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All English Versions mistranslate “the Greek lambano(λάμβανω) + the Holy Spirit.”


John R. W. Stott comments on “receive the Holy Spirit.”

Meanwhile, I must first repeat that a doctrine of the Holy Spirit must not be constructed from purely descriptive passages in the Acts. It would be impossible to build a consistent doctrine from them because there is no consistency about them. All Christians receive the Spirit at the very beginning of their Christian life. This truth is confirmed by the New Testament use of the expression ‘baptism of the Spirit’ as an equivalent to ‘gift of the Spirit,’ or rather of the verb (for the expression is always verbal) to ‘baptize’ or ‘be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ The very concept of ‘baptism’ is initiatory. Moreover, there can be no doubt that Cornelius’ baptism with the Spirit was initiation into Christ, his conversion. (John R. W. Stott, Baptism & Fullness, p.30,36-37.)

Merrill F. Unger comments on the book of Acts.

Pentecostals build their doctrine of Spirit-baptism only upon part of the relevant Biblical evidence rather than upon the full testimony of Scripture. Moreover, their interpretation of this partial evidence, almost exclusively the book of Acts, is faulty because it erects its teaching on these historical and experiential portions, at the same time construing them in a time vacuum and failing to reconcile their conclusions with the great doctrinal epistles of the New Testament. (Merrill F. Unger, The Baptism & Gifts of the Holy Spirit, p.14.)

Richard B. Gaffin comments on “receive the Holy Spirit.”

The attempt to read out of Acts 2 and the other passages a permanent model (ordo salutis) for receiving the Spirit creates a number of unanswerable questions: Does “Holy Spirit baptism” take place at the same time as or subsequent to initial faith in Christ? The former is the case in chapter 10 and perhaps (but not indisputably) chapter 19, the latter in chapters 2 and 8. Before or after water baptism? The former in chapter 10, the latter in chapter 8 and 19, with chapter 2 giving no indication. With or without laying on hands? The former in chapter 8 and 19, the latter in chapter 2 and 10. These dilemmas simply show that the passages in question are being pressed into doing something Luke never intended? (Richard B. Gaffin, Perspectives on Pentecost, p.26.)

John F. MacArthur comments on “receive the Holy Spirit.”

Two other passages demonstrate that the disciples did not receive the Holy Spirit until the day of Pentecost. John 7 records that Jesus stood up at the Feast of Tabernacles and offered living water to anyone who wanted to come and drink. The apostle explains in verse 39 that Jesus was speaking of the Holy Spirit: “But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive, for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” That passage explicitly states that the Spirit would not come until Jesus had been glorified, and He could not be glorified until He had ascended. Also, in John 16:7 Jesus told the disciples, “1 tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, 1 will send Him to you.” Jesus, of course, did not “go away” until he ascended, as recorded in the early verses of Acts. And a thorough study of Scripture points convincingly to the conclusion that what Jesus said in John 20:22 was simply a promise of the Holy Spirit; the disciples did not receive the Holy Spirit at that moment.
Only in Acts 2 and 8 do believers receive the Spirit after salvation. In Acts 10 and 19, believers were baptized in the Spirit at the moment of belief. So the doctrine of subsequence cannot be convincingly defended even from the book of Acts. What about tongues? Believers spoke in tongues in Acts 2, 10, and 19, but there is no record of tongues in chapter 8. What about the requirement of earnestly seeking the baptism! The believers in Acts 2 simply waited prayerfully for the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise (cf. 1:4,14). In chapters 8, 10, or 19, no seeking is mentioned. The point is clear. To say that the book of Acts presents the normal pattern for receiving the Holy Spirit presents a problem: no consistent pattern is evident in Acts! (John F. MacArthur, Charismatic Chaos, p.215,211.)

Robert Gromacki comments on “receive the Holy Spirit.”

The first unusual reception of the Holy Spirit occurred on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1). The Samaritans had believed and had been baptized in water, but they did not have the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. The apostles then laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit in this postconversion experience. Cornelius was not saved at the time the angel appeared to him. The Gentile converts received the Holy Spirit at the very moment they believed. No information about the 12 disciples at Ephesus is given…in a sense they were Old Testament living in the New Testa- ment church age. Luke reported, “And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied” (19:6). There is no mention that Paul prayed for them to receive the Holy Spirit or that they themselves prayed. (Robert Gromacki, The Holy Spirit, p.478,481,483,484.)

R. A. Torrey comments on “receive the Holy Spirit.”

Here we have another expression, “filled with the Holy Spirit,” used synonymously with “baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Here, Peter distinctly called the experience which came to Cornelius and his household, being baptized with the Holy Ghost. Thus we see that the expression “the Holy Ghost fell” and “the gift of the Holy Ghost” are practically synonymous with “baptized with the Holy Ghost.” Still other expressions are used to describe this blessing, such as “receive the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38; 19:2-6); “the Holy Ghost came on them” (Acts 19:2-6); “gift of the Holy Ghost” (Heb. 2:4; cf. 1 Cor. 12:4,11,13); “I send the promise of my Father upon you” and “endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). (R. A. Torrey, The Person & Work of the Holy Spirit, p.146-147.)

Guy P. Duffield/N.M. Van Cleave comment on “receive the Holy Spirit.”

The first and last biblical accounts of the reception of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4; 19:6) mention that the recipients spoke with tongues. The Samaritans were saved under the ministry of Phillip (Acts 8:5-8,12). They were baptized with the Holy Ghost under the ministry of Peter and John some days later (Acts 8:14-17). Paul was converted on the road to Damascus by a personal vision of the resurrected Christ (Acts 9:3-9). He was baptized with the Holy Ghost under the ministry of Ananias three days later (Acts 9:17-19). The twelve men at Ephesus were “believers”–according to Paul’s own words to them: “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? Or did ye receive the Holy Ghost when ye believed?” (Acts 19:2). These believers were baptized in water and later received the baptism with the Holy Spirit subsequent to the laying on of the apostle’s hands (Acts 19:2-7). There is a distinct difference between a tarrying meeting and a prayer meeting for reception of the Spirit. He who tarries for the Spirit believes that he will receive when God is ready…Note the manner in which the Holy Spirit was received in the revival at Samaria. (Guy P. Duffield/N.M. Van Cleave, Foundations of Pentecostal Theology, p.322,306,318.)

Billy Graham comments on “receive the Holy Spirit.”

“When were you baptized with the Holy Spirit? He asked. He had not questioned the others on this. The moment I received Jesus Christ as my Savior,” l replied. Since the baptism with the Spirit occurs at time of regeneration, Christians are never told in Scripture to seek it. The moment we received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior we received the Holy Spirit. He came to live in out heart. “Any one who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him,” said Paul in Romans 8:9. It was correct for me to respond that I had already received the baptism of the Spirit at the moment of my conversion.
I have just suggested that all believers have the Holy Spirit who comes to dwell within them at the time of their regeneration or conversion. However, some have urged that the book of Acts gives us several examples of people who did not receive the Holy Spirit when they first believed. Instead, some contend, these incidents indicate that a baptism with the Spirit occurs subsequent to our incorporation into the body of Christ. From that day onward, the Holy Spirit has lived in the hearts of all true believer, beginning with the 120 disciples who received Him at Pentecost. When they received the Holy Spirit, He united them by His indwelling presence into one body - the mystical body of Christ, which is the Church....Their baptism by the Spirit was a clear sign that they too could be part of God’s people by faith in Jesus Christ. A second passage that gives some people difficulty deal with the conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus as recorded in Acts 9. Some say that when he was later filled with the Spirit in the presence of Ananias (v. 17), he experienced a second baptism of the Spirit. Here again the situation is unique....in other words, when did Saul’s regeneration take place? My point is that even if Paul was regenerated on the Damascus road, his later filling is not presented as a second baptism. And possibly his re- generation did not occur until Ananias came to him. So the passage does not teach that Paul was baptized twice with the Spirit.
A third text that has given rise to some controversy is Acts 19:1-7. Paul visited Ephesus and found twelve professing disciples who had not received the Holy Spirit. On reading this passage the question immediately arises: Were these twelve people true Christians before their meeting with Paul? They seemed to be ignorant about the Holy Spirit and Jesus. Also they talked about John’s baptism. Certainly, Paul did not reckon their earlier baptism sufficient grounds for calling them believers. He had them undergo water baptism in the name of Christ.
Probably thousands of people had heard John or Jesus during the previous few years. John’s baptism had made a deep impression on them, but during the intervening period of time they probably had lost all contact with the teachings of both John and Jesus. Thus, again we have a unique situation. The very fact that the apostle asked such searching questions would indicate that he doubted the genuineness of their conversion experience. However, we must still deal with Acts 19:6: “And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying.” Dr. Merrill Tunney calls them “belated believers.” The interesting thing is that all these events took place simultaneously. Whether the tongues spoken of here were the tongues to which Paul refers in 1 Corinthians 14 or Luke speaks about at Pentecost, we are not told. The word “prophesying” here carries with it the idea of testimony or proclamation. Apparently they went about telling their friends how they had come to believe in Jesus Christ. In my thinking, this does not suggest a second baptism with the Spirit subsequent to a baptism with the Spirit at regeneration. Rather, it appears that they were regenerated and baptized with the Spirit at the same time. It was correct for me to respond that I had already received the baptism of the Spirit at the moment of my conversion. (Billy Graham, The Holy Spirit, p.66,79,80,73,66-77,78,80.)

Stanley M. Horton comments on “receive the Holy Spirit.”

Then, Jesus did more than offer them what He at that moment could give. He promised that the one who believes (keeps believing, is a believer) in Him, out of his belly (his innermost being) rivers of living water will flow. This spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on him [by a definite act of faith] should receive [receive actively, take]: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given because Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7:39). This clearly refers to what would happen beginning at Pen- tecost. During His ministry, the disciples depended directly on Jesus. The Holy Spirit did His work in and through Jesus on their behalf. Thus, the Holy Spirit was only with the disciples, not yet in them (John 14:17). They were living in a transitional period where the Holy Spirit was not yet given to everyone, just as was the case in the Old Testament. However, since given is not in most of the ancient Greek manuscripts, they read, “the Spirit was not yet,” or, “it was not yet Spirit.” The meaning seems to be that the age of the Spirit (as prophesied by Joel and the other Old Testament prophets) had not yet come. It is more likely that the phrase compares with John 7:39. There, the condensed phrase, “It was not yet Spirit,” means the age of the Spirit with its promised outpouring had not yet come. (Stanley M. Horton, What the Bible says about the Holy Spirit, p.116,161.)

     All of the statements are mixtures of correct and erroneous elements. Since they have accepted the mistranslation of the Greek verb lambano in the NT as authentic, their arguments are based on the mistranslation and misinterpretation of this verb. If this Greek verb is not correctly translated, it is absolutely impossible to build the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. In the statement mentioned above, John R. W. Stott insists, “I must first repeat that a doctrine of the Holy Spirit must not be constructed from purely descriptive passages in the Acts. It would be impossible to build a consistent doctrine from them because there is no consistency about them.” And John F. MacArthur insists also, “To say that the book of Acts presents the normal pattern for receiving the Holy Spirit presents a problem: no consistent pattern is evident in Acts.” Their arguments seem to be correct. Unfortunately, their arguments are quite erroneous because they are based on the mistranslations of the Greek text. Let’s examine literally inconsistent records of “receiving the Holy Spirit” in the NT.

The literal records of the Gospel of John reveal that they are not in consistency.

John 7:37-39   On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “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, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (NKJ)

     Jesus spoke on the last, great day of the feast (John 7:37-39) before His crucifixion and resurrection. Believers, including the disciples of Jesus, who had received Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord before His crucifixion and resurrection, had not yet received (lambano) the Holy Spirit because Jesus was not yet glorified. The literal record in this passage reveals that the believers who received Jesus Christ were to receive the Holy Spirit when He was glorified. It is clear that they had not yet received the Holy Spirit even though they were the disciples of Jesus and had received Jesus Christ as Lord. According to the modern translations, John 7:37-39 confirms, “to receive Jesus is not to receive the Holy Spirit.”

Frederick D. Bruner comments on John 7:37-39.

The Spirit is received, according to this text, by simple faith. Faith in Jesus results in the gift of the Spirit: this has been and in here again the simple teaching of the New Testament. Faith in Jesus and the reception of the Spirit are correlative. (Frederick D. Bruner, A Theology of the Holy Spirit, p.225,254.)

     The statement “The Spirit is received, according to this text, by simple faith” is thoroughly unbiblical. John 7:37-39 does not support it. The NKJ: “this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” The NIV: “By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.” The literal text says, “those who believed in Him would receive the Holy Spirit.”
Those who believed in Jesus had not yet received the Holy Spirit. This text confirms that the Spirit is not received, by the “simple faith” of believing in Jesus. The note “Faith in Jesus and the reception of the Spirit are correlative” also is quite unscriptural. According to the literal record of John 7:37-39, the 120 disciples had faith in Jesus. They had received Jesus as Savior and followed Him, but they had yet to receive the Holy Spirit. Bruner’s argument is from the mistranslation and misunderstanding of John 7:37-39.

John 14:16-17 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. (NKJ)

     The TEV and NEB translate John 14:17, “you know him, because he remains with you and is in you.” Though it is from the right manuscripts, “the Spirit will be in you” is from the incorrect Greek text. (See the detailed discussion on “The Spirit is in you and comes on you.”)
Here, the phrase “but you know Him, for He dwells with you and is in you” (v.17) means the disciples had already received the Spirit. The verb “know” is not in a future tense but a present tense. The disciples of Jesus knew the Spirit because they had already received Jesus. He lived with them and lived in them. We can deduce from the record of John 14:17 that the disciples had already received the Holy Spirit before Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection and Pentecost. According to the modern translations, John 14:16-17 confirms, “to receive Jesus is to receive the Holy Spirit.” John 7:39 clearly states that the disciples who received Jesus did not yet receive the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the literal records of the Gospel of John show that they are inconsistent about the receiving of the Holy Spirit.

Rom. 8:9,14-16 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. (NKJ)
Matt. 6:6-10 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. “This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come…” (NIV)

     According to the record of Romans 8:9, if anyone belongs to Jesus and is a son of God, he has received the Holy Spirit. The disciples of Jesus already belonged to Jesus, therefore, they had already received the Spirit before his crucifixion and resurrection and Pentecost. Romans 8:14-16 can be simply concluded that if one cries out, “Abba, Father,” he has already received the Spirit of adoption. Before Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection and before Pentecost, the disciples of Jesus prayed to God the Father. They cried out, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come...” Therefore, according to Matt. 6:6-10 and Romans 8:9-16, the disciples had already received the Holy Spirit before the crucifixion and resurrection. Romans 8:9-16 confirms that John 14:17 must be inferred to mean that they had received the Holy Spirit. That is, John 14:17 must be inferred to hold the same meaning as Romans 8:9-16. Through Romans 8:9-16, it can be concluded that every child of God and every disciple of Jesus received the Holy Spirit at the moment of believing in Jesus. Through the records of Romans 8:9-16, the strict doctrine “to receive Jesus is to receive the Holy Spirit and to receive God is to receive the Holy Spirit” can be built. This strict doctrine of the Holy Spirit written in Romans 8:9-16 must be applied to the disciples of Jesus before the crucifixion and Pentecost, and all believers in the OT and NT.

John 20:22 when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (NKJ)

     Every English version including the NEB translates the Greek lambano in v. 22 as “Receive the Holy Spirit.” John  20:22 indicates that Jesus gave this command to his disciples on the evening of the first day of resurrection. John 20:22 indicates that the disciples did not receive the Holy Spirit until the day of resurrection of Jesus. Jesus commands “Receive the Holy Spirit,” because the disciples of Jesus did not yet receive the Holy Spirit until the day of resurrection of Jesus. If the disciples have already received the Holy Spirit, he would not command them again, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
     According to the modern translations, John 20:22 confirms, “to receive Jesus is not to receive the Holy Spirit.” As we have already seen, according to the literal descriptions of John 7:37-39 and  20:22, the disciples of Jesus had not received the Holy Spirit before the day of resurrection. But John 14:16-17 and Romans 8:9-16 describe that they had received the Holy Spirit before his resurrection. According to John 14:16-17, the disciples had received the Holy Spirit before the crucifixion and resurrection. According to Romans 8:9-16, the disciples of Jesus had received the Holy Spirit when they received God and Jesus as Savior and Lord before the crucifixion and resurrection. According to John 7:39, the disciples of Jesus had not received the Spirit before the crucifixion and resurrection. According to John  20:22, the disciples of Jesus had not received the Spirit before the resurrection.
     There seem to be many inconsistencies in between the Gospel of John and the book of Romans. But we know that every word of God is true and flawless. These “inconsistencies” spring from the mistranslation of the Greek verb lambano in John 7:37-39 and John 20:22. When this verb is correctly translated, there will be no inconsistencies. John Stott’s and MacArthur’s studies mentioned above are quite erroneous because they claim that there is inconsistency only in the book of Acts. But according to the literal records of the English versions, the inconsistencies are found in the Gospel of John, Romans and Galatians (See John 7:37-39; 20:22; Rom. 8:8-16; Gal. 3:2; 4:6-7).

If the NT reveals that Paul’s writings and works are in inconsistency, it is illogical.

