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Old 05-02-2021, 01:28 PM
coksiw coksiw is offline
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The OT saints apparent disadvantage

There are some teachers like David Bernard that state that the saints of the Old Testament didn’t have the assistance of the Spirit to overcome sin. They usually cite Roman 7, and John 7:39. They say that you can’t have a victorious life against sin unless you have the Spirit, but because the Spirit “wasn’t given” before Christ then the saints of the OT couldn’t have a victorious life over sin.

Is that the case?

So I did a study through the OT about this and these are my findings and conclusions:


THE ROLE OF THE SPIRIT IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

Pentateuch

Enoch

It is said that Enoch walked with God (Genesis 5:24). The same expression is used later for Noah, who it is said of be a righteous man (Genesis 6:9, 7:1). Enoch it is said to have pleased God by the author of Hebrews (Hebrews 11:5). We can then understand it as Enoch pleased God with his faith and righteousness. ``walking with God'' indicates a close relationship with Him, where God leads him and he lives his life according to God's righteousness. We can see that Enoch could live without practicing sin. He must have had the assistant of the Spirit of God.

Noah
The Spirit strives with humanity (Genesis 6:3). The Lord says He will not strive with them forever and limits humans lifetime. The context is the decadence of humanity, so the limiting of the lifetime is to contain evildoing. Therefore, we can understand ``strive'' as convicting of sin, to the unjust, or even the just struggling with sin.

Noah it is said of walking with God as well, and being righteous before the Lord, and a man of faith (Genesis 6:9, 13, 7:1, Hebrews 11:7). He found grace in the eyes of God (Genesis 6:8). Phrases like ``walking with God'', ``righteous before [the Lord]'' (and not his own invention of what righteousness is), and the fact that he was instructed by God and he obeyed, indicate a close relationship with God. He must have had the assistant of the Spirit of God as well. The Spirit strove with humanity, but Noah must have been one of the ones that responded.

Abraham
God calls Abraham and makes a covenant with him (Genesis 17:1-9). In the establishing of the covenant, God calls Abraham to ``walk before Him and be blameless''. This expression indicates to live in righteousness before God (2 King 20:3). We can see that in fact Abraham obeyed God's voice and kept his commandments, which includes the covenant promises, and laws (Genesis 26:5). It is said of Abraham to be a man of faith (Hebrews 11:8-12), and to be justified before God by faith (Romans 4:3). Justified means that he obtained the promise by grace through faith, not by his righteousness. However, we saw that there was an expectation for Abraham to live in righteousness. He did make mistakes along the way (Genesis 12:11-13), however the final testimony as seen in Genesis 26:5 is that he did not live in iniquity. Abraham is also said to be a prophet (Genesis 20:7). Prophets of God do have the Spirit in them as we will see in a below. Abraham must have had the assistant of the Spirit to overcome sin.

Israel leaders
The Spirit filled people in the congregation of Israel in the wilderness in order to empower them supernaturally. The empowerment was to perform work related to the building of the sanctuary, where the sacrificial system would take place according to the law (Exodus 31:3, Exodus 35:30-34).

Seventy two people total were filled with the Spirit as well in the wilderness to assist Moses with the ruling of Israel (Numbers 11:25-27). It says that the Spirit ``rested'' on them, and that they prophesied, but did not do it again. Prophesying was reported as the visible sign of the infilling of the Spirit. In fact, there was a young man that could recognize the experience happening in the camp to two more people. The infilling of the Spirit was a clear experience for the individual, and at least in this case, there was a noticeable external sign for the people watching. The text does also say that they did not prophesy again, therefore, even though the visible sign was prophesying, the infilling was not to empower as prophet, but as rulers.

It is said also that Joshua was already filled with the Spirit by the time he was called as successor (Numbers 27:18). Joshua was a man of faith and also righteous (Numbers 14:6-9, Joshua 1:8, Joshua 24:14-15).

Balaam

Balaam was a prophet of the Lord on whom was the Spirit of God. He seemed to understand well the obedience the Lord demanded, and knew when he sinned against God (Numbers 22:18,34, 24:2). Even though he served God and he had the Spirit upon his life, he still fell for the love of money (Numbers 31:16).

Conclusions

According to Romans 7 and 8, a human without the assistance of the Spirit cannot overcome sin. We do see in the Pentateuch of people walking right before Him, therefore, we can deduct that they must have had the assistance of the Spirit in their daily life. We can see also the Spirit of God ``striving'' with humanity, meaning convicting them of iniquity. The Spirit also came and rested upon people to empower them in a supernatural way to perform works. The only time we see an account of the moment people were being filled with the Spirit, we see the receivers prophesying, and also ceasing to do so afterwards, probably because in this specific instance, their empowerment was not to be prophets but rulers.

