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Answering The Atheist
April 1, 2007 / Volume 7, Issue 13

When was the Holy Spirit given? After the resurrection (John 7:39; 20:22; Acts 2:1-4) or before the resurrection (Mark 12:36; Luke 1:15, 41, 67; 2:25; Acts 1:16)? Is there a contradiction?

When was the Holy Spirit given to whom, and in what measure? All who prophesied did so by revelation of the Spirit of God, a few of whom are referenced by the questioner (David, John the Baptist, Elizabeth, Zecharias, Simeon). That these received the Spirit in this fashion certainly does not nullify the Lord's statement that His disciples would receive the Spirit after He was glorified.

In John 14:17, Jesus told His disciples that the Holy Spirit "...dwells with you and will be in you." The followers of Jesus already had the presence of the Spirit of God with them, and yet there was more to come. In that same context, Jesus promised that the Helper (the Spirit of truth) would come. They both had the Spirit and would receive the Spirit. Though the Spirit was already with them, they would receive the Holy Spirit subsequently, with greater power. When would that take place? After the Lord was resurrected; even upon the day of Pentecost (Acts 2).

There is no contradiction.

This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible