The Charismatic Spirit of God in the Old Testament

The Spirit of God is not regularly and consistently active throughout Israel's history, neither is it random. It falls into 5 clearly defined periods which correspond to critical phases in the political and religious development of the nation. These 5 periods are; the founding of the nation in the wilderness, The period of the Judges, The founding of the Monarchy, The time of Elijah and Elisha and The period of the Exile and Restoration.

The founding of the nation in the wilderness showed the Spirit of God working in certain ways. One of the first ways we see the Spirit being used, is in filling men and women to make the priestly garments. These garments had to be made in a certain manner. God gave these workers the knowledge and ability to do what was asked. He did the same for the making of the furniture as well as the utensils that were to be used. Another way God imparted His Spirit was for the ability to lead His people. This time Moses was the recipient. But the Lord saw that Moses still needed help in leading the people, and placed His Spirit upon the elders to help lead the people. As a result of this they prophesied once. Then we see Balaam, who was to curse the Israelites, prophesy blessings upon them. Again this was only done because the Spirit came upon Him. Then finally, in the first section of Israel's history, we come to Joshua receiving the Spirit of the Lord so he can succeed Moses. Moses laid hands upon Joshua for this to happen.

During the period of the Judges the Spirit exclusively worked through the Judges. Gods Spirit caused them to either become great military leaders or Charismatic leaders. Some were give great strength while other received great abilities to lead. Many of the Judges were charismatic, though not all. One example would be Othniel. The Spirit enabled him to have a successful military campaign that resulted in 40 years of peace. Several others, such as Gideon, Jepthah, and Samsom were classified as Charismatic warriors. They received military prowess by the Holy Spirit. Which enabled them to free their people from the oppression the suffered from.

We next have to look at the period of the Monarchy. After Saul was anointed first king of Israel by Samuel, the Spirit came upon him. Saul then prophesied with a group of prophets (1Sa 10:1-10). Then we see the spirit coming on Saul when he responds to the threat of Nahash. The Spirit enables him to be able to protect Jabesh-gilead.(1Sa 11:6; 19:23). Then we see the Spirit coming upon the messengers of Saul after he sent them to bring David to him to be killed. They also started to prophesy (1Sa 19:20). Now we come to the anointing of David as king. The bible says that the Spirit was on him from that day forward (1Sa 16:13)

In the period of Elijah and Elisha Gods Spirit also moved. Such as at the end of Elijah's life the Spirit of the Lord takes him to heaven in a chariot of fire that flew like a whirlwind (1Ki 18:12). When Elisha asked Elijah to receive a double portion of the Spirit, Elijah tells him he has to meet certain criteria, like watch him go into heaven, which he does (2Ki 2:9;15).

During the period of Exile and Restoration the Spirit moved in many ways. For instance Ezekiel experienced a physical move by Gods Spirit. His geographical location actually change (Eze 2:2; 3:12,14,24; 8:3; 11:1,5,24;37:1;43:5). Jahaziel the Levite had the Spirit come upon him to speak boldly Gods message (2Ch 20:14). The same thing came upon Zechariah the priest (2Ch 24:20). The spirit also gave instruction and admonition (Ne 9:20,30).

Text Observations I have noticed

Luke Baptized in the Spirit

Acts 1:5 Jesus is telling the disciples to stay in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit

baptizes them. He compares it to Johns Baptism but eludes to it

being better than that.

Acts 11:16 Peter is recalling Jesus' words that told him they would be baptized

in the Spirit.

Luke 3:16 Luke is telling us the account of John the Baptist baptizing Jesus.

He also says Jesus will baptize us in the Spirit. John says he is not

even fit to untie Jesus' shoes.


1 Cor 12:13 Paul is using the baptism of the Spirit to show that we are all part of

one body. Because of the baptism of the Spirit we must loose our



Luke Filled with the Spirit

Luke 1:15 Luke is giving the account of what the angel of the Lord told

Zechariah about John the Baptist. He will be full of the Holy Spirit

while inside the womb.

Luke 1:41 Luke is describing when Mary came to see Elizabeth. Upon

Elizabeth hearing Mary's words the baby leaped and she was full of

the Holy Spirit.

Luke 1:67 Zechariah is filled and prophesied and sang after the birth of John

the Baptist.

Luke 3:22 The Spirit descends on Jesus like a dove and a voice from heaven

spoke thou art my beloved son, in thee I am well pleased.

