Spiritual Baptism

For years, I wondered why the book of Acts ended so abruptly - in mid-story, right as Paul was ministering in the midst of Rome. After years of pondering this, the Lord spoke to my spirit and said this book never really ended.  The Lord shared with me that this dispensation of time began with the giving of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost and continues today.

I came to understand that we as His people have only moved away from the sanctification required of us by God in order for Him to be in our midst in the same way as He was in the first century.   What we do today is explain away the lack of His manifest presence with false doctrine; instead of repenting before a Holy God.  Instead of drawing near to God (James 4:8) we hide from His presence and call it being "under grace."

I Corinthians 13:9-10 says "For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away."   The expression "when that which is perfect is come," is a rendering of the Greek phrase "to teleion". The word "teleion" is a  term which refers to Jesus Christ.  Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon, p. 618, defines the phrase "to teleion" as used in I Corinthians 13:10: "The perfect state of all things, to be ushered in by the return of Christ from heaven."

Some denominations (one of which I grew up in and regard highly) believe that tongues was an "in part" gifting, and when the bible was completed this "in part" gifting was set aside.  The same claim is made concerning apostolic / prophetic ministry. As demonstrated within this website; a diagram on equipping shows that the apostolic and the prophetic ministry that Jesus walked in were only two parts of His overall equipping ministry. 

The question to those who hold true to the doctrine of these "in part" giftings passing away; the question to ask yourself is why are the "in part" equipping ministries of evangelist, pastor, and teacher still in operation?  May I suggest that if you have an answer to this question; it is found outside the pages of scripture, or it is a man-made doctrine super imposed over the plain meaning of the text.

With this in mind; the baptism of the Holy Spirit is such a divisive issue between believers that I believe there is no profit in discussing the divergence of opinion concerning  the "evidence" of Spiritual baptism.  Rather what matters is the sound doctrine brought forth by God's word that hopefully leads to a greater degree of agreement between the Lord's people.

Ephesians 4:4-6 says "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."

Since there is only "one Spirit "  and  only "one baptism " the existence of two sides to this issue only  demonstrates that the 'divide and conquer' strategy of satan is at work.

One Side believes emphasizing what is written in Ephesians 1:13-14 "In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory."  This part of the camp believes they have been given an earnest or a pledge concerning their salvation as evidenced by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  This is a correct interpretation.

The other part of the camp believes they have been 'baptized' in the Spirit receiving several 'giftings' that are considered 'charismatic or Pentecostal' in nature.  This is also a correct interpretation.

Why; if there is "one Spirit", do we have this divergence of opinion?   I am convinced that while the first apostles experienced "one baptism" into the Holy Spirit, they most certainly had two distinct encounters.

The first one happened in the evening on the day of the Lord's resurrection.  The bible records in John 20:19-23  "Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them,Peace be with you.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”  This was the disciples first encounter with the Holy Spirit.

The result of this first encounter greatly affected their ability to comprehend God's word.  In Luke 24:45 in exactly the same setting where the Lord breathed on His disciples it is recorded "And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures."  This is why a number of denominations are able to understand the scripture having never been baptized by the Holy Spirit.  They have encountered the Holy Spirit at the point of salvation, and the Lord "opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.

In this first encounter with the Holy Spirit - Jesus breathed on them - the word for spirit in Hebrew (Strong's concordance reference # H7307) is ruach meaning - wind; by resemblance breath, that is, a sensible (or even violent) exhalation.  This was the "sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind" the bible makes reference to in Acts 2:2.

This second 'encounter' with the Holy Spirit is a totally separate event.  In Acts chapter 1  forty days after (vs. 3) His resurrection, the disciples were gathered together with Him on the mount called Olivet.   He spoke to them in vs. 4 - 5 saying "not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 

What was to be the result of this second 'encounter' with the Holy Spirit?  Jesus said in verse 8 "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

There are untold multitudes of precious believers in mainstream denominational churches who DO have the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, they ARE able to understand Holy Scripture, they ARE born again (PRAISE GOD). 

In John the Baptist' ministry at the river Jordan he said "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He (Jesus) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."  This reveals that there was a baptism by water, and a baptism of the Holy Spirit by Jesus. 

There are two additional scriptures demonstrating that the baptism of the Holy Spirit has nothing to do with water baptism.  In fact they demonstrate that the baptism of the Holy Spirit can happen before water baptism (Acts 10:44-48), or after water baptism (Acts 19:1-6).  In fact at this second reference there is a difference made between John's water baptism, and water baptism in the name of Jesus. Then immediately following baptism in Jesus' name " the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied."

It is my sincere hope that the thoughts on this page have been helpful, as you examine questions concerning what lies ahead for the body of Christ. What was written here was not expressed in order to declare theological war on anyone, rather as we approach the end of this age, we should all be willing to take a fresh look at what we in the past have considered sound doctrine, this writer included.

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