of the Occult Invasion
What Does the Bible Say?
What happened at Pentecost?
— When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and they sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
The Day of Pentecost
was a most notable one in the history of the Church. It indicated that:
1. Our Redeemer had appeared in the presence of God for us, as our great High Priest.
2. He had offered before the Father the merits of his sacrifice, finished at Calvary fifty days previously.
3. The Father had accepted the sacrifice fully.
4. The apostles and believers who had accepted Jesus and were desirous of approaching the Father and becoming sons of God (John 1:12) were now recognized as such. The holy Spirit testified their acceptance into the family of God.
It was appropriate that so important a matter should be clearly demonstrated. It was not only important that the apostles and believers should receive the holy Spirit of divine favor in their hearts, but that they should have an outward manifestation. This would be a satisfactory proof, not only to themselves but to all subsequent believers, that God had fully accepted the Church as sons and joint heirs with Christ.
Three Baptisms of the Holy Spirit
The Scriptures mention only three baptisms of the holy Spirit. The necessity for each of these, and for no more, is manifest the three being parts or divisions of the one baptism.
(1) The baptism of our Lord Jesus.
Not only was
our Lord’s baptism of the holy Spirit necessary to himself, that he might be a partaker of the divine power; as the divine agent, and as the earnest of his inheritance, his begetting to the divine nature; but it was proper also that there should be such an outward manifestation or recognition of him as would permit others to know him as God’s Anointed. The manifestation was that of a dove descending and lighting upon him. John the Baptist alone witnessed the descent of the Spirit upon our Lord. The dove, the emblem of peace and purity, fitly represented the fulness of Jehovah’s spirit of love in Jesus.
(2) The baptism at Pentecost.
The baptism of the Church at Pentecost was to be done by Christ, “he which baptizeth with the holy Spirit.” Peter confirms this, as we have seen, declaring that Christ did shed forth his holy Spirit. The rushing wind filling the place, and the “cloven tongues of flame” which “sat on each of them” (probably the eleven apostles only designating them as the Lord’s special representatives and the holy Spirit’s mouthpieces see verse 14), were not the holy Spirit, but merely manifestations to their senses representing the invisible. The cloven tongues fitly represented the mission of the apostles to be, under the holy Spirit, to testify as “witnesses.” Acts 2:32; 3:15; 5:32; 10:39,41; 13:31.
(3) The baptism of Cornelius,
the first Gentile convert accepted as a “son.”
A special manifestation of the divine power in connection with the acceptance of Cornelius, the first Gentile convert, was necessary. Hitherto, Gentiles had been outcasts, unacceptable to God even as servants. Consequently, it would not occur to the Jewish believers that the Gentiles would be accepted into the high position of sons of God, unless some pointed manifestation of divine favor to that effect were granted.
Aside from these three baptisms of the holy Spirit there is no other reference to the subject in the Scriptures.
The thought of many of the Lord’s people, that they must expect, labor for and pray for another or repeated baptisms of the holy Spirit is unwarranted and unnecessary. The one baptism at Pentecost, supplemented by that upon Cornelius, fills every requirement.
Those baptisms came not merely upon the individuals who enjoyed the blessing, but representatively were for and upon the Church, the Body of Christ, as a whole.
The fact that this representative work for the Church was made in two parts is only in harmony with our Lord’s statement on the subject to Peter.
(1) Upon the first Jewish believers at Pentecost, and
(2) Upon the first Gentile believers in the house of Cornelius.
Two Keys — Two Doors
Jesus said to Peter, “I will give unto thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matt. 16:19) A key signifies power to unlock or to open. Keys in the plural implies that more than one door was to be opened. There were just two doors and just two keys. Apostle Peter used both keys doing the opening work to both Jews and Gentiles, as the Lord had predicted.
(1) Peter used the first key at Pentecost, where he was the first, chief, principal speaker, who introduced the new dispensation of the Spirit to the three thousand who at once believed and entered the door.(`Acts 2:37 41)
(2) Again, when the due time had come for the Gospel to be preached to the Gentiles, the Lord, in accordance with his choice, sent Peter to do this work, telling Cornelius to send for Peter, and telling Peter to go to Cornelius, and to speak the words of the Gospel to him and his household. On this occasion
Peter used the second key, opening the Gospel door before the
Gentiles, God witnessing to the fact by the miraculous manifestations of his holy Spirit upon Cornelius and the other consecrated believers from among the Gentiles with him.