Gal. 3:2     I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? (NIV)
Gal. 4:6-7  because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, (NIV)

     In Gal. 3:2, the apostle Paul says the Spirit is received by believing what one hears. This means that if one believed in Jesus, he received the Spirit. That is, to believe in Jesus is to receive the Spirit. The phrase, “God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts” (Gal. 4:6-7), means that the Spirit is in us because God sent the Spirit into us. If you call out, “Abba, Father” by the Spirit who is in you, you are sons of God. If you are sons of God, the Spirit is in you. The phrase “The Spirit is in you” means that if you are sons of God, you received the Spirit. It can be concluded that every son of God received the Spirit when he believed.
     From the records of Gal. 3:2 and   4:6-7, a strict rule can be constructed: “to believe  in Jesus is to receive the Spirit; to receive Jesus is to receive the Spirit; to be in the Spirit is to receive the Spirit; to be in God is to receive the Spirit; to be in Jesus is to receive the Spirit.” In Romans 8:9-16, Paul says that all believers who call out, “Abba, Father” by the Spirit are children of God. Therefore, the Spirit lives in them, and they received the Spirit when they believed in God. Here, it can be concluded, “to receive God is to receive the Holy Spirit, and to receive Jesus is to receive the Holy Spirit.” Without a single exception, this doctrine must be applied to all the Scriptures. Let’s examine Acts 19:1-7 for this issue.

If the NT shows that the words of Paul are quite different from his works, it is illogical.  

Acts 19:1-7: While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied. Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance.” He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus. On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all. (NIV)

     All scholars have accepted the translation of Acts 19:1-7 as the infallible word of God with the exception of the debate on the translation of “when you believed” and “since you believed” in v. 2. Here, the word “some disciples” refers to some followers of John the Baptist. They had not been baptized in the name of Jesus before meeting the apostle Paul. It can be inferred that if anyone received God as God the Father and Savior through preaching of a minister, he has already become a son of God. In Romans 8:14-16 the apostle Paul said, “If anyone became a son of God, he has already received the Holy Spirit.” And according to this doctrine, the 12 disciples in the Ephesus church surely received the Holy Spirit before meeting Paul because they were already the children of God. But when Paul found them he asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when (since) you believed?” Paul’s question makes no sense according to Romans 8:14-16 where he wrote that when they believed in God they already received the Holy Spirit. Here, it seems that Paul’s ministry work and his question are not consistent with his own writings. See Romans 8:14-16 and Galatians 3:2; 4:6-7.
     After Paul’s question to the 12 disciples at Ephesus, he preached the gospel of Jesus and then baptized them in the name of Jesus. After this baptism, when he placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them. We read here that the 12 disciples were baptized in the name of Jesus. If they were baptized in the name of Jesus, they already belonged to Jesus before Paul placed his hands on them. In Romans 8:9 Paul said, “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” We read here that if anyone belongs to Christ, he received the Holy Spirit. These disciples in the Ephesus church already belonged to Christ through Paul’s preaching and baptism in the name of Jesus before Paul placed his hands on them. Therefore, it seems they had already received the Holy Spirit when they received Jesus, but we must conclude that the reason Paul placed his hands on them was that they might receive the Holy Spirit, and they had not yet received the Holy Spirit. Here again, it could be concluded that Paul’s writings in the books of Romans and Galatians are surely inconsistent with his actual work of ministry at Ephesus in Acts 19:2-7. Of course this is nonsense. Paul was a true preacher and a genuine apostle of Jesus. These inconsistencies between the books of Ro- mans, Galatians and Acts, and between Paul’s writings and his works, spring from the acceptance of the false translation of the Greek verb lambano in Acts 19:2 and Galatians   3:2, accepting “to receive the Holy Spirit” as authentic. When this verb is correctly translated, there is no inconsistency.
 

The NT shows that the 120 disciples have already received the Spirit before Pentecost.

Billy Graham insists: The moment we received Jesus Christ as Savior we received the Holy Spirit. We received the baptism with the Spirit at the moment of regene- ration. Any one who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him, said Paul in Romans 8:9. And also the 120 disciples of Jesus received the Holy Spirit, the baptism with the Spirit at Pentecost. Their baptism by the Spirit was a clear sign that they too could be part of God’s people by faith in Jesus Christ. (Billy Graham, The Holy Spirit, p.73,79.)

     Unfortunately, these statements make no sense at all for several reasons. Billy Graham’s claim, “the moment we receive Jesus Christ as Savior we receive the Holy Spirit (to receive Jesus is to receive the Holy Spirit),” must apply to the case of the 120 disciples. According to his rule, the 120 disciples had already received the Holy Spirit before Pentecost. Did they not receive Jesus before Pentecost? Billy Graham claims that they received the Holy Spirit only at Pentecost, and according to his claim they received Jesus as Savior at Pentecost. His note makes no sense because they actually received Jesus as Savior before Pentecost. They were in the Upper room because they were the followers of Jesus.
     Billy Graham says that a Christian receives the baptism with the Spirit at the moment of regeneration (conversion), but the 120 of Jesus actually received the baptism with the Spirit on the day of Pentecost. According to his note, they were initially regenerated at Pentecost. This makes no sense at all because they had already been regenerated by faith in Jesus before Pentecost.
     Billy Graham also says, “Any one who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him, said Paul in Romans 8:9.” This is right because the Bible says so. But Billy Graham insists that the 120 disciples received the Spirit at Pentecost. According to this, the 120 disciples belonged to Jesus by faith in him at Pentecost. Therefore, it makes no sense at all because they have already belonged to Jesus before Pentecost. Why do so many Christians promote such thinking? The answer is that they have accepted the mistranslation of the Greek lambano as authentic. If this verb is rightly translated, there will be no false interpretation on the Spirit.                   

How can the Greek verb lambano (λάμβανω) be translated? 

     Everyone commonly relies on man-made dictionaries for help in translation, but sometimes we cannot rely on such mortal tools. We must rely only on the Bible. Human beings can surely make mistakes. We are not perfect, but the Bible written by the servants of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit, is totally infallible and perfect. Therefore, the word of God must be thoroughly studied from Genesis to Revelation to discover correct meanings. Every translator must keep in mind that every word of God is flawless. It is absolutely impossible to find the right meaning of the Greek verb lambano (λάμβανω) through the dictionaries made by men. If the consistent meaning of this verb is not found in the Scripture, it is absolutely impossible to construct an infallible and biblical doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Now in all Christian society there is no a right, biblical and consistent doctrine of the Holy Spirit because of the mistranslation of the Greek lambano. For this same reason there are many great confusions and contradictions regarding the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. If we try to find the meaning of the Greek lambano through only the NT, it becomes very simple to understand.  

Acts 1:8; 2:3-4 demonstrate the meaning of the Greek lambano.

Acts 1:8 λήμψεσθε δύναμιν ἐπελθόντος τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος ἐφ᾽ ὑμᾶς 
You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you. (NIV)

Acts 2:4 ἐπλήσθησαν πάντες πνεύματος ἁγίου
All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit. (All English versions)

     Acts 1:8 says, “You will receive (lambano, ἐπλήσθησαν, future verb) power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” The Greek lambano (λάμβανω) is in the future tense. This promise of Jesus will be fulfilled on the day of Pentecost. So this future tense must be changed into a past tense, that is, they lambano (past verb-received) power when the Holy Spirit came on them on the day of Pentecost. But Acts 2:3-4 described, “All of them were filled with (eplesthesan, ἐπλήσθησαν, passive) the power of the Holy Spirit when He came on them.” (Author)  
 
You will receive (lempsesthe, λήμψεσθε, future active) power. (Acts 1:8)  
They were filled with (ἐπλήσθησαν) the power of the Spirit. (Acts 2:4)  
They eplesthesan (ἐπλήσθησαν, past passive) the power of the Spirit.

     The passages of Acts 1:8 and Acts 2:4 are worded differently. They have different tenses but the same meaning. It can be found that the Greek verb lambano in Acts 1:8 has the same meaning as pimplemi (passive voice) in Acts 2:4, which can be translated, “to be filled with” as an idiom in English language, as noted above. Here, it can be concluded that the Greek lambano has the meaning of “to be filled with,” but Greek dictionaries do not show this meaning. Every English version translates the Greek lambano in Acts 1:8 as “receive.” It is correct, but TEV trans- lates Acts 1:8, “When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power.” It is an excellent translation to understand the meaning of the Greek lambano, but in other passages except Acts 1:8, the TEV inconsistently translates lambano as “receive.”

You lambano power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. (Acts 1:8)
You lambano the power of the Holy Spirit when He comes upon you.
They pimplemi of the Holy Spirit when He came on them. (Acts 2:3-4)
They pimplemi the power of the Holy Spirit when He came on them.          

     These passages use different tenses and wording, but they have the same meaning. Lambano (λάμβανω, future active verb) in Acts 1:8 is synonymous with pimplemi (πiμπλημι, passive voice) in Acts 2:4. Acts 1:8 and Acts 2:3-4 confirm that lambano has the meaning of “to be filled with” as an idiom in English. Here, a principle of translation can be constructed: [pimplemi (πiμπλημι, passive voice) +  pneumatos (πνεύματος)] can be translated as [to be filled with + of the Spirit].

Acts 2:3-4; 10:47 demonstrate the meaning of the Greek lambano.

Acts 2:3-4    They were filled with the Holy Spirit when…....................(All English versions)
                     They were filled with of the Holy Spirit when He came….(Author)
                     They were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit when He came on them. (Author)
Acts 10:44-47 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received (lam- bano) the Holy Spirit just as we have.” (NIV)

     Acts 10:44-47 can be simply summarized, “They received (lambano) the Holy Spirit when He came on them.”

They lambano the Spirit when He came on them. (Acts 10:44-47)
They pimplemi of the Spirit when He came on them. (Acts 2:4)
They pimplemi the power of the Spirit when He came on them.
They were filled with the power of the Spirit when He came on them.                  

     These passages also have the same meaning. Here, lambano (λάμβανω, past verb) in Acts 10:47 is used of the same as pimplemi (πiμπλημι, passive verb) in Acts 2:4, which is translated as “to be filled with” in English. Acts 10:44-47 and Acts 2:3-4 confirm that the Greek lambano has the meaning of “to be filled with.” The Greek lambano in Acts 10:44-47 must not be translated as “receive” but “to be filled with.” Acts 10:44-47 and Acts 2:3-4 confirm that [pimplemi (passive voice) + pneumatos (πνεύματος)] can be translated as [to be filled with + of the Spirit].

Acts 8:14-17; Luke 3:22; 4:1 demonstrate the meaning of the Greek lambano.

Acts 8:14-17 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive (λάμβανω) the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received (λάμβανω) the Holy Spirit. (NIV)

     These passages can be simply summarized, “They received (lambano λάμβανω, past verb) the Holy Spirit when He came upon them.”

Luke 3:22; 4:1 The Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan. (NIV)
Luke 4:1    Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from...(NKJ)

     These passages can simply be summarized, “Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit when He came upon him,” which means “Jesus was filled with of the Holy Spirit when He came upon him,” or “Jesus was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.”
 
They lambano the Spirit when He came upon them. (Acts 8:14-17)
Jesus pimplemi of the Spirit when He came on Him. (Luke 3:22; 4:1)
Jesus pimplemi the power of the Spirit when He came on Him.

     These are worded differently but have the same meaning. Here, lambano in Acts 8:14-17 is used of the verb pimplemi of the Greek pleres (πληρης, adjective) in Luke 4:1, which can be translated as “to be filled with.” Acts 8:14-17, Luke 3:22 and 4:1 confirm that the verb lambano has the meaning of “to be filled with.” The Greek lambano in Acts 8:14-17 must not be translated as “receive” but “to be filled with.” Acts 8:14-17, Luke 3:22 and 4:1 confirm that [pimplemi (passive) + pneumatos] can be translated as [to be filled with  +  of the Spirit].

Acts 8:14-17; 9:17-18 demonstrate the meaning of the Greek lambano.

Acts 8:14-17 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive (lambano) the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received (lambano) the Holy Spirit. (NIV)

     These passages can be summarized, “They received (lambano λάμβανω, past) the Holy Spirit through placing the apostles’ hands on them.”

Acts 9:17-18 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord–Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here–has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized. (NIV)

     These passages can be summarized, “Paul was filled with (πiμπλημι, passive tense) of the Holy Spirit through placing Ananias’ hands on him,” because Paul was actually filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit through placing Ananias’ hands on him.

They lambano the Spirit through placing apostles’ hands on them.   (Acts 8:17)
Paul pimplemi of the Spirit through placing Ananias’ hands on him. (Acts 9:17)
Paul pimplemi the power of the Spirit through placing Ananias’ hands on him.

     These passages are the same meaning. The lambano in Acts 8:14-17 is used of the same as Greek pimplemi (passive) in Acts 9:17, which is translated as “to be filled with.” It can be concluded that Acts 8:17 and Acts 9:17 confirm that the Greek lambano has the meaning of “to be filled with.” So the Greek lambano in Acts 8:14-17 must be not translated as “receive” but “to be filled with.” Acts 8:17 and 9:17 confirm that [pimplemi (πiμπλημι, passive) + pneumatos (πνεύματος)] can be translated as [to be filled with + of the Spirit].

Acts 2:3-4; 19:2-7 demonstrate the meaning of the Greek lambano.

Acts 2:3-4     These passages can be summarized, “They were filled with (pimplemi passive) of the Holy Spirit when He came on them.”
Acts 19:2-7   There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied. Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all. (NIV)

     According to the literal description of Acts 19:2-7, the 12 disciples at Ephesus did not receive (lambano) the Holy Spirit until they met Paul. If they had already received (lambano) the Holy Spirit before Paul arrived, Paul would not have asked about this, but he did ask because they had not yet received (lambano) the Holy Spirit. This is a common sense. It can be said, “After baptizing them with/in water in the name of Jesus, Paul placed his hands on them to be received (lambano) the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit came on them through placing his hands on them, that is, they received (lambano) the Holy Spirit when He came on them. It can be summarized, “They received (lambano) the Holy Spirit when the Holy Spirit came on them.”

They lambano the Spirit when He came on them. (Acts 19:2-7)
They pimplemi of the Spirit when He came on them. (Acts 2:3-4)
They pimplemi the power of the Spirit when He came on them.

     Now, it can be concluded that the Greek lambano has the meaning of “to be filled with.” Acts 2:3-4 and Acts 19:2-7 confirm that the Greek lambano has the meaning of “to be filled with.” The Greek lambano in Acts 19:2 must be not translated as “receive” but “to be filled with.” Acts 2:3-4 and Acts 19:2-7 confirm that [pimplemi (πiμπλημι, passive voice) + pneumatos (πνεύματος)] can be translated as [to be filled with  + of  the Spirit].   
 

John 7:39; Acts 2:3-4; 2:32-33 demonstrate the meaning of the Greek lambano.    

John 7:39   By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. (NIV)

     This passage can be concisely summarized, “those who believed in Jesus will receive (lambano) the Spirit when Jesus has been glorified after ascending into heaven, that is, on the day of Pentecost.” If Jesus Christ has been glorified, they will receive (lambano) the Spirit. That is, they will receive (lambano) the Holy Spirit when or after Jesus was glorified.

Acts 2:4; 2:32-33 They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them…God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. (NIV)

     These passages can be concisely summarized, “They were filled with (pimplemi πiμπλημι, passive) of the Spirit when Jesus has been glorified.

They lambano the Spirit when Jesus was glorified. (John 7:39)
They pimplemi of the Spirit when Jesus was glorified. (Acts 2:4)   
They pimplemi the power of the Spirit when Jesus was glorified.   

     Acts 2:4-2:33 should be recorded “elambanon (ελάμβανον, past tense) pneuma (πνεύμα, the Spirit)” when Jesus was glorified at Pentecost because John 7:39 says that they lambano (λάμβανω, λήμψεσθε, future tense) the Spirit when Jesus was glorified. But there is no this record in Acts  2:4. Instead, Acts  2:4 recorded that eplesthesan (ἐπλήσθησαν, verb indicative passive) pantes pneumatos hagiou (πάντες πνεύματος ἁγίου) at Pentecost. Here, it can be found that elambanon (ελάμβανον, past tense) is virtually the same meaning as eplesthesan (ἐπλήσθησαν, passive), that is, [lambano (λάμβανω) = pimplemi (πiμπλημι, passive voice, to be filled with)]. If this principle were to be accepted, it would end the theological controversy regarding the translation and interpretation of John 7:39, John 14:16-17 and John 20:22. Consequently, John 7:39 and Acts 2:4-2:33 are different descriptions and tenses but possess the same meaning. The NT confirms that the Greek lambano has the meaning of “to be filled with” (ἐπλήσθησαν, passive voice). Therefore, the Greek lambano in John 7:39 must not be translated as “receive” but “to be filled with.”

John 20:22; Acts 2:4; 10:47; 11:15-17 demonstrate the meaning of the Greek lambano.

John 20:21  So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” (NKJ)    
 
John 20:22  καὶ τοῦτο εἰπὼν ἐνεφύσησεν καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς· λάβετε πνεῦμα ἅγιον·(BNT)
NKJ          when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit.
KJV          when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.
NIV          with that he breathed on them and said, Receive the Holy Spirit.

     Jesus’ command in John 20:22, “labete (λάβετε, λάμβανω, imperative active) pneuma hagion ( the Holy Spirit),” had to be fulfilled on the day of Pentecost because the phrase “I also send you” (John 20:21). Jesus did not send his disciples from the day of his resurrection but from the day of Pentecost. These passages can be summarized, “The disciples of Jesus lambano the Holy Spirit not on the day of resurrection but on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came on them.” Here, lambano (λάβετε, λάμβανω) must be used of the future verb because this command of Jesus had to be fulfilled on the day of Pentecost.

Acts 10:47    Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have? (NKJ)

     Here, the apostle Peter said, “We elabon (ἔλαβον, λάμβανω) the Holy Spirit just as Cornelius and his relatives have when the Holy Spirit came on them.” According to Jesus’ command, “lambano (labete) the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22), we can find that in Acts 10:47  Peter witnessed that the disciples of Jesus including him lambano the Holy Spirit.

