Receiving the Holy Spirit

Studies in Acts:
Who Received the Holy Spirit and Where

Living Abundantly 
According to God's Word Series

Read Time:  12 Minutes

We have learned that the gift of holy spirit, power from on high, was given on the day of Pentecost, but it is equally important to know who initially received and where they were.

In Jesus' instructions to the apostles he told them to return to Jerusalem and tarry or wait for the promise of the Father.

Luke 24
:44 And he said unto them,
    These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you,
        that all things must be fulfilled,
        which were written in the law of Moses,
        and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
:45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
:46 And said unto them,
        Thus it is written,
        and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
:47   And that repentance and remission of sins
   should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
:48 And ye are witnesses of these things.
:49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you:
    but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem,
    until ye be endued with power from on high.
:50 And he led them out as far as to Bethany,
    and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.
:51 And it came to pass,
        while he blessed them,
    he was parted from them,
    and carried up into heaven.
:52 And they worshipped him,
    and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:
:53 And were continually in the temple,
    praising and blessing God.

 The apostles carried out Jesus' instructions and returned to Jerusalem to wait for the promise of the father. "And they were continually in the temple praising and blessing God." The word continually is not continuously, meaning always there, never leaving. They had 5 times during the day that they were to go to the temple to pray, these are called hours of prayer; they correspond to our 6 a.m., 9 a.m., 12 noon, 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. At the least they were in the temple when they were supposed to be, praising and blessing God.

The record of Christ's ascension and his instruction to the apostles is also in Acts 1.

Acts 1
:4 And, being assembled together with them, [the apostles, referred to in verse 2]
    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.
:5     For John truly baptized with water;
        but ye shall be baptized with [en, in] the Holy Ghost [pneuma hagion] not many days hence.

:8    But ye shall receive power,
            after that the Holy Ghost [hagion pneuma the gift of holy spirit] is come upon you:
        and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem,
        and in all Judaea,
        and in Samaria,
        and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
:9 And when he had spoken these things,
        while they beheld,
    he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
:10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up,
    behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
:11 Which also said,
        Ye men of Galilee,
        why stand ye gazing up into heaven?
        this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven,
        shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
:12 Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet,
        which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey.

The instructions were to wait for the promise of the father, to be baptized in pneuma hagion and to receive power [dunamis] after the gift, pneuma hagion, came upon them.

The angels also said, "Ye men of Galilee." Judas Iscariot was not a Galilean, he was a Judean from Kerioth, he had already left. The other 11 eleven apostles were Galilean (Acts 2:7). If we follow the pronouns in Acts 1 we see when Judas departed. In Acts 1:2, Jesus is talking to the apostles whom he had chosen, the 12. The pronouns in every verse after verse 2 is referring back to the 12 apostles: vs. 3, to whom; vs. 4, them and ye; vs. 5, ye; vs. 6, they; vs. 7, them and you; vs. 8, ye, you, and ye; vs. 9, they; vs. 10, they and them. In verses 10 and 11 we see when Judas departed.

Acts 1
:10 And while they [the 12 apostles] looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up,
    behold, two men stood by them [the 12 apostles] in white apparel;
:11 Which also said,
        Ye men of Galilee, [no longer the 12 apostles, only those from Galilee]
        why stand ye gazing up into heaven?
        this same Jesus,
            which is taken up from you into heaven,
        shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

Notice the time mentioned in verse 10, while they (the 12) looked steadfastly toward heaven as he (Jesus Christ) went up, and verse 11, the angels spoke. There was a period of time that the apostles "looked steadfastly" toward heaven, they had their eyes fastened on the place Jesus went; that was an amazing sight. Judas left after the ascension and before the angels spoke to the Galilean apostles.

Another point to note is, in Luke 24:48 Jesus said that they were witnesses of the fulfilling of the Old Testament prophecies regarding the messiah, his suffering/death, and resurrection. In Acts he commanded them to be witnesses unto him in Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth. That witness is the manifestation of the power of God. No one can show spiritual power until they have received it. They must be born again, filled with the gift of holy spirit, power from God, in order to manifest it forth into evidence. Jesus said in Acts 1:8 that they were going to receive power and that they shall (absolutely) be witnesses unto him.

The following verses will continue to clarify who received the holy spirit and will also let us determine location.

Acts 1
:12  Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet,
        which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey.
:13  And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room,
        where abode both Peter,
        and James,
        and John,
        and Andrew,
        and Thomas,
        and Matthew,
        James the son of Alphaeus,
        and Simon Zelotes,
        and Judas the brother of James.

