Luke 2:25-35 (ESV):

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation 31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”

33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

How was Simeon able to (1) have the Holy Spirit upon him (what does this mean by the way?), (2) receive revelations from the Holy Spirit and (3) be led by the Spirit prior to the official outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2)? Was it because of his righteousness and devoutness (verse 25)? Does this mean that all righteous and devout people in O.T. times had the Holy Spirit upon them as well?

  • You can ask the same question about virtually every Old Testament prophet; unless you think they could prophesy by another Spirit.
    – Lucian
    Oct 23, 2021 at 22:17
  • What was new at that first Christian Pentecost was that the way of Holy Spirit was powerfully presented to all flesh, because representatives of “all flesh” had come together on that big Jewish holliday, secondarily partaking of the outpouring. “Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language“ Oct 24, 2021 at 0:42

1 Answer 1


The great gift of the Holy Spirit was evident will before Pentecost as sampled below:

  • Isa 63:10 - But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit. So He turned and became their enemy, and He Himself fought against them.
  • Isa 63:11 - Then His people remembered the days of old, the days of Moses. Where is He who brought them through the sea with the shepherds of His flock? Where is the One who set His Holy Spirit among them,
  • Ps 51 - Cast me not away from Your presence; take not Your Holy Spirit from me.
  • Eze 37:1 - The hand of the LORD was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley
  • 2 Chron 20:14 - Then the Spirit of the LORD came on Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah ...
  • Eze 11:5 - Then the Spirit of the LORD came on me, and he told me to say: "This is what the LORD says ...
  • Judges 3:10 - The Spirit of the LORD came on him, so that he became Israel's judge and went to war.
  • Judges 6:34 - Then the Spirit of the LORD came on Gideon, and he blew a trumpet, summoning the Abiezrites to follow him
  • Judges 14:19 - Then the Spirit of the LORD came on Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead ...
  • 1 Sam 16:14 - Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul
  • 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 so forth. Thus, the Holy Spirit had been active well before Pentecost as the OP documents.

So, what happened at Pentecost that was different from previously such as in Luke 2:25-27?

In one sense, very little because we find in 2 Peter 1:20, 21 that -

Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture comes from one’s own interpretation. For no such prophecy was ever brought forth by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

This passage is discussing how the ancient OT prophets obtained their divine messages - exactly the same way as the NT did - from the Holy Spirit. However, in another sense, the Holy Spirit was given with much greater power and more democratically (on many more people) at Pentecost - that is main difference.

Suddenly at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was evident everywhere on many people with new, never-before seen supernatural gifts like Tongues, etc. Miracle and signs were far more common. See Acts 1:8 - the Holy Spirit was promised with "power".

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