Being Filled With the Spirit

Yehovah's method for empowering His people to accomplish His will

Being filled with the Spirit is not an event peculiar to the book of Acts.  In fact, Yehovah has been filling His servants with His Spirit for thousands of years before the Spirit's baptism was poured out in Acts.  When we are filled with the Spirit, we are empowered to carry out His will.  Yehovah fills His servants for His purpose, and the result of that filling changes depending on His objective.  

As we view this subject in the totality of Scripture, we will see the Spirit's annointing and empowerment in the lives of His servants.  It is this author's hope that you will see that being filled is not singled out to the granting of spiritual gifts, but is given to His people - for the service of His people.  Yehovah may annoint and empower you to be a bold witness in your workplace, to pray over a sick person, to care for the needy, to be a strong leader, or a host of other reasons that He may lead you in.

A most interesting point is that being 'filled with His Spirit' is entirely on God, it is outside of our control.  With all the talk about being filled with His Spirit, we are not filled/annointed/empowered based on our actions, on our timetable, but according to His will.  We often see Israel praying for deliverance and Yehovah raising up someone in answer to Israel's prayer.  But, even in this, this is not an individual seeking the Spirit's filling for himself.1

1. Joseph (Yoseph) is filled with the Spirit

Genesis 41:38-41, And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Could we find another like him, a man in whom is the Spirit of Elohim?”  Then Pharaoh said to Yosĕph, “Since Elohim has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you.  Be over my house, you yourself, and at your mouth all my people shall kiss – only in the throne I am greater than you.”  And Pharaoh said to Yosĕph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Mitsrayim.”

  • Purpose: Yehovah had been preparing Joseph for the position of ruler; in so doing, he was able to provide for physical nourishment of his family (Yeshua's lineage)
  • Spiritual Gifts: Intepreter of dreams 

2. Bezalel (Betsalel) & Oholiab are filled with the Spirit

Exodus 31:1-11, And Yehovah spoke to Mosheh (Moses), saying, “See, I have called by name Betsal’ĕl (Bezalel) son of Uri, son of Ḥur, of the tribe of Yehuḏah (Judah), and I have filled him with the Spirit of Elohim in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all work, to make designs for work in gold, and in silver, and in bronze, and in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, and to work in all work.  And I, look I have appointed with him Oholiaḇ son of Aḥisamaḵ, of the tribe of Dan.  And I have put wisdom in the hearts of everyone who is wise-hearted, and they shall make all that I have commanded you: the Tent of Meeting, and the ark of the Witness and the lid of atonement that is on it, and all the utensils of the Tent, and the table and its utensils, and the clean gold lampstand with all its utensils, and the altar of incense, and the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the basin and its stand, and the woven garments, and the set-apart garments for Aharon the priest and the garments of his sons, for serving as priests, and the anointing oil and sweet incense for the Set-apart Place.  According to all that I have commanded you, they are to do.”

See also: Exodus 35:20-36:1

  • Purpose: Yehovah equipped the men to become skilled craftsmen for the work of the tabernacle
  • Spiritual Gifts: None 

3. Moses & the seventy elders of Israel are filled with the Spirit

Numbers 11:16-17, Then Yehovah said to Mosheh (Moses), “Gather to Me seventy men of the elders of Yisra’ĕl, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them. And bring them to the Tent of Meeting, and let them stand there with you.  And I shall come down and speak with you there, and shall take of the Spirit that is on you, and put on them. And they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you do not bear it yourself alone."

  • Purpose: Yehovah empowered seventy elders to lead the people with Moses
  • Spiritual Gifts: None 

4. Balaam (Bil'am) was filled with the Spirit

Numbers 23:5, 16; 24:2, ...And Bilʽam lifted up his eyes and saw Yisra’ĕl encamped according to their tribes.  And the Spirit of Elohim came upon him.