In the Historical Books

Judges, Prophets, David, and Saul

After Israel took Canaan, God raised leaders called judges to govern over the Israelites and deliver them from their enemies. We see in many instances the Spirit of God coming upon them to empower them supernaturally to perform the task they were called to do (Judges 3:10, 6:34, 14:19).

When Samuel gave Saul instructions, he said that the Spirit of God would come upon him, and he would prophesy and he would be turned into another man (1 Samuel 10:6-7). Then he said that when these signs happened, to do what the occasion demands because God is with him. Basically, the prophesying event was a sign of him being filled with the Spirit, and the turned into another man refers to the empowerment he would receive from thereon to lead the people of Israel.

About David, it is also said that the Spirit came upon him to lead Israel after Samuel anointed him (1 Samuel 16:13). However, before this anointing, we can see David testifying that the Lord gave him victory over beasts before (1 Samuel 17:37). We can assume that the Spirit came upon David before to deliver his flock and himself from the lion and the bear with his own hands, but the Spirit coming upon him after Samuel's anointing refers to the empowerment to lead Israel.

During the time of Samuel, we see other prophets as well beside him, that at this point we can say that they were filled with the Spirit as well (1 Samuel 10:5, 1 Samuel 19:20). Therefore, the filling of the Spirit was happening in more people than the Bible details.

After Saul was rejected by God, the Spirit left him (1 Samuel 16:14). Therefore, the Spirit can definitely leave an individual after infilling.

We can see that Saul received the Spirit with the sign of prophesying, and the Spirit was with him from thereon. We see the Spirit eventually left him. Therefore, there was a continuity, not a come-leave-come-leave situation. The same can be seen in David, it is said that it came upon him from the time the anointing of Samuel, as it were an on going thing. Therefore, the phrase come upon means a specific moment in which a visible manifestation of the empowerment of the Spirit happens to perform a work. It does not mean that it comes, and then leaves, and then comes again, and then leaves.

Understanding after Captivity

The book of Nehemiah records a prayer that helps us to see their understanding of the role of the Spirit during the wilderness and the historical books. They said that the Spirit of God instructed them during the time when the manna was given, and that also God testified against them by His Spirit in his prophets (Nehemiah 9:20, 9:30). Therefore, we can see that they were referring to the instructing of God through Moses in the Law, and then the ministry of the prophets admonishing them until the Captivity.

Conclusions

The Spirit of God empowered people to perform works. The phrase come upon was used to signify that visible moment of the manifestation of the empowerment. The Spirit can definitely leave an individual as result of being rejected. Prophesying was again the only sign recorded of the moment of infilling.

The people of God recognized the work of the Spirit through Moses during the giving of the Law and through the prophets.

In Psalms

The Spirit speaks through Nathan the prophets to correct David and he repented (Psalms 51:1-3). The Psalmist testifies that God leads them into righteousness (Psalms 23:3). In Psalms 32, the Psalmist tells his struggle with an unconfessed sin, and in verse 8, the Psalm turns into a prophetic word of God leading him.

In Psalms 119:33-40, the Psalmist prays for assistance from God to understand and live in righteousness according to his commandments. There was an expectation that God could provide that help, otherwise there would not be a prayer for a daily assistance like that.

The Psalmist in Psalms 73 tells the story of being tempted in his reasoning to turn to evil but when coming into the house of God, he comes to his sense, and then acknowledge the work of the Spirit to bring him back to his sense in verse 21 to 24.

There are also many occurrences in the Psalms of prophetic speaking in the Spirit (Matt 22:43).

Conclusions

We can see in the Psalms the work of the Spirit assisting the Psalmists to walk in righteousness. These Psalms were expected to be used in worship, praising and prayers by the people. Therefore, they were definitely a representation of the work of the Spirit to assist his godly saints in Israel that desired to walk in his commandments and overcome sin.

If the Psalmist did have a different experience fighting to walk in righteousness, the relevance of the Psalms as prayers for us is less than we think.

Jeremiah
Jeremiah was a prophet, filled with the Holy Spirit. The same prophetic gift he had, God used to edifying him directly with direct words to his soul, e.g. Jer 15:19. So the gift of prophecy in the OT could be used by God to edify the prophet himself.


Overall conclusions so far
Look around your church. Do you see in practice any significant difference between their daily struggle and mistakes and the story of those men in the Old Testament? Are the saints in the Church significantly more perfect than the saints described in the OT?

