John 7:39

39 Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

John 7:39 Meaning and Commentary

John 7:39

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 ) ( Joel 2:28 ) , 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 F6,

``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 F7,

``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 F8 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, (vdwqh xwrw) , "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 Acts 2:36 ) .


F6 T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 9. 2. Sota, fol. 48. 2. & Sanhedrin, fol. 11. 1.
F7 Hilchot Cele Hamikdash, c. 10. sect. 10. Vid. T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 73. 2.
F8 T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 21. 2. Vid. Jarchi & Kimchi in Hagg. i. 8.

John 7:39 In-Context

37 On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, "Let anyone who is thirsty come to me,
38 and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, "Out of the believer's heart shall flow rivers of living water.' "
39 Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
40 When they heard these words, some in the crowd said, "This is really the prophet."
41 Others said, "This is the Messiah." But some asked, "Surely the Messiah does not come from Galilee, does he?

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Other ancient authorities read [for as yet the Spirit] (others, [Holy Spirit]) [had not been given]