John 7:39
(But this spoke he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
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(39) The word “given” is omitted in nearly all MSS. except the Vatican. “Holy” before Ghost is also probably an insertion, though it is found in some of the oldest MSS. and versions. These are additions of copyists who were anxious to preserve from all possibility of misinterpretation the doctrine concerning the Holy Spirit. This doctrine is more fully expounded in John 14-16, where see Notes.

7:37-39 On the last day of the feast of tabernacles, the Jews drew water and poured it out before the Lord. It is supposed that Christ alluded to this. If any man desires to be truly and for ever happy, let him apply to Christ, and be ruled by him. This thirst means strong desires after spiritual blessings, which nothing else can satisfy; so the sanctifying and comforting influences of the Holy Spirit, were intended by the waters which Jesus called on them to come to Him and drink. The comfort flows plentifully and constantly as a river; strong as a stream to bear down the opposition of doubts and fears. There is a fulness in Christ, of grace for grace. The Spirit dwelling and working in believers, is as a fountain of living, running water, out of which plentiful streams flow, cooling and cleansing as water. The miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit we do not expect, but for his more common and more valuable influences we may apply. These streams have flowed from our glorified Redeemer, down to this age, and to the remote corners of the earth. May we be anxious to make them known to others.Of the Spirit - Of the Holy Spirit, that should be sent down to attend their preaching and to convert sinners.

For the Holy Ghost was not yet given - Was not given in such full and large measures as should be after Jesus had ascended to heaven. Certain measures of the influences of the Spirit had been always given in the conversion and sanctification of the ancient saints and prophets; but that abundant and full effusion which the apostles were permitted afterward to behold had not yet been given. See Acts 2; Acts 10:44-45.

Jesus was not yet glorified - Jesus had not yet ascended to heaven - to the glory and honor that awaited him there. It was a part of the arrangement in the work of redemption that the influences of the Holy Spirit should descend chiefly after the death of Jesus, as that death was the procuring cause of this great blessing. Hence, he said John 16:7, "It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart I will send him unto you." See also John 7:8-12; John 14:15-16, John 14:26. Compare Ephesians 4:8-11.

39. this spake he of the Spirit—who, by His direct personal agency, opens up this spring of living waters in the human spirit (Joh 3:6), and by His indwelling in the renewed soul ensures their unfailing flow.

they that believe, &c.—As the Holy Ghost is, in the redemption of man, entirely at the service of Christ, as His Agent, so it is only in believing connection with Christ that any one "receives" the Spirit.

for the Holy Ghost was not yet given—Beyond all doubt the word "given," or some similar word, is the right supplement. In Joh 16:7 the Holy Ghost is represented not only as the gift of Christ, but a gift the communication of which was dependent upon His own departure to the Father. Now as Christ was not yet gone, so the Holy Ghost was not yet given.

Jesus not yet glorified—The word "glorified" is here used advisedly, to teach the reader not only that the departure of Christ to the Father was indispensable to the giving of the Spirit, but that this illustrious Gift, direct from the hands of the ascended Saviour, was God's intimation to the world that He whom it had cast out, crucified, and slain, was "His Elect, in whom His soul delighted," and that it was through the smiting of that Rock that the waters of the Spirit—for which the Church was waiting, and with pomp at the feast of tabernacles proclaiming its expectation—had gushed forth upon a thirsty world.

For the evangelist tells us, that this referred to the Spirit, which believers were to receive after that Christ should be ascended into heaven. Those scriptures, Isaiah 49:10 58:11 Zechariah 14:8, seem, among others, to be referred to in this promise of our Saviour. But this spake he of the Spirit,.... These are the words of the evangelist, explaining the figurative expressions of Christ; showing, that by rivers of living water, he meant the Spirit in his gifts and graces; and which is the plain sense of the passages referred to by him, particularly Isaiah 44:3, and which, as before observed, the Jews supposed were intimated by their drawing and pouring water at the feast of tabernacles.

