Understanding the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and Speaking in Tongues. Part 2
(Ver 1.2) Today’s lesson is Part 2 in an advanced Bible study series about one of the most potentially controversial subjects in the New Testament Bible of “Understanding the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and Speaking in Tongues”. If you read the first lesson then you already understand that these lessons will be very different types of Bible teachings than what you might have expected when you started reading. However, I believe that the first lesson was a really good introduction to the topics and that it was certainly firmly based upon what the Bible says on the subjects. If you did not get to read Part 1, I would highly recommend that you go back and start there because it contains the basic foundational information for everything else that comes after it. To ignore it, would be like someone attempting to take a very advanced math course in college without first sitting through the basic math course prerequisites. I guess you can tell that it has been a long time since I posted any Bible lessons. I would love to tell you that I was on vacation, but that would not be correct. Satan has been attacking my family for the past several months in many new creative ways. I guess Satan is just not happy with anyone sharing the Gospel truth for free to everyone on the internet. Some people think that ministers of the Gospel never have any problems but that is not Biblical. Paul was beaten five times with 40 – 1 lashes, three times he was beaten with rods, once he was stoned, was in ship wrecks 3 times and on and on I could go. A real minister’s life is not a life free from opposition. Satan is still alive and well in the world trying to kill us all. I would appreciate your prayers whenever the Lord places us upon your mind. I greatly appreciate your efforts in Bible study and the loyal time that you spend reading my website. Thank you for everything!
In the first lesson I introduced the subject by providing some very straightforward definitions for the Greek words “tongues” and “baptism” and introduced some brand new Bible study concepts and methods on how to approach the subject research. I have attempted to outline that the steps for correct Bible study is like solving a very complex jigsaw puzzle with a sequence of logical phases and processes to follow and I really hope that everyone fully grasped those concepts. I continued this Bible study by searching for every occurrence of the Greek word G1100 translated as the English word “tongues” and I believe that this is always an important first step to any Bible Study. Then I analyzed the information given in each of these verses within their context of the surrounding verses to learn what they say and how they apply. I know I did not include every one of those 47 verses in that first lesson, but that would have caused me to write an entire literal book in one Bible lesson and that lesson was already the longest lesson that I have ever done on this site. Fortunately 47 verses are not very many verses to read and to study and we will get to several more of these verses as we continue later in this series. Today’s lesson will be a more in-depth study of the subject verses found in the first two chapters of Acts along with several new verses on the subjects from other books of the Bible in the New Testament.
The key to understanding any subject in the Bible is always dependent upon us searching, finding, reading, assembling and studying every verse in the Bible that contains it, references it, describes it, defines it, or even implies it indirectly. I call this becoming a Sherlock Holmes type of Bible study Christian. This change in attitude to become a Bible detective causes us to look for every hidden clue in every verse that we can find. It causes us to have to assemble all of the facts and then to put them together correctly like the puzzle. It is a very complex and detailed oriented approach to try to see everything that God has revealed in His Word and this is why so many fail to understand the Bible. If we do not make this type of diligent search effort to perform these detailed study discovery steps, we will end up with a very limited scope of selective theological knowledge based more upon our human ignorance of the subject rather than on the full revealed truth of God’s Word. Limited knowledge of any subject in the Bible is a basic reality for every Bible student both novice or experienced. I heard this analogy of the Bible the other day and it warrants repeating in this lesson. The Bible is not a book of word trail mix that we can select from and eat only the words that we like and then ignore the words that we do not care for or do not want to believe in. This is why it is essential to learn to eat the entire package of God’s word. You still can only do this by taking one bite at a time.
We all begin to study the Bible because we desire to overcome our human ignorance. The primary problem with having limited knowledge is that this will always result in a discriminatory doctrinal teaching that lacks the important completeness and uniform scriptural balance of the subjects. If anyone of us knew everything in the Bible on a specific subject we would not need the Bible, Bible teachers or the Holy Spirit to help guide us into knowing His wonderful truth. Only after learning the whole truth can we eliminate our ignorance enough to understand a subject but until then we all still need to study to find some more clues to munch on. Do you desire to become a true Bible study detective? I hope that you do! Taste and see that the Lord is good. Let me go through one more analogy of Bible study before we get into the subjects of “tongues” and “baptism”.
Learning the truth is comparable to climbing a very tall mountain like Mt Everest. We all start out at the same bottom ground level of Truth Mountain in absolute ignorance not knowing anything about what waits ahead of us to learn or how difficult the climb might become. As the Holy Spirit guides us up the mountain side and we study to learn the subject, we are attempting to rise to the higher informed spiritual level of the information presented. This is what God calls “renewing your mind” (Eph 4:23) with a new spiritual perspective of how God understands the subjects. Mind renewal is nothing but a transformation from your old carnal way of thinking to see the spiritual point of view of God’s hidden information. We will all struggle during the climb and each will need to possess spiritual, mental and physical endurance in order to climb this complex truth mountain; taking it step by step learning every new fact that we can grasp. If we do not tire or give up and quit along the way simply because we think that we have arrived at all of the truth that we need to know, then we will all eventually rise to reach the summit peak of truth and thus for the first time achieve the same uniform complete view of the entire subject. Until we all reach this summit peak of complete knowledge and understanding, we each will have our own limited perspective view of the subject from the side of the mountain that we have chosen or were hopefully led to climb up on. This is exactly why there are currently thousands of Christian denominations today in the world with every one of them disagreeing with the others on the opposing sides of the mountain. Each denomination has climbed up only part of the way on their side of the mountain of truth leaving them in an incomplete viewing position and many have stopped moving forward and upward to see any other new perspectives on the subject. Still others like myself continue to climb and learn and we will become the ones that will know the truth and this knowledge of the truth will be what sets us free (John 8:32). I also believe that this is why we need to extend some love and mercy for those that do not see the same verses of truth exactly like we do. It could be that they just need to rise higher to see our viewpoint or it could be we need to rise higher to see their view point, so it does not do any good to criticize them or call them liars because that only reflects upon our own ignorance and our own lack of arriving at the summit peak. Many Christians are doing the best that they know how with their limited knowledge. I just wish we would all keep climbing.
