Question: How were the manifestations of the Holy Ghost in the OT compared to those in the NT?
Answer: In the OT, the Holy Spirit of God manifested Itself many times and in different ways (Num. 24:2; Judges 6:34; 1 Sam. 16:13; 2 Sam. 23:2; 2 Chron. 24:20; Ps. 51:11; Isa. 48:16; Eze. 11:5; Joel 2:28, 29; etc.). But no manifestation of the Holy Spirit in the OT can equate with that which was revealed to the apostles on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-13).
At Pentecost the Holy Spirit was manifested:
(A) in a most distinctive way: “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them” (Acts 2:2).
(B) in the fullness of the outpouring: “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4). It should be noted that there is no mention in the Bible that states that any of those filled with the Spirit on that extraordinary day ever lost that filling.
The great events in the life of Jesus on earth, His birth, His baptism, His receiving the Holy Spirit, His crucifixion, His resurrection, and His ascension, were fundamental to the plan of salvation. However, the outpouring of the Spirit on Pentecost showed God’s acceptance of Christ’s great sacrifice, and His enthronement with the Father. For “after making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3).
The main difference between the OT and the NT manifestations
The difference lies in the filling of the disciples and the complete possession of them. For it was from that time on that the church became the effective instrument of the Spirit. The Bible tells us that “when they finished praying, the place where they were meeting was shaken. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to proclaim God’s message with boldness” (Acts 4:31).
Thus, by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the church was empowered to achieve for Christ what had never been done before, which is the preaching of the good news of salvation to all nations. And Jesus said to them, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20 also Mark 16:15; Luke 14:23, Acts 1:7-8).
The gifts of the Spirit
Further, to be able to carry on this great work, the Lord gave the believers different gifts of the Spirit. And “to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills” (1 Corinthians 12:8-11).
Thus, these supernatural manifestations confirmed the faith of the early believers, who didn’t have the historical evidence of the power of Christianity that people have today and also because, Bibles were rare at that time. So, in order to supply the lack of these necessities for growth, supernatural gifts were abundantly given to the church.
In His service,