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Faber

When was the Holy Spirit received in the Book of Acts?

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Faber

We have 6 examples from the Book of Acts as to when the Holy Spirit was received.[*1]

 1. The Apostles and those with them (Acts 2:4)

 2. The Jews (Acts 2:38)

 3. The Samaritans (Acts 8:17)

 4. The Apostle Paul (Acts 9:17-18)[*2]

 5. Cornelius and the Gentiles with him (Acts 10:44-48)

 6. About 12 disciples of John the Baptist (Acts 19:6)

 

 The Apostles and those with them received the Holy Spirit at Jerusalem after Christ was ascended. The Jews received the Holy Spirit upon their water baptism, while the Samaritans and the disciples of John the Baptist received the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands. As for the Gentiles, they received the Holy Spirit before their water baptism and without the imposition of hands from another. For the Apostle Paul see footnote #2.

 

 The question for us is, when does the believer today receive the Holy Spirit? From the examples above, #5 (Cornelius and the Gentiles with him) is the way believers are to receive the Holy Spirit in that it occurs before water baptism and without the imposition of hands. There are no Apostles today in the same sense there was in the beginning of the age of the NT church so the reception of the Holy Spirit by hands does not apply. The Jews (Acts 2:38) were the only ones ever commanded to be water baptized in order to immediately obtain the Holy Spirit. This command was never given to a Gentile.

 Finally, in the Book of Acts Luke records Paul asking, Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? (Acts 19:2) 

     1. Kenneth Wuest: The tense of the participle and verb point to a simultaneous act. That is, the reception of the Holy Spirit occurs at the same instant as the act of believing in the Lord Jesus as Saviour. This is what the Greek grammar here teaches (Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, volume 3, pages 96-97).

     2. Paton Gloag: Did you receive the Holy Ghost when you believed? The aorist form of both verbs intimates that both actions, believing and the reception of the Holy Ghost, were regarded as simultaneous. There is no question as to what happened after believing, but the question is about what occurred when they believed. Here the clause is not to be rendered, as in our version, "Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?" but, "Did you receive Him on believing?" (Alford, Hackett.) (A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, volume 2, page 195).

 

 Paul would teach the same thing again in Ephesians 1:13

In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise (NASB)

 Upon belief is when the Holy Spirit is received.

     1. W. E. Vine: In the metaphor of the sealing of believers by the gift of the Holy Spirit, upon believing (i.e., at the time of their regeneration, not after a lapse of time in their spiritual life, "having also believed" - not as A.V., "after that ye believed" - ; the aorist participle marks the definiteness and completeness of the act of faith) (Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, Seal, page 1003, the underlined is mine).     

 

 

[*1] F. F. Bruce mentions several of these groups:

 The sequence of the component elements in Christian initiation varies from one occasion to another in Acts. Peter's hearers in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost repent, are baptized, and receive the Spirit (2:38, 41); the Samaritans evangelized by Philip believed and are baptized "into the name of the Lord Jesus", but do not receive the Spirit until apostolic hands are laid on them (8:12, 14-17); Cornelius and his household receive the Spirit while they are still listening to the message and are then baptized (Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free, page 280, chapter 25, Baptism and the Lord's Supper in Pauline Thought).

 

[*2] The text does not explicitly say when Paul received the Holy Spirit. Was it upon the imposition of the hands of Ananias or was it upon his (Paul's) water baptism?

 The TDNT affirms it was upon his water baptism (cf. Acts 22:16):

  The endowment with the Spirit promised in 9:17 seems quite obviously to have been fulfilled by the baptism of v. 18. In 2:38 the gift of the Spirit at least follows baptism. On the other hand, 10:44-48 shows that baptism may follow the outpouring of the Spirit, but is not rendered superfluous thereby (6:413, pneuma, Schweizer).

 While Simon Kistemaker affirms:

 "He placed his hands on Saul." The exact meaning of this gesture is not clear and Luke gives no explanation. Because of a degree of ambiguity at this point, we should avoid interpretations that cannot be substantiated from the context (Exposition of the Acts of the Apostles, page 343).

 

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Guest Becky

Rom 2:28  For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 
Rom 2:29  But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. 

Rom 10:12  For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

Gal 3:26  For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus
Gal 3:27  For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 
Gal 3:28  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 
Gal 3:29  And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. 

