The coming of the kingdom and the baptism of the Holy Spirit

 

 

Perhaps one of the most widely misunderstood teachings in modern times is the teaching of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Just what is the “baptism of the Holy Spirit”? This is the question that must first be asked. And to answer it, we must look to the Bible—the Word of God for the answer.

 

The Background: The Coming of the Kingdom

 

Daniel 2

 

When Christ walked the earth, people where looking for the coming of God’s kingdom. Why? Because it had been prophesied since Old Testament times and the prophesies were nearing their fulfillment. One of the key passages in dealing with the coming of the kingdom is Daniel chapter 2. Daniel was a prophet from the Old Testament. After Israel had gone through a long period of disobedience to God, and just as God had warned through His prophets, He used the Babylonians to discipline Israel for their disobedience by taking the nation captive into Babylon.

 

You need to read and understand Daniel chapter 2 in order to understand the timing of why men were looking for the coming of the kingdom when Jesus was here on earth. This is key. Here Daniel chapter 2 is quoted in its entirety (NIV):

 

Nebuchadnezzar's Dream

 1 In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his mind was troubled and he could not sleep. 2 So the king summoned the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers to tell him what he had dreamed. When they came in and stood before the king, 3 he said to them, "I have had a dream that troubles me and I want to know what it means."

 4 Then the astrologers answered the king in Aramaic, "O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will interpret it."

 5 The king replied to the astrologers, "This is what I have firmly decided: If you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it, I will have you cut into pieces and your houses turned into piles of rubble. 6 But if you tell me the dream and explain it, you will receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. So tell me the dream and interpret it for me."

 7 Once more they replied, "Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will interpret it."

 8 Then the king answered, "I am certain that you are trying to gain time, because you realize that this is what I have firmly decided: 9 If you do not tell me the dream, there is just one penalty for you. You have conspired to tell me misleading and wicked things, hoping the situation will change. So then, tell me the dream, and I will know that you can interpret it for me."

 10 The astrologers answered the king, "There is not a man on earth who can do what the king asks! No king, however great and mighty, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or astrologer. 11 What the king asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among men."

 12 This made the king so angry and furious that he ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon. 13 So the decree was issued to put the wise men to death, and men were sent to look for Daniel and his friends to put them to death.

 14 When Arioch, the commander of the king's guard, had gone out to put to death the wise men of Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact. 15 He asked the king's officer, "Why did the king issue such a harsh decree?" Arioch then explained the matter to Daniel. 16 At this, Daniel went in to the king and asked for time, so that he might interpret the dream for him.

 17 Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 18 He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 19 During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven 20 and said:
       "Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
       wisdom and power are his.

 21 He changes times and seasons;
       he sets up kings and deposes them.
       He gives wisdom to the wise
       and knowledge to the discerning.

 22 He reveals deep and hidden things;
       he knows what lies in darkness,
       and light dwells with him.

 23 I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers:
       You have given me wisdom and power,
       you have made known to me what we asked of you,
       you have made known to us the dream of the king."

Daniel Interprets the Dream

 24 Then Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to execute the wise men of Babylon, and said to him, "Do not execute the wise men of Babylon. Take me to the king, and I will interpret his dream for him."

 25 Arioch took Daniel to the king at once and said, "I have found a man among the exiles from Judah who can tell the king what his dream means."

 26 The king asked Daniel (also called Belteshazzar), "Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it?"

 27 Daniel replied, "No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, 28 but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. Your dream and the visions that passed through your mind as you lay on your bed are these:

 29 "As you were lying there, O king, your mind turned to things to come, and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen. 30 As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than other living men, but so that you, O king, may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind.

 31 "You looked, O king, and there before you stood a large statue—an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. 32 The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. 34 While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.

 36 "This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king. 37 You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; 38 in your hands he has placed mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold.

 39 "After you, another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. 40 Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron—for iron breaks and smashes everything—and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. 41 Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. 42 As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. 43 And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.

 44 "In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. 45 This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands—a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces.
      "The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and the interpretation is trustworthy."

 46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell prostrate before Daniel and paid him honor and ordered that an offering and incense be presented to him. 47 The king said to Daniel, "Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery."

