Thursday, February 19, 2009

Spirit Filled

A great question was raised in class this week as to whether or not believers under the Old Covenant were filled with the Holy Spirit, and whether even the prophets possessed this privilege.

We know for certain that the following people were filled with the Spirit of God prior to the New Covenant:
  • Bazalel - the craftsman who oversaw the construction of the tabernacle, and possibly other workers with him. (Exodus 31:1-6; 35-31-35)
  • Micah - the prophet. (Micah 3:8)
  • John the Baptist - in his mother's womb! (Luke 1:15)
  • Elizabeth - John's mother. (Luke 1:41)
  • Zacharias - John's father. (Luke 1:67)
Given this sampling, we can conclude:
  1. That there were people prior to the the New Covenant who were filled with the Spirit.
  2. That it was therefore possible that there were others who had this experience beyond the scope and record of Scripture's documentation.
  3. Since those documented were servants of God called to special service, as in building something for God or speaking prophetically for God, it is quite possible and quite likely that others called to such service may have also had this experience. This would include people like Moses, who wrote under the inspiration of the Spirit, David whose writings are also “God-breathed” and who prayed, “take not your Spirit from me,” and then most certainly other prophets.
What makes this experience different in the New Covenant is it's wide-spread availability to all believers in Jesus the Messiah. In fact, the New Testament exhorts all Jesus-followers to choose to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). And the book of Acts records many accounts when the same believers were filled with the Spirit on different occasions.

I believe that this is a wonderful choice we should make daily and moment by moment. Let's take to heart Paul's appeal to experience this gift from God today. And notice what Paul says flows from this choice:

“... be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.”—Ephesians 5:18b-21 (ESV)

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