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Bible Prophecy





by Jacques More

Baptism in the Holy Spirit was first mentioned by John the Baptist.

I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me . . . He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit . . .

Matthew 3:11 KJV

He was comparing what Jesus would do to his own activity of baptising people in water following repentance.

Jesus we know was conceived by the Holy Spirit and was therefore already born in the Spirit as it were. But, before his ministry began he needed to receive the Holy Spirit in a deeper fulfilling measure. This happened to him after John the Baptist baptized him in water. Following this event, as Jesus prayed the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, came down and alighted on him (Luke 3:21-22). After this event and a testing time in the wilderness he returned in the power of the Spirit (Luke 4:14). Then, later, but before Jesus ascended to heaven, following his death and resurrection, he told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem so that they in turn would be filled with this power from the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49).

Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.

Luke 24:49


If baptism in the Holy Spirit is the act of 'rebirth', as the act of becoming a Christian is often described, than why did Jesus need to receive the Holy Spirit when he was already born of the Holy Spirit?


Jesus clearly said to his disciples that the Holy Spirit was with them but not yet in them (John 14:17). They were already his followers (i.e. Christians), but not yet in reception of the Holy Spirit. He later said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit' at the same time as breathing on them (John 20:22), but we know that they had not yet received the power from on high as he had, and they were told to wait in Jerusalem for this (Luke 24:49). Luke was also the writer of Acts and went on to say that at Pentecost, the disciples who waited were all filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4).

So, we can conclude from this that receiving the Holy Spirit is different than His being with you. And His being in you (receiving Him) is different to being filled with Him. Just as Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:1) after receiving the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:22) after being born of the Spirit (Luke 1:35, Matthew 1:18,20).

And the experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit is a continuous sought after experience. It was experienced a second time (for example) to many of those in the group at Pentecost on a second occasion (Acts 4:31). It is also recommended by Paul that Christians be-being filled with the Holy Spirit (the tense is the present continuous) in Ephesians 5:18. However for fear of splitting too many hairs, it is understood in the text that the experience at Pentecost for the majority was not just their first 'filling with the Holy Spirit', but their first reception of Him (even though as we have seen He was already with them as believers, just as He was with Jesus from birth). We can see this because Peter in talking about the experience of the day, mentioned clearly that his hearers could equally 'receive the gift of the Holy Spirit' following repentance and belief in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). In other words, after your conversion, you are then able to receive the Holy Spirit.

Which is no wonder that Peter and Paul aware of this separate experience go on to encourage others to partake in it following conversion (i.e. Receiving the Holy Spirit occurs after conversion in general as opposed to being concurrent with it) Acts 8:14-17, Acts 19:1-6.

So, Christians are temples of the Holy Spirit, but are not necessarily in receipt of Him until He is welcomed in by prayer or laying on of hands. Following this, spiritual exercise causes us to be filled with Him just as Jesus was (following his time of prayer and fasting in the wilderness after the initial receipt of the Holy Spirit at his baptism). Which is something also shown by the context of the commendation to 'be filled with the Spirit' by Paul in Ephesians. He goes on to mention the things that enable us to be filled: 'speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord...' (Ephesians 5:19 KJV). Spiritual activity of this kind enables us to go on being filled with the Holy Spirit.

Now, it is readily recognised that believers 'were all baptised into one body' and that 'if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ he is not His' (1 Corinthians 12:13 and Romans 8:9). And just as these verses are true for every believer they were true for every one of the disciples. The Holy Spirit had given them 'repentance unto life' and was 'with them' as well as having made their bodies His temple and 'had baptised them into one body' before Pentecost. They must have had 'the Spirit of Christ' or they could not have been His.

Yet, prior to Pentecost, as John 7:39 mentions, 'the Holy Spirit was not yet given' and they were not 'baptised with the Holy Spirit' (Acts 1:5) until 'the day of Pentecost had fully come' (Acts 2:1). So, as with all believers following conversion, they had 'the Spirit of Christ', 'the Holy Spirit was with them', 'they were baptised into one body', 'their bodies were His temple' but they did not experience the baptism of the Holy Spirit until Pentecost (as we saw earlier, described as 'receiving the Holy Spirit' from that day on) . Just like the believers at Samaria had been full converts to Christ but had not yet received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14-18).

It is sometimes argued that just because there are no particular teachings about 'the baptism in the Holy Spirit' in the letters following the book of Acts, it could not have been something of importance or value to continue in the Church today. This is saying that the prime purpose of the epistles was to instruct the Church as a complete manual of instruction until the Lord's Return. Whilst instead, the letters were mostly as instructions and responses to the needs existing at the time. They are complimentary to the gospels, the book of Acts and the Old Testament. What is not mentioned in them is what was understood already and no further instruction was therefore required.

Another argument heard is that the teachings around the 'baptism in the Holy Spirit' are based on experiences and not on what is written in the Word of God. I believe that I have shown that this is not so and would go further to say that the opposite is true: those who speak against it do so out of their lack of experience of this event rather than what the Bible says.

So, using Paul's own words I ask: 'Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?' (Acts 19:2) If you have not, then ask the Lord directly or seek out a believer whom you know has already done so. They will then pray with you or they may even lay hands on you so you too may have this 'power from on high'.

Related topic Speaking in Tongues.

Unless otherwise stated Bible quotes are from the New King James Version

© copyright Thomas Nelson Inc. 1979,1980,1982.

© copyright Jacques More 2001. All Rights Reserved.


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