 

I do not understand why Bible scholars use so many words to divide the Body of Christ. 

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Faber
6 hours ago, Becky said:

Gal 3:27  For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 
Gal 3:28  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 

 

 Galatians 3:27 - All those who have received the Holy Spirit (= 'baptized into Christ')...

 Galatians 3:28 - Are one. There are no superior Christians in that all are Christians when the Holy Spirit is received.

 

 But when the Holy Spirit was received varied as the several examples in the Book of Acts demonstrates.

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hanna

Acts 19:2 is interesting. I believe that it is impossible for a man to believe without having Holy Spirit, and yet those people believed, but didn't have Holy Spirit. So I think one of these claims has to be true: a) It is possible to have faith without having Holy Spirit or b) Receiving Holy Spirit has some other meaning in this verse. 

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Faber

 When Paul initially encountered those in the beginning of Acts 19 they did not yet "believe in Him (Jesus)" (Acts 19:4). Thus they did not yet possess the Holy Spirit.

     a. Simon Kistemaker: Luke adds the information that twelve men in this group were baptized and received the Holy Spirit. The reception of the Holy Spirit was the ultimate proof that they were Christians (Exposition of the Acts of the Apostles, page 681).

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hanna
15 minutes ago, Faber said:

 When Paul initially encountered those in the beginning of Acts 19 they did not yet "believe in Him (Jesus)" (Acts 19:4). Thus they did not yet possess the Holy Spirit.

     a. Simon Kistemaker: Luke adds the information that twelve men in this group were baptized and received the Holy Spirit. The reception of the Holy Spirit was the ultimate proof that they were Christians (Exposition of the Acts of the Apostles, page 681).

Yes, this is one possible explanation. 

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Guest William
On 12/7/2019 at 12:49 AM, hanna said:

Acts 19:2 is interesting. I believe that it is impossible for a man to believe without having Holy Spirit, and yet those people believed, but didn't have Holy Spirit. So I think one of these claims has to be true: a) It is possible to have faith without having Holy Spirit or b) Receiving Holy Spirit has some other meaning in this verse. 

It is impossible for a man to believe without having the inward regeneration of the Holy Spirit. A contrary position simply rejects monergism.  

 

Acts 19:6 states what they had not yet received which are the outward fruits or gift(s) of the Holy Spirit such as "speaking in tongues and prophesying". These disciples up until this point in my mind lacked the outward fruit by which we are known to be Jesus' disciples. 

 

To note, because one is inwardly regenerated does not mean that everyone receives certain gifts by the Holy Spirit equipping them for various offices [whether revelation or illumination]. 

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Faber
1 hour ago, William said:

Acts 19:6 states what they had not yet received which are the outward fruits or gift(s) of the Holy Spirit such as "speaking in tongues and prophesying".

 

 I take it that they didn't have the Holy Spirit Himself until Paul laid his hands upon them.

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hanna
10 minutes ago, Faber said:

 

 I take it that they didn't have the Holy Spirit Himself until Paul laid his hands upon them.

If this is true, then I think they didn't believe in Jesus, but rather in the repentance preached by John The Baptist. 

Edited by hanna

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Faber
1 hour ago, hanna said:

If this is true, then I think they didn't believe in Jesus, but rather in the repentance preached by John The Baptist. 

 

 That might be right. What gets me is when they stated that they didn't hear whether there is a Holy Spirit (Acts 19:2). Since they were baptized into John's baptism (Acts 19:3) I would think that they would have at least heard about the Holy Spirit since part of John's proclamation included the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11).

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Guest Becky

Mat 13:15  For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 
Mat 13:16  But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. 

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hanna
On 12/7/2019 at 2:54 PM, Faber said:

 

 That might be right. What gets me is when they stated that they didn't hear whether there is a Holy Spirit (Acts 19:2). Since they were baptized into John's baptism (Acts 19:3) I would think that they would have at least heard about the Holy Spirit since part of John's proclamation included the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11).

Yes, If they were Jews (were they?), they should have known The Holy Spirit from the Old Testament. They should also have known Joel's prophesy. 

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Faber
4 hours ago, hanna said:

Yes, If they were Jews (were they?) 