Which they that believe on him should receive; the apostles, and others, that had believed in Christ, and had received the Spirit, as a spirit of regeneration and sanctification; as a spirit of illumination and conversion; as a spirit of faith and adoption; but on the day of Pentecost they were to receive a larger, even an extraordinary measure of his gifts and grace, to qualify them for greater work and service:

for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; the word "given" is not in the original text; but is very properly supplied, as it is in the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Persic versions. The Arabic version renders it, "for the Holy Ghost was not yet come"; he was; he was in being as a divine person, equal with the Father and Son, so he was from everlasting; and he had been bestowed in his grace upon the Old Testament saints, and rested in his gifts upon the prophets of that dispensation; but, as the Jews themselves confess (f),

"after the death of the latter prophets, Haggai, Zachariah, and Malachi, the Holy Ghost removed from Israel.''

And they expressly say, be was not there in the time of the second temple. Maimonides says (g),

"they made the Urim and Thummim in the second temple, to complete the eight garments (of the priests) though they did not inquire by them; and why did they not inquire by them? because the Holy Ghost was not there; and every priest that does not speak by the Holy Ghost, and the Shekinah, does not dwell upon him, they do not inquire by him.''

They observe (h) there were five things in the first temple which were not in the second, and they are these,

"the ark with the mercy seat, and cherubim, the fire (from heaven), and the Shekinah, , "and the Holy Ghost", and the Urim and Thummim.''

Now, though he had removed, he was to return again; but as yet the time was not come, at least for the more plentiful donation of him: the reason of which was,

because that Jesus was not yet glorified; he had not as yet gone through his state of humiliation; he had not yet suffered, and died, and rose again, and ascended, and sat down at the right hand of God; for the Holy Spirit was to come upon his departure, and in consequence of his sufferings and death, and being made sin, and a curse for his people; and through his mediation and intercession, and upon his exaltation at the Father's right hand; when being made, and declared Lord and Christ, this should be notified by the effusion of his Spirit; see Acts 2:33.

(f) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 9. 2. Sota, fol. 48. 2. & Sanhedrin, fol. 11. 1.((g) Hilchot Cele Hamikdash, c. 10. sect. 10. Vid. T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 73. 2.((h) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 21. 2. Vid. Jarchi & Kimchi in Hagg. i. 8.

(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the {l} Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet {m} glorified.)

(l) What is meant by the Holy Spirit he expressed a little before, speaking of the Spirit which they that believed in him should receive. So that by the name of Holy Spirit are meant the powers and mighty workings of the Holy Spirit.

(m) That is, those things were not yet seen and perceived which were to show and set forth the glory of the only begotten.

John 7:39. Not an interpolated gloss (Scholten), but an observation by John in explanation of this saying. He shows that Jesus meant that the outward effect of which He spoke, the flowing forth, was not at once to occur, but was to commence upon the reception of the Spirit after His glorification. He,—self-evidently, and, according to the οὗ ἔμελλον, undoubtedly meaning the Holy Spirit,

He it was who would cause the streams of living water to flow forth from them. John’s explanation, as proceeding from inmost experience, is correct, because the principle of Christian activity in the church, especially in its outward workings, is none other than the Holy Spirit Himself; and He was not given until after the ascension, when through Him the believers spoke with tongues and prophesied, the apostles preached, and so on. Such overflowings of faith’s power in its outward working did not take place before then. The objection urged against the accuracy of John’s explanation, that ῥεύσουσιν may be a relative future only, and is not to be taken as referring to that outpouring of the Spirit which was first to take place at a future time (De Wette), disappears if we consider the strong expression ποταμοὶ, κ.τ.λ., John 7:38, to which John gives due weight, inasmuch as he takes it to refer not simply to the power of one’s own individual faith upon others, so far as that was possible previous to the outpouring of the Spirit, but to something far greater and mightier—to those streams of new life which flowed forth from the lips of believers, and which were originated and drawn forth by the Holy Ghost. The strength and importance of the expression (ποταμοὶ, κ.τ.λ.) thus renders it quite unnecessary to supply ποτέ or the like after ῥεύσουσιν (in answer to Lücke); and when Lücke calls John’s explanation epexegetically right, but exegetically incorrect, he overlooks the fact that John does not take the living water itself to be the Holy Ghost, but simply says, regarding Christ’s declaration as a whole, that Jesus meant it of the Holy Spirit, leaving it to the Christian consciousness to think of the Spirit as the Agens, the divine charismatic motive power of the streams of living water.

It remains to be remarked that the libation at the feast of Tabernacles was interpreted by the Rabbis as a symbol of the outpouring of the Spirit (see Lightfoot); but this is all the less to be connected with the words of Jesus and their interpretation, the more uncertain it is that there is any reference in the words to that libation; see on John 7:37.

