If I meet someone who is dead serious about studying the Holy Spirit with me, seeking a fresh powerful perspective I will start with the following passage.

John 7:39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

This passage gives the distinct impression that the Holy Spirit was not given up until this point in history. But that is not true. Consider the following passage.

 

Judges 3:10 The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, so that he became Israel’s judge and went to war. The Lord gave Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram into the hands of Othniel, who overpowered him.

Here we see it came upon a man to make him a hero leader in Israel.

Samson was another great example of the power of the Spirit coming upon.

Judges 14:6 The Spirit of the Lord came upon him in power so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat. But he told neither his father nor his mother what he had done.

I have already shown in ‘Miracles do not prove your salvation’, how King Saul had the Spirit upon him as King and then again after it had departed from him, it came upon him and the soldiers he sent to kill David. This was a case where the Spirit was upon someone who was not in a right relationship with God.

The reason John 7 appears to be incorrect is that it is referring to a very different reception of the Holy Spirit. If you look carefully you will see that the old testament passages are all referring to receiving the Holy Spirit ‘on’ or ‘upon’.

So the answer to the question in the title is, ‘yes, but it was an entirely different reception of the Holy Spirit which actually continued into the New Testament period’. However, the receiving of the Spirit described in John 7 was a new and powerful in-dwelling reception that was given only after obedience to certain commands.

Acts 5:32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

Here we see that the Holy Spirit is given to those who obey God. This cannot be the same measure as the Old Testament measure of receiving the spirit ‘upon’. The spirit was received ‘upon’ according to the will of God and not according to the righteousness of the individual who is receiving it. But here in the early church, we see that this Holy Spirit measure is given to those who obey God. This is a clear indication that this is referring to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which is given after repentance and during obedience to the command regarding baptism. Repentance from acts that lead to death is nothing except the obedience to God’s Word that is necessary before baptism. This is the measure of the Holy Spirit which is for all Christians and which comes as a result of repentance and water baptism as preached by Peter on the day of Pentecost when he said ‘repent and be baptised every one of you for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’. This was to be the only enduring and absolutely necessary reception of the Holy Spirit that was to be preceded by obedience to the commands to repent and to be baptised (Acts 2:37 Ephesians 4:5).

During the New Testament period, the Spirit was given indwelling at baptism and also in additional measure ‘upon’ for specific reasons in certain circumstances.

Acts 8:16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.

Here we see that believers who had already received the Holy Spirit at baptism have not yet received the spirit upon. As it says here, the Holy Spirit and not come ‘upon’ any of them. It had however been given to them in-dwelling at their baptism in Jesus Name.

 

Acts 10:44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.

Here again, the Holy Spirit came suddenly ‘upon’ a group of gentiles so that they could speak in Tongues and they were then baptised to receive the indwelling measure.

 

Acts 10:47-48 “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.

There are over 5000 denominations in the world today. Something I believe to be a miracle, is that among these thousands of denominations there are only 15 or 20 mutually exclusive formulas regarding how someone becomes a Christian, has their sins forgiven and receives the Holy Spirit. Biblical speaking only one of these mutually exclusive patterns of teaching can be true. There is so much division in churches and yet a much smaller level of division exists in terms of how someone can be saved. It is a fairly easy job to study all these different formulas with someone who has already obtained the information. What I have found is that when one understands that there are three distinct receptions of the Holy Spirit throughout the Bible timeline all the descriptions of individuals or groups of people receiving the Holy Spirit in the New Testament and the Old Testament are easily harmonised. Sometimes the Spirit is given in the ‘upon’ form at a point before water baptism. Sometimes the spirit comes ‘upon’ after water baptism. Water baptism is for salvation. The Holy Spirit coming upon an individual or a group is simply to fulfill God’s purpose and is not for salvation. Miracles do not prove salvation. Obedience followed by water baptism is how anyone today can receive the Holy Spirit indwelling.

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