Usually, when we speak about the Holy Spirit, we stress the things He has done from the day of Pentecost until now. Why? The reason is evident, because on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit was poured upon the Church, on that day the promise of the Father was fulfilled and a new dispensation began. However, the Holy Spirit was present and worked powerfully also before that day. The Scripture speaks of the things He did before that particular day. Therefore it is a good thing to speak also about the things the Spirit of God did or enabled people to do before the day of Pentecost.

The Spirit of God was in Joseph the son of Jacob, who interpreted the dreams of the king of Egypt and gave him wise counsels in order to save the Egyptians from death during the seven years of famine. Pharaoh said to his officials about Joseph: “Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?” (Genesis 41:38). The plan suggested by Joseph seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his officials and thus Pharaoh made Joseph ruler over Egypt and all his palace, so that Joseph might accomplish the plan that he had suggested to Pharaoh. Indeed, it is the Spirit in a man who “gives him understanding” (Job 32:8 - NIV). He is a Spirit of wisdom, who imparts wisdom to those who fear God.

God filled Bezaleel with the Spirit to enable him to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, and to work in all manner of workmanship. After God showed Moses the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings and told him how to build the tabernacle, He said to him: “See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, And in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship” (Exodus 31:2-5).

The Spirit of God was upon Moses and the seventy elders of Israel, and gave them wisdom to guide the Israelites, as it is written: “So the LORD said to Moses: ‘Gather to Me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; bring them to the tabernacle of meeting, that they may stand there with you. Then I will come down and talk with you there. I will take of the Spirit that is upon you and will put the same upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, that you may not bear it yourself alone. …. So Moses went out and told the people the words of the LORD, and he gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people and placed them around the tabernacle. Then the LORD came down in the cloud, and spoke to him, and took of the Spirit that was upon him, and placed the same upon the seventy elders; and it happened, when the Spirit rested upon them, that they prophesied, although they never did so again” (Numbers 11:16-17, 24-25 - NKJV). Please note that when the Holy Spirit came upon the seventy elders He made them prophesy, for that was something that occurred several other times under the Old Testament when the Spirit came upon someone. For instance, when the Spirit came upon Saul he prophesied, as it is written: “And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them” (1 Samuel 10:10).

The Spirit was in Joshua, the successor of Moses (Numbers 27:18). God said to Moses to chose Joshua for in him the Spirit was.

The Spirit came upon the Judges and gave them power and courage, so that they might deliver the Israelites from their enemies, and enabled them to rule over the people of Israel. The Spirit came upon Othniel (Judges 3:10), Gideon (Judges 6:34), Jephthah (Judges 11:29), and Samson (Judges 13:25; 14:6; 14:19; 15:14).

The Holy Spirit came upon Balaam and made him prophesy, as it is written: “And when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he went not, as at other times, to seek for enchantments, but he set his face toward the wilderness. And Balaam lifted up his eyes, and he saw Israel abiding in his tents according to their tribes; and the spirit of God came upon him. And he took up his parable, and said, Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man whose eyes are open hath said: He hath said, which heard the words of God, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open ….” (Numbers 24:1-4). The Spirit came upon the prophet Azariah and made him prophesy, as it is written: “And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded: And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you” (2 Chronicles 15:1-2). The Spirit came upon Jahaziel, as it is written: “Then upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of the LORD in the midst of the congregation; And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's …” (2 Chronicles 20:14-15). He came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada, as it is written: “And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the LORD, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the LORD, he hath also forsaken you” (2 Chronicles 24:20). The prophet Isaiah was sent by God with His Spirit, as it is written: “Come near me and listen to this: ‘From the first announcement I have not spoken in secret; at the time it happens, I am there.’ And now the Sovereign LORD has sent me, with his Spirit” (Isaiah 48:16 - NIV). The Spirit came upon David, as it is written: “Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward” (1 Samuel 16:13), and He spoke by him, as David himself said: “The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue” (2 Samuel 23:2). Jesus Christ confirmed that David spoke by the Spirit, for it is written: “While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, ‘What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he? ‘The son of David,’ they replied. He said to them, ‘How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’?” (Matthew 22:41-43 – NIV). The prophet Ezekiel was lifted up between earth and heaven by the Spirit and in visions of God the Spirit took him to Jerusalem, as it is written: “The Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and in visions of God he took me to Jerusalem, …. “ (Ezekiel 8:3; read also 11:1;11:24;43:5 - NIV). The prophet Micah was filled with the Holy Spirit (Micah 3:8). Therefore, according to the Scriptures, the prophets of old were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke by the Spirit. They spoke by the Spirit not only when they warned the people to repent of their sins and to come back to the Lord, as it is written: “For many years you were patient with them [the Israelites]. By your Spirit you admonished them through your prophets” (Nehemiah 9:30 – NIV), but also when they predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow, as it is written: “Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven” (1 Peter 1:10-12 – NIV).

The Spirit moved some men (such as Moses, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc) to write the books of the Old Testament, for the apostle Peter says: “And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:19-21 – NIV).

The Spirit dwelt among the Israelites, as God said to His people. “My Spirit remains among you” (Haggai 2:5 – NIV); He instructed the Israelites, as it is written: “Thou gavest also thy good spirit to instruct them, and withheldest not thy manna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst” (Nehemiah 9:20), and admonished them when they forsook the Lord, as it is written: “Yet many years didst thou forbear them, and testifiedst against them by thy spirit in thy prophets: yet would they not give ear: therefore gavest thou them into the hand of the people of the lands” (Nehemiah 9:30). God sent them His words by His Spirit through His prophets (Zechariah 7:12).

The Spirit guided, as David said to God: “May your good Spirit lead me on level ground” (Psalm 143:10 - NIV).

The Israelites were given rest by the Holy Spirit, as it is written: “Like cattle that go down to the plain, they were given rest by the Spirit of the LORD. This is how you guided your people to make for yourself a glorious name” (Isaiah 63:14 – NIV).

The Spirit of the Lord put the adversary to flight, as it is written: “When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD will put him to flight” (Isaiah 59:19 - NIV).

The purposes of God were accomplished by the Spirit, as it is written: “This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).

Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, when she heard the greeting of Mary, was filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:41).

Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, eight days after the birth of John, was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied (Luke 1:57-79).

John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:15), so he also spoke by the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit was upon Simeon and had revealed to him that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ, and then prompted Simeon to come to the temple in Jerusalem to see the child Jesus (Luke 2:25-28).

Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38); when He was about thirty years old He was anointed with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16), that is to say, He was filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:1) - concerning this, it must be said that God gave not the Spirit by measure unto Jesus (John 3:34); Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1); He returned from the wilderness in the power of the Spirit to Galilee (Luke 4:14); He cast out demons by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:28); He rejoiced in the Spirit (Luke 10:21); He, through the Spirit, offered Himself without spot to God in order to purge our conscience from dead works (Hebrews 9:14); His dead body was quickened by the Spirit (1 Peter 3:18) and He was declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead (Romans 1:4); He was vindicated by the Spirit (1 Timothy 3:16); through the Holy Spirit He gave commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen (Acts 1:2).

The disciples of Jesus received a measure of the Holy Spirit before the day of Pentecost, because when Jesus appeared to them, He said: “Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (John 20:22).