Did Anyone In The Old Testament Have The Holy Spirit?

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​Did Anyone In The Old Testament Have The Holy Spirit?​

Hi A​____,

Thank you for this question concerning God giving His spirit to those in the Old Testament.

You write:

The first thing we must realize is that whatever this verse means, it cannot contradict what Christ tells us in the New Testament where He informed His disciples, and He informs us:

Joh 16:7  Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

Here Christ makes it clear that “It is expedient” that He must leave behind His body of flesh and blood because “the Comforter will not come unto you.” According to Jesus Christ, “the Comforter, which is the holy spirit”, was available to no one, in the New Testament sense of the indwelling of “the holy spirit of God”, unless and until Christ had died upon the cross for our sins.

Then what is the meaning of this verse you have brought to our attention? There must be something which is not immediately apparent at first glance, and sure enough, such is the case.

Here is that verse with all of its Strong’s numbers:

Isa 63:11  Then he rememberedH2142 the daysH3117 of old,H5769 Moses,H4872 and his people,H5971 saying, WhereH346 is he that brought them upH5927 out of the seaH4480 H3220 withH854 the shepherdH7462 of his flock?H6629 whereH346 is he that putH7760 (H853) his holyH6944 SpiritH7307 withinH7130 him

I have emboldened and underlined the last two words, and the Strong’s number H7130, which is the number Strong has assigned to the Hebrew word:


From H7126; properly the nearest part, that is, the centre, whether literally, figuratively or adverbially (especially with preposition): – X among, X before, bowels, X unto charge, + eat (up), X heart, X him, X in, inward (X -ly, part, -s, thought), midst, + out of, purtenance, X therein, X through, X within self.

Total KJV occurrences: 226

It will help us understand what is being said if we notice there is no number for the word ‘him’ because the word ‘him’ is not actually there in the Hebrew.

Now let’s examine how this Hebrew word is generally translated in the King James version:

Total KJV Occurrences: 214
among, 75
Gen_24:3, Exo_17:7, Exo_31:14, Exo_34:9-10 (2), Lev_17:4, Lev_17:10, Lev_18:29, Lev_20:3, Lev_20:5-6 (2), Lev_20:18, Lev_23:30, Num_5:27, Num_11:4, Num_11:20-21 (2), Num_14:11, Num_14:13-14 (2), Num_14:42, Num_15:30, Deu_1:42, Deu_2:14-16 (3), Deu_4:3, Deu_6:15, Deu_7:21, Deu_13:1, Deu_13:11, Deu_13:13-14 (2), Deu_16:11, Deu_17:2, Deu_17:7, Deu_17:15, Deu_18:2, Deu_19:18-20 (3), Deu_21:9, Deu_22:21 (2), Deu_22:24, Deu_23:16, Deu_24:7, Deu_26:11, Deu_31:16-17 (2), Jos_3:5, Jos_3:10, Jos_4:6, Jos_7:12-13 (2), Jos_8:35, Jos_9:7, Jos_9:16, Jos_9:22, Jos_10:1, Jos_13:13, Jos_16:10, Jos_18:7, Jos_24:5, Jos_24:23, Jdg_1:29-30 (2), Jdg_1:32-33 (2), Jdg_3:5, Jdg_10:16, 1Sa_4:3, Psa_55:15, Pro_15:31, Mic_3:11
midst, 73
Gen_48:16, Exo_3:20, Exo_8:22, Exo_23:25, Exo_33:3, Exo_33:5, Exo_34:12, Deu_4:34, Deu_11:6, Deu_13:5, Deu_17:20, Deu_18:15, Deu_23:14, Jos_7:13, Jdg_18:20, 1Sa_16:13, 1Ki_20:39, Psa_46:5, Psa_55:9-11 (3), Psa_74:4, Psa_74:12, Psa_78:28, Psa_110:2, Psa_138:7, Pro_14:33, Isa_4:4, Isa_5:8, Isa_5:25, Isa_6:12, Isa_10:23, Isa_12:6, Isa_19:1, Isa_19:3, Isa_19:14, Isa_19:24, Isa_24:13, Isa_25:11, Isa_29:23, Jer_6:1, Jer_6:6, Jer_14:9, Jer_29:8, Jer_46:21 (2), Lam_1:15, Lam_3:45, Lam_4:13, Eze_22:27, Hos_5:4, Hos_11:9, Joe_2:27, Amo_2:3, Amo_3:9, Amo_7:8, Amo_7:10, Mic_5:7-8 (2), Mic_5:10, Mic_6:13-14 (3), Nah_3:13, Hab_2:19, Hab_3:2 (2), Zep_3:5, Zep_3:11-12 (2), Zep_3:15, Zep_3:17, Zec_14:1
within, 27
Gen_18:12, Gen_25:22, Deu_28:43, 1Sa_25:37, Job_20:14, Psa_36:1, Psa_39:3, Psa_51:10, Psa_55:4, Psa_94:19, Psa_101:2, Psa_101:7, Psa_103:1, Psa_109:22, Psa_122:2, Psa_147:13, Pro_26:24, Isa_26:9, Isa_63:11, Jer_4:14, Jer_23:9, Lam_1:20, Eze_11:19, Eze_36:26-27 (2), Zep_3:3, Zec_12:1
inwards, 19
Exo_29:13, Exo_29:17, Exo_29:22, Lev_1:9, Lev_1:13, Lev_3:3 (2), Lev_3:9 (2), Lev_3:14 (2), Lev_4:8 (2), Lev_4:11, Lev_7:3, Lev_8:16, Lev_8:21, Lev_8:25, Lev_9:14
inward, 5
Psa_5:9, Psa_49:11, Psa_64:6, Isa_16:11, Jer_31:33
through, 5
Deu_29:16, Jos_1:11, Jos_3:2, Amo_5:17 (2)
eaten, 2
Gen_41:21 (2)
therein, 2
Gen_18:24, Jdg_18:7
before, 1
bowels, 1
charge, 1
heart, 1
Jer_9:8 (2)
inwardly, 1
purtenance, 1