Acts 11:15-17 And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God? (NKJ)

     Peter testified that the Holy Spirit fell upon them at the beginning, that is, on the day of Pentecost. The 120 disciples were baptized with/in/by the Holy Spirit. They were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit when the Holy Spirit came on them on that day. We can conclude that according to the command of “lambano (labete) the Holy Spirit” in John 20:22, the 120 disciples “lambano the Holy Spirit” on the day of Pentecost. According to the command of “lambano the Holy Spirit,” the 120 disciples were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pen- tecost. All these explanations are literally different but possess the same meaning.

Labete (λάβετε) the Holy Spirit. (John 20:22)

The disciples lambano the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. (Acts 10:47)        
The disciples pimplemi of the Spirit at Pentecost. (Acts 2:4)  
The disciples pimplemi the power of the Spirit at Pentecost.
    
     The Greek lambano (λάβετε, λάμβανω) in John 20:22 and Acts 10:47 has the meaning of “to be filled with” (pimplemi, πiμπλημι, passive) as in Acts 2:4. John 20:22, Acts 2:4, 10:47 confirm that lambano has the same meaning as pimplemi (πiμπλημι, to be filled with). Therefore, lambano in John 20:22 and Acts 10:47 must be translated not as “receive” but “to be filled with.” The Scripture positively proves that lambano has the meaning of pimplemi (passive voice, to be filled with), as we have seen. If this definition were applied to every nation’s translation of the Bible, theological controversy regarding the doctrines of the Spirit would cease.
     Unfortunately, all translators and all scholars have not yet found the real meaning of the Greek lambano. For many centuries they have relied on imperfect man-made dictionaries. All translators must remember that dictionaries are not perfect. Only when we rely on the Scripture from Genesis to Revelation, we can expect perfection. To study the Bible, first, every translated Bible must be correctly translated. If we do not have the correct translated Bible, it becomes impossible to study and understand the Bible. Without a single exception, all the translated Bibles in the whole world must be retranslated because of the false translation of [the Greek lambano + the Holy Spirit].

The Bible shows a strict principle of translation of the Greek verb lambano.

     There are many lambano passages (“lambano God, lambano Jesus, and lambano the Holy Spirit”-in John 1:11-12; 7:39; 13:20; 14:17; 20:22; Acts 2:33; 2:38; 8:15-17; 10:47; 19:2; Rom. 8:15; 1 Cor. 2:12; 2 Cor. 11:4; Gal. 3:2-5; 3:14; Col. 2:6). How can the Greek verb lambano in these passages be translated into English? Every English version, without a single exception, translates the Greek lambano in these passages as only “receive (accept),” but this is thoroughly erroneous. If the Greek lambano is not clearly translated, it is absolutely impossible to understand the Holy Spirit. Just as there are strict formulas and rules in the science of mathematics, there must be strict formulas and consistent rules in the translation of the Greek verb lambano. An inconsistent translation will lead to great confusion as we have seen the case of  “baptize eis”  (1 Cor. 12:13).
     An inconsistent translation results in a false translation. Every word of God is true, consistent, and infallible and requires consistency. In order to have this consistency, there must be consistent and strict rules for the translation of lambano. Fortunately, these strict and concise rules can be found in the Scripture. The phrase “lambano the Holy Spirit” in the Greek must be translated “receive the Holy Spirit,” or “to be filled with of the Holy Spirit” according to the following rules. Unfortunately, for many centuries “lambano the Holy Spirit” has been trans- lated to mean only “receive (accept) the Holy Spirit.” Only by following strict rules is it possible to have a consistent translation regarding the Holy Spirit.

     First rule: The Greek lambano in John 1:11-12 and John 13:20 must be translated as “to receive” (accept). “Lambano Jesus” means “to receive Jesus.” “Lambano the Holy Spirit” in John 14:17, Rom. 8:15 and I Cor. 2:12 must not be translated as “to be filled with of the Holy Spirit” but “to receive the Holy Spirit.” Through these passages the first rule is established: “To receive Jesus is to receive God, and to receive Jesus is to receive the Holy Spirit. To receive God with expectation of Christ to come as Messiah is to receive the Holy Spirit.”
     Without a single exception, all God-fearing believers in OT days received the Holy Spirit when they believed in God as Savior and Lord. The doctrine of the Trinity, “God is the Holy Spirit, Jesus is God, Jesus is the Holy Spirit” must be applied to all believers in OT and NT days. In NT days, without a single exception, every Christian received the Holy Spirit when he received Jesus as Savior sent by God because “to receive God and Jesus is to receive the Holy Spirit.” The Greek lambano (John 1:11-12; 13:20; 14:17; Rom. 8:15; 1 Cor. 2:12; 2 Cor. 11:4; Col. 2:6) must not be translated as “to be filled with” but “to receive.” The Greek lambano in Acts 2:33,2:38 and  Gal. 3:14 means “to receive.” The Greek verb echo (ἔχω) in Rom. 8:9 and 1 Cor. 7:40 means “to have, to possess, to receive.” These passages show that to have the Spirit is to receive the Spirit. 
 
     Second rule: In cases involving those who previously received Jesus, without a single exception, the phrase “lambano the Holy Spirit” must not be translated as “to receive the Holy Spirit” but “to be filled with of the Holy Spirit.” Even though the Scripture does not literally say that one has “received the Holy Spirit” when Jesus was trusted as Savior and Lord, if anyone has received Jesus as Savior and Lord, he has already received the Holy Spirit because of the first strict rule of “to receive Jesus is to receive the Holy Spirit.” Without a single exception, all true believers in OT and NT days received the Holy Spirit when they believed in God and Jesus. This rule must be applied to the Greek lambano (John 7:39; 20:22; Acts 8:14-17; 10:47; 19:2;  Gal. 3:2).
     The phrase “lambano the Holy Spirit” found in these passages must not be translated as “to receive the Holy Spirit but “to be filled with of the Holy Spirit,” according to the second rule. Nowadays, if any Jew does not receive Jesus Christ as the Son of God, Savior and Lord, and Messiah and the Lamb of God who takes away sins, he will be thrown into hell after dying, even though he believes in God written in the OT. God-fearing Jews who rejected Jesus as Savior and Lord and Messiah never received the Holy Spirit.  

     Third rule: In the period of transition from Old Testament days to New Test- ament days, many believed in God as their Savior and Lord with expectation of Christ to come. Even though they received God as Savior and Lord with expec- tation of the Christ, they could not receive Jesus Christ because no one was preaching the gospel of Jesus. In this case, even though they had not received Jesus Christ, they had already received the Holy Spirit because they received God. Remember the doctrine “to receive God is to receive the Holy Spirit.” This rule must be applied to Cornelius and his family as well as the   12 believers at Ephesus. Therefore, the Greek lambano in Acts 10:47 and 19:2 must not be translated as “to receive” but as “to be filled with.”

     If these three strict rules are applied to the translation of the Greek lambano, there will be absolutely no confusions, no contradictions or controversial debates regarding the Holy Spirit. Now, let’s examine the following issues in detail to translate and understand the Greek lambano. To understand the Greek lambano we must consider the theological and historical distinctives of the salvation. If the cases in the period of transition from OT and NT days are not thoroughly examined, it will be impossible to understand the Holy Spirit.
 
     From Adam to John the Baptist, every believer had salvation by faith in God. They were waiting in expectation concerning the Christ, that is, Messiah. Many believers believed in God through the OT with expectation concerning Christ without even the chance to hear the preaching of John the Baptist. In that span of time every believer received God as Savior and Lord. Therefore, the first rule, “to receive God is to receive the Holy Spirit,” can be applied. They received the Holy Spirit through receiving God. To claim that only believers in Jesus Christ can receive the Holy Spirit makes no sense. This is from a misunderstanding of Rom. 8:14-16 and the doctrine of the Trinity. Rom. 8:14-16 must be applied to all believers of both OT days and NT days. This includes every believer including converted Gentiles to Judaism.
     The 120 disciples of Jesus belonged in this period because they had already received God as Savoir and Lord and were waiting in expectation for the Messiah through their parents who believed in the God of the OT even before they met John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. They had already received the Spirit before they met Jesus and received Him as Savior and Lord. These were all part of the belie- vers who lived in the period of transition from OT days to NT days.

Some disciples of Jesus were the disciples of John the Baptist before meeting Jesus.

John  1:35-37  Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.(NKJ)
Acts 1:5   John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. (NKJ)

     Acts 1:5 indicates that the disciples of Jesus were baptized with/in water by John the Baptist. Some were the disciples of John before meeting Jesus. Like many others, they had already believed in God. So the rule “to receive God is to receive the Holy Spirit” must be applied to the case of the 120 disciples. The 120 disciples were baptized with/in the Holy Spirit (and with/in fire) on the day of Pentecost, but it must be concluded that all the disciples of Jesus received the Holy Spirit when they believed in God and before they met Jesus. In these periods from John the Baptist to Jesus Christ, before His crucifixion until the day of Pentecost, every believer had salvation by faith in Jesus.
     Many believed in God as revealed in the OT. They possessed the expectation of Messiah (Christ) but never had the opportunity to hear His preaching or that of His disciples. Even so, every believer received God as Savior and Lord. Therefore, the rule “to receive God is to receive the Holy Spirit” can be applied. They received the Holy Spirit through receiving God. If anyone had an opportunity to meet Jesus Christ or listen to His preaching but still refused to receive Him as Messiah and Savior, he did not gain salvation. Even though he professed to believe in God, if he did not receive Jesus as Savior and Lord, he could not receive the Holy Spirit. Almost all Bible scholars insist the 120 disciples received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, but we must conclude that they had already received the Holy Spirit. They received the Holy Spirit even before meeting Jesus because they had an effective OT faith in God. To argue that the 120 disciples received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost is quite erroneous. It is based on the mistranslation of the Greek lambano (John 7:39; 20:22; Acts 8:14-17; 10:47; 19:2; Gal. 3:2).
     If the Greek lambano in these passages is rightly translated as “to be filled with,” it will be confirmed that the 120 did not receive the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Instead, they were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Almost all scholars insist that the 3,000 people at Jerusalem in Acts 2:41 were unbelievers before meeting Peter on the day of Pentecost. But this springs from a misunder- standing of their situations at that time. They were all God-fearing Jews. They were believers in God but had not had the chance to meet Jesus Christ. They had no opportunity to listen to Jesus’ preaching before the day of Pentecost. Though some of them possibly had the chance to meet Jesus and hear Him preach, they did not know Him. They had yet to meet Him as Savior and Lord and Messiah. Even though they received Jesus as Messiah through Peter’s preaching on the day of Pentecost, they had already received the Holy Spirit through faith in the God of the OT before Pentecost. In the case of these 3,000, many scholars argue that they received the Holy Spirit when they received Jesus on the day of Pentecost, but they were already believers in God before Pentecost. The rule “to receive God with expectation of Messiah is to receive the Holy Spirit” must be applied to this case. Therefore, they already received the Holy Spirit before they received Jesus as Messiah through Peter’s preaching on the day of Pentecost.
     From the time of Jesus’ disciples to the present, every believer in Jesus as Savior and Lord sent by God has received the Holy Spirit. The rule “to receive Jesus is to receive the Holy Spirit” must be applied to this period. One example is Cornelius and his family (Acts 10). They did not have the chance to meet Jesus or His disciples before they met Peter, but Acts 10:1-7 states, “Cornelius was a true believer in God.” So he had already received the Holy Spirit through receiving God. According to the literal description of Acts 10:44-47 in all the English versions, Cornelius received the Holy Spirit when he listened to Peter’s preaching; that is, he received (lambano) the Holy Spirit when the Holy Spirit came on them.  However, “lambano the Holy Spirit” in this passage does not have the meaning of “to receive the Holy Spirit” but “to be filled with of the Holy Spirit.” The Greek lambano in Acts 10:47 must not be translated as “receive” but “to be filled with.”
     Consider the case of the 12 believers at Ephesus. They were the disciples of John the Baptist. Before meeting Paul, they had received God with the expectation of Messiah just like Cornelius (Acts   10). The rule “to receive God is to receive the Holy Spirit” must be applied to the case of these Ephesian believers. Before Paul no one preached the gospel of Jesus to them. Though they did not receive Jesus directly through His preaching or that of His disciples, they had received the Holy Spirit because they trusted in the God preached by the disciples of John the Baptist. They were disciples of John the Baptist and believers in the God of the OT. They lived in the period of transition along with the 3,000 and Cornelius and his family.

God is God the Father of all sons of God in all ages.

     John 4:24 says, “God is the Spirit” (Author). All English versions incorrectly read, “God is a Spirit, Spirit and spirit.” This makes no sense. John 20:28 says, “Thomas answered Jesus, ‘My Lord and my God.’” Here, “My Lord” means Jesus. 2 Cor. 3:17 says, “The Lord is the Spirit.” Here, the Lord means Jesus. So Jesus is the Spirit. 1 Cor. 12:3 says, “Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus be cursed,’ and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Spirit.” It confirms that Jesus is the Lord, God, and the Spirit.

Is.  9:6  For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wondderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (NKJ)
 
     Isaiah  9:6 confirms that Jesus is a Son of God. He alone is also uniquely called mighty God and Everlasting Father. Everyone who believes in the God of the OT and NT is a son of God. Every son of God in OT days received God as Savior and Lord with the expectation of Messiah to come. Therefore, without exception, every son of God received the Holy Spirit when he believed. This means that to receive God is to receive the Holy Spirit. Everyone who believes in Jesus sent by God is a son of God. Without exception, every son of God in the NT, every believer, received the Holy Spirit. So all sons of God throughout the ages, received the Holy Spirit. Today, no Jews or Gentiles who reject Jesus as Savior and the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world can receive the Holy Spirit, even though they may believe in the God of the OT. The rule, to receive God is to receive the Holy Spirit, does not apply to anyone who does not accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

John 13:20   Most assuredly, I say to you, he who receives (lambano) whomever I send receives (lambano) Me; and he who receives (lambano) Me receives (lambano) Him who sent Me. (NKJ)

     Here, in the phrase “He who receives (lambano) Me receives (lambano) Him who sent Me,” the word “Me” means Jesus. So it means that he who receives Jesus receives God who sent Jesus. John 13:20 confirms that to receive Jesus is to receive God.

Rom. 8:15-17 For you did not receive (lambano) the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received (lambano) the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. (NKJ)

     If anyone receives (lambano) God as God the Father, he becomes a child of God and receives (lambano) the Spirit. Rom. 8:15-17 confirms a strict rule: “to receive God is to receive the Spirit.” All believers received the Holy Spirit whether they lived in OT or NT days. The requirement was to receive God as Father. Without exception, the strict rule of these passages must be applied to all sons of God in all ages. If anyone receives Jesus as Savior and Lord, he becomes a son of God. And if he becomes a son of God, he receives the Holy Spirit. Therefore, all sons of God in OT days and NT days in all ages received the Holy Spirit when they believed.

I Cor. 3:16    Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (NKJ)
2 Cor. 6:16   And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” (NKJ)

     Through 1 Cor. 3:16 and  2 Cor. 6:16, it can be shown that every believer is the temple of God. The Spirit of God lives in him. This means that every believer received the Holy Spirit when he received God and Jesus.

Rom. 8:9-10 You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. (NKJ)

     Romans 8:9-10 indicates that the phrase, “if the Spirit lives in you” carries the same meaning as “if Jesus is in you.” These passages can be summarized as follows: “God dwells in every son of God if he belongs to God. The Holy Spirit dwells in every son of God. Christ is in him. He has the Spirit of Christ. He receives the Spirit.” The following strict rule is proven as biblical truth by the previously mentioned verses, and it is applied to all believers in all ages: “To receive God is to receive Jesus. To receive God is to receive the Holy Spirit. To receive Jesus is to receive the Spirit. To receive God with the expectation of Christ is to receive the Spirit. All believers who received God in all ages received the Spirit.” These rules do not apply to Jews who do not accept Jesus Christ as Savoir and Lord.

Gen. 4-5 must be thoroughly examined to understand Gen. 6:3.

Gen. 6:1-2  Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose. (NKJ)

     If the term “men” in Gen.  6:1-2 is not understood, it is impossible to understand the meaning of the term “man” in Gen. 6:3.  Gen. 4:25-26 must be examined to under- stand the term “men” in Gen. 6:1-2.

Gen. 4:25-26  And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, “For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed.” And as for Seth, to him also a son was born; and he named him Enosh. Then men began to call on the name of the Lord. (NKJ)

     The phrase “And as for Seth, to him also a son was born; and he named him Enosh. Then men began to call on the name of the Lord” (Gen. 4:25-26) tells us that the sons of Seth and Enosh called on the name of the Lord, but the sons of Cain did not. So “men” in the phrase “men began to call on the name of the Lord” in Gen. 4:26 refers only to the sons of Seth and Enosh who believed in God and called on His name. To this day, “men” who believe in God and call on the name of the Lord are the sons of God.
     The “men” in Gen. 4:26 do not include the sons of Cain who killed Abel but only the sons of God who called on the name of the Lord. The generations of Cain were recorded in Gen. 4:13-24. The generations of the sons of Seth and Enosh who called on the name of God, that is, the sons of God, were recorded in Gen. 4:25-5:1-32. Genesis   4 and 5 indicate that there are two kinds of men. One group is called the sons of God; the other, unbelievers. According to these records, when Gen. 6:1-2 is examined, it must be concluded the “men” of Gen. 6:1-2 refer to the un- believing generations of Cain. The sons of God refer to all the generations of the sons of Seth and Enosh who believed in God and called on the name of the Lord.

Why did God say of the word of Gen. 6:3? What does it mean?