 48 Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men. 49 Moreover, at Daniel's request the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego administrators over the province of Babylon, while Daniel himself remained at the royal court.

 

Now the statue that Daniel saw represented the future and four different kingdoms that would arise. The first kingdom Daniel explained to King Nebuchadnezzar was the Babylonians. “You are that head of gold.” (verse 38). Next was to come another kingdom after the Babylonians. This kingdom was represented by the chest and arms of silver. History teaches us that the empire that arose after the Babylonians was the Medo-Persian Empire. Next, the third kingdom that was to arise was represented by the belly and thighs of bronze. This was the Greek Empire, which was led by Alexander the Great. And finally, the last kingdom was represented by the legs of iron, with its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. This last empire was the Roman Empire - the greatest empire the earth has ever known. Now look at verse 45. This is very important. The scripture teaches that it was “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people.” “In the time of those kings” means during the time of the Roman Empire!

 

 

 

Head of gold  - Babylonian Empire (606-539 BC)

 

 

 

Chest and arms of silver – Medo-Persian Empire (539-331 BC)

 

 

 

Belly and thighs of bronze – Greek Empire (331-30BC)

 

 

 

 

 

Legs of iron, with its feet partly of iron and baked clay – Roman Empire (30BC-397AD)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ok, so this answers the WHEN the kingdom was going to come. It was going to come during the time of the Roman Empire.

 

It also answers by whom.  It will not be of human origin.

“The God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed.”

 

But during the time of the Roman Empire is still pretty broad. So let’s narrow it down a bit.

 

First pieces to the puzzle

When John the baptist preached, he preached that the kingdom of heaven was near. But it was not yet here:

 

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." – Matthew 3:1-2

 

“Near” – not there yet.

 

Jesus preached the same thing:

 

“From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." – Matthew 4:17

 

The kingdom was still not there. Close, but not there yet.

 

When Jesus sent out the disciples to preach he told them, “As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' -- Matthew 10:7

 

"When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, 'The kingdom of God is near you.' But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 'Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.” – Luke 10:8-11

 

Again, the kingdom was still not there. It was getting closer, but it was still yet to come.

 

Next puzzle piece: Someone must die.

"Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who shall not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power." - Mark 9:1

 

“I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God." – Luke 9:27

 

This is a curious statement. Just after Jesus made this remark to his disciples, he was transfigured upon a high mountain where his clothes became dazzling white and Moses and Elijah appeared and spoke with Jesus. A cloud enveloped them and the voice of God spoke from heaven, "This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!"

 

Upon first glance it would appear this is what Jesus was referring to. However, it is only partially what Jesus was referring to. It was not yet complete in entirety because Jesus said, “there are some of those who are standing here who shall not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power." Some who shall not taste death… Flipping this around, there is another way to say it. In other words, there are some who were present that WOULD taste death before the kingdom of God would come with power. In order to make this statement true, at least one of the disciples was going to die before the kingdom of God would come with power. The rest would not die until after they had seen the kingdom come.

 

When Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James, and John, it might appear this was what Jesus was referring to in Mark 9:1. However, none of the disciples had yet died, so this could not be a fulfillment in its entirety. And we will soon see from further passages that the kingdom was still not there even after Jesus was transfigured. So what was the Mount of Transfiguration all about then? This event was to show the disciples WHO was going to be the King of the coming kingdom. The voice of God from heaven very clearly spoke and said, “THIS is my Son, listen to Him!” A kingdom needs a king--and upon the “Mount of Transfiguration”, Jesus was revealed to be the very person who would become its King!

 

While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. – Luke 19:11

 

Luke had written in Luke 9 about the transfiguration of Jesus and the coming kingdom. In Luke 19, after the transfiguration, Luke is still speaking of the kingdom as not having come yet. Its arrival was still being eagerly anticipated.

 

Entering Jerusalem: The Kingdom is still not there

"Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!"

 -- Mark 11:10

Notice this is after the “Mount of Transfiguration” in Mark 9. This is further confirmation that the transfiguration event was not complete fulfillment of Mark 9. The kingdom was still to come. And although Jesus was to be the King of this coming kingdom, the kingdom was still yet to arrive.