During this Bible study I have been attempting to teach you my Bible study techniques while I am teaching the subjects. I call this my attempt at teaching you how to fish rather than just giving you a one-time fish dinner to eat. This makes my teaching job considerably more challenging but I believe it will be a worthwhile endeavor for both us. It is funny that this approach to teaching will eventually put me out of a job. If I give you all of my secrets, methods and techniques you will be able to do exactly what I do using the same approaches. However, God told me “freely you have received therefore freely give” (Mat 10:8) so that is what I am doing. I am withholding no secrets, no hidden techniques or any hidden methods. The only thing that I cannot teach you is what I have learned from over 20 years of experience. I can however teach you some of my mistakes and help you not to do likewise. After you learn how I study the Bible you should become a very similar clone Bible teacher applying your personality to it and together we can all reach the world with God’s Word.
CONTINUING THE STUDY OF BAPTISM AND TONGUES
The two primary keywords that initiated the study were “baptism” (G908) and “tongues” (G1100). From these two direct words, I showed you that there are other related words such as “baptize”, “baptized”, “baptizes”, “mouth”, “languages”, “lips”, “sounds” and some other variations of synonyms of the base form of these words that also need to be included in the complete search. I further said that baptism implies water, emersion and I linked in several other concepts like rivers that also should be included in the complete study. I believe that as we find these related verses containing these subjects we will observe still other related keywords that are also important to include in the study in order to understand their association to the primary subjects. For example, we talked about the subject of fire in the last lesson and we will definitely expand on that subject in more depth today in this lesson.
I want to re-emphasize that we cannot always depend upon the English translations of words to relate two verses together. When I search the Bible I many times start with the English words just to find a verse but then I usually switch and continue the search for related verses using the original Hebrew or Greek words. As I stated in the first lesson, some Greek and Hebrew words are translated into many different English words. Some different Greek and Hebrew words are translated into the same English word. God chose specific words for very specific reasons. Every word found in scripture is not placed into the verse by accident, chance or by human selection. We must view every scripture as the inspired Words from God given to man for a direct purpose. Then we need to find what the purpose was for that word to be placed into the verse. It sounds easy but it can get rather difficult.
This next part of the lesson might be a partial review of several points in the first lesson, but I believe they are essential to understand so I wanted to go through them with some new subject emphasis. As part of this review process I want to explore the main subject verses found in Acts 1 and 2 again to point out what else we need to know from them since this was the beginning of the church age and the first manifestation of a brand new type of Spiritual Baptism sent down from heaven and the first major spiritual experience poured out upon the entire church. The primary goal of this part of the study will be the accumulation of all of the important scriptural facts (clues) on the subjects of tongues and spiritual baptism. Let’s start with Acts 1:4:
Act 1:4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
Act 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
Here we have Jesus directly speaking to us in the church, so this is very important information. Jesus begins by telling us that this is the “promise” of the Father that He has told us about. Right there we understand that this was a previously prophesied future event written from a long time ago based upon Amos 3:7. God says in Amos 3:7 that nothing will be done without Him first revealing it to His prophets. That would actually be a great study to do. Where, was this promised spiritual event prophesied and how did God state it so that it was not clearly presented or understood by the casual reader. Did you notice that Jesus had to tell them about it and describe it to them in order for it to be understood? Did you ever ask yourself how did John the Baptist know about this coming spiritual baptism and the disciple understudies of Jesus did not? Clearly John must have known based upon something that the Spirit of God had shown him that was written in the Old Testament. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that Jesus ever told John about this fire from heaven that was to come. You can however find verses that the Spirit of God filled the mother of John when he was still in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15 & 41). Remember what I just said, because this is where we will be going later in this lesson.
This is a very good time to stop and ask why? Why, was it necessary for Jesus to tell us what was written? Why could it not be read by anyone directly in the O.T. and automatically understood by everyone? According to things like this found in the Bible, we can easily see that people really do not have much of an understanding about what the O.T. is about, do they? Jesus told the Jews to search their scriptures for in them they believed they had eternal life but then He said these are those that testify of me (John 5:39)! Why didn’t they already know this? Can’t they read? They had most of these O.T. books for 1500 years. What Jesus was saying to them, is that I’m found there but I’m hidden and you will not locate me unless you search for me diligently. Uh oh, here comes the stated need for us all to become the Sherlock Holmes type of Christian again. This concept pattern is repeated for every spiritual truth and subject in the O.T. None of them are self-evidently presented so that they can be understood by the unsaved reader, the casual reader or the natural mind unless God opens it up to them for them to see it and God does do this if their hearts are honest in their intentions to know Him like John the Baptist.
