Behold, I send You Elijah the Prophet

FeaturedBehold, I send You Elijah the Prophet

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.  -Mal 4: 4 & 5

Before the coming of Christ, a foundation of stone had to be laid.  A SOLID, UNMOVABLE FOUNDATION, to prepare the way of the Lord.  The high places needed to be brought down, the low places needed to be brought up, and the crooked places needed to be made straight.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John, the same came for a witness to bear witness to the light THAT ALL MEN THROUGH HIM MIGHT BELIEVE.‘  (John 1:6)

Did you know that John the Baptist is the man through whom God meant we should believe in Christ?  Well, let me clarify, not John the person, but the spirit and ministry of John – or to phrase it biblically: ‘the spirit, and power of Elijah.’

Jesus affirmed that without receiving the ministry of John, the Pharisees had been unable to receive His own ministry:

For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.  (Matt 21:32)

So it is at this day.  Without the foundational ministry of John the Baptist, we cannot receive the ministry of Christ.  What was the ministry of John the Baptist, which God sent before we could receive Christ?  It is deep beyond imagination, and more profound than any man yet realizes, it is spiritually complex, and powerful, but it can be summarized with these words: ‘REPENT, FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND!’

If we receive not the preperation of the heart, neither can we receive the ministry of Christ in our lives.

The passage first quoted (from Malachi) speaks of the end times – behold, I send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

In John’s day the Jews expected Elijah, himself, to come back to the earth, but it would be the spirit and power of Elijah that came in the ministry of John.

Before the Lord returns there must be a revival of the spirit, and power of Elijah.

I our day there must be a turning of the hearts of the righteous to their children, and a turning of the hearts of the children to the fathers of faith – for if they speak not according to His Word, there is no light in them.  A foundation must be laid, and the bride needs to prepare herself for the coming of the Lord by the spirit and power of Elijah.

Learn more about the ministry of John the Baptist in my book: More Than a Prophet

The Primary Essentials of the Gospel

Those of you who have been following my blog recently are aware that I have been talking about the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.  I’ve got a whole lot more to say on the subject, but before I go on I’d like to ratchet back for a moment and talk about the primary essentials of the Christian Gospel.

Image result for bear necessities meme

(There’s my quirky humor for the post)

Usually if I spend much time talking about anything with more heavily spiritual implications, people of the Western mindset and worldview have the feeling that I am going off on some non-essential tangent from the plain, simple Gospel of Christ.

I’ve found myself frequently looking down the barrel of this argument, which says: ‘We want to make it easy for people to come to Christ, so we don’t want to scare them with too much overt spirituality.’  Usually its not stated quite so plainly, but that is the heart of what is meant.

This always leads me to wondering this question: ‘Okay… but when do we introduce people to the LIVING Christ?’  See we can explain a creed, or liturgy pretty easily to people, but once they’ve heard it are they convinced?  If they are, don’t they want to enter into the real thing?  If they’re not, then surely we need to demonstrate it as well as declare it.  Furthermore, if what people accept in our evangelism is merely our perspective, and they are not introduced to the real, living Jesus of the bible… are they really saved?

I’m going to make the case that the best way to win souls to Christ is demonstratively – Jesus declared that we are the ‘light of the world,’ and that a city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  No one lights a lamp and sets it under a basket!  (This is from Matt 5:14-16)

Just what did Jesus mean by that?  Did He mean that we are to use our natural talents, and abilities in order to make ourselves known? (<- This is how I [almost always] hear it taught.)  NO!  He’s not speaking of natural talents and abilities at all – He’s speaking of the anointing of God.  This is clarified in parable form in the previous verse:

Matt 5:13
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

If He were speaking of natural abilities, it is not as though you will lose them!  But if He is speaking of godliness (the anointing) – you CAN lose your zeal, your zest for God, your sense of His presence.  Then what are you good for?

Being the light of the world means that we are supposed to be the most spiritual, godly people on the planet.  Do you know God?  That will be evident by the light of His presence upon you.  What if that presence of God makes people uncomfortable?  Should we quench it?  GOD FORBID!! (1 Thess. 5:19) For if the salt loses his flavor… how shall it be salted again?