 

John 7:38-39

Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

 

The above verse tells us quite plainly that the Spirit will be given after Jesus is glorified.

 

After the crucifixion: The Kingdom is still not there:

It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body. -- Mark 15:42-43

 

Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea and he was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus' body. – Luke 23:50-52

 

Death of an apostle: Another piece falls into place

Matthew records the death of Judas Iscariot:

So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.” Matthew 27:5

 

Luke tells us some more details about the death of Judas:

“With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)  ” – Act 1:18-19

 

(Note: “Hanging” in biblical times was not done with a rope. “Hanging” was a process by which someone was thrust upon a sharp pole, spear, or even sword that was anchored into the ground pointing upwards. See Esther 7, 9:13)

 

The prediction that Jesus made, “Some who are standing here shall not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power…” can now come to pass since at least one of the apostles has died.

 

The kingdom is getting even closer:

 

After Jesus had died for our sins on the cross and God had raised Him from the dead, he met with the disciples one last time before he ascended to heaven before their eyes. The physician, Luke, who wrote both the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts recorded the following event:

 

“Then he said to them, "These are my words which I spoke to you, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled." Then he opened their minds, that they might understand the Scriptures. He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city of Jerusalem until you are clothed with power from on high.” -- Luke 24:44-49

 

“After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." Therefore, when they had come together, they asked him, "Lord, are you now restoring the kingdom to Israel?"  And he said unto them, It is not for you to know times or seasons, which the Father hath set within His own authority. But you shall receive

power at the coming of the Holy Spirit upon you, and you shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” -- Acts 1:3-8

 

Jesus makes it clear to his disciples what John the baptist was talking about when he said:

“I indeed baptize you in water into repentance: but he that comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit and in fire” -- Matthew 3:11

Jesus wanted to be clear that what John was talking about was about to be fulfilled very shortly! Jesus quotes John the baptist and explains the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire will happen “in a few days.”

 

So, putting all this together we find: something very big is about to happen in Jerusalem. And these are the clues we want to look for:

 

 □     In a few days

□     Repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached              

□      In Jesus’ name

□      Starting in Jerusalem

□      To all the nations

□      Apostles will be there

□      Clothed with power from on high

□      Holy Spirit and fire

□      And it will be JESUS who does it

□      Jesus will send the promise of the Father

 

We also know from Matthew 16:13-19 that Christ gave Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven:

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets." "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

 

…so let’s add another bullet point:

  □     Peter involved – “holds the keys”

 

Peter will somehow be instrumentally involved with the points listed. It had been revealed to Peter that Jesus Christ as the Son of God is the “Rock” on which the church would be built (See 1Corinthians 3:11). This is also the first time the word church is used and has something very much to do with the kingdom of GodThe word “church” in the Greek, “eklesia” means “the called out.”

 

In fact, Jesus told Nicodemus that being “born of water and the Spirit” was a requirement to enter the kingdom of heaven (John 3:5). And as we will soon see, requirements for entrance into the kingdom of God are the exact same requirements for entrance into the church. So let’s now add one last point to our list of clues:

         Entered by being “born of water and the Spirit”

 

The stage is now set. We know from Daniel that the kingdom would come during the time of the Roman Empire. We know the coming of the kingdom was approaching as Christ went about His ministry on earth. We know that after his crucifixion it had still not arrived, but was right around the corner. After Jesus ascended to heaven, the coming of the kingdom was within days. The fulfillment of prophecy was about to take place. An event that kings and prophets had longed to see, indeed, the things even angels wanted to look into were about to happen. The kingdom, spoken of by both Jesus and John the Baptist that was just around the corner, was now about to finally arrive…

 

Acts 2--The stage is set: Pentecost--the curtain rises

 

26        Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.

 

1          When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one location.

 

2          All of a sudden a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.

 

3          They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.

 

4          All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them.

 

5          Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under the sky.

 

6          When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language.

 

7          Utterly amazed, they asked: "Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans?

 

8          Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?

 

9          Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,

 

10        Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome

 

11        (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs--we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own languages!"

 

12        Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?"

 

13        Some, however, made fun of them and said, "They have had too much wine. "

 

14        Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: "Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say.

 

15        These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning!

 

16        No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

 

17        "`In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.

