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The holy spirit before and after Pentecost (PDF) PDF version

The holy spirit before and after Pentecost

We saw in the last issue that Adam was originally made body, soul and spirit and that when he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he lost the spirit. Therefore, God could no more communicate with him since he lacked the necessary receiver i.e. spirit. In this issue, we will examine the situation regarding the availability of spirit after Adam’s fall. Thus this issue could also very well be called "body, soul, spirit. (part II)". However, I preferred to call it "Pentecost and new birth realities" for the reason that Pentecost is going to be our central point of reference.

1. The man after Adam's fall and before Pentecost

As it was said, God is spirit and therefore to communicate with Him, and He with you, you need to have spirit. Since spirit was not available after Adam’s fall, what was happening during that period was that God put His spirit upon those who He wanted to communicate with. This does not mean that spirit was available. From Genesis to Acts, there is no record of any instruction as how to receive spirit, for the simple reason that spirit was not available1. John 7:37-39 tells us:

John 7:37-39
"On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly will flow rivers of living water. But this he spoke concerning the spirit which those believing in him would receive; for the holy spirit was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified."

According to this passage, holy spirit was not available at the time that Jesus Christ spoke these words and of course it was not available before that time as well. During all this period (from Adam’s fall to the day of Pentecost) if God wanted to communicate with someone, He put His spirit upon him. Let’s see some examples from the Old Testament starting from Numbers 11:16-17. According to the context, Moses wanted helpers for the governing of the people of Israel and God answered his request in verses 16-17:

Numbers 11:16-17
"So the Lord said unto 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."

As it is clear from this passage, Moses had spirit and he had it upon him. It is significant to point out two things here: first that the spirit was not in him, but upon him. When something is in you, it cannot be separated from you. It is part of your being. However, when something is upon you, then it is not one with you. Second: the fact that Moses had the spirit of God upon him, it was not because he decided that he would like to have spirit. Even if he decided that he would like to have spirit, there was no guarantee that he would have, for the simple reason hat spirit was not available. Actually, it was God that decided to put His spirit upon Moses and not the other way round. The same is true for those seventy men as well: the spirit of God was upon them, not because they decided to receive it but because God put it to make possible communication with them. Having seen this case, let’s see some more passages on the same topic. So:

Judges 3:9-10
"When the children of Israel cried out to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for the children of Israel who delivered them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him and he judged Israel and went out to war ....."

Did Othniel have spirit before? No. God put it upon him for the reason that he was the judge of Israel and God wanted to communicate with him. Let’s see another example:

Judges 6:33-34
"Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the east gathered together; and they crossed over and encamped in the valley of Jezreel. But the spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet [to gather the people of Israel for war]; and the Abiezernites gathered behind him."

Did Gideon have spirit before? No. Was it that Gideon received the spirit from God or that God put the spirit upon Gideon? To receive something it must be available and spirit was not available after Adam’s fall. So it was God Who chose to put His spirit upon Gideon for the reason that Gideon was the judge of Israel and God wanted to communicate with him. Similar examples are many in the Old Testament. Also if one examines the case of Saul, the first king of Israel, it can be seen that when he disobeyed God, the spirit of God that was upon him departed from him (see: I Samuel 15:26, 16:14).

So to summarize, Adam and Eve were originally body, soul and spirit. However, in the day that they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they lost the spirit. When you lose a form of life that is called death. That’s why they died in that day, exactly as God had said. From that time onwards spirit was not available. On the other hand, for God to communicate with people they have to have spirit. For this reason during this period, God had to put His spirit upon certain men of His choice. For example, all the prophets had the spirit of God upon them. God put it upon them to give them revelation. So, regarding the period before the day of Pentecost three things are noteworthy:

1. Spirit was not available.

2. God put his spirit upon those who He wanted to communicate with.

3. They could lose the spirit, which means that they had it under restrictions.

2. New Birth

Having seen what was the situation before the day of Pentecost it is now time to see what happens after the day of Pentecost. To see this, let’s start examining some things that Jesus Christ said in the gospels. As we read the corresponding records, we must bear in mind that at the time that Jesus Christ was on earth, spirit was not available as we have already seen from John 7:37-39. Therefore, whatever we see in the gospels about spirit it refers prophetically to the time that spirit would become available. Bearing this in mind, let’s have a look at John 3:1-6 :

John 3:1-6
"There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him." Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say unto you, unless one is born again [the Greek text reads "born from above"], he cannot see the kingdom of God."

