Who was the first person recorded in scripture to have the Spirit in them…not just upon them?
Was it Bezalel, the great craftsman? Or Was it Joseph, the ruler of Egypt? One of them is questionable, but the other is a certain and sure thing. Many theologians would tell us that it was neither. They say that in the Old Testament the Holy Spirit only “came upon” people temporarily. However, in these two cases, the scriptures paint a different picture.
First, let’s take a quick look at Joseph. He’s the questionable one.
In Genesis 41, Joseph tells Pharaoh that “God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do”. Then Joseph tells Pharaoh about the dreams and interprets them. The Scriptures never indicate that the Spirit “came upon” Joseph. Instead, we read a story about a young man who heard from God, believed it, and God’s presence appears to remain with him…even when he is thrown into a well and sold into slavery. After Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dream, Pharaoh makes a first-time declaration in scripture. Pharaoh testifies saying:
“Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God”–Genesis 41:38
This is the first time that scripture speaks of God’s Spirit being “in” someone. The problem is that it is the testimony of Pharaoh. So, is heathen Pharaoh speaking divinely revealed truth? Or is heathen Pharaoh just speaking his opinion? Joseph said earlier that “God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do”. If God can show Pharaoh what He was about to do, couldn’t He also give Pharaoh enough sense to accurately see who had the Spirit of Elohim (Hebrew Bible) in them?
What do I think? I think Pharaoh was absolutely right. Joseph had the Spirit dwelling in him. You may laugh but I think the Holy Spirit “came upon” Pharaoh in a dream, and once the dream was interpreted, Pharaoh knew who had the Spirit “in” them. I also don’t think the Holy Spirit left Joseph either. I think the Spirit remained in Joseph.
In addition to Joseph, the scriptures tell us that these Old Testament characters had the Spirit “in” them, not just upon them:
So the LORD said to Moses, “Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him–Numbers 27:18 (in this instance, it is God who declares that the Spirit is “in” him…not upon him).
Finally, Daniel came into my presence and I told him the dream. He is called Belteshazzar, after the name of my god, and the spirit of the holy gods is in him.–Daniel 4:8 (also, 5:11-14, 6:3)
My point in writing this is to defrost the window and show that the Holy Spirit may have operated differently than what many of us have been taught. If our thoughts have been hindered in our theology of the how the Spirit worked back in the OT, then how clear are we in our understanding of how He works today? Trust me, we are going somewhere with this. In Part 2 we will look at Bezalel, an Old Testament man who was unquestionably “filled with the Spirit of God”. Bezalel has even more to show us.
Hopefully, I am not alone in this topic. Sometimes I hit a home run, and other times I strike out. I don’t write for my own sake. Hopefully, there is enough interest in this controversial subject to justify the time and research needed to present Part 2. I’ll be watching to see how well this is received by the amount of likes and shares. If not, we will move on to the next subject. Blessings to all!