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]