You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free
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Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another [in everything good, true, and Godly] in the fear of God.” Acts 24:24 plainly states, “Now as Paul reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgement to come, Felix was afraid…”
We will never be continually “filled” with the Holy Spirit if we do not allow the Word of God to saturate our spirits, souls, (minds,) and permeate our entire lives! The more we die to sin and self and allow the Holy Spirit to teach and guide us into “all truth” of God’s Word, the more the Holy Spirit will “fill” us with His ‘water,’ (Word,) and make His water overflow into our lives. As a result, God commanded that sincere believers do not need the indwelling Holy Spirit only; they need the indwelling (or filling) of the Word of God, which God also implanted inside us, (Col. 3:16.)
In Jn. 7:37-39, Jesus was speaking of the Word and Spirit of God inside every sincerely born again, obedient believer. Jesus was referring to the true believer, in whom the Holy Spirit dwells by default; not by works, or ministry, the laying on of hands, or by any human trick, doctrine, or endeavour, but according to personal faith in, and acceptance of Jesus Christ. The true power or anointing of the indwelling Spirit Himself, [and not the so-called ‘anointing’ of the deceptive ‘five-fold ministry,’] will cause Water [Jesus the Word, Life, Light, and Truth,] as well as the completely free gifts of the Holy Spirit to ‘flow’ out of the born again human ‘heart’ of every sincere believer to touch the world around him/her, thus fulfilling the commission of Jesus, (Jn. 1:12-13; Acts 5:32; Mt. 28:19-20.)
BEFORE GOING TO THE CROSS JESUS BREATHED ON THEM
John tells of an incident after Jesus’ resurrection, before He sent the Spirit to indwell them at Pentecost, when Jesus miraculously appeared in the midst of His disciples, declaring His Kingdom of inner peace; commissioning His disciples to ‘go and preach the Gospel,’ and breathing “on” them, [not “in” them,] to “receive the Holy Spirit,” (Jn. 20:19-30.) Jesus’ first disciples received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit for the first time on the Day of Pentecost, and “one can only understand this event in John 20 as symbolic and in expectation of that day.” [Spirit Filled Bible, Acts 1:8; Jn. 1:12-13; Gal. 4:4-7.]
Many preachers from the Charismatic Movement use this event completely out of context, blowing on believers to ‘receive the Spirit,’ do so-called ‘miracles,’ or to ‘baptize them ‘in’ the Spirit.’ The truth is that Only Jesus Christ Himself can baptize with His Spirit, or ‘breathe’ His Spirit of Life into, (before His ascension “onto” Jn. 7:39,) the hearts or born again human spirits of believers, (Mt. 3:11.) If any of them ‘breathed’ on you, you need to run to God for real deliverance!
However, those Catholics and Protestants, who turned Jesus’ first disciples into so-called godlike, apostolic ‘fathers’ and founders - even “the foundation of the church” - (only Jesus Himself is the Foundation of His true body of believers,) teach that this event in John 20:19-30 was a “special anointing” for the ‘godlike’ apostles. They, (these hyper-anointed of the Charismatic Movement,) are now the so-called new, mediating, Elijah prophets and apostles - which, of course, do not exist anywhere in the Truth of the New Testament. (This is the Charismatic Movement’s ‘Restoration’ doctrine — which does not mean restoration to Scriptural truth, but ecumenist, or one-world church restoration to the so-called ‘king and high priest’ of Roman Catholicism, the pope and his priesthood!
Concerning John 20:23, where Jesus allegedly stated that He gave “the apostles” the power to forgive sins, it is a well-known fact that the pope of Roman Catholicism and his priesthood use this verse to ‘forgive sins’! [See Eph. 1:7; Heb. 9:12-15; Acts 10:43; Col. 2:13-14.] The notion that the first apostles had the power to forgive sins is a Roman Catholic concoction to justify their abuse of God and His Holy Word. The reason why such a great error can be found in the Bible, is because the Vatican, who had centuries to meddle with the Scriptures, placed it there on purpose! I say it again: if it cannot be interpreted in the full contextual truth of the Bible passage and the light of the New Testament, it was placed there. God Himself commanded us to “test all things, [Bible verses too,] to see whether it is of God, (1 Ths. 5:21.)
