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Isaiah 48:16

Draw near to me, hear this: from the beginning I have not spoken in secret, from the time it came to be I have been there." And now the Lord GOD has sent me, and his Spirit. This is an example of the prophet of God interrupting God. Gods first person speech is often interrupted by different things. Keil and Delitzsch write: it is perfectly true, that in all prophecy, from Deuteronomy onwards, words of Jehovah through the prophet and words of the prophet of Jehovah alternate in constant, and often harsh transitions. 1 In Isaiah 48, up until verse 16, God had been speaking. Now in verse 16 the prophet interrupts God (cp. Jer. 31:26; Zech. 2:12; 4:9). Calvin writes: Isaiah now begins to speak of himself, and applies this statement to the preceding doctrine, and testifies that that God, who hath spoken from the beginning, now speaketh by him.2 We believe Calvin is correct when he says it is the prophet who interrupts God, although there are other interpreters who assume it is an unknown divine being, such as the angel that speaks in Zechariah. The prophet of God does not come on his own authority, or in his own power, but is sent by God. The phrase and His spirit lets us know that the active power of God, the spirit is with the prophet. Although Trinitarians assert that Spirit refers to the Third Person of the Trinity, that is an assumption. Spirit is used for the power of God in operation. 3 Gods people were often specifically said to be empowered by Gods gift of holy spirit (Ex. 31:3; Nu. 11:17; 1 Sam. 10:6; Isa. 42:1; Zech. 4:6), and when Gods power departed from them, it was often specifically stated the spirit left (1 Sam. 16:14; cp. Ps. 51:11). Hugo Grotius (1583-1645) rendered the phrase, The Lord, by his Spirit, has given me these commands. 4 If one

C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament (Hendrickson Pullishers, Peabody, MA, reprinted 2006), Vol. 7, p. 465.

John Calvin, Commentary on the Prophet Isaiah (Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI, reprinted 2005), Calvins Commentaries, Vol.. 8, p. 483. Although Calvin recognized that Isaiah was the one speaking, he was very Trinitarian, and explained the spirit as being God, an unnecessary assumption.

Graeser, Lynn, Schoenheit, The Gift of Holy Spirit: The Power to be Like Christ (Spirit & Truth Fellowship International, Martinsville, IN, 2006).

Albert Barnes, Barnes Notes: Isaiah (Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI, reprinted 2005 from the 1847 edition), p. 192.

understood spirit to be the power of God, that could be a very accurate understanding. However, in quoting Grotius, Barnes himself notes that the meaning is probably to be regarded as meaning that he had been sent by Jehovah and was accompanied with the influences of his Spirit, which is probably correct. Barnes goes on to say, Many of the reformers, and other since their time, have supposed that this refer to the Messiah, and have endeavoured to derive a demonstration from this verse on the doctrine of the Trinity. But the evidence that this refers to the Messiah is too slight to lay the foundation for such an argument; and nothing is to be gained to the cause of truth by such forced interpretations. 5 Albert Barnes was a Trinitarian, and had he seen the Trinity in Isaiah 48:16 he would have said so. Reading this verse in its context reveals that the prophet interrupting God, (which is really God reminding the reader that the prophet is His message), occurs elsewhere in the Bible. Furthermore, the Bible often reveals that men of God have the spirit of God. Thus there is no reason to say that Isaiah 48:16 proves the Trinity. It could just as easily prove that there is a God, He sends messengers, and He sometimes sends them with His power upon them.

Albert Barnes, Barnes Notes: Isaiah. Ibid., p. 192.