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39 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.


John wrote this gospel decades after the events of this chapter. In this verse he reflected on what was going to happen after the resurrection and ascension of Christ—the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

39 But this [rivers of living water] He spoke concerning the Spirit,

The apostle John explained Jesus’ statement of the previous verse. It is the Spirit who imparts eternal life. He is the “living water” in the believer.

whom [the Holy Spirit] those believing in Him would receive;

The indwelling Holy Spirit is the result of receiving eternal life after Pentecost.

for the Holy Spirit was not yet given,

John explained here that the Holy Spirit had not yet come during the time of Christ’s ministry. He would come in the future to indwell believers permanently on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). That day would launch the church, an entirely different entity than the nation Israel. The permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit would be given during the economy of the church. This would result in an entirely different protocol, a grace protocol, by which God deals with believers.

because Jesus was not yet glorified.

There was no need of the coming of the Holy Spirit until Jesus was resurrected and ascended. He would replace the glory of Christ in the absence of Jesus from earth. Christ would continue His glory of operating as the eternal God in His return to heaven.


The Holy Spirit permanently indwells the believer after the day of Pentecost.


Before Pentecost the Holy Spirit convicted of sin (Jn 16:8-11). However, after Pentecost God caused the Holy Spirit to indwell believers permanently. Individual Christians during the church age receive the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation.

The Holy Spirit did not permanently indwell every believer in the Old Testament. After the glorification of Christ (cross, resurrection, and ascension) He would indwell each and every believer permanently. This became a reality in Acts 2, when God launched the church into existence. This is the basis for the “streams of living water” from the believer in the new age.

The Holy Spirit would engage the New Testament believer with His permanent indwelling (Jn 14:17), baptizing with the Spirit (1 Co 12:13), and sealing the believer’s salvation (Eph 4:30).