender your will to God’s and pursue Him with abandonment. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is for every born-again believer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to fill, cleanse, empower, and purify you with His fire (Matt. 3:11). “Your heavenly Father [will] give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13).
The Baptism of Fire
God wants to drench us with His glory, but first His eyes search and convict our hearts. He searches for those who are righteous and pure, upon whom He can settle with a glory covering, but
first we must go through the process of refining, through the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire.
Scripture describes three baptisms— water baptism, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and the baptism of fire. “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I . . . He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matt. 3:11). Within the latter baptism, there are three fires: the refiner’s fire, the fire of His love, and the fiery witness.
The refiner’s fire is a purging that removes our filth by the spirit of judgment and burning (Is. 4:4). After this purging we will be called holy (Is. 4:3) and only then will we receive the covering of God’s glo- ry—a tabernacle for shade from the daytime heat, a place of refuge, and a shelter from storm and rain (Is. 4:5, 6). To ascend the holy hill of His presence, or stand in His holy courts, we must be purified. We endure the refiner’s fire, being purged as gold and silver (Mal. 3:2, 3), so that we can offer ourselves in righteousness to God.
It is said that Smith Wigglesworth (1859–1947), known as the “Apostle of Faith,” experienced a baptism of fire during a ten-day fast in which he cried out for God to change and purify his life. God’s fire fell and freed him from his temper and moodiness.
The second fire is the fire of His love. This love consumes us with passion for Jesus. It’s a vehement fire (Song 8:6) that burns within our hearts so that we cry out for more of Him and long to be in His glory. We’re drawn deeper into worship and intimacy. God wants to fill us with that fire too!
We need to pass through the first two fires to step into the third, the fiery witness. We need to be holy, and we need to burn with love for God. The baptism of fiery witness came on Pentecost and birthed the early church.
This fire burned in the hearts of the early disciple—cities and regions were saved as the gospel was preached with miracles, signs, and wonders following. The same fire touched Isaiah’s lips and com- missioned him to speak to the nation. Divine fire for ministry and for witness makes us fervent to preach the gospel. It is an anointing that falls upon us to preach with passion and tongues of fire.
Are you willing to commit your life to loving the Holy Spirit and seeking intimacy with Him? If so, He’ll raise you up to shake cities and nations. If you’re hungry for Him and willing to pass through the re- finer’s fire, He’ll set you ablaze with His unquenchable love, and you’ll become a fiery witness as you ascend to realms you never dreamed possible!
Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Before Jesus ascended to the Father, He commissioned His followers to take the gospel message “to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). He told them He would send the Holy Spirit to give them spiritual gifts—supernatural abilities to empower them to be effective witnesses. A spiritual gift (different from a natural talent) is freely given by the Holy Spirit to enable effective ministry (Mark 16:17, 18, 20). When we receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit (see article on p. 838), we also receive an ability to operate in the manifestations of the Spirit mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12. Although we call them spiritual gifts, the apostle Paul referred to these blessings for believers as manifestations, which can also be translated from the Greek word charismata as “spiritual endowments” or “spirituals.” These spirituals are distributed to believers as the Holy Spirit wills.
Scripture lists nine spirituals or manifestations in 1 Corinthians 12. Three involve utterance or speaking, three involve revelation, and three involve supernatural power. The three utterance spirituals include speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, and prophecy. According to the apostle Paul, when someone speaks in an unknown tongue (language) in a church congregation, that message must be interpreted (another supernatural gift) by someone who receives the interpretation from God. An interpreted message in tongues brings encouragement to the church and is not to be confused with the per- sonal prayer language of tongues for self- edification (1 Cor. 14:18). The gift of prophecy, also an utterance spiritual gift, is an inspired message from God in a known language to build up the church.
The revelatory manifestations or gifts include the word of wis- dom, an endowment of supernatural wisdom for a specific situation or understanding about the future; the word of knowledge, a gift of supernatural knowledge about a person or situation that is not known through the natural senses; and the discerning of spirits, a supernatu- ral discernment as to whether the Holy Spirit, the human spirit, or a demonic spirit (and its specific nature) is at work in a situation.
The power gifts or manifestation include the gift of faith, gifts of healings, and the working of miracles. (You can read more about each of these gifts in other articles in this Bible.)
