What Is the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit?

Unlike the Old Testament where he would come and go, in this new era, called by many in the church age, the Holy Spirit has come to stay. He was poured out and is available to all who believe.

Danielle Bernock
Water being poured into a glass

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit is a key event in history. Through it, the world was forever changed.

There are four important things about the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that we’ll discuss in this article.

Three are what the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is and why these things are important. The fourth is, what the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is not and why that’s important to know.

1. Fulfillment of Prophecy

It’s crucial to note that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is a fulfillment of prophecy. For centuries, God promised to pour out his spirit.

For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants (Isaiah 44:3).

“And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days…” (Joel 2:28-29).

God fulfilling prophecy is a demonstration of his faithfulness, and veracity of his word.

The LORD said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled (Jeremiah 1:12).

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’” (Acts 2:14-18, 21).

God doing what he promised gives us the courage to trust him.

God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Corinthians 1:9).

2. The Initial Pouring

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit was fulfilled at Pentecost. The definition of outpouring is a strong, profuse gush. We see this clearly in Acts 2.

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them (Acts 2:4).

When this occurred, many didn’t understand the implication.

Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” (Acts 2:12).

This sudden outpouring was the Holy Spirit coming to live on the earth among all humanity, filling the people of God with himself.

We see the continuation of God’s plan as he sends Peter to Samaria, and to a Gentile named Cornelius, so they can be filled with the Holy Spirit.

When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14-17).

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God (Acts 10:44-46).

3. Inauguration of All

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was the inauguration of the New Covenant that had been ratified through the blood of Jesus.

After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people — an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you (Luke 22:2).

The prophecy in Joel cited above continues with these words: “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Joel 2:32).

Everyone. All.

Unlike the Old Testament where he would come and go, in this new era, called by many in the church age, the Holy Spirit has come to stay. He was poured out and is available to all who believe.

He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit (Galatians 3:14).

And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago (Ephesians 1:13).

Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13).

There is no discrimination in Christ. He came to save all people.

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).

4. Outpouring/Filling

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit is different than being filled with or being baptized in the Spirit.

The initial outpouring took place on the day of Pentecost as written above. On that historic day, the Holy Spirit came to indwell the earth as promised by Jesus.

Scripture does not support another event as such. However, just as Peter was sent to share the Holy Spirit with others, every believer can be filled with and baptized in the Holy Spirit.

The Bible clearly speaks about being filled with the Spirit. For example, when Ananias was sent to Saul:

So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:17)/

When the disciples prayed after being threatened.

And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness (Acts 4:31).

When Paul wrote to the church, … "be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18b).

For further reading:

How Are Believers Empowered by the Holy Spirit?

What Really Happened at Pentecost?

What Does it Mean That the Holy Spirit Is Our Paraclete?

Does the Holy Spirit Speak Through the Bible?

Why Can the Bible Only Be Understood Through the Spirit?

Can We Pray to the Holy Spirit?

Will the Holy Spirit Ever Leave a Believer?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Alter_photo


Danielle Bernock is an international, award-winning author, coach, and speaker who helps people embrace their value and heal their souls through the power of the love of God. She’s written Emerging With Wings, A Bird Named PaynLove’s ManifestoBecause You Matter, and hosts the Victorious Souls Podcast. A long-time follower of Christ, Danielle lives with her husband in Michigan near her adult children and grandchildren. For more information or to connect with Danielle https://www.daniellebernock.com/


Originally published February 04, 2021.