Did The Holy Spirit Only Empower 12 Disciples on The Day of Pentecost? Acts 1:4-8

There is a teaching in the church that on the Day of Pentecost, only the 12 Disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit, and not all of the 120 who were in the Upper Room, including Mary, the surrogate mother of Jesus.

There are those people use the term “ghost” from the King James Version of the Bible to refer to the third person of the Trinity.

However, the word is an improper translation of the Greek word ‘pneuma’ which refers to the Holy Spirit, wind, or the breath of God.


The English word “ghost” refers to the spirit of the dead or a phantasm.

The Greek word translated as ‘ghost’ is ‘phantasma’ and is never used in reference to God.

Creator God chose to send the Holy Spirit during the Jewish national holiday, known as Pentecost, the Feast of Harvest, which was 50 days following after the crucifixion of Jesus.

It was the celebration of the wheat harvest and was intended to remind all of the people of their harshest time spent in Egypt and it marked the giving of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai.

They were to bring offerings to God to celebrate with great rejoicing in music and dance because they had been delivered from their bondage. Everyone was invited to this harvest feast, including Levites, servants, sons and daughters, the fatherless, the widow, and even strangers (Deuteronomy 16:9-12).

Pentecost was so incredible that it affected the entire human race and their relationship to God.

The Holy Spirit was given as a gift from the Father on that day as the truest confirmation that the New Covenant of grace – paid for by the shed blood of Jesus, and now written on the heart of every Christian – is more effectual than the Law given at Mount Sinai that was written on stone (2 Corinthians 3:3-18).

It also confirms that those who place their trust in Jesus find true deliverance and healing from the penalty of sin. There is no better reason to all peoples to gather together, celebrate with great rejoicing in music and dance on that day!

Acts 1:4-8New American Standard Bible

[a]Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for [b]what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized [c]with water, but you will be baptized [d]with the Holy Spirit [e]not many days from now.”

So, when they had come together, they began asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time that You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” But He said to them, “It is not for you to know periods of time or appointed times which the Father has set by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and as far as the remotest part of the earth.”

The Word of God for the People of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

It was during the Last Supper that Jesus gave farewell instructions to the Apostles.

He declared to them

(John 14:12 NASB): 12 Truly, truly I say to you, the one who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I am going to the Father.

The promise was the sending of the Holy Spirit, “the Counselor… from the Father” who would “testify” or prove, affirm, and demonstrate that Jesus is Lord so that all those who would put their trust in Him would “receive power” to be His “witnesses…both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (John 15:26; Acts 1:8 NIV).

This was not a new promise.

The gift of the Holy Spirit had been promised in the Old Testament:

…for with stammering lips and another tongue will He speak to this people. To whom He said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest, and this is the refreshing…” (Isaiah 28:11-12 KJV)

The difference between the Old and New Testament ministries of the Holy Spirit is that, prior to the Day of Pentecost, His power came upon spiritual leaders at particular times but did not take up residence within them.

Before a person becomes Born-Again and transformed at the moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit is WITH them to draw them to Jesus, but this is not the same as being IN them.

Jesus promised the Disciples before He was crucified and resurrected that He would “ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor” who would not just live with them but would take up permanent residence within them when they become a Christian (John 14:16-17).

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit takes place at the moment a person becomes Born-Again.

It is this baptism which makes the Christian complete in Christ.

All that the Father is, Jesus is.

All the “fullness of the Godhead bodily” dwells in Jesus (Colossians 2:9 NIV).

This means that Jesus is the physical presentation of all that the Father is.

A person can’t be a Christian and belong to God if the Holy Spirit is not 100% fully living inside them because “if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9-11 NIV).

From within the text from His High Priestly Prayer, we read Jesus prayed,

“… that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me, and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:21-22 NIV)

The Gospel is essentially the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

It is obtained by faith and faith alone, plus absolutely nothing. Through the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, the Christian is placed in Jesus because they “have been crucified with Christ… and…Christ lives in” them” (Galatians 2:20 NIV).

When Jesus died, the Christian died in their position with Him.