If you reject the anointing of God upon you for the fear of man (which is what this seeker-friendly thought comes down to), how can God entrust you with His presence again?  God forbid that we would crucify the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame (Heb 6:6)!

The goal in our lives is godliness, is spirituality (1 Cor 2:14-16).  Will it make people uncomfortable if we become highly spiritual?  You bet it will!  But don’t worry… it will make YOU uncomfortable first, so you’ll be able to sympathize🙂

Remember this: the Holy Spirit is called the Comforter, but He is not primarily interested in our comfort.  No, indeed, in fact our comfort is an enemy of the Spirit of God.  The desire for comfort is a desire of the flesh (and of the soul that wants to be in control), and ‘the flesh lusteth AGAINST the Spirit, and the Spirit AGAINST the flesh…’ (Gal. 5:17).

The Holy Spirit is not primarily interested in our comfort, He is primarily interested in EXALTING JESUS CHRIST(John 15:26)

RIGHT BIBLICAL SPIRITUALITY equates to RIGHT BIBLICAL MATURITY.  So, then, what is that right biblical spirituality?  What are the essentials of the Gospel, which make one appropriately spiritual?

The writer of Hebrews lays out plainly the first six principal doctrines of Christianity – the ‘Primary Essentials of the Gospel,’ if you will.  In context he is rebuking the church for not having these thoroughly in place already, but you will find as you look at them that these basic biblical teachings are some of the very teachings that the church in our day equates to non-essentials!

Heb 6:1-2
1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

I won’t really tackle all of these, but I have heard Christian ‘ministers’ declare that repentance is not necessary for salvation, only faith in Jesus.  This mindset is, firstly, a misunderstanding of WHAT repentance, and faith ARE, but secondarily is a denunciation of the first principal doctrine of Christianity!  From this flawed ideology that repentance is not necessary the church has birthed such abominations as acting homosexuals who believe they are saved because they have accepted that Jesus is Lord – is that not an horrible tragedy?  When they are cast into hell at the judgment because someone taught them that they need not repent of their sin, is it not then also the teacher’s fault?  Did we teach them that so that they would join our church and be comfortable?  God will hold that teacher accountable, rest assured of it.  (This is not the only misconception that deleting the doctrine of repentance has led to, (or will) but it is a readily available example in our culture.)  Is it a ‘non-essential’ doctrine?

I’ll not go on that tangent further, but let us appropriately heed each one of these topics, study them and be well grounded in each.  These are the primary essentials of Christian faith.

Notice that the first doctrine mentioned in verse 2 is ‘baptismS‘ plural.  The doctrine of baptisms is plural because this passage speaks of 1) the water baptism, and 2) the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

When we speak on the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, it is one of the six principal doctrines of Christianity.

1 Cor 2:12-16
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

Would that All God’s People Were Prophets

Would that All God’s People Were Prophets

Num 11:27-29
27 And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp.

28 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them.

29 And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD’s people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!

Moses here declares that he wished all of God’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them all.  In fact this is not merely some sort of spiritual daydream but a prophecy, for Moses declared not only his own desire for God’s people, but the desire of God, Himself!

I mentioned this passage just briefly in my last post ‘Ere the Lamp of the Lord Go Out,’ which post was also about the Spirit of Prophecy.  I declared that Moses’ prophecy was fulfilled in Acts 2, when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost.  Now I know that this thought is a bit of a stretch for most, but let’s explore just what this thought means.

First, let’s look at this story of Moses in the book of Numbers, then we can consider the later New Testament outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts.

The story of this outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the book of numbers, wherein men were prophesying in the camp, actually started when the people of God became too great a burden for Moses, and he petitioned God to help bear the load of the people.  As the Prophet of God in the earth, God had entrusted Moses with leading, and directing the whole nation – because His Spirit was upon Moses to do so.

The people were not satisfied with the provision that the Lord had made for them, and they complained, and cried out AGAINST the Lord, who was caring for them through the ministry of Moses.  They had literally just been punished for contending with the Lord in this matter, yet they quickly forgot the correction, and were complaining, and crying out again (Num 11:1-10).

Under the stress and pressure of being held responsible for the whole nation, Moses called out to God:

Num 11:10-15
10 Then Moses heard the people weep throughout their families, every man in the door of his tent: and the anger of the LORD was kindled greatly; Moses also was displeased.

11 And Moses said unto the LORD, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant? and wherefore have I not found favour in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me?

12 Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers?

13 Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people? for they weep unto me, saying, Give us flesh, that we may eat.

14 I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me.

15 And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness.

Moses feels so overwhelmed with the burden of the people that he says he would rather die than to continue caring for them on his own.

God graciously responds – He has a plan to help Moses carry the burden of the people:

Num 11:16-17
16 And the LORD said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee.

17 And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone.

God’s plan is to take of Moses’ anointing, and IMPART that same anointing upon 70 elders of the people of Israel.  In this way, the 70 would be equipped as prophets to the people, as Moses was in order that the people may be cared for, and ministered to more effectively.  (There is great depth of meaning, and of typologies here but we’ll stick to the basic overtones for the moment.)

Moses did exactly as God told him, he gathered 70 princes of the people together and the people sanctified themselves (Num. 11:18).  Now this sanctification process is crucial, because when the Spirit of God came upon someone who was impure before God, they were consumed with fire (even priests).  In terms of New Testament application this means that they repented, and were baptized (Acts 2:38).

Num 11:24-29
24 And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the LORD, and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle.

25 And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, THEY PROPHESIED, AND DID NOT CEASE.

So every one of the elders, or princes upon whom the Spirit of God came PROPHESIED, and furthermore, they: ‘DID NOT CEASE.’  Meaning (in New Testament terms) that the rest of their lives, they had the gift of prophecy (Rom. 11:29).

Yet there was something else interesting about this situation.  Two of the princes called to the tabernacle did not come, for some reason.  The scripture gives us no indication why they did not come to the meeting at the tabernacle, though as they are men of renowned integrity we can doubtless assume it was not in intentional rebellion to the command of God.  Whatever the reason, God’s grace was upon them, regardless and they too received the Holy Spirit, and prophesied:

26 But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp.

27 And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp.

28 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them.

29 And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD’s people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!

Now, these two are an excellent example for us in terms of New Testament promises, because it means that even if we were not present for the corporate move of God we, too, can receive the Holy Spirit!  ‘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.’  (Acts 2:39)

Now, there is a clear correlation between the Spirit of God coming on the princes of Israel in the time of Moses, and of prophecy, but is there a real correlation between the New Testament outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and of prophecy?  After all, Moses was an established prophet, perhaps the prophesying of the 70 had to do with the fact that their reception of the Holy Spirit was an impartation from Moses’ ministry and gifting?

On the day of Pentecost, after Jesus’ ascension to the right hand of the Father, the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the gathered believers.  The apostle Peter declared that this outpouring of the Holy Spirit was the fulfillment of a prophecy found in Joel chapter 2.

Here is Peter’s quote of Joel 2:

Acts 2:17-21
17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:

20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:

21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Is it interesting that every gifting which would accompany the Holy Spirit is a prophetic gifting?  Prophesy, see visions, dream dreams, and finally a fourth affirmation: ‘they shall prophesy.’

The baptism in the Holy Spirit is given so that we may be witnesses unto Christ (Acts 1:8).  How appropriate, then, that the central focus of the Holy Spirit is prophecy?  As I also mentioned in my former post, the testimony of Jesus is the SPIRIT OF PROPHECY (Rev. 19:10).

1 Cor 14:39
Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy…

1 Cor 14:31
For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.

(For the question: ‘Didn’t prophecy pass away?’ see post: ‘The Year of the Lord’s Favor‘)

Ere the Lamp of the Lord Go Out…

Ere the Lamp of the Lord Go Out…

Where there is no vision, the people perish…
– Prov 29:18

1 Sam 3:1-3
And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision.

2 And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see;

3 And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep

For those unfamiliar, the book of Samuel takes place almost immediately after events in the book of Judges.  The final verse in the book of Judges says this:

In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.  (Judges 21:25)

The kingdom, which was supposed to be ordered entirely by the Living God had forsaken the Lord, and digressed literally into a state of anarchy.  Due to this final verse in Judges, I have heard it speculated that God intended for the nation to be run as an anarchy.  This is entirely inaccurate.