I argue that in the OT, those that approached God with faith (Rom 9:31-32), and a contrite and humble spirit, found Him (Isa 57:15, Isa 66:1-2), and received assistance from the Spirit, and probably even some of them the Holy Spirit to empower them as prophets (Luke 11:13). They would have prayed the prayer of Psalm 119. They must have believed that God could justify them in his mercy, and will provide a way for their sins to be remitted, pointing to a future Christ. God also used teachers and prophets to correct and rebuke one another to walk in holiness and righteousness.


(to be continued..., I will go a little bit more into the Prophets, and then into the Gospels, Acts and Epistles, and then I will offer a different explanation for Rom 7 and John 7:39. There is a difference in the NT regarding the Holy Spirit, and I will explain what I have)

Last edited by coksiw; 05-02-2021 at 02:14 PM.
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Old 05-02-2021, 05:24 PM
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Esaias Esaias is offline
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Re: The OT saints apparent disadvantage

Very good!

I'll comment more after you add the next part.
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Old 05-02-2021, 05:48 PM
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Scott Pitta Scott Pitta is offline
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Re: The OT saints apparent disadvantage

Nowhere I have read where God did not give grace to those who sought it. If the OT saints had a distinct disadvantage over sin, where is it mentioned in the NT ??
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Old 05-02-2021, 05:54 PM
coksiw coksiw is offline
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Re: The OT saints apparent disadvantage

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Originally Posted by Scott Pitta View Post
Nowhere I have read where God did not give grace to those who sought it. If the OT saints had a distinct disadvantage over sin, where is it mentioned in the NT ??
Teachers from the UPCI, e.g. David Bernard, Raymond Woodward, teach so.
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Old 05-02-2021, 06:02 PM
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Scott Pitta Scott Pitta is offline
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Re: The OT saints apparent disadvantage

Does the NT teach this concept ? Yes, we have a better covenant. Does God give more grace now than then ? What about during the other dispensations ?
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Old 05-02-2021, 06:20 PM
coksiw coksiw is offline
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Re: The OT saints apparent disadvantage

continuation

In Ez 36:24-27, there is a prophetic message to the People of God that the Spirit will dwell among them and cause them to walk in His statues. The direct context of the prophecy is talking about the return from the captivity. Did this have a fuller fulfillment in Pentecost? We will see.


Luke - Acts
The Spirit filled and moved OT saints in the Gospels (Luke 1:41, Luke 1:67, Luke 2:25-32).

In Acts, the Spirit it is said to be sent by Jesus (Acts 2:33), and that it is the promise of the Father (Acts 1:7). The purpose: power to witness of the resurrection of Christ (Acts 1:8). In fact, the God did signs through the Apostles to confirm their witnessing.

Notice that Luke uses the same terminology of Luke 1 and 2 in Acts when people were filled with the Spirit or the Spirit manifesting in them (Acts 2:4, Acts 4:31, Acts 4:8, Acts 7:55, Acts 10:44-47). For Luke, it was a continuation of the same experience, but definitely with a new dimension in purpose: to witness of the resurrection of Christ to expand the Kingdom by conversion. There is more to it. The Spirit comes now in the name of Jesus, and it is the blessing of Abraham to the nations (Gal 3:14). It is an earnest (guarantee) of the inheritance, because those that are filled with the Spirit in Jesus name, are in the group called the people of God, therefore heirs.

Peter says that what they were seeing was the fulfillment of Joel 2:28-29 (Acts 2:16).
That prophecy is a promise for the people of God, that they will all receive the Holy Spirit. So, if you don’t have it, you are not part of the people of God. More about this prophecy in a moment.

John
In John 3:3-15 Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must be born again of water and the Spirit to enter into the Kingdom. Notice that according to John 3:10, Nicodemus was supposed to understand this metaphor. Being born again was a metaphor and nothing else, but the reality is being filled of the Spirit and being baptized. The metaphor suits well because to enter into the Kingdom you need to be born into it by faith, and no longer being a descendant of Abraham counts (which apparently, it was the confidence of some, e.g. Luke 3:8).

My conclusions

1. The people of God were a group of people that were descendants of Abraham in the flesh. They were part of the promise through the circumcision.
2. Not all of them were truly fearers of God, were not contrite, humbled, turned to God. In fact, I would say that at some point, the majority didn't approach God by faith (Rom 9:32).
3. The Lord says in Ez 36:24-27 that they will receive his Spirit which will help them walk in his ways, and in Joel 2:28-29 that his Spirit will be upon all of them, and will prophesy, see visions and dreams.
4. After Pentecost, the people of God have all the Spirit, in fact, it is a requirement to be part of the group.
5. To enter into this group you have to be, figuratively, born again, which means filled with the Spirit and baptized. The latter corresponds with circumcision (Col 2:11-12).
6. The process of adoption into the Kingdom starts with believing in Jesus, and from there, you will end up with rivers of living waters in you (John 7:38)
7. The Spirit empowers them to witness, and that way to expand the Kingdom of God by conversion. That is different comparing with the OT.
8. The Spirit empowers them to speak in tongues, not just in their native language (like the prophets in Israel).
9. The Spirit also empowers them to edify each others, and themselves (1 Cor 12).