As every good thing from God, each of these nine gifts is received by faith and manifests in our lives as the Holy Spirit wills. These spiri- tuals are not possessed by us (as mantles are) but manifest through our lives in various situations to edify, exhort, and comfort people (1 Cor. 14:3). They should be welcomed and expected in our lives (1 Cor. 14:1). Paul gave us guidelines for proper use of spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12–14.
Over the last century, through the Azusa Street Revival, the Charismatic Renewal, and other moves of the Spirit, God has been restoring the use of all the spiritual gifts to the church. Let’s receive and practice all the gifts—the spirituals—God has for us today, so we can reach the nations of the earth with the powerful gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Sevenfold Holy Spirit
Does your heart long to know the deep things of God? The Holy Spirit invites you to know those deep things through revelation and wisdom, counsel and knowledge. God’s eyes search to and fro, looking for believers who hunger for His presence and for the constant flow of His revelatory treasures in their lives. He wants to abide in you constantly and give you greater revelation of His supernatural world. This teaching on the manifestation of the seven Spirits of God will help that happen for you.
As you grow in intimacy with the Lord and in an understanding of His seven Spirits, you can expect to receive daily from His river of revelation. As the prophet Isaiah wrote in a prophetic passage about Jesus: “He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to hear” (Is. 50:4). As a New Testament believer, you have the same Holy Spirit as Jesus did; therefore, you can also expect that each morning your spiritual ears will hear words of life from God.
As we study the seven Spirits of God, you’ll receive a greater rev- elation and understanding of the riches hidden in God. We’ll begin by examining several references to the seven Spirits of God and His different manifestations; then we’ll cover each Spirit in depth in other articles.
Isaiah 11:2 lists the seven Spirits of God: The Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of wisdom, the Spirit of revelation (understanding), the Spirit of counsel, the Spirit of might (signs and wonders), the Spirit of knowl- edge, and the Spirit of the fear of the Lord. The seven Spirits of God are seven expressions, each one an aspect of the Holy Spirit. The Amplified Bible uses the term “the sevenfold Holy Spirit” (Rev. 1:4 AMP). The Holy Spirit isn’t split up; He just manifests Himself in different ways. He manifests as the Spirit of wisdom when we need wisdom, as the Spirit of counsel when we need guidance, and so on. The mystery of the seven Spirits of God is the same as the mystery of the Trinity—separate but One.
The seven Spirits of God is a reference to the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father and the Son to the believer (John 7:37–39; 15:16, 26). He enables believers to experience a genuine relationship with Him through the multiple ministries (expressions, functions) and work of the Spirit.
Seven is a biblical term for completeness. A description of the sevenfold Spirit of the Lord, the fullness of the Holy Spirit, is found in Isaiah 11:1–4. He desires to impart to us God’s fullness—His wisdom, understanding, counsel, supernatural strength, might, and the ability to walk in a healthy and reverent fear of the Lord. A revelation of the sevenfold Holy Spirit will empower us to live in and minister from the place of His fullness.
Seven Expressions of the Holy Spirit
The seven Spirits of God are seven functions, manifestations, or expressions of the Holy Spirit. But they’re more than that. Revelation 1:4 says: “John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne.” Here we see that the seven Spirits of God delivered the message of Revelation and later (beginning with Revelation 2:1) we read that the letters to the seven churches mentioned in the book are addressed to the angels (messengers) of each church. In turn, these messengers appear to have the task of taking the messages to the churches.
In the first chapters of Revelation, we see the seven Spirits of God, seven angels (messengers), and the seven churches. Scholars hold dif- ferent views about who the angels (messengers) are. Some believe that they are the pastors of the churches.
In Scripture three types of messengers appear to be called angels— angelic beings, human beings, and the Divine Being, Jesus. Angelic beings visit people with messages throughout Scripture. A human being (the prophet Haggai) is called “the LORD’s messenger” (Hag. 1:13). The Hebrew word mal’ak used in this verse means “angel” or “messenger.” Finally, theologians say that God the Son appears as an angel in the Old Testament, when the phrase “Angel of the LORD” is used (Gen. 16:7–13; Judg. 2:1).
Knowing the different beings that are called angels in the Bible, who or what else could the seven angels in Revelation be? In the first chapter of Revelation, we’re told that the revelation is from both “His angel” and “the seven Spirits” (1:1, 4). Throughout John’s Revelation, there are angelic messengers fulfilling each of the seven functions of the Holy Spirit.