In verse 5 Jesus contrasts two different types of baptism truths using this one statement. I know I introduced you to this concept in lesson 1, but this is so critical that I’m going to say it again. Discovering spiritual things correctly in the Bible is the greatest stumbling block to carnal minds. Jesus just clearly stated that there are two revealed kinds or types of baptism found in the scriptures. Which one God is speaking of where is one of the greatest challenges to rightly dividing the Word of Truth? I’d like to say this as gently as possible. This is one of the greatest reasons why people do not understand things in the Bible correctly. God calls several different things by the same name and that makes them significantly difficult to separate. For example, if you have read my other lessons you already know that there are three separate distinct cities named “Jerusalem”. The name Jerusalem occurs in around 767 verses of the Bible. How do you know which Jerusalem that God is speaking of by reading any one verse? One Jerusalem is a natural earthly city in the Middle East. One Jerusalem is a heavenly spiritual city where the throne of God is located. Still another coming New Jerusalem is both of the other two cities combined into one new one. Multiple cities named Jerusalem makes it very complex to determine the correct city being spoken of when reading any isolated verse. I do not have the time to explain this, so if you want to learn about this concept more completely go and read the Bible lessons on “Hiding the Truth in Plain Sight” and the “Spiritual Family of God” to help get you started.
This information from Jesus in Acts is some of the most important that you can find on this subject of baptism because He is revealing the existence and the difference between two opposing realities of truth. One baptism truth was described as John’s natural water and the other baptism of truth being the promise of the Holy Spirit’s baptism where there is no natural physical water substance present. Clearly they are not the same and clearly what was coming is greater than what has already been in the past. Both are named types of “baptism” and that is the challenge that most face with their incorrect interpretations thinking only naturally ignoring the greater spiritual side of the truth. We cannot fail to understand the spiritual truth and continue to believe that the natural truth will save us. I know a lot of people that are heavily focused in on the natural truths and almost completely blind to the spiritual truths of the Bible. From these two verses we have the following basic facts given:
- This was a commandment directly from the mouth of God spoken to the church.
- This spiritual baptism was a hidden O.T. promise of God in Heaven for His N.T. people.
- The Spirit of God will be the one that baptizes us and not any human man.
- This Spiritual baptism is not a water baptism but it is still called by the same name.
- The Spiritual is clearly greater than the former water baptism experience and contains implied supersession.
- At the time of this spoken statement by Jesus no one being spoken to had yet experienced this type of baptism before since they were required to wait for it in Jerusalem.
Reading down in chapter 1 you will see some more important information about this coming event. Jesus stops to answer an unrelated question from his naturally thinking disciples in verses 6 and 7 but then He continues in verse 8 to tell them about the coming spiritual baptism that He needed to speak of:
Act 1:8 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 Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Here is another key verse with very specific instructions. Jesus made four important points here and I’ll start with the third point first. Jesus said to them “after the Holy Spirit comes upon you”. This means that they had not already had this experience even though Jesus had already breathed on each of them and told them to receive the Holy Spirit in John 20:22. Therefore this is further confirmation that this is something brand new that had not ever been given to them before. Then notice the part of the phrase that says “come upon you”. That is directly and inversely not an entering into them. Do you understand the difference between drinking water and wearing water? That is exactly what is being stated here. I’ll talk about this a little more in a bit, but just take note of the stated detail fact here.
Let’s back up to the first significant point in this verse. Jesus begins the statement by saying “you will receive”. Receiving is the correct counter action response to someone giving you something good like a valuable gift. If there is no willing giver or good gift then there is no need for any receiving action. What if I handed you a rattle snake and said this is for you. If you do not like snakes then that is nothing that you will want to receive. Therefore Jesus has just implied that this gift from God is worth you receiving and thus a very good gift from God. Wow I believe that was worth you reading the entire lesson for if you have never received this experience.
What if the giver does not give you a choice but to receive? Can the gift given still be “you receiving it”? I do not see how this is possible, any gift must be freely given and freely received or it becomes an act of forced acceptance. Therefore God must be the one that is going to freely give us the gift and we must be the ones that freely receive this good gift. This statement from Jesus presents both a personalization for the gift and accountability to receive the gift. In other words this gift is for me personally if I choose to accept it. There are always at least three possible responses to every free good gift that is presented to you. 1). You can receive it gratefully, enjoy and use it, 2). you can receive it reluctantly, not being impressed and not use it, or 3). you can simply ignore it, walk away and not accept it all. The attitude of the precipitant will always matter in any gift exchange. The gifts from the Holy Spirit are also this way in your life today. Evaluate your attitude and check up on what you think about the gift that God is offering you before you walk away or receive it.
This statement “you will receive” is an example displaying God’s infinite loving character and divine nature. God does not ever force a man or a woman to take what He has freely given to them as a gift from His divine sovereign grace. Forced gifts are never actually true gifts. I think you understand that don’t you? Obamacare in the U.S. is nothing but the forced gift of health care whether you want it or not, can afford it or not and that is not a freewill choice of any American to receive it as a free good gift. Salvation is a free gift from God presented to all of humanity that can be freely rejected by anyone in that group. In order for a person to be saved, that gift of free salvation must be freely received to make it effective. If you have not received salvation the Bible way, then you are not saved. In other words, you have a major answerable part to play in order to possess the spiritual gifts of God. The gift of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is this exact same way. God’s Spiritual Baptism, if not received by the saved Christian will also be easily missed.