The so-called ‘Saint and Father’ Paul himself stated that ‘no other foundation of the spiritual temple of God can be laid, which is Christ,” while all the believers together make up the building of God. ‘Elders’ such as Paul were only humble servants, who were God’s instruments to bring others to faith in Him, (1 Cor. 3:11; 16-17.)
Speaking of the special ‘anointing’ of ‘elder’-rulers, where they actually place them in Jesus’ place to make themselves into christs, Paul also said, ‘God has established the ‘elders’ with [or together with] you, [the rest of the body,] and has anointed us, [or all sincere believers together] in Christ…” (1 Cor. 1:21-122; 3:9-17; 1 Pet. 5:1.)
The M.H. Commentary explains John 20:22-23 as follows, “Christ’s Kingdom was to be set up among men immediately upon His resurrection, and accordingly we find [that He appeared to them on] the very day He arose… [giving them] the honorable and ample commission to be His agents in the planting of His [ecclesia, or congregations of disciple-believers.] Then He qualified them for the discharge of the trust reposed in them. He breathed on them and said, Receive the Holy Ghost… IN PART NOW; as an earnest of what you shall further receive not many days hence. The SIGN He used to assure them of the GIFT, [which is the Spirit of God Himself, Whom] He was about to bestow upon them at Pentecost, was His breath, [His spiritual life and power,] which they would receive from Him for all the services that lay before them… Christ [and only Jesus Himself] conferred the Holy Ghost… [here by breathing on them in Jn. 20:21-22 as well as at Pentecost,] for He is the Author of the Gift…” the indwelling Holy Spirit.
THE MIGHTY RUSHING WIND
The arrival of the Holy Spirit on that Day of Pentecost to continually indwell all sincere believers in Christ “until the end of this world,” is another sound historical and Scriptural event. It was personally experienced and witnessed by Jesus’ disciples, as well as ‘a multitude from every nation under heaven,’ who were in Jerusalem at the time, (Mt. 28:19-20; Acts 2 & 3; Jn. 1:12-13; Gal. 4:6-7.)
This ‘multitude’ of witnesses in the city heard when there ‘suddenly came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, [not real wind,] and it filled the whole house where the disciples were together with one accord.’ Then, the disciples actually saw ‘the divided tongues, as of fire, [not real fire] and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with, [baptized with, or completely and fully indwelt by] the Holy Spirit.’
Jesus’ first baptism with the Holy Spirit was accompanied by symbolic wind and fire. Not physical wind and fire, but like wind and fire. “This may also be an allusion to the burning bush, (Ex. 3:2-5,) which was a symbol of the Divine Presence, an outward manifestation of the Spirit’s [first] coming.” – Spirit Filled Bible.
Once the Holy Spirit had indwelt the disciples on that Day of Pentecost, the Spirit Himself gave them His (dual) gift of tongues to (1,) either speak to God with ‘the supernatural tongues of angels, (1 Cor. 13:1,) “for in the spirit we speak mysteries, as my [human] spirit prays, but my [soul or] understanding is unfruitful,” (1 Cor. 14:2.)
Or (2,) ‘to speak with the tongues of men as a sign for unbelievers,’ which is the gift of speaking in ‘different kinds of tongues,’ (1 Cor. 12:10-11,) - human tongues, unknown to the speaker, which was the case in Acts 2:4-6 with the coming of the Holy Spirit. With this one and only outpouring of the indwelling Holy Spirit at the dawn of the New Testament Covenant, the disciples did not speak in the tongues of angels, or tongues completely unknown to all humans, (1 Cor. 14:2, 21-22,) but in the tongues of men - other languages, which the speakers themselves did not know or understand, (1 Cor. 12:10-11.)
