RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT (PART 1)
RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT PART 2 … (THE GIFTS)
(INTRODUCTION 1 ) THE HOLY SPIRIT IN TRIBULATION TIMES
QUESTION: Thank you, so much for answering questions, this website has actually been my only source to God’s Word for a long time now (other than my Bible).
I have so many questions floating around in my head and I will try to find the answers in your articles. The one that doesn’t seem to be answered by any of your articles, however, is one of the restraints on Satan’s Power.
If Satan is restrained by the Holy Spirit, and that the only way he can completely have dominion over the earth is for that restraint to go, then are the believers after the Rapture not sealed with the Holy Spirit? It seems odd that the post-rapture believers, whose number will be more than any in the history of man, will not have the same or greater affect than the current believers who must be Raptured for Satan to come into the world. Is there any scripture supporting or denying anything about this or do we just not know?
Keep up the good work, and may God bless you in every endeavour.
ANSWER: This demonstrates the very special relationship that the Church has with God. Old Testament believers weren’t sealed with the Holy Spirit and neither are Tribulation believers. Only the Church enjoys the promise of security represented by the Holy Spirit’s presence within us. This is not to say that the Holy Spirit wasn’t busy in the Old Testament, nor does it imply that He won’t be around after the Church leaves. For as you say, it’s likely that His greatest work will be done after the Church Age ends.
The reason for the change is that only the Church is asked to believe solely by faith (John 20:29). Both in the Old Testament and in Daniel’s 70th week the evidence for God’s existence is all too obvious with all His mighty works of judgement. It simply won’t require as much reliance on faith to believe as it does during the Church Age. For this reason we’ve been given gifts and rewards that exceed both other groups, and one of those is the gift of the Holy Spirit.
As for Scriptural support, it’s mostly done from a position of silence. After consistent and frequent mention of the Holy Spirit in most of the New Testament, there’s no such prevalence in the Book of Revelation. There the focus is on God, as it was in the Old Testament.
(INTRODUCTION 2) THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE GREAT TRIBULATION
QUESTION: At our church some people teach that after the rapture of the Church, the ‘grace’ or the ‘Holy Spirit’ will be taken away from the gentiles and given to the Jews. Now we believe that many Jews don’t believe in Jesus because it’s not their time of grace, but ours (the gentiles), and once the Church is gone then this time of ‘grace’ will be given to the Jews. Is this true according to the Bible? If it is, then is it fair to say that who ever remains on earth during the tribulation period, it will be very hard for them to give their lives to God as the Holy Spirit wont’ be there for them to convince them of their sin. Is this true? Thank you for your answer.
ANSWER: It would be more accurate to say that the Holy Spirit reverts to an Old Testament style of ministry on Earth. Both Ezekiel 39:29 and Zechariah 12:10 tell of God’s Spirit being poured out on the Jews during Daniel’s 70th week. The Ezekiel outpouring brings them back into an Old Covenant relationship with God at the beginning of that final 7 years, and in Zechariah their eyes will be opened to the Messiah just before the 2nd coming.
But throughout the period, the Holy Spirit will be active among the Gentiles as well. A great many of the tribulation martyrs will be gentiles. Rev. 7:9 speaks of a great multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language who will have become believers after the rapture. Rev. 20:4 describes the martyrs who will be beheaded for refusing to take the mark of the beast during the Great Tribulation. And in the sheep and goat judgement (Matt. 25:31-46) we see tribulation survivors gathered from all the nations. These are gentiles. The ones called sheep will be welcomed into the Millennial kingdom on earth, signifying that they are believers. Whether martyred or still living, all these believers will have become so through the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT (PART 1)
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
I’ve gotten a raft of comments on my comparison of John 20:22 with Acts 2:1-4 in my answer to a recent question. Some were more diplomatic than others in suggesting my understanding of these verses leaves something to be desired. So let’s take another look and see how these two passages are alike and how they’re different. We’ll take John 20:22 first, in the context of the passage.
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Some have suggested that Jesus was only pretending here, his breath meant to imitate the sound the Holy Spirit would make when He really came 50 days later, and not investing the disciples with the Holy Spirit. But Acts 2:2 says the sound of the Holy Spirit was much different.
“Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.”
It’s like comparing the sound of blowing out birthday candles to the sound of a hurricane.
And the Greek word for receive in John 20:22 is lambano and means to take or lay hold of something in order to use it, or carry it away. It denotes permanence and possession. The same word is used in Acts 8:17 referring to the believers in Samaria when they finally realised they had received the Holy Spirit after Peter and John arrived. I don’t believe Jesus was pretending, any more than Peter and John were. I think the disciples who were present were receiving the Holy Spirit just like it says.
Jesus met with the disciples several times after that night, speaking with them about the Kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3)
On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:4-5)
The Greek word for baptize literally means to be temporarily immersed, usually in water. Jesus explained that while that was the case with John’s baptism, soon the disciples would be temporarily immersed in the Holy Spirit, giving them miraculous power.
