The Ministry of the Holy Spirit In Old Testament Believers -- By: Clifford Rapp, Jr.
The Ministry of the Holy Spirit
In Old Testament Believers1
Chafer Theological Seminary
[*Editor's note: Clifford Rapp earned his B.A. degree from Biola University; and a Th.M. degree in Old Testament Literature and Exegesis from Dallas Theological Seminary. He is a professor of Old Testament and general biblical studies at Chafer Theological Seminary. Cliff also pastors Orange Coast Free Methodist Church, Costa Mesa, California.]
In John 14:17 Jesus says of the Holy Spirit, He dwells with you and will be in you. This saying indicates a change in the ministry of the Spirit in the life of believers, but what is the nature of the change? I will limit consideration in this paper to the consideration of four ministries of the Spirit that are spoken of in the New Testament, but not specifically mentioned in the Old: the ministries of regeneration, indwelling, sealing and baptizing.
One can argue that because the Old Testament does not use terms for the regenerating, indwelling, sealing, and baptizing ministries of the Spirit that all of these ministries are part of the new relationship of the Spirit to the believer that began at Pentecost.2 However, an argument from silence is a weak argument to begin with, but a careful look at scripture reveals several passages in which the Bible does have something to say about these ministries in the Old Testament.
I would like to look individually at each of the four ministries of the Spirit under consideration to try to determine whether or not they were a part of the experience of Old Testament saints.
The Ministry of Regeneration
Ryrie defines regeneration as “that act of God which imparts eternal life.”3
Were Old Testament saints regenerated? Some have argued on the basis of the experience of saints such as Nicodemus and Saul of Tarsus, who excelled in Judaism, but were not regenerated, that regeneration was not available under Judaism. That only with the beginning of the church age is regeneration available.4 This argument leads to the conclusion that since Old Testament saints were not regenerated, they did not pass “from an unsaved to a saved state.”5 This in turns leads to the conclusion that since the Old Testament saints had a lesser spiritual experience then they must have had a lesser form of evil with which to contend.6
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