In the Book of Revelation, one Holy Spirit is revealed in seven expressions of the Spirit, but each expression reveals itself as an angelic messenger. This is not to say that the Holy Spirit is an angel. The Holy Spirit expresses Himself through seven different manifestations of His person. Each appears to function as a messenger, not necessarily an angelic being. The seven Spirits of God are a part of the Holy Spirit and the Trinity, so they are not angelic beings. On the other hand, these angelic messengers are not part of the Trinity; rather, they seem to be messengers on behalf of the seven Spirits.
In the Book of Proverbs, we see where many of these expressions “cry aloud” to us. Proverbs 1:20 says, “Wisdom calls aloud outside; She raises her voice in the open squares.” We’re called “to know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding” (Prov. 1:2). The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Prov. 1:7) and wisdom (Prov. 9:10).
Paul prayed for us that God “may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him” (Eph. 1:17, author’s emphasis). These seven Spirits of God are vitally important to understand as we learn to live and minister in obedience to the Holy Spirit’s promptings.
Each Spirit Has a Function
The seven Spirits of God are “sent out into all the earth” (Rev. 5:6), each Spirit manifesting according to its function. The Spirit of knowledge is the Holy Spirit, but this Spirit reveals itself in a way that the Spirit of the fear of the Lord doesn’t—but it’s still the Holy Spirit. Each Spirit manifests as a personality which has a specific function.
For instance, in the Book of Proverbs, wisdom is portrayed as “she”—that’s a personality. “She raises her voice” (Prov. 1:20). God also said that wisdom was with Him when He formed the earth. “The LORD by wisdom founded the earth” (Prov. 3:19).
I’ve had four of the seven Spirits visit me in the form of angels. Several years ago, in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, the Spirit of revelation appeared to me as an angel. He held a lantern in His hand and He guided me into a room of hidden treasures and revelation. He said, “Come with Me into the deep things of God.”
Wisdom visited me, and she also had the form of an angel. The Spirit of wisdom resting on my life has enabled me to oversee a large ministry, even though I didn’t finish high school and have no formal business training. I attribute all that I’ve learned—the practical aspects of building and managing a global ministry—to the Spirit of wisdom upon my life.
I also saw the angel representing the Spirits of counsel and might. On one leg was written “counsel” and on the other was written “might.” In His hand, He held a sword that represented the Word of God (Heb. 4:12). The Lord was showing me how closely these two Spirits work together and that in the last days the prophetic and the word of knowl- edge would become commonplace among believers. He also showed me Hebrews 12:13 and revealed that the Word of the Lord would bring healing, signs, and wonders for the harvest. The Spirit of the fear of the Lord also visited me, but this Spirit didn’t appear as an angel.
The Bible gives us many symbols for the Holy Spirit (wind, fire, a dove) but nowhere does it tell us that the Holy Spirit has an actual form. The Father does, Jesus does, but not the Holy Spirit—He is with- out form. Could it be then, that He sometimes reveals aspects of His nature by manifesting in the forms of angels or messengers?
I heard the testimony of one young man who had an encounter with the seven Spirits of God. He was taken up into a classroom as a pupil, and each one of the Spirits was personified as a schoolteacher with a personality and a message. Each of the seven Spirits would teach and then write His message on a chalkboard.
As this vision illustrates, if we want an increase of the sevenfold Spirits of God in our lives, we must go through their schools where we will grow in the Lord, as well as in wisdom, revelation, counsel, might, knowledge, and in the reverent fear of the Lord.
Eyes and Lampstands
Now that you’re familiar with the seven Spirits of God, you’ll notice many Scriptures in God’s Word that refer to them. Sometimes symbols or seven angelic forms represent the
seven Spirits of God.
Eyes are one of these symbols (Rev. 5:6). The four living creatures before the throne have eyes under their wings (Rev. 4:8). Almost every reference to the “eyes of God” in the Bible refers to the seven Spirits of God. They represent the all- knowing, all-seeing, omniscient nature of God and His Spirits. “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro through- out the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him” (2 Chr. 16:9). The seven Spirits of God look for people to manifest through. Are you available?
A prophecy from Zechariah about Jesus refers to the seven Spirits of God: “Hear, O Joshua, the high priest, you and your companions who sit before you, for they are a wondrous sign; for behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the Branch. For behold, the stone that I have laid before Joshua: upon the stone are seven eyes” (Zech. 3:8, 9).
