And 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 (Isaiah 11:2, KJV)
Isaiah characterizes the Holy Spirit with seven distinct descriptors, each beginning with “the spirit of”. Similarly, Paul mentions the “spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God” (Ephesians 1:17). In this piece, we’ll delve into the distinctions between the Person of the Holy Spirit (uppercase “S”) and His manifestations within individuals (lowercase “s”).
Isaiah’s portrayal of the Messiah’s anointing in Isaiah 11:2 has led some scholars to draw parallels with the imagery of the Lampstand in the Tabernacle, which consists of one central stem and six branches grouped in three pairs on each side. While the Holy Spirit’s manifestations extend beyond those described in this verse, the resemblance to the Lampstand is striking.
The Lampstand, symbolizing Jesus as the Anointed One, offers insights into the workings of the anointing. Simply put, the anointing represents the Holy Spirit’s presence within the human spirit, where He generates graces, gifts, and abilities through His power and wisdom. This anointing emanates from one Spirit (uppercase “S”) and manifests its power and wisdom via the human spirit to yield these Spirit-enabled capabilities (lowercase spirit).
In His essence, the Holy Spirit is referred to with an uppercase “S”. However, when He expresses Himself through us in specific ways, He is termed the “spirit of”. This one Spirit exhibits Himself through diverse gifts and abilities, as highlighted in 1 Corinthians 12:4. The Lampstand metaphor—one central stem branching out—elegantly illustrates this concept.
The intricate symbolism of the Spirit comes with nuances and even debates, which are beyond the scope of this brief reflection. Some scholars, for instance, posit that the “spirit of wisdom” in Ephesians 1:15-17 and the seven spirits of God in Revelation represent angels. Yet, a deeper understanding of the Holy Spirit’s operation within us reveals the marvel of His varied expressions.
Imagine living filled with the spirit of wisdom, understanding, power, knowledge, and more! This profound spiritual richness defined Jesus, earning Him the title of the Anointed One—and He bestows this same anointing upon us.
Is the “spirit of wisdom” in Ephesians 1:17 the very Person of the Holy Spirit, represented with an uppercase Spirit?
Apply the Word
God yearns for you to be continually infused with the Holy Spirit. Don’t seek solace in wine; instead, be perpetually filled with the Holy Spirit—whether at work, home, on the streets, or in church.
Petition the Father to grace you with His Spirit’s fullness every day.
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