The proper thought respecting the baptism of the holy Spirit is that of an outpouring, a shedding forth. It is so complete (covering every member of the body) as to be properly designated an immersion, or “baptism.” This same baptism continues upon the
Church down through the age covering, permeating, sanctifying, blessing, anointing, from then until now, each one who comes into the anointed “body.” And this will continue until the last member has been received and fully anointed.
What does it mean to be “filled” with the spirit?
The promise of being “filled with the Spirit” or mind of God is not to those who merely possess the Word of God, nor to those who merely read the Word of God, but
is to those who search it earnestly seeking to understand it and are anxious to obey it. If we would be filled with the Spirit of God, we must drink deeply of the fountain of Truth his Word. Since our earthen vessels are imperfect, it is easy to let spiritual things slip (Heb. 2:1); in which case the spirit of the world, which surrounds us constantly, quickly rushes in to fill the vacuum. Indeed, there is a constant pressure of the spirit of the world upon the Lord’s people, tending to displace the Spirit or disposition of holiness. Therefore all of the Lord’s faithful are to live very close to the fountain of Truth, the lord, and very close to his Word.
Although a knowledge of the Scriptures is important, essential to the possession of the Spirit of the truth, nevertheless, one might have much knowledge of the word of God without having any of its Spirit. To receive the Spirit of the Truth is to come into heart harmony with the truth, to come into mental accord and cooperation with the Divine will expressed in the Word.
This condition can be attained in one way only: by first accepting the Lord Jesus as our Redeemer and Justifier, and secondly, consecrating ourselves unreservedly to seek to know and to do his will.
This “Spirit of the Truth” or “holy Spirit” or mind in harmony with God and His righteousness should not be confounded with the
“gifts of the Spirit,” nor with the “fruits of the Spirit,” though its possession always yields the latter, “the peaceable fruits of righteousness,” meekness, patience, gentleness, brotherly kindness, love.
The Spirit of the Truth must be ours before it can produce such fruits in our daily lives.
In some the period of developing mature fruits is longer than with others. Each should remember our Lord’s words, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit so shall ye be my disciples.”
Evidences of Our Acceptance by the Father
The begetting of the Holy Spirit in the early church was indicated by certain miraculous gifts, but
this was for a special purpose in connection with the establishment of the Church.
As Paul pointed out, those gifts were intended to pass away. (I Cor. 13:8.) They were given by the “laying on of the hands of the apostles.” (Acts 8:18.)
Hence after the death of the apostles these gifts were not bestowed upon any. And when those who had received the gifts died, the gifts themselves ceased thus passed away.
But instead of the gifts came the fruits of the Spirit as evidences or proofs of acceptance by the Lord and induction as members or branches of the Vine.
What are the Gifts of the Spirit? Who Had Them?
1 Cor. 12:4 11
— There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit, as there are differences of administration, but the same Lord; there are divers operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But a manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man [in the Church] to profit withal. For to one is given, by the Spirit, the
word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge, by the same Spirit; to another
faith, by the same spirit; to another, the gifts of healing, by the same Spirit; to another, the
working of miracles; to another, prophecy; to another,
discernment of spirits; to another, divers kinds of
tongues; to another, the interpretation of tongues; but all these worketh that one and selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
Here are enumerated some of the gifts given by the holy Spirit to the Church. We are to distinguish sharply between the holy Spirit itself and these gifts or manifestations granted in the early Church. They were not to understand that different spirits were operating in the different members of the Church, because of the differences of their gifts. All were to be identified as of the one holy influence shed forth by the one Lord and to be explained as “differences of administration,” or of operation. Not only so, but the Spirit of God, the holy Spirit, has varied its administration in the Church. Whereas “gifts” of the kind here mentioned were
general in the early Church, but the day came when prophecy would fail, tongues would cease, and special inspirations of knowledge would vanish away. (1 Cor. 13:8)
All of these “gifts” were evidently necessary at the inauguration of the Church, at the start of the new age, but became unnecessary after the Church had been established and the canon of the inspired writings had been completed. These are sufficient,”that the man of God may be thoroughly furnished unto allgood works.” 2 Tim. 3:17
God’s people no longer have need of those cruder methods of instruction and proofs of their acceptance with the Lord. Now, instead of having such gifts miraculously bestowed, the operation of God’s Spirit or power is upon each of his consecrated people partly in proportion to their natural qualifications, and partly in proportion to their zeal for his service. We find that the apostle, in this connection in later epistles, incites the Church to seek to develop spiritual gifts, powers, abilities, in and for the service of the Lord and his people and his Truth.