Acts 2:5-13, “How is it that we hear, each speaking in our own language in which we were born? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, Libya, Cyrene, Rome, Jews and Proselytes, Cretans, and Arabs all heard them speaking in our own languages the wonderful works of God…” [Mark 16:15-18.]
While many church systems, following in the footsteps of Roman Catholicism and Reformers such as John Calvin, deny the fact that these Scriptural gifts and ministrations of the Holy Spirit continue to this day, we can be certain that none of the Spirit’s gifts have ceased.
The following proves that neither the Spirit nor His gifts will ever ‘cease’ on this side of the grave:
The true believing body of Christ is still the same body that was born on that day when Jesus rose from the dead.
The true body of Christ is still the same body that received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit on that Day of Pentecost.
She is still the bride of Christ, saved by the same blood, and baptized, possessed, and sealed by the same Spirit.
Her commission will always remain the same on this side of the grave.
Her true Scriptural form and functions will always remain the same, despite the corruption of church systems.
Her spiritual power still emanates from the same Source: the truth of God’s contextual Word.
Her gifts and fruit are still the work and grace of God the Holy Spirit, Who still constantly indwells her, as the ‘Kingdom of God is within [all Jesus’ sincere follower-disciples!]’ (Lu. 17:21; Mark 16:16-17; Mt. 28:20b; Eph. 1:13.)
CAN THE GIFT OF TONGUES BE THE ‘EVIDENCE’ OF THE ‘BAPTISM “IN” THE HOLY SPIRIT?’
Unknown to most pastors and so-called ‘ordinary’ believers, demons can and do prophesy and speak in tongues. They cannot prophecy in the Holy Spirit or speak in the Holy-Spirit’s gift of tongues, (as believers supernaturally “speak mysteries to God,”) but they do speak in demonic tongues and prophesy or do fortune-telling in demonic power, (1 Cor. 12:1-3.) Hotly denied by most pastors either willfully or ignorantly, Satanists frequently infiltrate congregations where they are accepted because they ‘prophecy’ and speak in ‘tongues,’ which most believers in the Charismatic/Pentecostal Movement view as “the evidence” that they are ‘born again believers in Christ,’ and supposedly “baptized in the Holy Spirit.” However, Jesus Himself said the only true ‘evidence’ that we are “filled” and thus baptized with the Holy Spirit, is the continual “fruit,” (Godly behavior) that we bear. We get the Spirit’s gifts for free, but we ourselves must prove who we really are by the fruit that we bear, (Gal. 5:20-25.)
The main reason for Paul’s teachings on the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit in 1 Cor. chapters 12 to 14, was because, also during his time, believers were greatly confused with the difference between demonic manifestations such as speaking in demonic tongues, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit such as speaking in God-given tongues.
The Spirit Filled Bible comments, “Paul’s letters to the Corinthians reveal some of the problems the former pagans had in transferring previous religious experiences [and occult manifestations] to the ministry experience of the Holy Spirit. They associated some of the frenzied antics of paganism with the exercise of spiritual gifts, (see 12:2.) The Corinthians misunderstood the manner in which the Holy Spirit works through individuals, and they abused the use of spiritual gifts, apparently regarding them as ends in themselves [just as in the Pentecostal/Charismatic Movement today.] In particular, they misunderstood the proper public use of the gift of tongues [and prophecy] and it confused the order in their meetings. They too, misunderstood the power of the Spirit, viewing Gift-operations of the Spirit as a compulsive and oppressive possession, negating the free will, (14:32.) Paul shows the need for varied and multiple manifestations of the Spirit, (chapter 12;) the need for loving and unselfish motives (chapter 13,) and the need for self-control and for keeping an orderly, edifying manner in corporate meetings, (chapter 14.)” [Can one believe that this footnote comes from a Pentecostal viewpoint? Why don’t they practice what they preach, as this explains the work and gifts of the Holy Spirit perfectly?]
“Paul introduced three guiding principles that distinguish the ways of the Holy Spirit: 1) Conscious control. Unlike paganism, the power of the Spirit does not drive people into wild compulsive acts. His gentile dovelike ministry strengthens human personality. He empowers; He does not overpower. 2) The principle that Christ is always glorified. All manifestations of the Spirit will harmonize with the truth about Jesus. 3) The main work of the Holy Spirit is to bring people under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.”
