When did the Holy Spirit first come to Earth?
The Holy Spirit has been on Earth for a long time (Genesis 1:1,2). He was involved in the creation of the universe; therefore, it would be safe to say that He has always been on Earth (Isaiah 40:12-15).
Why did the Holy Spirit descend from Heaven like a dove to rest on Jesus if He was already here? (John 1:32)
The Holy Spirit is God and is not confined to the narrow concept of time and space that we have in our lives on Earth. He exists in one dimension everywhere in the universe simultaneously (Psalms 139:7,8). However, He came in a different dimension to rest upon Jesus. The Holy Spirit came upon Jesus to empower Him for ministry (Luke 4:14,17,18,19). Remember, Jesus emptied Himself (1) of self (i.e., His right to all that being God entails) before being born of the Virgin Mary (Philippians 2:6,7). Consequently, the miracles performed by Jesus were done in the power of God the Holy Spirit not in Jesus’ power as God (Acts 10:38). Again, Jesus was very God of God when He walked the Earth; however, He had voluntarily “emptied” Himself of the right to use His power as God. He came to earth as “son of man” empowered by the Holy Spirit to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).
So what changed with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (i.e., at the birth of the Church)?
The Holy Spirit was already with the Apostles, but Jesus said that He would soon come to live inside them (John 14:16-17). Realize, the Holy Spirit in one dimension had always been present with the Apostles on Earth. However, while Jesus was on Earth, He came in a different dimension to be with them for power to do the works of Jesus (Matthew 10:5-8).
Furthermore, on the day of Pentecost, the great mystery is revealed – God has planned to come and “tabernacle” within reborn man! (Colossians 1:27) However, Jesus also said the Holy Spirit would come upon the Apostles at this time, too (Luke 24:49. Acts 1:8).
The Holy Spirit was already with the Apostles, and then at Pentecost, He came within them and upon them. He came within them to cause their spirit that was dead to God to be reborn (Ezekiel 36:26-27). He then took up residence in their spirit to cause their transformation into Christlikeness (1) as they yielded to Him (1 Corinthians 6:19). This is the growing of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives (John 7:37-39. Galatians 5:22,23).
The Holy Spirit then came upon the Apostles to empower them to continue the ministry of Jesus – destroying the works of the devil! (Luke 4:18,19. Acts 1:8)
Does the Holy Spirit always come within (in one dimension) and upon (in a different dimension) a Christian simultaneously today?
Looking at the book of Acts there is precedence for the Holy Spirit coming within and upon new believers simultaneously at Pentecost (first Jews reborn) (Acts 2:1-4) and at Cornelius’ house (first Gentiles or non-Jews reborn) (Acts 10:44-48. Acts 11:15-17). After that, it appears that some received the Holy Spirit within them first but later received the Holy Spirit upon them (Acts 8:12-17. Acts 19:1-6). Therefore, both simultaneously and as separate events are possible today.
Consequently, it is possible to be born again with all of the Holy Spirit living inside you in one dimension yet not have the Holy Spirit in a different dimension upon you. Being born again is our “ticket to heaven, ” and the Holy Spirit will inculcate Christlikeness in our lives if we yield to His guidance. However, it is having the Holy Spirit upon us that will empower for the most effective ministry (Acts 1:8).
How do you know if the Holy Spirit is upon you?
This may be the first time you have heard of the Holy Spirit coming upon you similar to those in that heard this for the first time in the book of Acts (Acts 9:17. Acts 8:12-17. Acts 19:1-6).
Do you know if you are going to Heaven if you die? How do you know? In the same way, do you know if the Holy Spirit has come upon you? You can know this just as real as you know you are saved. If you are not sure, then accept the Lord Jesus as Savior (1) (if not already saved) and ask for the Holy Spirit to come upon you.
Remember that you get all of the Holy Spirit in one dimension when you are saved and then grow to voluntarily allow the Holy Spirit have all of you - which is the journey to transformation into Christlikeness. However, you may still not have the Holy Spirit upon you in this journey to Christlikeness. Again, if you do not know if the Holy Spirit is upon you then ask! (Luke 11:13. Acts 5:32)
Is the promise of the Holy Spirit coming upon the believer for today?
Yes, for all that will answer the Lord’s call to repentance! (Acts 2:38,39)
What does the expression “filled with the Holy Spirit” mean? (Luke 4:1. Acts 2:4. Acts 4:8. Acts 4:31. Acts 13:52. Ephesians 5:18)
The expression filled with the Holy Spirit speaks of the Spirit completely influencing the mind and spiritual heart of the believer. The result is that the Holy Spirit leads the Christian’s mind and spiritual heart. Realize that the Holy Spirit is not a substance to fill an empty receptacle; He is a Person to lead another person, the believer. He does not fill a Christian’s life with Himself nor does He control a person like a robot against their will.
Furthermore, the Holy Spirit does not automatically lead the believer just because He indwells him. The influence that the Holy Spirit exerts over the believer is dependent upon the believer’s active and correct adjustment to the Spirit. The Lord Jesus did not save us until we recognized Him as the Savior and put our trust in Him for salvation. Likewise, the Holy Spirit does not lead us in the sense of permeating our will, mind, and emotions, until we recognize Him as the One who has been sent by the Father (at Jesus’ request - John 15:26) to sanctify our lives, and trust Him to perform His ministry in and through us.
There must be an ever present conscious dependence upon and definite subjection to the Holy Spirit, a constant yielding to His ministry and lean upon Him for guidance and power if He is to lead the believer in the most efficient manner and with the largest and best results. (2)
Furthermore, this leading will not transpire without sincere desire (Matthew 5:6. Romans 14:17). Again, the Holy Spirit does not control a person but rather develops the self-control of a person such that they can voluntarily choose by an act of their will to follow Him unreservedly (Galatians 5:22,23). Furthermore, to be constantly under the influence of the Holy Spirit is God’s plan for the normal Christian way of life!
To be continued (1)
Links to the entire series:
(1) Left click on underlined phrase to open another article in a different tab with more explanation.
(2) Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest's Word Studies - From the Greek New Testament, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Reprinted 1999, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49502, ISBN: 0-8028-2280-0