  • Purpose: To praise Yehovah
  • Spiritual Gifts: Prophecy 

5. Joshua (Yehoshua) was filled with the Spirit

Numbers 27:15-21, And Mosheh (Moses) spoke to Yehovah, saying, “Let Yehovah, the Elohim of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation, who goes out before them and comes in before them, who leads them out and brings them in, so that the congregation of Yehovah be not like sheep without a shepherd.”  And Yehovah said to Mosheh, “Take Yehoshua (Joshua) son of Nun with you, a man in whom is the Spirit.  And you shall lay your hand on him, and shall set him before Elʽazar the priest and before all the congregation, and give him charge before their eyes, and shall put some of your esteem upon him, so that all the congregation of the children of Yisra’ĕl obey him.  And he is to stand before Elʽazar the priest, who shall inquire before Yehovah for him by the right-ruling of the Urim.  At his word they go out, and at his word they come in, both he and all the children of Yisra’ĕl with him, all the congregation.”

Deuteronomy 34:9, And Yehoshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom, for Mosheh had laid his hands on him. And the children of Yisra’ĕl listened to him, and did as Yehovah had commanded Mosheh.

  • Purpose: To be a strong leader of the people
  • Spiritual Gifts: None 

6. Othniel was filled with the Spirit

Judges 3:7-11, Thus the children of Yisra’ĕl did evil in the eyes of יהוה, and forgot Yehovah their Elohim, and served the Baʽals and the Ashĕrahs.  And the displeasure of Yehovah burned against Yisra’ĕl, and He sold them into the hand of Kushan-Rishʽathayim sovereign of Aram Naharayim.  And the children of Yisra’ĕl served Kushan-Rishʽathayim eight years. And when the children of Yisra’ĕl cried out to Yehovah, Yehovah raised up a saviour for the children of Yisra’ĕl, who saved them: Othni’ĕl son of Qenaz, Kalĕb’s younger brother.  And the Spirit of Yehovah came upon him, and he ruled Yisra’ĕl, and went out to battle, and Yehovah gave into his hand Kushan-Rishʽathayim sovereign of Aram Naharayim.  And his hand prevailed over Kushan-Rishʽathayim, and the land had rest for forty years. Then Othni’ĕl son of Qenaz died,

  • Purpose: To be a strong leader of the people.  Othniel, a little known judge, brought peace to the people for forty years.
  • Spiritual Gifts: None 

7. Gideon was filled with the Spirit

Judges 6:34-40, Then the Spirit of Yehovah came upon Giḏeon, and he blew the ram’s horn, and the Aḇiʽezerites gathered behind him.  And he sent messengers throughout all Menashsheh (Manasseh), who also gathered behind him.  And he sent messengers to Ashĕr, and to Zebulun, and to Naphtali.  And they came up to meet them.  And Giḏeon said to Elohim, “If You are saving Yisra’ĕl by my hand as You have said, see, I am placing a fleece of wool on the threshing-floor.  If there is dew only on the fleece, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You are saving Yisra’ĕl by my hand, as You have said.”  And it was so, and he rose early the next morning and pressed the fleece, and wrung dew out of the fleece, to fill a bowl with water.  And Giḏeon said to Elohim, “Do not be displeased with me, and let me speak only this time: Please let me try only this time with the fleece, please let it be dry only on the fleece, and let there be dew on all the ground.”  And Elohim did so that night, and it was dry on the fleece only, but there was dew on all the ground. 

  • Purpose: To deliver Israel from the invading armies
  • Spiritual Gifts: None 
  • Point of Interest: After Gideon was filled with the Spirit, literally 'clothed', he still had doubts as to God's will.  Gideon needed two fleeces to find confirmation from Yehovah.  This speaks volumes to us in that we can be filled with His Spirit (for a specific task) and still have doubts as to determining God's will.

8. Jephthah (Yiphtah) was filled with the Spirit

Judges 11:29, And the Spirit of Yehovah came upon Yiphtaḥ (Jephthah), and he passed through Gilʽaḏ (Gilead) and Menashsheh (Manasseh), and passed through Mitspeh of Gilʽaḏ. And from Mitspeh (Mizpah) of Gilʽaḏ he passed on toward the children of Ammon.

