John 7:39

(But this spoke he of the Spirit, whom they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Spirit was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
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Cyril of Alexandria

AD 444
CHAPTER II. That after the Saviour's Cross at His rising again from the dead the Holy Ghost took up His abode in us permanently. The sense of what is before us demands for itself keen scrutiny and to understand sufficiently the depth of the mystery will be (and hardly) the achievement of much acumen. For one who revolves in his mind and looks at each of the holy Prophets, with reason goes first into deep thoughts, How was the Spirit not, albeit so great a choir of Prophets has been set forth who are found uttering in the Spirit the Divine mysteries concerning Christ in many words. For we do not go so far astray from fit thoughts, as to deem that the mind of the saints was bereft of the Spirit. For there shames us and as of necessity calls us unto the belief that they were in truth Spirit-clad, the very fact of prophecy and the things found in the holy writings. For Samuel saith to Saul, The Spirit of the Lord shall spring upon thee and thou shalt be turned into another man, and of the blessed Elisha himself is it written, And it came to pass as the minstrel was playing that the hand of the Lord came upon him. And our Lord Jesus Christ Himself also testifieth of the blessed David that in the Spirit he speaketh mysteries. And many things may one readily heap up akin to what have been said, whereby one may exceeding easily see that the saints are Spirit-clad. But in things so obvious it were superfluous or even burdensome to weary with long discourse. How the Spirit was not, we must accurately search; for I think we must deem that the blessed Evangelist speaketh true. Therefore the very truth, let God the All-wise, know; for we ought not too busily to apply ourselves to things above us. But as far as we can see by pious reasonings, something of this sort comes to us. This rational living thing on the earth, I mean man, was formed from the beginning in incorruption. And the cause of his incorrup-tion and of his abidance in all virtue was evidently that the Spirit from God indwelt him; for He breathed upon his face the breath of life, as it is written. But he having from that ancient deceit turned aside unto sin, then by degrees in succession received much advance thereto, along with the remaining good things he suffers the loss of the Spirit and so at length became not only subject to corruption but also prone to all sin. But when the Framer of all designed (doing exceeding excellently) to gather up all things in Christ, and willed to recover again the nature of man to its pristine state, He promises along with the rest to give anew to it the Holy Ghost also, for no otherwise was it possible to get back to unshaken stability in good things. He defines therefore the time of the Descent of the Spirit upon us, and promises saying, In those days (those of the Saviour that is) I will pour out (to wit of My Spirit) upon all flesh. But since the time of this munificence brought the Only Begotten upon earth with Flesh, that is, made Man of a woman according to the Holy Scripture, God the Father began to give again the Spirit, and Christ first received the Spirit as First-fruits of the renewed nature. For John bare record saying, I saw the Spirit descending from Heaven and It abode upon Him. But He received It, how? for we must needs investigate what is said. Was it then as not having? we say not so, God forbid. For the Spirit is the Son's Own, and not supplied from without, as the things from God come to us from without, but inexists in Him naturally even as in the Father, and through Him proceedeth to the saints, apportioned by the Father as beseems each. But He is said to have received, in that He became Man, and it beseemed man to receive. And He, Son of God the Father and begotten of His Essence even before the Incarnation, yea rather before all ages, nothing shames when God the Father says to Him when He became Man, My Son art THOU, this day have I begotten Thee. For Him Who God before ages was begotten of Him, He says that He has this day begotten, that in Him He may receive us into sonship, for the whole human nature was in Christ, in that He was Man: so is He said to the Son who hath His Own Spirit, to give It, that we in Him may gain the Spirit. For this reason therefore does He take hold of the seed of Abraham, as it is written, and in all things was made like unto His brethren. The Only-Begotten therefore receives the Holy Ghost not for Himself (for His and in Him and through Him is the Spirit, as we before said) but, since He, having been made Man, had our whole nature in Himself, that He might uplift it all transfashioning it unto its olden state. Besides what has been said, we must consider this too. For we shall see by going through wise reasonings, and confirmed thereto by words out of the Divine Scripture, that not for Himself did Christ receive the Spirit, but rather for us in Himself, for all good things flow through Him into us too. For since our forefather Adam being turned aside by deceit into disobedience and sin, did not preserve the grace of the Spirit, and thus in him the whole nature lost at last the God-given good, needs did God the "Word Who knows not turning, become Man, in order that by receiving as Man He might preserve the Good permanently to our nature. Of such mysteries will the Divine Psalmist himself too be our exponent: for thus saith he to the Son, Thou lovedst righteousness and hatedst wrong, therefore God, Thy God, anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows. For since (says he) Thou ever lovedst righteousness (for Thou art Righteous, O God, never able to be turned aside therefrom) and hatedst wrong always (for hatred of evil is innate in Thee of Nature as the Righteous-loving God): therefore hath God the Father anointed Thee, for Thou Who possessest unchangeable Righteousness as an Excellence of Thine own Nature, couldest never be moved unto sin which Thou knewest not: and thus, Thou preservedst undoubtedly in Thyself (in that Thou wert made Man) to the human Nature, the Holy Anointing from God the Father, i. e., the Spirit. The Only-Begotten was made therefore Man as we, that in Him first the good things returning and the grace of the Spirit rooted might