οὔπω γὰρ ἦν πνεῦμα] nondum enim aderat (John 1:9), furnishing the reason for the οὗ ἔμελλον λαμβάνειν as the statement of what was still future. The ἦν, “He was present” (upon earth), is appropriately elucidated by δεδομένον (Lachmann; see on Acts 19:2); Jesus alone possessed Him in His entire fulness (John 3:34). The absolute expression οὔπω ἦν is not, therefore, to be weakened, as if it were relative (denoting merely an increase which put out of consideration all former outpourings), as Hengstenberg and Brückner take it, but “at the time when Christ preached He promised the Holy Spirit, and therefore the Holy Spirit was not yet there,” Luther. Comp. Flacius, Clav. II. p. 326: “sc. propalam datus. Videtur negari substantia, cum tamen accidens negetur.” See also Calvin. For the rest, the statement does not conflict with the action of the Spirit in the O. T. (Psalm 51:13; 1 Samuel 16:12-13), or upon the prophets in particular (2 Peter 1:21; Acts 28:25; Acts 1:16); for here the Spirit is spoken of as the principle of the specifically Christian life. In this characteristic definiteness, wherein He is distinctively the πνεῦμα Χριστοῦ, the πν. τῆς ἐπαγγελίας (Ephesians 1:13), τῆς υἱοθεσίας (Romans 8:15), τῆς χάριτος (Hebrews 10:29), the ἀῤῥαβὼν τῆς κληρονομίας (Ephesians 1:14), the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8:11), and according to promise was to be given after Christ’s exaltation (Acts 2:33), He was not yet present; just as also, according to John 1:17, grace and truth first came into existence through Christ. The reason of the οὔπω ἦν is: “because Jesus was not yet glorified.” He must through death return to heaven, and begin His heavenly rule, in order, as σύνθρονος with the Father, and Lord over all (John 17:5; 1 Corinthians 15:25), as Lord also of the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18), to send the Spirit from heaven, John 16:7. This sending was the condition of the subsequent εἶναι (adesse). “The outpouring of the Spirit was the proof that He had entered upon His supra-mundane state” (Hofmann, Schriftbeweis, I. p. 196); and so also the office of the Spirit to glorify Christ (John 16:14) presupposes, as the condition of its operation, the commencement of the δόξα of Christ. Till then believers were dependent upon the personal manifestation of Jesus; He was the possessor of that Spirit who, though given in His fulness to Christ Himself (John 3:34), and though operating through Him in His people (John 3:6, John 6:63; Luke 9:55), was not, until after Christ’s return to glory (Ephesians 4:7-8), to be given to the faithful as the Paraclete and representative of Christ for the carrying on of His work. See chap. 14–16. Chap. John 20:21-22 does not contradict this; see in loc. The thought of an identity[272] of the glorified Christ with the Holy Spirit might easily present itself here (see on 2 Corinthians 3:17; and likewise Gess, Pers. Chr. p. 155). But we must not, with De Wette, seek for the reason of the statement in the receptivity of the disciples, who did not attain to a pure and independent development of the germ of spirit within them until the departure of Jesus; the text is against this. As little can we regard the σάρξ of Christ as a limitation of the Spirit (Luthardt), or introduce the atonement wrought through His death as an intervening event (Messner, Lehre d. Ap. p. 342; Hengstenberg and early writers); because the point lies in the δόξα of Christ (comp. Godet and Weiss, Lehrbegr. p. 286 f.), not in His previous death, nor in the subjective preparation secured by faith. This also tells against Baeumlein, who understands here not the Holy Spirit objectively, but the Spirit formed in believers by Him, which τὸ πνεῦμα never denotes, and on account of λαμβάνειν cannot be the meaning here.