CSB      My Spirit will not remain with mankind forever, because they are corrupt.
DBY     My Spirit shall not always plead with Man; for he indeed is flesh.
JPS       My spirit shall not abide in man for ever, for that he also is flesh.  
KJV      My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh.
LXE      My Spirit shall certainly not remain among these men for ever, because they are flesh.
NAB     My spirit shall not remain in man forever, since he is but flesh.
NAS     My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh.
NIV      My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal. (* NIV footnote: Or for he is corrupt.)
NIRV    the LORD said, My Spirit will not struggle with man forever. He will die.
NJB      My spirit cannot be indefinitely responsible for human beings, who are only flesh.
NKJ      My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh.
NLT      My Spirit will not put up with humans for such a long time, for they are only mortal flesh.
NRS      My spirit shall not abide in mortals forever, for they are flesh.  
NET      My spirit will not remain in humankind...since they are mortal.
RWB     My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh.
WEB     My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh.
YLT      My Spirit doth not strive in man…they are flesh.  

     What is the meaning of Gen. 6:3? First, Gen. 6:1-2 indicates that the sons of God were the sons of Seth and Enosh. They married the daughters of Cain who were unbelievers. The term “And” or “Then” (Gen. 6:3) ties what God is about to say to His disappointment to see the faithful marrying the unfaithful. Because of this the Lord God said, “My Spirit shall certainly not remain in men forever, because they are flesh” (LXE). Why was this spoken? The sons of God had married the daughters of unbelievers. Gen. 6:1-3 should be inferred to mean that the Holy Spirit of God shall not remain forever in man who is not the son of God, for he is corrupt.

Why did God say, “The Spirit will not remain in man who is not the son of God forever, for he is corrupt”?

     It is impossible to answer this question through only Gen. 6:1-3. Ezra 9:1-3, 10: 1-4 and 1 Kings 11:1-9 must be examined.

Ezra 9:1-3  The people of Israel, the priests and the Levites had taken pagan daughters as wives for themselves and their sons. The holy seed was mixed with the peoples of those lands. Indeed, the hand of the leaders and rulers had been foremost in this trespass. (NKJ)

     The text says it is a trespass against God to mix the holy seed, that is, the people of God with a pagan people. In Ezra 10:1-4, a very large assembly of men, women, and children gathered to Ezra to confess saying, “We have trespassed against our God, and have taken pagan wives from the peoples of the land.”

1 Kings 11:1-9  But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites from the nations of whom the Lord had said to the children of Israel, “You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not fully follow the Lord, as did his father David. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon. And he did likewise for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods. So the Lord became angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned from the Lord God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, (NKJ)

     The text reports that the son of God, Solomon married pagan daughters and did evil in the sight of the Lord. As the result the Lord became angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned from the Lord God of Israel. This record means that he did evil and became corrupt through intermarriage with pagans.

Neh. 13:23-27  In those days I also saw Jews who had married women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. And half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod, and could not speak the language of Judah, but spoke according to the language of one or the other people. So I contended with them and cursed them, struck some of them and pulled out their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, “You shall not give your daughters as wives to their sons, nor take their daughters for your sons or yourselves. “Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? Yet among many nations there was no king like him, who was beloved of his God; and God made him king over all Israel. Nevertheless pagan women caused even him to sin. “Should we then hear of your doing all this great evil, transgressing against our God by marrying pagan women?” (NKJ)

     Solomon and many Jews married pagan women. The pagan women caused even king Solomon to sin, so we learn that to marry a pagan woman is to commit a great evil, to sin, and to transgress against God. According to the words of God in these passages, Gen. 6:1-3 teaches that the Spirit will not remain forever in men who commit sin against God, for they do evil and suffer corruption through their association with unbelievers.

Haggai 2:5  According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear! (NKJ)

     The Spirit of God will remain in men, the sons of God who do not commit sin against God, for they are not corrupt but right before God. By this text, we must conclude that “My Spirit shall not remain in man forever, since he is flesh (mortal)”  in Gen. 6:3 is in great error. If the term “man” in Gen. 6:3 means all human beings, the sons of God and the sons of unbelievers, it makes no sense. All human beings, without a single exception, are flesh and mortal. But if it read, “My Spirit shall not remain in man (unbeliever) forever, for he is corrupt,” it makes sense biblically.

Gen. 6:5-13 must be examined to translate and interpret Gen. 6:3.

Gen. 6:5-13: Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God. And Noah begot three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” (NKJ)

     The translation of Gen. 6:3b “for he is flesh or for he is mortal” is erroneous. The term “man” (v. 3a) does not refer to “all men” including the righteous Enoch and Noah. It speaks instead of all corrupt unbelievers of Noah days. Gen. 6:5-13 confirms this saying, “The earth also was corrupt before God and I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth.” God determined to destroy corrupt men only. Noah and his family were not corrupt but right before God. Therefore, “man” in Gen. 6:3 does not refer to every man who had lived at that time because Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. We gather that the words “for he is flesh” must be “for he is corrupt.” This agrees with the NIV footnote. The word “he” cannot include the righteous Noah, but refers to only the corrupt. “My spirit” (Gen. 6:3) must be “My Spirit” because My Spirit is the Spirit of God seen moving in Genesis 1:2.
     Consequently, Genesis 6:3 must read, “My Spirit will not remain in man forever, for he is corrupt.” And it can be inferred as follows: “The Spirit will not remain in a corrupt man forever, for he is corrupt, but the Spirit will remain in man who is right before God forever, for he is right. If man is right before God like Enoch and Noah, the Spirit will remain in him forever.” Here, it can be concluded that the Holy Spirit lives forever with the man and lives in the man who is right before God. Therefore, Genesis 6:3 agrees with John 14:17 and both passages have the same meaning.

John 14:17   the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. (NKJ)

     The phrase, “He will be in you” (John 14:17) is from incorrect manuscripts. It must read, “He is in you.” This passage declares that if the Spirit dwells in the believer, the believer has received the Spirit. But unbelievers, that is, the world, do not receive the Spirit. This passage surely proves the world, that is, unbelievers cannot receive the Spirit unless and until they believe. The principle “unbelievers cannot receive the Spirit” should be applied to every human being in all ages. Here, it can be concluded that every believer in OT days received the Holy Spirit just as every believer in New Testament days did. So the strict rule “to receive God is to receive the Holy Spirit” must be applied to every believer in all ages including OT days since all believers in all ages are sons of God.

Rom. 8:14-16  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive he spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. (NKJ)
 
     The phrase “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” declares that all sons of God are led by the Spirit of God. The phrase, “you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father,’” declares that all sons of God received the Spirit. The phrase, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,” declares that the Spirit is with all children of God.
     The doctrine of the Holy Spirit written in Rom. 8:14-16 should be applied to all believers of OT days and NT days. The phrase “My Spirit shall not remain in man forever, for he is flesh” (Gen. 6:3) is from erroneous manuscripts. The Holy Spirit is with and has been with all the believers of OT and NT days. So Gen. 6:3 should read, “My Spirit shall not remain in man (unbeliever) forever, for he is corrupt.”

All believers in OT days received God and they became all sons of God.

Ex. 4:22     This is what the Lord says: Israel is my firstborn son. (NIV)
Ps. 82:6      I said, “You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High.”
Is. 63:16     But you are our Father, though Abraham does not know us or Israel acknowledge us; you, O Lord, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name. (NIV)
Is. 64:8-9   Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. Do not be angry beyond measure, O Lord; do not remember our sins forever. Oh, look upon us, we pray, for we are all your people. (NIV)
Jer. 3:19     I thought you would call me ‘Father.’ And I said: You shall call Me, My Father, and not turn away from Me. (NIV)
Jer. 31:9     For I am a Father to Israel, And Ephraim is My firstborn. (NKJ)
Ezek. 18:3-4  As I live, says the Lord God, you shall no longer use this proverb in Israel. Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is mine; the soul who sins shall die. (NKJ)
Hos. 1:10    There it shall be said to them, ‘You are sons of the living God.’ (NKJ)
Mal. 2:10    Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us? (NIV)

     The passages “Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us?” (Mal. 2:10) must be applied to all believers in Old Testament and New Testament days. These passages show that all believers of God in all ages can be called the sons of God.

All believers in NT days received God and they became all sons of God.

Ps. 82:6   I said, “You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High.”
John 10:34-36 Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your law,’ I said, ‘You are gods’? “If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken),” do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? (NKJ)
John 8:41-42 “You do the deeds of your father.” Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father-God.” Jesus said to them, if God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. (NKJ)
2   Cor. 6:18  I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty. (NKJ)
Heb. 12:9   Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? (NKJ)
Rom. 8:15-17 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. (NKJ)
Gal. 4:6      And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” (NKJ)
Rev. 21:7   He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. (NKJ)

     All these passages confirm that all Old Testament and New Testament believers are sons of God. Through the Scripture mentioned above, it can be said as follows: “God is the Father of all sons of God in all ages. All believers in all ages are sons of God. All sons of God in all ages received God as God the Father. All sons of God in all ages received the Holy Spirit. All believers in all ages received the Holy Spirit.” These strict rules must be applied to all believers in both Old Testament and New Testament days before and after the day of Pentecost. God is the Father of all children of God in all ages and all believers in all ages are all children of God.  

All believers received the Holy Spirit, and by Him they cry, “Abba, Father.”

Rom. 8:14-16   For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. (NKJ)
1  Cor. 12:3   Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. (NKJ)
Gal. 4:6        And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” (NKJ)
Matt. 22:41-45  While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?” They said to Him, “The Son of David.” He said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying: The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool? If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?” (NKJ)

     The texts mentioned above confirm that all believers, all sons of God, have received the Spirit of sonship. The Bible confirms that all believers in all ages can say, “God is Lord and Jesus is Lord” by the Holy Spirit who lives with them and in them. Therefore, all sons of God received the Holy Spirit, and He lives with them and lives in them when they believe in God. Without a single exception, this strict principle must be applied to all sons of God in all ages, in OT days and NT days.

The Greek lambano in John 1:11-12 means “to receive.”

John  1:11-12 He came to His own, and His own did not receive (lambano) Him. But as many as received (lambano) Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name. (NKJ)

     The word “Him” means Jesus. All English versions translate correctly the Greek “lambano Him” as “receive Him.” John 1:11-12 indicates the strict rule “to believe in Jesus is to receive Jesus and to receive Jesus is to become a child of God.”

The Greek lambano in John 13:20 means “to receive.”

John 13:20  ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ὁ λαμβάνων ἄν τινα πέμψω ἐμὲ λαμβάνει, ὁ δὲ ἐμὲ λαμβάνων λαμβάνει τὸν πέμψαντά με. (BNT)
NKJ    Most assuredly, I say to you, he who receives (lambano) whomever I send receives (lambano) Me; and he who receives (lambano) Me receives (lambano) Him who sent Me.

     The word “Me” means Jesus Christ and the word “Him” refers to “God the Father.” The words “lambano Me” are correctly translated as “receive Me” (NKJ). If “lambano Jesus” in John 13:20 is translated as “to be filled with Jesus,” it would make no sense at all since Jesus does not honor as a divine Person. It can be concluded that John 13:20 supports the strict rule: “to receive Jesus is to receive God the Father.”  

Mark  9:37 ὃς ἂν ἓν τῶν τοιούτων παιδίων δέξηται ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματί μου, ἐμὲ δέχεται· καὶ ὃς ἂν ἐμὲ δέχηται, οὐκ ἐμὲ δέχεται ἀλλὰ τὸν ἀποστείλαντά με. (BNT)
NKJ   Whoever receives (dechomai) one of these little children in My name receives (dechomai) Me; and whoever receives (dechomai) Me, receives (dechomai) not Me but Him who sent Me.

     The text shows that lambano (λάμβανω, receive) in John 13:20 is the same meaning as dechomai (δέχηται, receive) in Mark 9:37. This also lends support to the rule: “to receive Jesus is to receive God the Father.”

The Greek ‘lambano the Spirit’ in Rom. 8:14-16 means “to receive the Spirit.”

Rom. 8:14-16 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive (lambano) the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received (lambano) the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. (NKJ)

     The text (“You received (lambano) the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, Abba, Father”) means that if we receive God as God the Father, we can cry out, ‘Abba, Father,’ by the Spirit who lives with us and is in us. Here, it is confirmed that children of God who cry out, ‘Abba, Father,’ have received the Spirit. The phrase, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,” indicates that the Spirit is with all children of God in OT and NT days. Through Rom. 8:14-16, a strict rule can be constructed: “to receive God is to receive the Spirit.” This rule must be applied to all OT and NT believers.
     The 120 disciples were already the children of God before they met Jesus. John 13:20 says that to receive Jesus is to receive God. Rom. 8:14-16 tells us that to receive God is to receive the Holy Spirit. Therefore, a strict rule can be built: “to receive Jesus is to receive God, and to receive God is to receive the Holy Spirit, and to receive Jesus is to receive the Holy Spirit.” Here, the Bible confirms that Jesus’ disciples received the Holy Spirit before the crucifixion, before resurrection, and before the day of Pentecost.

The Greek ‘lambano the Spirit’ in John 14:17 means “to receive the Spirit.”

John 14:17   The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive (lambano), because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. (NKJ)

     The words “He will be in you” are from a false manuscript. The reading must be instead, “He is in you.” The phrase “the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive (lambano)” can be changed into “the world cannot receive (lambano) the Spirit of truth.” Every English version correctly translates the Greek “lambano the Spirit” in this passage as “receive or accept the Spirit.” If “lambano the Spirit” is translated as “to be filled with the Spirit,” it makes no sense. Here, “the world” speaks of all unbelievers in the world. The word “you” refers to the disciples of Jesus including the 120 of the Upper room. John 14:17 means that the disciples of Jesus had already received the Holy Spirit because they knew Him and the Holy Spirit dwelt with them and was in them. John 14:17 confirms that the disciples of Jesus received the Holy Spirit before the crucifixion, the resurrection and Pen- tecost. The records of John 13:20, John 14:17 and Rom. 8:14-16 are consistent, as we have already seen. The words “They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have” (Acts 10:47) is positively from the mistranslation of lambano. The strict rule “to receive God and Jesus is to receive the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 8:9-16) must be applied to John 14:17.
     Barclay F. Buxton notes, “Unconverted man can receive pardon and eternal life. They can receive Christ. But they cannot receive the Comforter in the sense that Christ means here. Only those who know the Spirit, and are already Christians, can do so. So that no one receivers Him thus at conversion. It must be after that. Even though you are saved, and have the Spirit, and are living in this dispensation, it does not prove that you are baptized with the Spirit.” (Barclay F. Buxton, Christ's way of power, S. W. Patridge & Co. London, 16.)
     This note is quite unbiblical. He does not understand either the rule “to receive God and Jesus is to receive the Holy Spirit” in Rom. 8:9-16 or the doctrine of the Trinity.

The Greek lambano in John 7:39 must be translated as “to be filled with.

John 7:39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive (lambano); for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (NKJ)  
NIV   By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive (lambano). Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

     All English versions translate the Greek “lambano the Spirit” in John 7:39 as “to receive the Spirit,” but it is thoroughly incorrect. When “lambano” in John 7:39 is wrongly translated as “to receive,” it is absolutely impossible to understand the Holy Spirit. Without a single exception, all scholars’ writings on the Holy Spirit are incorrect and unbiblical because they have accepted this mistranslation as authentic. The Greek lambano in John 7:39 must not be translated as “to receive” but “to be filled with.” John 13:20, 14:17 and Rom. 8:14-16 confirm that to receive God and Jesus is to receive the Holy Spirit. In the verse “By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive,” the words “whom those who believed in him” mean all Christian believers including the 120 dis- ciples who believed in Jesus before Pentecost. Many verses (John 13:20; 14:17; Rom. 8:14-16) confirm that the 120 disciples received the Holy Spirit before Pentecost, but the literal record of John 7:39 seems to deny the fact. If so, it is inconsistent with John 13:20, 14:17 and Rom. 8:14-16. If all of God’s word is flawless why do these words disagree?
     This problem is from the mistranslation of “lambano” in John 7:39. If it is translated as “to be filled with,” there is no conflict. The omission in John 2:5-7 must be examined as an example to translate John 7:39.

John 2:5-7  His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” Now there were set there six water pots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. Jesus said to them, “Fill the water pots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. (NKJ)

     In the phrase, “they filled them up to the brim,” the words “with water” are assumed. That they were to fill the pots with water is understood by the first part of the verse. It must be inferred that the servants were to fill the water pots with water, and they filled them with water up to the brim. Likewise, some word is omitted in John 7:39.

“The Spirit was not yet given” in John 7:39b is a mistranslation.

John 7:39b  Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. (NIV)
NRS      for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
NAB     There was, of course, no Spirit yet, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. (NAB notes John 7:39, “No Spirit yet”: Codex Vaticanus and early Latin, Syriac, and Coptic versions add “given.” In this gospel, the sending of the Spirit cannot take place until Jesus’ glorification through his death, resurrection, and ascension; cf. John 20:22.)

     The word “given” is not in the original Greek manuscripts. Instead, the original reads, “the Spirit was not yet.” John 14:17 says, “The Spirit lives with you and is in you.” According to literal records, there is an inconsistency between John 7:39 and John 14:17. If there is inconsistency within the Gospel of John, it is illogical because the word of God is flawless. The inconsistency is from the mistranslation and misunderstanding of John 7:39. It must be inferred in the phrase “the Spirit was not yet,” that lambano is omitted. It is understood from the first part of this verse like the omission found in John 2:5-7. Therefore, it must be translated as “the Spirit was not yet lambano,” which must be a passive voice, because Jesus was not yet glorified. If the Greek verb lambano in John 7:39 is translated as “to receive” like all English versions, it can be translated as follows:

By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. The Spirit was not yet received, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

     This passage can simply mean that those who believed in him (1) were later to receive (lambano) the Spirit, or (2) were about to receive (lambano) the Spirit, or (3) will receive (lambano) the Spirit. The phrase “The Spirit was not yet received (lambano)” can be changed to read, “The Spirit was not yet received (lambano) by those who believed in him, and they did not yet receive (lambano) the Spirit.” According to the literal records (John 7:39; 20:22; Acts 10:47) those who believed in him, that is, Jesus’ disciples, received the Spirit on the day of Pentecost when Jesus was glorified. These explanations seem to be logical but each is based on the mistranslation of “lambano.” The translations of all English versions of “lamba- no” of John 7:39,  20:22 and  Acts 10:47 are thoroughly unbiblical, so the following should be examined.

