With this interpretation of Pentecost, repetition cannot be envisioned. Though history records many “outpourings” of the Spirit in extraordinary displays of revival, none of these, strictly speaking, is a repetition of Pentecost. Pentecost marked the major turning point between the old and new covenantal administrations. The days of type and shadow were replaced by days of fulfillment and reality. Pentecost signaled the end of a redemptive economy largely (though not exclusively) focused on ethnic Israel, heralding instead the dawn of a covenant community made up of all peoples that was strongly hinted at in the Old Testament but never realized. The very presence of the miraculous that accompanied Pentecost was itself indicative of the uniqueness of the moment. It marked the appearance of the Apostles—God’s foundational, rather than ongoing, church builders (Eph. 2:20).
As pilgrim-saints regenerated, indwelt, and sanctified by the Holy Spirit, on our way to the new Jerusalem, we are still in need of wisdom; this the Spirit provides. It is He who guaranteed that a sure guide to heaven would be given to the people of God. Speaking of the Old Testament, Peter could say that no part of it was the product of man’s devising, “but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). And Paul could echo that “all Scripture is breathed out by God” (2 Tim. 3:16). Just how the Spirit accomplished this remains something of a mystery. There are the discernible fingerprints of human authors throughout the Bible. At the same time, every part of it, down to the least stroke of a pen (see Matt. 5:18), is the product of the out-breathing of God. In two processes—disclosing wisdom and truth to biblical authors and breathing out—the Spirit exercises His lordship in infallibly inspiring the Scriptures. In three processes—receiving and recognizing (canonization), preserving, and translating—the church responds to the Spirit’s work in forming the Scriptures.
The Bible, the Spirit’s rule and guide, is what Christians need for holiness and final redemption. By the Spirit’s illumination of the written text, God’s will is made clear. As Christians, we are currently “waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13). In the state of glory, as the Dutch theologian Geerhardus Vos points out, the Holy Spirit will be “the permanent substratum of the resurrection-life.” The Spirit, who has served the Father and brought glory to the Son, will then be the One who sustains the eternal lives of the saints. Until that day, when “God [will] be all in all” (1 Cor. 15:28), we traverse a terrain filled with obstacles and adversities. We face a threefold enemy: the world, the flesh, and the devil. The Spirit, the representative agent of Christ in our hearts, ensures that victory is certain. He ensures that the bondage and frustration brought into the world through Adam’s fall are reversed.
At the other end of the Bible, the book of Revelation depicts the “seven spirits” that are “sent out into all the earth” (Rev. 5:6; see also 1:4); the spirits are symbolic of the Holy Spirit as the immanent One who carries out the purposes of God. The hovering Spirit who watched over the formless creation now broods over the cosmos, seeking to bring about a new creation, thereby ensuring its formation according to the perfect plan of God.