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Go to Bible: Isaiah 61
“The spirit of Lord Yahweh.” Here in Isaiah 61:1, God’s gift of holy spirit is called “the spirit of the Lord Yahweh.” In this verse, the “of” indicates the genitive case, which can be a genitive of possession, i.e., “the spirit belonging to Lord Yahweh,” or it can be a genitive of origin, “the spirit from Lord Yahweh,” or it can combine both meanings and be an amphibologia (double entendre) since both meanings are true.
In this verse, God foretells that the Messiah will have God’s gift of holy spirit upon him. God placed His holy spirit upon Jesus to spiritually empower him so that he could do mighty works. God put His gift of spirit, sometimes called “holy spirit,” upon people to give them spiritual power (cp. Num. 11:17-29; Judges 3:10; 6:34; 11:29; 1 Sam. 10:6, 10; 16:13; 1 Chron. 12:18; 2 Chron. 15:1; Micah 3:8), and Jesus needed God’s gift of holy spirit to have spiritual power just like the leaders and prophets of the Old Testament did. Jesus received the gift of holy spirit at His baptism and had it upon him when he started his ministry (Luke 4:18). Other verses that say God was going to put holy spirit upon the Messiah are Isaiah 11:2, 42:1 and 61:1.
Christians get spiritual power when they get the gift of holy spirit (Acts 1:8), but sadly, most believers are not taught how to use that spiritual power like Christ and the apostles did. [For more on the holy spirit being a gift from God that empowered people to do wonderful things for God, see Appendix 6, “Usages of Spirit”].(top)
“the year of Yahweh’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God.” There is a time period between the “year of Yahweh’s favor” and “the day of vengeance of our God” that has now been about 2,000 years. The “year of the Lord’s favor” was the time of Jesus’ ministry on earth, as we see when Jesus quoted Isaiah 61:2 in Luke 4:18-19, and then said, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:21). But “the day of vengeance of our God” is still future and is the great tribulation that is coming on the entire earth (Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:21; Rev. 6:16-17). The Great Tribulation is the time of the vengeance of God, a day of wrath when He will avenge the blood of all the innocent people from Abel forward through history (Matt. 23:35; Luke 11:51).
There are many Scriptures in the Old Testament that speak of the coming of Christ and God’s vengeance on the wicked as if they were going to happen at the same time (cp. Isa. 9:6-7; 11:1-9; 61:1-3; Micah 5:2; Zech. 9:9-10; Mal. 3:1-3; 4:1-3). Those many Scriptures, along with the fact that there are no clear Scriptures that portray the two comings of Christ, are the reason that at the time of Christ people did not think that Christ would die (cp. Matt. 16:21-22; Luke 18:31-34; 24:19-21, 44-46; John 12:34; 20:9).
That a “day of vengeance” was coming when God would take vengeance on His enemies is a theme that occurs a number of times in the Old Testament (cp. Isa. 34:8; 59:17; 61:2; 63:4; Luke 21:22).
[For more on the prophecies of the time of great tribulation, which is the day of vengeance, see commentary on Dan. 12:1].(top)
“by giving.” Gary Smith points out that the “second infinitive construct [of the verb]...is used to express attendant circumstances or manner “by giving,” and references Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar (The New American Commentary: Isaiah 40-66). According to Isaiah 61:2-3, the Messiah will proclaim the year of Yahweh’s favor and the day of vengeance of God (although Isaiah only says he will “proclaim” them, from other verses we learn he fulfills them as well). He will comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who mourn by giving them a garland for ashes (people sat in ashes or put ashes on themselves when they were mourning over someone or something, cp. Esther 4:1, 3; Job 2:8; Jer. 25:34; Lam. 3:16; Ezek. 27:30; Jonah 3:6; Matt. 11:21). He will give them the oil of joy and a garment of praise.(top)
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“righteousness.” In this context, “righteousness” is doing what is right to God and others (see commentary on Matt. 5:6).(top)