be preserved securely to our whole nature, the Only Begotten and Word of God the Father lending us the Stability of His Own Nature, because the nature of man had been condemned in Adam as powerless for stability and falling (and that most easily) into perversion. As then in the turning of the first the loss of good things passes through unto the whole nature: in the same way I deem in Him too Who knoweth not turning will the gain of the abidance of the Divine Gifts be preserved to our whole race. And if we seem to any not to think and speak altogether what is proper, let him come forward and tell us why the Saviour has been called by the Divine Scriptures the Second Adam. For in that first one, the human race proceeds from not being unto being, and having come forth, decayed, because it had broken the Divine Law: in the Second, Christ, it riseth up again unto a second beginning, re-formed unto newness of life and unto a return of incorruption, for if ought be in Christ, a new creature, as Paul saith. There has therefore been given to us the renewing Spirit, that is, the Holy, the occasion of everlasting life after that Christ was glorified, i. e., after the Resurrection, when having burst the bonds of death and appeared superior to all corruption, He lived again having our whole nature in Himself, in that He was Man and One of us. And if you investigate the reason why not before the resurrection but after it did the pouring forth of the Spirit take place, you will hear in reply, Christ became then the firstfruits of the renewed nature, when making none account of the bands of death He lived again as we have just now said. How then should those be quickened before the Firstfruit who come after It? For as the plant will not shoot up from the earth, if it be not surely sprung from its own root (for thence is the beginning to it of growth): so it were impossible that we having for our root unto incorruption our Lord Jesus Christ, should be seen springing up before our root. But He shewing that the time of the Descent of the Spirit upon us was now come, after the revival from the dead, He breathed on His disciples, saying, Receive ye the Holy Ghost. For then was the time of the renewal indeed at the doors, yea rather within the doors. And let the searcher after learning again see whether what we say on these things too be not true. For in the beginning, as said the Spirit-clad, Moses, to us, the Creator of all, taking dust of the ground and having formed man, breathed upon his face the breath of life. And what is the breath of life, save surely the Spirit of Christ Who saith, I am the Resurrection and the Life? But since He fled away from the human nature, the Spirit which is able to gather us and to form us unto the Divine Impress, the Saviour gives us this anew bringing us again unto that ancient Dignity and reforming us unto His own Image. For therefore does Paul too say to certain, Little children of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you. Let us consider again (for I will take up again the aim of my discourse) that in the holy Prophets there was a certain rich shining upon and torch-illumination from the Spirit, mighty to lead them to the apprehension of things to come and the knowledge of things hidden: but in those who believe on Christ, we are confident that not torch-illumination simply from the Spirit, but the Spirit Itself dwells and has His habitation. Whence rightly are we called temples too of God, though no one of the holy Prophets was ever called a Divine Temple. Since how shall we understand this, and what shall we say when we hear our Saviour Christ say, Verily verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist, notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of Heaven is greater than he? And what is the kingdom of Heaven? The gift of the Holy Ghost according to that which is said, The kingdom of Heaven is within you: for the Spirit hath His habitation in us through faith. Seest thou then how He preferreth before every one born of a woman him that is in the kingdom of Heaven even if he be below the perfect? And let no one think that we make little of the glory of the virtue of those Saints or say that those even of least account are superior. For we say not so; for incomparable is the beauty of their conversation. But for clear understanding let us briefly interpret what has been said by our Saviour. Great in truth was the blessed Baptist and through all virtue most renowned, attaining at last to the very bounds of that righteousness which belongs to us, so that there is nought above it. Yet did he who was in this case beseech of Christ saying, I have need to be baptized of Thee and dost THOU come to Me? Seest thou how being perfect, as far as pertained to men and the born of women, he beseeches to be in a manner new-created and re-born through the Holy Ghost? seest thou how he yields the greater to those new born, by his saying that himself has need of this? for if he were in better case not baptized, what persuaded him to beseech to be baptized? But if he knew that he would be in better case, when baptism came, how does he not yield the palm to those already baptized? Greater therefore than John himself does Christ say that he is who is lesser in the kingdom of Heaven, i. e. the new baptized, who has not as yet attained excellence in work;----in this only that the blessed Baptist was yet born of a woman, but the other is begotten of God as it is written, and has become partaker of the Divine Nature, having indwelling in him the Holy Ghost and already called a temple of God. But I will recur again to what was before us. The Spirit came to be in the Prophets for the need's sake of prophesying, He indwelleth now through Christ in believers, having begun in Him first when He was made Man. For as God He has unceasingly the Spirit Who is |552 Essentially of His Nature and His own. He is anointed for our sakes and said to receive the Spirit as Man, not for Himself bringing in the participation of the Divine good things, but for the nature of man as we have already-taught. When then the Divine Evangelist says to us, For the Spirit was not yet because that Jesus was not yet glorified, let us understand him to mean the full and complete habitation in men of the Holy Ghost.
12 mins

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation - 2 Peter 1:20

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