THE APPLICATION OF THE TWO ASPECTS OF THE WORK OF THE SPIRIT
With the Lord Jesus
We may now apply the principle of the two aspects of the work of the Holy Spirit. First, we can see the work of the Holy Spirit with the Lord Jesus. Both Matthew and Luke tell us that the Lord Jesus was born of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:18, 20; Luke 1:35). Before He came out to work for God at the age of thirty, He was already filled with the Holy Spirit. However, it was at the time of His baptism in water that the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit came upon Him as a dove (Matt. 3:16). This does not mean that before the Holy Spirit came upon Him, He did not have the Holy Spirit. Because He was born of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit had been in Him and filled Him for thirty years. However, at the age of thirty, when He came out to work for God to preach the gospel, He needed to be baptized on the one hand, in the water, and on the other hand, in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit needed to come upon Him as power so that He could preach the gospel. These two aspects are very clear.
With the Disciples
We may also apply these two aspects to the first group of disciples, including Peter and John. When did those disciples receive the Holy Spirit? When I was young, I was taught by certain books and teachers that those disciples received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. In actuality, the disciples received the Holy Spirit on the day of the Lord’s resurrection. On the evening of the day in which the Lord was resurrected, He came to His disciples. John 20:22 says, “And when He had said this, He breathed into them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit.”
In chapters fourteen and sixteen, when the Lord was about to die, He promised the disciples that after His death and resurrection He would send the Spirit of reality to them. Verses 16-17 of chapter fourteen say, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter, that He may be with you forever, even the Spirit of reality, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him; but you know Him, because He abides with you and shall be in you.” This promise concerning the coming of the Holy Spirit in chapters fourteen and sixteen was not fulfilled on the day of Pentecost but in the evening of the day of resurrection, in chapter twenty, when the Lord came to them with the Spirit, breathed into them, and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” This was the Holy Spirit of life, the Spirit who came into the disciples as life. This is the first aspect of the work of the Spirit.
The first promise concerning the Spirit was that the Lord Himself would ask the Father to send another Comforter, the Spirit of reality. This promise was fulfilled on the day of resurrection. Forty days after the resurrection, when the Lord was about to ascend to the heavens, He promised the disciples again, telling them to stay in Jerusalem until He sent the promise of the Father, the Holy Spirit of power, from on high. This was another promise concerning the Holy Spirit. This second promise, concerning not the Spirit of life but the Spirit of power, was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost.
Before the day of Pentecost, the disciples already had the Spirit of reality. The day of Pentecost is in Acts 2. Before that time, the one hundred twenty disciples prayed together for ten days in one accord, and they understood how to expound the Psalms (Acts 1:14, 20). We may compare this to the prior situation of the disciples. When the Lord was going to the cross, the disciples quarreled with one another about who would be the greatest. This was because at that time they did not have the Holy Spirit within them. It was on the day of resurrection when the Lord came to them and breathed on them that they received the Spirit of reality and life. Because of this, they were able to stay together and pray with one accord before the day of Pentecost.
Moreover, they prayed in the spirit. Without the Spirit dwelling in them they could not have done this. They gave up their country, their home in Galilee, and they stayed in Jerusalem under the threatenings of the people. At that time in Jerusalem the people were threatening them, but they had the boldness to stay there and pray in one accord for ten days. How could they have done this without the help of the Holy Spirit dwelling within them? It would have been impossible. However, they had the Spirit of life, the Spirit of reality, within them already. Therefore, they could do these things. This is a strong proof that before the day of Pentecost, the disciples already had the Holy Spirit of reality and of life.
They had the Holy Spirit of life within, but they had not received the Holy Spirit of power without. It was on the day of Pentecost, as they were praying together in the upper room, that the Holy Spirit of power came down from heaven upon them, and the Lord Jesus as the Head of the Body baptized them as the Body. On that day the Lord was the Baptizer, and the one hundred twenty were the representatives of the Body. The Head baptized the Body in the Holy Spirit.
To drink water is to take water into us, but to be baptized in water is not to drink it; it is to get into the water. On the one hand, the water is in us, and on the other hand, the water is upon us. Resurrection is a matter of life. On that day of life, the day of resurrection, the disciples received the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of life. The day of Pentecost, however, was a day for the work of the preaching of the gospel. Therefore, the disciples needed power, so the Holy Spirit came down as power upon them. These are two aspects. One is the inward aspect, and the other is the outward aspect. One is the aspect of life, and the other is the aspect of power.
(The Work of the Holy Spirit, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)