God gave plain guidelines for this nation which He had called to Himself, they were supposed to be a nation of priests (Ex. 19:6).  Not only was the nation to be a kingdom of priests, but their king and ruler was to be God, alone (1 Sam 8:7; 12:12).

Yet how was the Lord to rule over the people?  If not via a king, what was God’s intended way to rule His nation of priests?  Actually, His desire from the beginning was  to have a personal relationship with each individual, and that they all might be led directly by Him.  However, when the Word of God spoke in an audible voice from the Mountain of fire the people feared, and with one accord they prayed that they would not hear the Word of the Lord, but that God would grant them an intermediary (Ex 20:18-22).

Because the people drew back from hearing the Lord for themselves, God declared that He would rule His kingdom of priests by the next best thing: the hand of a prophet (Deut. 18:15-18).  The prophet would act as intermediary between the people and God – as such, the office of prophet was a typological representation of the coming Messiah.

But even in his day, Moses, looking forward to the days of the coming Messiah declared this great restorative prophecy:

Num 11:29
…would God that ALL the LORD’s people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!

This prophecy of Moses would later be fulfilled in Acts 2.

Yet now back to the narrative of Samuel the prophet.

The book of Judges concluded with God’s nation of priests digressing into a state of total political, and social anarchy.  From the outset of the book of Samuel we see that the one thing remaining of Israel’s great spiritual dynasty was the religious service of the tabernacle.  Yet this, too, was in a dreadful state!

The high priest in Israel was a man named Eli, Eli was old, overweight (1 Sam 2:29; 4:18) and going blind (3:2).  In his physical state, Eli seemed to do very little of the temple service himself; almost every time we see him in scripture he is sitting, or lying down (1 Sam 1:9; 3:2; 4:13).  Eli’s two sons – Hophni, and Phinehas – who were carrying out the temple service were overtly corrupt, so much so that they would steal from congregants, and fornicate with women in the temple (2:22).  But the worst of their corruption was that they made the people to despise the sacrifice of the Lord (2:17; 2:29).  Thus, indeed, corruption had entered Israel at every level of its society – it was only a matter of time before the judgment of God would come, and even the priesthood of Israel would be cut off.

My, what a terrible state the nation was in!  The whole nation was corrupted with sin, even the very priesthood!  There was not a man in Israel to stand before the Lord, the entire realm had become – as the wife of one of the evil priest’s would later prophesy – ICHABOD meaning that God’s glory had entirely departed from the people, and the entire nation was left desolate.

Oh but hear this song of hope in the midst of the fallen priesthood:

1 Sam 2:18
But Samuel ministered before the LORD, being a child, girded with a linen ephod.

What a great tragedy that there was no man in all the land of Israel to minister before the Lord!  But there was SOMEONE willing!  Even a little boy – a child wearing a priestly garment before God!

Now this is the stage set for the seed, the new hope of Israel – for the whole of the land was burned and charred with the corruption of sin, and in only a matter of a few years the very priesthood in Israel would be handed over to Satan.

Oh, but the child Samuel would soon carry that life which God had ever intended that the nation of Israel walk in – soon the light of the world would be imparted to a lonely little boy who had been given by his mother into a life of service to God.

1 Sam 3:1-3
And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision.

2 And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see;

3 And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep.

For those who have eyes to see, this passage fully defines the lack in Israel: that poverty for which the people would be handed over to the Philistines.  The WORD OF THE LORD was ‘precious,’ or ‘rare’ in those days.  What does this mean?  It goes on to give further clarification: ‘THERE WAS NO OPEN VISION.’

Specifically, this ‘vision’ speaks of PROPHECY.  The Hebrew word for ‘vision’ here is:

chazown (khaw-zone’); a sight (mentally), i.e. a dream, revelation, or oracle

Thus the ‘word of the Lord’ spoken of here, is not specifically the bible.  Bear in mind that they had the ‘Pentetuech’ that is the scriptures handed down from the pen of Moses (the first five books of the bible), as well as the book of Joshua.  (The book of Judges may still have been in the works for, as mentioned, 1 Samuel starts almost precisely at its tail-end.)