I would highly recommend that you go and read the Strong’s definition for the Greek word (G2983) translated as “receive”. The definition for this powerful word literally means “to take” or “to get hold of”. Both of these definitions denote personal actions that are required for possession to become effective. It would be like me placing a package on the table and saying this gift is for you. You are now required to come, take hold of it, open it and possess it. If you choose to walk away from it instead then the gift is not known to you and you will do without. Therefore the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is not an automatic event that God is responsible for making happen in a Christian’s life. If you want this gift you have something to do to get it or take it.
Here is the time for the second point in Acts 1:8, which is also critical to understand. Jesus said after the Holy Ghost comes upon you and you receive (take hold of) Him, He will give you a new never before possessed power from on high. Without the baptism of the Holy Spirit there is no significant power of God in a believer’s life to help change them or to help others. Without this power people are easily influenced, swayed, deceived, defeated and controlled by the devil. This power from God is critical to have as a Christian. Without the power of God, you are a natural human working in only your own ability and no match for Satan and his abilities. Let’s study the Greek word dunamis (G1411) that is translated as “power” in this verse. We get our English word “dynamite” from this Greek word. This Greek word has the meaning of “force”, “mighty work” and “ability”. It can also mean “miraculous power” which is always greater than natural power. It gives us the implied meaning that this is how miracles from God can occur. That makes perfect logical sense to me since this is a spiritual gift from God’s Holy Spirit who is all powerful and omnipotent. Are you lacking the power of God to help people? If you are you need this gift immediately.
Now we get to point 4 from Jesus, the reason for God giving us this power and I already implied it in a preceding statement. Jesus said with this newly acquired power, you will become my witnesses in the whole earth. The antithesis truth would be “without this power you will not be able to witness to anyone”. Now do you see why I said you will not be able to fully help other people see the truth without first receiving this gift from God? You see this gift of spiritual baptism is a partnership arrangement where God’s Spirit works in us and through us to help the people in the world to see the truth. Every preacher of God needs this gift or they are going to fail. Every Bible teacher of God needs this gift or they will have nothing of value to say. Every evangelist of God needs this gift or they will not reach the world. I’ll go one further and say every believer in Christ needs this gift or they can fail to overcome the enemy. So let’s recap the major points from verse 8:
- The Holy Spirit’s Baptism must be received (taken) by the Christian or they will never possess it.
- The Holy Spirit Baptism is a separately received experience from the initial believer’s experience of being born again of the Spirit of God.
- The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a very good gift worth receiving.
- The Holy Spirit’s Baptism is an external coming upon of His Spirit as opposed to the entrance within the spirit of man experience at the New Birth.
- After being baptized with the Holy Spirit a Christian will receive “power” (ability to do miracles) from God.
- This power is not natural or physical power but rather God’s spiritual power.
- The primary reason for God giving us this gift was so that after receiving this power from God people could become God’s “witnesses” to every nation.
- Therefore the number one reason for the baptism of the Holy Spirit is for you to bring the light of the Gospel and God’s power to get people saved and delivered from this world of darkness.
All of this that Jesus prophesied in Acts 1 is exactly what occurs in the church age beginning in Acts 2 and continuing until today. After God poured out His Spirit on the church and they received power, this was the beginning of the global church outreach ministry. The Gospel was first preached in Jerusalem and then spread to the rest of the world. If you have not experienced this baptism in a similar Bible way that they did then you have failed to be obedient and follow in what Jesus commanded the church to do and receive. No I’m not saying that you have to go to Jerusalem and tarry or wait for the power of God to be poured out again. What God did for the church there at the first, is still available for everyone, everywhere in the church still to receive! God’s timing and your physical location are no longer relative factors for receiving the gift. Let’s quickly review a few important verses from Acts 2 to see the recorded facts in this gift that was given and their receiving again:
Act 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
Act 2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
Acts 2:1 says that the church was all in place in one accord on the day of Pentecost. They were being obedient to God’s Word and this is always the beginning of receiving God’s promise. We should know by now that this was the prophesied Baptism that was sent down from heaven as Jesus had foretold to them in Acts 1 and before. This baptism came at first like the sound of a rushing mighty wind. That is actually very relevant information. A “rushing wind” is a synonymous term for a moving spirit in the Bible. In fact the Greek word G4151 (pneuma) translated as “Spirit” in the Bible has the definition in Strong’s as being a “current of air” or “a breeze”. Clearly God is using figurative language in verse 2 to describe a spiritual outpouring experience sent down from heaven. You might or might not hear the same sound today when you receive. More than likely you will not since the Spirit of God is here already on the earth in this gift capacity and He does not need to be poured out in this same manner again. However there are verses in the Bible that imply God will pour out a greater portion of His Spirit during the end of the Church age like He did during this beginning of the church age. These are verses that speak of the Spirit falling like rain from heaven on the early church as the former raim and upon the end of the church as the later rain (James 5:7). Therefore I believe that the Spirit of God was initially poured out to get the church started and that He will again be poured out in a greater measure to help the church go out victoriously.
