D. TO THE SAINTS IN THE TRANSITIONAL PERIOD BETWEEN CHRIST’S INCARNATION AND RESURRECTION
According to God’s economy, there was a transitional period between Christ’s incarnation and resurrection. The Spirit came to certain saints during this period, which lasted about thirty-three and a half years. John the Baptist and Mary, the mother of Jesus, are not included among these saints, for John was filled with the Spirit and Mary was overshadowed by the Spirit before the beginning of this transitional period. Neither did the Spirit come to the Lord’s disciples during this period. For example, the Lord Jesus cast out demons by the Spirit of God (Matt. 12:28). Although the disciples were given authority by the Lord to cast out demons and did cast them out (Mark 3:15; 6:7; Luke 10:17), there is no verse telling us that they cast out demons by the Spirit. Furthermore, when Peter received the revelation that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matt. 16:16), the Lord Jesus said that Peter was blessed, not because this was revealed by the Spirit but because it was revealed by the Father (v. 17). During the transitional period between His incarnation and resurrection, the Lord Jesus was the unique one to minister by the Holy Spirit. During this time the Spirit also came to Elizabeth, Zachariah, and Simeon.
1. To Elizabeth—Filling Her Economically
Concerning Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, Luke 1:41 says, “It came about as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, that the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.” Once again, the Greek word translated “filled” is pletho, denoting the outward filling economically. Because Elizabeth was filled with the Spirit economically, she could utter the marvelous blessing recorded in verses 42 through 45, something she could not do by herself. Elizabeth’s blessing by the Holy Spirit reveals Christ’s humanity as the fruit of Mary’s womb (v. 42) and His deity as the Lord (v. 43). Being filled with the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth recognized the fruit of Mary’s womb as her Lord. This indicates that she acknowledged the deity of the child to be born of Mary. Moreover, she could confirm Mary’s faith in the Lord’s word by saying, “Blessed is she who believed, because there shall be a completion of the things spoken to her from the Lord” (v. 45). This was a prophecy by the Holy Spirit to confirm the Lord’s word spoken to Mary by the angel Gabriel (Luke 1:30-37).
2. To Zachariah—Filling Him Economically
In the transitional period the Holy Spirit also came to Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist. According to Luke 1:67, Zachariah was filled with the Spirit and prophesied. In verse 68 Zachariah says, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has visited and accomplished redemption for His people.” Here Zachariah prophesies regarding God’s redemptive move for His people unto their salvation. In verse 69 he speaks of Christ’s humanity as the “horn of salvation for us in the house of David,” and in verse 78, of Christ’s deity as “the rising sun from on high.” Zachariah’s prophecy sheds more light concerning God’s move on earth than is shed by Elizabeth’s blessing. In his prophecy we also have a revelation of Christ in His divine human person and saving work.
3. To Simeon—Being upon Him, Filling Him Economically
Finally, during this transitional period the Spirit came to Simeon, being upon him and filling him economically. “The Holy Spirit was upon him. And it was communicated to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he should see the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple” (Luke 2:25b-27a). Therefore, Simeon’s adoration of Jesus was in the Holy Spirit. In his words of adoration (vv. 29-34) the Lord Jesus is revealed as the consolation of Israel, God’s salvation, a light for the Gentiles, a glory of Israel, a test to Israel, and a sign opposed.
(Conclusion of the New Testament, The (Msgs. 079-098), Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)