 

18        Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.

 

19        I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke.

 

20        The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.

 

21        And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'

 

22        "Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.

 

23        This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.

 

24        But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.

 

25        David said about him: "`I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

 

26        Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope,

 

27        because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.

 

28        You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.'

 

29        "Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried; his tomb is here to this day.

 

30        But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne.

 

31        Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay.

 

32        God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.

 

33        Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.

 

34        For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, "`The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand

 

35        until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."

 

36        "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."

 

37        When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?"

 

38        Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

39        The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off--for all whom the Lord our God will call."

40        With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation."

41        Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

42        They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

 

43        Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.

 

44        All the believers were together and had everything in common.

 

45        Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.

 

46        Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,

 

47        praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

 

 

Now, after reading Acts 2 let’s look at our list of clues again and see if they were all covered:

 

      In a few days

     Repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached              

     In Jesus’ name

     Starting in Jerusalem

     To all the nations

     Apostles will be there

     Clothed with power from on high

     Holy Spirit and fire

     And it will be JESUS who does it

     Jesus will send the promise of the Father

      Peter involved- “holds the keys”

      Entered by being “born of water and the Spirit”

 

The kingdom came at Pentecost in Acts chapter 2. The church also started at Pentecost in Acts chapter 2. The kingdom is entered by entering the church! The church is the part of the kingdom of heaven that is manifested in this present world. The gift of the Holy Spirit is a deposit who lives in our hearts as a guarantee of what is to come (2Corinthians 1:22, 5:5) Do not confuse the invisible, inward, gift of the Holy Spirit (received at immersion in water, i.e. baptism) with the outward, visible, miraculous baptism of the Holy Spirit. The keys which Peter held were:

1.)   Faith (in Jesus Christ as the Son of God)

2.)   Repentance

3.)   Baptism for the forgiveness of sins

 

 

Kingdom

Church

Leader

King

Christ - Head

Subjects

Citizens

Disciples-Christians

Authority

Law

Word of God--Bible

Entrance into

John 3:5

Acts 2:38

 

 

Commenting on Acts 2:38, J.W. McGarvey states,No words, whether of men or of God, can effect moral changes in the feelings of the hearer, unless they are believed; nor can they when [38] believed, unless they announce truths or facts calculated to produce such change. In the present instance, the facts announced placed the hearers in the awful attitude of the murderers of the Son of God, who was now not only alive again, but seated on the throne of God, with all power in his hands, both on earth and in heaven. The belief of these facts necessarily filled them with the most intense realization of guilt, and the most fearful anticipation of punishment. The former of these emotions is expressed by the words of Luke, "They were pierced to the heart;" the latter, in their own words, "Brethren, what shall we do?" They had just heard Peter, in the language of Joel, speak of a possible salvation; and the question, What shall we do? unquestionably means, What shall we do to be saved?

      38. This is the first time, under the reign of Jesus Christ, that this most important of all questions was ever propounded; and the first time, of course, that it was ever answered. Whatever may have been the true answer under any previous dispensation, or on any previous day in the world's history, the answer given by Peter on this day of Pentecost, in which the reign of Christ on earth began, is the true and infallible answer for all the subjects of his authority in all subsequent time. It deserves our most profound attention; for it announces the conditions of pardon for all men who may be found in the same state of mind with these inquiries. It is expressed as follows: (38) "Then Peter said to them, Repent and be immersed, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."

In obedience to the command to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins, one enters into the church, and as Jesus explained to Nicodemus (John 3:3,5), one also enters the kingdom of heaven, being “born again”. The church is synonymous with the kingdom of heaven. Contrary to many people’s beliefs, the church is not a building; the church is people who are in the kingdom of God as a result of obeying the gospel call. And as Peter explained in Acts 2:39 this gospel call, this promise of the Holy Spirit would be for all people, for all generations: “The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off--for all whom the Lord our God will call." It was not just for one people. It was not just for one time. It would be for everyone. It is for YOU today!