Because most of the Scriptural gifts of the Holy Spirit are replicated in the occult, the mere manifestation of tongues and prophecy can never be the ‘evidence’ of Jesus baptism with the Holy Spirit. The purpose and function of both the Scriptural, Holy Spirit gift or ‘sign for unbelievers,’ (tongues 1 Cor. 14:22a,) and for believers, (prophecy 1 Cor. 14:22b,) are as follows: Once Jesus’ disciples were born again of ‘water’ [which is a symbol of the True Word of God,] and of ‘Spirit;’ the Holy Spirit does, “as He wills,” give to each disciple His diversities of spiritual gifts for the profit of all.’ – [Jn. 3:3-5; Mt. 3:11; 1 Cor. 12:13; 6:19; 12:4-11; Rom. 8:15-17; Eph. 1:13-14; 1 Pet. 2:9-10.]
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are not given to glorify individual believers, (i.e., pastors, ministers, priest, or prophets,) but to benefit the whole body of Christ: every one of His believers worldwide. Similarly, one so-called ‘exceptional’ gift of the Spirit, (tongues or prophesy,) can never be ‘proof’ of the Holy Spirit baptism, (or of real salvation,) and does not signify ‘special power,’ ‘fire’ or ‘special anointing’ to anyone. “All true believers are the body of Christ, and members individually. From these, “God has appointed apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles, prophets, teachers, workers of miracles? [Although all can do miracles as the Holy Spirit wills, Mark 16:16-18; 1 Cor. 12:11.] Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?...” (1 Cor. 12:18-30.)
“Do all speak with tongues?” Paul asked. Clearly, the answer is “No.” Many do not speak with tongues, but have even ‘more valuable’ gifts to benefit the body of Christ.
So, according to the truth of Scripture and in the ministration of the body of Christ, how can the mere gift of tongues be the ‘proof’ that a person is baptized with the Holy Spirit — which means the gift of tongues must ‘prove’ that the person belongs to Christ, and that the Holy Spirit dwells in him or her?
THE “FIRE THAT FALLS” IN CHURCHES VERSUS THE REAL “FIRE,” WHICH JESUS AND ALL HIS TRUE DISCIPLES EXPERIENCED
Contrary to what traditional churches teach, Scripturally and in practice, from that day to now, Jesus’ baptism with the Holy Spirit; Jesus’ baptism with fire; the Spirit’s baptism into the body of Christ, as well as all the Spirit’s supernatural gifts, remained a reality in the lives of all sincere disciples of Jesus.
However, it is another gross misinterpretation of Scripture to state that the gift of tongues is the ‘fire baptism’ of the Holy Spirit. Scripturally and in practice, the gift of tongues itself is neither Jesus’ baptism with the Spirit, nor His ‘baptism with fire,” (Mt. 3:11; 1 Cor. 12:4-11; Mark 16:15-18.) When a mother asked Jesus to seat her two sons on His right and left hand in His Kingdom, He explained, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup [of immense suffering] that I am about to drink, and [thus] be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?... You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet, it shall not be so among you. Whoever desires to become great… and first… among you, let him be your servant… and slave... just as [I Myself] did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give [My] life a ransom for many.” (Mt. 20:20-28.) Jesus said, ‘You shall receive power when the Spirit has come [to indwell] you; [not to speak in tongues or be a great ‘healer’ or ‘preacher,’ but to] be My witnesses…’ ((Lu. 12:50, Heb. 10:32-39; Acts 1:8.)
“All those who desire to live godly [and in the will of God] will be persecuted,” (2 Tim. 3:12.)