There are several things to note about this verse. There are only 11 apostles; Judas Iscariot is not present. This is the day of Ascension (not the day of Pentecost), and they went into an upper room where they abode.  Culturally, men abode, slept, in quarters that were separate from women. Where they abode was where they slept and rested. Woman were not allowed in the sleeping quarters of men and visa versa. Even those that cleaned the place where the apostles abode were going to be men.

Remember in Luke 24:53 God says that they were continually in the temple praising and blessing God? They were not continually in the upper room. Acts 1:14 confirms the apostles' actions.

Acts 1
:14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication,
    with the women,
    and Mary the mother of Jesus,
    and with his brethren.

Again, this would not be in the upper room where the apostles abode.

During the time between Jesus, ascension and them receiving the holy spirit, Peter called a meeting of the disciples.

:15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples,
    and said,
        (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)
:16   Men and brethren,
        this scripture must needs have been fulfilled,
        which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas,
            which was guide to them that took Jesus.

Verses 16 - 26 describe the selection of Matthias to replace Judas Iscariot and what happened to Judas.

A clarification of the words "apostles" and "disciples" would help us understand the scripture better here.

Luke 6
:12 And it came to pass in those days, that he [Jesus Christ] went out into a mountain to pray,
    and continued all night in prayer to God.
:13 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples:
    and of them he chose twelve,
        whom also he named apostles;

Disciples are pupils, or learners. Of the disciples Jesus chose 12 to be apostles, which are messengers, sent ones. Apostles are disciples but disciples are not necessarily apostles.

On the day of Pentecost, Acts 2:1 starts with "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they . . ." Who is God referring to? The last associated noun to Acts 2:1 is in 1:26

Acts 1
:26 And they gave forth their lots;
    and the lot fell upon Matthias;
    and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

The last associated noun is Matthias and the eleven apostles. This agrees with Jesus Christ's instructions;  the apostles are the ones that were told to wait in Jerusalem and they would be endued with power from High. Jesus Christ was talking to the apostles in both records, not to about 120 disciples.

We get further information regarding who initially received the gift of holy spirit from verses 6 & 7.

Acts 2
:6 Now when this was noised abroad,
    the multitude came together, and were confounded,
        because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
:7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another,
        Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?

The 12 apostles were all Galilean, but the disciples that had remained were not necessarily all Galilean. Who noised this abroad? Those that were sitting by them in the temple. We also see in verse 14 who the outpouring of the gift of holy spirit was upon.

:14 But Peter,
        standing up with the eleven,
    lifted up his voice, and said unto them,
        Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem,
        be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:

Peter stood up with the eleven, the other apostles. Now we are certain who initially received the gift of holy spirit, the Word of God has clearly defined that truth.

One more observation regarding place. Remember, in Luke 24:53 the Bible says, "And [they] were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God." They would be in the temple during the hours of prayer. Peter, after he stood up with the eleven to speak to the multitude, gives us an idea of when the outpouring took place.

:15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose,
    seeing it is but the third hour of the day.

The third hour of the day is referring to the hour of prayer, which about 9 a.m. our time (three hours after sunrise). They would be in the temple where the multitude heard them speak in their own languages. So, sometime before 9 a.m. they received.

A possible reason that we have been misled, thinking that the outpouring of the holy spirit happened in the upper room would be because of the phrase in Acts 2:2 "...and it filled all the house where they were sitting." God refers to the temple as "the house" several times in His Word.

Isaiah 56
:7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain,
    and make them joyful in my house of prayer:
    their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine alter;
        for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.

I Chronicles 28
:2 Then David the king stood up upon his feet, and said,
        Hear me, my brethren, and my people:
        As for me
, I had in mine heart to build an house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD,
        and for the footstool of our God,
        and had made ready for the building:
:3     But God said unto me,
            Thou shalt not build an house for my name,
                because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood.

:5     And of all my sons,
            (for the LORD hath given me many sons,)
        he hath chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel.
:6     And he said unto me,
            Solomon thy son, he shall build my house and my courts:
                for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father.

It is common for the temple to be called the House, or the House of the Lord.

We now know what the Word of God says about what was given on the day Pentecost, pneuma hagion, the gift of holy spirit, where it was received, the temple, and who received it, the 12 apostles. Here is the accuracy of the Word of God.

Acts 2
:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come,
    they [the 12 apostles] were all with one accord in one place [the temple].
:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind,
    and it filled all the house [the temple] where they [the 12 apostles] were sitting.
:3 And there appeared unto them [the 12 apostles] cloven tongues like as of fire,
    and it sat upon each of them. [the 12 apostles]
:4 And they [the 12 apostles] were all filled with the Holy Ghost, [the gift of pneuma hagion]
    and began to speak with other tongues,
        as the Spirit [the pneuma, God] gave them utterance.

When we take the time to read and understand the Word of God the misconceptions evaporate.