Anticipation of Pentecost in Numbers: Apostolic Pneumatology

Today I completed a study of the use of the descriptor “the Spirit” in the Pentateuch. I’ll share two insights with you.

First, it seems quite clear that Numbers 11:29 anticipates the Day of Pentecost. After the Spirit rested on the seventy elders, Moses said, “Oh, that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!” Joel 2:28-29 is God’s prophetic response to this prayer, and Joel’s prophecy was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-21).

Second, the work of the Spirit in Numbers 11 is the beginning of a pattern that emerges throughout the Old Testament and into the New Testament, leading up to the Day of Pentecost. When the Spirit rested upon the seventy elders, they prophesied. Although it is not always noted, it is not unusual from this point for those moved upon by the Spirit to respond with what I call “supernatural vocalization.” This pattern is finalized on the Day of Pentecost when all those baptized with the Holy Spirit spoke in languages they had never learned. This had never before occurred, and it indicates that the work of the Spirit that began on Pentecost is above and beyond anything previously experienced.