The question was asked, “Was the Holy Spirit with the people in the Old Testament?
“Yes,” the Holy Spirit was indeed present with the people in the days of the Old Testament, empowering individuals such as Bezalel (Ex. 31:1-3) and Othniel (Judges 3:10), Jephthah (Judges 11:29), on Saul and his messengers (1 Sam. 19:20), and others.
A central role of the Spirit’s work is to cause a man to declare Jesus as LORD, making him a true child of God, a clear reference to the salvation of an individual (Rom. 8:16). Since we know there is only one way to the Father (Jn. 14:6), this means all persons counted as saved in the TaNaKH (OT) must also have been empowered by the Holy Spirit to have faith in the coming Messiah—even without knowing his name! Later Apostolic Writings teach us plainly that regeneration of a man cannot take place without the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit). Read and observe the language of the passage from Paul in 1 Cor. 12:1-3.
Despite all this, his ministry was slightly different back then than that of today because of his unique role in what happened after Acts chapter two. Perhaps it is best to think of his ministry in the TaNaKH as “less expansive” then as compared to today. “Less expansive” is not to be equated with “non-existent.” In a very real way, the presence and primary ministry of the Ruach HaKodesh as we know him today, would always have to wait until the birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Yeshua (Jesus). This is because he was specifically sent to testify of Yeshua after Yeshua left this earth (Jn. 14:25, 26).
By the way, did you know that the Hebrew word for Spirit is “ruach,” which can also be translated variously as “breath,” or “wind”? When Messianic Jews such as myself refer to the Holy Spirit, quite often we use the term “Ruach HaKodesh.” Since the Hebrew word “kodesh” is a noun, a verse like Ps. 51:11 where the phrase “Ruach HaKodesh” is found literally conveys the sense of “the Spirit of Holiness.” But “Holy Spirit” (with “holy” functioning as an adjective) works just fine as well.
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