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"At the end of history, according to Israelite expectation, the Spirit of God will become effective in a special way."


Jesus, God and Man
"At the end of history, according to Israelite expectation, the Spirit of God will become effective in a special way. According to Isa. 11:2, the Messiah not only will be filled and driven by the Spirit but the Spirit will be continually joined with [her], and rest upon [her]. Third Isaiah (Isa. 61:1) also understood the Messiah as the bearer of the Spirit; the Spirit rests upon [her]. According to second Isaiah (Isa. 42:1), not only the Messiah but all Israel will share in God's Spirit in a new way at the end of history (cf. also Ezek. 36:27; Isa. 44:3). In his last vision in the night Zechariah saw the Spirit of Yahweh come upon all peoples; the wagons of the winds bear ruach Yahweh into the four corners of the world (Zech. 6:1-8). Finally, Joel also promises the pouring out of God's Spirit on 'all flesh' for the end time (ch. 2:28)."

"The Spirit was an eschatological reality for primitive Christianity. Israelite prophecy had promised that the Spirit would be poured out at the end of history, and the primitive Christian community experienced just this eschatological reality as already present in the gift of the Spirit. 'Through the pneuma the doxa (glory) promised for the eschatological consummation is already poured out now on the Christians.' The eschatological character of the primitive Christian understanding of the Spirit has recently been given attention in dogmatics also, especially by Karl Barth and Otto Weber. In order to understand the unique character of the Spirit's reality in primitive Christianity, one must go back to the significance of the Spirit of God in the Old Testament.

The Spirit of God was not primarily a source of supernatural knowledge in the Old Testament, but the ground of life in the most inclusive sense. The conceptual association of spirit, wind, air, and breath must be noted in this connection. Pslam 104 describes, perhaps most impressively of all, the vitalizing effect of the Spirit of God. There it is said about creatures in their dependence on the Creator: 'When thou hidest thy face, they are dismayed; when thou takest away their breath, they die and return to their dust. When thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created; and thou renewest the face of the ground' (Ps. 104:29-30; cf. Gen. 1:2; 2:7; Ezek. 37:5 ff.). The extraordinary works of power of God's Spirit, which provided the basis for the Israelite charismatic phenomena, are to be understood from this perspective. A special endowment with God's creative Spirit is necessary for especially outstanding activities, as in the case of heroes and-at least in the early period-of the prophets, as well as singers and artists. This always involves a special working of that power of God in which all life has its origin.

At the end of history, according to Israelite expectation, the Spirit of God will become effective in a special way. According to Isa. 11:2, the Messiah not only will be filled and driven by the Spirit but the Spirit will be continually joined with [her], and rest upon [her]. Third Isaiah (Isa. 61:1) also understood the Messiah as the bearer of the Spirit; the Spirit rests upon [her]. According to second Isaiah (Isa. 42:1), not only the Messiah but all Israel will share in God's Spirit in a new way at the end of history (cf. also Ezek. 36:27; Isa. 44:3). In his last vision in the night Zechariah saw the Spirit of Yahweh come upon all peoples; the wagons of the winds bear ruach Yahweh into the four corners of the world (Zech. 6:1-8). Finally, Joel also promises the pouring out of God's Spirit on 'all flesh' for the end time (ch. 2:28)."

Wolfhart Pannenberg, Jesus, God and Man
Westminster John Knox Press, 1977, p. 169-70

* emphasis ours ("We have, in the translation ..., changed the appropriate pronouns to reflect the fact that Christ, speaking either Aramaic or Hebrew, would have used the feminine pronoun when referring to the Spirit, since 'Spirit' in both these Semitic languages is grammatically, conceptually, and theologically feminine" Zinner 2011, 39)




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