Some speculate that ‘open vision’ means a literal open-eyed vision as Ezekiel, and some of the other prophets had wherein they seemed to literally see heavenly beings and events with their physical eyes.  In this case that appears to be an inaccurate interpretation, for the word ‘open’ (King James) actually means something closer along the lines of ‘wide spread,’ or ‘given abroad.’

The trouble in Israel was that there was no widespread prophetic revelation.  The people of Israel were without the Spirit of God.  THERE WERE NO PROPHETS IN THE LAND.  Even the prophecy which was given to Eli, wherein God warned him of the coming wrath on his family was brought not by a ‘prophet,’ but simply by one called: ‘a man of God’ (1 Sam 2:27).

Bear in mind that God had promised to lead the nation by the hand of prophets.  Prophecy was intended to be widespread – the light of the kingdom.  But there was no open vision.


1 Sam 3:2
…it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see;

The high priest, himself, was losing his sight.  The correlation of his physically going blind is no coincidence; this is a prophetic parable of the state of the priesthood.  He who should be the most prophetic man in Israel was going blind.  He was not yet fully blind, as he would be the day of his death (4:15) yet at this time he had all but lost his perception of the things of God.

Israel had become a pagan nation which had not honored the Spirit of prophecy; of all those who knew the ways of the Kingdom that the LORD had instigated, only ONE priest who understood the ways of the Lord was left in the land – and he had compromised, and compromised until his complacency had caused his understanding to wax dim.

So it was that a nation designed to be filled with priests who communed with God, and walked in the Spirit of prophecy, had no widespread prophetic understanding.  Furthermore, even the high priest was going blind to the things of God – and the third and final horror is contained in the next verse:

And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD

The only remaining light was a dull flickering lamp in God’s temple.  The nation’s light was about to be entirely snuffed out.  If the light goes out entirely, there is nothing left in the whole world but darkness: death reigns with no hope of salvation.  Israel was like a man in some sort of a coma, barely breathing – at any moment the light could entirely flicker out and the nation of Israel would become just as the heathen kingdoms they had driven out of the land.

Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12; 9:5) – this is speaking of the work and testimony of Jesus in the earth.  There must be a prophetic witness in the world.  The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy (Revelation 19:10).  God had to search out and find Himself a little boy who would regard the Word of the Lord.

Then in the dark of night, as a little boy faithfully executed the inept priest’s office, because he had made his heart right, for he alone set his face to worship, and honor the Lord – God spoke to that little boy.

Sadly, the nation was already too far gone – Eli the high priest was too complacent even to repent when warned of the wrath to come (1 Sam 3:18).  Judgment would come to Israel, the priesthood would die – the ark of God’s presence would be handed over to the devil.

But the light was not altogether diminished:

1 Sam 3:21
And the LORD appeared again in Shiloh: for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD.

And here is an interesting fact of scripture.  For Samuel’s first lesson was HOW TO HEAR GOD.  So learn carefully what this means, beloved children – from the perishing priest, his final flicker of illumination in the ancient ways; that which led Samuel fully into that blessed heavenly kingdom of light – hear carefully, and meditate on these words, until ye become prophets yourselves for I will not at this time reveal the mystery of it, but God shall reveal it to you if you seek Him:

1 Sam 3:9
Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

And now for the application.  Why am I writing this?  Why take heed to the life of the great prophet Samuel?

There is a testimony of God in the world.  Many fear that it is diminished entirely, and that there is now no hope.  But Samuel ministered unto the Lord, being a child girded with a linen ephod.

How about you?

Concerning Spiritual Gifts pt. 2 “Holy Spirit Baptism”

Concerning Spiritual Gifts pt. 2 “Holy Spirit Baptism”

Acts 2:2-4
2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Is the baptism in the Holy Spirit something different than salvation?  Isn’t the deposit of the Holy Spirit given when someone is born-again?  Doesn’t the above passage of scripture just describe the moment when the early Christians were actually ‘saved’?  Didn’t Paul seem to assume in his writings that every Christian had the Holy Spirit in fullness?

