The Holy Spirit did not make His first appearance at Pentecost. Students of the Bible will find Him mentioned as early as the creation account (Gen. 1:2). He is also shown to be doing the Father’s work throughout the Old Testament and Gospels. However, the Spirit arrived in the upper room with a fresh mission from the Father.
In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit empowered individuals for specific tasks. For example, Bezalel’s God-given wisdom and craftsmanship enabled him to become the tabernacle’s chief architect (Ex. 31:1-5). The Spirit also settled upon leaders needing help in administration (Num. 11:16-17), warriors facing formidable tasks (Judg. 6:34; 1 Sam. 16:13), and men called to proclaim God’s Word (Isa. 61:1; Ezek. 2:1-4). When the Father chose a person for a task, the Holy Spirit equipped that individual to accomplish it. He gave power only to certain people and didn’t necessarily remain with them long.
Indicating that the Spirit’s involvement with believers would be different than before, Jesus told the disciples, “He abides with you and will be in you” (John 14:17). God’s Holy Spirit had come alongside the disciples during their time with Jesus Christ. But following the completion of Jesus’ work on earth, He would dwell within them.
Since Pentecost, every believer has received the Holy Spirit. If Jesus is the vine and we are the branches, then the Spirit is the energizing sap that equips us for the Christian life. Furthermore, He no longer comes and goes but rather remains permanently. He seals us in Christ—proof of the promise that we are forever in God’s presence (Eph. 1:13-14).