The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go, Acts 3:13.
In our last section we saw that the Holy Ghost had not yet been given because that Jesus Christ had not yet been glorified (John 7:39). A transition took place when Jesus Christ was glorified. Note: that is not the same as the beginning of the new testament. The New Testament began when the testator died; For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth, Hebrews 9:17.
Jesus Christ was not glorified when he died. He was glorified after he resurrected; Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God, John 20:17. These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him, John 12:16. (Speaking of the Holy Ghost) He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you, John 16:14.
I make this point because common dispensational theory tends to lump changes in God’s relationship and dealing with men as if a sudden shift in time had happened that they label a dispensation. It’s as if an angel leaned out from heaven and blew a whistle. In reality, there are transitions in the bible. Each transition will have a specific cause and effect. It is important for the student of God’s word to be able to understand these transitions and understand the mechanics of what happened. All to often they are swept under the big rug of dispensationalism. As a result students miss what happened to cause the transition.
The Apostles received the Holy Ghost twice. By studying each occurrence we can better understand how the Holy Ghost operates today and how he will operate during the tribulation.
John 20:21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
John 20:22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
John 20:23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
Acts 1:4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
Acts 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
Clearly, the disciples received the Holy Ghost in John 20:22. By being given the Holy Ghost they were given apostolic powers. They were allowed to remit sins. We can see a couple of examples of this. To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ, 2nd Corinthians 2:10.
The Corinthian Church was one of the most obviously transitional churches of the New Testament with the gifts of knowledge, tongues and of prophecy being active in their assembly. The Apostle Paul made it clear that he exercised the gifts of an apostle among them; Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds, 2nd Corinthians 12:12.
Peter used that power when he baptized those in the crowd who had repented of crucifying their Messiah. Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, Acts 2:38. Keep in mind that a great transition is taking place. Peter was clearly told that; whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven, Matthew 16:19.
You can be sure that each and every one of the Jews who truly repented of crucifying their Messiah and who humbled themselves to be publicly baptized in the name of the same man who they wanted crucified about 6 weeks earlier, had their sins remitted and they received the gift of the Holy Ghost. You can also be sure that they did not receive the Holy Ghost in the same manner that a believer who repents and receives Jesus Christ receives the Holy Ghost today.
Please do not be deceived into thinking that just any old person who submitted to Peter’s baptism received grace. Grace is now, and always has been undeserved favor from God. At no time ever has God ever given grace to people because of some work that they performed. What does change from time to time as transitions take place are the works that God requires of those who truly believe.
You are witnessing through the scripture the working of an apostolic ministry with apostolic powers and gifts. You are witnessing the working of the Holy Ghost in men during a transition. You are witnessing the same relationship between the Holy Ghost and believers which will be on this earth during the great tribulation. All too often people are unable to distinguish the difference in the work of the Holy Ghost during the tribulation and the work of Holy Ghost today. There is a difference and the scriptures make that clear.
In our next section we will look at the Day of Pentecost and how the Holy Ghost transitioned in how men received him and what that meant to them. We will also see that there was a long period of time in which the Holy Ghost operated differently in two distinct different groups of people as the apostles sought to bring the remnant of believing Jews into harmony the how the Holy Ghost intended to operate from that time until the tribulation.
We saw that with the 12 disciples of John the Baptist who needed an apostolic laying on of hands to receive the Holy Ghost. Obviously, there are no people alive today who believed on Jesus Christ prior to him being glorified. Obviously, there is no one with apostolic power to remit sins or to lay on hands to give the Holy Ghost. If a man today has Jesus Christ, he has the Holy Ghost. He is the multivitamin. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power, Colossians 2:10.