Acts 2:4 The day of Pentecost, the disciples were filled with the Spirit and

spoke with other tongues. The house they were in was filled with a

noise like rushing wind and then tongues like fire appeared.

Acts 4:8 Peter and John are before the Sanhedrine for healing the paralytic

and preaching the name of Jesus. The Spirit fills Peter and gives him

the words to say.

Acts 4:31 Peter and John have been released and they return to the believers

and prayed that they would be strengthened to speak bodily and

they did. The place was shaken.

Acts 9:17 Ananias is being obedient to the Lord (only after questioning Him)

by going to lay hands on Saul so he may receive the Holy Spirit and

see again.

Acts 13:9 Saul is filled with the Holy Spirit so he can confront Elymas


Eph 5:18 Paul is giving instruction on being a Christian. He tells them not to

be wasteful or harm themselves by being drunk but rather to fill themselves with the Spirit because it will cause us to love one another.

The Holy Spirit In the Book of Acts

The promise of Pentecost.

  1. The phrase clothed with power from on high, used in Luke 24:49 and implied to in Acts 1:5,8 has a significant meaning when refering to the Holy Spirit. To first understand the meaning we must break the phrase down into individual key terms, and define them. First we will start with the word clothed. The King James Version of the bible uses the word endued, while the NIV, NAS and the Amplified bibles use clothed. All of these translations come from the Greek word enduo(en-doo'-o). Which, literally means to invest with clothing, but gives us the sense of something sinking into a garment (5, #1746 NT). In light of the Greek definition it is safe to say that clothed does not simply mean to put something on, but rather to become part of the substance being put on. For example look at the process of tattooing. The markings are not simply written on the skin with a pen, but rather the ink becomes part of the skin not easily taken out. This is the implication of the word clothed. Next we must look at the word power. Most translations of the bible use the word power. But in todays society I don't think we understand power the way the bible intends us to. The actual Greek word used is dunamis which comes from the root dunamia which means to be able or possible, but dunamis denotes an ability to do anything (6, 406 NT). This is where I would rest on its definition. The ability to do anything. The next word we must look at is high, from on high. In the Greek hupos is used to signify "over" in reference to a place; something that is above or beyond. It refers specifically to elevation or altitude, in example the sky. Which is where the writer believed God's abode was. This would lead me to say that God is being pointed at with the words on high. In light of these definitions we can really get the sense the writer is trying to get across. When he says clothed with power from on high, Luke is saying that who ever is clothed with this power is going to take on the characteristics of this power. Which is the ability to do anything. So this person gains the ability to do anything, which comes from on high, or from God. But it is not something that is to be able to be controlled by man. Reason being it comes from God therefore it is controlled by God.
  2. The Old Testament has many instances where people are filled or used by the Spirit, but they are in a different form from the New Testament. When the Spirit in the Old Testament came upon the vessel the word mostly used is Labas (6,38 OT). This word gives us a sense of someone putting on a coat or shirt. In relation to the Spirit, I would say the Spirit uses the vessel instead of dwelling in the vessel. So in light of our earlier definition I am forced to say that there are no Old Testament parallels, but rather similarities in the way the vessels are used.
  3. In Luke 9:1-6; 6:19;cf 8:46 Luke uses the term dunamis but in a different light from Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:5,8. In each of these portions of scripture the word dunamis still refers to being able to do anything. But the difference is, the giver of the power. In order to avoid a Trinitarian argument lets just say each member of the trinity has different roles in there involvement with man. So we see in Luke 9:1-6; 6:19;cf 8:46 that Jesus is the giver of the power. And in Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:5,8 God is the giver through the Holy Spirit.
  4. The four parallels between the Spirits baptism of the disciples and the inaugural anointing of Jesus by the Holy Spirit are prayer, heaven opening up, something descending on the subjects and speaking (God speaking in Luke and the disciples speaking in Acts).

The miracle of Pentecost. Acts 2:1-4

Luke attributes the disciples unusual behavior to the Holy Spirit filling them.

