In the last article, we had discussed the work of the Holy Spirit in believers during the Old Testament era. This discuss began as a result of examining the significance of the Day of Pentecost. There were various views that were mentioned, and therefore, there is no need to list them again. I had stated that my view of the significance of Pentecost was not that the Spirit came to indwell believers as believed by many in the church, because the Spirit was always indwelling believers even in the Old Testament. So what then is the significance of Pentecost if it wasn’t that the Spirit came to indwell believers? In order to answer this question, it is needful that we head back into the Old Testament to Numbers 11:16-30.
In Numbers 11 we read of an event where the Lord commissions seventy men to assist Moses in judging Israel. It is recorded in Exodus 18:17-27 that Moses would sit morning until evening judging the people. At the suggestion of his father-in-law Jethro, he chose men from among the people to assist him in judging, and this was acceptable to the Lord. The text states in Numbers 11:25, “Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him; and He took of the Spirit who was upon him and placed Him upon the seventy elders. And when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do it again.” The Scripture goes on to state in verse 26 that two men were not present when the Spirit came upon the other 68 men. When the Spirit, in fact, did come upon them, Joshua said to Moses, “Moses, my lord, restrain them.” Moses’ reply in verse 29 is one we need to read intently: “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them!” These words of Moses had great significance, and they would be the subject of a prophecy from the prophet Joel: “it will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days” (Joel 2:28-29). The language used of the Lord pouring out His Spirit is the same as the Lord’s Spirit coming upon someone.
For example, we read of the judges of Israel having the Spirit of God to come upon them for the work that God had commissioned them for (3:10; 6:34; 11:29; 14:6, 19). The Spirit would “come upon” those in the Scriptures to empower them for the Lord’s work. Not everyone in the Old Testament era had this empowerment except those such as Moses, the seventy elders, the judges, the prophets, etc. However, both Moses and the prophet Joel speak of a day when all of God’s people will be empowered for ministry. This indeed came to pass on the Day of Pentecost. As this great event of the coming of the Spirit is happening, the apostle Peter states in Acts 2:16, “This is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel…” The Spirit came upon all believers in the fullest sense to empower all believers for the work of faith. All of God’s people are now equipped with a gift of the Spirit to be used for the edification of the body. Paul speaks in Romans 12:3 that the Lord has allotted to each a measure of faith. The context of “faith” is not speaking of saving faith, but of gifts of the Spirit. The same is true in 1 Corinthians 12-14.
God has poured out His Spirit, not just on certain ones, but also on all of His church. The apostle Peter states, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Pet 2:9). This is true of all believers. The apostle Paul states in Ephesians 4 that Christ has given gifts to His church for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry! What then was the significance of Pentecost? It was that the Spirit “came upon” or “was poured out” on all His people to empower them for the work of ministry.
Joshua Banks is senior pastor and founder of Shepherd’s Rock Bible
Church in Kingsport, TN. He holds a Bachelors degree in Ministry from
Luther Rice University, a Master of Arts in Theological Studies, and a
Master of Divinity both from Liberty University. Joshua and his wife
Amanda, along with their 5 children, reside in Gate City, VA.