How Can Jesus Send the Holy Spirit When He is Omnipresent? What a great question and we are glad you asked! Let’s see what the Bible has to say about Jesus’s promise to send the Holy Spirit to be our helper.
“I (Jesus) tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (Holy Spirit) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you (John 16:7).”
Then, in one of Jesus’ resurrection appearances to the disciples, He said something similar:
“And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit (John 20:22).”
Who is the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit is God and omnipresent (present everywhere). How can this be? Why would Jesus say He will send the disciples the Holy Spirit? Wouldn’t they already be in the Holy Spirit’s presence? And why would He say the Spirit will not come until He goes away?How Can Jesus Send the Holy Spirit When He is Omnipresent?
King David authored Psalm 139. He knew he couldn’t get away from God–even if he wanted to. Wherever he could go, and even places he couldn’t go, God would already be there.
“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there (Psalm 139:7-8).”
Jesus Baptized with the Holy Spirit
John the Baptist predicted that when Jesus revealed Himself, He would baptize with the Holy Spirit:
“Now while the people…all were wondering in their hearts about John, as to whether he was the Christ, John answered…As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming (Jesus) who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire (Luke 3:15-16).”
Jesus did baptize the disciples with the Holy Spirit immediately before Jesus ascended back to the Father in heaven:
“Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now (Acts 1:4-5).”
The Holy Spirit was Present in Creation
In some way, the Bible particularly mentions the Holy Spirit as present in creation: “The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters (Genesis 1:2).”
Since the Holy Spirit is Omnipresent, why even mention that He was there?
“For ]by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13).”
The Holy Spirit has a special relationship with believers during the Church Age (the time between Jesus’ resurrection and the rapture of the Church) (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). He indwells believers from the time they believe in Jesus as their Savior. He did not have this permanent relationship with believers in the time before Jesus’ resurrection (with Old Testament believers in God). King David even prayed to ask God not to take the Holy Spirit away from him (Psalm 51:11). During this Church Age, the Holy Spirit seals believers for the day of redemption, so He will never leave them (Ephesians 4:30).
The Holy Spirit Indwells Believers
How Can Jesus Send the Holy Spirit When He is Omnipresent? At the time of the rapture of the Church, the Holy Spirit, who has indwelt believers, will go to heaven with the Church (He is currently restraining the Antichrist from appearing) (2 Thessalonians 2:7). After the rapture, during the seven-year tribulation time (the 70th week of Daniel), the religious practices recorded in Scripture will once again be Jewish. There will be a temple built in Jerusalem, and the Jews will offer sacrifices again (Daniel 9:27). Because the Holy Spirit goes where the Church goes, and the Church will be in heaven, He’s present again in heaven after the rapture:
“Out from the throne (God’s throne in heaven) come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God (Revelation 4:5).”
The assumption is that the Holy Spirit’s special presence (personal presence?) will not be with the believers during this Jewish time when the nation has not yet accepted their Messiah:
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’ (Matthew 23:37-39).”
His mission will be like His ministry in the Old Testament.
So, Why Does Jesus have to Leave Before He can Send the Holy Spirit?
Much of it remains a mystery. Our understanding of God’s existence is limited because we can’t fully understand God. But possibly within the concept of omnipresence, there may be a personal presence of God in which in some way our words and understanding cannot express. Still, in this personal presence, any member of the Godhead may be, in a sense, more present in a unique way, in one defined area than the omnipresent God is in all other places. But why that’s true isn’t explained. This idea of personal presence is one person’s take to help in understanding some of these passages.
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