Holy Spirit

Q. I understand that the Holy Spirit came after Jesus left for it is better for us that He depart so that we can have the Holy Spirit in our lives. But what happened before that? How were believers guided? Did they not have the Spirit guiding their hearts, or was it simply dialogue between people and God directly? Or was He (the Holy Spirit) only active when it needed to be, as opposed to being in all believers post Jesus.

A. In the OT, the Holy Spirit guided and empowered people by “coming upon” them, e.g.
• Judg 3:10 The Spirit of the LORD came upon [Othniel], so that he became Israel’s judge and went to war.
• Judg 6:34 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet, summoning the Abiezrites to follow him.
• Judg 11:29 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah.
• Judg 14:6 The Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon [Samson] so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat. (See also 14: 9; 15:14)
• 1 Sam 16:13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power.

Some tried to argue from the above that the Holy Spirit did not work within people. That is not always the case based on the examples below:
• Ex 31:3 and I have filled [Bezalel] with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills. (See also 35:31, 34)
• Num 27:18 So the LORD said to Moses, “Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him. (See also Deut 34:9)
• Ezek 2:2 As he spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet, and I heard him speaking to me. (See also 3:24)
• Dan 4:8 Finally, Daniel came into my presence and I told him the dream. (He is called Belteshazzar, after the name of my god, and the spirit of the holy gods is in him.)See also 4:9, 18; 5:11)
• Micah 3:8 But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the LORD

The Holy Spirit as spirit has no spatial dimensions. So all we can say about “came upon”, “came in” or “filled with” is that He directed, guided or empowered people for service, and not worry too much about His physical location, as He is omnipresent. I believe the contrast has more to do with His presence in all Christians at all times in the NT, as opposed to His being with His people when needed for service in the OT, as the following promises of the new covenant (testament) indicate:
• Ezek 36:26-27 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
• Joel 2:28-29 And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.

Hope this clarifies your query.

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