God the Holy Spirit (Part IV): Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the Holy Spirit

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 in the form of a Dove (1). 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., of 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. Hebrews 2:14).

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. 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). Similar to coming upon others in the Old Covenant.

Then the Spirit of God clothed Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, and he stood above the people, and said to them, “Thus says God, ‘Why do you break the commandments of the Lord, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the Lord, he has forsaken you.’ ” (2 Chronicles 24:20 ESV)

Again, 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 (1) in our lives (John 7:37-39. Galatians 5:22,23).

The Holy Spirit then came upon the Apostles to empower them with the gifts of the Spirit (1) 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 a 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 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 (1) when you are saved and then grow to voluntarily allow the Holy Spirit to have all of you – which is the sanctification 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 like you fill your gas tank with gas, 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 absolute subjection to the Holy Spirit, a constant yielding to His ministry, and leaning 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)

This leading will not transpire without sincere desire (Matthew 5:6. Romans 14:17).  Again, the Holy Spirit, who came upon Jesus in the form of a gentle, innocent, and vulnerable dove (1), does not control a person but instead 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! (Ephesians 5:18)

What does the term “baptized” with the Holy Spirit mean?

To baptize means – to place into.  Again, God the Father sent the Holy Spirit upon Jesus’ request, and subsequently, Jesus baptizes believers (i.e., puts them into) the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11. Mark 1:8. Luke 3:16. John 1:33).  The first people to be baptized with the Holy Spirit, by reason of Jesus’ request to the Father (John 14:16. John 15:26. Acts 2:33), were the approximately 120 waiting in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost including Mary Jesus’ mother (1) (Acts 1:4. Acts 1:12-15). The Holy Spirit came into the room and filled it with Himself (Acts 2:1,2).  Therefore, they were placed into or baptized in the Holy Spirit (Acts 11:16) and the Holy Spirit came within them (1 Corinthians 12:13).

We typically think of baptism (1) as taking a person and lowering them into a container full of water until they are completely immersed. However, the same effect could be had by having a person stand in an empty container and then fill the container with water until they are entirely immersed or baptized. The latter better describes what happened on the Day of Pentecost as the Holy Spirit filled the room, thus immersing or baptizing everyone present with Himself!

The Holy Spirit baptized or immersed them in Himself, causing their dead (to God) spirits to be replaced with a new perfect spirit (Ezekiel 36:26,27. 1 Corinthians 6:11. Hebrews 12:23).  This is part of the mystery of the Body of Christ – the Holy Spirit (AKA, Spirit of Jesus (Acts 16:7), Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9. 1 Peter 1:11), or Spirit of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:19)) comes inside us to join us all together with Jesus as our Head.

Please allow me to go on record here to state that this in no way makes us God.  We are the creation, and He the triune God is the creator! To Him alone be glory forever! (1 Timothy 1:17) 

That is, the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is when we are born again, placed into the Body of Christ, and the Holy Spirit indwells us (1 Corinthians 12:13. Ephesians 4:4-6. 1 Corinthians 6:19).

Therefore, the following terms can be considered synonymous:

  • Holy Spirit “within” a person(s)
  • Holy Spirit “baptizing” a person(s)

What does the term “anointed” with the Holy Spirit mean?

Jesus stated that the “anointing with the Holy Spirit” is synonymous with the “Holy Spirit coming upon” someone (Luke 4:18. Luke 3:21-23).  Furthermore, Luke, in the book of Acts, identifies that this anointing with the Holy Spirit is what gave Jesus the power to do the works of God (Acts 10:38).  It was the works of God done by Jesus that were the proof positive that God sent Him (John 5:36).

Jesus states that the Holy Spirit will come upon us to give us the power to continue His works (Acts 1:8).  These works are to be one of the proofs to the World that Jesus has sent us (John 14:11,12).

Therefore, the following terms can be considered synonymous:

  • Holy Spirit “upon” a person(s)
  • Holy Spirit “anointing” a person(s)

Realize, all that are born again have the anointing within them in the person of the Holy Spirit that dwells in our reborn perfect spirits (1 John 2:20,27. 2 Corinthians 1:21,22).  However, not all that are born again have asked God for this anointing to be released to come upon them to give them the power for a much more effective ministry (1). That is, God does not have to send the Holy Spirit down from Heaven when you ask Him for the Holy Spirit to come upon or anoint you for ministry because He already dwells within a believer’s reborn spirit! (John 7:37-39)

What about the anointing of the Holy Spirit today?