Here we have 13 different translations of this one Hebrew word, ‘qereb‘. As can be seen, the most common English translations for ‘qereb‘ are ‘among’ and ‘midst’.

As an example of what this word actually means here is the first use of this word in scripture:

Gen 24:3  And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, amongH7130[qereb] whom I dwell:

The Canaanites were definitely not within Abraham’s heart and mind. He was simply living among them as a stranger and a pilgrim, typifying how we are to live our lives on this earth as strangers and pilgrims.

While it is true the word ‘within’ is not an improper translation, it is still clear that ‘within’ is never meant to be understood as changing the heart or mind of those within whose lives the holy spirit was working in the Old Testament.

Here is an example of how this word can properly be translated as ‘within’, yet never to be understood as being within the spirit, or heart and mind of an individual:

Gen 25:22  And the children struggled together withinH7130 [qereb] her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.

Clearly this use of the word ‘within’ is not the indwelling of the holy spirit which converts the heart and mind of any individual.

So with all of this in mind let’s answer your question:

The answer is definitely in the affirmative. God does give His spirit, and He also takes it away, as in this case:

1Sa 16:14  But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.

Lest we ever think we are immune from the judgments of God, the same thing can take place in the New Covenant dispensation:

Heb 6:4  For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
Heb 6:5  And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
Heb 6:6  If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
Heb 6:7  For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:
Heb 6:8  But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.

Heb 10:26  For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
Heb 10:27  But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

We cannot drag an apostate brother to Christ after Christ takes His spirit from that brother. It takes “judgment and fiery indignation”, which will then devour our worst adversary, our own old man. When that process is completed, then all men of all time will have endured Christ’s judgment, will have come to repentance and will “learn righteousness”.

Isa 26:9  With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

I hope these words will help to bring each of us to have the mind of the apostle Paul in response to your question concerning whether God can take His spirit from any of us:

Php 3:10  That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
Php 3:11  If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
Php 3:12  Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Php 3:13  Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
Php 3:14  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Php 3:15  Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.



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