Bible Question:

If we must be born again to be filled with Holy Spirit, how could Elizabeth and Zacharias be filled without being born again?

Bible Answer:

The filling of the Holy Spirit is not well understood among some Christians. There is great confusion. For example, what is the answer to the question, “How could Elizabeth be filled with the Spirit and not be saved?” The answer is found in the Old Testament. For a very helpful study on the filling of the Holy Spirit, visit “The Spirit’s Ministry – Tongues and Prophecy.” The following answer will explain why Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit before the day of Pentecost that occurred after Jesus’ death and resurrection.

How could Elizabeth be filled with the Spirit and be born again?

Some Old Testaments Saints Were Filled With The Spirit

In the Old Testament, some of the saints had the Holy Spirit come upon them. The chart below shows that the Holy Spirit came upon Old Testament believers in Exodus, Numbers, Judges, 1 Samuel, 1  and 2 Chronicles, Isaiah and Ezekiel.

Holy Spirit's Ministry In The Old Testament

This is significant information because it shows that the Holy Spirit came upon and did enter some believers. But the Holy Spirit was only with each individual temporarily.  The Holy Spirit did not permanently indwell or live within the believers. That did not happen to believers until the day of Pentecost, after Jesus’ death and resurrection.

A False Prophet Was Filled With The Spirit

It is also important to notice that the false prophet, Balaam (), had the Holy Spirit come upon him (Number 24:1-6; 27:18). Obviously Balaam was not a believer. So, the Holy Spirit can choose to come upon a person without the person being a believer. The Spirit was upon Moses and on one occasion, God said He would take of the Spirit on Moses and put Him upon others to share the burden of leadership. (Numbers 11:16-26).

Conclusion

These facts help us understand why Elizabeth could have been filled with the Holy Spirit before the day of Pentecost, after Jesus’ death and resurrection. Today, Christians are filled with the Holy Spirit at the moment of saving faith. Then the Holy Spirit continues to indwell them until they die and their spirits ascend to heaven.

Suggested Links:

The Spirit’s Ministry – Tongues and Prophecy
How To Be Filled With The Spirit
God’s Will – Be Filled With The Spirit
What are the signs that a person is filled with the Holy Spirit?
Did the Holy Spirit come upon or fill the Old Testament saints?