The Holy Spirit and the Ascension

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What was promised?

What happened?

What changed?

 

Christ promised to pour out his spirit on the disciples after the resurrection. He said that he would send the comforter who would be their teacher and we know this PARAKLETE would apply all the benefits of Christ’s atoning death, resurrection and ascension to his people (John 14:16, 16:7, 13, Acts 1:8), namely adoption, assurance, sealing and gifting.

The outpouring of the spirit at Pentecost, and subsequently on all the elect, was promised in the Old Testament as Peter stated (Acts 2:33). Psalm 68:18 (quoted in Eph.4:8), Isaiah 32:15, 44:3, 59:21, Ezekiel 39:29 and especially Joel 2:28 are relevant.

The Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son (BC Art.11*) was poured out on the fledgling church enabling miraculous signs to authenticate their ministry, gift them for all their service, teach them, and seal them as his people for ever.

What changed was, that the eternal unchangeable Spirit came as the Spirit of the risen Christ (John 7:38-39, I Cor.15:45), merited by Christ’s great work, promised as his inheritance (along with all his seed) and received by him as mediator, not for himself, because he was always filled without measure (Psalm 45:7, Heb.1:9, John 3:34) but for the church.

What changed was:

  • He was poured out publicly and universally (previously almost exclusively among the Jews)
  • He came as the teacher of God’s truth, to complete the canon and develop truth throughout church history.
  • He came with greater revelation (especially concerning Christ’s work and eschatology), dispensing richer grace (the least in the kingdom is greater than John the Baptist) and all the gifts (I Cor.12), tongues especially was new and a reversal of Babel. New Testament believers are all prophets, priests and kings!

* Belgic Confession.

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