The Holy Spirit in the New Testament before Pentecost
There is a human tendency to make an assumed error regarding spiritual things (like for
example one that we discussed in previous lessons on the Trinity: the notion that singularity
and plurality are mutually exclusive). Another one is the notion of uniformity,
commonly referred to as uniformitarianism. It says that everything throughout history
has always progressed in the same way and at the same rate, based on conditions
we are able to observe today during our
lifetime. But God is sovereign and can step into history any time he chooses to do so. Here are
a few of the events where the Holy Spirit filled individuals in the New Testament, before Pentecost.
Although God Himself is unchanging, his administration of man is not uniform. He may
choose to deal with man in a certain way for a period of time (called a dispensation),
but sometimes changes the rules.
It's something like modern-day sports. The rules change from time to time.
- Matthew 1:18 - "This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother
Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with
child through the Holy Spirit."
- Luke 1:67 - [at the naming of infant John the Baptist, just as his father's tongue was
loosed from the angel-imposed muteness]: "His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit
and prophesied: 'Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed
his people...'" [the beginning of a thirteen-verse praise song by Zechariah].
- Luke 1:41 - [when Mary visited cousin Elizabeth to tell her about the angel's
announcement]: "When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit."
- Luke 2:25-31 - "Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous
and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the
Lord's Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in
the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the law required, Simeon took him in his arms
and praised God, saying: 'Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace.
For My eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people...'"
So the Holy Spirit was God's "TDY Person" on temporary duty assignments for special times and
special events. In the Old Testament, it was selective indwelling. The whole tribe of
the Jews didn't get the Holy Spirit. Nor did a class of people. Just individuals, and
temporarily. Then the Holy Spirit was removed from them.
- The Jewish Dispensation - (The Old Covenant, or Testament): God placed
his people under a system he wanted man to abide by. He established priests to whom man
was to go in order to communicate with God. There were hundreds of rituals to follow.
- The Church Dispensation - At Jesus' baptism, God changed the rules.
- The Ritual Law is totally replaced.
- Hebrews 10:1 - "The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming -- not
the realities themselves."
- Hebrews 10:9 - "...he sets aside the first to establish the second".
(The old rules were made to get you to understand the New Testament fulfillments).
- Hebrews 8:13 - "By calling this covenant new, he has made the first one
- Romans 7:6 - "And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would
no longer be grace".
- Romans 3:21 - "But now a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made
known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through
faith in Jesus Christ."
- Matthew 22:36-40 - "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied:
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This
is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
- The Return of the Jewish Dispensation - [Larry]: "I believe that there will
also be an end to the Church Dispensation, at the Rapture. At that time, the Jewish Dispensation will
return, with the rebuilding of the Temple and the resuming of the sacrifices."
The "end of the Old Testament" is defined in Luke 16:16 where Jesus says, "The Law
and the Prophets were proclaimed until John [the Baptist]. Since that time, the good news of
the kingdom of God is being preached..." And with approximately a three-year overlap, this
change is fulfilled and confirmed at the Resurrection.
So what are the new rules?
Next week: - How do the events of Pentecost tie to the Church Dispensation?
How does the Holy Spirit behave after Pentecost?
- No priests -
1 Peter 2:9 - "But you are a chosen people,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him
who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light."
Revelation 1:5-6 - "...To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,
and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father -- to him be glory and
power for ever and ever! Amen."
- The Holy Spirit applies to a designated class of people. -
1 Corinthians 12:13 - "For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body --
whether Jews or
Greeks, slave or free -- and we were all given the one Spirit to drink."
1 John 3:24 - "...And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit
he gives us."
- We now have a full-time Holy Spirit. (No longer a TDY Holy Spirit) -
Romans 5:5 - "And hope does not
disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom he
has given us."
John 14:16 - "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with
you forever -- the Spirit of truth."
- Now, only one test: (What is your relationship to Jesus?) -
John 14:6 - Jesus answered, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father
except through me."
Acts 4:12 - "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under
heaven given to men by which we must be saved."
Ephesians 1:13 - "...Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal,
the promised Holy Spirit..."
See you then.