I think in many ways we take the New Covenant for granted. Before Jesus came, the Jews were required to have high priests offer sacrifices day after day for their sins. Jesus was the ultimate and perfect high priest, who sacrificed once for all. We don’t have to keep sacrificing over and over again for something Jesus already paid for. Today, we get 24/7 access to God’s presence through the Holy Spirit, yet under the old covenant, God’s dwelling place was primarily reduced to a temple. Throughout the Old Testament, The Holy Spirit appears to have been given selectively and temporarily to indwell certain individuals for special ministries. Today, His ministry and presence are available to every single believer.
In Genesis, Joseph was able to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams so accurately, that even Pharaoh knew he could only do so by “the Spirit of God.”
Genesis 41:38-39 And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?” Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are.”
In Exodus, God pours out His Spirit on Bezalel, giving him inspiration, wisdom, and even creative skills to work on the tabernacle.
Exodus 31:1-3 Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills…”
In the Old Testament, God chose a selective group of people known as prophets who experienced a special outpouring of God’s Spirit. Yet in Joel, we read the promise of the Spirit under the new covenant, Joel 2:28-29 “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.”
Anyway, my heart behind this is not to unpack the theology of The Spirit in the Old Covenant vs. the New, because I’m not entirely sure how it worked if I’m being completely honest. My heart behind this is to point to the miracles, the prophecy, the inspiration, and the special skills received from The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, in order to emphasize how much more we can walk in the ministry of the Spirit under the New Covenant.
John Piper states, “If these saints experienced privileges and powers in the Holy Spirit before the dam was opened [referring to Pentecost], how much more should we in these billion kilowatt days experience these things or more. A survey of Old Testament spiritual experience is needed to wake us up to our privileges in these last days that were inaugurated at Pentecost. The church today is so sleepy that some of us have even fallen behind the Old Testament saints in our appropriation of what the Spirit has to give.”
Let’s awaken our hearts to the Spirit and hunger to see His presence manifest in our lives and the world around us.
Author | Olivia Beals
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