turn to Gen. 41:38 you find that the Holy Spirit was “in” Joseph. If you
compare Num. 27:18 with Deut. 34:9 you will find that the Holy Spirit
came “upon” Joshua because the Holy Spirit was “in” him beforehand.
Daniel was a man in whom the Holy Spirit indwelt (Dan. 4:8, 9, 18;
15:11, 14; 6:3). The Apostle Peter states plainly in I Pet. 1: 11 that
the Spirit of Christ was “in” the Old Testament prophets. The Apostle
Paul in II Cor. 4:13 clearly quotes Psa. 116: 10 as proving that David
along with New Testament believers possessed the Holy Spirit. John the
Baptist had the filling of the Holy Spirit from a child (Lk. 1: 15).
Jesus taught that Old Testament believers experienced regeneration by
the Holy Spirit for not only does he invite Nicodemus to receive the new
birth (John 3:3, 5) but he also tells him that it is Old Testament
teaching John 3: 10). In John 14:17 Jesus said that the Holy Spirit
already indwelt this disciples. The King James Version reads “shall be
in you” but the better Greek reading shows “is in you.” J.C. Ryle
comments, “He is actually in you now, and shall always be in you, and
never leave you.” In John 20:22, Jesus communicated the Holy Spirit to
His disciples. In addition to the above plain statements of Scripture,
Rom. 8:9‑11 and I Cor. 2:10‑16 make the indwelling of the Holy Spirit
essential to salvation. No one could be saved without the indwelling of
2. It is not true that Pentecost
was the first occasion of the indwelling of the Spirit or that salvation
for the disciples began at Pentecost. We must understand the meaning
of Pentecost as follows:
A. The words of Jesus -- (Lk.
24:46‑49; Acts 1:8)
Jesus taught that Pentecost would
mean power for the preaching of the Gospel. Not once is salvation or the
indwelling of the Holy Spirit mentioned in connection with Pentecost.
The disciples were already saved (Lk. 10:20; John. 15:13, 4, 5; 17:14,
B. The account given in Acts -‑
There is not one word about
salvation or the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The key phrase of
Pentecost is found in verse 4: “filled with the Holy Spirit.” The phrase
means they were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and does not
mean the indwelling or sealing of the Holy Spirit for salvation. Examine
the following passages:
same group of disciples were again “filled with the Holy Spirit” in Acts
was a man “filled with the Holy Spirit” and that meant he was filled
with spiritual power (Acts 6:5 of 6:8, 7:55, 56).
was “filled with the Holy Spirit” for his preaching (Acts 4:8).
Throughout Acts there are numerous examples.
commands us as Christians “to be filled with the (Holy) Spirit” (Eph.
5. A Biblical theological
approach would see a gradual unfolding of the concept of being
Spirit‑filled in order to speak God’s word. Notice the connection
between “filling” and “speaking” in Num. 11: 25; Lk. 1: 15; Matt. 3:16;
Acts 51:8; 4:8 and Eph. 5:18, 19.
3. John did not in fact say that
“the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet
glorified” because the word “given” is not in the Greek. Thus John
was not referring to the normal saving operations of the Spirit in
bringing sinners to salvation. But rather, he was referring to the
unique and special outpouring of the Spirit of Pentecost. The Holy
Spirit was poured out abundantly by Christ as His reward from the Father
for His obedience in life and death (Acts 2:32, 33). It is better to
read John 7:39,
“The Holy Spirit had not yet been
Objection 2: The Old Testament saints were under the
Old Covenant while we are under the New Covenant. It only stands to
reason that they could not have partaken of New Covenant blessings
before the New Covenant was instituted.
1. The New Covenant was revealed in
the Old Testament, thus it is not uniquely a New Testament Truth (see
Jer. 31:31‑34; Ezk. 11:19‑21; 36:26, 27).
2. The Old Testament believer, by
virtue of the eternity of the cross, received New Covenant blessings
from God because to God these blessings were secured for them in Christ.
A. Did not the believer in the Old
Testament experience regeneration (see John 3:3, 10; Deut. 10: 16 cf.
Col. 2:11; Deut. 30:6; Jer. 4:4; Ezk. 18:31, etc.)?
B. Did not God write His Law on
their hearts (see Psa. 3 7:3 1; 40:8; Isa. 57:7)?
C. Did they not receive forgiveness
of their sins (see Psa. 32: 1, 2, 103:1‑14, 10‑12, 130A Isa. 1:18,
38:17; Micah 7:19, 8:18; etc.)?
Scofield taught that the sins of
Old Testament believers were not really forgiven but that they were only
“covered” until Christ died (see Scofield’s N. 1 P. 110 and N. I p.
But if “covered” does not mean
unconditional and full forgiveness, then we are not yet forgiven because
James 5:20 says,
you may be sure that whoever brings
a sinner back from his wrong path will save his soul from death and
cover a multitude of sins.
D. Did not God preserve His saints
in Old Testament times (Psa. 37:23‑28)?
E. Were not the Old Testament
saints “in Christ” as we are told that the Spirit of Christ was “in
them” and that they received life from Christ (I Pet. 1: 11; 1 Cor.
Was it not by virtue of their union
with Christ that they were saved? They were “in Christ” thousands of
years before He came just as truly as we were “in Him” thousands of
years after He died, even from all eternity.
In summary, Old Testament saints
possessed New Covenant blessings by virtue of their union with their
Covenant Head, the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no Biblical warrant for
the teaching that Old Testament saints were saved by works and that
they did not possess the same essential salvation as we do today. They
were saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.