The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament Part 1 -- By: Carl Armerding

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 092:367 (Jul 1935)
Article: The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament Part 1
Author: Carl Armerding


The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament
Part 1

Carl Armerding

[Note: This article, begun in this issue and to be continued in the fall number, is a condensation of the 1935 lectures delivered by the author on the W. H. Griffith Thomas Foundation in May. All quotations of Scripture in this series are taken from the New Translation by J. N. Darby.-Editor.]

I. The Pentateuch

The prominent place, as well as the varied activities, of the Holy Spirit in Old Testament times are apt to be overlooked because of the more complete revelation which we have of Him in the New Testament. Yet, He is the first one of the Blessed Trinity to be specially named in Scripture. In fact, in the Pentateuch we get three of His names, each one linked with some particular activity of His. It is our purpose to trace these through the major divisions of the Old Testament, to draw timely lessons from them, and also to suggest their use as illustrations of New Testament teachings concerning the Holy Spirit.

It is to be hoped that none of our readers has any question about either the personality, or the deity, of the Holy Spirit. The writer confesses both. The very term “spirit” implies personality. As another has said, “If the Spirit of God knows divine things (Cf. 1 Cor 2:11) then He is conscious and intelligent...and I know not what argues personality more than consciousness and intelligence.”1

His deity is declared in the very first verse that mentions Him. He is “the Spirit of God,” or, of Elohim (Gen 1:2). And “it is agreed by almost all scholars that the name Elohim signifies ‘the Putter-forth of power.’ He is the being to

whom power belongs” (Girdlestone). The primary name, then, of the Spirit of God, introduces Him as the powerful One, the omnipotent One. How fitting this is in view of the chaotic condition depicted in the opening clause of Genesis 1:2! Nothing but divine power could cope with that. And it is the Spirit of Elohim who takes the initiative as He broods, or hovers, over that most unpromising waste. God speaks and there is light where only darkness reigned before. And this, so we are told by St. Paul, is exactly what happened in our own case “because it is the God who spoke that out of darkness light should shine who has shone in our hearts for the shining forth of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor 4:6). That being so, it is perfectly le...

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