I did not hear this rushing mighty wind when I received, so that is definitely not an important factor for you receiving today. I believe that God was simply announcing the entrance of the Spirit from Heaven into the church that day. Then notice again the key word in verse 3 of “tongues” G1100 being connected directly to the new keyword fire (G4442). As you may recall I showed you where John told Jesus that he needed to be baptized of the Lord and John claimed that this experience was to be done with God’s spiritual fire (G4442). I find it very fascinating that God’s spiritual baptism experience is described as spiritual fire which is a direct antithesis or contradiction to John’s natural baptism of water. Natural fire is always quenched, suppressed or extinguished with water. However, you must also realize that God has also called the outpouring of the Spirit rain. So we have another challenge to resolve. God is giving us a paradox of is it rain or is it fire or can it be both depending upon the perspective? The baptism of the Spirit of God must be a spiritual rain of God’s spiritual fire. Why is God sending spiritual fire? That is a really excellent question. When you study the Bible if you do not ask God andy questions, you will never learn the truth.
I think that this would be an excellent time to describe fire. Natural fire is a very hot substance and a major source for natural heat. Fire can be a consuming force that also eliminates all of the consumable substances. I guess I should rephrase that because fire is a transforming substance that converts solid wood fuel into various gases and ashes. This consumption is more of a transformation process from a solid substance into gases leaving only the loose reduced solid ash. God is described to be a “consuming fire” (Heb 12:29) in the Bible. The same Greek word G4442 is used in both Hebrews 12:29 and Acts 2:3, so they are directly connected together by God’s word selection. If God’s Spirit is a consuming fire and He was poured out upon the church as the spiritual form of fire, for what purpose would this have been done and what was accomplished by this work? What can be found in the natural human experience that needs to be burnt up, consumed, and eliminated with God’s baptismal fire experience? Wow, we could preach on that for a long time. The human life is weighed down with self-indulgent works of the flesh. Before being saved and baptized with the Spirit of God, people are entirely focused upon “what is in it for me”. I believe that you can begin to see that there are numerous old habits that need to be dropped from your life in order to fulfill what God wants you to be. That is the beginning of what I am talking about with God consuming and transforming you by His Spirit.
Peter as you may recall went from denying Jesus three times nearly 50 days earlier to standing up before thousands in Jerusalem after experiencing this spiritual baptism and receiving the witnessing power sent from God in heaven. What was consumed, burnt up, taken away from Peter that allowed this rapid transformation from coward to bold preacher? I believe that it was the removal of his fear mostly. Suddenly his spiritual eyes had been opened to see God, Jesus and the truth differently. Suddenly the Spiritual things of God became more real and of greater importance than his fear of death, the Jews, the Romans, etc. Peter would eventually be crucified upside down because he felt he was unworthy to die like Jesus did. That is firm confirmation that he was no longer afraid of death to deny his Lord in public again. That is pretty awesome stuff. I am getting ahead of myself in this chapter but you can read ahead in the chapter to see that it happened this way.
What I am attempting to do is to show you a simultaneous multiple work from one spiritual experience from God. This demonstrates that God is multi-talented and more than powerful enough to accomplish concurrent actions with one spiritual action. I learned this concept when studying the Bible quickly. If you only look at God as being single-threaded you will miss the majority of what is accomplished. Take the death, burial and resurrection of Christ for example. If you believe that Jesus died to only save us and that is all then you have just ignored the many other things that were accomplished in the same work. Let’s review a verse that I quoted to you in the first lesson but also now show the following verse in context to see how it fits with the subject of this fire sent from God:
Mat 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
Mat 3:12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
John as we know said God will baptize us with fire, but then does not stop talking. John continues the subject in the next verse and this is a very interesting new symbolic association to bring into the symbolic fire subject spiritual baptism discussion. God is being described now as the Supreme Judge. But, God is also the one that will purge or eliminate everything that is not desirable or righteous in His eyes from our lives. This symbolic representation is much different than the separation of the sheep from the goats given to us by Jesus in other parables. God is not speaking of the evil people being separated from the good people here in Matthew 3:12. You see a single wheat plant is a large stalk of various useable seed components called the wheat and unusable waste by-products called the chaff. The good parts of the plant need to be separated from the bad pieces of the plant and the bad parts were usually burnt up or consumed by a fire. Since no human is yet perfect, God is saying we are the wheat plants that need to have the chaff burnt away from the good fruit that will be gathered into God’s barn and saved. Do you understand the separation now and why the fire of God is being used symbolically? Now we need to go and find what these chaff parts are defined as in the Word of God to see what will not remain with us throughout eternity. If we search for the key term of fire (G4442) in the N.T. we should find the following descriptive text describing something being burnt up from a believers life:
1Co 3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
1Co 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
1Co 3:12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
1Co 3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
1Co 3:14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
1Co 3:15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
The central theme in this discourse is the subject of Christian works. That understanding eliminates the works of evil people or non-Christians from the equation or discussion. Thus God is discussing Christian works (good and bad from a single plant) like He was talking about two types of substances similar to chaff and wheat in Matthew. Works is one of those complex subjects found in the Bible that confuse many Christians. We are told that no Christian is saved by their works (Eph 2:8-9), however the Bible appears to say that we were saved by grace through faith so that we can do good works for God (Acts 9:36). According to these verses, these good works that we should be doing build upon the foundation of Christ’s works. Uh oh? That makes us (the Christians) co-laborers and the common builders of the same spiritual house of God established by the Lord Jesus Christ. God says our works will be placed into the fire (Spirit of God) and what remains will be what we are rewarded for. What we see being developed here is that the Holy Spirit was given to us in the church in Acts 2 to help us produce these good works that will last. This corresponds with our ability (power) to become witnesses for God from Acts 1:8. If you have never been baptized with the Holy Spirit since you have become a Christian, how can you expect to do any lasting good works without His direct guidance and assistance? That is one of the main problems with carnal Christians today. They are trying to do good works in their own human efforts apart from God and God says these will be consumed with fire leaving no eternal rewards. That is a major problem for some. Let’s see another verse statement from Jesus about works:
Mat 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
According to this verse Jesus is expecting good works from the church. God says for us to let our light shine so that our good works may be seen before the nations and these works should bring glory to God (and not us). Here is still the problem, doing some good works is not necessarily doing God’s works. How would you define good works? It is a very relative term that can be viewed from many different perspectives. What is good to you may or may not be what is good to God. We must go to the Word of God in order to determine the definition for good works. Bill Gates gives large sums of money to help fight disease in world countries. Is that the good works of God? Or will those works be burned up and not remain? I do not know if Bill Gates is a Christian but I can observe who gets the praise and glory for his works and it is not the nations glorifying God that I can see. I think I have spent enough time in this lesson on the subject of God’s fire and your works. I tried to introduce you to something new to think about in this lesson and I believe that I opened the door for a lot more study on these subjects later. Let’s get back to Acts 2 and continue with verse 3.