In the same way, when Jesus was buried, they were “buried with Him by baptism,” and just as Jesus was raised from the dead, they are “risen with Him” (Colossians 2:9-12 NIV).

After a person is converted and becomes Born-Again by repenting of their sins and receiving Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, they each receive all of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.

There is no partial filling.

They are now “baptized into one body (the Church), whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been made to drink into one Spirit” and placed “in” Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13 NIV).

The Christian is made “complete in Him” and immediately they enter into the “the kingdom of God” because they received “Christ,” “the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27; 2:10; Luke 17:21 NIV)

They are now a child “of God” and are given the power to overcome the enemy “because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (Romans 8:15; 1 John 4:4 NIV)

The Bible says every Christian has “been baptized into Christ” and has been “clothed…with Him” (Galatians 3:27 NIV).

When a person comes to faith in Jesus, they receive all the blessings that are in Christ.

These blessings are not received one day in the future once they reach some self-assumed place of ‘real’ holiness.

God’s blessings are entirely the possession of the Christian because they have already received them through Jesus.

The blessings are received when they first called upon Jesus to forgive them of their sins and become the Lord of their life.

There is absolutely nothing that can be found outside of Christ that has any eternal value to it!

Like a Mighty Wind

“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” (Acts 2:1-4 NIV)

“All,” not just a few, of the people there were “filled with the Holy Spirit.”

In the Bible, the wind is often a picture of the “breath of the Almighty” that releases creative power and “gives me life” (Job 33:4 KJV).



In the Hebrew text, “wind,” “spirit,” and sometimes “breath” are the same word (ruwach).

The Bible declares that at the beginning of Creation, God first breathed His breath upon the waters of the Earth “…And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2 NIV).

God formed human beings “from the dust of the ground and breathed into it the breath of life. And man became a living person” (Genesis 2:7 TLB).

It took His breath to create the Universe; “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth” (Psalm 33:6 NIV).

At the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, He read from the Book of Isaiah to declare that the “ruwach” of the Lord God was upon Him (See Luke 4:17-21).

God promised He would “pour out” His “Spirit on ALL people” (Joel 2:28 NIV – emphasis mine).

After His resurrection, and before the Day of Pentecost, Jesus re-generated ten of the Apostles when He “breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven” (John 20:22-23 NIV).

At that moment, they were Born-Again because they received the Holy Spirit.

A person cannot receive salvation by becoming Born-Again unless they are 100% filled with Him (John 3:3-4).

However, those 10 Apostles were not yet endued with power until the Day of Pentecost. For them, that was an entirely separate and distinct experience.

The other 110 Disciples who were with them in the Upper Room were still not yet regenerated/born from above through salvation.

They believed in Jesus, but they had yet to receive Him and become Born-Again.

Believing that Jesus is God is not the same as receiving Him. Even “the demons believe that and shudder” (James 2:19 NIV).

This is also the case with the people of Samaria, Ephesus, and those at Cornelius’s house who were not yet Born-Again because they had not yet received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14; 10:44; 18:24).

Tongues of Fire

The tongues of fire were a sign to the Jewish people God was exceedingly pleased with those who had received Jesus, the promised Messiah, as their personal Lord and Savior.

God showed the people their sins were forgiven through the death of Jesus, and He was stopping the plague of sin’s eternal consequence, showing those who become Born-Again are now His dwelling place – His temple, the new Holy of Holies.

On at least three previous occasions, I found that God sent fire from above to consume a sacrifice because He was pleased (1 Chronicles 21:26; 2 Chronicles 7:1; 1 Kings 18:36-39).

Each time this happened, He was making an important point.

In David’s case, God forgave his sin, halting a plague in Israel and choosing where the future temple would be built.

In Solomon’s case, God consecrated that location as the place where His name would dwell forever (2 Chronicles 7:16).

The people’s reaction was to worship the Lord and say, “He is good; his love endures forever” (2 Chronicles 7:3 NIV).

God was telling the crowd of people at Pentecost that those who become Born-Again by receiving Jesus as the promised Messiah become consecrated for His glory. He would dwell within them forever.