By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to lambano. The Spirit was not yet lambano, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

The Spirit was not yet lambano by them……………......passive voice
They did not yet lambano the Spirit………………....….active voice
They were not yet filled with of the Spirit. (Author)
They were not yet filled with the power of the Spirit. (Author)

     John 7:39 means those who believed in Jesus do not yet “lambano” the Spirit. Therefore, it can be said that the Spirit was not yet lambano by them because Jesus was not yet glorified. The strict rule, “to receive Jesus is to receive the Spirit,” must be applied to the believers of John 7:37-39. The Greek lambano must not be translated as “to receive” but “to be filled with,” because the believers in John 7:37-39 had already received the Holy Spirit through receiving Jesus. Now, it should be noted that they were not filled with (the power) of the Spirit until Pentecost. The 120 disciples of Jesus were filled with (the power) of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost after Jesus was glorified. All these are reasonable and biblical interpretations. So John 7:39b must be translated, “Up to that time they were not yet filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” Acts 1 and 2 confirm that the 120 disciples were filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost after Jesus was glorified. Therefore, all English versions must translate John 7:39 as follows:

But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, of whom those believing in Him would be filled with; for they were not yet filled with of the Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (Author)

By this He meant the Spirit, of whom those who believed in Him were later filled with. Up to that time they were not yet filled with of the Spirit, since Jesus was not yet glorified. (Author)

By this He meant the Spirit, of whom those who believed in Him were later filled with the power. Up to that time they were not yet filled with the power of the Spirit, since Jesus was not yet glorified. (Author)

     “Up to that time they were not yet filled with of the Spirit, since Jesus was not yet glorified” must be inferred to mean “Up to that time they were not yet filled with (the power or living water) of the Spirit, since Jesus was not yet glorified.” John 7:37-39 means that if the believers in Jesus are filled with (the power) of the Spirit, streams of living water will flow from within him (NIV), out of his heart will flow the “rivers of living water” (NKJ). Therefore, it should be inferred that the words “living water” is omitted in John 7:39. Actually, the 120 disciples of Jesus were all filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit when Jesus was glorified. So that it can be inferred that the power of the Holy Spirit is basically the source of living water in Christian life.

Sinclair B. Ferguson comments on John 7:37-39.

This is exactly what was underlined in John’s earlier editorial statement: literally, ‘the Spirit was not yet, since Jesus had not been glorified.’ A flat grammatical interpretation of these words would be exegetically impossible, since the Gospel already speaks of the person and ministry of the Spirit (e.g. 1:32-33). Furthermore, prior to the glorification of Jesus, the Sprit was both present and known (cf. 14:17, ‘You know him, for he lives with you’)…What John means may be put like this: until exaltation of Christ, the Spirit of God could not be received…(Sinclair B. Ferguson, The Holy Spirit, p.67-68.)

     The note, “A flat grammatical interpretation of these words (‘the Spirit was not yet, since Jesus had not been glorified’) would be exegetically impossible…and until exaltation of Christ, the Spirit of God could not be received,” is from the mis- translation and misunderstanding of the Greek verb lambano in John  7:39a and the doctrine “to receive Jesus is to receive the Spirit.” If it is accepted that the Greek verb lambano in v. 39a is omitted in the phrase “the Spirit was not yet,” it is simple to translate and interpret and understand this passage.  

R. A. Torrey comments on John 7:37-39.

In John 7:37-39  Jesus bid all that are thirsty to come unto Him and drink; the context makes it clear that the water He gives is the Holy Spirit, who becomes in those who receive Him a source of life and power flowing out to others. (R. A. Torrey, The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit, p.46.)

     This interpretation is from the mistranslation of “lambano” in John  7:39. The phrase “the water He gives is the Holy Spirit” is also from the misunderstanding of the Holy Spirit. The water He gives is by no means the Holy Spirit. Instead, the Holy Spirit is a source of living water. John 7:37-39 should be inferred to mean that after believing in Jesus, whoever is filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flowing from within him.

John F. MacArthur comments on John 7:37-39.

Two other passages demonstrate that the disciples did not receive the Holy Spirit until the day of Pentecost. John 7 records that Jesus stood up at the Feast of Tabenacles and offered living water to anyone who wanted to come and drink. The apostle explains in verse 39 that Jesus was speaking of the Holy Spirit: “But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive, for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” That passage explicitly states that the Spirit would not come until Jesus had been glorified, and He could not be glorified until He had ascended. (John F. MacArthur, Charismatic Chaos, p.215.)

     MacArthur’s note “The disciples did not receive the Holy Spirit until the day of Pentecost” makes no sense. John 14:17 shows that they had already received the Holy Spirit when they followed God and believed in Jesus. This was before the resurrection and before Pentecost. Romans 8:9-16 confirms the strict rule: “to receive God and Jesus is to receive the Holy Spirit.” MacArthur’s note is incorrect because he accepts the mistranslation of “lambano” in John 7:39 as authentic.

Stanley M. Horton comments on John 7:37-39.

Jesus promised that the one who believes (keeps believing, is a believer) in Him, out of his belly (his innermost being) rivers of living water will flow. “This spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on him [by a definite act of faith] should receive [receive actively, take]: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given because Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7:39). This clearly refers to what would happen beginning at Pentecost. During His ministry, the disciples depended directly on Jesus. The Holy Spirit did His work in and through Jesus on their behalf. Thus, the Holy Spirit was only with the disciples, not yet in them (John 14:17). They were living in a transitional period where the Holy Spirit was not yet given to everyone, just as was the case in the Old Testament. However, since given is not in most of the ancient Greek manuscripts, they read, “the Spirit was not yet, or it was not yet Spirit.” The meaning seems to be that the age of the Spirit (as prophesied by Joel and the other Old Testament prophets) had not yet come. It is more likely that the phrase compares with John 7:39. There, the condensed phrase, “It was not yet Spirit,” means the age of the Spirit with its promised outpouring had not yet come. (Stanley M. Horton, What the Bible says about the Holy Spirit, p.116,161.)

     The note is derived from the mistranslation of the Greek lambano in John 7:39, 20:22, and the phrase “the Spirit lives with you and in you” in John 14:17.

All English Versions, without a single exception, mistranslate John. 20:22.

John 20:22 καὶ τοῦτο εἰπὼν ἐνεφύσησεν καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς· λάβετε πνεῦμα ἅγιον· (BNT)
KJV      He breathed on them, and saith unto them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
NKJ      He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
NIV       He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
NIRV    He breathed on them. He said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
TNIV    He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
GWN    He breathed on the disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
NRS      He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
TEV      He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
NAS      He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
LB         He breathed on them and told them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
AB        He breathed on [them] and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
NEB      He breathed on them, saying, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit!
NLT      He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
NJB       He breathed on them and said: Receive the Holy Spirit.
NAB     He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit.”
CSB      He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
ESV      He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
MIT      He breathed audibly and said to them, “Receive holy spirit.”
 

The following comments are based on the modern translation of John 20:22.

John Calvin comments on John 20:22:

This is as reasonable as to teach that the breath which the Lord breathed upon his disciples [John 20:22] is a sacrament by which the Holy Spirit is given. (John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, IV, 19, 7.)

 

The Commentary by the New King James Version on John 20:22: John 20:22 Breath: The allusion to Gen. 2:7 is unmistakable. Now Jesus breathed life into his own.

The Commentary by the New American Bible on John 20:22:

This action recalls Gn 2:7, where God breathed on the first man and gave him life; just as Adam’s life comes from God, so now the disciples’ new spiritual life comes from Jesus. Cf. also the revivification of the dry bones in Ez 37. This is the author’s version of Pentecost. Cf. also the note on 19:30.

A Dictionary of Catholic Theology on John 20:22:

The risen Jesus appears in their midst and, breathing on them, bestows the very breath and power of new life. (Joseph A. komonchak, Mary Collins, Dermot A. Lane (editors), The New Dictionary, 1987.)

The Jerusalem Bible comments on John 20:22:  

The breath of Jesus is a symbol of the Spirit (breath, in Hebrew); he sends forth the Spirit who will make all things new (Gn 1:2, 2:7; Ez 37:9; Ws 15:11, See Jn 19:20 and Mt 3:16).

     All these notes are based on the modern translations of John 20:22, but they are thoroughly inaccurate. They are based on a mistranslation. All English versions translate John 20:22, “He breathed on them, and said, Receive the Holy Spirit.” Without a single exception, all scholars mistakenly accepted this as a correct translation, but it is definitely wrong. The word “breathed” is the mistranslation of the Greek verb enephusesen (ἐνεφύσησεν, past verb, emphusao ). We must examine the writing methods and styles of the writer of the Gospel of John to translate enephusesen (ἐνεφύσησεν). It is impossible to understand the meaning of this verb by only the record of John 20:22. We must examine many similar descriptions written by John to translate John 20:22.

John 20:28 must be carefully examined to translate John 20:22.

John 20:28 ἀπεκρίθη Θωμᾶς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ὁ κύριός μου καὶ ὁ θεός μου.(BNT)
KJV      Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
NKJ      Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
NIV       Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
TNIV    Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
NRS      Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”
TEV      Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”
NAB     Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
NEB     Thomas said, ‘My Lord and my God!’  

     These translations may vary, but they have the same meaning (“Thomas answered and said to Him. Thomas answered him. Thomas said to him. Thomas said”). In the phrase “Thomas answered and said to Him,” the term “answered” (apekrithe, ἀπεκρίθη) means the same as “said” (eipen, εἶπεν,  lego, λέγω). The KJV, NKJ and NAB translate it as the original Greek, but the NIV and NEB omitted the word “answer.” The RSV, NRS, and TEV omitted “say.” The KJV and NKJ translate the Greek conjunction kai as “and,” but the NIV, TNIV, NRS, and TEV omitted “and” because “answer” is the same meaning as “say.” The NEB omitted “answer” because it is the same meaning as “say.” All these English translations are correct. This principle of translation applied to John 20:28 must be applied to John 20:22. John 20:28 demonstrates the unique writing style of John who wrote the Gospel of John. John demonstrates the same writing style in John 7:37 as follows:

John 7:37 must be carefully examined to translate John 20:22.

John 7:37 ὁ Ἰησοῦς καὶ ἔκραξεν λέγων· ἐάν τις διψᾷ ἐρχέσθω πρός με καὶ πινέτω.(BNT)
KJV       Jesus cried, saying, if any man thirsts, let him come unto me, and drink.
NKJ       Jesus cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.”
NIV        Jesus said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.”
NET       Jesus stood up and shouted out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.”
NRS       Jesus cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me...”
TEV       Jesus said in a loud voice, “Whoever is thirsty should come to me and drink.”
NAS       Jesus cried out, saying, “If any man thirsty, let him come to Me...”


     These translations of John 7:37 are different but have the same meaning. The phrases [“Jesus cried out (ekrazen, ἔκραξεν), saying (legon, λέγων).” “Jesus cried (ekrazen, ἔκραξεν), saying (legon, λέγων).”  “Jesus  cried out (ekrazen, ἔκραξεν).” “Jesus proclaimed (ekrazen, ἔκραξεν).” “Jesus said (legon, λέγων) in a loud voice.”] seem to be different but are the same. So all English versions used it as the same word. The KJV and NKJ translate it as the original Greek. The NIV and TEV translate ekrazen legon ( ἔκραξεν λέγων)   as “said in  a loud voice.” John 7:37 demonstrates the writing style of John who wrote the Gospel of John.
    

The Greek καὶ in John 20:28 must be examined to translate it in John 20:22.

John 2:28  ἀπεκρίθη Θωμᾶς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ὁ κύριός μου καὶ ὁ θεός μου.(BNT)
KJV         Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
NKJ         Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
NRS         Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”
NIV         Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
 
     The KJV and NKJ translate the Greek “kai” as “and,” but the NRS and NIV omit “and said” since the term “answered” (apekrithe, ἀπεκρίθη)  conveys the same meaning   as  “said” (eipen, εἶπεν). John 20:28 shows that the Greek conjunction “kai” can be omitted. Likewise, the Greek “kai” in John 20:22 can be omitted.

John 7:37 has no the Greek conjunction καὶ.

John 7:37 ὁ Ἰησοῦς καὶ ἔκραξεν λέγων· ἐάν τις διψᾷ ἐρχέσθω πρός με καὶ πινέτω.
NKJ       Jesus cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.”
NIV       Jesus said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.”
 
     In John 20:28, the Greek conjunction “kai” can be omitted, because with or without this conjunction (kai), the meaning is the same. The Greek grammar of “kai” applied to John 20:28 must be applied to the translation of John 20:22. Unfortunately, translators have disregarded this rule of Greek grammar for many centuries. Repeatedly, they have mistranslated John 20:22 and have accepted the mistranslation of v. 22 as correct. John 7:37-39 reads, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” Here, “Let him come to Me and drink” is in the imperative mood. If anyone drinks, the result will be “out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
     If any believer “lambano the Holy Spirit,” the result will be “out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” The command “drink” means “lambano the Holy Spirit,” that is, “Be filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit.” If it were to read, “Drink the Holy Spirit,” it makes no sense at all. The Holy Spirit is not a material like water but God. Therefore, John 7:37-39 can be concluded as follows:

Jesus cried out, saying, “Let him come to Me and drink!”
Jesus cried out, saying, “Drink!”
Jesus cried out, saying, “Be filled with (lambano) of the Holy Spirit!”
Jesus cried out, saying, “Be filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit!”
Jesus said in a loud voice, “Let him come to Me and drink!”
Jesus said in a loud voice, “Drink!”
Jesus said in a loud voice, “Be filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit!”

     These wordings vary but they possess the same meaning. We have a command to “Drink,” that is, “Be filled with (lambano) of the Holy Spirit.” According to John 14:17 and Rom. 8:9-16, believers, including the disciples of Jesus, received (lambano) the Holy Spirit when they believed in God and Jesus before Pentecost, but according to John 7:37-39 and 20:22, believers, including the 120 Upper room disciples, had not received (lambano) the Holy Spirit until Pentecost. The literal records of John 14:17 and Rom. 8:9-16 seem inconsistent with that of John 7:37-39 and 20:22, but this inconsistency is from the mistranslation of “lambano” in John 7:39 and 20:22. Therefore, “lambano” in these two passages must be not translated as “receive” but “to be filled with.” If the Greek lambano in John 7:39 and John 20:22 is translated as “receive,” it makes no sense because believers have already received the Holy Spirit when they first believed in God and followed Jesus. This was before they heard his command (John 7:37-39;  20:22). John 20:22 must be translated consistently with John 7:37-39. John 20:22 must be translated, “Jesus said in a soft voice, ‘Be filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit.’” Both passages are the same meaning, but have a distinction in volume: in John 7:37-39 Jesus said “in a loud voice,” and in John 20:22 Jesus said “in a soft voice.”

“He breathed on them and said” in John 20:22a must be “He said in a soft voice.”

John 7:37-39 On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive (lambano). Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. (NIV)
 
     Jesus’ words “On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice” should be understood to translate John 20:22 (enephusesen kai legei, ἐνεφύσησεν καὶ λέγει). The greatest day of any feast is commonly the last day. Commonly, the greatest numbers of people are assembled at the climax of the feast. At the time Jesus spoke, it can be assumed that a great host were assembled in the city of Jerusalem. For that reason Jesus had to cry out, that is, Jesus had to say in a loud voice. A loud voice was required and not a soft breath or a whisper. If there had been a small group, he would have needed only a soft voice. It is common sense to see that “Jesus cried out, saying” and “Jesus said in a loud voice” (John 7:37) carry the same meaning. The words “said in a loud voice” are clear when compared to John 20:22. Now, let’s examine the case of the descriptions in Luke 24:33-40 and John 20:19-22 to understand the case of a small group of people who were met by Jesus in the first evening of His resurrection.  

Luke 24:33-40  So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread. Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. (NKJ)

John  20:19-22: Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (NKJ) (* NIV: the doors were locked)

     Luke 24:33-40  and  John  20:19-22 are describing the fact occurred in the even- ing of resurrection and the fact of the first meeting of the disciples of Jesus after resurrection. Both records reveal that the eleven apostles and those who were with them gathered together. A small group of disciples were surely assembled in the small room with doors locked (shut) when Jesus met them. Therefore, Jesus did not need saying in a loud voice to them because of a small group. But He needed to say in a loud voice because of a large group in the large place on the last day of the feast (John 7:37-39).
     Furthermore, the disciples have been feared of Jews. Then, they were hidden in the room with doors locked. So Jesus said to them, “Peace be with you.” When He said this, He must surely say in a soft voice for them. Now, it can be concluded that He must say in a soft voice, “Labete (lambano) the Holy Spirit (Be filled with of the Holy Spirit),” because a small group were in small place with the door locked for fear of Jews. John  20:22  must  be consistent with John 7:37-39. Both describe different situations, but they have the same meaning. The phrase, “Thomas an- swered and said to Him” (John 20:28), speaks of Thomas’ voice. “Jesus cried out, saying” (John 7:37) tells us that Jesus used a loud voice. The phrase “Jesus breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’” (John 20:22) is quite inaccurate. According to man-made dictionaries, the Greek verb emphusao (ἐμφύσαω, ἐνεφύσησεν, past verb) does not have the meaning of “whisper,” but the Bible indicates that in the Bible “emphusao” has such a meaning. John 20:22 must be translated as follows:
                              
Jesus whispered and said to them, “Be filled with of the Holy Spirit.”
Jesus whispered, “Be filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit.”
Jesus said in a soft voice, “Be filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit.”

