The Holy Spirit: Summary of the Old Testament

A surprisingly large portion of the New Testament’s teaching on the Spirit is found in the Old Testament. The New Testament provides some fresh revelations, but not nearly as many as I’d once thought. We learn from the Old Testament, for example —

1. That sometimes, but not always, when the Spirit is received, it produces spontaneous “prophecy” that’s so unlike ordinary speech the presence of the Spirit is obvious.

2. The Spirit gives gifts, but the gifts differ depending on the needs of God’s mission — and can include anything from being being a tailor, to an artist, to a judge, to a prophet, or to even a king.

3. The Spirit can be lost by rebellion against God’s will (as in the case of Saul).

4. The Spirit inspires the playing of instruments and the composition of songs.

5. The Spirit can lead without the need for God’s written word as the exclusive means of leading.

6. Men and women both receive the Spirit, but before the coming of the Messiah, it was nearly always men.

7. No one had to pray, wait, or beg for the Spirit or the Spirit’s gifts. Rather, the Spirit gives gifts depending on the needs of God’s mission, not the desires of the recipient.

8. The Spirit could empower people to do spectacular miracles, but many with the Spirit never did a miracle.

9. The outpouring of the Spirit on all God’s people would be a sign of the coming of the Messianic age, and the promise would continue for successive generations.

10. Although the Law required both obedience and a submissive heart, God required the people to submit and change their hearts by themselves. Under the new covenant, God himself would change the hearts of his people through the Spirit — and this would lead to forgiveness of their sins.

Oh, and one more thing —

(Gen 1:26-27 NAS)  26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

The word translated “rule” is radah, and it’s the word used for the rule of king or of a nation over another.

(Exo 19:5-6 ESV)  5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine;  6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”

(1Pe 2:9 ESV) 9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

(Rev 1:4-6 ESV)  4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne,  5 and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood  6 and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

(Isa 61:5-6 ESV)  5 Strangers shall stand and tend your flocks; foreigners shall be your plowmen and vinedressers;  6 but you shall be called the priests of the LORD; they shall speak of you as the ministers of our God; you shall eat the wealth of the nations, and in their glory you shall boast.

(Eph 2:4-7 ESV)  4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,  5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved–  6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,  7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

(1Co 6:2-3 ESV)  2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases?  3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!

(Dan 7:21-22 ESV)  21 As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them,  22 until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom.

(Psa 8:3-9 ESV) 3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,  4 what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?  5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.  6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet,  7 all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,  8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.  9 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

(Rev 22:3-5 ESV)  3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.  4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.  5 And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

(Rev 3:21 ESV) 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.

(Rev 5:9-10 ESV)  And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,  10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”

(Rev 20:4-6 ESV) 4 Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.  5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection.  6 Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

(Rom 5:17 ESV)  17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

(2Ti 2:11-13 ESV)  11 The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him;  12 if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us;  13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful– for he cannot deny himself.

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About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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8 Responses to The Holy Spirit: Summary of the Old Testament

  1. John says:

    I believe that I see, from your well presented study and examples, what I have believed for a long while, that the Holy Spirit IS God, IS the working of God, according to, and within, all human need. When we understand this the Holy Spirit ceases to be the mysterious one on the left side of the Father's throne with no face and no name.
    This means that our conception of the work of the Spirit has to progress beyond that of dictation of scripture and directing the Sunday worship service; even healing. The Spirit of God is the existence, life and mover of all Human experience.

  2. Tina says:

    So what are the anti-instrumentalists going to say about the Spirit inspiring the composition of music? I'd LOVE to hear their argument!!!

  3. David Himes says:

    The more I read and study the Spirit, the more convinced I am that we should not separate the Spirit from God.

    The truth of God is really far beyond our comprehension. So, my assumption is that descriptions of the Spirit are designed to help me understand a little, not to be comprehensive or complete.

  4. Jim Haugland says:

    Right on!…Jim

  5. jerry Pinciati says:

    "No one had to pray, wait, or beg for the Spirit or the Spirit’s gifts. Rather, the Spirit gives gifts depending on the needs of God’s mission, not the desires of the recipient."

    How does this fit with Luke 11:13? "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"

  6. laymond says:

    David said "The more I read and study the Spirit, the more convinced I am that we should not separate the Spirit from God."

    David I agree completely with your thinking. but let's look at why some if not most prefer to separate "The Spirit" from " God" In my opinion the misunderstanding of the promise made by Jesus in John, about the comforter have people confused.

    Jhn 14:26 But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

    When we say this promise is to all believers, through eternity, we have to separate the gift from the giver, or we say we all have God as our gift. Which naturally makes us more important than God. We own him. Although most Christians believe that promise will not be fulfilled until believers cease to be baptized, It has been fulfilled in it's entirety.

    The beginning of the filling of that promise came here.

    Jhn 20:22 And when he had said this, he breathed on [them], and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:

    The part of the promise, that was not filled at John 20:22

    Jhn 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

    The rest of the promise was fully filled here.
    Rev 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified [it] by his angel unto his servant John:

    No we have not been denied the promise made the apostles by Jesus, If has come to fruition.

  7. laymond says:

    And all I get is silence?

    Jhn 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

    What here, did Revelation, not reveal

  8. Jay Guin says:


    Jesus was referring to the promised outpouring of the Spirit on all his people, prophesied in several passages. It was not uncommon for the Jews of the day to pray for God to send his Spirit as promised. They were praying for the coming of the Messianic Age, to be marked by the Spirit, not for an individual gifting that others of God's children might not receive.

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