  • Purpose: To be a judge of Israel.  Jephthah was rejected by his family because he was the son of a prostitute.  He was selfishly motivated by political gain, yet Yehovah saw fit to use Jephthah to deliever Israel from the Ammonites.  
  • Spiritual Gifts: None 

9. Samson (Shimshon) was filled with the Spirit on multiple occasions

Judges 13:24-15, So the woman bore a son and called his name Shimshon (Samson).  And the child grew, and Yehovah blessed him.  And the Spirit of Yehovah began to move him at Maḥanĕh Dan, between Tsorʽah (Zorah) and Eshta’ol.

Judges 14:5-6, Then Shimshon (Samson) went down to Timnah with his father and mother, and came to the vineyards of Timnah, and saw a young lion came roaring at him.  And the Spirit of Yehovah came mightily upon him, and he tore it apart as the tearing apart of a young goat, with naught in his hand.  But he did not make known to his father or his mother what he had done.

Judges 14:19, Then the Spirit of Yehovah came upon him mightily, and he went down to Ashqelon and smote thirty of their men, stripped them, and gave the changes of garments to those who had explained the riddle.  And his displeasure burned, and he went back up to his father’s house.

Judges 15:13-15, And they spoke to him, saying, “No, but we are certainly going to bind you, and shall give you into their hand but certainly not kill you.”  So they bound him with two new ropes and brought him up from the rock.  When he came to Leḥi, the Philistines came shouting to meet him.  And the Spirit of Yehovah came mightily upon him.  And the ropes that were on his arms became like flax that is burned with fire, and his bonds broke loose from his hands.  And he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, and put out his hand and took it, and smote a thousand men with it. 

  • Purpose: Samson was a man of worldly passion, yet Yehovah saw fit to use him to deliver Israel from the Philistines (Palestinians). 
  • Spiritual Gifts: None 
  • Point of Interest: The Spirit of Yehovah came upon Samson many times, throughout his life, to serve Yehovah's purposes.

10. Micah was filled with the Spirit

Micah 3:5-8, Thus said Yehovah concerning the prophets who lead my people astray, who are biting with their teeth and have called out, “Peace!”  They even set apart a battle against him who does not give for their mouths.  Therefore it shall be night to you without vision, and darkness to you without divination.  The sun shall go down on the prophets, and the day shall be dark for them.  And the seers shall be ashamed, and the diviners embarrassed.  And they shall all cover their lips, for there is no answer, O Elohim.  But truly I am filled with power, with the Spirit of Yehovah, and with right-ruling and with might, to declare to Yaʽaqoḇ (Jacob) his transgression and to Yisra’ĕl (Israel) his sin.

  • Purpose: To boldy and righteously proclaim to the house of Israel their sin, and to the hosue of Jacob their transgression
  • Spiritual Gifts: None 

11. John (Yohanan) was filled with the Spirit

Luke 1:8-17, And it came to be, that while he was serving as priest before Elohim in the order of his division, according to the institute of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to burn incense when he went into the Dwelling Place of Yehovah.  And the entire crowd of people was praying outside at the hour of incense.  And a messenger of Yehovah appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense.  And when Zeḵaryah saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.  But the messenger said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zeḵaryah, for your prayer is heard. And your wife Elisheḇa (Elizabeth) shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Yoḥanan (John).  And you shall have joy and gladness, and many shall rejoice at his birth.  For he shall be great before Yehovah, and shall drink no wine and strong drink at all.  And he shall be filled with the Set-apart Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.  And he shall turn many of the children of Yisra’ĕl to Yehovah their Elohim.  And he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Ěliyahu (Elijah), ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the insight of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for Yehovah.”

  • Purpose: Empowered for the specific task of preparing 'the way' of Yehovah
  • Spiritual Gifts: None 

12. Elizabeth (Elisheba), John's mother, was filled with the Spirit

Luke 1:39-45, And Miryam (Mary) arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Yehuḏah (Judah), and entered into the house of Zeḵaryah (Zechariah) and greeted Elisheḇa (Elizabeth).  And it came to be, when Elisheḇa heard the greeting of Miryam, that the baby leaped in her womb.  And Elisheḇa was filled with the Set-apart Spirit, and called out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!  And who am I, that the mother of my Master should come to me?  For look, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.  Blessed is she who believed, for that which Yehovah has said to her shall be accomplished!”