In Elijah’s case, God shamed the prophets of Baal, whose god sent no fire, and claimed His rightful title as Lord God of Israel.

The people on Mount Carmel “fell prostrate and cried, ‘The LORD – he is God! The LORD – he is God!'” (1 Kings 18:39 NIV)

God showed the people on the day of Pentecost that He alone is almighty and deserves to be worshiped, honored, and praised forevermore.

The Power of Pentecost

Acts 2:14-21New American Standard Bible

Peter’s Sermon

14 But Peter, taking his stand with the other eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, [a]know this, and pay attention to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you assume, since it is only the [b]third hour of the day; 16 but this is what has been spoken through the prophet Joel:

17 ‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says,
‘That I will pour out My Spirit on all [c]mankind;
And your sons and your daughters will prophesy,
And your young men will see visions,
And your old men will [d]have dreams;
18 And even on My male and female [e]servants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days,
And they will prophesy.
19 And I will [f]display wonders in the sky above
And signs on the earth below,
Blood, fire, and [g]vapor of smoke.
20 The sun will be turned into darkness
And the moon into blood,
Before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes.
21 And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

After the Holy Spirit was poured out, the crowd was amazed at what was happening.

Peter stood up before them, along with the 11 Disciples, and spoke to the “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem,” including women and children.

The word “men” was a common term used in addressing a company of people, and could include women and children, not just men alone.

Peter then quoted the prophet Joel and told the crowd that the giving of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost was for ALL people, both male and female, and not just the 12 Disciples.

Both men and women are baptized in the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation to receive the power to spread the Gospel (Acts 2:17-18; also 1 Corinthians 11:4-6; 14:3,31).

Pentecost was the birthday of the Church universal.

It began the ministry of the Holy Spirit who is now the agent and executive of God on earth to carry on the work of Jesus (Acts 1:2-8; 5:9; 8:29,39; 10:19; 11:12; 13:2-4; 15:28; 16:6; 20:28; 21:4-11; 1 Corinthians 2:1-14; 12:1-30; 2 Corinthians 3:8; Ephesians 2:22; 3:5).

The Sacred Secret of God Revealed

On the day of Pentecost, something else happened that was incredible and had never happened before – the Holy Spirit came to reveal the sacred secret held hidden for all of eternity past, the new covenant of grace.

He came as a love gift from the Father to dwell within those who receive Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

“Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly.” (Ephesians 3:2-3 NIV)

There are two Greek words used in Scripture for the word “mystery” They are ‘kruptos’ and ‘musterion.’

The Greek word ‘kruptos’ is where the word “crypt” comes from.

It was used when something was secret or hidden away (Matthew 6:3-4, Luke 8:17, Romans 2:16, 1 Corinthians 14:25).

The English word “mystery” means something incomprehensible, unknowable, and beyond understanding.

The Greek word “musterion” was only used for secrets in the religious realm, including mystery religions.

In the Bible, they are sacred secrets.

A secret is something that can be known, but every person does not know it.

The things of God are not mysterious or impossible to understand. They are secret only to those who don’t take the time to study God’s Word, the Bible.

When Jesus taught a Parable, He spoke with a facet, or portion, of the sacred secret of the kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 13:10-11). However, now it is no longer a mystery (Romans 16:25,26, Colossians 1:26, also Ephesians 1:9).

The enemy and the hordes of Hell didn’t know this secret.

If they had, they would have never allowed Jesus to be crucified.

No human eye had ever seen, no ear had ever heard – no mind had conceived what God had prepared for those who love Him because they were hidden until the Cross (1 Corinthians 2:6-10).

When the Holy Spirit came upon a person in the Old Testament, they often gave a word of prophecy.

In the New Testament – the Church Age of the sacred secret – when a person gives their life to Jesus, they receive the Holy Spirit and the right and privilege to receive the manifold sacred secret of Heaven.

The Holy Spirit indwells and seals the Christian at the moment of salvation and gives them the daily anointing with power for the work of ministry.