Text Persons # of people phenomenon

being filled

Luke 1:15John the Baptist 1The Holy Spirit is going to fill him in his mothers womb
Luke 1:41Elizabeth3 Elizabeth filled with the Spirit as John the Baptist leaps
Luke 1:67Zacharias1 Prophesy/song
Luke 3:22Jesusmany Spirit descends like a dove God speaks
Acts 2:4The believers 120Sounds of violent wind, tongues as fire, filled with Holy Spirit
Acts 4:8Peter1 Spoke boldly and witnessed for Christ
Acts 4:31Peter, John and believers manyThe place was shaken, filled with the Spirit and spoke boldly
Acts 9:17Ananias and Paul 2Paul's blindness is healed and he is filled with the Spirit
Acts 13:9Paulmany Paul sees into the heart of Elymas and pronounces God Judgment and Elymas becomes blind

Conclusions: One conclusion I could draw from this chart is that when the Holy Spirit filled someone there was some kind of physical manifestation that took place. A second conclusion would be that when being filled with the Holy Spirit the manifestations caused the person being filled, to bring glory to the Lord. A third conclusion is that the Spirit causes people to choose their side, God's or the Satan's. A fourth is that there is no set way that the Holy Spirit works.

Peters Pentecost Interpretation (Acts 2:14-21)

  1. The "This" in Acts 2:16 points to the experience of Pentecost that happened earlier in the chapter.
  2. The "That" in the same verse refers to what the prophet Joel spoke in Joel 2:28-32. Peter was saying what you have just seen (the speaking in tongues) is what was told through the prophet. He was telling his audience that they should look at the falling of the Spirit not as them being drunk but rather as a glimmer of what Joel was prophesying about in Joel 2:28-32.
  3. Peter's application of Joel's prophecy can fall into three factors that characterize the gift of the Spirit. They are; it will take place in the last days, God will pour forth his Spirit upon all mankind, and God will grant wonders in the sky above. In the original text that peter is quoting, Joel 2:28-32, "it will take place in the last days" refers to the time of the gospel, which is yet to come. Joel calls this the last days(4 p 1641). Peter was using the Pentecost experience to show the listener that the last days were upon them. This lead him to the next factor where he says "God will pour forth His Spirit upon mankind." This part refers to God using all mankind, not just the rich, the religious or the Jews. God will even use the Gentiles which Peter eventually find out. Next Peter points to "God will grant wonders in the sky above." The verse after this statement tell us only some of the wonders we can expect. The sun will turn dark and the moon will become blood, are the ones mentioned but I am inclined to believe there are more because of the way the verse is phrased.

Peter's Pentecost Application (Acts 2:37-39)

Peter had given his audience a threefold emphasis. He told the to repent, be

baptized in the name of Jesus, and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This speach begins a pattern used through out the rest of the book of Acts. Luke's account of Peters response keeps in accordance with his own account of what Jesus told the disciple in Luke 24:47. The scripture reads

"and that repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His

name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem" (NAS).

Peter does both, he tells them to repent and does this while in Jerusalem. The

second part of the three fold emphasis can be found in Matthew's account of the

Great Commission. Matthew 28:19-20 says

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."(NAS)

In Matthew it says in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, but here in Acts 2:37-39 Peter tells them in the name of Jesus alone. This is not to say that this is the only name to which we are to be baptized under. It rather points to Jesus being our reason for forgiveness. In the Old Testament God required the slaying of animals for the covering of our sins. Just because Jesus, Gods son, comes along doesn't negate Gods requirement of sacrifice. But rather Jesus becomes that sacrifice once and for all. Therefor instead of just covering the sin, His blood shed in the sacrifice, wipes it away. So in actuality Peter is saying in Jesus name to signify that we must acknowledge Jesus as our sacrifice. The third emphasis Peter gives is receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. All major translations of the bible use the term the gift, not gifts. Peter is not telling us to receive the gifts but rather receive the better gift, the Holy Spirit Himself. The Spirit will give us the power needed to follow after the Life Jesus. This speech makes an argument, using the Hebrew scriptures and Jewish forms of interpretation in order to prove Jesus as the Christ. Luke shows us this throughout the book of Acts. (1, p187)

Pentecost and the Mosaic Tradition

Wind, fire and prophecy reflect an Old testament heritage when it comes to God's Spirit moving.