  • Purpose: To proclaim a blessing upon Mary
  • Spiritual Gifts: None 

13. Zechariah (Zekaryah), John's father, was filled with the Spirit

Luke 1:67-75, And Zeḵaryah (Zechariah), his father, was filled with the Set-apart Spirit, and prophesied, saying, “Blessed be Yehovah Elohim of Yisra’ĕl, for He did look upon and worked redemption for His people, and has raised up a horn of deliverance for us in the house of His servant Dawiḏ, as He spoke by the mouth of His set-apart prophets, from of old – deliverance from our enemies and from the hand of all those hating us, to show compassion toward our fathers and to remember His set-apart covenant, an oath which He swore to our father Aḇraham: to give to us, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, to serve Him without fear, in set-apartness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life."

  • Purpose: To proclaim a blessing upon Yehovah
  • Spiritual Gifts: None, but an argument could be made for prophecy ("and prophesied")

14. Elohim's prophets were filled with the Spirit

2 Peter 1:19-21, And we have the prophetic word made more certain, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture came to be of one’s own interpretation, for prophecy never came by the desire of man, but men of Elohim spoke, being moved by the Set-apart Spirit.

  • Purpose: To proclaim Yehovah's tidings to His people
  • Spiritual Gifts: Prophecy

15. Yeshua's twelve apostles are filled with the Spirit

Acts 2:1-21, And when the Day of the Festival of Weeks (Pentecost) had come, they were all with one mind in one place.  And suddenly there came a sound from the heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.  And there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and settled on each one of them.  And they were all filled with the Set-apart Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them to speak.  Now in Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) there were dwelling Yehuḏim (Jews), dedicated men from every nation under the heaven.  And when this sound came to be, the crowd came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.  And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying to each other, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?  And how do we hear, each one in our own language in which we were born? ...we hear them speaking in our own tongues the great deeds of Elohim.”  And they were all amazed, and were puzzled, saying to each other, “What does this mean?”  And others mocking said, “They have been filled with sweet wine.”  But Kĕpha (Peter), standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice and said to them, “Men of Yehuḏah (Judah) and all those dwelling in Yerushalayim, let this be known to you, and listen closely to my words.  For these men are not drunk, as you imagine, since it is only the third hour of the day.  But this is what was spoken by the prophet Yo’ĕl: ‘And it shall be in the last days, says Elohim, that I shall pour out of My Spirit on all flesh... And it shall be that everyone who calls on the Name of Yehovah shall be saved.’"

  • Purpose: To proclaim and signify the great deeds of Elohim to the people of Israel
  • Spiritual Gifts: Tongues
  • Point of Interest: It is the Spirit that gave the utterance, the empowerment, to be a witness of Yeshua's resurrection.  Speaking in other languages (tongues) was used to partially fulfill prophecy, as a sign to 'all the house of Israel' (2:36-39).


See also: Matthew 12:28; John 11:51; Balaam (Numbers 24:2); Othniel (Judges 3:10); Gideon (Judges 6:34); Samson (Judges 14:6; 15:14); Saul (1 Samuel 10:10; 11:6); David (1 Samuel 16:13); The messengers of Saul (1 Samuel 19:20–23); Azariah (2 Chronicles 15:1); Jahaziel (2 Chronicles 20:14–15); Zechariah (2 Chronicles 24:20); Ezekiel (Ezekiel 11:5)

1 Ephesians 5:18 is the go-to-verse for the instruction to 'be filled with the Spirit', but this verse stands alone without an 'accompanying witness.'  Also, the Greek is missing the definite article ('the') that appears in most translations, and ἐν is usually translated 'with' here instead of 'in' or 'within' to properly represent 'place.'  ἐν can be explained from the viewpoint of location in every instance in the Greek NT.  Literally, Ephesians 5:18-19 reads; ...but be getting filled in spirit, speaking to one another in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and playing [the stringed instruments] to Yehovah with [all] your heart[s].  (Note: The Aramaic, as well as many of the older Greek texts and quotes has 'hearts', plural.)

Tags: Walking in the Spirit