According to Jesus Christ no man can enter the kingdom of God, if he isn’t born again or born from above. This is probably enough to resolve many arguments and guesses as to how one makes it to heaven. The answer is simple: You must be born from above. Now what does this "born from above" mean? The only birth that most of us know is the birth that was given to us by our parents. Nevertheless, here Jesus Christ tells us that there is one more birth, which is the prerequisite to "see the kingdom of God". Questions may come immediately to our minds: "How does this birth occur?", "who is the parent of this birth?", "what do I receive from this birth?". How will we answer these questions? By going to the Bible and leave it to interpret itself. So let’s see what it says:

John 3:4-5
"Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born? Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God."

In this passage Jesus Christ explains us that for a man to enter the kingdom of God he should be born of water and of the spirit. To be born of water means the first birth. Without having been born once, how could you be born again? He tells us also that one should be born of the spirit. The word "spirit" has various usages in the Bible. However, most of the usages refer either to God who is spirit (John 4:24 "God is spirit") or to the spirit that God gives. In the above passage "born of the Spirit" means born of God Who is spirit. In the first birth you were born "of water2". In the second birth you are born of the spirit i.e. you are born of God. That in this second birth you are born of God is also clear in verse 6 where we also learn what is received by this birth:

John 3:6
"That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."

Again the two births are put together in the same sentence but this time the purpose is to contrast them and to show that they are entirely different. From the first birth you received what your parents are i.e. flesh. Similarly, from the second birth you received what your parent, God, is i.e. spirit. Having answered the question about the second birth and who is the parent of this birth let’s move one step ahead to examine how this second birth occurs. Again the Bible is very sharp and clear in its answers:

I John 5:1
"whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God"

In this passage the Word of God tells us that to be born of God what is needed is to believe that Jesus is the Christ i.e the Messiah, the Saviour. Yes, so simple it is. Take a minute to think about it. If you are born of God what are you then? A child of God. A son or a daughter of God!! That is exactly what the epistle to Galatians also declares :

Galatians 3:26
"For you are all the children of God by faith (believing) in Christ Jesus."

To be a child of someone requires birth. And in the above given passages the Word of God declares that at the time that one believes in Jesus Christ is born of God. Do you believe in Jesus Christ? If yes, who is your Father? God is your Father. Is anyone more powerful than God? NO. What is impossible for Him? Nothing. Most people, because of either religion or tradition, think that God is someone that you cannot approach. Someone that is far from them and He becomes a bit nearer only after they follow a certain ritual or do certain religious works. If you have the same idea, you must change it if you want to fully exploit the power that God has put in you when He made you His child. Instead of the religious ideas that you may have collected from the church, the school and the family put on what the Word of God says: CHILD OF GOD. Let’s expand a bit more on this.

Isaiah 49:15
"Can a woman forget her nursing child and not have compassion on the son of her womb?"

If no then where do all these children that live in the streets and in the institutions come from? That’s why God says:

Isaiah 49:15
"Surely they may forget"

However, it does not stop there. It continues:

Isaiah 49:15
"yet I will not forget you"

Many parents forget or mistreat their children. However, God will never forget you. Do you know why? Because you are His child and He loves you. Also:

Hebrews 13:5
"Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." So we may boldly say: "The Lord is my helper; I will nor fear. What can man do to me?"

Who said that? Not me. God ("He Himself") said it. He promises that He will never leave you nor forsake you. Your friends may leave you, the government may abandon you, your boss may forsake you. But God will never leave you because you are His child. If you feel forgotten, neglected etc. it is because you look upon wrong things. Look to God your Father; develop a father-child relationship with Him and you will see how much more light your life will have. You also may boldly say: "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can a man do to me?"

3. Pentecost: the day of a new beginning

Returning now to our initial point, remember that spirit was lost in the day that Adam sinned. Also remember, that spirit was not available, after that day. Nevertheless, in John 3:6 Jesus Christ, speaking prophetically to Nicodemus, said that one could again have spirit. The point in time where spirit was again made available was the day of Pentecost, almost 2,000 years ago. So let’s read to see what happened that day:

Acts 2:1-4
"When the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the holy spirit and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance."

What is described above is the first outpouring of the holy spirit, that happened in the day of Pentecost. From that day onwards, holy spirit is again available and everyone that believes in Jesus Christ receives it and he can also manifest it with the nine ways listed in I Corinthians 12:7-10. One of these ways is speaking in tongues and it is this manifestation that was operated in the above passage of Acts.