Jesus is also referred to as the “Branch” (just before the reference to the seven Spirits in Isaiah 11:2). “There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots” (Is. 11:1). So, upon Jesus are seven eyes and the seven eyes are the seven Spirits of God.
In Zechariah 4:6 the Lord explained that it’s “not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit.” A few verses later, we see another reference to the seven. The seven are “the eyes of the LORD, which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth” (Zech. 4:10).
In Scripture lampstands are another symbol of the seven Spirits of God (Rev. 4:5). The lampstands burn before the throne in heaven; the throne is the presence and glory of God. The menorah (lampstand) in Moses’s tabernacle is a prophetic representation of the seven Spirits. It burned before the ark of the covenant, which also represented the glory and presence of God.
Do you know how God leads us? His word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Ps. 119:105). The Lord also said, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye” (Ps. 32:8). God not only lights our path, He has His eye on us. He’s the all- seeing, all-knowing One. When God’s eye is on us, and we allow it to see in and through us, we see things the way He sees them, and we receive counsel and direction.
Are you allowing Him to illumine your path with His words of life? Have you ever looked through His eyes and viewed your life from His perspective?
The Abiding Anointing: Mantles
There is a difference between the nine gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12:7–10 (word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, gifts of healings, working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, different kinds of tongues, and interpretation of tongues), and the seven mantles of the Spirit in Isaiah 11 (the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirits of wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, and the fear of the Lord). These mantles are the seven Spirits of God that rest on Jesus.
Jesus didn’t operate in the word of wisdom, one of the gifts of the Spirit; He operated in the Spirit of wisdom. He didn’t operate in the gift of healing. The Spirit of the Lord anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and power and it remained on Him (Luke 4:18). It was a mantle that didn’t lift. The gifts of the Spirit are distributed evenly to each one as the Spirit wills. What does that imply? They come and go. The seven Spirits didn’t come and go on Jesus. They were always there abiding with Him.
The Spirit of wisdom is a lot different from a word of wisdom. The Spirit of wisdom is a constant river of wisdom and revelation as opposed to one word. Picture all of God’s wisdom represented as an endless ocean of marbles. If He gives you one, that’s a word of wisdom. But the Spirit of wisdom is the ever- increasing flowing river coming from the divine ocean of wisdom proceeding from God, the One who possesses all wisdom. That’s what rested on Jesus.
Do you remember the story of Nathanael and the fig tree? Imagine Nathanael’s delight when he finally realized just how open heaven was—when Jesus gave him a word of knowledge about where Nathanael had been earlier. It amazed him that Jesus knew, and Nathanael’s faith took a huge leap.
Then Jesus replied, in effect saying to Nathanael, “This isn’t about a word of knowledge. You will see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending upon Me. I am not just getting a gift of the Spirit; I am an open heaven. I am a portal; heaven ascends from me and descends again. Twenty-four hours a day I am a gate of heaven with wisdom and revelation. I am the open heaven of Genesis 28:12–16! I am Jacob’s ladder set up on the earth to heaven. There is free access between heaven and earth with Me. That is who I am” (John 1:49–51 author’s paraphrase).
The Spirit of God dwells in us, but He also comes on us from time to time. There is a day coming when we are going to operate in these mantles. The Spirit of the Lord will rest upon us, and abide in us, and it won’t be fleeting or temporary.
Instead of “Wow, I had one word of knowledge this week!” it’s going to be a flowing river of wisdom in every circumstance. It’s going to be there all the time! The Spirit of the Lord will rest, remain, and abide on us.
The Spirit of the Lord
Each of the seven Spirits partners together in ministry with another Spirit: “The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD” (Is. 11:2). Notice the three partnerships: wisdom and understanding; counsel and might; knowledge and the fear of the Lord. These will be explained in later study.
The Spirit of the Lord is the Holy Spirit. The following Scriptures make this clear. “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him” (Is. 42:1). “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good tidings” (Is. 61:1). “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38).
The Spirit of the Lord enables us to do things that we are unable to do in our flesh, such as minister healing or deliverance, or operate in supernatural strength like Samson’s (Judg. 13:25). Samson’s strength was greater than any human’s strength. The Spirit of the Lord enabled him to perform superhuman feats of strength in overcoming the Philistines Judg. 14:6, 19; 15:14). In this same Book of Judges, three other judges also experienced the power of the Spirit of the Lord upon them, including Othniel (Judg. 3:9, 10), Gideon (Judg. 6:34), and Jephthah (Judg. 11:29). The latter two won great victories and delivered Israel out of bondage to their enemies.
