by Mark S. Railey
July 4, 2021
It’s time to stop believing that the New Testament introduced a new view of righteousness, faith, and the infilling of the Holy Spirit. The leaders in the Old Testament knew what G-d required for salvation and righteousness. It wasn’t tradition, legalism, or anything like that. They understood that G-d required purity of heart, love, faith, and the presence of the Spirit of G-d.
Moses was filled with the Spirit of G-d for he wished that all the Lord’s people would be filled with the Spirit (Num. 11:29) and he could not have wished this if he himself did not know what being filled with the Spirit of G-d was all about. There are accounts of people being filled. For example, Exodus 31:3 records that G-d filled the artist/craftsman Bezalel with the Holy Spirit. Associating being filled with knowledge and craftsmanship hints at inspiration and understanding of G-d’s ways. Clearly, the students of the Torah knew what it meant to be filled with the Spirit. The students would have read Micah's words, “...I am filled with power—With the Spirit of the Lord—And with justice and courage...” (Micah 2:8). Most Christians believe that the biblical authors were inspired by the Spirit to write the Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:16).
According to Hebrews 11, the great leaders of the faith lived their lives through faith in G-d. If the biblical leaders had faith and were filled with the Spirit, then they would have been very similar to the believers today who claim salvation and righteousness by faith through the work of the Holy Spirit.
The great leaders of old did not believe they were righteous through legalism or works. Hosea spoke for God saying, “For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, And in the knowledge of G-d rather than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6). Micah asked, “What does the Lord require of you But to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your G-d? (Micah 6:8). Isaiah wrote, “Then the Lord said, ‘Because these people draw near with their words And honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote,...’ (Isa. 29:13). Isaiah’s ability to judge the people accurately means he knew G-d’s standard of righteousness and how the LORD felt. The Psalmist wrote, “If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” (Psa. 130:3). The Psalmist understood that no one was righteous enough to stand before G-d.
What can we conclude? The leaders of the Old Testament knew what G-d required for salvation and righteousness. They were saved by faith and were filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus/Yeshua clearly enunciated this: Salvation comes from God and not through works therefore love God and your neighbor for all the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments! As the manifestation of the Torah, Jesus/Yeshua was not teaching something new but rather reminding us of something very old.