The Apostle points out that the speaking with tongues was merely for “a sign,” that the attention of the unbelievers might be drawn to the Church and her methods.(1 Cor. 14:22) This gift, therefore, which was highly esteemed by some of the Corinthians, he points out as being one of the least spiritual adapted less to the development of the spiritual Church, and chiefly useful in connection with the unregenerate world. This gift, and others of a somewhat similar class, quickly disappeared from the church after she had obtained a footing, and a recognition in the world.
On the contrary, the
“fruits of the Spirit” are to be encouraged, to be cultivated more and more, that they may yield the full, perfect fruitage of love to God, to each other, and the love of sympathy toward the world. These fruits of the Spirit are designated by the Apostle to be “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” (Gal. 5:22,23) The word “fruit,” it will be noticed, conveys a double thought, that it is a gift, but of gradual development and maturity, and the result of labor.
Has not the “gift” of healing been in possession
of the Church ever since Pentecost?
No. The gift of healing possessed by some members of the early Church was totally different from the healings of today.
The Apostles in exercising this gift did not practice “mental healing,” nor even “prayer healing.”
For example, the lame man healed in Acts 3:1-11. Peter and John did not kneel down and pray with the man, nor did they get him to fix his attention as “mind healers” would. They gave him no medicine, used no oil, nor did they even require the man to believe in Jesus first, nor to have faith in their power to heal him. While he looked at the apostles expecting to receive some money, Peter took him by the hand and lifted him up, saying, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” Immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength, and he stood and walked. This is an illustration of the use of the gift of healing.
The power of conferring those gifts was vested in the apostles, and in them only. None others in their day or since have been able to confer those gifts which Paul describes. The gifts did “vanish away” when the apostles died. By that time the Church had been brought prominently before the attention of the world. Therefore, those miraculous gifts were not necessary for that purpose. By that time, too, they began to have the New Testament and parts of the Old Testament in the possession of each congregation, so that coming together they could edify, instruct and build one another up with the truth from those inspired sources. They no longer required the miraculous gifts for their edification and instruction.
That only the apostles could confer those gifts is proven first, by the fact that the claimed successors of the apostles cannot communicate them since, and second, by the cases recorded which show that none except the apostles ever did have the power to bestow those gifts. Though Philip, the evangelist, possessed gifts, preached and baptized, yet he was not able to bestow gifts of the holy Spirit upon others. When a necessity arose for their impartation, Apostles Peter and John were sent from Jerusalem. Also, Simon Magus, although one of the baptized and evidently one of those granted a gift, had no power to bestow gifts upon
others. It was this apostolic privilege of bestowing these gifts upon others, which Simon wanted to purchase with money, and for which he was so sharply reproved. Acts 8:13 20.
Joel’s prophecy is stated in the reverse order of its fulfillment. The blessing of all flesh is stated first and the blessing on the Church last. During the Christian age the Lord has poured out his Spirit on his servants and handmaidens only. Apostle Peter referred to this at Pentecost, quoting both parts of the prophecy. Under the guidance of the holy Spirit, he did not expound upon the first part because it was not yet time to be understood.
Instead of explaining the difference between the Spirit upon the servants and handmaidens during this age
(“in those days”) and the Spirit upon all flesh “afterward” in the next age, Peter merely says, referring to the holy Spirit upon himself and other believers, “This is that which was spoken by the Prophet Joel,” the beginning of that which was spoken. It will not be completed until the pouring out of the Spirit upon all flesh, in the future.
Through Joel the Lord declares the ultimate pouring out of the Divine blessing, the holy Spirit,
upon all flesh; but he informs us that it will be “after those days.” Ever since Pentecost the holy Spirit has been for the servants and handmaidens of the Lord and for no others. It cannot reach the others, the world of mankind in general, until “after those days.”
The same outpouring of the holy Spirit upon fleshly Israel is referred to by the Prophet Zechariah referring to the end of this age. Explaining how the Lord would at his second advent make himself known to Israel, when they would look upon him whom they pierced and mourn for him, the explicit statement is, “I will pour upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and of supplication.” Zech. 12:10.
The spirit of the Lord, the holy Spirit, is the spirit of the truth. When the truth shall be made known to Israel and all men, with that truth will go its spirit, its influence, and its power to correct the heart and life and to bring men into accord with God.