I believe the Holy Spirit comes upon or anoints people separated by time (i.e.,. the time from when they were born again, and He came within or rather baptized them in Himself) today more than He does simultaneously.  This is likely due to our ignorance of the Holy Spirit’s ministry today, just like in the later chapters of the book of Acts (Acts 19:1-6).  However, be of good cheer – it is never too late!  Realize, you will never be as effective in ministry or have the power to lead a holy life without the Holy Spirit both in and upon you (Galatians 5:16).

Steps to having the Holy Spirit come upon you (or receiving the anointing of the Holy Spirit): 

I. We must have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior (1).  This should lead to a public confession of our renunciation of sin and our acceptance of Jesus (Acts 2:38,39). To repent is to change your mind.  Change your mind from an attitude that rejects Jesus Christ to one that accepts Him as Savior, Lord, and King.  Water immersion is the way public confession was done in the scriptures (Acts 2:38) and is the Biblical command for today (Matthew 28:19).

II. We must completely surrender every area of our lives to God (Acts 5:32).  This includes letting go of all sin(s). Ask God to search your spiritual heart for sin (Psalms 139:23,24).  Confess and repent immediately all sin(s) that He brings to mind (1 John 1:9).

III. We must have an intense desire for the fullness of the Holy Spirit in our lives (Matthew 5:6).  We must come to the end of ourselves, seeing all of our abilities as being inadequate.

A young minister, fresh out of Bible school, observed an elder minister preach obviously under the power of the Holy Spirit.  The young man went to the elder and begged to be shown how to have such power in his preaching.  The elder invited the young man to go fishing with him at a local pier later that day.  The young man accepted the invitation, found the elder, and sat down beside him.  There were the customary greetings followed by silence for a long time.  The young man, growing ever anxious to know the secret to the power of the Holy Spirit, asked when would he be told?  At that point, the elder pushed the young man into the lake and held his head underwater.  The young man was thrashing to surface and take a breath but the old man – stronger than he appeared – continued to hold the young man underwater.  Just when the young man thought he would die, the elder pulled him out of the water.  The young man took several deep breaths, and when partially recovered, asked the elder what was he trying to do?  The elder replied that he was answering his question on how to have the power of God in your life.  The young man said that he did not understand.  The elder then stated that when he wanted the Holy Spirit upon him just like he wanted a breath of air – then he would have Him!

IV. We must ask (1) God the Father in Jesus’ name for the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13)

V. We must pray in faith (1) to receive the Holy Spirit (Matthew 21:22. Mark 11:24).

Heavenly Father, I confess and repent of the sin of trying to live the Christian life in my ability and power.  I was ignorant of what was available to me in the new birth.  I am laying down my life now for the ministry of Jesus Christ through me, your servant.  Please cause the Holy Spirit who lives within me to come/fall upon me that I might be anointed to continue the works of Jesus.  Thank you.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

Some of you will notice the change immediately.  Others, God will have to align your will with His through trials so that this desire will be from your spiritual heart and not just your head.  Nevertheless, if you have asked in faith – He will come upon you!

What if you have already received the Holy Spirit upon you (or the anointing of the Holy Spirit) but seemed to have lost or misplaced Him?

Timothy had received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 16:1) and later the Anointing of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 1:6).  Timothy was allowing the persecution that was coming against Christians, empowered by the spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7), to neutralize the Anointing of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 1:8).  His heart had grown hard from timidity – timidity is a sin (Romans 14:23).   Paul told him to start believing God and stepping out in faith to preach the Gospel and fellowship with those being persecuted to release the Anointing of the Holy Spirit, again (1 Timothy 4:11-16. John 7:37-39). We need to do like the early church in Jerusalem did when threatened – they prayed for more boldness!  (Acts 4:24-33) Boldness is a result of the anointing!

Holy Spirit series:

Topical Index of Hal’s Blogs (1)

(1) Left-click on the underlined phrase to open another article in a different tab with more information.

(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


Doulos Hal

Hal has been teaching the Bible for over three decades. Presently, He desires to honor Jesus Christ through this Internet teaching ministry, thereby glorifying the Heavenly Father in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. He believes, second to cultivating his relationship with God, that raising his family unto the Lord is the most significant task for him while on Earth. Furthermore, Hal believes that being a successful leader in the church or workplace is no substitute for failing to be a successful leader at home.

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