[272] Tholuck. “the Spirit communicated to the faithful, as the Son of man Himself glorified into Spirit.” Php 3:21 itself speaks decisively enough against such a view. Wörner, Verhältn. d. Geistes, p. 57, speaks in a similar way of “the elevation of Christ’s flesh into the form of the Spirit itself,” etc. Baur, on the contrary, N. T. Theol. p. 385, says: “Not until His death was the Spirit, hitherto identical with Him, separated from His person in order that it might operate as an independent principle.”John 7:39. τοῦτοἐδοξάσθη, for these words apparently refer to Pentecost, the initial outpouring of the Spirit, when it once for all became manifest that the Spirit’s presence did not turn men’s thoughts in upon themselves, and their own spiritual anxieties and prospects, but prompted them to communicate to all men the blessings they had received. From the little group in the upper room “rivers” did flow to all. But the appended clause, οὔπω γὰρ ἦν Πνεῦμα Ἅγιον, is difficult. The best attested reading (see critical note) gives the meaning: “The Spirit was not yet, because Jesus was not yet [οὔπω, not οὐδέπω] glorified” ἐδοξάσθη with John signifies the entire process of glorification, beginning with and including His death (see chap. John 12:23; John 12:32-33); but especially indicating His recognition by the Father as exalted Messiah (see chap. John 17:1; John 17:5, John 13:31). Until He thus became Lord the Spirit was not given: and the gift of the Spirit at Pentecost was recognised as the grand proof and sign that He had reached the position of supremacy in the moral universe. (See especially Acts 2:32-33.) The Spirit could not be given before in His fulness, because until Christ no man could receive Him in His fulness. Christ was the lens in whom all the scattered rays were gathered. And it is always and only by accepting Christ as perfect humanity, and by finding in Him our norm and ideal, that we receive the Spirit. It is by the work of the Spirit on the human nature of Christ that we are made aware of the fulness and beauty of that work. It is there we see what the Spirit of God can make of man, and apprehend His grace and power and intimate affinity to man.39. this spake he of the Spirit] S. John’s interpretation is to be accepted, whatever may be our theory of inspiration, (1) because no better interpreter of Christ’s words ever lived, even among the Apostles; (2) because it is the result of his own inmost experience. The principle of Christian activity has ever been the Spirit. He moves the waters, and they overflowed at Pentecost. Till then ‘the Spirit was not yet;’ the dispensation of the Spirit had not come.

the Holy Ghost was not yet given] Both ‘the Holy’ and ‘given’ are of doubtful authority: ‘given’ is omitted by nearly all MSS. except the Vatican; it gives the right sense. Like ‘Holy Spirit’ in John 1:33, ‘Spirit’ has no article and means a power of the Spirit.

because that Jesus was not yet glorified] Comp. John 16:7; Psalm 68:18. The Spirit, “though given in His fulness to Christ Himself (John 3:34), and operating through Him in His people (John 6:63), was not, until after Christ’s return to glory, to be given to the faithful as the Paraclete and representative of Christ for the carrying on of His work.” Meyer.John 7:39. Εἷπε, He spake) Jesus.—οὒπω γὰρ ἦν, for not yet was) To be, for to be present: Matthew 2:18, “Rachel weeping for her children,—because they are not” [i.e. are no more present with her]; Genesis 42:36, “Joseph is not, and Simeon is not.” Comp. by all means 2 Chronicles 15:3.[210] The γάρ is to be referred to ἜΜΕΛΛΟΝ, and this to the future ῬΕΎΣΟΥΣΙΝ.

