Last week, we ended with John 7:39, which reads, “But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” Christ explains this idea further in John 14.
And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that it may abide with you forever — the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot receive, because it neither sees it nor knows it; but you know it, for it dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. (John 14:16-18)
These verses show that Christ and the Holy Spirit are so closely linked that the presence of the Holy Spirit in us is just like He Himself being right inside of us. A good friend of mine has spent a lot of time with a man named Dr. Ward, who has likened the Holy Spirit to God’s divine essence – His DNA if you will – and said that the conversion process is like DNA replacement therapy that results in our old man being made into a new man.
Reading on in verse 19 of John 14, Christ tells His disciples, “Because I live, you will live also.” What more inspiring and encouraging re-assurance could He have given them at this point? Then they went through the agonizing experience of seeing Him crucified, followed by the hope generated by His resurrection, and His appearance before their astonished eyes in Luke 24:49, where He repeated the promise of John 14.
The Second Thread
This brings us to Acts 2, and the fulfillment of the promise of the Holy Spirit.
When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1-4)
As the people heard the disciples speaking in different languages, some wondered “Whatever could this mean?” While others mocked and said, “They are full of new wine” (Acts 2:5-13). So Peter began to explain what the events of the day really meant. We’ll skip ahead to verse 29 to save space.
“Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.” (Acts 2:29-33)
Here we see that the Wavesheaf, the First of the first fruits, was given this great promise from the Father to pour out upon the called out ones who would become a part of the harvest of the firstfruits. And just as it was for the nation of Israel when they first entered the promise land, all of this bounty was given from the pure grace and generosity of God.
So we have element 2 in our Tapestry of Pentecost, the fulfillment of the promised gift of the Holy Spirit. But there’s another thing given by God to each one of us that makes it possible for us to link with Him and His son in the most spiritually intimate way possible. And the prototype, as we might expect, was again shown to us in Jesus Christ Himself.
A Third Thread
At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!”
But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple. (Matt 12:1-6)
The word for temple in this verse is the Greek hieron (G2411) which refers to the entire temple complex. Zodhiates defines it as, “often including not only the building, but the courts and all the sacred grounds or enclosure.” This is the word that is most often used when referring to the physical temple complex in its entirety.
John 2:19 clarifies that what He was referring to as “greater than the temple complex” was Himself. The word He uses here to call Himself a temple, though is naos (G3485), not hieron. Here, it refers not to a material temple, but simply an ordinary human body that the Father had given to Him as a means to an end.
The word naos comes from naio, which means “to dwell.” Zodhiates’ definition reads like this: “The temple itself is the heart and center of the whole sacred enclosure called hieron (2411). The naos was the Holy of Holies. The Lord never entered the naos during His ministry on earth, the right of such entry being reserved for the Jewish priests alone.” Another online concordance adds that naos refers to “the sanctuary, which contained the holy place, and the Holy of Holies.”
So the spiritual temple – naos – that was Christ’s body was said to be greater than the physical temple complex – hieron. As a reminder, this was the body of the Wavesheaf, the Forerunner, the Firstfruit, our example. A physical vessel, with a full measure of the Holy Spirit. That makes the third element in the tapestry of Pentecost the human body.
This aspect is such a large topic that I want to devote an entire post to exploring it. Check back next week for part 3 of “The Tapestry of Pentecost.”
Update: read the other posts in this series
Part Three: The Tapestry of Pentecost: Our Temple Body