If you have been born again, and have received these teachings, you may well believe that you have already received the Holy Spirit in its fullness.  But is that really accurate, scripturally?

There has now been a wide history of varied thought on these things, but how does the bible teach it?

Referencing only the New Testament, there had actually been teaching on this baptism in the Holy Spirit from the time of John the Baptist, who declared:

Matt 3:11-12
11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

After Jesus’ own death, burial and resurrection, Jesus affirmed John the Baptist’s prophecy:

Acts 1:4-5
And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.

5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

Jesus also declared what the baptism in the Holy Ghost was to be for:

V. 8
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost 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.

According to Jesus the baptism in the Holy Spirit was for the purpose of giving SUPERNATURAL POWER to His followers in order that they could be EFFECTIVE WITNESSES of the Gospel.

I’ll say this part again: according to Jesus, there should be SUPERNATURAL POWER given to the believer.  Not only so, but that supernatural power is to be great enough that it affects the believer’s ability to witness – i.e. it should be evident that there is supernatural power at work in their lives.

In my last post I talked about our need to attain gifts of the Spirit – the gifts of the Holy Spirit can be described as ‘organized power.’  How do I mean that?  Jesus declared that the gift of the Holy Spirit would come upon believers, and that gift would give them power for witness (as mentioned above).

Power, alone, however will have very little value if there are not appropriate venues of demonstrating that power.  For example: your house may have all the electrical wiring that it needs to run appliances throughout your home – the walls are filled with electrical wires teeming with power.  Yet that power is of no value to you if you don’t actually use any electrical appliances.  If you never turn on your oven, or electric stove, if you don’t have your refrigerator plugged into the wall, if you never plug in and use a blender, etc – then none of  the electrical power in the house will EVER BE DISPLAYED.

So it is with spiritual gifts, if you’ve got the Holy Spirit you can lawfully activate, and use spiritual gifts.  If you don’t use gifts, then you may be charged with power, but there is no outlet for that power to operate.  (Perhaps we’ll discuss the gifts, themselves, in a later post.)

But how do we attain this power?  Again: isn’t the Holy Spirit given to us when we are saved?  This is a good question – let’s talk about what makes a person saved.  Paul described this perfectly in his letter to the Romans:

Rom 10:9
…if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, THOU SHALT BE SAVED.

Salvation is attained through repentance, and faith in Jesus Christ.  This is singularly a transaction of the heart – INTERNAL.  Jesus declared that the Holy Spirit will COME UPON you (Acts 1:8) – EXTERNAL.  The sign spoken of, in reference to the Holy Spirit is a ‘baptism’ (Matt 3:11; Acts 1:5, etc.), an exterior action.  What is the phrase so commonly used about water baptism?  ‘It’s an outward act of an inward commitment…’  (For greater clarification on the correlation see post ‘The Sign of Water Baptism‘)

To be baptized is to be immersed in something OUTSIDE of yourself, to be born again is to receive the personal revelation of Jesus Christ INSIDE YOUR HEART.  Now, that salvation itself is the gift of God, and faith was implanted into your heart by the Holy Spirit just as it is written:

Eph 2:8
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

That faith is a spiritual deposit, which then calls out to God – this is salvation.  But… don’t we receive the ‘seal’ of the Holy Spirit at this time?

Consider Ephesians 1:13-14:

13 In [Christ] ye also trusted, AFTER that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: [meaning, FIRST your heard the Gospel, THEN you believed and were saved] in whom also AFTER that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Paul’s description of salvation in this passage gives a clear chronology of events:

  1. You heard the gospel (ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation)
  2. You believed and were saved (In [Christ] ye also trusted)
  3. You receive the Holy Spirit (AFTER that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise)

The baptism in the Holy Spirit – and even the ‘seal’ of the Holy Spirit spoken of here (if the two things can be counted as different) is a separate event from salvation.  It comes AFTER believing the Gospel unto salvation.

Let me use now a story in the bible to give greater clarity to this, because this still isn’t strong enough biblical evidence:

In Acts chapter 8, the deacon Philip goes to Samaria, and preaches the Gospel with miraculous signs and wonders following (v.5-8).  Seemingly with one accord, the people of the city believed the Gospel, and were water baptized (v.12).