Richard B. Gaffin comments on John 20:22.

“He breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” This statement is one of the perennial cruxes of New Testament interpretation, particularly its relationship to Acts 2. The problem is that in Acts the Spirit comes on Pentecost, fifty days after the resurrection, while here the Spirit is given on the day of the resurrection itself. The consensus of modern historical-critical interpretation is that this is the “Johannine Pentecost” and a classic example of contradiction within the New Testament, in this case conflict between the theology of John and the theology of Luke-Acts. Before considering some solutions to this difficulty, several factors bearing on it may be noted. (Richard B. Gaffin, Jr, Perspectives on Pentecost, p.39.)

     The note is thoroughly unbiblical because Gaffin accepted the mistranslation of John 20:22. The note, “This statement (‘He breathed on them and said, Receive the Holy Spirit’) is one of the perennial cruxes of NT interpretation, particularly its relationship to Acts 2,” also is quite erroneous. It should read be known that this statement is by no means one of the perennial cruxes of NT interpretation, particularly its relationship to Acts 2. The note, “The problem is that in Acts the Spirit comes on Pentecost, fifty days after the resurrection, while here the Spirit is given on the day of the resurrection itself,” also is erroneous. The Spirit came on Pentecost but the Spirit was by no means given on the day of the resurrection. The comment “The consensus of modern historical-critical interpretation is that this is the ‘Johannine Pentecost’ and a classic example of contradiction within the NT, in this case conflict between the theology of John and the theology of Luke-Acts” is thoroughly mistaken. The terminology “Johannine Pentecost” springs from the mistranslation of John 20:22. There is no a conflict between the theology of John and the theology of Luke-Acts. This conflict springs from the mistranslation of John 20:22.

Sinclair B. Ferguson comments on John 20:21-23.

John records an incident from the day of the resurrection which, over the centuries, has cause interpreters of his Gospel considerable difficulty. Jesus appeared to the disciples and said John 20:21-23. It has become commonplace to speak of this event as Johannine Pentecost on the assumption that it serves the same function in John’s theology as that of Pentecost in the theology of Luke...In fact, the focus in John 20 is very different from that in Acts 1. (Sinclair B. Ferguson, The Holy Spirit, p.64-65.)

     Ferguson’s comment (“John records an incident from the day of the resurrection which, over the centuries, has cause interpreters of his Gospel considerable difficulty”) is right. Unfortunately, the difficulty originates from the mistranslation of John  20:22. The difficulty did not originate from John, but from the translators. All interpreters of the Gospel of John, over many centuries, have accepted the mistranslation of this passage as authentic. If it were correctly translated, as noted above, there would be no difficulty at all.
     Ferguson notes also, “In fact, the focus in John 20 is very different from that in Acts 1.” This note implies that John’s theology in John 20 is very different from that of Luke in Acts 1. If this were factual, biblically accepted as correct, the word of God would appear to be ridiculous. Since every word of God including the Gospel of John as well as the book of Acts is in agreement, the flaw is from the mistranslation. John’s theology is by no means different from that of Luke. A theological controversy on this matter springs from the mistranslation and misunderstanding of John 7:37-39 and John 20:22.

Robert Gromacki comments on John 20:22.

And when He had said this, He breathed [enephysesen] on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’ (John 20:21-22). The verb emphysao (“to breathe”) is found only here in the New Testament. In the Septuagint this verb is used of God breathing the breath of life into Adam (Gen. 2:7). The word is also used of the breathing of life into the dry bones, a vision that depicted the regeneration and reestablishment of the nation of Israel in the end times (Ezek. 37:9). The outbreathing of Christ placed the Holy Spirit in the lives of the apostles. They could then receive the post resurrection teaching of Christ and fulfill the missionary commission. And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’ (John 20:22). This impartation of the Spirit was not the fulfillment of Christ’s prayer and promise given earlier on the night before His crucifixion. That fulfillment occurred on the Day of Pentecost. Why then did Christ impart the Spirit before His ascension and the actual descent of the Spirit? As John Walvoord has suggested, “Apparently a temporary filling of the Spirit was given to provide for their spiritual needs prior to Pentecost. Jesus had earlier given them a temporary ministry of the Spirit (20:22); and He had commissioned them to preach (Acts 1:8). (Robert Gromacki, The Holy Spirit, p.429,476,480.)

     The note is quite erroneous since it is based upon the mistranslation of the Greek verb emphysao and lambano. This unbiblical argument illustrates again that it is impossible to understand the Holy Spirit through the mistranslated Scripture.

The NIV Application Commentary of John comments on John 20:22.

Thus John 20:22 becomes the climax to the entire Gospel. The Spirit - suggested throughout his public ministry, promised in the Upper Room, and symbolized the cross - is now given to the disciples in a provocative and personal way. Jesus breathes (on then) and says, “Receive [the] Holy Spirit.” (Gary M. Burge, The NIV Application Commentary: John, p.559.)

     These statements are based on the mistranslation of John 20:22. The disciples had already received the Holy Spirit when they believed in God and Jesus before the crucifixion and resurrection. “Jesus breathes (on them) and says, Receive [the] Holy Spirit” is from the mistranslation, as noted already above. Gary M. Burge continues:

The definite article “the” is not in the Greek text. Similarly, although most English versions translate, “breathed on them,” these last two words do not appear. However they may be naturally inferred from the force of the verb. Certainly, Jesus does not simply “exhale” or “sigh.” John 20:22 fulfills the word given a the Feast of Tabernacles, where Jesus’ offer of living water referred to the Holy Spirit, which could not be distributed until Jesus was glorified (7:39). Now the hour of glorification has reached its climax. Jesus is departing, and he places the Spirit that is within him in their lives. This passage is one of the most controversial in the Gospel. (Gary M. Burge Ibid., p.559.)

     The note “most English versions translate, ‘breathed on them’” is from the mistranslation. So “breathed on them” must be translated as “whispered or said in a soft voice.” The note “where Jesus’ offer of living water referred to the Holy Spirit” is at best shortsighted. The Holy Spirit is not living water but the source of living water. The argument, “John 20:22 is one of the most controversial in the Gospel” is based on the mistranslation. If it were translated, “Jesus said in a soft voice (whispered), ‘Be filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit,’” this passage is clear and not controversial.
 

R. A. Torrey comments on John 20:22.

And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost (John 20:22).” It is also suggested in Genesis 2:7: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (R. A. Torrey, The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit, p.35-36.)

     The argument of Torrey is false for several reasons. The first man Adam was formed of the dust of the ground and needed the breath of God to become a living being or a living soul. But in the case of Jesus’ disciples, they did not need the breath of life of God because they had already become the living being before, that is, when they believed in God and Jesus. This was before the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus. They had already received the living words of God and Jesus before the day of his resurrection. Therefore, they had already received the breath of life of God. Surely then they did not need the breath of life of God. They needed only the power of the Holy Spirit, the fullness of the power of the Holy Spirit, to be witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus.
     Acts  1:8 and 2:1-4 reveal that until Pentecost they were not filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, so they needed to be filled. Therefore, Jesus commanded them saying, “Be filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit,” in the evening of his resurrection. Now, the word “breath” in Genesis 2:7 is absolutely different from the word “breathe” in John 20:22. Many scholars, including R. A. Torrey and Henry Matthew, falsely insist that the word “breath” in Genesis 2:7 is the same meaning as the word “breathe” in John 20:22. They have accepted the mistranslation of John 20:22. The Greek verb enephusesen in John 20:22 must be translated as “whispered” or “said in a soft voice” to be consistent with the record of John 7:37-39. R. A. Torrey continues:

This becomes more evident when we compare this with Psalms 104:30, “Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth,” and Job 33:4, “the spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.” What is the significance of this name from the standpoint of these passages? It is that the Spirit is the outbreathing of God, His inmost life going forth in a personal form to quicken. When we receive the Holy Spirit, we receive the inmost life of God Himself to dwell in a personal way in us. (R. A. Torrey, Ibid., p.35-36.)

     Psalms 104:30 and Job 33:4 quoted by R. A. Torrey reveal, “We were created by the Spirit of God and the breath of God has given us life. So the Spirit is the out-breathing of God. When we receive the Holy Spirit, we receive the inmost life of God Himself to dwell in a personal way in us.” This is correct, but when applied to Jesus’ disciples in John 20:22, it is desperately erroneous. Both John 14:17-20 and Rom. 8:8-16 indicate the disciples had already received the Holy Spirit and the inmost life of God. He dwelt in a personal way in them before the resurrection of Jesus when they believed in God and Jesus. It is quite erroneous to insist that Psalms 104:30 and Job 33:4, quoted by Torrey, can apply to John 20:22. The word “breathe” in John 20:22 does not mean the breathing of God but “whisper or say in a soft voice.” If the word “breathe” in John 20:22 is accepted as right and correct translation, there are many inconsistencies in the Scripture. R. A. Torrey continues:

We read in John 20:22 that Jesus “breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” The Holy Spirit is therefore the breath of Christ, as well as the breath of God the Father. It is Christ who breathes upon us and imparts to us the Holy Spirit. (R. A. Torrey, Ibid., p.46.)

     These notes are thoroughly unbiblical and spring from the mistranslation. The note “The Holy Spirit is therefore the breath of Christ, as well as the breath of God the Father” is erroneous since the Holy Spirit is neither the breath of Christ nor the breath of God the Father. The note, “It is Christ who breathes upon us and imparts to us the Holy Spirit” is from the mistranslation of “breathe” of John  20:22.

Stanley M. Horton comments on John 20:22.

Jesus gave many promises of the Spirit during His ministry. Then on the Resurrection Day in the evening, Jesus appeared in the midst of His disciples, and said, “As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you,” then He breathed on them and said, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained” (John 20:19-23). (Stanley M. Horton, What the Bible says about the Holy Spirit, p.127.)

     Just as most scholars, Stanley M. Horton accepted the mistranslation of John 20:22 as correct. As a result Horton’s note is basically quite erroneous. Stanley M. Horton continues:

There are a number of ways in which this command to receive (take) the Holy Spirit is interpreted. Liberal critics often call this the Johannine Pentecost, as if John had never heard of Pentecost and thought this was the fulfillment of the promised baptism in the Holy Spirit. (Stanley M. Horton, Ibid., p.127.)

     The note “this command to receive (take) the Holy Spirit” is thoroughly unbi- blical. It is based on the mistranslation of “lambano” (John 7:39; 14:17; 20:22). The Greek lambano in John 14:17 must be translated as “to receive or accept,” and that in John   7:39 and 20:22 must be translated as “to be filled with.” “Liberal critics often call this the Johannine Pentecost.” It is quite ridiculous to say that there are two Pentecosts. The statement that labels John 20:22 “the Johannine Pentecost” makes no sense at all and springs from the mistranslation of the Greek text. Stanley M. Horton continues:

Others take it that since the Greek has no “the” here and reads only “receive Holy Spirit” that Jesus did not mean the personal Holy Spirit but the breath of God, symbolic of power. Jesus breathed on them and they received power. It seems quite evident, however, that in John, as in Luke, the presence or absence of the article is not significant. (See John 4:23,24). Receiving Him here is just as much receiving a Person as is receiving Jesus. (Stanley M. Horton, Ibid., p.127.)

     The note is incorrect since it is based on the mistranslation and misinterpretation of John 20:22. The note, “the Greek has no ‘the’ here and reads only ‘receive Holy Spirit’ that Jesus did not mean the personal Holy Spirit but the breath of God, symbolic of power,” is erroneous. Truly, the Greek has no “the” in this place, but it must be translated as “the Holy Spirit,” as noted already. In John 20:22 Jesus did not mean the breath of God, symbolic of power, but the person of the Holy Spirit. The note, “It seems quite evident, however, that in John, as in Luke, the presence or absence of the article is not significant (See John 4:23,24),” makes no sense since the presence or absence of the article in English language is very significant.
     If it is accepted that the presence or absence of the article is not significant, the statement, “Others take it that since the Greek has no ‘the’ here and reads only ‘receive Holy Spirit’ that Jesus did not mean the personal Holy Spirit but the breath of God, symbolic of power,” could be accepted as a right interpretation, but it is thoroughly unbiblical. The statement, “Receiving Him here is just as much receiving a Person as is receiving Jesus” is thoroughly unbiblical since it is based on the mistranslation and misunderstanding of the Greek lambano.
     John 14:17 and Rom. 8:8-16 confirm that to receive Jesus is to receive the Holy Spirit. The disciples who were meeting Jesus at the Upper room on the first day of resurrection had already received the Holy Spirit, but they had not yet been filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus, Jesus commanded, “Be filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:8 and 2:1-4 confirm that they were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Stanley M. Horton continues:

Still others say the disciples did not receive anything at this time. The breathing is taken as only a symbolic action to let them know that when the Spirit came at Pentecost it would be the Spirit of Jesus. In other words the breathing was prophetic, but though the command was given, the Spirit was neither given nor received. (Stanley M. Horton, Ibid., p.128.)

     The note is erroneous since it is based on the mistranslation of John 20:22. If this verse is correctly translated, there will not be this kind of erroneous statement. Stanley M. Horton continues:

The majority of those who recognize that 20:22 is an actual impartation of the Spirit take it as a bestowal of a measure of the Spirit. In response, some argue that since the Holy Spirit is a Person, it is impossible to split Him up. They take it that to receive the Spirit is to receive all there is of Him so that we cannot receive more of Him, we can only give more of ourselves to Him. But we too are persons. If we can give more of ourselves to Him, He can give more of himself to us. Paul said, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). By gain he meant gain in Christ. That is, to live meant Christ (in him), and to die meant more of Christ. Certainly it was possible to receive a measure of the Spirit on the Resurrection Day and an overflow- ing experience on the Day of Pentecost. (Stanley M. Horton, Ibid., p.130.)

     These comments are thoroughly unbiblical since they are based on the mis- translation of “He breathed on them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit” in John 20:22. If this passage is translated as “He whispered or said in a soft voice, ‘Be filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit,’” this kind of erroneous argument will be disappeared. Stanley M. Horton continues:  

Acts 1:4-8  also indicates that power (Greek, dynamis, mighty power) would come on them after the Pentecostal baptism. The emphasis in John 20:21-23 is on authority, rather than active power. Obviously, what the disciples received on that first Easter was not the baptism in the Holy Spirit, nor the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, but it was the Holy Spirit. (Stanley M. Horton, Ibid., p.131.)

     The note, “Acts 1:4-8 also indicates that power would come on them after the Pentecostal baptism,” is erroneous since to be baptized with the Spirit is to receive the power of the Spirit. The note should say that “power will come on them at the time of the Pentecostal baptism, that is, the Pentecostal baptism is to receive the power of the Spirit.” The note “The emphasis in John 20:21-23 is on authority, rather than active power” is quite erroneous since the power of the Spirit is used of the same meaning as authority in the NT.
     The note, “what the disciples received on that first Easter was not the baptism in the Holy Spirit, nor the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, but it was the Holy Spirit,” is thoroughly unbiblical. It is based on the mistranslation and misunderstanding of the Greek lambano in John 7:39 and 20:22. It should read, “What the disciples received on that first Easter was not the Holy Spirit because they had already received the Holy Spirit before His crucifixion and resurrection.” Stanley M. Horton continues:

When God breathed, something happened. When God called for breath to come on the corpses in Ezekiel’s vision (37:8-10), life came into them. When Jesus touched people or spoke the word they were healed. It seems ridiculous to suppose that Jesus could breathe on them or give a command and have nothing happen. (Stanley M. Horton, Ibid., p.132.)

     The note says, “When God breathed, something happened. When God called for breath to come on the corpses in Ezekiel’s vision (37:8-10), life came into them. When Jesus touched people or spoke the word they were healed.” These state- ments are right, but the observation, “It seems ridiculous to suppose that Jesus could breathe on them or give a command and have nothing happen,” is quite erroneous. The disciples of Jesus had already received life through the Holy Spirit, that is, they had been born of the Holy Spirit (John 3:5) when they received Jesus as Savior and Lord. The “breath” in Ezekiel 37:8-10 is needed for them who have no life, but the disciples of Jesus possessed new life before the resurrection of Jesus. Therefore, “breath” in Ezekiel 37:8-10 is absolutely different from “breathe” in John 20:22, which means “whisper or say in a soft voice.” Most scholars insist that “breath” in Genesis 2:7 and Ezekiel 37:8-10 is the same as “breathe” in John 20:22. This makes no sense at all because their interpretations are based on the mistranslation of John 20:22. All the statements mentioned above by scholars are erroneous.

Chuck Smith comments on John 20:22.

In John 20:22, we read that Jesus breathed on His disciples and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” The laws of biblical interpretation insist that the obvious meaning is usually the correct one. So, if Jesus breathed on His men and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit,” the obvious meaning is that they received the Holy Spirit at that point–the Holy Spirit began to indwell them. (Chuck Smith, Living Water, 260. Calvary Chapel Disitnctives, p.32.)

     This statement is thoroughly unbiblical since he mistakenly accepts the translation “Receive the Holy Spirit” in John 20:22 and “The Holy Spirit will be in you” in John 14:17 as authentic.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones comments on John 20:22.

The same men upon whom he had ‘breathed’ the Holy Sprit in the upper room after his resurrection…(Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Joy Unspeakable, p.151.)

     The statement “he had ‘breathed’ the Holy Sprit” is quite erroneous since it is from the mistranslation of the Greek enephusesen and the verb lambano (labete) in John 20:22, as noted above.

The 120 disciples did not receive the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.

