Did the apostles have the gift of the Holy Ghost while they were with the Savior in his mortal ministry? From the text, especially in John 16:7 and John 7:38-39, it would seem that they did not. Robert Millet wrote:
For reasons that are not completely clear in the New Testament, the full powers and gifts of the Holy Ghost were not given in the Old World meridian Church until the day of Pentecost. “He that believeth on me,” Jesus stated, “as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive; for the Holy Ghost was promised unto them who believe, after that Jesus was glorified)” (JST, John 7:38-39). While the Bridegroom was present with his disciples in the flesh, he was their Comforter, their Revelator, their Testator. He was their Life and Light, their source of power and might. “Hence, as long as Jesus was with the disciples in person, there was not the full need for them to have the constant companionship of the Spirit that there would be after Jesus left.” 1 But because of the vital role that Spirit would play thereafter in the growth, development, and expansion of the early Christian Church, Jesus said: “It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you” (John 16:7). 2
- Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:753.
- Robert Millet, Selected Writings of Robert L. Millet: Gospel Scholars Series, Deseret Book, 2000, p. 194.