So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:6-8)
This gift was not the receipt of the Holy Spirit, which had already happened, but the power to do miraculous works. Remember, He had previously told them the Holy Spirit had been with them and would be in them (John 14:17). This had been accomplished. Now He was saying the Holy spirit would come upon them.
This is seen in the use of the Greek word eperchomai which is translated to come upon or come on. It means to over power someone, or take them over. The same Greek word described the two instances recorded in Acts of Gentiles speaking in tongues. In Acts 10:44 the Holy spirit came upon the Gentiles listening to Peter at Cornelius’ house. In Acts 19:6 the Holy Spirit came upon a group of Gentiles when Paul baptized them in the name of Jesus. I believe both of these events were temporary situations intended to show the Jewish leadership that the Holy Spirit could come upon Gentiles as well as Jews.
The Holy Spirit had also come upon men in Old Testament times, as with Balaam (Numbers 24:2), Saul (1 Sam. 11:6), Amasai (1 Chron. 12:18), Azariah (2 Chron. 15:1) and Zechariah (2 Chron 24:20).
Understanding the difference between receiving the Holy Spirit (lambano) and having Him come upon you (eperchomai) helps clear up some of the confusion surrounding these verses.
AND NOW FOR Acts 2
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (Acts 2:1-4)
The word for filled also means to be temporarily taken over. And men had been filled with the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament as well. Examples are Joseph (Genesis 41:38) when he interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, and Bezalel of the tribe of Judah who was given supernatural skill in designing and working the gold, silver, and bronze ornamentation for the tabernacle (Exodus 31:2-4).
Both Zechariah and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist, were filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:41, 1:67) over 30 years before Pentecost. In addition, people are also said to be filled with wrath (Luke 4:28), fear (Luke 5:26), wonder (Acts 3:10), etc. In every case, the same Greek word is used. And in every case, it describes a temporary condition.
So being filled with the Holy Spirit did not originate with Pentecost, nor did having Him come upon us. But don’t get the idea that temporary means it only happens once for a little while and then it’s gone for good. Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit in Acts 2. But then he was filled again in Acts 4:8 and once more in Acts 4:31. Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit in Acts 9:17 and again Acts 13:9. It can happen every time there’s a need.
Here’s the point I made in my answer. When we first come to faith, the Holy Spirit is sealed within us as a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance (Ephes. 1:13-14) and will remain there as long as we live on this Earth. The disciples experienced this on the evening of the Lord’s resurrection, and ever since then every believer has had the same experience. But from time to time the Holy Spirit will come upon us and we will be temporarily filled with His power to perform a miracle on His behalf. Every believer can also experience this. It doesn’t require a special ceremony, and it doesn’t only happen in some churches. It can happen at any time to any believer who makes himself or herself available in faith. It has happened to me and it can happen to you. Selah 03-27-10
RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT PART 2 … THE GIFTS
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
Last time we discovered Pentecost was not the day the Disciples received the Holy Spirit, but instead, it was a time when He came upon them with an unmistakable display of power (Acts 2:1-4). Remember, they had already performed miracles in the Lord’s name. When He sent the 12 out to preach to Israel, He gave them authority to heal the sick and drive out demons (Luke 9:1-6). After that, He sent out 72 others to every town in Israel, Jewish, and Gentile, and they were able to heal the sick and drive out demons too (Luke 10:9,17). But never before had anything like the events of Pentecost happened.
WHAT HAPPENED ON PENTECOST?
We begin this part of our study by looking at the effect speaking in tongues had on those in the presence of the disciples on Pentecost. Since this was the first time anything like this had happened, we should expect to find some defining characteristics for this supernatural ability. Theologians call this the Principle of First Mention. It’s based on the fact that when an important idea appears for the first time in the Bible, additional detail is often included in the passage to help us understand it. For example, we find the first mention of cross in Matt. 10:38, where Jesus said,
“anyone who does not take His cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”
People sentenced to be crucified were required to carry their own cross to their execution, and we’ve all seen vivid enactments of the Lord doing just that. But He didn’t mean we all have to be crucified like He was. He meant that His followers must put their own plans for their life to death and seek to follow His plan for them instead.
With that, we’ll pick up the narrative in Acts 2:7 to get the crowd’s reaction to their use of the gift of tongues.
Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs-we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” (Act 2:7-11)
When the Holy Spirit came upon the Disciples that morning, they were supernaturally empowered to speak to their audience in such a way that each one present understood them in his own native language. Their hearts were opened to Peter’s sermon, and about 3,000 were baptized into the faith.
Later on, when Paul described the gift of tongues, he said it’s complimented by the gift of interpretation implying that messages in tongues are meant to be understood. Otherwise, they serve no purpose. Paul taught that if there is no interpreter present, then the person with the message is to remain silent. (1 Cor. 14:27-28) Without an interpretation, the message is meaningless.
By the testimony of these two examples, it’s clear that messages in tongues are meant to be understood and use of the gift is meant to be orderly, as a sign for unbelievers, just as it was at Pentecost. Uttering a phrase or sentence consisting of words no one on Earth can understand doesn’t meet either the Biblical definition of, or the Holy Spirit’s purpose for, the gift of tongues.