 

WHO – The God of heaven, the Holy Spirit -- Jesus

WHAT – “The promise”, -- with baptism of fire, i.e. “tongues of fire” , with loud wind-like noise, with speaking in known foreign languages, -- “with power”

WHERE - Jerusalem

WHEN – “In the time of those kings” (during the time of Roman Empire) , “In a few days” (Acts 1:5 – spoken by Jesus near the time of Pentecost in the first century after He had risen from the dead).

HOW – with power and with the Holy Spirit

WHY - The purpose of the baptism of the Holy Spirit was to signify that the kingdom of God had come! It also signaled that the twelve apostles were God’s chosen servants whom should be listened to.

 

 

“Speaking in tongues” and “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” – Then and now….A closer examination

 

With both “speaking in tongues” and “baptism of the Holy Spirit” it is clear when looked at closely in the Word of God, that what happened then, is not what is happening now in certain denominations.

 

A.) “Speaking in tongues”

There are two main points about this concern:

1.)   What was “speaking in tongues” in the Bible, and

2.)   What is “speaking in tongues” today?

 

“Speaking in tongues” in the bible on the day of Pentecost:

Notice that when the apostles spoke in “tongues” as some translations say (such as the King James Version), the term “tongues” refers to actual spoken foreign languages of the time. Notice verses 4-11. “each one heard them speaking in his own language.” (verse 6), “how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?” (verse 8), “we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own languages!” (verse 11). The “tongues” spoken by the apostles was not some unintelligible “mumbo jumbo” that no one could understand. It was actual existing languages of the world.

 

Today, in Pentecostal/charismatic churches around the world, the phenomenon of “speaking in tongues” is an utterance of unintelligible syllables that resembles nothing of the phenomenon of the “speaking in tongues” in the New Testament. In the New Testament, “speaking in tongues” simply meant speaking in other languages. These other languages were known, actual languages, not “mumbo-jumbo”:

  

Take special notice of the phrase, “IN OUR OWN LANGUAGES” (or “in OUR OWN TONGUES”). The speech of the Apostles was not incomprehensible syllables! It was in actual, spoken languages of the world. Although the Apostles had neither studied nor taken any foreign language courses, they incredibly were given the power of “miraculous, instantaneous translation.” Any missionary knows that the biggest obstacle to taking the gospel to foreign nations is always the language barrier. Perhaps this is what Jesus was referring to when he told the apostles, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12) Not even Christ spoke the way in which God now gave ability to the Twelve. The people who heard the Apostles “speaking in tongues” understood them-- unlike when people “speak in tongues” today.

 

B.) “Tongues of fire”

 

In the same way, there are two main points about the issue of “baptism of the Holy Spirit”:

1.)   What was the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” in the Scriptures, and

2.)   What is it today?

 

Notice that when the Spirit came on the Twelve it was both VISIBLE and AUDIBLE. What appeared as “tongues of fire” that came from heaven and separated and rested on the apostles was SEEN (verse 3) and the SOUND like a violent blowing wind was HEARD.

 

The “baptism of the Holy Spirit” was a fulfillment of prophecy made to give proof that the kingdom of God had at long last arrived and the Apostles were God’s chosen instruments-- just as God did miracles in the past (such as with Moses and Pharaoh), to demonstrate that certain people were the bearers of His message and commands.

 

At Pentecost in Acts Chapter 2 we read about the Holy Spirit coming on the Apostles. Even the unconverted witnessed this phenomenon. Later, in Acts 10 when Peter was having difficulty understanding that the Gospel message was for the Gentiles also, God demonstrated to Peter that the Gospel message was indeed for all nations. God proved to Peter, by sending the Spirit on the Gentiles in the same manner as He sent it on the Jews at Pentecost in Acts 2, that Peter “should consider no man unclean” (Acts 10:15, 11:9, 11:15). By the vision God gave Peter in Acts 10:9-17, God demonstrated to Peter the gospel was for Gentiles as well as Jews. But we will look at this in more detail in another moment.

