Acts 2:32 This Jesus, God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. 33 “Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.

Clearly the context of this passage is post resurrection.

John 5:26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in himself

John 20:22 And when he had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit".

We're familiar with the state Jesus was in while flesh prior to resurrection - he could do nothing of himself, he received the holy spirit at baptism from his Father. On his death he returned his human spirit to God. (Luke 23:46). But this is very different to the way that he has/is spirit in Acts

When is this promised holy spirit given?

Edit: this seems, in hindsight, an unnecessarily complex question with a reasonably straightforward answer. While the answers provided seem to lose focus on the timeline aspect, the verse in Acts is quite explicit.

  • The promise in question is the one mentioned in John 14:26.
    – Lucian
    Jul 17, 2020 at 17:50
  • no, that's the spirit being given to others - as in 20:22 above
    – Steve
    Jul 17, 2020 at 22:10
  • 1
    This question has the "feel" and "vibe" of a theological trap.
    – Dottard
    Jul 17, 2020 at 22:29
  • @user48152: Yes, and ?
    – Lucian
    Jul 17, 2020 at 22:35
  • 1
    I think the priestly role given is after resurrection - not while he was flesh Heb 6:20 'has become' - not always was. btw, if Jesus is God, why has he got 2 kinds of spirit?
    – Steve
    Jul 18, 2020 at 7:21

3 Answers 3


By paying the full price, Jesus won the battle against sin and death. He remains at God's right hand. (Mark 16:9, Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20,21; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3; 8;1 and at other places.

In Christ, believers also are seated "in heavenly places" (Ephesians 2:6). Because this is their position in Christ, they do not need their own works of righteousness to claim His promise. They can be no higher position than they already have in Christ.

Now, the Apostle Peter uses Christ's exalted position to explain what had just occcurred. Now at the Father's right hand, He/Jesus had received from the Father the Promise of the Spirit and poured out the Spirit, as the crowd had seen and heard as the 120 spoke in other tongues. (Acts 2:1-3).

The outpouring of the Spirit was evidence that Jesus was actually exalted at the Father's right hand. Remember, before His death Jesus told the Twelve that it was necessary for Him to go away in order for the Comforter to come. (John 16:7) and where Lucian quoted (John 14:26).

There is another important point I would like to raise on this subject. Acts 2:36, "Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him/Jesus both Lord and Christ--this Jesus, whom you crucified.

God did not "make" Him/Jesus both Lord and Christ. Luke 2:11, "for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, WHO IS CHRIST THE LORD."

In other words, God supernaturally confirmed Jesus' Messianic claims by raising Him from the dead. This is also backed up at Romans 1:3-4, "concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, (as a side note why is "according to the flesh" is mentioned?) Verse 4, who was "DECLARED" the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead according to the spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord."

In short, it was the resurrection that confirmed who Jesus Christ is who He said He was. Also, Jesus Christ raised Himself, (John 2:19), the Father raised Him up at (Acts 2:32) and the Holy Spirit at (Romans 8:11).

  • Just as the Word (Jn 1:1-2), Christ, the eternal Son, does nothing apart from the Holy Father and Holy Spirit, seeing as how They can't be apart, seeing as how They're one Being (1:1; Mt 28:19), so the Son was begotten into humanity (Mary's womb) via conception by the Holy Spirit (Lk 1:31; Mt 1:18). Then was clothed, baptized, in the Holy Spirit as an adult to start His ministry (Jn 1:32). So His believers are born of Christ the Spirit inwardly (20:22) and (simultaneously now) clothed with Him outwardly (Ac 1:8). Jn 14--17 refer to 20:22, though also some to Ac 2:32 (Jn 17:20; 1 Cor 12:13)
    – Walter S
    Jul 18, 2020 at 3:21
  • Why does the @name only work sometimes? thx Mr Bond, I don't see anything that speaks to the Q. in yr answer. I refer to the promised spirit Jesus received in Acts - Which is NOT as baptism - this is other.
    – Steve
    Jul 18, 2020 at 4:54
  • Up-voted (+1) but Romans 8:11 says only 'the Spirit of him that raised' and ... 'he that raised shall quicken by his Spirit'. I do not see a direct reference to the Holy Spirit regarding Jesus' resurrection, as such. Can you clarify from elsewhere ?
    – Nigel J
    Jul 18, 2020 at 12:45
  • @user48152 You error not understanding the Scriptures," (Matthew 22:29). Your contradicting yourself? Jesus did not receive the Holy Spirit at His baptism. Read John 1:29-34 where the Spirit (verse 32) in the form of a dove remained on Him in order for John to recognize Him as the Messiah. Vs33, "This is the one who baptizes in the Holy Spirit. Secondly, at His death Jesus commended His human soul to the Father, not the Holy Spirit. Just like Stephen did at Acts 7:59, "Calling upon Jesus, "Lord Jesus receive my spirit!" Why did not Stephen call upon God the Father instead of a man only?
    – Mr. Bond
    Jul 18, 2020 at 15:11
  • @Mr.Bond I will edit Q to clarify as you seem to be missing the point.
    – Steve
    Jul 19, 2020 at 3:33

