Tuesday, September 16, 2008

God with Men in the Torah (James Hamilton)

Were Old Covenant saints indwelt by the Holy Spirit? Assuming that John 7:39 teaches that the Holy Spirit would not continually indwell believers until after the cross, this study seeks to establish what the Pentateuch does and does not say about the presence of God with regard to its faithful. Herein we seek todemonstrate two things. First, that God’s presence with his people is a pervasivereality in the Pentateuch. Second, that God creates his Old Covenant remnantby revealing himself and maintains it by abiding with his people.

These two points are significant because in the OldTestament there is a direct correlation between the favorable presence of God and the well-being of hispeople, physical as well as spiritual. The upshot of this is that the Old Testamentdoes not conceive of God creating and keeping a believing remnant by hisSpirit’s dwelling in each individual member of the remnant. God’s dwelling place in the Old Testament is in the midst of his people, but in the midst of themmeans in the tabernacle and later the temple, not in their individual bodies.

The contention of this study is that God’s self-disclosure and his favorable presence with his people constitute the Pentateuch’s description of how the Old Covenant faithful became and remained believers. It is clear in the New Testament that the New Covenant faithful become and remain believers because they are regenerated and indwelt by God’s Spirit (e.g., Gal 3:3; Rom 8:9-11). Some infer that, ‘‘Since He keeps the New Testament saint by indwelling . . . it seems reasonable to believe that He kept the Old Testament saint in the same way.’’ One of the working hypotheses of the present study is that John 7:39 forbids this inference.

The New Testament indicates that Old Covenant believers were not indwelt, and the claim of this study is that the Old Testament does not explicitly teach that they were. Nevertheless, there is evidence that, whatever means heemployed, it was God who enabled Old Covenant believers to have and maintain faith. For example, God tells Elijah that he (God) will cause 7,000 to remain who have not worshiped Baal (1 Kgs 19:18). The thesis of this study is that the means God employed to preserve his remnant were his word (i.e., his self-revelation) and his presence....

Read the God with Men in the Torah by James Hamilton, at BeginningWithMoses.org

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