 

Key points:

  • In the New Testament, “speaking in tongues” simply meant speaking in other actual languages
  • In the New Testament, “baptism of the Holy Spirit” was outwardly VISIBLE and AUDIBLE
  • In the New Testament, “baptism of the Holy Spirit” happened only twiceONCE to the JEWS (Acts 2) and ONCE to the GENTILES (Acts 10)
  • In the New Testament, “baptism of the Holy Spirit” was never commanded upon anyone, only water baptism was
  • The “baptism of the Holy Spirit” (visible tongues of fire) is not to be confused with the invisible “gift of the Holy Spirit” which is internal and which is received through water baptism (Acts 2:38, Galatians 3:26-27,4:6-7)  See also here

 

“Speaking in tongues”

THEN

NOW

Actual spoken languages? Acts 2:6-11

YES

NO

Incomprehensible syllables?

NO

YES

Understood by listeners?

YES

NO

“Baptism of the Holy Spirit”

 

 

Visible?

YES

NO

Audible?

YES

NO

Outward?

YES

NO

Inward?

NO

YES

Invisible?

NO

YES

Conclusion:

Real thing

Counterfeit

 

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines the word “counterfeit” as: to copy or imitate in order to deceive, sham, spurious, forged, pretend, fake, imposture, fraud, deceit, deception

 

So in conclusion, when we compare both “speaking in tongues” and the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” with the practices of today against the examples in the Word of God---we see two different things!

 

The Bible speaks of counterfeits, and deceit -- and not in a good light!

 

2 Thessalonians 2:9

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders,

 

2 Corinthians 11:13-15

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

 

The “Gentile ‘pentecost’ ” -- Acts 10

 

We often hear Acts 10 quoted by sources of false doctrine in an attempt to “prove” a teaching on “baptism of the Holy Spirit”. But we shall see by looking closely at the Word of God that Acts 10 is merely a repeat story of Acts 2 with one exception; In Acts 10 it happened to Gentiles, not Jews:

 

1          At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment.

 

2          He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God frequently.

 

3          One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him saying, "Cornelius!"

 

4          Cornelius stared at him in fear. "What is it, Lord?" he asked. The angel replied, "Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.

 

5          Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter.

 

6          He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea."

 

7          When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devoted soldier who was one of his attendants.

 

8          He told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa.

 

9          About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray.

 

10        He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance.

 

11        He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners.

 

12        It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as birds of the air and reptiles of the earth.

 

13        Then a voice told him, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat."

 

14        "Surely not, Lord!" Peter replied. "I have never eaten anything impure or unclean."

 

15        The voice spoke to him a second time- "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean."

 

16        This happened three times and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.

 

17        While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon's house was and stopped at the gate.

 

18        They called out, asking if Simon, known as Peter was staying there.

 

19        While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, "Simon, three men are looking for you.

 

20        So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them."

 

21        Peter went down and said to the men, "I'm the one you're looking for. Why have you come?"

 

22        The men replied, "We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to have you come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say."

 

23        Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests. The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa went along.

 

24        The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his close friends and relatives.

 

25        As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence.

 

26        But Peter made him get up. "Stand up," he said, "I am only a man myself."

 

27        Talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people.

 

28        He said to them: "You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean.

 

29        So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?"

 

30        Cornelius answered: "Four days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me

 

31        and said, `Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor.

 

32        Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.'

 

33        So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us."

 

34        Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism

 

35        but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.

 

36        You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.

 

37        You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached--

 

38        how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

 

39        "We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree,

 

40        but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen.

 

41        He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen--by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.

 

42        He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead.

 

43        All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."

 

44        While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.

 

45        The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles.

 

46        For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said,

 

47        "Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have."

 

48        So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.

 

Acts 11

 

1          The apostles and the brothers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God.

 

2          So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him

 

3          and said, "You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them."

 

4          Peter began and explained everything to them precisely as it had happened:

 

5          "I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. I saw something like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to where I was.

 

6          I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles, and birds of the air.

 

7          Then I heard a voice telling me, `Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.'

 

8          "I replied, `Surely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.'

 

9          "The voice spoke from heaven a second time, `Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.'

 

10        This happened three times, and then it was all pulled up to heaven again.

 

11        "Right then three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea stopped at the house where I was staying.

 

12        The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with them. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man's house.

 

13        He told us how he had seen an angel appear in his house and say, `Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter.

 

14        He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.'

 

15        "As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning.

 

16        Then I remembered what the Lord had said: `John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'

 

17        So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?"

 

18        When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, "So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life."

