"Receive the Holy Spirit." (John 20:22)

What does 'receive the Holy Spirit' mean?

Here Jesus is speaking to his followers after appearing to them after the death of his physical body. As we have discussed previously, he is not appearing in his physical body. He is appearing in an angel-like appearance before their physical eyes.

Now he is supposedly instructing his followers to "receive the Holy Spirit." Really?

The phrase spoken is being translated* from the Greek phrase:

λάβετε πνεῦμα ἅγιον

The word πνεῦμα (pneuma) means "spirit." When this word is addressing one of us - God's children - then it means " the vital principal by which the body is animated." But when it is referring to God (see below) it refers to the expansion of the Supreme Being, allowing Himself to be next to each of us within the physical body.

The word ἅγιος (hagios) means "most holy thing."

The word λαμβάνω (lambanō) can mean to "take" or "receive" according to the lexicon. But its more subtle meaning has another dimension. Thayer's lexicon covers this with the phrase, "of that which is taken that is not let go." and "to take to one's self, to make one's own."

Thus we find here quite a different communication than "Receive the Holy Spirit." Jesus is saying something akin to "hold onto the Holy Spirit." Or as translated in the Lost Gospels of Jesus:

"Hold fast onto the Holy Spirit."

This is a dramatically different communication. It is not as if Jesus has captured a bird in his hand and is handing the bird over to them saying, "receive" this. The Holy Spirit is already within them - and all of us. Jesus is simply asking them to hold onto the Holy Spirit.

This is another way of telling them to take shelter in the Holy Spirit - or take refuge in the Holy Spirit. This means to depend or rely upon this extension of the Supreme Being.

Is God right next to us?

The idea of God being able to be right here right next to each of us is something that is difficult for the mind to conceive. That is because the mind is physical. It is composed of records of sense-perception - which is taken from the physical world.

God is transcendental to the physical world. Thus the Supreme Being can expand Himself unlimitedly through the transcendental dimension that operates above and through the physical dimension. We shouldn't see this as such a miracle for God. After all, even a radio personality can be broadcast to millions of radios at the same time through radio waves.

Jesus is asking them to essentially embrace the Supreme Being. This is his instruction. He wants them to give their hearts and their lives to the Supreme Being.

The Supreme Being is right here next to each of us. Currently, most of us do not perceive Him. Why not? Because we have wanted to escape from His presence. We wanted to be away from Him.

Because love requires choice, the Supreme Being gave us each the choice to love Him or not. Those who chose not to love Him were sent to the physical world and given these physical bodies. Why?

Because the physical world and these physical bodies were designed in such a way that we do not see God with our physical eyes. By design, this means we can avoid Him while we are here. This means we can pretend He does not exist.

Here in the physical world we can pretend that we are these bodies and this world is all there is. We can claim - as modern scientists do - that the universe was created by accident by a big explosion. They cannot explain where the elements came from that caused the big bang - but they can nonetheless claim it was all an accident and we are all accidents. 

They can claim that love is an accident too. It doesn't make much sense, but this world is designed to allow us the freedom to pretend everything was an accident and we are just bodies that live for a few years and poof - we no longer exist.

Yet these same scientists maintain the scientific axiom that everything must have a cause. What is the cause for the big bang then? This problem is what is known as the "Singularity Problem."

Furthermore, what is the cause of love? What is the cause of consequences in this world? These might be considered singularity problems.

Modern science cannot answer these problems. 

But the reason why scientists can maintain a theory that everything was an accident and God does not exist is because the Supreme Being created the physical world and these physical bodies in such a way that allows us to ignore Him and forget Him.

Why do we have the freedom to worship God or not?

This gives us the complete freedom from Him that we desire.

It also allows us to make an objective choice on whether we want to return to Him or not. This is what He wants. He only wants us to return to Him if we are serious about it. If we are committed to it.

This is what Jesus is discussing with his followers. He is asking them to surrender themselves to the Supreme Being. He is asking that we become the Supreme Being's loving servants. This requires commitment.

This is also why there are so many temptations around us in the physical world. For those who don't want to be with God, these are the facilities to stay away from Him.

But for those who want to be with Him, these are facilities that test our commitment. They repeatedly test our resolve. With every temptation, we are again and again given the choice: Do we really want to return to Him? Or maybe not?

Just think about it. If we had a long-time friend or loved one who then ran off with someone else and suddenly after several years decided they wanted to get back together with us - what would we do? Would we just let them back immediately just because they called us and asked us to take them back?

Certainly not. We would want to make sure they were serious. We would want to be sure that they weren't just playing around. That they were committed to having a relationship and were not going to just run off again. Right?

Now in the case of the Supreme Being, He already knows our level of seriousness. So His setup not only continues to give us the choice - it also builds our resolve as long as we continue to want to return to His loving arms.

Jesus wants his disciples to love the Supreme Being. He wants them to give themselves - their entire hearts and souls and minds - to the Supreme Being. He is telling them that the Supreme Being is lovable. This is expressed in his most important instruction:
" 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'" (Matt. 22:37)

*Here is the translation of Jesus' statement from the Lost Gospels of Jesus:
And after he said this, he instilled within them, saying, “Hold fast to the Holy Spirit." (John20:22)