But when the Holy Spirit empowers someone to share a message in a language he or she can’t speak, that person is exercising the gift of tongues. When someone translates such a message into a language that everyone can understand, he or she is using the gift of interpretation. At Pentecost no interpreters were needed because everyone heard the Gospel in his own language.
GIFTS IN 1 COR. 12
As for spiritual gifts in general, the Bible makes it clear that every believer has at least one. These gifts are distributed by the Holy Spirit just as He determines, for the good of the body. (1 Cor. 12:7,11)
How the Holy Spirit distributes His gifts is hinted at in the words Paul used in listing them. The English word “another” appears eight times in 1 Cor. 12:8-10, but Paul alternated between two different Greek words when he wrote it. They both mean another, but allos means another of the same kind, while heteros means another of a similar but different kind. The way Paul used these two words is very instructive.
Using their different meanings, 1 Cor. 12:8-10 would read like this. (It will read more easily if I leave out the parts that say it’s all done by the same Spirit. I assume we already know that.)
“To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another (Greek allos, another of the same kind) the message of knowledge, to another (Greek heteros, another of a different kind than those given wisdom and knowledge) faith, to another (allos, same kind as those given faith) gifts of healing, to another (allos, same kind as faith) miraculous powers, to another (allos, same kind as faith) prophecy, to another (allos, same kind as faith) distinguishing between spirits, to another (heteros, of a different kind than either previous group) speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another (allos, same kind as those given tongues) the interpretation of tongues.
The way Paul alternated allos and heteros shows that he was separating believers into three groups. The first group gets the gifts of wisdom and knowledge; gifts for the second group include faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, and discernment; and the third has tongues and interpretation.
I don’t think we should necessarily understand this as a set of hard and fast rules. For one thing, the Holy Spirit can come upon any of us at any time with the temporary power to do what needs to be done at the moment. And for another, He distributes His gifts just as He determines for the good of the body. But it does confirm that different people get different gifts and can help us understand why certain gifts seem to be more prevalent in some parts of the Church than in others.
Even if some of the details concerning these gifts are confusing, others are very clear. For instance, every born-again believer was given at least one spiritual gift when we received the Holy Spirit to dwell within us. Our job is to use our gift(s) for the good of the body, following the Spirit’s prompting.
Also, the gift of tongues is not given to every believer and was never intended as evidence of a so-called baptism in the Holy Spirit.
GIFTS IN Romans 12
Some folks don’t realise there are other lists of gifts in the New Testament. One is in Romans 12 where Paul also gave us the procedure for discovering our gifts. First, we offer our lives totally to God, giving Him permission to accomplish His will in us. Next, we stop conforming to the pattern of this world and its preoccupation with getting all this life has to offer, often at the expense of our heavenly calling. Then we let ourselves be transformed by the renewing of our mind. We do this by rejecting the secular world view and accepting the Biblical one in its place. By doing these things, we’ll begin to understand God’s will for our life and how He’s gifted us to fulfil it. (Romans 12:1-2)
Then he listed seven more gifts the Lord has made available, again as He has determined.
We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. (Romans 12:6-8)
You can see from this passage the Lord intends for us to use our gifts. As you let Him re-order your life around the area of your giftedness, you’ll be more effective in everything you do and experience higher levels of satisfaction and well-being than you’ve ever known. And you’ll have a greater impact for good on those around you. This is what the Lord meant by streams of living water flowing from with in us. (John 7:37-39)
GIFTS IN (Ephesians 4
And there is still one more list from Paul. Speaking of Jesus, he said;
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13)
The gift of prophecy is contained in all three lists, perhaps reflecting Paul’s view that we should be eager to prophesy (1 Cor. 14:39), and teaching appears twice. So the total of 21 includes 18 unique gifts. The list in Romans 12 is attributed to the Father, the one in Ephesians 4 to the Son, and the one in 1 Corinthians 12 to the Holy Spirit.
Our gifts were invested in us the moment we heard the Gospel of our salvation and believed it. Sadly, some believers are never told they have a spiritual gift and therefore don’t ever look for it. Others know about it but need some time to tune out the static of their secular lives sufficiently to hear the still small voice of the Holy Spirit within them. When they do, they realise He’s been there all along, waiting to activate the gift He’s given them and provide guidance on its use.
Still, others come to the Lord at a point in life that makes them especially attuned to the Holy Spirit’s voice, and they immediately know, with a clarity they can’t explain, what their primary gift is and how they’re supposed to use it. For them, it’s like having a tiger by the tail as their lives are radically transformed, and they realize things will never again be the same as they were before.
Depending on their gift they may start a Bible study or a prison ministry, visit the sick, or begin giving away their money. Often they do this to the utter amazement of friends and family, who marvel at the change in them.
The only difference in these three groups is the length of time it takes to be transformed and renewed. The Holy Spirit is the same for all of us. As Charles Stanley so aptly puts it, “It’s not how much of the Spirit is in you, it’s how much of you is in the Spirit.” Selah 04-03-20