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And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

20:22 the Holy Ghost. Breathing on them was a symbolic act. As in the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit could already have come on the disciples for specific ministries, but Christ had promised He would soon indwell them permanently (John 14:16-17). The command now to “receive ye the Holy Spirit” is imperative and must be carried out at the proper time. However, Christ also told them to tarry in Jerusalem until then (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4,8). The promise was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4).

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