Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 8, 1959
NUMBER 22, PAGE 9a,10a

The Holy Spirit -- (V)

Arthur W. Atkinson, Jr., Columbus, Ohio

We continue our articles on the Holy Spirit by noticing in this one another case of Holy Spirit baptism, and I might also add, the only other instance of it in the New Testament. But before we do this we should notice a prophecy that was fulfilled at the time that the Gentiles received the outpouring of God's Spirit. In Joel 2:28, we read, "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophecy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:" Many make quite a play upon the word "all" contained in this passage of scripture. They say that it shows that ALL mankind will receive the Spirit of God. Of course they are trying to find authority for Holy Spirit baptism for all when they make such statements. But let us notice this all. They do not themselves believe that the word "all" includes "all" for they themselves would limit it to those who were children of God. If they, then, can limit it, can it not be limited even further? Let us see. To understand the import of the word "all", we must realize that the Jews alone had been partakers of God's Spirit for many centuries. But the prophet says that a time is coming when not just the Jews alone shall receive this Spirit, but "all flesh", both Jew and Gentile. He is not saying that every person shall receive it, but that God's plan shall be for "all flesh" or all people. We see the fulfillment of that prophecy in Acts 2:, when Peter said that "this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel" and then included the Gentiles in this system when he said in verse 39, "For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." Those who were "afar off" were the Gentiles.

The first preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles took place about seven or eight years after this Pentecost that is mentioned in Acts 2. This is the only other time that we have Holy Spirit baptism mentioned. You may read of this in Acts 10. We should remember that Christ at the time of His death broke down the middle wall of partition between the Jew and the Gentile, the Old Law. However, there was still a wall between them that had to be broken, the wall of prejudice. The Jews had long considered the Gentiles as strangers, foreigners, dogs, aliens and unclean. This deep-seated prejudice could not be broken just by proclaiming a principle but there had to be some miraculous manifestation from the Lord to convince them. This was the purpose of the Spirit baptism which took place at the household of Cornelius.

Let us read a little of this. Acts 10:44-48, "While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days." Again we read as Peter recounts the story in Acts 11:1518, "And as I began to speak the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life." The Spirit then worked on this occasion to show the Jews that the Gentiles also were acceptable to God. The Holy Spirit did not fall upon them to miraculously save them separate and apart from their hearing, believing and obeying the word of the Lord.

We have in a previous article shown the great emphasis placed upon the word. There are some eight or nine different references in the 10th and 11th chapters of Acts which show that the word spoken was that which brought about the conversion of Cornelius and his household. Let us read one of these scriptures. Acts 11:14, "Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved." What were these words that were spoken? They were told to believe. Not only were they told to believe but they were also commanded to be baptized in the name of the Lord. That was the message of the Spirit through Peter for the salvation of Cornelius and his household.

We have now seen that the Spirit of God was poured out upon the people in the baptismal measure only twice. First on Pentecost to give the apostles utterance and bring a great multitude of Jews together. Secondly at the household of Cornelius to convince the Jews that the Gentiles were accepted by God.

We have seen the need and the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in the baptismal measure. Is there such a need today? Has there been such a manifestation today? The answer to both of these questions is NO! Look at the purposes of the Spirit and see how they are fulfilled today:

1. To guide into all truth . . . We do not need Holy Spirit baptism to do this today, it is done by the scriptures. II Tim. 3:16,17, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." In the face of this very plain passage of scripture how could one say that we need something besides the scriptures to guide us. We do not. This is plain. Any man who makes claim for having received the baptismal measure of the Holy Spirit should be able, without study or meditation, to preach the gospel to people. There should be no need for these preachers, claiming to have received the baptismal measure of the Spirit, to study the Bible or to study a foreign language. If they cannot preach without study, then we must conclude that they have made fraudulent claims. No one today can preach without study. This proves that we do not have Holy Spirit baptism today.

2. The Holy Spirit baptism attracted crowds and confirmed the word through signs and wonders. This is accomplished today through the word. Jno. 20:30,31, "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God: and that believing ye might have life through his name." If a person needs more confirmation than the inspired word of God, then he needs too much. The miracles of the first century which have been recorded, convince me that Christ was the Son of God and that the word spoken by the apostles came from God. I need no further proof than the inspired word. Nor will I receive any further proof.

3. The Holy Spirit showed that Jew and Gentile alike had the promise of God. The Scriptures do that. Rom: 1:16, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." Jew and Gentile alike are included in the salvation mentioned in the Gospel. The inspired word tells us this.

I believe that you can see that the work once accomplished by the Holy Spirit in a miraculous way, is now accomplished by the word. It is still the Holy Spirit accomplishing it but He does so through the medium of God's word. The baptismal measure of the Holy Spirit does not come upon people today. There is no need for it. There is no manifestation of it. Holy Spirit baptism happened twice and has not happened since. You and I are convinced and convicted of our sins by the Holy Spirit working through the word. The Holy Spirit has revealed all the commandments of God in this word. We need to learn them and obey them. We are then converted by the Spirit of God as He works through the word.