 

 That's a good question. The New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis (NIDOTTE) thinks they were Gentiles (the underlined is mine):

 Of special interest is the manner in which the OT prophecies of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit are seen to be fulfilled in the book of Acts. It is hardly accidental that the commencement of each new stage in the advancement of the gospel and the incorporation into the community of faith of new groups of people are signaled by the special manifestation of the Spirit. Thus the Spirit is explicitly described as being poured out upon the Jews gathered in Jerusalem (Acts 2:4, 33, 38), but the evidences are repeated when the gospel reaches the Samaritans (8:14-17), the Gentile proselytes in the land of Judaea (10:44-48; cf. 11:16), and the Gentiles of Asia Minor (19:6). Each of these events marks the expansion of the boundaries of the people of God - Jews first, then Samaritans, God-fearers in the land of Israel, and converted pagans on foreign soil. The seal of the Spirit confirms that the ethnic borders of Israel as the people of God have been sprung, as God's transforming power is felt all over the world (3:1077, ruah, M.V. Van Pelt/W.C. Kaiser/D.I. Block). 

 

 I read years back that Lanny Thomas Tanton said that based on Acts 19:7 Luke could have hinted that they were Jews - the number 12 is significant for the nation of Israel.

 Acts 18 ends with Apollos refuting the Jews in Ephesus and chapter 19 begins. There were no numerical chapter divisions in the original text, so this could simply be a further discussion of other Jews. There were some Jews who ardently resisted (end of Acts 18) while there were other Jews who didn't resist but they didn't fully understand (beginning of Acts 19). ??? It should also be noted that Paul testified for three years from house to house to both Jews and Gentiles (Acts 20:20-21, 31).

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hanna

If they were gentiles, why would they have been in Israel, when John the Baptist was baptizing, and why would they now be in Ephesus? Were they solders or what?

 

Found some informaation about those. Seems that John the Baptist had disciples also elsewhere than in Israel. So those people hadn't met John himself, only heard his teachings.

Edited by hanna

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Guest William
On 12/7/2019 at 4:14 AM, Faber said:

 

 I take it that they didn't have the Holy Spirit Himself until Paul laid his hands upon them.

I have no idea what you mean by "didn't have the Holy Spirit Himself". Do you mean you do not believe the Holy Spirit regenerated these men bringing them to faith in Jesus Christ despite them not demonstrating the outward gifts such as prophesying and speaking in tongues until Paul laid his hands upon them? Are you feeling a little Pentecostal, Faber?

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Faber
On 12/11/2019 at 4:14 PM, William said:

I have no idea what you mean by "didn't have the Holy Spirit Himself". Do you mean you do not believe the Holy Spirit regenerated these men bringing them to faith in Jesus Christ despite them not demonstrating the outward gifts such as prophesying and speaking in tongues until Paul laid his hands upon them? Are you feeling a little Pentecostal, Faber?

 

 Ha!

 

 If a person does not have the Spirit then they are not saved (Romans 8:9; 1 John 4:13). They did not receive the Holy Spirit until the imposition of Paul's hands (Acts 19:6). Thus they could only perform their spiritual gifts only after they had received the Holy Spirit.

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Guest William
9 hours ago, Faber said:

 

 Ha!

 

 If a person does not have the Spirit then they are not saved (Romans 8:9; 1 John 4:13). They did not receive the Holy Spirit until the imposition of Paul's hands (Acts 19:6). Thus they could only perform their spiritual gifts only after they had received the Holy Spirit.

What bothers me is "how" some suggest they are receiving the Holy Spirit as the when occurs before or after man's action. Whether by works of the Law or by knowledge. Such goes against the Sacrament of baptism. If by works of the Law the outward action of water, confession and repentance brings about regeneration. And if by knowledge having learned of the Holy Spirit brings about regeneration or is a prerequisite to having received grace. Either or makes a strong case for Synergism. 

 

I'm also a little bothered by some of the commentary I have read on these passages which suggests that these men's baptism was illegitimate though Paul did not repeat water baptism but only laid upon them his hands. In Acts 1:5 the Covenant seal was received by these men, that is the promise of the Spirit to come, therefore, the seal was legitimate. What seemingly is apparent to me is some of the exegetical sources either run narrow contextual support and/or ignore systematic theology altogether. 