Satan does not persecute ungodly Christians, who pose no threat to his kingdom of darkness and death. In contrast, he absolutely abhors all those who are God’s “salt and light,” or those who sow preserving truth and shine His light. Jesus’ baptism of fire, or actually, baptism of suffering, “naturally” follows Jesus’ baptism with the Holy Spirit at our rebirth — if we follow Him sincerely and in Spirit and in Truth, (Jn. 15:18-25.) Those, who do not experience this baptism of fire for Jesus truth, either have not experienced His baptism with the Holy Spirit because they were never really born again through personal faith in Him, (Jn. 1:12-13; 3:3-5,) or they remain apathetic towards knowledge of His true Word, (Rom. 12:1-2,) and/or obedience to His Moral Law commandments, (Jam. 2:14-26.) Thus, they remain unconcerned and indifferent towards God, the salvation of souls, the conviction and leading of the Holy Spirit, and following Him in truth, Godly love, and righteousness. In short, those who lack the Biblical baptism of fire or persecution for Christ’s sake, have not seen God.
If the gift of tongues were the actual ‘baptism with [or even the fire of] the Spirit,’ it would mean that billions of sincere believers, who never manifested the Holy Spirit’s gift of tongues, would not be indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Thus they would not belong to God, and they would never desire, or have the boldness to proclaim the Gospel, (Rom. 8:9; Acts 1:8.) If it were true that the Spirit only indwells the person when ‘elders’ lay hands on him to ‘baptize him “in” the Spirit,’ (which is totally impossible,) their laying on of hands and the gift or sign of tongues would actually save Jesus’ believers. However, praise God, for sincere believers know that the Spirit indwells all Jesus’ disciples from the very moment of their rebirth, and the gift of tongues is only a “sign for unbelievers,” (Rom. 8:9-14; Jn. 1:12-13; Gal. 4:6; 1 Cor. 14:22-23.)
THE TRULY SCRIPTURAL EVIDENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT BAPTISM
I do believe in the all the Holy Spirit’s gifts. Nevertheless, I cannot emphasize it enough: Jesus did not say that we will know His disciples by their gifts. Scripture declares that there are several pieces of real ‘evidence’ that Jesus supernaturally baptized all sincere believers with the Holy Spirit.
The first piece of evidence is the believer’s desire to continually draw closer to Jesus; to know Him in Spirit and in all Truth, to understand and obey Him better! (Jn. 4:24; 14:6.) Secondly, true believers will always glorify Jesus and not themselves or other people, (Jn. 16:14.) [This is not about common courtesy and good manners but actually magnifying people above Scriptural measure.] The Spirit Filled Bible explains, “The Spirit’s ministry is not only directed to believers and to the world, but [primarily] to Christ. The Spirit glorifies Christ in everything He does… He never exalts Himself, [or people,] but He continually glorifies Christ Who glorifies the Father.”
Without making tongues into a ‘lesser’ gift, we should always remember that none of the Holy Spirit’s gifts means anything if we have not true, Godly love – which is the greatest gift of all, (1 Cor. 15.) Jesus said, ‘If you love Me, you will obey my commandments,’ which means that the greatest evidence of the Holy-Spirit baptism and the fact that He completely possesses and continually indwells us, is our obedient love for God above all else. Our love for God always manifests itself in obedience to the Truth of His Word. This is not outward lip service, but love, which manifests itself as a sincere commitment to Jesus’ Word in its entirety, as contained in His contextual, moral, New Testament teachings.
Then Jesus took this evidence a step further, and said, "By this all will know, [or you will prove beyond a shadow of doubt that I have baptized you with the Holy Spirit and that] that you are My disciples, if you have love [in word and deed] for one another…" As said, Jesus did not say we will know His disciples by their gifts, but by their fruit. Our constant behaviour, or the type of character we display continually, will prove whether the Holy Spirit or an evil spirit possesses us, (1 Cor. 13, Mt. 7:15-27; Jn. 13:34-35; 14:15.) So, if there is any real ‘evidence’ of Jesus’ Holy-Spirit baptism, it is the continual, sincere, and Godly character of Jesus, which the Holy Spirit manifests in and through His sincere disciples. Furthermore, His growing, Godly character of love will compel His believing disciples to preach the Gospel to a lost and dying world as far as possible.