The Greek and Hebrew words for Spirit can also mean wind and breath. (2, p87)

With the use of the symbol of wind God is symbolizing regeneration that can only come from Him. We can see this in both the Old and New Testament. In Eze 37:1-14 the Lord brought to life the dry bones and In John 3:28 Jesus shows us the new birth in relation to the wind. As with fire it symbolizes judgment and/or the powerful presence of God. In the Old Testament, the burning bush represents the powerful presence of God. While in Luke 3:16-17, fire burns up the chaff representing Gods judgment. The notion of prophecy comes from an ancient Akkadian word "nabu" which means "to be called." So then to prophesy is to be a task that one could not avoid (6, p190 OT). Amos 3:8 states "…the Lord God has spoken! Who can but prophesy?" (NAS). When the prophet spoke prophecy, God was demonstrating His love and concern for His people that he would take part in there lives through the foretelling of an event in hopes to push His people to be in a right relationship with Him. In the New testament the gift of the Holy Spirit is similar in nature to the Old Testament, but different because of His indwelling in the believer. The gift of the Spirit at Pentecost was in actuality the Spirit being able to indwell in the believers. To many times we often look at the manifestations and call them the gift. The Spirit is the actual gift that bring about different manifestations. In the instance of Pentecost, tongues was used to show that the Holy Spirit had come upon the believers. Again this is just one of many gifts that will prove the Holy Spirit is upon a believer. The phenomenon of the Spirit in filling the believer can be described in 5 ways. One way is clothed with power from on high, which we have already discussed extensively earlier. Another way to describe it is "filled with the Spirit," Acts 2:4 shows this. The third way we could describe the event is "baptized with the Spirit" (Acts 1:5). A fourth way is " the Holy Spirit fell on them" (Acts 11:15). The fifth way we could describe it with "being anointed with the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:38). From looking at the Old Testament I would have to say that all of these phrases come from the way the Spirit operated in the Old testament. The only difference is that in the New Testament the falling of the Spirit is not temporary in the life of the believer. It became a power that is available to the believer all the time.

The gift of the Spirit in Samaria. Acts 8:14-19

  1. The Samaritan narrative confronts the reader with the chronological separation between the belief of the
  1. Samaritans and their reception of the Spirit. James D.G. Dunn writes " the problem is that in the context of the rest
    1. of the New Testament these facts appear to be mutually exclusive and wholly irreconcilable. If they believed and
    2. were baptized (v21) in the name of the Lord Jesus (v16) they must be called Christians. But if they did not receive
    3. the Holy Spirit till later they cannot be called Christians until that time (most explicitly Rom 8:9). Dunn goes on to
    4. say that what the New Testament is actually saying is that the Samaritans were not really Christians at all. I
    5. strongly oppose His statement and would question Mr. Dunn as to what New Testament he was reading. While
    6. looking at Acts 8:14-19 I can't but help to think of Acts 19:1-6 which describes Paul's account with the
    7. Ephesians. Paul asks them if they have been baptized, they responded yes in John baptism which is for
    8. repentance. Just as the Samaritans received the word of God and were baptized in John baptism were still
    9. Christians. They had not just received the revelation of the Holy Spirit. If we are to follow Christ we are to start
    10. with baptism. And who's baptism did Christ receive, Johns baptism. Then after Christ was baptized the Spirit
    11. descended upon Him as a dove. This is two distinct acts that happened. When we accept Christ as Lord we
    12. accept Him through the Holy Spirit. The Spirit enters our hearts at conversion but we automatically do not have
    13. fellowship with Him. Let me better illustrate with a story.

Lets say a friend comes to visit you at your home. When he knocks at the door you are busy in another room, so you yell

out "come in!" Your friend then comes inside your home, but you still haven't "received" him. Everyone can agree he has

not yet had the fellowship for which he came. Until you actually go to him and greet him, you have not really "received"

him into your home (3 p44)

The Holy Spirit is the same as this friend. We welcome Him into our hearts when we get saved. But we are in another

room, and its not until we go and greet Him that we have His power available to us.

The gift of the Spirit to Saul- Acts 9:17-18

In this portion of Acts Luke is emphasizing Gods call upon Paul's life. Paul had already come to grips with Jesus on the

Damascus road. Also after Paul was baptized with the Spirit the next thing he did, as recorded in the bible, was preach the

name of Jesus in the synagogue. So this would lead me to believe that Paul's in filling here is to lead him to his calling, to

the gentiles. Paul's call was to bring him to the Gentiles first, then to the Kings, the to the sons of Israel. The gentiles

received his message while the Kings just heard him and the sons of Israel rejected him and the message (2, p300). On

the other hand the disciples call went pretty much in the reverse order, but with the same results. In the end the gentiles

were the ones to accept the message the most.

The gift of the Spirit to the house of Cornelius. Acts 10:44-46

  1. After hearing the Gentiles speak in tongues when the Spirit fell upon them, Peter came to a realization.

"Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we

did, can he? And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ…" Acts 10:47-48 Nas

In other words, Peter was saying we have no right to refuse them to be baptized in water because the Holy Spirit

has already approved of them.

