Messiah’s exaltation included His returning to the Father, a departure He had explained at length to His disciples. He had promised to send the Spirit in His place, who could be with each forever, without the limitations that even glorified humanity has. The remaining disciples were told to wait for this Gift who would bring them power and all other gifts that they would need. The timing of this coming matched the final of the spring festivals given to Abraham’s descendents in the sanctuary system (the previous ones having already been fulfilled at Messiah’s death and resurrection). The Spirit’s coming also marked the heavenly fulfillment of the symbols of the dedication of the sanctuary and the High Priest, who had arrived at that cosmic center with the benefits of His poured-out life, validating the role of Mediator He has assumed from the beginning of sin. The impartation of the Spirit did not change the disciples’ basic understanding of scripture. That had been done when the resurrected Messiah had met with them. The Spirit did not bring a unity that they had lacked. Their acceptance of the cross had cleansed from them the spirit of self-exaltation that prevents unity, so they were already in one place in one accord. What the Spirit’s coming did was to amplify supernaturally their witness to the truth of the Messiah, His kingdom and authority, and the foundation of those in self-sacrificing love. The impact was explosive, as the news spread far and wide. But the battle also escalated between self-exaltation with its insistence on controlling others, and this opposite, eternal principle that brings amazing freedom. The suffering for righteousness’ sake just accelerated the spread of this truth that changed lives and began even to mold societies. One of the greatest persecutors was even converted, and became the most prolific expounder of the faith that works by love. The written records left by these witnesses were added to those of the chroniclers, prophets, and poets `of old, giving a united account of a God unknown to many, a God who is love. With unprecedented clarity, as the shadows gave way to the full light of Messiah’s visit, these latest of God’s messengers wrote in practical earnestness, calling all to God’s rest, rest in Messiah’s finished work, rest from self-dependence, rest upon the foundations laid for recovery of the lie-infected human race. Into the far corners of the globe the truth spread, at this point not to end the battle, but to prepare people for the next, most difficult phase.
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