[210] “Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God,” i.e. not that God was not with any one Israelite, but He was not specially and manifestly present with them. So as to the Holy Ghost here.—E. and T.Verse 39. - This spake he, said the evangelist, concerning the Spirit, which they that believe on him were to receive: for the (Holy) Spirit was not yet (given), because Jesus was not yet glorified. This verse has a great weight, as the evangelist's interpretation of the previous words of the Lord, nor can they be put aside. The history of the outpouring of the Spirit on Pentecost, and the mighty gift of the risen and glorified Jesus to those who believed on him, are their abundant justification. If the thirty-eighth verse were not an immense advance upon the promise of the thirty-seventh verse, it would not be easy to show how the words of the first promise could only find fulfilment in a future and as yet unrealized condition. Eternal life is a present gift. Satisfaction of the thirst of the soul was an immediate bestowment of Christ, and had been realized by untold multitudes of those who had been inwardly cleansed by the Spirit, who had come to the waters of life, who had received the Logos, and known that they were sons of God. But the thirty-eighth verse speaks of a new and nobler life flowing to others from belief in Christ. It looks forward to the production of a worldwide blessing conditioned by what was yet to happen. So that we cannot doubt that John saw more deeply into the Lord's words than some of those who have criticized his comment. John, says Weiss, does "not mean to explain the metaphor of the living water, but he intends to prove the truth of Jesus' promise from his own blessed experience." "The (Holy) Spirit was not yet" is, however, a strange and startling statement. The work and Person of the Spirit are spoken of throughout the Old Testament - from Genesis 1:2; Genesis 6:3; Job 26:13; Job 33:4; Psalm 104:30; Psalm 139:7; to Zechariah 4:6. The redeeming and renewing, quickening powers of the Spirit are represented as equipping judges, artists, warriors, and prophets for their work, as sanctifying the individual soul (Psalm 51:11; Ezekiel 3:24, 27), and building the temple of God (Haggai 2:5). The prophetic gift is especially referred to the Spirit by St. Paul (1 Corinthians 12:10, 11; 2 Peter 1:21; πᾶσα γραφή is Θεοπνευστος, 2 Timothy 3:16). More than this, our Lord himself is, in the synoptic Gospels, said to be conceived by the Holy Spirit, and his humanity baptized and anointed, empowered and directed throughout by the Spirit, and kept by him in sacred consecration and personal union with the Logos. The union of the Divine and human nature of Christ is maintained by that same Spirit who is the union of the Father and of the Son. In what sense can it be said, "the Holy Spirit was not yet"? Our Lord himself has thrown most light upon this perplexing saying when, on promising the Paraclete, he said, "He shall not speak of [or, 'from'] himself: he will take of mine, and show unto you" (John 16:13, 14); and when he declared (John 16:7-10) that he must himself go to the Father, resume his antenatal glory, carry our nature, dishonoured by man, but now clothed with an infinite majesty, to the very throne of God, as the condition of the gift of the Paraclete. There was, in the constitution of nature, in the order of providence, in the revelations of the prophets, in the Person of the Son of man, that wherewith the blessed Spirit was ever and ceaselessly working; but not until the atonement was made, till God had glorified his Son Jesus, not until the Person of the God-Man was constituted in its infinity of power and perfection of sympathy, were the facts ready, were the truths liberated for the salvation of men, were the streams of living water ready to flow from every heart that received the Divine gift. In comparison with all previous manifestation of the Spirit, this was so wonderful that John could say of all that had gone before - "not yet," "not yet." The Baptist's expression, "I knew him not" (see note, John 1:31), and the scene described in John 20:21, 22, do not contradict this (see note). This is the first time that John mentions the glorification of the Son of mart. Jesus certainly looked at his death, with what followed it, as his glory (see John 12:23, etc.; John 13:31; 17:5). This evangelist does not, so clearly as St. Paul (says Westcott), discriminate the two stages of "humiliation" and "glory" (cf. Philippians 2 with 1 John 3:5, 8). The Spirit

The Holy Spirit, personally.

The Holy Ghost (πνεῦμα ἅγιον)

The best texts omit ἅγιον, holy, and the definite article is not in the text, so that the strict rendering is simply spirit. Literally, spirit was not yet. Given, in A.V. and Rev., is added to guard against a possible misconception, which, as Alford observes, "no intelligent reader could fall into." The word spirit, standing thus alone, marks, not the personal Spirit, but His operation or gift or manifestation. Canon Westcott aptly says: "It is impossible not to contrast the mysteriousness of this utterance with the clear teaching of St. John himself on the 'unction' of believers (1 John 2:20 sqq.), which forms a commentary, gained by later experience, upon the words of the Lord."

Was glorified (ἐδοξάσθη)

We have here one of John's characteristic terms, even as the idea is central to his Gospel - to show forth Jesus as the manifested glory of God (John 1:14). The beginning of our Lord's miracles was a manifestation of His glory (John 2:11). His glory was the expression of the Father's will (John 8:54). By His work He glorified the Father upon earth (John 12:28; John 17:4), and in this was Himself glorified (John 17:10). The sickness and resurrection of Lazarus were for the glory of God (John 11:4). The consummation of His work was marked by the words, "Now was the Son of man glorified, and God was glorified in Him" (John 13:31). His glory He had with the Father before the world was (John 17:5). It is consummated at His ascension (John 7:39; John 12:16). The passion is the way to glory (John 12:23, John 12:24; John 13:31). The fruitfulness of believers in Him is for the glory of God (John 15:8), and the office of the Spirit is to glorify Christ (John 16:14).

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