The Holy Spirit In The Old Testament

The Descent of the Spirit Gustave Doré
The Descent of the Spirit
Gustave Doré

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.

“Poking God’s Eye”: A Jewish Perspective on Christian-Jewish Relations

The Good Samaritan, by James Tissot.  This parable remains one of Yeshua's most powerful lessons in cross-cultural compassion and cooperation.
Yeshua provided a powerful lesson in cross-cultural compassion and cooperation in His Parable of the Good Samaritan.  (James Tissot, Le bon samaritain, Brooklyn Museum online collection)

What keeps Jews and Christians from getting along?  That is a primary question addressed on The Barking Fox.  The view here is that we are two parts of the same people, the Kingdom of Israel.  Jews are the basis of that Kingdom, the remnant of ancient Israel to whom God committed His oracles, and through whom He brought forth salvation through His Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus) of Nazareth.  Christians are people of the nations (Gentiles) who, by the grace of God and their belief in Yeshua as Messiah, cease being Gentiles and join with Jews in the Commonwealth of Israel.

The Apostle Paul wrote much about this, particularly in Romans 9-11 and Ephesians 2.  So did the ancient prophets of Israel.  Ezekiel saw a vision of Two Sticks, the House of Judah (Jews) and the House of Ephraim (non-Jewish Israelites) coming together in the Messianic Age to be one people again.  Hosea spoke of this in his words of judgment and restoration.  John the Revelator even mentioned it when He saw the 144,000 saints of God from Israel’s Twelve Tribes sealed with the sign of God during the Tribulation.

Please click here to continue reading