 

This is one of the verses where I think trending carefully is necessary because much doctrine is derived from these passages. The Baptist suggest baptism is an ordinance thus turning baptism into works which entails knowledge preceding its administration therefore children are excluded. The Pentecostals suggest there are two or more baptisms necessary for not only the inward regeneration but also the outward evidenced gifts of the Spirit. Catholics and Lutherans suggest that grace is conferred by the priest at time of the administration of water which guarantees regeneration at baptism [baptismal regeneration]. Reformed suggest baptism is not only a Covenant sign and seal but also a Sacrament. That is, the seal is really administered though regeneration is not so annexed to water that it cannot occur without the administration of water but rather in God's due timing.

 

While some of these varying views may not be explicitly stated in Scripture one has to decide whether to infer from the Scriptures until the questions at hand are answered, that is, if Scripture provides an answer beyond what is only stated? I have no doubt that Arminians are the kings of isolated exegesis which ignores all other Scriptures to do with the timing of works of the Holy Spirit. Only one of the above views is consistent monergism. I can, however, acknowledge how each theological and/or denominational camp comes to their own conclusion via the text, though, I believe only one is systematic while the others ignore other clear Scriptures which convey the timing of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Elect despite any awareness, works, and/or knowledge. Therefore, every baptism is a Covenant infant baptism which testifies to the monergistic works of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit before any awareness and knowledge [Election, Calling, and Regeneration] rather than an adult baptism which disregards the clear Scriptures conveying child-likeness in contrast to adult profession requiring awareness, knowledge, and action. 

 

I disagree with you in that an Elect cannot be saved without demonstrating certain gifts of the Holy Spirit equipping men for office. Such a view is commonly held by Pentecostals that are notorious for badgering Christians with evidences of salvation pertaining to speaking in tongues etc as proof. And I also disagree with the notion that these men were saved "because" they were baptized, confessed, and repented thereby going through the outward motions or works of what other men require us do for conversion to satisfy them for initiation into their church. 

 

As to when the Holy Spirit is received concerning salvation Acts does not contradict any other book in the OT and NT. However, certain gifts were for a particular event such as the fulfillment that occurred at Pentecost or equipping certain peoples for offices which not everybody receives for the building up of the church [Apostles] or illumination [Pastors, Teachers, Evangelist].

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Faber
4 hours ago, William said:

1. What bothers me is "how" some suggest they are receiving the Holy Spirit as the when occurs before or after man's action. 

 

2. I disagree with you in that an Elect cannot be saved without demonstrating certain gifts of the Holy Spirit equipping men for office. 

 

  I numbered the above.

 

1. I believe it takes the Lord to initially open the heart in order for them (and anyone else) to believe and thus receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 16:14)

 

2. Every Christian has a gift (1 Peter 4:10). They are saved but it may take time in order for them to demonstrate what their gift(s) is.

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hanna
On 12/10/2019 at 1:41 PM, Faber said:

 

 

 Of special interest is the manner in which the OT prophecies of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit are seen to be fulfilled in the book of Acts. It is hardly accidental that the commencement of each new stage in the advancement of the gospel and the incorporation into the community of faith of new groups of people are signaled by the special manifestation of the Spirit. Thus the Spirit is explicitly described as being poured out upon the Jews gathered in Jerusalem (Acts 2:4, 33, 38), but the evidences are repeated when the gospel reaches the Samaritans (8:14-17), the Gentile proselytes in the land of Judaea (10:44-48; cf. 11:16), and the Gentiles of Asia Minor (19:6). Each of these events marks the expansion of the boundaries of the people of God - Jews first, then Samaritans, God-fearers in the land of Israel, and converted pagans on foreign soil. The seal of the Spirit confirms that the ethnic borders of Israel as the people of God have been sprung, as God's transforming power is felt all over the world (3:1077, ruah, M.V. Van Pelt/W.C. Kaiser/D.I. Block). 

 

 

This is quite a common explanation. I'm just wondering If there is any hint in the Bible that these verses should be interpreted this way.

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Faber

Hello Hanna,

 

 In what way?

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hanna
On 12/13/2019 at 7:14 AM, Faber said:

Hello Hanna,

 

 In what way?

I'm just thinking the principle that Bible should be interpreted with Bible. For example we can study the crossing of The Red Sea as a prefiguration of baptism because Apostle Paul does that too. What comes to those interpretations mentioned earlier, I'm not sure if they have a biblical basis, or if they are just made up by someone who wants to support cessationism.

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