by Ezekiel Bozikis
The pouring out of God's Spirit
it shall come to pass in the
last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit
on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters
Your young men shall see
Your old men shall dream
And on My menservants and on
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy"
Since Adam and Eve sinned by their selfish and prideful
disobedience of their benevolent Creator's commandment,
humanity had been ostracised from God's Presence. Where once
our foreparents spoke to God "face to face" in the Garden of
Eden, afterwards human beings could only approach the Divine
Presence from a distance and with blood sacrifice.
The prophets of the Old Testament and some kings and
priests did personally experience God's Presence by the
indwelling of the Holy Spirit. But the common person could
only approach God indirectly by going to the Temple in
Jerusalem to offer sacrifices. For there, in the Holy of
Holies, God's Presence dwelt. But, no one could enter
in there, except the High Priest (and he only once a
year), or else they would be struck dead.
But on the Day of Pentecost, fifty days after
Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the first
part of Joel's prophecy (quoted above) was fulfilled. God
poured His Spirit "on all flesh".
It started first with the 120 believers in the upper
room, as recorded in the Book of Acts, where it say, "When
the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one
accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from
heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole
house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them
divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to
speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance"
Later that day 3000 more people believed, were baptised,
and received the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Just what is the "gift of the Holy Spirit"?
The Holy Spirit, you may remember, is the third person of
the Holy Trinity, through whom the entire Godhead works with
"There is in God something analogous to 'society'. He is
not a single person, loving Himself alone
triunity: three equal persons, each one dwelling in the
other two by virtue of an unceasing movement of mutual
"There is distinction, but never separation. Father, Son
and Spirit - so the saints affirm, following the testimony
of Scripture - have only one will and not three, only one
energy and not three. None of the three ever acts
separately, apart from the other two. They are not three
Gods, but one God".
"Each of the three is fully and completely God. None is
more or less God than the others".
Our Lord Jesus Christ repeatedly promised the gift of
the Holy Spirit to His disciples. Early in His public
ministry He said, "'If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me
and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said,
out of his heart will flow rivers of living water'. But this
He spoke concerning the Spirit
" (John 7:37-39). Jesus
also said, "I will pray the Father, and He will give you
another Helper, that He may abide with you forever"
Christ promised the Holy Spirit would reveal truth to
the Church. "When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He
will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His
own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He
will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He
will take of what is Mine and declare it to you" (John
16:13-14). Jesus says the Holy Spirit will bring glory to
Christ. This gives us an excellent means of testing whether
or not acts attributed to the Holy Spirit are indeed
The last words of Christ before His Ascension include a
promise: "John truly baptized with water, but you shall be
baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now" (Acts
1:5). This word was fulfilled ten days later on the Day of
The people who heard the Apostle Peter speak at Pentecost
asked him how they might receive salvation. He answered,
"Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of
Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall
receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). We repent
(turn from our sins and toward Christ); we are baptized; and
we are given "the gift of the Holy Spirit" through
chrismation. That practice has never changed.
All people, when they are baptized into the Church, are
"sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the
guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the
purchased possession, to the praise of His glory" (Ephesians
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit was an evidence that
the last times, the day of the Lord, had come. Hence,
Pentecost was a proof to the Jews that Jesus indeed was the
Messiah. And the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the
Gentiles (Acts 10:44-48) was a proof they were equal to the
Jews in this final age.
The guarantee is a first installment, a down
payment of what is later to be completed: we both are
redeemed and shall be redeemed. Thus, having the Holy
Spirit dwelling in us is proof that we will receive eternal
life. The trick is not to grieve the Holy Spirit, by our
sins, and cause Him to abandon us.
How will we know if we have the seal of the Holy
Spirit? By performing miracles or healings? By speaking
in tongues? Or by being an apostle, or an evangelist, or a
prophet? No. You could have one or more of these gifts but
still grieve the Holy Spirit. It is by producing good
fruit - "for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness,
righteousness, and truth" (Ephesians 5:9). And, "the fruit
of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Galatians
But the greatest of these is love.
"Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love
does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave
rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no
evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the
truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all
things, endures all things. Love never fails" (1 Cor.
Gifts of the Spirit such as healing and prophesying,
wonderful as they are, are temporary and incomplete. They
are for this age, while we are "children". But love
continues into the age to come: it is eternal, complete and
We said previously that before Pentecost, humanity was
barred from God's Presence. The Death, Resurrection and
Ascension of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ changed all
that. For God now lives in the heart of every
This is a great mystery! The Creator of the whole
universe condescending to live in our mortal bodies!
St. Symeon the New Theologian describes this
"I know that the Immovable comes
I know that the Invisible appears
I know that He who is far outside
the whole creation
Takes me within Himself and hides
me in His arms,
And then I find myself outside the
I, a frail, small mortal in the world,
Behold the Creator of the world, all of Him, within
And I know that I shall not die, for I am within the
I have the whole of Life springing up as a fountain within
He is in my heart, He is in heaven:
Both there and here He shows Himself to me with equal
Likewise the Apostle Paul says, "Do you not know that you
are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in
you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy
him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are" (1
I pray that we all live in repentance, faith and love.
"Chase after love", as St. John Chrysostom urges us, and
keep yourselves holy. For you are God's holy temple.
from Voice in the Wilderness,
June-July 1996, v. 4(3)
published by Greek Orthodox Church of Saint George, Brisbane