Before Pentecost (excluding the 10 Disciples in John 20:22), a person could not be Born-Again and receive eternal life.

The Facets of the Father

God intended that through the church:

“… the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:10-12 NIV).

The word “manifold” means ‘many-faceted,’ and the wisdom of God’s sacred secret was revealed after the Cross.

Starting from the creation of Adam and Eve until the Day of Pentecost that was spoken of in the book of Acts, God had dealt with humanity as a master would to an indentured servant.

However, that changed because of the blood sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross.

The Church is one Body with Jesus as the Head because of the Cross.

The Father chose to lavish His great love on those who would receive Jesus and willfully choose to become a Christian (1 John 3:1; 1 Peter 1:23).

Every Christian is a child of God and a member of His body.

They are spiritually identified with Jesus.

Christians are partakers of the divine nature and are now a new creation (2 Peter 1:4; 2 Corinthians 5:17).

Jesus has anointed and set His seal of ownership on them and placed the Holy Spirit in their hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Nothing can separate them from God’s love! (Romans 8:38-39, 12:4-5, 1 Corinthians 10:17, 12:12-27, 2 Corinthians 1:21-22,5:22, Ephesians 1:14, 2:16, 4:4; Col 3:15)

When Jesus was crucified, the Christian was crucified.

When He died, they died.

When He was buried, they were buried.

When He was raised, they were raised.

When He ascended, they ascended.

When Jesus sat down at the Father’s right hand, they sat down as well! (Romans 6:4,6,8; Ephesians 2:6)

The sacred secret revealed that God is now working through His Church – each member of His Body – to do those things that He did directly before the Cross.

Every Christian has been given power and glory, unlike anything that has existed on the face of the Earth before.

It is their covenanted responsibility to make God’s wisdom known by living naturally in that glory and power, teaching the truth, and turning people from darkness to light through the love and goodness of God.

The Age of Grace

“For this reason, I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you” (Ephesians 3:1-2 NIV).

The Church has now entered into the age of grace.

The Law that dominated the Old Testament was a “ministry that brought death” (2 Corinthians 3:7 ESV).

The all-encompassing sacred secret is that the Church has entered into a new age which is much more glorious than the Law because it brings righteousness (2 Corinthians 3:3-10).

This truth was hidden, but now it has been made known.

The administration of the grace of God is the administration of the multi-faceted sacred secret.

It is now the covenanted responsibility of every Christian to live in the power and glory of what God’s wisdom has revealed.

“For it is by grace you have been saved through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-10 NIV)

CONCLUSION – Empowered to Serve

“Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.” (1 Corinthians 14:1 ESV)

Salvation makes the Christian “complete” in Christ. ALL that the Father is, Jesus is. “All the fullness of the Godhead bodily” dwells in Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit dwells within the Christian (Colossians 2:9-10 NKJV).

Because Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever, all of His promises and spiritual gifts have never changed, nor will they ever change.

Every Christian was “given the one Spirit to drink” and is positioned “in” Jesus, and He is “in” every Christian (1 Corinthians 12:13 NIV).

Over 100 verses in the Bible describe the Christian as “in” Jesus.

Because the Christian has Jesus living in them, they possess and have access to all of His promises and the spiritual things of God because He is the giver of the gift of the Holy Spirit who helps them to do “greater works” than Jesus.

The “greater works” are far more than just evangelism.

The Father anointed Jesus with the power to do good works and to bring healing (Acts 10:38).

It goes hand in hand with His first public declaration to:

“…bring Good News to the poor.”… “…to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the LORD’s favor has come.” (Luke 4:18-19 NLT)

The Apostle Paul declared:

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 KJV)

The word “power” is the Greek word ‘endunamoo’ which means to empower.

It is a compound word from the Greek word ‘en,’ meaning within, and ‘dunamis,’ meaning power.

Words such as dynamite, dynamo, and dynamic come from ‘dunamis.’

The understanding of this word in Greek is to receive power within.

Christians are to depend upon God’s power because they are weak without Him.

