In Acts 1, the resurrected Christ sojourns among and instructs His apostles. He stayed with His disciples for this purpose for 40 days. Christ promised them the “gift of the Holy Ghost.” The apostles and disciples had all received a spiritual witness that Jesus was the Only Begotten Son of God, and it was the Holy Spirit who manifested this knowledge unto them. But the actual gift of the Holy Ghost is something different. It must be preceded by baptism by authority from God. It must be conferred by someone who holds the high priesthood after the order of the Son of God.
The gift of the Holy Ghost is the constant companionship of the Holy Spirit as long as a person maintains his or her personal worthiness. The Holy Ghost cannot reside in an unclean tabernacle. Without this gift, a constant flow of revelation cannot be received, and the ability to perform miracles cannot be present. The apostles needed this gift in order to be able to administer the affairs of the kingdom of God on earth while taking the gospel as far as it was commanded to go.
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judæa, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:8).
Joseph Smith, the first prophet in modern times, said that the main difference between members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and members of other Christian churches is this, the gift of the Holy Ghost, which is conferred upon baptized members of the LDS Church, and which opens the doors to all other miracles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
An important verse in Acts 1, is verse 11, wherein Jesus is taken up, and an angel says He will return in like manner:
Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
Not only does this verse prophesy the Second Coming of Christ at the end of times, but His other visits to earth as a resurrected being. Mormons believe that Christ’s resurrected state is His permanent state; He is a separate personage than God the Father. He appeared to the Book of Mormon peoples after He visited with His apostles, and the Book of Mormon is a second witness of His death and resurrection, His great atonement for mankind.
After the Lord’s Ascension, a new Apostle was chosen to fill the vacancy in the Quorum left by Judas. This new apostle was Matthias. He was chosen through the process of revelation from God. The apostles would not have made this decision without the direct intervention of heaven. This is the way God’s church is administered today. Major decisions are made unanimously by the prophet, his counselors, and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles after discussion and fervent prayer.
On the Day of Pentecost, the Apostles are Filled with the Holy Ghost
God has fulfilled major prophesied events on the Jewish High Holy Days with the established symbolism of those events. Shavuoth, the Feast of Weeks, occurs 49 days after Passover, seven time seven weeks. It celebrates the arrival of the Israelites at Mt. Sinai during the trek from Egypt to the Promised Land, and it gives gratitude for the gift of the Torah and the outpouring of the spirit on Sinai to Moses.
Shavuoth is one of three pilgrimage festivals in the Old Testament times, so Jews gathered from many lands to the temple at Jerusalem. Well over a million Jews could have come in from far and wide for this convocation. In Acts 2 it is recorded how the Holy Ghost fell upon the apostles as they preached to the pilgrims. With this great outpouring of the spirit, men from foreign lands heard the gospel preached in their own tongues. It was a manifestation of the gift of tongues, and combined with the symbolism of the holiday, instantly converted thousands of people. This was the momentous gift of the Holy Ghost the apostles had been expecting. The timing was chosen by the Lord.
Today, the gift of tongues is manifested all over the world among the thousands of LDS missionaries who preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Their linguistic and cultural fluency with the foreign languages they must learn to speak is renowned, and experts constantly try to figure out how it possibly can be done. Many missionaries have experienced sudden miracles that enable them to speak, where previously they could not. The gift of tongues is specifically meant to increase understanding of the gospel. (Speaking gibberish no one can understand is a counterfeit of this gift.)
In Acts 3–4 we see the apostles, with a full understanding of the resurrection and atonement and the gospel of Jesus Christ, fully begin their ministry, with the gift of the Holy Ghost enabling them to receive revelation and perform the same miracles they saw Jesus do. They healed a lame man at the gate of the temple by the power of the priesthood which they held, which same priesthood is found on the earth today, having been restored in its fullness.
Peter and John were arrested. Surely the Jewish priests’ worst nightmare was upon them. Christ had risen from the dead, and these men were able to continue performing miracles in His name. Peter and John were forbidden to mention the name of Christ again, but they courageously pressed forward as witnesses to the world. (See Acts 4:19–20.)
The apostles continued to preach and heal with great power. After the Apostles received the gift of the Holy Ghost, they became powerful witnesses of Jesus Christ. While Apostles have a special calling to be witnesses of Christ, each member of the Church of Jesus Christ also has the responsibility to bear witness of him.