Act 2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
Notice in verse 3 of Acts 2 that this Spirit of God sat upon them and did not enter into them. This is further confirmation that matches what Jesus said will happen to them in Acts 1. This is technically a new very complex subject since the Spirit that “sat upon them” is from a relative unstated perspective that can be adjusted depending upon application or definition of who “them” is describing. The Greek word translated as “sat” is very literal and it is used many times in the Bible when someone would sit on the ground or in a chair, seat or a throne. This act of sitting is of course symbolic for another greater spiritual truth. Jesus is described in the Bible as being seated on the throne in heaven. This denotes a position of rest and power. The Bible says God waits for His enemies to be made his footstool (Heb 10:13). The preceding verse in Hebrew 10:12 again states that Jesus is seated and uses the same Greek word (G2523) that was used in Acts 2:3. Therefore God is connecting the verses together to inform and teach you something new. If God sits upon you what is the symbolic message given? God is stating that we are now His kingdom where He reigns. Jesus is now seated in heaven, but His Spirit is now seated upon us. Do you understand that message?
Let’s do a quick review of the human triune make-up of a man/woman. A man was created as a spirit being that has a soul that lives in a physical body. We understand this concept from many verses in the Bible, but one is from Genesis 2:7 where God forms the body of the man Adam from the dust of the ground to be the physical container and then God breathes His Spirit into his nostrils to cause his body and soul to become alive. That single verse mentions all three human component parts of a created man. Now using that information if God sat upon a man, what part of the man did God sit down on? According to the Bible we know that God is a Spirit (John 4:24). Therefore, God is not flesh, even though God became flesh in the man Jesus Christ (John 1:1-14). However, flesh Jesus is now seated on the throne in heaven and is not physically present on the earth at this time. So Jesus is not physically sitting upon me today and has never sat upon anyone in the Gospels. That only leaves the Holy Spirit as a possible candidate for who sat upon me when I was baptized and that actually matches the scriptures that we have been studying precisely. This spiritual baptism is performed by the Holy Spirit in the unseen spiritual realm. Therefore the Spirit of God is the entity that sits upon us and we must define where this occurs more completely.
If the Spirit of God sits upon the triune designed human being, where exactly does He sit? Was it externally upon the flesh container, internally on the intermediate mind/soul layer, or deeper inside upon the core of the human spirit of the man/woman? I will tell you plainly that it was upon our spirit. The carnal flesh is a temporary dwelling place holder for the eternal spirit and soul and the current body will not be saved. It would make little sense to me for God to sit upon our flesh if your spirit does not gain any benefit being inside the flesh. Understand and apply the symbolism given, if God is sitting upon your flesh then God is now in control of your flesh and you should know from you own physical actions that this is not true. What you do in the flesh is still your personal responsibility. Do you understand that? I could give you a lot of Bible verses to confirm that statement but let’s move on for now. This is also why Christians can be entered and attacked by demons in their flesh.
The human mind/soul is an internal intermediate component placed between our external body and our internal spirit that we are commanded by God to renew (Rom 12:2). Therefore the mind is mostly a thought realm designed for human management. I do not see any logical reason for the Holy Spirit to sit upon our thoughts it would make God the ruler of our mind and that will conflict with Romans 12:2. God is not a mind, God is not a thought, God is still a Spirit and therefore the soul of man does not fit where God is ruling either. That only leaves the inner eternal spirit of man as the only other possible location for the Spirit of God to be sitting upon and ruling. I therefore have concluded that the Spirit of God now sits between the internal core spirit, soul and the external human flesh. In order to understand these spiritual concepts we are going to have to stop thinking naturally. Jesus stated something very important that should be included in this discussion of where God is located in a human.