  1. This narrative and Acts chapter 2 has two very noticeable parallels. The first one is that both instances spoke in
  1. tongues after the Spirit fell upon them. The second one is that the listeners of the tongues being spoken were
  2. amazed.
    1. Cornelius was one of the gentiles present when the Spirit fell upon them. Main reason being is that Peter trip was
  3. taken because of Cornelius. It wouldn't make any sense for him not to be there because the people there are listed
  4. as his family and close relatives in verse 24. This is the bunch of gentiles the Spirit falls upon because the bible
  5. doesn't tell us that the crowd changed at any point. So if the crowd remained the same it would be safe to say that
  6. Cornelius was part of them and therefore they received the Holy Spirit. This is known because they all had a
  7. physical manifestation of the indwelling of the Spirit, tongues. This by no means signifies that speaking of tongues is
  8. the required sign for receiving the Spirit. But rather only one of many was we may know the Spirit is upon them.

The gift of the Spirit to the disciples at Ephesus. Acts 19:1-7

Paul knows that all Christians have the Spirit (Romans 8:9) and he knows that in spite of their limited context of their faith

these disciples are Christians. His question regarding the Holy Spirit is a question regarding the empowerment of the Holy

Spirit. As we talked about in question number 6, the use of the Holy Spirit here is for empowerment after salvation.

Those who say that the baptism with the Spirit takes place at invitation, that it is only an objective initiation, and that it is

not necessarily, a subjective experience of the Spirit, are missing the point behind the description of the baptism with the

Spirit in the bible. (2, p508) Through out the New Testament the baptism of the Spirit happens separately from salvation.

Its like shaking a can of soda once you open it the power explodes outward. But it has to be opened up first.

The means of conferring the Holy Spirit

MethodDt 34:9LK 3:21 Acts 1:14Acts 4:31Acts 8:15 Acts 10:44Acts 19:4Lk 1:41
Water baptismnoyes nonono nonono
Laying on of Handsyes nononono noyesno
Prayernoyes yesyesyes nonono
Greetingnono nonono nonoyes
Preachingnono nonono yesnono

I added two methods because the scriptures that have marks in them fall into his category. But judging from the table

prayer happens to be a key to receiving the Holy Spirit. It is not the only way but probably the most common way. I

would figure this to be because the attitude prayer puts us into. It causes us to recognize God, as God, being able to do

anything. This is a requirement for us to receive the Holy Spirit, that we allow God to be God and do as He sees fit.

Conclusion/Application of study

While researching the scriptures and biblical tools my knowledge of the Holy Spirit has increased greatly. I have come to

believe that the Holy Spirit is not limited to our belief system, regardless if we agree with him or not. One thing that I see in

a different light is the Holy Spirit is not so much as just a gift giver, but one who will bring us to a deeper level of living for

the Lord. As I submit even more to Him, He continues to teach me new things and work through me in new ways that

some who are bound in religion might not accept. The baptism of Holy Spirit is not just something that I became to believe

in but it is something that I know is the truth because I have experienced it. But it is not my experience that validates the in

filling, its the examples in scripture that tell me what I experienced a while back was the Spirit's baptism. Another

observation I have noticed is that each time the Spirit falls the recprients have some kind of manifestation to prove that the

Spirit has been received. And no I'm not going to require tongues to be the sign. But rather one of the gifts of the Spirit,

and I would even go as far as saying that true love can be a sign 1 Cor 13:1-3. Even though it specifically does not say

love is a sign of the Spirit, Paul says the gift are worthless if he has not love. One other sign I could accept easily is the

bold witnessing of Jesus Christ. Just as the disciple were able to be bold, because of the Spirit, we to are able to be bold.

But what ever the manifestation the Spirit brings it will point to Jesus and that would be the true test. Does the Spirit point

to Jesus, if not then its time to leave.


  1. Anderson, Berhard. The Books of the Bible, Macmillian Publishing Co, NY, 1989
  2. Fernando, Ajith; The NIV Application Commentary, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 1998
  3. Williamson, Stevan F., Who's Afraid of The Holy Ghost? Harrison House, Tulsa 1994
  4. Smith, Wilbur M; Matthew Henry's Commentary In One Volume, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 1960
  5. Strong, James, Strongs Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Nelson Publishing, Nashville, 1990
  6. Vine,W.E. and Unger, Merill F. and White, William; Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of the Old and New Testament, Nelson, Nashville,1985