Was the Holy Spirit present on earth before Pentecost?

Was the Holy Spirit on earth before Pentecost? (the traditional start date of the Church) What ministries did the Holy Spirit engage in before Pentecost, recognized as the traditional start of the church? How did He operate in the Old Testament?

 EPrata photo
He was present on earth and involved on earth since the beginning!

He participated in creation-

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. (Genesis 1:1-3)

His ministry of instruction of the ways of God were active and direct.

You gave your good Spirit to instruct them and did not withhold your manna from their mouth and gave them water for their thirst. (Nehemiah 9:20)

His ministry of instruction of the ways of God were active and indirect. The Spirit empowered the men to craft the temple,

The LORD said to Moses, “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft. And behold, I have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. And I have given to all able men ability, that they may make all that I have commanded you: (Exodus 31:1-6)

The Spirit acted as comforter and wisdom when God said He would take some of the Spirit that is on Moses and share Him with elders so that the overburdened Moses could share the duties of administering the People of Israel.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Gather for me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them, and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you. And I will come down and talk with you there. And I will take some of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not bear it yourself alone (Numbers 11:16-17)


Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. And as soon as the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied. But they did not continue doing it. (Numbers 11:25)

The Spirit of the Lord was on (not in) people at various times, in this case, on Othniel so he could judge Israel

But when the people of Israel cried out to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for the people of Israel, who saved them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother. 10 The Spirit of the Lord was upon him, and he judged Israel. (Judges 3:9-10a)

And on Gideon, (Judges 6:34), and Jephthah, (Judges 11:29) and Amasai (1 Chronicles 12:18), and so on. Sometimes the LORD takes away the Spirit.

Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a harmful spirit from the Lord tormented him. (1 Samuel 16:14)

The Spirit not only guides and instructs, but spoke from God through men. This is David speaking in the verse-
The Spirit of the Lord speaks by me; his word is on my tongue. (2 Samuel 23:2).

The Spirit also spoke through the prophets. (Nehemiah 9:30).

The Spirit of God makes us, as Job noted, (Job 33:4)

There are innumerable ways the Bible shows us that God in all three Persons have been intimately involved with mankind since He created us. The Holy Spirit is a major part of the Trinity and has always had roles to carry out and ministries to perform, since the beginning. Of course my essay is short and only barely scratches the surface, but it's just a way to get you thinking.

It's fun and interesting to do a topical study. From time to time I look into one subject and it could be theological like this one about the Spirit or agricultural such as wheat, chaff, and grain production. I enjoyed looking up "linen" and found a wealth of information on it. If you're wondering what Book of the Bible to read next but can't decide, as you ruminate, why not to a topical study?

Is the mustard seed really the smallest seed? How big do mustard trees grow? How common was the existence of lions in historic Palestine? And why did they die out?  Why did prophets wear the rough clothing, from whence did that originate? Why was foot washing a big deal and what are the physical and theological implications of the practice? How did they make wine? Is the olive tree the hardiest tree in the region? What were the five major offerings in the Bible and how do they differ from one another?

You see how fun it is to ask questions and then dig in. What would you do a topical study on?


  1. Topical studies are an excellent recommendation. Especially in our technological age....as we are not familiar with things lije sheep herding, winnowing, etc. Many of the parables become richer when we learn about those customs common during bible times.

    1. Thanks Jennifer! I agree. Every time I do a topical study on a an aspect of Jewish life I learn so much and there are always theological implications that come to the fore.


Post a Comment