THE NEW UNION
"through the eternal Spirit" Heb. 9:14
Having attempted to follow the Lord as He ascended to the right hand of the Father, and having seen Him in the height of the heavenly glory, a perfect Man, fulfilling the Divine ideal, the perfect Savior having provided a ransom for the lost; and having moreover, recognized anew the fact that this exalted Man is our God, there remains to be considered somewhat more closely, the NEW UNION between God and man, consummated when the Man of Nazareth received the promise of the Father (John 14:16-17). For this He prayed while here on earth.
In his first sermon after Pentecost, Peter, referring to the ascended Christ, declared that He "having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit," (Acts 2:33) had poured forth the gift upon the waiting disciples. This was the proof He had arrived in heaven and the answer to their question at Pentecost concerning what was going on at that point (Acts 2:12). The present article is an attempt to understand what the apostle meant, when he said that Jesus had received the promise of the Spirit.
Most certainly this is a declaration that upon the basis of His finished work of life, and on the occasion of His arrival in heaven, Jesus of Nazareth did receive, by a solemn and official act from the Father, the Holy Spirit ACCORDING TO PROMISE. The first question that suggests itself to the mind is, why was the Spirit now given to this ascended Man, and in what sense was the Spirit given to Him? It cannot possibly be that the bestowment of the Spirit was for Himself. His whole human life had been conditioned by the abiding presence in Him of the Holy Spirit of God, and that in fulfillment of the primal Divine intention concerning man. It is important that there should be perfect clearness of understanding of this fact. His reception of the Spirit in heaven was not the crowning by God of His Manhood. It was rather the answer of God to the claim this Man made upon Him, by the work He had accomplished for others.
To state this even more fully: the whole Being of Christ, and the whole mission of Christ was so closely associated with the presence and power of the Holy Spirit that there could be no necessity for any new bestowment of the Spirit merely for Himself. His very human life was due to the mystery of the overshadowing Spirit and through all the years of privacy, there can be no doubt that He lived under the immediate guidance of the Spirit of truth. He did not at the baptisms receive the Spirit. At that crisis the presence of the Spirit was manifest, and in a new symbolism that suggested the truth that His work would be carried out in the power of the Spirit. The dove like form in which the Spirit then appeared—a form in which He is never manifested in connection with any other person, except the Christ: a form suggestive of tender gentle patience—revealed the truth concerning the character of Jesus; and announced that in keeping with that essential of His nature all His work would be carried forward. Filled with the Spirit, He passed to the wilderness to be tempted of the devil, and in the power of the Spirit He went forth to His ministry, when all the temptation was accomplished. And at the last it was "through the eternal Spirit" He offered Himself without blemish unto God. (Heb. 9:14) And yet we have a declaration that having passed through death, and having ascended to the presence of the Father, He received there from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit.
An explanation of the declaration will be found in a correct apprehension of what is meant by THE PROMISE OF THE SPIRIT. Where, and to whom was the promise made? The whole subject may be considered under the following heads,
1st, the promise of the Spirit fulfilled in His bestowment upon the ascended Man;
2nd, the Spirit received by the ascended Man for those whom He represented as Savior;
3rd, the union of God and man resulting.