     The literal wordings of the modern translations of John 7:37-39, 20:22, Acts 10: 47 and 11:15-17 show the disciples of Jesus received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Therefore, without a single exception, all scholars insist that the 120 disciples of Jesus received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. But this is from the mistranslation of the Greek lambano, as we have seen. The literal descriptions of John 14:17-20 and Rom. 8:9-16 reveal the 120 disciples had already received the Holy Spirit before Pentecost. According to the literal records, John 14:17-20 and Rom. 8:9-16 are not consistent with John   7:37-39, 20:22, Acts 8:14-19, 10:47, 11:15-17, but since every word of God is flawless and consistent, we know this inconsistency is from the mistranslation of “lambano.” If “lambano” (John 14:17; Rom. 8:15; 1 Cor. 2:12) is translated as “to receive,” and “lambano” (John 7:39; 20:22; Acts 8:15-19; 10:47; 19:2; Gal. 3:2) is translated as “to be filled with,” there will be no inconsistencies.

Billy Graham comments on “to receive the Holy Spirit.”

The moment we received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior we received the Holy Spirit. He came to live in out heart. “Any one who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him,” said Paul in Romans 8:9. From that day onward, the Holy Spirit has lived in the hearts of all true believer, beginning with the 120 disciples who received Him at Pentecost. When they received the Holy Spirit, He united them by His indwelling presence into one body - the mystical body of Christ, which is the Church. Their baptism by the Spirit was a clear sign that they too could be part of God’s  people by faith in Jesus Christ. (Billy Graham, The Holy Spirit, p.79,80,73.)

     Billy Graham’s statement “the moment we received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior we received the Holy Spirit” is biblically right. But the note “the 120 disciples who received Him at Pentecost” is absolutely erroneous. If “the 120 disciples who received Him at Pentecost” is acceptable, to state, “the moment we received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior we received the Holy Spirit” makes no sense at all. If the 120 disciples of Jesus received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, they did not receive Jesus Christ before Pentecost, but they were already the followers of Jesus as Savior and Lord before Pentecost.
     Billy Graham’s note “The 120 disciples who received Him at Pentecost” is quite erroneous because it is from the mistranslation of the Greek lambano (John 7:39; 20:22; Acts 10:47; 19:2; Gal. 3:2). His statement would better read, “The moment we received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior we received the Holy Spirit. The 120 disciples received Jesus and the Holy Spirit before Pentecost. And they were filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit, that is, were baptized with/in the Holy Spirit (and with/in fire) at Pentecost.”

The Greek lambano in Acts 8:14-19 must be translated as “to be filled with.”

Acts 8:14-19  Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received (dechomai) the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive (lambano) the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received (lam- bano) the Holy Spirit. And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive (lambano) the Holy Spirit.” (NKJ)

     The literal record of Acts 8:14-19 declares that the Samaritan believers had not received the Holy Spirit when they first received Jesus as Savior and Lord. This would be inconsistent with the strict rule, “to receive Jesus is to receive the Holy Spirit.” Why does it appear to be inconsistent? This inconsistency is from the mis- translation of the Greek lambano (Acts 8:14-19). If “lambano the Holy Spirit” is translated as “to be filled with of the Holy Spirit,” there is no inconsistency.
     The strict rule mentioned above (to receive Jesus is to receive the Holy Spirit) must be applied to Acts 8:14-19. The phrase, “They accepted the word of God and were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus,” implies that they received the Holy Spirit when they received Jesus as Savior and Lord. It should be understood that the Samaritan believers received the Holy Spirit when they believed in Jesus by Philip’s ministry. Just as the 120 disciples before Pentecost, they were not yet filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the apostles Peter and John were sent to them to preach the infilling with (the power) of the Holy Spirit. The Greek lambano in Acts 8:14-19 must not be translated as “receive” but “to be filled with.” Thus, Acts 8:14-19 must be translated as follows:

When the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. When they had come down, prayed for them that they might be filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they were filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit. And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the power of the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may be filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit.” (Author)

     The translation of the NIV and NKJ, including every English version, is quite erroneous since it is based on the mistranslation of the Greek lambano in Acts 8:14-19.

Billy Graham comments on the Samaritan believers.

Three passages are of particular interest at this point. Personally I found these passages difficult to understand when I was a young Christian (and to some extent still do) and I know many people have had the same experience. 1 would not pretend to have all the answers to the questions raised by these passages, but my own study has led me to some observations which might be helpful. The first passage is found in Acts 8 where Philip’s trip to Samaria is recounted. He preached Christ and performed a number of miracles. The Samaritans were emotionally stirred. Many of them professed faith and were baptized. The apostles in Jerusalem were so concerned about what was happening in Samaria that they sent two of their leaders, Peter and John, to investigate. They found a great stir and a readiness to receive the Holy Spirit. “Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8:17). As we compare Scripture with Scripture, we immediately discover one extraordinary feature in this passage. When Philip preached in Samaria, it was the first time the gospel had been proclaimed outside Jerusalem, evidently because Samaritans and Jews had always been bitter enemies. This gives us the clue to the reason the Spirit was withheld till Peter and John came: It was so they might see for themselves that God received even hated Samaritans who believed in Christ. There could now be no question of it.....Thus the situation in Samaria as recounted in Acts 8 was unique and does not fit with other passages of Scripture as we compare Scripture with Scripture. (Billy Graham, The Holy Spirit, p.74-75.)

     Unfortunately, like all scholars, Billy Graham has accepted the mistranslation of Acts 8:14-19, so that his statements make no sense. In fact, he is confessing that personally he found these passages difficult to understand when he was a young Christian (and to some extent still does). Without a single exception, every scholar, including Billy Graham, incorrectly  understands  Acts   8:14-19 because of the mistraslation of the Greek lambano. Nobody can understand these passages because of the mistranslation of “receive the Holy Spirit.” When we have a correct translation, then we surely can say, “As we compare Scripture with Scripture, we discover one consistent feature in these passages. The situation in Samaria as recounted in Acts 8 was not unique and does fit with all other passages.”

John F. Walvoord comments on the Samaritan believers.

The problem of Acts 8:17-20 no doubt presents the most serious difficulty in the support of the doctrine of universal indwelling. According to the record, the believers who had been baptized by Philip had not received the Holy Spirit. The passage reveals that when Peter arrived, they received the Holy Spirit as he laid his hands upon them. From this it has been falsely inferred that receiving the Holy Spirit is a work subsequent to salvation and requiring the laying on of hands. (John F. Walvoord, The Holy Spirit, p.153.)

     All these statements are quite erroneous because they are from the mistranslation of “lambano.” It must be translated as “to be filled with,” as we have seen. Then, the statements of John F. Walvoord could be changed to read, “Acts 8:17-20 does not present the difficulty in the support of the doctrine of universal indwelling. According to the record, the believers who had been baptized with/in water by Philip in the name of Jesus had not been filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit.
The passage reveals that when Peter and John arrived, they were filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit as they laid their hands upon them. In Acts 8, a clear doctrine of the Holy Spirit can be constructed.”
     “To be filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit is a work subsequent to salvation and some times, not all the times, requiring the laying on of hands to be filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit.” The Samaritan believers had already been saved through the Philip’s ministry before meeting two apostles Peter and John. The 120 disciples (Acts 2) and Cornelius (Acts 10) did not require the laying on of hands to be filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit. The Samaritan believers (Acts 8) and the 12 believers at Ephesus (Acts 19) did require the laying on of hands. From the accounts of Acts 8 and Acts 19 many Pentecostal scholars have taught that to receive the Holy Spirit is a work subsequent to salvation. But this is from the mistranslation of the Greek lambano.

John R. W. Stott comments on the Samaritan believers.

Because this Samaritan incident was so clearly abnormal, it is difficult to see how most Pentecostal and some charismatic Christians can regard it as constituting a norm for spiritual experience today, namely that the Holy Spirit is given subsequently to conversion. It is equally difficult to justify ‘Catholic’ view that the Spirit is given only through the imposition of apostolic hands (which they understand as meaning the hands of bishops regarded as ‘in the apostolic succession’). Is it not clear from the rest of the New Testament that both the timing and the means of the gift to the Sama- ritans were atypical? If so, then neither a two-stage experience nor the laying-on the hands is the norm for receiving the Spirit today. Some charismatics accept this argument about the norm, but come back with a counter-suggestion. Granted, they say, that the Samaritans’ experience was abnormal; could not this abnormality be repeated sometimes today? I cannot myself see how the abnormality in the Samaritan reception of the Spirit could be taken as a precedent for today. (John R. W. Stott, Baptism & Fullness, p.33-34.)

     According to the literal record of Acts 8 in all English versions, the Samaritan believers did not receive the Holy Spirit when they received Jesus as Lord Christ. Stott’s argument “this Samaritan incident was so clearly abnormal” seems correct, but it is quite erroneous because it is based upon the mistranslation of the Greek verb lambano (Acts  8:15-19). If the Greek lambano is translated as “to be filled with,” the Samaritan incident will be typical. It means simply that they received Jesus as Savior and Lord but they had not yet been filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.
 

Stanley M. Horton comments on the Samaritan believers.

Philip went to Samaria. There, his preaching and miracles convinced the people. Many were baptized in water to testify to their faith (8:12). However, none received the gift of the Holy Spirit. There was no experience of the Spirit “falling upon” them as He did on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 8:16,20).
Just why this is so presents a difficulty to those who hold that everything is received with water baptism. Some suppose the Holy Spirit should have been received and the deficiency was corrected as soon as possible. But it is impossible to explain why there should be such a deficiency on that basis. Others suppose the faith of the Samaritans was not real, or was not saving faith until Peter and John came and prayed. However, Philip was a man full of the Spirit and wisdom. He most certainly would have had enough discernment and wisdom not to baptize people before they truly believed in Jesus. Others suggest that perhaps Philip did not preach the full gospel to them. Since the Samaritans were on the other side of the fence, perhaps his prejudice kept him from telling the Samaritans of all the benefits that Christ as Savior and Baptizer offers to the believer. However, this idea is not borne out by what we find in Acts. The disciples were not able to withhold part of the message. They said, “We can not but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). Philip preached the Word, preached Christ (8:4,7). The Samaritans believed what Philip preached concer- ning the kingdom (rule) of God and the name (authority) of Jesus. These things are often associated with the promise of the Holy Spirit. Philip must have included the exaltation of Jesus to the throne and the promise of the Father.
The problem seems to be on the side of the Samaritans. Now, they realized they had been wrong, not only about the deceptions of Simon the sorcerer, but also about their Samaritan doctrines. Perhaps, humbled, they found it difficult to express the next step of faith. When the apostles came, they prayed for the Samaritans to receive the Spirit. Then they laid hands on them, and as they did so the people received (were receiving, kept receiving) the Spirit (8:15,17). (Stanley M. Horton, What the Bible says about the Holy Spirit, p.154.)

     The statements of Stanley M. Horton are mixtures of right and erroneous elements because they are based on the mistranslation of the verb lambano (Acts 8:15-19). All his statements indicate that if the verb lambano is correctly trans- lated, it becomes a simple matter to interpret these passages. All scholars and all teachers, without a single exception, mistakenly have accepted the modern trans- lation of “receive the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8:15-19) as authentic, so that it is impo- ssible to interpret these passages consistently or correctly.

Chuck Smith comments on the Samaritan believers.

Although these believers in Acts 8:14,15, had been baptized in the name of Jesus, they had not yet received the gift of the Holy Spirit. When Peter and John laid their hands on them and prayed for them, they received the Holy Spirit. When Peter and John went to Samaria to greet the new believers there, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. (Chuck Smith, Living Water, p.264,276.)

     The note is quite unbiblical since it is based on the mistranslation of the Greek lambano in Acts 8. The note says that Peter and John went to Samaria to greet the new believers, but the reference does not indicate Peter and John went to Samaria simply to greet the new believers. Acts 8:14-17 records, “When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might be filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they were filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit.” Here, it is confirmed that Peter and John did not go to Samaria to greet the new believers. The two apostles went to the Samaritan believers to minister to them that they might be filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit. They prayed and placed their hands on them because the Samaritan believers had not yet been filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit/been baptized with/in the Holy Spirit (and with/in fire) even though they had been baptized with/in water in the name of the Lord Jesus.  

The Greek lambano in Acts 10:47 must be translated as “to be filled with.”

     All scholars insist, “Cornelius and his family were unbelievers and were not regenerated until listening to Peter’s preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and they became believers, were regenerated, and received the Holy Spirit when they believed in Jesus through preaching by Peter.” This makes no sense at all. It is from the mistranslation and inaccurate understandings of Acts 10 and the case of believers in the transitional period from OT days to NT days. Let’s examine the records to understand this issue.

Acts 10:1-5,34-35 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a cen- turion of what was called the Italian Regiment, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!” And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, “What is it, lord?” So he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God. Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter....Then Peter opened his mouth and said: In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. (NKJ)
Acts 11:17-18 If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God? When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life. (NKJ)

     According to the record of Acts 11:18, “...God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life” can be said to mean that Cornelius did not have new life before meeting Peter, but this is said by the Jews in Jerusalem. Before meeting Peter, Cornelius had already become a son of God and a true believer. Malachi 3:16 says, “Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who meditate on His name” (NKJ). Cornelius was a God-fearing man before meeting the apostle Peter. His name had already been written in a book of remembrance, the book of life, because he received God before meeting Peter. Therefore, God had already granted to Cornelius the Gentile repentance to life! The strict rule, “to receive God is to receive the Holy Spirit” must be applied here to Cornelius. He had already received the Holy Spirit through receiving God before meeting the apostle Peter.  

Acts 10:42-43: He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. “To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.” (NKJ)

     According to Acts 10:1-5,34-43, Cornelius received God but had yet to receive Jesus Christ since no one had shared the Gospel with him. Peter preached, “who- ever believes in Jesus will receive remission of sins,” so though Cornelius had yet to receive the remission of sins through the blood of Jesus, he had received remission of sins through his faith in the God of the OT. Peter’s preaching must generally be applied to unbelievers who lived after the period of transition. Here, Peter’s preaching means that if anyone does not receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, he will not be saved, though he believes in the God of the OT. In Acts 2, the 3,000 God-fearing Jews were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus because of Peter’s preaching, but except this number, many God-fearing Jews at Jerusalem did not receive Jesus. Therefore, they did not receive remission of their sins though they believed in the God of the Old Testament. Acts 10:42-43 implies this fact.
 
Acts 10:44-48  While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received (lambano) the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days. (NKJ)

     The literal accord of Acts 10:44-48 reveals that Cornelius received the Spirit when he believed in Jesus Christ through Peter’s preaching. But this is from the mis- translation of the Greek lambano in Acts 10:47 and the misinterpretation of Acts  10. Acts 10:1-7 indeed says that Cornelius had already believed in God. He was a God-believer who lived in the period of transition. Therefore, he has already had salvation through his faith in the God of the OT. Until Peter comes, no one prea- ched the good news of Christ to Cornelius and his family.
     In OT days, every believer was a child of God just as are Christian believers from NT days to the present. Every believer, including Cornelius who lived in OT days, received the Spirit at the moment of receiving God just as every NT believer did. The Spirit dwelt with him and was in him. Acts 10:44-47 records that Corne- lius received (lambano) the Spirit at moment of his faith in Jesus Christ through Peter’s preaching, but this is from the mistranslation of the Greek lambano. Cornelius had already received the Spirit before meeting Peter. His faith was in the God of the OT. After receiving the Spirit (God), the Spirit came upon him when he listened to Peter’s preaching. In the case of Cornelius, the Bible indicates a clear distinction between “the Spirit is in him” and “the Spirit comes upon him.”
     According to the literal records of Acts 10:44-48, Cornelius received the Holy Spirit when he received Jesus Christ. But according to the strict rule “to receive God is to receive the Holy Spirit,” he received the Holy Spirit when he believed in the God of the OT. Therefore, according to the literal records of Acts 10, the case of Cornelius seems to be a contradiction and an inconsistency. But every word of God is flawless.
     This contradiction and inconsistency is from the mistranslation of the Greek lambano in Acts 10:47. The mistranslation of the Greek lambano makes the record contradictory, but if the Greek lambano were translated as “to be filled with” (like Acts 8:15-19; John 7:39; 20:22; Gal. 3:2), there would be no more contradictions or inconsistencies. The 120 disciples were filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit when He came upon them on the day of Pentecost. Likewise, Cornelius and his family were filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit when He came (fell) on them. The 120 disciples had already received the Holy Spirit before He came on them, that is, before being filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit. Likewise, Cornelius and his family had already received the Holy Spirit before He came on them, that is, before being filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit. Acts 10:47 must be translated as follows:

Acts 10:47  Then Peter said, “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have been filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit just as we have.” (Author)

     The translation of the NKJ, including every English version, is quite erroneous since it is from the mistranslation of the Greek verb lambano in Acts 10:47. This passage must be translated just as author does.

The Greek lambano in Acts 19:2 must be translated as “to be filled with.”

