SOME OLD TESTAMENT CONTEXT TO SPIRITUAL GIFTS
A. The main gift highlighted in the Old Testament is prophecy. God used prophets in a unique way throughout redemptive history to foretell of the coming Messiah. The emphasis from OT to NT on the gift of prophecy is telling about our mission. God desires that His people be His witnesses on the earth who proclaim and speak of His Gospel.
B. Numbers 11:29 – “Would that all the LORD’s people were prophets, that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!”
C. The filling of the Spirit was unto a task, a weighty task that the strength and wisdom of man could not bear.
D. Micah 3:8 – But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.
E. The Spirit epitomizes not by might, not by strength. The wisdom and power of the Spirit is antagonistic to the strength and wisdom of man. God therefore, puts His Spirit on the broken and contrite so that no one may boast.
F. Zechariah 4:6 – Then he said to me, This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.
G. In Acts 2, Peter interprets the pouring out of the Spirit at Pentecost as a sign or down payment of Joel 2. As the end of the age draws nearer the Spirit is being poured out for salvation on all who call on Him, and as a sign to Israel. The giving of the Spirit also stamps the testimony of the prophets, confirming the Gospel, specifically the revelation of the Cross and the imminence of the Day of the LORD.
H. 19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (ESV 2 Peter 1:19-21)
I. The Church continues in that prophetic tradition, the tradition that requires the Spirit’s power because of the opposition and backlash that comes when you stand before principalities and powers as God’s witnesses.
J. Acts 1:8 – but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.
K. The giving of spiritual gifts should be looked at in the same way the Spirit of Prophecy is given in the Old Testament. The Spirit is given to all of the Lord’s people, to confirm God’s prophetic promises and to embolden our witness. It requires spiritual gifts to fulfill the task of gospel proclamation.