The “Spirit of the Lord” upon him enabled the stuttering Moses to become a great orator. Moses spent a large amount of time in God’s presence and became an eloquent speaker, as illustrated by his long speech in the Book of Deuteronomy. God chose Moses to become His spokesperson and empowered him to explain God’s detailed law to the Israelites before they entered the Promised Land. Moses learned to obey God’s voice.
The Spirit of the Lord demands that we yield to God. In effect He says, “I want you to be yielded. I want you to surrender. I want you to be an empty vessel, to be like the apostle Paul and say, ‘I die daily to my own way, to my own will, to my own self, to my own flesh’ “(1 Cor. 15:31, author’s paraphrase).
While on earth Jesus instructed His disciples to die to their selfish desires: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). Today the Spirit of the Lord continues to call us to a life surrendered to God’s purposes.
As we fully yield to the Spirit of the Lord, like the many men and women of the Bible who God has enabled to do great exploits, we will also be transformed and empowered to make a difference in the world (2 Cor. 3:18).
The Spirit of Wisdom
One of the seven Spirits, the Spirit of wisdom, gives us counsel in in every situation to know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. Wisdom teaches us how to rightly apply revelation. Without wisdom, revelation is no good. The Spirit of wisdom gives us wise and discerning hearts.
When Jesus was twelve years old and teaching in the synagogues, everyone marveled at what He said (Luke 4:22). That was the Spirit of wisdom. The Spirit of wisdom can even give us the right words to help us communicate.
Remember that the Spirit of wisdom is an abiding anointing, not a momentary gift. “Now Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him; so the children of Israel heeded him, and did as the LORD had commanded Moses” (Deut. 34:9). Joshua received the Spirit of wisdom when Moses laid hands on him. He went on to lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land.
Solomon’s first of two visitations of the Lord is recorded in 2 Chronicles 1:7–12. Solomon asked for wisdom to rule well. God was pleased with his request. He not only granted wisdom and knowledge to King Solomon, but also riches, wealth, and honor.
It’s been the Spirit of wisdom on my life that’s enabled me to ac- complish things on the practical side of our ministry. Despite years of addictions, an eighth-grade education, and no background in business, the Lord gave me the ability to run a multimillion-dollar ministry reaching hundreds of thousands throughout the world. God’s Spirit of wisdom resting on my life helped me build a ministry that has had as many as one hundred staff working around the world. People wonder how I do all this stuff. I’ve even had businessmen of large companies ask whether I have a business degree. It’s the Spirit of wisdom.
Wisdom pours out her spirit (Prov. 1:20–23). What an invitation Wisdom extends to us! Personified as a female messenger, Wisdom says she is looking for “simple ones” on whom to pour out her spirit. Ask for Wisdom to pour out her spirit on you. That’s a great prayer to pray every day for you and your family.
Proverbs 4:5 tells us to get wisdom and understanding. Consider the following benefits.
Wisdom instructs (Prov. 1:2). Wisdom teaches us how to apply biblical knowledge and truths to our circumstances. We not only need to know what the Bible instructs, but we also need to know when to do it and how to do it so that we can apply biblical truths to our lives.
Wisdom protects. She will “deliver you from the way of the evil” (Prov. 2:10–12) and from the fear of evil (Prov. 1:33).
Wisdom protects those who love and pursue her. What a blessing!
Wisdom brings long life (Prov. 3:14–16; 4:8–10). Nothing you desire can compare with her. She brings happiness and peace (Prov. 3:16–19) and right things (Prov. 8:6).
The Spirit of Revelation
Revelation means “to bring to light and unveil hidden things, to take the cover off or to disclose.” Disclosure of what? The answer may surprise you: a disclosure of the Lord’s secrets. His hidden treasures are revealed to us. We receive insight into how God works and how the anointing works. The Spirit of revelation removes the veil and Bible verses seem to jump off their pages.
When somebody uses the words “the Spirit of revelation” you may think in terms of understanding the Bible. But let’s consider two other kinds of revelation.
There is revelation that comes from prophetic experiences— dreams, visions, or encounters—and there is divine revelation.
Prophetic experiences happen in a variety of ways (Gen. 20:3; Job 33:14–16). You may be caught up in a heavenly experience, have a conversation with the Lord, or an angel may explain something to you. Perhaps you were transported somewhere or learn from God through a dream or vision. The Bible is full of these experiences!
