8.3.2 The promise of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament

In the time of the old covenant, the Holy Spirit was active in individual human beings chosen by God for specific tasks. Hence the prophets used the words "Thus says the Lord" to attest to their divine authority and instruction. The Spirit of God awakened in them the thoughts on which their proclamations of both judgement and salvation were based.


By commission of God, the prophets also anointed kings to rule the chosen people. Thus, for example, David was anointed king by Samuel (1 Samuel 16: 12-13). With this act, David's kingship was "sealed", as it were. Furthermore, we read that the Spirit of God came upon David. According to Psalm 51: 11, the king prayed–after having committed a sin–that the Lord should not take His Holy Spirit from him.


Moreover, the Old Testament contains references to the future, when the Spirit of God would be poured out–no longer merely upon individuals, but upon many people: "And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days" (Joel 2: 28-29). Comparable promises can be found in the words of other prophets, for example in Ezekiel 36: 27: "I will put My Spirit within you." In his sermon on Pentecost, Apostle Peter pointed out that the promise of the prophet Joel had been fulfilled (Acts 2: 15 et seq.).