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When we speak of the Holy Spirit (i.e., the breath of God), we must take into account the numerous things that comprise the Holy Spirit’s activities. Certainly, the Holy Spirit shakes all things in order to test their quality and their ability to remain standing. This is the storm brought about when God blows His breath upon the waters.
The same breath that gave life to Adam in Genesis 2:7 also slays the wicked in Isaiah 11:4. The breath of God was felt and heard on the day of Pentecost “like a violent rushing wind” (Acts 2:2) when the church was empowered by the Holy Spirit—and, occasionally, in more recent revivals.
The life and presence of God is established by His breath. So Jesus breathed upon His disciples to impart His presence. John 20:22 says,
22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
It appears that He did this as a repetition of Genesis 2:7 (with Adam), except that He was no longer creating living souls but was begetting lifegiving spirits (1 Corinthians 15:45) in His image. Each disciple was also a temple (1 Corinthians 3:16) that was being filled with His presence. A few days later, He filled the many-membered temple (Ephesians 2:20-22) in which each individual was one living stone.
Recall that Hebrews 12:26-28 is a commentary on Haggai 2:6, 7, where a great shaking is said to take place in the context of building the second temple. However, that temple in the days of Haggai was never glorified by God’s presence, as was the case with the first temple. After the glory of God departed from Solomon’s temple (Ezekiel 10:4, 18; 11:23), that site was cursed, even as Shiloh had been cursed many years earlier. Jeremiah 26:6 says,
6 then I will make this house like Shiloh, and this city I will make a curse to all the nations of the earth.
When the glory departed from Shiloh, it was commemorated by the birth of Ichabod (1 Samuel 4:21, 22; Psalm 78:60). The glory (Ark) never returned to Shiloh but went instead to Jerusalem (Psalm 78:67, 68). Later, because of the corruption in Jerusalem, God forsook that city “like Shiloh,” never again to fill a temple on that site.
Hence, the second temple that was being built (or rebuilt) in the time of Haggai was not destined to be glorified. It was only a model that prophesied of God’s greater temple that Paul described in Ephesians 2:20-22. So when Jesus breathed upon His disciples and later sent the Holy Spirit to the church as a whole on the day of Pentecost, this was the breath of God filling His temple and bypassing the magnificent temple in Jerusalem.
Another outpouring of the Spirit occurred in Acts 4:31, and “the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.” This second Holy Spirit experience prophesies of events associated with the second coming of Christ. Hence, the heavens and the earth will be shaken in our time, as prophesied in Hebrews 12:26-28.
To build this true temple requires a lot of shaking as the breath of God blows upon many waters to replace fear with faith and to establish faith upon the promises of God.
Noah, of course, is best known for passing through the flood, which seems to be the main word picture of the storm caused by the combination of water and wind. The 45th time that Noah’s name is mentioned is in Ezekiel 14:14,
14 even though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job were in its midst, by their own righteousness they could only deliver themselves,” declares the Lord God.
We may, therefore, connect this to Jesus’ statement in Matthew 24:37,
37 For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.
The flood in Noah’s day shook the heavens and the earth in its own way, and it is comparable to the great shaking that is now upon us at the end of the age.
The 45th time Jerusalem is mentioned is in 2 Samuel 24:16, which speaks of the judgment on Israel after David numbered the people.
16 When the angel stretched out his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord relented from the calamity and said to the angel who destroyed the people, “It is enough! Now relax your hand!” And the angel of the Lord was by the threshing floor of Arunah the Jebusite.
Note also that the verse speaks of the threshing floor, which speaks of divine judgment. To thresh is also to shake. The story shows how the temple site was purchased at the end of the judgment upon Israel in the time of King David. In other words, there was a positive outcome to this great shaking, and this was depicted in the threshing floor itself.
The 45th time that Abram’s name is mentioned is in Genesis 16:2,
2 So Sarai said to Abram, “No behold, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children…”
The connection with the number 45 is somewhat obscure, yet it lays the foundations of the shaking process that would ultimately distinguish between the children of promise from the children of the flesh. Hagar (the Old Covenant) had to be given the first opportunity to succeed by the power of the flesh and by the will of man.
Then when Abram’s name was changed to Abraham, the promise was clarified to Sarai, and her name was changed to Sarah. She then represented the New Covenant, as Paul tells us, making her the mother of the children of promise.
The 45th time that Abraham’s name appears is in Genesis 21:22,
22 Now it came about at that time that Abimelech and Phicol, the commander of his army, spoke to Abraham, saying, “God is with you in all that you do.”
This Philistine king (representing the fleshly people) recognized God’s presence in Abraham and prophesied, saying, “God is with you.” He then made a covenant with Abraham as well (Genesis 21:27)—a foreigner joining himself to the Lord and holding fast God’s Covenant (Isaiah 56:6). This established the principle found in the law that allowed foreigners (or “aliens”) to keep the feast of Pentecost (Deuteronomy 16:10, 11), thereby receiving the promise of the Holy Spirit. Incidentally, this incident with Abimelech came immediately after Hagar and Ishmael had been sent out of Abraham’s house in order to establish Isaac as the child of promise. (See Genesis 21:9-21.) God then immediately uses a Philistine king to show all children of the flesh the manner in which they too may become Covenant People.