So, from Pentecost and beyond, the people of God are not those that are born as descendants of Abraham, but those that are born of the Spirit, descendants of Abraham by the faith.

I see a transition from people of God according to the flesh, to people of God according to the Spirit and faith. By making this transition, the prophecies of Joel and Ez got completely fulfilled.

From the individual standpoint, the saints of the OT, the ones that trusted and feared God, even those before Moses, were overcomers regarding sin. They had the assistance of the Spirit to achieve this, and many were empowered by the Spirit to be prophets (I can’t tell from the evidences if they all were prophets). The saints of the NT have all the Spirit of God in the name of Jesus, with a different mission, and it is, in fact, a requirement to be in the people of God.


... and then this ties well with the theology of the promised Kingdom of God with the Christ as King, first being at hand, and then being the church, and eventually being manifested to the world at His coming. But I will try to stay focus in the role of the Spirit...

(I will continue tomorrow, posting my explanations of some of the verses used to support the objections).

Last edited by coksiw; 05-02-2021 at 06:59 PM.
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Old 05-02-2021, 06:33 PM
coksiw coksiw is offline
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Re: The OT saints apparent disadvantage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Esaias View Post
Very good!

I'll comment more after you add the next part.
Thank you!
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Old 05-02-2021, 06:35 PM
coksiw coksiw is offline
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Re: The OT saints apparent disadvantage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Pitta View Post
Does the NT teach this concept ? Yes, we have a better covenant. Does God give more grace now than then ? What about during the other dispensations ?
Good question. I'll get back to it. I need to write the last part, which are just notes right now. Hopefully tomorrow morning.
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Old 05-03-2021, 06:56 AM
1 God 1 God is offline
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Re: The OT saints apparent disadvantage

This was their disadvantage.....

17 For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.

19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

20 And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest:

21 (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec

22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.

23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:

24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.

25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.


26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;

27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.

28 For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.

Last edited by 1 God; 05-03-2021 at 06:59 AM.
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Old 05-03-2021, 07:43 AM
coksiw coksiw is offline
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Re: The OT saints apparent disadvantage

continuation, and final post



Mary, and the disciples
In Luke 1:46-55, we can see that Mary sang in the Spirit. You would think that she was already filled, and didn’t need to be in the upper room the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:14).

In the OT, the Spirit would infill you to be a prophet or to be a leader in Israel in some way.
The Spirit would assist you as well to overcome sin.
Again, I can’t tell if you needed to be infilled to be assisted against sin.

In the NT, the Spirit comes with this purpose:
* To empower you to preach the testimony of the Apostles (Acts 1)
* To cause you to walk in Christ, through leading, spiritual gifts and ministries (1 Cor 12, Eph 4)

It also come with a meaning:
* The Kingdom of God has been manifested in the Spirit, which is the Church. The Spirit is a promise and a requirement. (Acts 2)
* It is a seal (1 Cor 1:22, Eph 1:13, 4:30)
* It is an earnest (1 Cor 1:22, Eph 1:13-14)

Seeing these differences, then yes, Mary needed a refilled with this new dimension, and the disciples, regardless of past experiences, needed it.

Also, take into account that these people were in a special moment in history: they were alive during the transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant in Christ.

John 7:38-39

John 7:38-39 can then also be explained along those lines.


Roman 7-8
Who relevant is this to explain the condition of the Old Testament saints?

Paul starts in verse 7 with a Impersonation (prosopopeia) of somebody that knows the law (presumably and Israelite), and tries to please God by attempting to be subject to it without the Spirit.
Then he goes to say, that those that are led by the Spirit have no condemnation because of the work of the Cross (8:1-4). Then, he says that you need the Spirit to be able to overcome sin, and that a carnal mind cannot subject to the law (8:6-8). Finally, it says that if you do not have the Spirit you are not his (8:9). Then he continues with more explanations of the role of the Spirit.

It is relevant that it teaches you the truth that you need the Spirit to overcome sin, and you also need the work of the cross, regardless. However, Rom 7:7-25 is not representing an OT saint without the Spirit, but it is simply a prosopopeia to explain the reality of the struggle of the flesh to subject to the law on its own.


THE END

Last edited by coksiw; 05-03-2021 at 07:48 AM.
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