DOCTRINE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT – PART 4 – The Spirit in the OT
”And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.” Joel 2:28-29
The Hebrew word for Spirit is “ruah” a word sometimes translated as “wind” and “breath”. Thus, an OT reference to the breath of life from God or wind from God can also refer to the Spirit’s work. The Bible describes various activities of the Spirit during the OT times. The Spirit had an active role in creation, Gen 1:2.
The Spirit is also the author of life, Gen 2:7. The Spirit was also active in communicating God’s message to His people, “You also gave Your good Spirit to instruct them, And did not withhold Your manna from their mouth, And gave them water for their thirst.” Nehemiah 9:20 When the psalmists sang their songs, they did so by the Spirit.
The prophets were inspired by God’s Spirit to declare His Word to the people. According to Ezekiel, one clue to detecting false prophets is that they follow their own spirit rather than the Spirit of God, ““Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who prophesy, and say to those who prophesy out of their own heart, ‘Hear the word of the LORD!’ ” Thus says the Lord GOD: “Woe to the foolish prophets, who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing!”Ezekiel 13:2-3 NKJV
Note- it was also possible for God’s Spirit to come upon someone who was not in a right relationship with God in order to speak a true message regarding God’s people. (Balaam in Numbers 24) God wills and directs as He wants. The leadership of God’s people was energized by the Spirit of the Lord. Moses was one with God so much that he shared God’s feelings (Exo 33:11). When Moses chose 70 elders to help lead Israel, God took the Spirit that was upon Moses and put it on them (Num 11:16-17).
Similarly, when Joshua was commissioned to succeed Moses as leader, God indicated that the Spirit was in him. The same Spirit came upon Gideon, Othniel, Jephthah, Samson, (the judges) David, Saul, and Zerubbabel and the prophets. The greatest quality needed for leadership was the anointing and empowering presence of the Spirit of God. The Spirit also came upon individuals to equip them for special service.
Joseph was given the Spirit to function effectively in Pharaoh’s cabinet. Bezalel and Oholiab were filled with the Spirit in order to do the artistic work on the tabernacle. The idea of being filled with the Spirit in the OT is not the same as the baptism of the Spirit in the NT. In the OT, the Spirit was only given to a few select individuals chosen for special service to God. There was an awareness that the Spirit desired to lead a person, and ultimately the people, into righteous living. Those who failed in this, faced judgment, “The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above.” Numbers 14:29 NKJV
In OT times, the Spirit only came upon a few select people empowering them for leadership, service or prophecy. There was no general outpouring until the day of Pentecost. The OT looks forward to the coming age of the Spirit, the NT age. Prophets prophesied about the Spirit’s role in salvation and marveled that God would fill “all” men with the Holy Spirit, not just select individuals; but “all” of God’s people who called upon the name of the Lord, “Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, And the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, And the fruitful field is counted as a forest. Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, And righteousness remain in the fruitful field.
The work of righteousness will be peace, And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.” Isaiah 32:15-17 “For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, And floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, And My blessing on your offspring; They will spring up among the grass Like willows by the watercourses.’
One will say, ‘I am the LORD’s’; Another will call himself by the name of Jacob; Another will write with his hand, ‘The LORD’s,’ And name himself by the name of Israel.” Isaiah 44:3-5 “Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God.”
Ezekiel 11:19-20 God promised that when the life and power of the Spirit would come upon His people, they would be enabled to prophesy, speak in tongues, see visions, have prophetic dreams, live lives of obedience, holiness and righteousness, and witness to the world with great power. Why would God promise something to all His followers thousands of years ago, to cease that power after a few years? This does not make sense, nor does it line up with God’s Word and character. If the gifts of the Spirit have ceased, then that would make God a liar.
In hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began. Titus 1:2God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? Num 23:19So that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.
Hebrews 6:18The power and charismatic gifts are available to all who repent and turn to Him, calling upon the name of the Lord until He returns to set up His eternal kingdom. #runyourrace
To Learn More About Pastor Crystal please visit the Leadership Page