Why the prophecy of the coming of the Holy Spirit was not fulfilled at Whitsuntide
“…Tarry ye in Jerusalem until ye are endued with Power from On High…” Luke 24:49. With the passing of our Lord Jesus, He gave a promise to the disciples that they should tarry or wait in Jerusalem until He sends the Power from On High. The disciples waited in Jerusalem and they experienced what has been described in the books of the Gospels.
This event has generally been confused with another prophecy or promise when Jesus mentioned the Coming of the Spirit of Truth and the Comforter. It is important to realise that Jesus made the promise of the Comforter when He was still alive with His disciples and was speaking in the context of the fact that His disciples could not understand His Teachings. He said that He could tell them many things but they would not understand. John 16:12 “…I would say many things to you but you cannot bear them not but when the Spirit of Truth is come…”
This, considered objectively and if one reads further in that chapter is a completely different fulfilment. It has nothing to do with the later promise that Jesus gave his disciples after His transition. He told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they have been filled with power which they will need in order to be able to fulfil their missions. Indeed after receiving this power they were strengthened and were able to accomplish many things which hitherto had been difficult for them.
Jesus said in John 16:13 that “..Howbeit when he the Spirit of Truth is come he will guide you into all Truth…” and so on. We notice the use of the pronoun he virtually all the time here which indicates that a Person will be required to fulfil this prophecy and promise. If we read further one can come to no other conclusion than that Jesus was prophesying that someone will come in the future to guide us into all truth and teach us what Jesus could not complete with the disciples at that time because they could not understand Him.
This obviously is a promise of the Coming of a Teacher in the distant future Who would take what is of Jesus, (John 16:14), and show it to us again; and John 16:8, he shall reprove the world of sin and righteousness and of judgement which means this Comforter or Spirit of Truth will bring the Judgement.
Now all these things mentioned here were not fulfilled with the disciples when the power descended on them. There was no Spirit of Truth and no Comforter Who reproved the world of sin or of righteousness and there was no Judgment. Not a single promise which we find in John in connection with the Spirit of Truth and the Comforter were fulfilled by the verse in Luke 24:49 when the disciples received the power from On High.
These two separate promises were fused together and confused by many interpreters who came later because they could not understand the Word of Jesus and these promises. They simply confused the promise in John with the promise in Luke and thought that these were the same without looking carefully at the context and the circumstances and the fact that one promise did not fulfil the other.
As mentioned earlier the verse in Luke is a promise so that the disciples might receive the power which they would need in the fulfilment of their missions which promptly took place and the effect of which was described in the lives of the disciples. The verses in John are an entirely different promise of the Coming of a World Teacher, someone like Jesus Who would come and fulfil these great promises of bringing a New Teaching which would borrow from the Teachings of Jesus and would even glorify Jesus in doing so.
This Person would bring the Judgment with His Teaching and reprove the world of sin. He would complete and consolidate the Teaching of Jesus. He would tell us what Jesus could not tell us at that time because we were not mature enough to hear them.
In this matter it is imperative that one uses one’s own independent capacity for assessment and judgment and not just accept conventional interpretations because there is so much that is illogical and wrong in all these interpretations.
Let us pray the Lord that He gives us the wisdom to understand His Word. Amen.