 

This passage is often referred to as the “Gentile ‘Pentecost’”. As of this time Peter had preached the Gospel only to Jews. And from the vision God gave Peter, God was telling Peter the Gospel was for the whole world to hear, that is, for the Gentiles as well. Notice the same thing happened to these Gentiles as happened to the Jews in Acts 2. We see the exact same pattern, which was intended to fulfill Christ’s prophesy and confirm that God was indeed the one at work and which He confirmed by this miracle. The kingdom of God was for Gentiles as well as Jews.

 

Cornelius is a very interesting character. Here is what the Bible tells us about him:

 

Cornelius was a Gentile.

Cornelius worshipped the Jewish God.

Cornelius was devout and God fearing.

Cornelius prayed regularly.

Cornelius gave to the poor and did good deeds.

God heard and answered Cornelius’ prayers. God even sent an angel to him.

Although Cornelius had a very strong faith and it could be argued he had a “relationship” with God, he was still not yet saved. (Acts 11:14 confirms this)

 

Cornelius is like many people today.

 

Cornelius still needed further instruction. Notice Cornelius did not argue with Peter about the need to be baptized. Cornelius (and his household) responded by being obedient and by being baptized.

 

And in so doing, God blessed them and they became the first group of Gentiles to inherit eternal life.

 

 

Acts 10 & 11 in summary:

The baptism of the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost in Acts chapter 2. It was seen and heard even by unconverted people. Acts chapter 2 fulfilled what John and Jesus spoke of.

Then later, Peter still did not understand that the gospel was for Gentiles as well. God gives Peter a vision in which a sheet comes down from heaven and has unclean animals on it. God tells Peter to kill and eat. Peter says, no, and God says "Do not call anything unclean, God has made clean." Peter then understands the Gospel is for the whole world. He then goes to Cornelius, a Gentile, and teaches the Gospel to him. So that Peter would believe what God said, God sends the Holy Spirit on the Gentiles in the exact same manner as He did on the Jews in Acts chapter 2. Peter explains this to the Christians in Jerusalem who criticized him. He explains the whole thing in Acts chapter 11. Look at Acts 11:15. Peter tells them the Holy Spirit came on them (the gentiles) "as he came on us at the beginning (meaning acts 2). This outward, visible sign was to confirm the prophecy made by John. It was FULLfilled. Once to the Jews, then to convince Peter, God repeated it on the gentiles. This is why Acts 10 is sometimes referred to as the "Gentile ‘pentecost’" Since those two times, some 2000 years ago, no outward, visible outpouring of the Spirit has occurred. God has never repeated this miracle. In both instances the outward, visible manifestation of the Holy Spirit was a miraculous event. What the Pentecostal/charismatic movement claims happens today is not even found in Scripture.

 

 

In Conclusion:

The coming of God’s kingdom and establishment of Christ’s church on earth occurred at Pentecost in Acts chapter 2, fulfilling what was spoken of by John the baptist in Matthew 3:11, “I indeed baptize you in water into repentance: but he that comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit and in fire.” And also fulfilling what Jesus spoke about, quoting John the baptist, “For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." (Acts 1:5)

 

In Acts 10, we see the same thing happens, but this time it is to Gentiles, demonstrating, by the Spirit’s power, that the Good News is for all people everywhere. Since these two outward, miraculous, outpourings of the Spirit, in Acts 2 and Acts 10, the phenomenon of the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” has ceased. It never happened again after these two times. Since God established His kingdom through the church upon earth some 2,000 years ago, Christ’s church continues to advance and grow.

“…I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail.” –Matthew 16:18.

 

If you would like to accept the invitation of Christ to the wedding banquet; If you would like to be saved and become a part of the body of Christ--the church, you just need to ask one question. It is the same question asked by the crowd at Pentecost in Acts chapter 2. “What must I do?” The answer the apostle Peter gave was direct and to the point, “Repent (turn from your sins) and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

 

The invitation of eternal life is open to all. No matter what you have done, no matter who you have been in the past, no sin is too big or too great for God. Forgiveness and birth to a new life is made possible through Jesus Christ, who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” --Colossians 1:15-20
 
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This page last updated: Aug 18, 2008