By Raymond E. Harris
As we discuss religion with our neighbors, relatives and friends, we find there is much confusion regarding the Holy Spirit. There is much discussion about who the Spirit is and what he might be doing today. The roll of the Holy Spirit in the conversion of sinners is always a hot topic; and, invariably we get to the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
As we enter into this study of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit we want to consider the action, the element, the agent, the subject, and the design involved in such.
1. The Action: The action of baptism is always the same regardless of what one is baptized into. It is regrettable that most Bible translators anglicized the Greek words baptisma and baptizo into “baptism” and “baptize,” rather than simply to translate the words into English. A literal translation would be “immersion” and “to dip.” In other words when one baptizes another, he dips him. When one is baptized he is immersed.
Notice the action described in the following Scriptures. Mark 1:9: “And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw. . . ” Hence, when Jesus was baptized in water, he was immersed in the Jordan River and came up out of the water.
Acts 8:36,38-39: “And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip.” Again we see that when the eunuch was baptized in water, he went down into the water, he was baptized or dipped and then he came up out of the water. The action of “baptism” is always the same.
So with Holy Spirit baptism. Those who received this baptism were “immersed” as that is the meaning or definition of the term.
2. The element: When the New Testament speaks of water baptism, it means immersion in water. When the New Testament speaks of Holy Spirit baptism, it means immersion in the Holy Spirit.
Note the following Scriptures: In Acts 1:5, 8, Jesus instructed his Apostles, “For John truly baptized with water; but ye (the apostles, R.E. H.) shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence.” “But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
Hence, we see that Jesus promised the Apostles that they would shortly receive Holy Spirit baptism and that as a result of that baptism, they would receive power to witness or preach concerning Jesus.
Now, let’s consider the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise to the Apostles as found in Acts 2:1-4: “And 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 it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
Notice that in Acts 1:5, 8 Jesus promised the Apostles that they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Jesus did not say they would be baptized by the Holy Spirit but rather “with” or in the Holy Spirit. He said that when that baptism took place they (the Apostles) would receive power. Now as we look at Acts 2:14, we see that when baptism in the Holy Spirit took place, it was manifested by a sound that sounded like the rushing wind and the appearance of cloven or divided tongues that looked like fire. It is written that these fire like tongues sat upon each of the Apostles. As a result of being baptized in the Holy Spirit the Apostles were empowered to speak various languages.
In Acts 2:6,8,11 we are told that the multitude which gathered immediately after the Apostles received Holy Spirit baptism were confounded. They noted that the Apostles were Galileans but they were able to speak in the many languages of the people. They quizzed, “How hear we every man in our own tongue wherein we were born?” They marveled, “We do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.”
So, we summarize by saying that Holy Spirit baptism has to do with one being immersed, in the Holy Spirit. This baptism was accompanied by supernatural manifestations of unusual sights and sounds. Holy Spirit baptism also caused the recipients to receive supernatural power to speak in unlearned languages and to magnify God (see Acts 10:44-46; 11: 15-17). (All special emphasis such as italics in Scripture text mine, R.E.H.)
To Be Continued.
Guardian of Truth XXXV: 11, p. 329
June 6, 1991