Divine revelation is a second way to gain revelation. Divine reve- lation is new knowledge imparted to our spirits. We don’t receive it by listening to a speaker. We don’t receive it through dreams, visions, or angelic visitations. When somebody asks how we received it, it can’t be explained, we can only say “by revelation.”
Have you ever awakened with a three- hour sermon prepared on a subject you had never preached on—and you were familiar with all the Greek words? That is the Spirit of revelation. It is coming on the church today. A dyslexic child who had never been able to read came to one of my meetings. I rebuked the deaf and dumb spirit and the child was healed. He went home that night, picked up a book, and read the whole thing to his dad. When divine revelation hits, we gain unexplainable knowledge and wisdom.
Paul was not discipled by Jesus or by the apostles. He didn’t go to Bible school after he was saved. He received his revelation in the desert (Gal. 1:11, 12). Paul wrote more books in the New Testament than anyone else and he said: “What I have I received by the Spirit of reve- lation—it just came to me by a divine impartation of the Holy Spirit” (Eph. 3:3, author’s paraphrase). We can’t really know Jesus without the Spirits of wisdom and revelation.
Wisdom helps us apply what revelation shows us, so that we can also teach it to others. If we don’t have wisdom, we won’t know what to do with the divine revelation. Revelation is composed of four parts: interpretation, delivery, timing, and application. When we receive revelation, we need insight in each of these four areas. That is what the Spirit of wisdom provides.
God’s provision comes through the Spirits of wisdom and revela- tion (Eph. 1:17–19). His provision is according to His riches in glory. The Spirit of wisdom and the Spirit of revelation bring knowledge of how to receive supernatural provision, because He will supply all our needs “according to His riches in glory” (Phil. 4:19).
We can’t know that without the Spirits of wisdom and revelation. Without these Spirits, we will never know who we are and the glorious inheritance that we possess.
The first few chapters of Proverbs give us an understanding of the value of wisdom. But what does wisdom demand in exchange? “Now therefore, listen to me, my children, for blessed are those who keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and do not disdain it. Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors” (Prov. 8:32–34).
Wisdom says this in every situation and circumstance that we seek her— when we cry out, “Spirit of wisdom, come help!” Chase after wisdom—when you catch her you will experience incredible rewards. Don’t do anything without her; wait for her instructions.
Study the following Scriptures about wisdom’s benefits: Proverbs 2:10–13; 3:13–18; 3:21–24; 4:5–9; 7:4–5; and 24:3–6.
We are quick to pray “God, I want visions and revelations,” but the Spirit of revelation demands that we go through His school first. He is a tough teacher. He goes to the Father and says, “They want revelation, so I need to bring humility and brokenness before I can give more. I want yielded hearts and I want them to trust Me.”
Let’s look at Paul’s life to see what he endured to partner with the Spirit of revelation. “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure” (2 Cor. 12:7).
Because of the abundance of revelation, Paul could have easily become proud, so God gave him a thorn in the flesh (a messenger from Satan, not a disease). The messenger’s assignment was to bring blow after blow, pressure, and death to self to bring about humility and brokenness. Some of Paul’s external pressures were trials, shipwrecks, beatings, imprisonment, stoning, criticism, judgments, and hardships.
Paul must have successfully completed the Spirit of revelation’s school because we see his humility in 2 Corinthians 12:2: “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago . . . was caught up to the third heaven.” A few verses after writing about this man who had this great revelatory experience in the third heaven, Paul wrote about the thorn given to him because of his abundance of revelations. Many Bible scholars, including myself, believe that Paul is talking about his own third-heaven experience. But he didn’t say, “I was caught up.” He didn’t want people to think of him more highly than they ought. The humbler we can be, the more God can trust us with revelation (2 Cor. 12:10). Revelation demands character, intimacy, humility, brokenness, and death to self.
Paul learned these lessons well, completed his schooling, and went on to become a history maker.
The Spirit of Counsel and Might
The Spirit of counsel (Isaiah 11:2) asks us to simply listen for God’s methods and plans of action. When Jesus ascended the Mount of Transfiguration, He took James, Peter, and John with
Him. I am sure the other disciples wanted to go too, but Jesus had God’s counsel and heeded His counsel. Scripture tells us that God is “great in counsel and mighty in work” (Jer. 32:19).
