What are the differences and similarities between Old Testament and New Testament believers? Did God dwell in Old Testament believers as he does in New Testament believers? Were Old Testament believers “born again” (that is, did they experience regeneration)? What do the words “indwelling” and “regeneration” mean? How is the Holy Spirit’s ministry similar or different during Old Testament and New Testament times?

These issues are those that have caused much thought, discussion, debate, and, indeed, division within the church. Covenant Theologians (CT) and Dispensationalists have often been at odds when it comes to their positions concerning the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament. It is an issue of continuity and discontinuity. CTs have traditionally tended towards a belief that the Holy Spirit worked in the same way in the OT as in the NT. Dispensationalists have traditionally tended in the other direction, believing that the Holy Spirit’s ministry was much different in the OT than in the NT. The implications go beyond simply being interesting, but are important to our understanding of salvation and sanctification. Were OT saints regenerated? Did they have the same security as NT saints?

In 1 Samuel 16:14 we are told that the Holy Spirit departed from Saul, being replaced by an evil spirit. “Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD terrorized him.” Can that still happen? David cries out to the Lord, pleading with Him not to take His Spirit from him. “Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me” (Psalm 51:11). Would God have taken His Spirit away from David?

These are important theological and exegetical questions. That is why we have invited Jim Hamilton to explore these issues on the next Converse with Scholars. I invite you all to join us. If you have yet to attend a Converse with Scholars session, you are really missing out. Its easy. You simply put the kids to bed, grab a bag of popcorn and a coke, pause Smallville (or just record it to DVR), kick your feet up on your desk and log on. Here you have the opportunity to engage live with the best Christian scholars from all over the world. Don’t miss it.

We are going to be meeting on Paltalk again. For those of you who don’t like the ads (which is everyone!), it will comfort you to know that we have purchased a room for these events that will only display our ads until we feel comfortable switching to ConnectionGate.

To join, it is simple. Just download Paltalk, register, and then search for Converse with Scholars in the Christianity section. We also should have a direct link into the room from our site. We will be meeting at 9pm EST. Hope to see you.

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    3 replies to "Did the Holy Spirit indwell Old Testament believers?"

    • ray seaton

      good question; what is your conclusion????????
      is born again a N.T. experience only or were O.T. saints born again too????

      if they were not; what did God fellowship with and work with; Moses’ old nature?

      the flesh (old nature) c/n please God, so how did the saints in the O. T. please God and do righteousness. they had faith and were reckoned righteous (Gen 15:6), but did they have a new birth?

      if u answer please be to the point. the point is not Christ’ payment of sin to cleanse us and open to door to heaven (Heb 9:11 – 10:18), nor saints in Sheol till Christ set captivity free and took His 1st fruits to heaven.

      my question is; when did born again enter into the picture?


    • ray seaton

      what is your conclusion? when did born again begin? were Adam, Noah, Moses, etc. born again while living on earth and walking with God? or was God fellowshiping with there old nature (not being funny, i am currently seeking the answer)?

      the point is not concerning the blood of Christ and the payment of sin (Heb 9:11 – 10:18), nor is it about saints in sheol till then.

    • Voice

      New Testament saints are differ from and even better than the old testament in some sense according to scriptures. There are promises made in the OT that have been partly fulfilled in the NT by God (though the final fulfillment will be at the millennial reign of Christ. E.g Jer 31:30-35, 32:38-, Ezek 11:19, 36:26-27 etc.

      These passages explained the state and conditions the heart of OT were, why they did all they did. Often times the LORD use the adjective ” stiff necked” to qualify them due to their attitude, even the law as an external restrainer that’s their civil law and it judgement that caused them to fear were there.

      Now, these does not subscribed that God didn’t work in and among them. Scriptures explicitly shows that God’ Spirit came to accomplish things temporary with some of them.

      But the new testament saints is first made anew creatures, a new heart, regenerated with the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit. That is why the obligations of the new Testament saints are much weightier that of the old.
      The new testament saints also is cleansed ( continual cleansing). The Bible says we have a better promises than that of theirs and they without us cannot be made perfect……cont

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