4. Before Pentecost and after Pentecost: comparisons

 

4.1 The spirit is again available

It is now interesting to compare the situation after Pentecost with the one before Pentecost. As we have already seen, before the day of Pentecost, spirit was not available. However, from that day and because of what Jesus Christ accomplished, spirit is again available and you can again be body, soul and spirit. What a dramatic change! But it is not the only one.

4.2 The spirit is in you: you are the temple of God

We saw previously that before Pentecost people had the spirit of God upon them. It wasn’t in them. On Pentecost this situation also changed dramatically. From that day onwards, not only everyone that believes in Jesus Christ receives holy spirit, but also this spirit is in him. Let’s see some scriptures on this:

I Corinthians 6:19
"Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the holy spirit which is IN you, which you have from God.....?"

Where does the holy spirit, that you received when you believed in Jesus Christ, dwell? IN YOU. It is not upon you . It is IN you.

I Corinthians 3:16
"Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the spirit of God dwells in you?"

Again where does the spirit of God dwell? Many people, believe that the spirit of God dwells, in the so and so church of the so and so denomination. How much have people misunderstood what the Bible says? Here the Word of God tells us , that the spirit of God dwells IN you. It also says that "YOU are the temple of God". So the temple of God is not the church at the corner of the street but YOU and do you know why? Because the spirit of God dwells IN you. Here is the great difference between having the spirit upon you (before the day of Pentecost) and having the spirit in you (from the day of Pentecost). Before the day of Pentecost, those few people who had the spirit of God upon them, were not the temple of God for the simple reason that the spirit of God wasn’t in them but upon them3. That is the reason that the temple of Solomon was constructed. It was a temporary dwelling place of God. But today, there is no more need for man-made temples for the reason that today God does not dwell in buildings, but in men that love Him. This fact makes any man-made building, in which it is supposed that God dwells, at least a waste of time and money.

4.3 You cannot lose the spirit

Finally, it is very interesting to see whether you can lose the spirit that God gave you or not. We saw that Adam had the spirit under the restriction that he wouldn’t eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. When he violated this condition, he lost the spirit. Similarly, before the day of Pentecost, the people who had the spirit upon them, they had it under restrictions. So when Saul disobeyed God, he lost it. What about today? For one more time the difference is great. Today you don’t have the spirit under restrictions and therefore you cannot lose it. There was one condition that had to be fulfilled to receive spirit and that was to believe in Jesus Christ. Once you believed, you were born of God and you received holy spirit. You didn’t receive it under any restriction and that’s why you cannot lose it. Moreover, holy spirit is what you received when you were born of God. As your flesh and blood are the tokens of your first birth so the spirit is the token of your second birth. The birth is birth. It is an unaltered fact. As you will continue to be a child of your earthly parents whatever may happen, so you will continue to be a son or a daughter of God. I Peter tells us:

I Peter 1:23
"Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides for ever"

Our new birth came as a result of believing what the Word of God says concerning Jesus Christ. It is therefore a birth "through the Word of God". Now, when you were born of God you received the spirit of God in you. That's the seed, the proof, that you are born again and this seed is incorruptible. If you could ruin it, it would be corruptible. If Satan or any other could ruin it, it would be corruptible. But it is INCORRUPTIBLE.

So is it true to say that you have as much as Adam had before the fall? NO it isn’t true for you have more than Adam. Adam lost the spirit because he had it under restrictions. You cannot lose it because you have it without restrictions. Now you may think that in any case you cannot have as much as those great Old Testament prophets like Moses, Isaiah, David etc. had. Well, according to what we have read you do have much more than they. They had the spirit upon them, under restrictions and certainly they were no more than servants of God since new birth was not yet available. But you:

Galatians 4:7
"you are no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ."

So is it much more than Moses, Isaiah, David? Certainly yes. May you utilise to the full extend what God has made available for you in the new birth and walk the great walk that he has prepared for you.

 

Anastasios Kioulachoglou

 

 



Footnotes

1. In the case that such instructions were given, they were spoken prophetically for the period after the day of Pentecost.

2. In the first birth the baby is surrounded by water and therefore it is really "born of water".

3. Dwelling requires a dwelling place where you live in. In our case, before the day of Pentecost people could not be called "temple of God" for the simple reason that the spirit of God was not in them.