Luk 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
Jesus reveals to us new spiritual information from a human perspective where the kingdom of God is now located. Jesus said if you are looking externally for God’s kingdom you are searching for Him in the wrong place. God is now inside of us living in our spirits seated upon our spirits if you have been baptized with the Spirit of God. Your spirit is the location for the eternal kingdom of God. I found another very important verse that is also very relevant to this discussion of where the Holy Spirit sits during the spiritual baptism and I want to introduce you to what it says right here:
Gal 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Keep in mind what water baptism is. Water baptism was the body putting on and wearing water externally. Therefore, this spiritual baptism of the Holy Spirit would be of the same type but internally within us by us “putting on” Christ. Wow, did you see what that verse says and how it fits precisely with our study at this point of the lesson? If you are putting on Christ in baptism as this verse states what does that literally mean? Let’s examine the definition of the Greek word translated as “put on”. This Greek word is the Strong’s number G1476 and it means to “invest in clothing” or “to sink into a garment”. Did you hear that? What happened to you when you were water baptized? When you were water baptized you sank into and under the water and put on the water externally as your clothing or covering. That is what is being described to us in this verse precisely. Keep in mind what the people in the Bible wore predominantly. They walked around in robes that went from the shoulders to the ground. These garments were slipped into and then worn externally as a covering. That is what is being described by this verse.
We have been baptized into the Spirit of Christ Jesus and now wear Him as our robe of righteousness. That is a very great profound truth presented to us in the Bible. To be baptized into Christ in this verse is clearly not a natural water experience. But, the natural water experience describes the unseen spiritual experience that we can now understand more clearly. Therefore water baptism further defines the spiritual experience to help us understand what is taking place internally in the unseen spiritual man. I really hope and pray that you are getting these concepts built into your spiritual understanding on what God is doing. Are you wearing Christ today? Have you been baptized into Christ today? If you haven’t ever spoken in tongues before, I can tell that you are not and have not and thus your spirit is walking around naked.
I hesitate to tell you about my personal experiences, but I believe that this will be a benefit to some. You should never base your faith on the experience of a man, but should only learn to believe what the Word of God says and expect that to be what you experience. My personal experience of the Holy Ghost baptism was based upon what we have just read about in all of these preceding verses. Therefore I have scriptures to back what I am about to tell you that happened to me. I spent my early Christian life powerless and I tried to do things in life in my own power. I quickly found out that life was getting out of my control and that I needed help from God. I had grown up with people speaking in tongues all of my life in church. God tried to get me to receive at a church camp one year and I was really close but resisted out of ignorance. When I finally came to the end of myself, I asked God to fill me with the Holy Spirit. I started listening to cassette tapes on the subject of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and how to receive the gift. I prayed and sought God for several days. One night going to bed with my wife I was laying in her arms with her hands on me and I felt the strangest new sensation. Something (God) new inside of me became like a river that was overflowing and it came out from my belly in the form of words that I had never learned or spoken before. You see I did not know that my wife had received this gift a short time before me. She did not tell me about it or say anything to me about it. The Spirit of God had been working to answer my prayer a long time before I even knew it. God had led my wife to two Christian ladies and they prayed for her and she received the gift of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues.
After I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues, the Spirit of God manifested inside of my body in the form of tangible perceptible heat, fire like a spiritual flame. In the center of my chest region I could sometimes feel this heat or flame of the Holy Ghost fire so strong that it was distracting to the extreme. At this time I can only conclude that I needed this natural experience to teach me about what was occurring spiritually since I hardly understood any of these scriptures at all. Before I was baptized in the Holy Ghost I understood barely anything of the entire Bible. After the Holy Spirit came upon me and I felt this internal spiritual flame inside of me I started seeing new things in the Bible that I had never seen before. This experience of God changed me more than anything else that I have ever experienced from God. Do not misunderstand what I just said. Being born again was the first most important factor for my eternal security, but without the second baptism experience of the Holy Spirit I would not have had the power or ability to teach you about either of them.
I cannot guarantee you that God will do for you exactly what and how He did it for and to me since I’m not God. I can guarantee you based upon His word that He will come upon you if you ask Him and that you will speak in tongues when He does this. I do not know if everyone feels the flame of fire like I did or if I was a unique case. If you would like to tell me about your experience, I would be glad to learn about it and how it was either similar or different than my experience that I just shared with you. I have felt this fire in my chest now for well over 20 years and still do on many occasions like right now as I type. I value the manifested presence of the Spirit of God inside of me and I know you will also if you ask Him to clothe your spirit with His Spirit.
We have been going through a lot of new spiritual information on these subjects using many of the verses that I have already touched on in the first lesson along with some new verses that were not found in the first lesson. I hope that you are following why I am doing this to teach what the Bible says. But, here now is one of the key verses that I was working up to for you to see today:
Act 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
The Bible says that “they” were “all” what? God says they were “filled” with the Holy Ghost and that is the brand new keyword phrasing that we will need to grasp, fully, understand and add to our search list of topics to study. Normally when we think of something being filled we think of the natural concept of an empty pitcher or a cup that we can pour water into until it overflows. When the formerly empty pitcher or cup overflows we know that it has been filled to capacity. It is the same principle when putting gas into your car. You do not technically know that it is actually full until it spills out and you cannot put any more into the tank. Here is where we begin to get into new complex aspect of the baptism subject using a brand new perspective and description of a fresh creative process of the Spirit of God. Keep in mind that this is just a new perspective to the same subject of external baptism that we have previously looked at. If water baptism is an outward immersion and not the internal filling how can we resolve that definition and balance it with what we are observing with this statement of being “filled” to overflowing. Can you see the potential conflict and paradox that is being presented? We need to ask God a really deep question right about now. How can the Spirit of God both sit upon us and fill us at the same time? Wow, I think this is going to be tough to explain and probably harder for some to understand.
