June 11th – The Spirit in the Beginning

Genesis 1:1-2



Adopted and Adapted from Don Stewart:

How did the Holy Spirit Work during the Old Testament Period

? And Chuck Smith:

The Holy Spirit: Restrainer of Evil


There are those who believe the Holy Spirit did not work in the same manner during the Old Testament age as He does today. Although it has been the same Holy Spirit all along, His methods have changed from age to age. They contend that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament was not universal to every believer, but was available only to certain believers.

There are no direct statements in the Old Testament about the relationship of the Holy Spirit to the believer.

Thus it is difficult to arrive at any conclusion about the work of the Holy Spirit during the Old Testament period.

I. Different ‘Indwelling’ than That of NT

There is no promise in the Old Testament to the believer that he will be indwelt with the Holy Spirit.

And the Lord said to Moses:

“Take Joshua the son of Nun with you, a man in whom 



the Spirit, lay your hand on him”


Numbers 27:18


This verse seems to indicate that the Holy Spirit is not to be found in everyone. By stating that the Holy Spirit is in Joshua, it infers He is not universally given.

The Spirit is said to have come upon other individuals

, such as Othniel: “The Spirit of the Lord came upon him and he judged Israel.” (

Judges 3:10


The reason this view-that only certain individuals were indwelt with the Holy Spirit – is held is based upon an understanding of a statement made by Jesus:


 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” (

John 14:17




This verse is interpreted to mean that the Holy Spirit was only with believers during Old Testament times but now dwells within each believer in the New Testament age


Not only was the Spirit limited to certain individuals; the extent of the indwelling was limited.

He could leave an individual after He had indwelt them. The life of Saul serves as an example:

When they came to there to the hill, there was a group of prophets to meet him; then the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them (

1 Samuel 10:10


But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, a distressing Spirit from the Lord troubled him (

1 Samuel 16:14


Yet there is a another way to understand this difficult passage and the Old Testament references to the Holy Spirit. It is possible that the references to the Holy Spirit being upon Joshua and others refer to a “special anointing” and not the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

The Old Testament records the Holy Spirit giving special ability to certain individuals:

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all 


 of workmanship” (

Exodus 31:1-3



The Second of  Two Major divisions I will deal with as it relates to the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament has to do with His work as a restraining Force.

The Holy Spirits ministry to the world has existed from the beginning of time as a restraining influence. This is as true today as it was during the Old Testament period. The Holy Spirits influence kept sin from running entirely rampant.


– verb (used with object)

1.to hold back from action; keep in check or under control; repress:

to restrain one’s temper.

2.to deprive of liberty, as by arrest or the like.

3.to limit or hamper the activity, growth, or effect of:

2 Thessalonians 2:


“And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time.”



: What is keeping the devil or evil to completely destroy everything everywhere at all times in all places? The Holy Spirit!

But how, then, will he “be taken out of the way” (v. 7) when the church leaves the earth in the Rapture?

He will not be removed in a complete sense but in His unique ministry of restraining lawlessness through God’s people (see a parallel in 

Gen. 6:3


He will leave in the distinctive sense in which He came at Pentecost. Just as He was active in saving people before Acts 2, so He will be active during the Day of the Lord (see, for example, 

Rev. 7

). But He will cease His restraining ministry through the church, since it will no longer exist on earth due to its having been raptured earlier.

The removal of the restrainer at the Rapture of the church must therefore precede the Day of the Lord—a truth confirmed by many other passages in the New Testament (e.g., 

John 14:1-3

1 Thes. 5:9

Rev. 3:10


In the context of 2 Thessalonians 2, the readers should have known that they were not in the Tribulation period because the Rapture had not yet occurred.

We may conclude that the Old Testament teaches the following regarding the Holy Spirit:


 The Bible does not give a comprehensive picture about the work of the Holy Spirit during the Old Testament period.


 Some people believe the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit could leave those whom He did indwell.


 It seems more plausible that the leaving of the Holy Spirits was the leaving of the Spirits anointing rather than His indwelling.


 During the Old Testament period the Holy Spirit gave some believers special skills to perform certain tasks.


 With regard to the unbelieving world, the Holy Spirit acted as a restraining influence.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.



Introduction: Week Two. Preparation. Question: Have you ever wondered what Mary / the Virgin Mary did in preparation for what the angel pronounced to her about being with a child? Luke 1:3, ‘You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus’. (NLT) I will get to Mary and that…



Introduction: Well, the Christmas season is here! When fall has given way to winter and snow covers the ground while lights twinkle from house to house, you know Christmas is coming. Decorated Christmas trees are everywhere you look. Presents a crowd for space under the tree and families come together for a turkey feast. Christmas…


Grateful For Missions

Introduction: Missions, Missionaries, The Great Commission, Missions Trips, Outreaches, etc. Missions Heroes William Carey William Carey is regarded as the “father of modern missions”. Trained as a shoemaker, William Carey became known as the ‘father of modern missions’ for his missionary work in India. The story goes that in 1787, he suggested that all Christians…


That All Might Hear

Introduction: Missions, Missionaries, The Great Commission, Missions Trips, Outreaches, etc. ‘A Christian missionary is someone who dedicates their life to spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ and serving others in His name. It is a challenging and rewarding path, but one that can transform lives, both the missionary and those they serve. ‘Missionaries are individuals…


A Person

Matthew 1 Introduction: Week 3 – Biblical Israel – The Person. We have finally arrived at the story of Jesus, which will bring the entire biblical story to a climactic fulfillment. The arrival of Jesus will introduce a massive twist into the drama, but it’s one that we’ve seen coming. In fact, to track the…


Biblical Israel – A Promise

Introduction: Genesis 12:1-3 ‘Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will…

Israel - A People - Part 1

Biblical Israel

A People Introduction: Given all the news about the War in Israel, I decided it would be important to spend a few weeks sharing what the Bible has to say about Israel: The People, The Promise, The Person, and The Plan. It could very well be that not only do our children not have an…


Pleasing Faith

Hebrews 6 taken from – https://www.gotquestions.org/faith-vs-belief.html Introduction: On one hand, there is no difference between faith and belief. The two terms are often used interchangeably. On the other hand, in popular English usage, the word faith often has a deeper meaning.  Application: Most people believe it is important to eat healthy foods and exercise regularly; however, most…

Getting Ready (1)

Keeping it Lit

Introduction: On last week on what we’ve been discussing about preaching the gospel because the last days are getting nearer and then judgment. Transition: Matthew 25 is a continuation of chapter 24 as Jesus continues to teach about being aware and prepared. I ended last week on Matthew 24:14 The rest of chapter 24 looks…