The HOLY SPIRIT, as well as the Father and the Son, acted since the beginning for the salvation of humanity. In this study we will see how the HOLY SPIRIT worked in the Old Testament and when He began to act. We will notice in what way His works were different than in the New Testament.
1. Participated in the creation of the world.
Genesis 1:1-2 - "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters."
Psalm 104:30 - "When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth."
2. In the time of patriarchs.
Genesis 6:3 - "Then the LORD said, "My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years."
Genesis 41:38 - "So Pharaoh asked them, "Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?"
3. In the leaders of the nation of Israel.
Numbers 11:16-30 - "The LORD said to Moses: 'Bring me seventy of Israel's elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the Tent of Meeting, that they may stand there with you. I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit that is on you and put the Spirit on them. They will help you carry the burden of the people so that you will not have to carry it alone. … So Moses went out and told the people what the LORD had said. He brought together seventy of their elders and had them stand around the Tent. Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took of the Spirit that was on him and put the Spirit on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied, but they did not do so again. However, two men, whose names were Eldad and Medad, had remained in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but did not go out to the Tent. Yet the Spirit also rested on them, and they prophesied in the camp. A young man ran and told Moses, 'Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp'. Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses' aide since youth, spoke up and said, 'Moses, my lord, stop them!' But Moses replied, 'Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the LORD's people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!' Then Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp."
Numbers 27:18 - "So the LORD said to Moses, "Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay your hand on him."
4. He granted the artistic and technical skills to construct the temple.
Exodus 31:1-5 - "Then the LORD said to Moses, "See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts - to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship."
5. He gave the ability and special strength to lead.
Judges 3:10 - "The Spirit of the LORD came upon him, so that he became Israel's judge and went to war. The LORD gave Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram into the hands of Othniel, who overpowered him."
Judges 6:34 - "Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet, summoning the Abiezrites to follow him."
Judges 11:29 - "Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites."
Judges 13:25 - "The Spirit of the LORD began to stir him while he was in Mahaneh Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol."
Judges 14:6 - "The Spirit of the LORD came upon him in power so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat. But he told neither his father nor his mother what he had done."
Judges 14:19-20 - "Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon him in power. He went down to Ashkelon, struck down thirty of their men, stripped them of their belongings and gave their clothes to those who had explained the riddle. Burning with anger, he went up to his father's house."
Judges 15:14 - "As he approached Lehi, the Philistines came toward him shouting. The Spirit of the LORD came upon him in power. The ropes on his arms became like charred flax, and the bindings dropped from his hands."
6. He assisted the first kings of Israel in their task of guiding the people of God.
1 Samuel 10:6 - "The Spirit of the LORD will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person."
1 Samuel 16:13-14 - "So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power. Samuel then went to Ramah. Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him."
2 Samuel 23:2 - "He Spirit of the LORD spoke through me; his word was on my tongue."
7. He gave the ability to prophecy
Numbers 24:2 - "When Balaam looked out and saw Israel encamped tribe by tribe, the Spirit of God came upon him."
Numbers 11:25 - "Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took of the Spirit that was on him and put the Spirit on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied, but they did not do so again."
Nehemiah 9:30 - "For many years you were patient with them. By your Spirit you admonished them through your prophets. Yet they paid no attention, so you handed them over to the neighboring peoples."
2 Samuel 23:2 - "The Spirit of the LORD spoke through me; his word was on my tongue."
Isaiah 48:16 - "Come near me and listen to this 'From the first announcement I have not spoken in secret; at the time it happens, I am there.' And now the Sovereign LORD has sent me, with his Spirit."
Micah 3:8 - "But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression, to Israel his sin."
Ezekiel 2:2 - "As he spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet, and I heard him speaking to me."
2 Peter 1:21 - "For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."
The HOLY SPIRIT did not work directly in all the people in the Old Testament even though there was a promise that He would come to all one day. Nor did He always cause the person to be Holy. The "human vessels" used by God in the Old Testament were often very sinful and unclean as in the cases of Balaam and Samson. He was especially given to the prophets and others who would be vehicles of divine revelation. He also granted gifts to manage, practice arts and skills, to lead, to judge and even to use physical force.
In the Old Testament, there are at least 60 references to the person and work of the Spirit, each one indicating that, at that time, the Spirit came to do a specific work and left when His work was done. In the New Testament, we will see that His presence became permanent and constant.
1 Kings 18:12
1 Kings 22:24
2 Kings 2:16
1 Chronicles 12:18
1 Chronicles 18:24
1 Samuel 10:6
1 Samuel 16:13-14
2 Samuel 23:2
2 Peter 1:20-21
1. The Holy Spirit participated in the creation of the world.
2. In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit gave certain people.
Ability to prophecy
All the above
3. The Holy Spirit assisted Israel’s leaders in guiding the people.
4. The Holy Spirit gave people ability to foretell future events.
5. The Holy Spirit is involved in the lives of all the Children of Israel/God’s people.