2. The Messenger of His Face

The apostle John called Christ “the Word.” And Peter told us the Spirit of Christ was in the prophets.

In the Book of Numbers, God took of the Spirit that was on Moses and put it on the seventy elders (Numbers 11:25). The Targum calls it “the Holy Spirit.” This was the Spirit that anointed the judges of Israel1, King Saul2, King David3, and the prophets.

The expression “holy spirit” appears only three times in the Old Testament, and all instances describe Christ.

In Isaiah, we read, “The Angel of His Presence saved them … but they grieved … His holy spirit, so He turned against them and became their enemy … [W]here is He who brought them out of the sea? … [W]here is He who put His holy spirit within them?” (Isaiah 63:9-11)

The Hebrew word translated as “presence” is “panaw” (פניו). It has no meaning other than “face.” Isaiah described Christ as the “Messenger of His Face”—that is, “the Image of the Invisible God.” Christ was the face of God from Genesis 4:14 to Revelation 22:4.

The Targum translates Isaiah 63:10–11 as “They rebelled against the Word of His prophets; therefore, His Word turned out to be an enemy … [W]here is He who made the Word of His holy prophets dwell among them?”

It was likely due to Isaiah’s description of the holy spirit and the sea that Paul said, “All were baptized by Moses in the sea, and all drank the same spiritual drink from the rock which followed them, and the rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:2-4).

In Psalms 51, David said, “Cast me not away from Your Face, O Lord, take not your holy spirit from me” (Psalms 51:1). Here, again, Christ is the Face of God. The Greek Septuagint translates holy spirit as “Your Spirit, the Holy One.”4   

  1. Judges 3:10, 6:34, 11:29, 13:25, 14:6, 14:19, 15:14
  2. I Samuel 10:6, 10:10, 11:6
  3. 1 Samuel 16:13
  4. The Holy One is Christ throughout the New Testament: Mark 1:24; Luke 1:35; John 6:69; Ephesians 1;13; 1 Thessalonians 4:8; 1 John 2:20. Compare 1 Thessalonians 4:8, τὸ Πνεῦμα αὐτοῦ τὸ ῞Αγιον, “His Spirit, the Holy One” to Psalm 51:11 in the Greek Septuagint, τὸ πνεῦμά σου τὸ ἅγιον “Your Spirit, the Holy One.”