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Holy Spirit Baptism: Who is it For?

Continuing my series on the Holy Spirit, we now turn our attention to baptism, specifically Holy Spirit baptism.

Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

Acts 1:4–5

What Jesus says in Acts 1:4-5 is very close to what John said in Matthew 3,

As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Matthew 3:11

In Acts 1, Jesus was just gathered with His apostles, as far as we can tell from the text, but in Matthew 3, John is addressing “Jerusalem… all Judea and all the district around the Jordan” (Matthew 3:5). In other words, John promised baptism of the Spirit to those whom he baptized with water, not just the apostles.

In the days following Jesus’ ascension, 120 believers gathered in one place. It was upon all 120 of these believers that the Spirit fell.

When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. At this time Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren (a gathering of about one hundred and twenty persons was there together), and said…

Acts 1:13–15

In the following chapter, the crowds heard these believers speaking in tongues. The number of dialects that were heard far exceeded just twelve (Acts 2:5-11) because all 120 of these individuals were speaking in tongues, “along with the women.”

In explaining what this meant, Peter quoted from Joel 2.

It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.

Joel 2:28–29

Clearly nobody is excluded from the baptism of the Spirit. All classes, genders, and races of people were promised this blessing by Joel, John, and Peter.

The reason for this, as we will discuss in this next edition, is that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is not the ability to do miracles; it is the means through which God resurrects Israel and, by extension, “all mankind.”

5 thoughts on “Holy Spirit Baptism: Who is it For?”

  1. Daniel, I will await your following discussions before commenting in detail. I have no original thoughts on this topic, and I doubt your views are completely original to your own personal Bible study, but have been aided by older, more mature Christians.

    My current understanding of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the fulfillment of Luke 24:49 and was the miraculous power, endued on the Apostles only, which included inspired preaching and teaching as well as the power to lay on hands and pass on miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:18) promised in Acts 2:38. It is also obvious from the Scriptural accounts of the Apostle Paul’s life, that he too received this same endued power, as the 12, as described in Acts 1.

    If you have not yet read Foy Wallace’s comments on this subject, in his book “Mission and Medium of the Holy Spirit,” as well as Franklin Camp’s book, “The Work of the Holy Spirit in Redemption,” and Gus Nichols book “Lectures on the Holy Spirit,” I highly recommend them. My thoughts and convictions on the Holy Spirt have been strongly shaped by these three gospel preachers, in particular, (and in contrast to those writings of Gus Nichols’ grandson, James Nichols, as mentioned in Brother Camp’s book.) Gus Nichols, in particular, in his chapter on the Baptism of the Holy Spirt, presents powerful, Scriptural arguments directly in opposition to those you have already presented. If you have not read and studied these men’s work, I would urge you to do so, before continuing your blog on the Holy Spirit. We all have our favorite preachers and teachers, and are able to sit at their feet through the reading of their recorded (oral and written) publications. I know you have previously mentioned one or two men who have greatly influenced you in your understanding of the controversial positions you have espoused here in your blog, over the past year.

    As a young man, growing in the Word, you are given much more latitude for error than an older, fully grown man, who by reason of use, should have already discovered the truth on these matters. Hebrews 5:12-13; 1 Peter 2:2 and 1 Corinthians 3:1-3.

  2. Brother you are on the right track on this topic. As you indicated, It was essential to the mission of Christ (Matt 3:11). Christ did not die on the cross to give the apostles miraculous gifts. He came to save the lost and defeat the forces of darkness. Much of Acts is about the restoration of Israel and bringing in the Gentiles. This is very clear through a close reading of the text. It fits the prophetic narrative, that is restore Israel and graft in the gentiles. Paul found his ministry in this very mission. Camp, Woods and Nichols all missed this important Biblical doctrine—they all distorted the salvific doctrine of the early church. All saved people are baptized in the Holy Spirit because it is the means by which we are sanctified, regenerated and added to the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:13; Tit 3:5). By the way, this is the consensus of NT scholarship.

    1. “By the way, this is the consensus of NT scholarship.” This is hardly proof of your contention that “all saved people are baptized in the Holy Spirit.” Darrell I would urge you also to take a look at Gus Nichols’ chapter on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Go with him verse by verse and experience the power of truth in his reasoning. When I think of the “consensus of NT scholarship” it reminds of the broad and narrow way, diametrically opposed to each other, and populated with “many” on the broad way and through the wide gate, and “few” in the strait and narrow way. Since there is only one true “way” in this discussion, it also reminds of the words of Jeremiah who wrote . . . Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the “ways,” and see, and ask for the old paths where is the good “way” and walk therein . . . multiple “ways” (consensus) but only one true “way.”

      1. I have read it all and it is not biblical, it is a reaction to Pentecostalism rather than a solid reflection of biblical theology. The baptism is about salvation and not about receiving miraculous gifts. The association in Acts was one of affirmation, along with the Laying on of hands of the apostles. The Holy Spirit is divine, his word is subject to his work. Nichols was much better in his treatment, but fell short, at least he believed in the indwelling. The role of the Holy Spirit is salvation, not a glorified messenger. The word is his sword not the other way around. He is the Spirit of Life for those who receive the Savior. John 3:3-8, 6:63, 1 Cor 12:13, Titus 3:5 makes all this abundantly clear for anyone that has ear to hear.

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