The Holy Spirit: An Apostolic Perspective on Pneumatology, Lesson 12

Lesson 12: A Summary of the Identity and Work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, February 24, 2019 | The Sanctuary UPC

Daniel L. Segraves

An examination of every reference to the Spirit in the Hebrew Scriptures clearly reveals the identity of the Spirit and the nature of His work. The Spirit is the Lord God in action, doing something. He enables people to foresee, to interpret, to lead, to judge. He gives them skills to do what they could not otherwise do.

[2]The various terms used to describe the Spirit – His Spirit, the Spirit of Wisdom, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of the Lord, Your Spirit, Holy Spirit, My Spirit – are used as virtual synonyms. No distinction in identity or activity is seen in the use of these descriptors.

[3]When the Spirit comes upon someone, it is not unusual for it to result in supernatural vocalization. The coming of the Spirit is commonly accompanied by prophetic words. This is apparently an anticipation of the work of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament church, where, on Pentecost, all the gathered believers were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in languages they had never learned. This demonstrates that the work of the Spirit in the era of the New Covenant was like, but above and beyond any previous work of the Spirit in the lives of people.

[4]Several Old Testament texts about the Spirit were quoted by Jesus as finding their fulfillment in Him. The Spirit brings prophecy to fulfillment and empowers the Messiah.

[5]The Spirit can be grieved and rebelled against. But at the same time, the Spirit continues to speak to those in rebellion, seeking to bring them to a place of restoration and obedience. He is not merely an impersonal force.

Brief Insights about the Holy Spirit

  1. The work of the Spirit with or by means of someone is not a reward for theological accuracy or godly character.
  2. The Spirit can transport a person from one location to another as well as providing visionary transport.
  3. The Spirit can symbolize divine judgment, destroying those who reject Him and providing defense for His people.
  4. The presence of the Lord refers to the Spirit.
  5. Joel’s prophecy of the coming outpouring of the Spirit, fulfilled at Pentecost, was the answer to Moses’s prayer.
  6. Messages, or prophecies, with their origins in the Spirit build up and encourage people of faith, resulting in new commitments to holiness, worship, and covenant keeping.
  7. The Spirit inspired the writing of the Old Testament Scriptures.
  8. The wisdom present with God at creation was what is elsewhere known as the Spirit of wisdom.
  9. The Spirit creates and renews, restores joy, and enables those restored to teach others.

The work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament anticipates and provides a template for the work of the Spirit in the New Testament. There is no reason to think the Holy Spirit no longer does in the era of the New Testament what He did before this time. But it will be seen in the New Testament Scriptures that the work of the Spirit under the New Covenant surpasses what the Spirit did in the prior age.[archive]


The Messiah in the Psalms and Second Peter and Jude now available as ebook downloads from Amazon, iBook and PPH

I am glad to report that my books The Messiah in the Psalms: Discovering Christ in Unexpected Places and Second Peter and Jude are now available as ebooks. Here is a brief description of these books:

The Messiah in the Psalms (382 pages)

Shortly before His ascension, Jesus explained the messianic content of the Psalms to His disciples. This opened their understanding, enabling them to comprehend the Scriptures. By implication, this means that if we are not aware of the way the Psalter testifies of the Messiah, our understanding of the Scriptures, and even of Jesus, is incomplete.

The Book of Psalms is quoted, alluded to, or paraphrased over two hundred times in the New Testament. In the first Pentecostal declaration of the gospel, Peter quoted from the Psalms to point out that Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection were foretold by David. Peter’s message on the Day of Pentecost consists of twenty-six verses, twelve of which are direct quotations from the Book of Psalms or explanations of those quotations.

This book explores the messianic content of the first seventy-two psalms, which comprise books one and two within the Psalter. It explains the vital role of the first two psalms as an introduction to the entire book, the important function of the superscriptions, and the significance of the psalms Jesus included in His prayers.

The Messiah in the Psalms will open your eyes to the Christology of the Book of Psalms, a Christology so thorough that it foretells the Messiah’s birth, life, sufferings, resurrection, ascension, and Second Coming. In addition, the Psalter anticipates Christ’s ascension gifts to the church and His continuing presence in the worshiping community.

Second Peter and Jude (258 pages)

This verse by verse commentary examines the shared concern of Peter and Jude about the infiltration of the church by false teachers.  The attitude of these false teachers is quite similar to the freewheeling immorality or amorality of our day.  It is popularly thought that morality is what one makes it and that each person is his own authority.  A bumper sticker that encouraged people to “Question Authority” seemed radical in the 1960s, but now this philosophy is a way of life for many.

Just as was the case with the false teachers exposed by Peter and Jude, those today who promote a permissive, hedonistic lifestyle labor under the illusion that they are rejecting bondage for liberty.  In reality, they reject liberty for enslaving, addictive habits that viciously control their lives.

As society becomes increasingly characterized by enslavement to lust – whether it is expressed in sexual immorality, drug abuse, alcoholism, violence, greed, or any other addictive behavior – believers will stand in starker contrast.  Those whose faith is in Christ Jesus have “escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

Because the same errors promoted by false teachers in the first century are common today, Second Peter and Jude are particularly relevant for the church of the twenty-first century.

In addition to the Kindle download available at and the iBook version, these books can be purchased at[archive]