I’m going to ask you to think again and try to visualize and answer this question, how can you fill something and sit on something simultaneously? The only way that this is logically possible is when what you are filling and what you sitting upon are two different things. Think of it this way. What if you had a pitcher container within another pitcher container? Could you fill one outer pitcher container while sitting upon the other inner pitcher container? Let me ask you to think of your body as being one outer container with your mind being another in between container and finally your spirit being the inner-most container. Earlier I described your body not being alive until the inner spirit container has been occupied by your spirit. But, using this analogy we must also consider your mind as an empty container which would be void of knowledge until information is placed in it either good or bad. I can also see where each container compartment can be filled separately and not effect the other. Ok, I warned you that this was going to get deep.
Using my analogy of multiple levels of containers within containers I can see where Satan can attack a human at potentially three levels of human existence. Physical attacks of Satan may occur with manifestations of sickness and disease and this will be the outer level of his oppressive attack realm. The mind is a secondary level and he can cause you mental illness here in this realm or simply cause people not to be able to see the truth using vain imaginations and contrary or opposing thoughts against the Word of God. Now spiritual possession would be the utmost control of an individual. This level of control is not possible for Christians since our spirits are the dwelling place for the Spirit of God. You see in the Bible God says “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 Jn 4:4). Did you notice that God says I’m in you here and that this is different than being upon you in Acts 2? Did you also notice that God says I’m not in those that are in the world and someone else is? This someone else is the devil. Let me try to clarify some of these statements using more verses in the Bible.
1Co 6:17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.
Here we have a statement of unity that occurs between the born again man and God as they become one spirit. If we are “one in spirit” with the Lord God then no devil can enter into our spirit to dwell also. Spiritual demon possession is not possible for a real born again Christian. This is also why I said that the in-dwelling of the Spirit of God is not the same thing as the “sitting upon” baptism of the Spirit of God that we are studying. It also helps us to understand why the sitting upon is necessary. We need the power of God to help us in both the soul and physical body arenas. This does not mean that we cannot be attacked in our mind or our body, but again greater is He that is in us that he that is in the world. We draw upon the God that is inside of us and rest in His ability to deliver us. Since we are now on the subject of being “filled” with the Spirit of God I want to tell you that this act of filling is nothing new just occuring in the church age. We have already observed where John the Baptist was filled from his mother’s womb with the Spirit of God. So being filled is not the new part for the church, the speaking in tongues is the only new part that was never given before and we will talk about that more as we go. Let’s go to the Old Testament and see more men filled with the Spirit of God and what occurred when this happened to them:
Exo 28:3 And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
These are types and shadows of what was coming to the church. These were said to be wise hearted men filled with the Spirit of God. What does that mean? It means that God gave them an ability that they did not previously possess. It means that God’s Spirit sitting within them was able to give their mind and their bodies’ supernatural power to accomplish the plan of God. Remember that none of these men are born again with the Spirit of God living in their spirits (one spirit) like the church. Wisdom is a form of knowledge application that produces great or positive results in the world. I am describing a mental process that allowed these people in the O.T. an ability that they could not have achieved without God’s direct help. We can see that the Spirit of God gave to them knowledge, understanding and wisdom to create things in this world with their hands in work and labor. Wow, I think we are tying up many of the loose ends that I have left hanging today in this lesson. We are beginning to see why the Spirit of God desires to baptize us. Can you see it? Let me give you another O.T. verse that helps to confirm my point:
Exo 31:3 And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,
God again says this, but much more directly in this statement. God says they have been given knowledge, understanding and wisdom by the Spirit of God for all manner of work. Wow, again and double wow! God is saying it is my Spirit that will help you to do good works on the earth. Apply these Old Testament examples and extend the pattern into the New Testament church. Take these natural abilities and make them spiritual abilities. God is saying it is His provided knowledge that we require. It is His provided understanding that we must possess. Then God says it is His provided wisdom that will allow us to become the good workers, laborers and witnesses to every nation.
I have gone very long in this lesson and I believe I need to wrap it up here. I pray that you are grasping the concepts. I believe the Spirit of God gave me this message for you and that Satan is not very happy with me doing it. I think I will end with a synopsis of the Acts 2 concepts that I just went through.
- The Baptism of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament was an event that had never taken place at anytime previously in Biblical or human history.
- As stated before this spiritual baptism was given to the church by God to be the fulfillment of the promise that He made to His new covenant people.
- The Baptism of the Spirit of God was sent down from heaven by Jesus after His ascension into heaven.
- The first recorded occurrence of divine Spiritual baptism in the church age was described in Acts chapter 2. But also this was not the last.
- This experience was described by God as cloven tongues of fire that sat upon each of them.
- God’s spiritual baptism is the outpouring of His supernatural spiritual rain called the fire from heaven.
- God’s fire was given to the church to help us to eliminate and overcome the works of the flesh and teach us how to do the good spiritual works of God.
- The experience was given to the entire church for the corporate benefit of the whole body of Christ to achieve a greater purpose of God’s plan.
- Being filled with the Spirit of God is the same as being baptized with the Spirit of God they are just two different names, perspectives and views of the same event.
I know I said more than those few points, but you can go back and reread it again to get more out of it. Thank you for reading and studying the Bible. We will explore more of God’s word in the future. Keep us in your prayers and be blessed in all the works of your hands as the Spirit of God fills you with the Spirit of Wisdom.
Posted on August 4, 2012, in Bible Study, Spirituality, Understanding and tagged Being Led, Bible, Christianity, Church, God, Holy Spirit, Spirituality, Truth, understanding. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.