The Spirit and the Body, by Witness Lee

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John 20:22 says, "He breathed into them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit." This is the Spirit expected in John 7:39 and promised in John 14:16-17, 26; 15:26; 16:7-8, 13. In John 7 the Spirit the disciples were to receive was not yet because Jesus had not yet been glorified. But on the day of His resurrection the Lord came to the disciples by night, breathed into them, and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit." In John 7 the Spirit was not yet, but in John 20 the Spirit was present because Jesus had been glorified. He was glorified in His resurrection; hence, the compound Spirit had come into existence. The Lord’s breathing of the Holy Spirit into the disciples was the fulfillment of His promise of the Holy Spirit as the Comforter. This fulfillment differs from Acts 2:1-4, which was the fulfillment of the Father’s promise in Luke 24:49. There the Spirit as a rushing mighty wind came as power upon the disciples for their work (Acts 1:8). Here, the Spirit as the breath was breathed as life into the disciples for their life. By breathing the Spirit into the disciples, the Lord imparted Himself as life and everything into them. Thus, all that He had spoken in chapters fourteen through sixteen could be fulfilled.

Just as falling into the ground to die and growing out of the ground transforms a grain of wheat into another form, new and living, so the death and resurrection of the Lord transfigured Him from the flesh into the Spirit. As the last Adam in the flesh, He became a life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45) through the process of death and resurrection. As He is the embodiment of the Father, so the Spirit is the realization, the reality, of Him. It is as the Spirit that He was breathed into the disciples. It is as the Spirit that He is received into His believers and flows out of them as rivers of living water (John 7:38-39). It is as the Spirit that through His death and resurrection He came back to the disciples, entered into them as their Comforter, and began to abide in them (John 14:16-17). It is as the Spirit that He can live in the disciples and they can live by Him and with Him (John 14:19). It is as the Spirit that He can abide in the disciples and they can abide in Him (John 14:20; 15:4-5). It is as the Spirit that He can come with the Father to His lover and make an abode with him (John 14:23). It is as the Spirit that He can make all that He is and all He has to be fully realized by the disciples (John 16:13-16). It is as the Spirit that He came to meet with His brothers as the church to declare the Father’s name to them and to praise Him in their midst (Heb. 2:11-12). It is as the Spirit that He can send His disciples with His commission, with Himself as life and everything to them, in the same way the Father sent Him (John 20:21). Hence, they are qualified to represent Him with His authority in the fellowship of His Body (John 20:23). It is as the Spirit that Christ does everything today. As the all-inclusive Spirit, He is doing everything with us and to us. God’s economy is entirely involved with this all-inclusive Spirit, who is the compound ointment whose anointing we must experience today.

(The Spirit and the Body, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)