Nnaemeka Ali, O.M.I
The Holy Spirit Before the New Testament
Who is the Holy Spirit?
He is the third person of the trinity. He is one of the three persons of the Holy Trinity. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit are one God.
Are the three persons three Gods?
No! There is only one God as Jesus would say “I and the Father are one.”, John 10:30.
Or still, as he would ask Philip “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me?”, John 14:10.
So, the persons of the Holy Trinity are correlated in their God nature but independent in their personal existed.
This is why we say that the Holy Spirit is one of these three persons of the Holy Trinity. All three (persons - individuals) share the same essence - nature which is being one God.
Has the Holy Spirit been always there?
As early as the beginning of God’s intervention in the Universe we came to know about His existence. In the Old Testament texts, he was identified as
Ruach Elohim (Spirit of God), Gen 1:2, Job 33:4
Ruach YHWH (Spirit of Yahweh), Isa 59:19, and
Ruach Hakodesh (Holy Spirit) Isaiah 63:10
And contrary to what many people might think, it is not Christianity that brought the person of the Holy Spirit in the forefront. The Holy Spirit has always been present in the Abrahamic religion. The new thing Christianity brought to the religious experience is the idea of a God made man. Its originality is in the incarnation, the dying and the resurrection of a God.
But when it comes to the presence of the Spirit, there are many references in the Old Testament texts among which are:
1. Genesis 1:2 "and the Spirit of God (Ruach Elohim) was hovering over the waters.
2. Numbers 11:26 “However, two men, whose names were Eldad and Medad, had remained in the camp. They were listed among the elders but did not go out to the tent. Yet the Spirit also rested on them, and they prophesied in the camp.”
3. 1 Samuel 16:13 "and the spirit of the LORD gripped David from that day on."
4. Psalm 143:10 "Let Your gracious spirit lead me on level ground."
5. Isaiah 42:1 "Behold My servant, I will support him, my chosen one, whom My soul desires; I have placed My spirit upon him, he shall promulgate justice to the nations."
6. Joel 2:28 "I will pour out My spirit on all flesh; Your sons and daughters shall prophesy."