Doctrine of Christ

The Baptism with the Holy Ghost

The Third of the Seven Baptisms
By: Eldon McNabb

"The Promise of The Father"

The ancient prophets and the close friends of our Lord agree that the great promise of God was to be a special outpouring of the Holy Ghost. Isaiah records it thus, "I will pour My Spirit upon thy seed, and My blessing upon thine offspring." (Isa. 44:3) Ezekiel wrote, "I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes." (Ezek. 36:26,27) And Jesus said in John 14:17, "Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." The baptism with the Holy Ghost was and is the promise of God, but it is given only to those who have already let God change their hearts.

John the Baptist declared, "I indeed baptize you with water, but He that cometh after me shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire." (Matt. 3:11) When that time came, Jesus said, "I send the promise of My Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high." (Luke 24:49) In John 7:37-39, Jesus said, "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, 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 not yet given.)" (See also Acts 1:4,5; Acts 2:38,39)

The Holy Ghost has many works and functions. We will talk about five important ones here: 1) The Revealing of The Whole Counsel of God, 2) Assistance In Prayer, 3) Giving of Other Gifts, 4) The Sign, 5) The Fire.

1) The Revealing of The Whole Counsel of God: "When He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come." (John 16:13)

In 1 Cor. 14:21, Paul quoted Isa. 28:11 as a prophecy of the Holy Ghost baptism. That passage plainly shows that the knowledge and righteous doctrine of God would be revealed in a people who speak with the tongues of men and of angels. Let's look at a more complete quote here. "Whom shall He teach knowledge? and whom shall He make to understand doctrine? Them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: For with stammering lips and another tongue will He speak to this people." (Isa. 28:9-11)

Paul also said, "We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory. God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God. We have received the Spirit of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth." (1 Cor. 2:7-13)

In his epistle to the Church at Ephesus Paul is equally plain. "To the intent that now, unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places, might be known by The Church the manifold wisdom of God; according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Eph. 3:10,11)

2) Assistance In Prayer: "The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of The Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God." (Rom. 8:26,27)

"He that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit, in The Spirit he speaketh mysteries. He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself. If I pray in an unknown tongue my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful." (1 Cor. 14:2-4,14)

As we give ourselves in prayer, the Holy Ghost begins to inspire us with words to speak. We may understand what the Spirit is saying, and we may not. Whichever is the case, we should always use discretion as to when and where we pray or sing in the Spirit. (1 Cor. 14:12-20,22,27,28,39,40)

3) Giving of Other Gifts: There are many other gifts which operate by of the power of this baptism. They are enumerated in Rom. 12:3-8; 1 Cor. 12:4-10,28-31, and Eph. 4:11. They include ministerial prowess and supernatural manifestations such as the gifts of tongues, miracles, prophesying, etc.

"Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. All these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will." (1 Cor. 12:4,11) "God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to His own will." (Heb. 2:4)

4) The Sign: "Tongues are for a sign." In 1 Cor. 14:22, Paul said, "This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear." (Acts 2:32,33. See again Isa. 28:9-11) What you see is people rejoicing and cavorting as if they had drunk too much alcohol. What you hear is the same people speaking with the tongues of men and of angels, and prophesying.

We find this manifestation with everyone who was mentioned in the scriptures as having been baptized with the Holy Ghost. These examples include Acts 2:4; those in Samaria in Acts 8:14-18; Paul and others at Corinth in 1 Cor. 14:14-18; Cornelius and others in Acts 10:44-46, and the former disciples of John in Acts 19:1-6.

5) The Fire: It is this utterance by the unction of the Holy Ghost that is the fire. As he said, "Cloven tongues like as of fire sat upon each of them, and they began to speak with other tongues." James gave credence to this fact, for he said, "The tongue is a fire." (James 3:6)

Men everywhere fight this manifestation; preferring that we simply "let our light shine." When Stephen spoke, being "full of the Holy Ghost," they stoned him to death. They are still trying to put out the fire today.

It was only at the initial outpouring of the Holy Ghost that God gave the supernatural manifestation of tongues of fire. He did so to show that when His servants would speak, by the Spirit, with the tongues of men and of angels, and also prophesy in their own language, those words would burn as a fire to bless or to condemn. That manifestation was not there when the saints at Ephesus received the Holy Ghost. But the fire was there, for we are told that "The Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues and prophesied."

Peter said, "The promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." Acts 2:39. So The Promise, with all its visible manifestations, was not a promise to the Jews only, nor was it for some other select group of believers. It is a blessing to be desired and received by every person who is called of God in this age of Grace.

The only requirement that God makes is that we be sanctified, and that we desire with all our hearts to be baptized with the Holy Ghost. As Jesus said, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." (Matt. 5:6)

"If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him." (Luke 11:13.)

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