God desires that His children move naturally in power He has given to all Christians beginning on the Day of Pentecost.

Jesus offered the rebirth by the Holy Spirit on the day of His resurrection (John 20:21-22).

The apostle Paul prayed that the Church would come to know:

“… the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power.” (Ephesians 1:19 NIV)

Paul also declared that this power was the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.

“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” (Romans 8:11 KJV)

The Holy Spirit has not stopped operating in the life of the Christian because the canon of Scripture is now complete – and neither have the spiritual gifts.

The active use of the supernatural gifts does not undermine the finality and sufficiency of God’s Word – instead, they serve to validate and complement the Scriptures.

The Church has been living in the end times since the day of Pentecost.

God has yet to pour out His Spirit on all flesh thoroughly.

There is no absence of miraculous gifts in church history since the first century.

Walking naturally in the supernatural should be the normal spiritual state of the Christian.

Sadly, far too many never experience it, and many never maintain it, primarily due to immaturity and pride, but mainly to a lack of knowledge.

“Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly — mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?” (1 Corinthians 3:1-4 NIV)

The gift of the Holy Spirit, who was poured out on the 120 Disciples on the Day of Pentecost, was promised to each and every one, without exception, who truly repents of their sin and receives Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

There is “neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 3:28 ESV).

When we SEEK the Holy Spirit we will find the Holy Spirit, when we KNOCK on the doors of heaven with our prayers for the Holy Spirit that God will open up to us the wonders of knowing Him.

And when the Spirit comes, He’s coming with POWER! Yes!

  • Power to walk uprightly in a world given to sin.
  • Power to avoid the temptations of the flesh.
  • Power to resist the devil.
  • Power over drugs and alcohol.
  • Power over anger and sexual sin.
  • Power to understand the word of God.
  • Power to teach and preach God’s Word.

But not only that, when the disciples received the Holy Spirit they were given

  • power to speak the word of God with boldness even when their lives were on the line.
  • They were given POWER to speak in languages they had not spoken in before and to interpret those languages.
  • God confirmed their testimony with miracles, signs and wonders (Heb. 2:4).
  • The sick were healed.
  • The dead were raised to life.
  • The blind received their sight.
  • They prophesied.
  • They casted out demons.
  • They served one another with a love and concern they had never expressed before.
  • And those who sat in darkness saw the light of the glory of God and the veil which Satan had placed on the hearts and minds of unbelievers was ripped away as they trusted in Jesus for their salvation (2 Corinthians. 4:3-4).

I invite every single reader to join me at the altar – let’s get on our knees and ask God to give us that power to accomplish his purpose.

Ask for the Holy Spirit to be evident in our life…

Seek him in the area that He’s placed on your heart.

Knock on the doors of heaven for God to open up to you the gift of His Spirit.

In order for the Promise of the Holy Spirit to be fulfilled in our lives we have to believe the promise of salvation.

Because sin entered our world God the Father sent God the Son to save us from His wrath against sin.

Jesus lived a perfect life unlike anyone else and He died in your place.

He was crucified on a cross for YOU.

He was buried in a borrowed tomb for YOU.

And on the third day He rose from the grave by the power of the Holy Spirit of God for YOU.

Because He loves you, He is offering you forgiveness for your sins an eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.

Our heavenly Father says that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:21; Romans 10:13).

The Promise of the Father begins with Jesus.

He is the Author and Finisher of our faith.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Heavenly Father, thank You that You have not hidden the truth from us but have revealed it in the perfect truth of Your Living, Life Transforming Word.

Thank You that I am part of that great cloud of Church-age witnesses to the truth of the glorious gospel of grace – which was started at Pentecost, and which has spread to every nation and tribe, every people and language.

Thank You that I have been born again by the power of the Holy Spirit and baptized into the body of Christ, which had its beginning in that special room, on that first day of Pentecost, when Holy Spirit was sent to be the permanently, indwelling Helper for all Christians – Thank You in Jesus name AMEN.


Author: Thomas E Meyer Jr

Formerly Homeless Sinner Now, Child of God, Saved by Grace.

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