The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament and the Coming of the Messiah

David Campbell
Sun, 2022-01-09
  • Rather than being someone who was hidden till Pentecost,
  • the Holy Spirit was an active agent in the Old Creation,
  • worked tirelessly to prepare the way for Jesus,
  • and is now working in us,
  • bringing dry bones to life in the New Creation.
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Sermon Slides - The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament and the Coming of the Messiah

Genesis 1

  1. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth
  2. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

Loss and Restoration

  • That creation was ruined through our rebellion
  • but God’s intention is to restore what was lost.
  • There is a new creation coming
  • Whatever has been damaged in your life, God’s desire is to bring restoration to you

God’s Plan

  • There is an original creation
  • The original intention was lost
  • God will bring restoration through a new creation

Ezekiel 36:24–27

  1. “I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land.
  2. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleans you.
  3. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
  4. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules”

Dry Bones

Dry Bones

Image source: Eliane Meyer

Ezekiel 37:1–10

  • Israel is depicted as dead bones resurrected to life.
  • The prophetic word continues, promising that God will place his Spirit within them and they are going to come back to life
  • Parallel with original creation:
  • Gen. 2:7 God “formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature”

The Significance:

  • The prophesied latter days coming to life of God’s people in Christ recapitulates or repeats the original creation account of God breathing into Adam and bringing him life.
  • Both had a two-stage process: the forming of the man from the dust, and the breathing into him to bring him to life.
  • He is telling us that the future spiritual resurrection of dead Israel will be an act of new creation.
  • Israel is to live in a renewed land like “the garden of Eden” (36:35)

Isaiah speaks of the same reality.

  • Israel will remain desolate “until the Spirit is poured out upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field” (Isa. 32:15).
  • In some mysterious sense, Eden is going to be restored. The Spirit will create a new garden of Eden in which God’s people will dwell.
  • Isa. 44:3: “For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.”


  • Revelation 21–22 Eden is pictured as fully restored.
  • The first two chapters of the Bible and last two are like bookends

Joel 2:28–29

  1. 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, and your young men shall see visions.
  2. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit”.

Consistent theme:

  • God created a garden
  • God had a program to push out the boundaries to the ends of the earth
  • It was frustrated through our rebellion
  • But God has a plan of restoration
  • And entirely new creation by the presence of the Holy Spirit

Another important feature.

  1. New life being breathed into dead people
  2. Isa. 59:20–21: “‘And a Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression,’ declares the Lord. ‘And as for me, this is my covenant with them,’says the Lord: ‘My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children’s offspring,’ says the Lord, ‘from this time forth and forevermore.”

Isaiah speaks of Jesus

  • The Spirit of the Lord will rest on the Messiah, “the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord” (Isa. 11:2).
  • “Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him… He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice… a bruised reed he will not break…he will faithfully bring forth justice” (Isa. 42:1–3).
  • Jesus quoted as fulfilled in himself (Matt. 12:18–20).

Isaiah 61

  1. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound”.
  • Quoted by Jesus applying to himself: Luke 4:16–21

Jewish theology at the time of Jesus

  • the Spirit gave people supernatural revelatory knowledge and direction in dreams and visions.
  • the Spirit gave supernatural skill in performing God’s given assignments.
  • the Spirit enabled prophetic utterance.
  • the Spirit empowered the performance of signs and miracles.
  • the Holy Spirit gave the strength by which people were enabled to lead godly lives.

Jewish theology at the time of Jesus

  • the Holy Spirit would return to Israel when the Messiah came.
  • The gift of prophecy, dormant for 400 years, would be restored.
  • the Holy Spirit would rest upon the Messiah and all God’s people Israel would be filled by the Spirit and have their hearts changed.
  • the coming of the Spirit would be accompanied by a visible manifestation of fire and light.

Mistake of the modern church to diminish the role of the Holy Spirit.

  • The Holy Spirit is there, from creation onwards, preparing the way for the coming of the Messiah.
  • The Son is now ascended to the right hand of the Father,
  • but the Spirit is here!
  • If we forget we are a people of the Spirit, if re reduce or marginalize the Holy Spirit, we have lost everything.

The Holy Spirit is:

  • author of creation
  • fashioner of the new creation
  • brings dead bones to life
  • He is our life as a result of the work of Christ
  • We need this understanding of who he is!

The Holy Spirit:

  • Was preparing the way for Jesus to come for millennium
  • Is now preparing us for that great day when we see Jesus again, face to face
  • Thanks be to God for his gift of the Spirit

Updated on 2022-01-09 by David Campbell