THE LAYING ON OF HANDS IN SCRIPTURE “TO RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT?”
Where it says in Acts 8:17, “Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit,” this was impossible in the full context of the New Testament, and it could not really have been the indwelling Holy Spirit Himself they ‘gave’ with the laying on of hands — or with the ‘evidence’ of tongues and prophecy. It is more likely that these Samaritans were already believers and thus baptized by Jesus with the Holy Spirit, (8:12,) already baptized in water as Jesus’ disciples, (8:13,) and Peter and John, knowing the teachings and prophesies of Jesus, obviously came to them to explain the Gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit more clearly. They could not have prayed for these believers to ‘receive the Holy Spirit Himself.’ They must have prayed for the manifestation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. As always, the truth is right before our eyes in the context of Scripture, not in individual verses that people separate from the context.
Footnote, Spirit Filled Bible, “The sequence of events described in Acts 8:12 leaves little doubt the Samaritans had already become believers. They had “received” the Holy Spirit, [were baptised with the Holy Spirit by Jesus Himself when they accepted Him,] evidenced by their [earlier] water baptism, (v. 12, 16.) Now, through the ministry of Peter and John, they were taught the Gospel of Christ [and as by accepted the truth, the Spirit manifested His gifts through them.]”
One must be aware of the fact that the first believers, the apostles too, did not have the Scriptures as we have them today, and like today, none of these believers “knew it all;” especially not from the beginning of their new lives in Christ. From the epistles of the apostles and the full context of the Gospels, it is evident that all the first believers, (the apostles too,) also constantly grew in systematic understanding (Rom. 12:1-2) or “expanding revelation,” [scroll down on the webpage] of Jesus’ New Testament Covenant, His teachings and miracles - and the work, power, and gifts of the Holy Spirit.
To avoid confusion and misinterpretation, Paul commanded that “everything, (all Bible verses, beliefs and teaching) must be “tested” according to the context of the passage and interpreted in the full context of Scripture, (1 Ths. 5:21.) From Paul’s teachings on all these subjects, it seems the early believers, just as modern believers, were confused about the sequence of salvation, i.e., understanding the true Gospel, believing in Jesus, personally accepting Jesus, Jesus baptizing with the Holy Spirit to indwell His temple, water baptism as disciples, the Spirit manifesting His gifts through them, and the function of the individual members of the body of Christ.
Human beings may not and cannot ‘confer’ or ‘transfer’ the Holy Spirit Himself by breathing on people or even by the laying on of hands! Only Jesus is the Savior, Redeemer, Healer, and Holy-Ghost Baptizer! Christ Jesus Himself ‘conferred’ the indwelling Holy Spirit to all those who sincerely accepted Him in sincere obedience to His Word, (Jn. 1:12-13; Gal. 4:6; Acts 5:32!)
The Holy Spirit may or many not use the spiritual ‘eldership’ of 1 Tim. 4:14 to manifest His gifts by the laying on of hands. He may or may not separate or set apart spiritual workers such as pastors and teachers by the laying on of hands – which is not the lofty ‘ordination’ of a hierarchical ‘eldership’ or priesthood, exalting them to some superior ‘office’ or well-paid ‘post.’ - [Acts 13:2-3; 1 Tim. 5:22.]
The Spirit may and most probably will heal the sick through the laying on of hands, as and when He chooses, (Mark 16:18.) The Spirit may also use the anointing of oil in prayer, (Jam. 5:16-17.) He may also use doctors, or the human body’s own marvelous, God-given ability to ‘heal itself’ as witnessed every day when we cut ourselves — but all healing ultimately emanates from God Alone!
God commanded that we should only lay hands on people for a specific purpose and as the Holy Spirit leads us. 1 Tim. 5:22, “Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily and thereby share responsibility for the sins of others; keep yourself free from sin.” Evil spirits can and will be transferred if Satanists or false believers lay hands on us.
The laying on of hands can, as the Holy Spirit leads, also be used to bless children and people in ministry. Acts 13:3, “When they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.” Mark 10:16, And He took them in Home