Interestingly enough, the 45th time that Isaac’s name appears in Scripture again involves Abimelech after he discovered that his servants had been stealing the wells and claiming the water rights. We read in Genesis 26:26-29,
26 Then Abimelech came to him from Gerar with his adviser Ahuzzath and Phicol the commander of his army. 27 Isaac said to them, “Why have you come to me, since you hate me and have sent me away from you?” 28 They said, “We see plainly that the Lord has been with you, so we said, ‘Let there now be an oath between us, even between you and us, and let us make a covenant with you, 29 that you will do us no harm… You are now the blessed of the Lord.”
There is a clear connection between the 45th time Abraham’s name appears and the 45th time that Isaac’s name appears. Recall that the number 41 involved “contention,” but by the time we reach number 45, it is clear that the children of promise are recognized as “the blessed of the Lord,” and that the children of the flesh want to join themselves to the New Covenant.
The background to all of this is that God blows His breath upon the waters to shake the nations in order to cause the flesh to submit to the spirit. This is the positive outcome of the shaking.
The name Israel appears for the 45th time in Exodus 1:7 and covers the passage to verse 12, where the name Israel appears for the 46th time. This passage shows how Israel was blessed by God to the point where the Egyptians began to “afflict them with hard labor” (Exodus 1:11). This was the start of a new story depicting the same basic theme. The flesh tries to assert authority over the spirit, the children of the flesh lay claim to the authority of the birthright, and God uses this to shake the children of promise in order to eliminate fear and replace it with faith.
Ultimately, the Egyptians had to admit that the Israelites were “the blessed of the Lord,” although this came only after much judgment had occurred. So we read in Exodus 14:31,
31 When Israel saw the great power which the Lord had used against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in His servant Moses.
The 45th time that Joseph’s name is mentioned is in Genesis 41:25, where he was about to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams. Joseph had been tested in the dungeon for many years, where God purified his faith and made him worthy of the calling to rule Egypt and the world.
25 Now Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Pharaoh’s dreams are one and the same; God has told Pharaoh what He is about to do.”
Joseph told him that God was about to shake the earth with a famine. Joseph was a type of Christ in this story; Pharaoh was a type of Father-God. Hence, God put all things under the feet of Christ, even as Pharaoh put all things under the authority of Joseph in Genesis 41:43.
The 45th time Pharaoh is mentioned is in Genesis 41:39, where he affirms the worthiness of Joseph.
39 Then Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this in whom is a divine spirit?”
This is similar to the testimony of Abimelech, who saw that God was with Abraham and had blessed Isaac. When God breathes upon anyone, even unbelievers see the evidence of God’s presence and blessing.
The 45th time David’s name appears is in 1 Samuel 18:1. David had just killed Goliath, and Saul took him into his house. David was probably unaware that he was to be tried in the fire until he finally had to leave Saul’s house. This was David’s great shaking experience.
Caleb was one of the two overcomers in his day. He was 40 when he helped spy out the land from Kadesh-barnea (Joshua 14:7). He was 80 when he crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land. After five years of war with the Canaanites, he was 85 years old when he asked for an inheritance in Joshua 14:10,
10 Now behold, the Lord has let me live, just as He spoke, these forty-five years from the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses [in Numbers 14:24, 30], when Israel walked in the wilderness; and now behold, I am eighty-five years old today.
Caleb was given an inheritance in Hebron after 45 years’ delay. The name Hebron is related to Heber, “Hebrew,” and speaks prophetically of the true Hebrews. A true Hebrew is an immigrant from the Old Covenant to the New. In similar fashion, a true Jew (Judahite) is one who praises God through heart circumcision (Romans 2:29). A true Israelite is one who is no longer a Jacobite (deceiver) but is like Nathanael, “an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit” (John 1:47).
Caleb himself was pictured prophetically as a true Hebrew from Hebron, and he received this inheritance after five years of warfare (shaking). He had to overcome the great giant named Arba who had been living there (Joshua 14:15). Hence, Kiriath-arba was renamed Hebron and became memorable as the site of David’s first coronation over the tribe of Judah (2 Samuel 5:3).
Caleb’s inheritance in the Promised Land was a type and shadow of the greater inheritance under the New Covenant, described in Ephesians 1:13, 14,
13 …. Having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge [arrabon] of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.
We see, then, that the Holy Spirit—the breath of God—is “a pledge of our inheritance.” Caleb’s land inheritance was a prophetic type of the greater inheritance. Hebron can be seen as a pledge of this greater inheritance, and that is why it is connected to the water (mem) and wind (hey), which comprises the number 45.