The Holy Spirit In The Old Testament

Another of the common Christian misperceptions of Scripture is that the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) does not appear in the Old Testament (Tanach) in the same way he appears in the New Testament (Apostolic Writings).  One manifestation of this is the misunderstanding that believers in ancient Israel did not experience the Presence and outpouring of the Holy Spirit at all.  Another is the belief that the whole purpose of Yeshua’s death on the cross was to make it possible for the Holy Spirit to come to believers, and that everything about the way God deals with humanity changed at the cross.

There is some truth in these Christian positions, but they do not take into account the full counsel of God available to us in the entire body of Scripture.  It surprises some Christians to learn that the Holy Spirit was very much present in the events of the Tanach, and did indeed indwell righteous men and women.  There was indeed a change at the cross in that the Spirit was poured out on the entire body of Yeshua’s followers at Shavuot (Pentecost), but His operation within believers now is not so different from His operation within the righteous saints of old.

Something else that will surprise Christians is that Jewish sages have understood the work of the Holy Spirit for centuries.  In fact, the Jewish understanding of the Spirit’s work is very close to the Christian understanding.  That is one of the points David Nekrutman covers in his recent presentation, Ruach HaKodesh in Tanach – Divine Concealment.  Nekrutman is Executive Director of the Center for Jewish Christian Understanding and Cooperation, based in Efrat, Israel.  In January 2015 he and others took part in a Symposium on Jewish and Christian Reflections on Worship in Broward County, Florida, sponsored by the Broward Pastors Network and the Jewish Federation of Broward County.[1]  His 30-minute teaching on Jewish understanding of the Spirit’s work and God’s dealings with humanity is eye-opening and even astounding for those who are not expecting to find that Christianity and Judaism have so much in common.  To listen to David Nekrutman’s presentation please click on the link below.

David Nekrutman:  Ruach HaKodesh in Tanach – Divine Concealment


 

[1] The presentations from the Symposium are available on the CJCUC main page, and also at the video archive (click here).


© Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog, 2015.  Permission to use and/or duplicate original material on The Barking Fox Blog is granted, provided that full and clear credit is given to Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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About Albert J. McCarn

I am a lifelong disciple of Jesus (Yeshua) of Nazareth, an avid student of the Bible, a devoted husband and father, a 29-year veteran of the United States Army, and a historian who connects people with their own stories.

3 responses to “The Holy Spirit In The Old Testament”

  1. Pete Rambo says :

    Interesting. I was thinking about this very topic yesterday! Who moved over the face of the deep at Creation?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sue in NC says :

    I’d forgotten that it was a ‘duh’ moment when I realized that the Ruach was fully evident in Bible days – I knew the facts but had not put them together to refute what I was being taught in the church. Felt pretty stupid when the light dawned! 😉 Thanks for the reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Barking Fox says :

      There have been plenty of “duh” moments for me as well! I’m glad to put up this video of David Nekrutman. I had the pleasure of meeting him in Israel a couple of years ago. He was perhaps the first person who helped me see how Jewish-Christian dialogue can happen at a much deeper level than we have considered possible. It takes a lot of humility on both sides, but that leads to the realization that we have much to teach one another, and that in many case we’re actually saying the same things since our faith derives from the same God and the same body of Scripture.

      Liked by 2 people

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