The Spirit and Jesus on Earth
The Gospels state the Holy Spirit was given at the baptism (Mark 1:9-11; Matthew 3:13-17; Luke 3:21-22). John records He remained on Jesus:

29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 33 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.” (John 1) [ESV]

Acts affirms Jesus had the Holy Spirit while He was alive:

how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. (Acts 10:38)

The Holy Spirit was instrumental in His Resurrection:

and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 1:4)

Therefore, any "loss" of the Spirit while on earth can only be a temporary condition, like the one after His birth and before His baptism. Likely this temporary separation is the significance of His cry before death:

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)

Regardless, upon being raised from the dead He told Mary he had need to return to the Father which apparently was done immediately before He appeared to the other women:

Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father... (John 20:17)
And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. (Matthew 28:9)

It is clear shortly thereafter He had the Spirit:

And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. (John 20:22)

So the Word coming into the world "disrupted" what had been "in the beginning" but at most, there are two periods during which He was not with the Holy Spirit: from birth until baptism and shortly before death until shortly after His Resurrection.1 It is also important to note post-Resurrection descriptions of the Spirit are more intimate and personal than any description during His earthly mission. Where the Baptist saw the Spirit descend and remain, John reports the Spirit came from within Jesus, "He breathed on them..."

The disciples post-Resurrection experiences are described consistent with what Jesus had predicted:

But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. (John 15:27)

The lack of an intervening explanation of events between Jesus and His Father immediately after His Resurrection cannot negate the obvious: Jesus had the Spirit within Him and breathed Him upon the disciples soon after He was raised to life, exactly as He had predicted before His death. Therefore, Peter's post-Resurrection explanation of the events on Pentecost are not describing some new relationship with the Spirit, the Word, and God. Rather, it is affirming the condition which had been "in the beginning" but has been made available to all who receive Him and believe in His name (cf. John 1:12).

The Spirit with God
The Old Testament supports understanding the Holy Spirit departed from Jesus at His death:

and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. (Ecclesiastes 12:7)

The spirit returns to God, not the Father. Any assumption that "Father" may be substituted for "God" is an anachronism based on an incomplete application of New Testament revelation:

In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God... (John 1:1)

"God" cannot be replaced with Father without also considering the question of the presence of the Word with God. So if the Word had not yet been sent, the complete NT theological reading would be, the spirit returns to [the Word who was God and was with] God who gave it. At this time in history, the spirit is described as returning when the Word was still with God (and was God). There is no logical or Scriptural basis for separating the Word from God before He was sent.

Any attempt to understand "God" as "Father" must consider "in the beginning...the Word was with God, a condition which did not change until the Word came into the world. Therefore, if one replaces "God" with "Father" there must be a corresponding change with "the Word" and "Son."

...the spirit returns to God [the Father and Son] who gave it

This is no different from the present day state (cf. John 15:27). The present day sending of the Holy Spirit is the work of Father and Son just as any OT sending of the Spirit was a work of the Word with God. The difference is the New Testament reveals a more intimate connection between the Word and the Spirit then might be assumed possible had the Word not become flesh. That is to say, where the Old Testament describes the spirit returning to God who gave it; the New Testament describes the Word who was God breathing the Spirit into those who received the Word who had became flesh. So the emphasis is not on what returns to the giver, but what remains as a guarantee from the giver:

and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
(2 Corinthians 1:22) [cf. Ephesians 1:13, 4:30]

1 The significance of μόνον - alone ἀληθινὸν θεὸν in John 17:3 is a reflection both the Spirit and Son are "away" at the time Jesus is praying.

  • @user48152 "Into your hands I commit My Spirit..." is not speaking of the Holy Spirit. It is speaking of the Spirit of Jesus (cf. Acts 16:7). Jesus (obviously) had His own Spirit and was anointed with the Holy Spirit. When He committed His own Spirit to the Father, that says nothing about the Holy Spirit which He had received at His baptism and unless you believe His dead body remained anointed with the Holy Spirit until His Resurrection, then it follows the Spirit which had remained, left. Jul 19, 2020 at 16:09

The Holy Spirit did not leave Jesus before he died on the cross. He actually offered himself through the Holy Spirit.

Hebrews 9 13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Also, why would the Spirit leave Jesus before he died on the cross when dying on the cross itself is obedience to God? (Romans 5:18, Philippians 2:8).

The context pf Acts 2:32 shows that Jesus receive the Holy Spirit in his body of flesh to make it incorruptible. This occurred exactly on the third day when his body is made incorruptible (Easter Sunday). Thus, it is about the Holy Spirit resurrecting Jesus. That the body is made alive by the Spirit is prevalent New Testament concept.

  • You correctly said. 'shows that Jesus receive the Holy Spirit in his body of flesh to make it incorruptible'. which sits alongside him NOT having this spirit before resurrection because he WAS corruptible and had to die (when death was MASTER over him Rom 6:90) - yet still not answering Q. When?
    – Steve
    Jul 18, 2020 at 22:56
  • ok, nice theory, any support for the 3rd day thing?
    – Steve
    Jul 19, 2020 at 11:11
  • 1 Corinthians 15:4
    – R. Brown
    Jul 19, 2020 at 12:14
  • ok, 1 pencil vote for then.
    – Steve
    Jul 19, 2020 at 12:18

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