Acts 19:2     εἶπέν τε πρὸς αὐτούς· εἰ πνεῦμα ἅγιον ἐλάβετε πιστεύσαντες; οἱ δὲ πρὸς αὐτόν· ἀλλ᾽ οὐδ᾽ εἰ πνεῦμα ἅγιον ἔστιν ἠκούσαμεν.(BNT)
KJV       He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, we have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
NKJ       he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”
Acts 19:3-7   And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. Now the men were about twelve in all. (NKJ)
Matt. 3:4-8   And John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the regions around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance.” (NKJ)
 
     Matt. 3:4-8 reports that many Israelites were baptized by John the Baptist. They confessed their sins, believed in God as Savior and Lord and expected the coming of Messiah. These believers lived in the transitional period between Old and New Testament. They were typical God-fearing Old Testament believers. Acts 19:2-4 indicates that some disciple of John the Baptist baptized the 12 Ephesians. This was water baptism of repentance. Therefore, they had already become sons of God, so they positively received God as their Savior and Lord through preaching of the disciples of John the Baptist.
     For this reason, it is true they received the Holy Spirit when they received God before meeting the apostle Paul. This is the strict rule mentioned above, “to receive God is to receive the Holy Spirit.” But according to the literal record of Acts 19:2-7, they received the Holy Spirit through placing Paul’s hands on them after hearing the gospel of Jesus and being baptized in His name. Is this a great contradiction between the record and the strict rule? Again, the source of this contradiction springs from the mistranslation of the Greek verb lambano in Acts 19:2.
     Unfortunately, without exception, every scholar and teacher has accepted the mistranslation of the Greek lambano in Acts 19:2. It must not be translated, “Did you receive (lambano) the Holy Spirit since (or when) you believed,” but “Were you filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit since you believed?” They had already received the Holy Spirit since they believed in God through preaching and baptizing by the disciples of John the Baptist. But they were not yet filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit. Just as the Samaritan believers were filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit through the ministering hands of Peter and John, the 12 believers at Ephesus were filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit as Paul placed his hands on them. The 120 disciples were filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit when He came on them without the involvement of any man, and they spoke in tongues. The 12 disciples at Ephesus were filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit when He came on them by using Paul’s hands. They spoke in tongues and prophesied. Typical arguments spring from the mistranslation of the verb lambano in Acts 19:2. The translation of the NKJ, NIV and every English version is quite erroneous. This passage must be translated as follows:

Acts 19:2   He said to them, “Were you filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit since you believed”? (Author)

John F. Walvoord comments on Acts 19:1-7.

The problem of Acts 19:1-6 yields to a careful study of the context and an accurate translation of the text. From the context it can be learned that the disciples at Ephesus were followers of John the Baptist and had not come into contact with the gospel of grace. Upon their baptism and confession of faith in Christ, the Spirit came on them. It is indicated that Paul “laid his hands upon them” (Acts 19:6), either in the act of baptism or otherwise, and the presence of the Holy Spirit was manifested in that they spake with tongues. It is apparent from the narrative that the Spirit both indwelt and filled these disciples, the indwelling being known by the manifestation which accompanied the filling. It cannot be inferred, therefore, from this passage that the Spirit comes to indwell as a work subsequent to salvation, because they had not been saved previous to Paul’s visit. The translation of Acts 19:2 in the Authorized Version, “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” should be translated, “Did ye receive the Holy Spirit when ye believed?” as in the American Revised Version. Instead of being in support of the supposed theory that only some Christians are indwelt, it is actually a refutation. In the fact that they had not received the Holy Spirit, Paul found proof of the lack of regeneration. The absence of the Holy Spirit indicated a lack of salvation. It may be concluded, therefore, that the events of this section of Scripture indicate no departure from the norm of the doctrine that all Christians are indwelt at the moment of regeneration. (John F. Walvoord, The Holy Spirit, p.154.)

Stanley M. Horton comments on Acts 19:1-7.

At Ephesus speaking in tongues is again mentioned in connection with certain disciples whom Paul found there (Acts 19:1-7). Though the Book of Acts almost always uses the word disciple to mean a disciple of Jesus, a Christian, Paul sensed something missing here. Undoubtedly, these 12 men professed to be followers of Jesus. But, Paul asked them if they had received the Holy Spirit “since they believed.” Modern versions generally take this to mean “when they believed.” The Greek is literally, “having believed, did you receive?” The “believing” is a Greek aorist (past) participle, while the receiving is the main verb (also in the aorist). Since the tense of the participle often shows its time relation to the main verb, the fact that the believing is in a past tense was taken by the King James Version translators to mean that it preceded the receiving. Many modern Greek scholars point out, however, that the aorist participle often does indicate an action occurring at the same time as that of the main verb, especially if it also is in the aorist, as in 19:2. One writer, Dunn, goes so far as to say that anyone who suggests that the aorist participle here indicates action prior to the receiving is only showing that he (along with the King James Version translators) has an inadequate grasp of Greek grammar. Thus, though there are some cases in which the action of an aorist participle is coincident with that of an aorist verb, this is not a strict rule. The whole impression of Acts 19:2 is that since these disciples claimed to be believers, the baptism in the Holy Spirit should have been the next step, a distinct step after the believing, though not necessarily separated from it by a long time. (Stanley M. Horton, What the Bible says about the Holy Spirit, p.159,161.)

Frederick D. Bruner comments on Acts 19:1-7.

The Ephesian men were “disciples,” the normal description in Acts for Christians (over a dozen times through Acts 15; cf. thereafter 16:1; 18:23, 27; 19:9, 30; 20:1,30; 21:4,16); nevertheless they had not yet received the Holy Spirit (v. 2)! They too had believed but they had not yet been baptized in the “name of the Lord Jesus.” They too had everything and yet nothing; they believe and yet had not received the Holy Spirit, for they had not yet had Christian baptism. (Frederick D. Bruner, A Theology of the Holy Spirit, p.207.)

     Among Christian theologians there are many great and controversial debates regarding the use of ‘when or since’ in Acts 19:2. While the translation of the KJV is different from that of the NKJ, the real issue must be not on ‘when or since’ but on the Greek lambano. If this passage were translated, “Were you filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit since you believed?” there would be no further contro- versy over ‘when or since.’ Nowhere in the Scripture do we find an example of “A believer was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit when he believed in God or Jesus.” The Scripture records that only John the Baptist was filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15). So the controversial debates on the issue of ‘when or since’ make no sense.  

Acts 19:6    When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. (NIV)

     Why did Paul place his hands on them? If this question is answered, the Greek lambano of Acts 19:2 can be correctly translated. Paul placed his hands on them because previously they did not ‘lambano the Holy Spirit.’ When Paul placed his hands on them, the Spirit came on them. They spoke in tongues and prophesied. This record is the same as in Acts 2:3-4 and 8:14-19. The Samaritans were filled with (the power) of the Spirit as Peter and John laid their hands on them. The 120 disciples were filled with (the power) of the Spirit when He came upon them, and they spoke in tongues. Likewise, the 12 were filled with (the power) of the Spirit when He came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.
 

Chuck Smith comments on Acts 19:1-7.

Some Greek scholars say the phrase should be translated, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believe” rather than “since you believed.” But it really doesn’t matter how you translate. In either case, it carries the same implication. That is, the receiving of the Holy Spirit is subsequent to believing; one can believe without receiving this filling or baptism of the Holy Spirit. However the phrase should be translated into English it has the same affect. This baptism or infilling with the Spirit occurs subsequent to believing. (Chuck Smith, Living Water, p.297.)

     The statement, “In either case (“when you believe” and “since you believed”), it carries the same implication,” is quite misleading. If both translations, “when you believe” and “since you believed” are identical, why do some Christian theologians argue so about them? The phrase “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believe?” is quite distinct from, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit since you be-lieved?” The former suggests that one can receive the Holy Spirit at the moment of believing, that is, the receiving of the Holy Spirit is not subsequent to believing. The latter means the receiving of the Holy Spirit is subsequent to believing. To declare “the receiving of the Holy Spirit is subsequent to believing” is based on the mistranslation and misinterpretation of the Greek lambano in Acts 19:2. The note “This baptism or infilling with the Spirit occurs subsequent to believing” is biblical, but it should be, “This baptism or infilling with the power of the Spirit occurs subsequent to believing.”

The Greek lambano in 1 Cor. 2:12 must be translated as “to receive.”

1 Cor. 2:12 ἡμεῖς δὲ οὐ τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ κόσμου ἐλάβομεν ἀλλὰ τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ, ἵνα εἰδῶμεν τὰ ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ χαρισθέντα ἡμῖν· (BNT)
NKJ     Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
NIV     We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.
1 Cor. 2:13-14 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (NKJ)

     The Greek verb lambano in 1  Cor. 2:12 does not mean “to be filled with” but “to receive.” In both OT and NT days believers received the Spirit by believing in God and Jesus. This is a strict rule. The believer who receives the Spirit can accept the things of the Spirit of God, even though he has yet to be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. But the natural man, the unbeliever, who does not acknowledge Jesus as Lord, cannot receive the Spirit because he does not accept the things of the Spirit of God. The Spirit teaches the things of the Spirit of God to believers, but since the natural man does not receive Jesus, the Spirit does not live with/in him and the Spirit does not teach the things of the Spirit of God to him. The natural man, the unbeliever, does not understand the things of the Spirit of God because he does not receive the Spirit of God.

The Greek lambano in Gal. 3:2 must be translated as “to be filled with.”

Gal 3:2  τοῦτο μόνον θέλω μαθεῖν ἀφ᾽ ὑμῶν· ἐξ ἔργων νόμου τὸ πνεῦμα ἐλάβετε ἢ ἐξ ἀκοῆς πίστεως; (BNT)
NKJ     This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
NIV      Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?
NAS     Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?
NRS     Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by belie- ving what you heard?
Gal. 3:3-5 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain–If indeed it was in vain? Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? (NKJ)        

     All English versions translate the Greek lambano in Gal. 3:2 as “to receive” but it is incorrect. It must be “to be filled with (the power) of the Spirit” like that of Acts 8:15-19, which says the Samaritan believers received (lambano) the Holy Spirit at the laying on of the apostles’ hands. The Spirit was given (didomi, δὶδομι) at the laying on of the apostles’ hands.
     Here, the Greek lambano, the Greek didomi (give) in Acts 8:19 and Luke 11:13, and the Greek verb epichoregeo (ἐπιχορηγεω, supply, give) in Gal. 3:5 are used identically. “They received (lambano) the Holy Spirit at the laying on of the apostles’ hands” is a mistranslation. It must be translated, “They were filled with of the Holy Spirit at the laying on of the apostles’ hands,” as we have already seen. “They were filled with of the Holy Spirit” means that “they were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit,” that is, they received the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, “the Spirit was given (didomi-passive)” means that the power of the Spirit was given.
     The 120 disciples of Jesus were filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit when He came on them. The power of the Holy Spirit was given to them. This also means that the Holy Spirit gave them the power of the Holy Spirit. Acts 9:17 says the apostle Paul was filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit. The text (Rom. 15:17-19) indicates that Paul preached the gospel of Christ with mighty signs and wonders by the power of God. God gave him the power of the Spirit. Subsequently, he worked miracles through the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote a letter to the Galatian believers about his experience, so Gal. 3:2-5 should be translated with the writings of Rom. 15:17-19 in mind. Therefore, the Greek verb lambano in Gal. 3:2 must be translated as “to be filled with” as found in John 7:39, John 20:22, Acts 8:14-19, Acts 10:47 and Acts 19:2.
     In each of these cases, they were all filled with the power of the Holy Spirit not by observing the law, but by believing what they heard. God gave them the power of the Spirit and worked miracles among them not because they observed the law, but because they believed what they heard. Therefore, the correct translation of Gal. 3:2 must be, “Were you filled with (the power) of the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?” Gal. 3:14 must be correctly understood to translate the Greek lambano in Gal. 3:2. And Acts 2:3-4, 32-34 must be correctly understood to translate Gal. 3:14. It is especially critical to correctly translate Acts 2:33 if we are to understand Gal. 3:14.

Acts 2:33a must be correctly translated to understand Gal. 3:14.

Acts 2:33 τήν τε ἐπαγγελίαν τοῦ πνεύματος τοῦ ἁγίου λαβὼν παρὰ τοῦ πατρός (BNT)
KJV     having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit
NKJ     having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit
NIV     he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit
NAS    having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit
NAB    he received the promise of the holy Spirit from the Father
NRS    having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit
NLT    the Father, as he had promised, gave him the Holy Spirit

     How is the phrase “received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit” quite distinct from “received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit”? The Greek labon ( λαβὼν) is in the accusative verb, which needs the accusative noun. Epaggelian (ἐπαγγελίαν, ἐπαγγελία, promise) is in the accusative noun and pneumatos is in the genitive noun, so the translation “having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit” is correct, but “he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit” is not correct. “We might receive the promise of the Spirit [Ten epaggelian tou pneumatos labon (τήν τε ἐπαγγελίαν τοῦ πνεύματος λαβὼν)] in Gal. 3:14 is the same record as found in Acts 2:33, which must be “the promise of the Holy Spirit.”

Gal. 3:14 shows the meaning of the Greek lambano in Gal. 3:2.

Gal 3:14  τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν τοῦ πνεύματος λάβωμεν διὰ τῆς πίστεως. (BNT)
NKJ        we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
NIV         we might receive the promise of the Spirit by faith.  
NRS        we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
NAS        we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

     Gal. 3:14 must be correctly understood to translate the Greek lambano in Gal. 3:2. Acts 2:3-4, 2:32-34 must be correctly understood to translate Gal. 3:14. The details of Acts 2:3-4 are differently described in Acts 2:32-33, but the meaning is the same. Acts 2:3-4 says, “They were filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit and received the gift of the Holy Spirit.” And Acts 2:32-33 says, “He poured out this which you now see and hear.”
     This means that Jesus poured out the gift of tongues through the Holy Spirit, and they received the gift of the Holy Spirit. It can be concluded that the promise of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:32-33) proved to be a being filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit or to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. So it can be concluded: To be filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit is to receive the promise of the Holy Spirit. To be filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit is to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. To receive the promise of the Holy Spirit is to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The 120 disciples, the Samaritans, and the 12 Ephesians were filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit. They received the promise of the Spirit not by the works of law but by faith. Likewise, in Gal. 3:14, Paul says, “We might receive the promise of the Spirit by faith.” Gal. 3:2 and 14 are the same fact. Gal. 3:2 must be translated, “Were you filled with (the power) of the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?” The translation of the NIV, NKJ and every English version is quite erroneous since each is based on the mistranslation of the Greek verb lambano in Gal. 3:2.

R. A. Torrey comments on Gal. 3:2.

This then is the first step toward receiving the baptism with the Holy Spirit: receive Jesus as Savior and Lord. First of all, you must receive Him as your Savior. Have you done that? To receive Jesus as Savior means to accept Him as the one who bore your sins in your place on the cross (2 Cor. 5:21, Gal. 3:13) and to trust God to forgive you because Jesus Christ died in your place. The same thought is taught elsewhere in the Bible, for example in Galatians 3:2. Here Paul asked the believers in Galatia, “Re- ceived ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” Just what did he mean? He said to them, “You received the Holy Spirit, did you not?” “Yes.” “How did you receive the Holy Spirit, by keeping the law of Moses, or by the hearing of faith - the simple accepting of God’s testimony about Jesus Christ that your sins were laid upon Him, and that you are thus justified and saved?” The Galatians had a very definite experience of receiving the Holy Spirit and Paul appealed to it and recalled to their minds how it was by the simple hearing of faith that they had received the Holy Spirit. This then is the first step toward receiving the Holy Spirit. But we must not only receive Jesus as Savior, we must also receive Him as Lord. (R. A. Torrey, The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit, p.183,185-186.)

     All Torry’s statements are from the mistranslation of the Greek verb lambano (Gal. 3:2; John 7:39; 20:22; Acts 8:14-19; 10:47; 19:2). To receive Jesus is to receive the Holy Spirit. To receive the Holy Spirit is not by the works of the law but by the hearing of faith. Torrey insists, “This then is the first step toward receiving the baptism with the Holy Spirit.” This can be summarized as “to receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit is to receive the Holy Spirit.” But this comment is from the mistranslation of the Greek lambano. The Bible indicates that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is by no means to receive the Holy Spirit. Instead, it confirms that to receive Jesus means to receive the Holy Spirit. To receive the baptism with/in the Holy Spirit (and with/in fire) means to be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.

Theological Dictionary of the New Testament edited by Gerhard Kittel notes the original etymological meaning of lambano.

The original etymological meaning of λάμβανω is “to grasp,” “to seize.” It develops in two directions. The first active, “to take,” “to bring under one’s control on one’s own initiative.” The second direction gives us already in class, Gk. the sense “to receive,” “to acquire” (passively). What man receives from God (or Christ) is in the first instance this πνεύμα (Jn. 7:39; 20:22; Ac. 1:8; 2:38; R. 8:15; 1 C. 2:12), along with His specific charismatic operations (1 Pt. 4:10). Reception of the πνεύμα distinguished Christians from the world (Jn. 14:17) and so unequivocally constitutes them Christians that (in Ac.) the answer to the question whether there has been reception of the Spirit determines absolutely whether a man is a Christian or not (Ac. 10:47; 19:2). Paul lays particular emphasis on the fact that man cannot even prepare the ground for this reception (Gl. 3:2,14). (Edited by Gerhard Kittel and translated by Geoffrey W. Bromiley, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Grand Rapid: WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1967, reprinted 1977, Original August 1942 in Germany, Volume IV, 5-7.)  

     In many verses (John 7:39; 14:17; 20:22; Acts 1:8; 2:38; 10:47; 19:2; Rom. 8:15; 1 Cor. 2:12; Gal. 3:2,14; 1 Pet. 4:10), the Greek verb lambano is translated as only “to receive (accept).” The lambano (John 7:39; 20:22; Acts 1:8; Acts 8:14-19; 10:47; 19:2; Gal. 3:2) must be translated, “to be filled with.” And the lambano (John. 14:17; Acts 2:38; Rom. 8:15; 1 Cor. 2:12; Gal. 3:14; 1 Pet. 4:10) must be translated, “to receive (accept, welcome).” The lambano of Acts 1:8 means “receive,” but it must be translated “to be filled with” to secure a proper translation and understanding of Acts 2:4. The claim, “the original etymological meaning of lambano is ‘to grasp,’ ‘to seize,’ ‘to take,’ ‘to receive,’ ‘to acquire’” is from the translation and understanding of the Greek text and man-made dictionary. But the word “to be filled with” written in the Scripture must be added to the original etymological meaning of lambano (λάμβανω).