In the realm of healing and miracles, God does everything accord- ing to His plan and strategy. When Jesus healed blind men, He used different methods to open their eyes. He spat in the eyes of one man, spoke healing words to another, and even rubbed mud into the eyes of one. God told Jesus to heal them using these different methods, and that’s what He did. Every case of sickness is different, and each one requires God’s counsel.
God has a heavenly strategy to release power and healing in every meeting. It’s critical that we wait for His counsel, because if we are even an inch off, the kingdom won’t come. I recall one meeting when the Holy Spirit said, “Todd I want to heal that man who has cancer, and I’m going to give you the method. Tell him to stand up and move over two feet.” I replied, “God, what does it matter if he stands there or moves over two feet?” The Lord said, “Because that is where the angel is.” At another meeting, I repositioned the pulpit because that was the way I saw it in heaven before I arrived at the church. I call these “healing scenes” and they come from the Spirit of counsel.
It’s important that when God speaks, we obey completely. If we aren’t operating in the Spirit of counsel, we can become presumptuous. What if Naaman had only dipped six times in the river Jordan (2 Kin. 5:14)? He would have gone home with leprosy.
Once Jesus was on the mountain all night in prayer, when I believe the Spirit of counsel said, “Go to the pool of Bethesda and heal the crippled man who has been there for thirty-eight years” (John 5:6–8). How could Jesus walk away from so many other sick people? John 5:19 and 20 hold the key. The Father loves His children and wants to show us all the things that He is doing. It might require us to listen all night on the mountain or to withdraw into the wilderness and pray in solitude in a place of waiting.
The Spirit of counsel demands our friendship before we will be giv- en access to the secrets of the Lord. Counsel demands listening prayer, waiting, and obedience. The works and power of God are connected to waiting. Waiting for God’s counsel releases might.
Might is the strength of God, the power of God, and the mighty acts of God. When the Spirit of might come on me, I can minister and preach for weeks at a time. When it lifts, I’m dead on my feet! The Spirit of might bring the mighty acts of power, miracles, signs, and wonders.
God also performs mighty acts which involve signs in the heavens above and wonders in the earth beneath. I love the story in 1 Kings 18:20–40 where Elijah confronted the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the whole nation turned to God. That was revival! Elijah waited for God’s counsel and the Lord told him to drench the sacrifice. Elijah then prayed, saying, “I have done all these things at Your word” (1 Kin. 18:36). Later the Spirit of might came on him and he outran the chariots.
Ephesians 6:10 tells us to “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” We can draw from four kinds of power: dunamis power (Acts 1:8), ischus power (Eph. 1:19), kratos (Acts 19:20), and exousia power (Matt. 10:1). These are four different New Testament Greek words for God’s power or might. A definition of these powers is found in the Glossary and they are discussed in more depth in other articles.
The Spirit of might takes us through the hardest school of all. We must go through discipline, fasting, prayer, character improvements, and death to self. The Spirit of might also demands meditation in the Word as well as waiting in “Jerusalem” until we have a divine encounter (Acts 1:4). That’s the price we are required to pay to have God’s power. It’s costly.
The Spirit of counsel and the Spirit of might are partners. Many of us are going after God’s power without God’s counsel. You will notice that it is the Spirit of counsel and might. Isaiah 9:6 says, “His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God.” Notice the connection again. Counsel comes before acts of power. Otherwise we risk operat- ing on assumption or hope. Counsel guides us into the manifestation of might—acts of power and strength from the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of counsel wants to give us advice and methods in every situation so that we can work miracles.
Job had an anointing upon his life that he referred to as “the friend- ly counsel of God” (Job 29:4). This speaks of the inward secret of the Lord. It’s when heaven comes and lets us in on secrets. Think of Moses who spoke to God face-to-face, as a friend speaks to a friend. We’re friends of God, and friends share secrets (John 15:15). Don’t settle for the gift of counsel, get the abiding anointing that comes through friendship and intimacy with the Lord.
If we want more of God’s counsel, we need to obey. Counsel will leave us when we disobey (Ps. 81:11–16). Why should God give us another prophetic word if we haven’t done anything with the first one? Counsel demands obedience. We need to obey the counsels, the ideas, and the pictures of heaven that come to us.
Sometimes I wait hours for counsel. “Father what do you want to do and how do you want to do it?” It might be the same disease God healed previously but using a different method. When we get the fresh counsel of heaven and obey the Lord, people will be healed.