All of these Samaritans were saved.  For:

Rom 10:9
…if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, THOU SHALT BE SAVED.

Not only were they ‘saved,’ or ‘born again’ – but they had committed their lives and their bodies wholly to God in water baptism.

Yet the bible says something very interesting.  It says that even though they believed and were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, they had not received the Holy Spirit (v.12).  The apostles Peter and John, therefore, came down to Samaria and laid hands on the new converts, imparting the Holy Spirit to them!

Now doctrinally, IF the baptism in the Holy Spirit can be conferred by the laying on of hands, it is certainly NOT the same thing as salvation.  Salvation can never be imparted through laying on hands – it is only obtained through faith in Christ.

If you read carefully the writings of Paul you will see that Paul just assumes that every Christian he is writing to has been baptized in the Holy Spirit.  Many contemporary theologians teach us that this means that the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and salvation are the same thing.  I would point out that Paul also assumed that every Christian he is writing to has been baptized in water – but that is clearly a separate event that happens AFTER salvation.

The reason that Paul assumes every Christian is baptized in the Holy Spirit is because as Christians, he expects them to know and be doing everything that is clearly the revealed will of God – after all, they’re Christians.  (There is also a story in Acts where Paul, himself, verifies whether certain new believers had yet received the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:1-7).)

How about you?  Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?  Has the Holy Spirit come upon you in power?  Have you received gifts of the Holy Spirit to witness?

You can receive the Holy Spirit Baptism, Jesus promised it to all who ask for it!  Call on Jesus, He alone baptizes with the Holy Spirit, seek Him in faith nothing wavering, and you can surely receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit!

Link to pt. 1

Concerning Spiritual Gifts pt. 1 “What Gifts Can I Have?”

Concerning Spiritual Gifts pt. 1 “What Gifts Can I Have?”

Now concerning spiritual gifts, bretheren, I would not have you ignorant.  – 1 Cor 12:1

Interesting that God does not want us ignorant of spiritual gifts, no?  Indeed, I wonder how thoroughly he would have us to be educated in this particular field?

From this initial statement, Paul goes on for three chapters speaking of powerful dynamics of spiritual gifts. (Yes, three chapters, chapter 13 is not – as some suppose – an interlude from speaking on gifts, it is rather an essential groundwork for appropriately employing them: i.e. dynamics of their working. For the validity of spiritual gifts in our own time see post ‘The Year of the Lord’s Favor‘)  I would encourage all Christian readers to (particularly if you are interested in spiritual gifts) spend time meditating on 1 Corinthians 12-14.

The statement from God’s eternal Word is as True for you today, as it was for the assembly in Corinth when Paul wrote the letter: God does not want YOU [Christian] to be ignorant of spiritual gifts.  But why?  Why would God care what we know about spiritual gifts?  The only valid reason is that they must pertain to us (again, see mentioned post).

God wants spiritual gifts to be used in the body:

1 Peter 4:11
As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Now I ought to clarify that by ‘THE GIFT’ Peter is speaking really of ALL spiritual gifts for ‘THE GIFT’ (singular) is the Holy Spirit, Himself.  Here Peter does not merely imply a spiritual gift that one has, but as in other references ‘the gift of God.’  This is important to note because one of the ESSENTIAL teachings of Paul regarding spiritual gifts is that you can have more than one.

Oh-oh… some of you weren’t ready for that thought.  In fact, many teach that people receive ONE gift of the Spirit upon their salvation, and will never operate in any other, but what Holy Spirit initially gave them.

They get this belief from 1 Corinthians 12:11, which says of the gifts of the Spirit:

But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.  (In context there are nine listed gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor 12:8-10).)

Following this verse Paul goes on to give a basic description of the church as Christ’s body – His body having different members, different functions, etc.

He then goes on with hypothetical questions as to whether all have the same gifts, (1 Cor 12:29-30 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? 30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?) the answer being, clearly: no, not all have the same gifts or function.

But there is, too often, where people stop quoting, the final and generally overlooked verse in 1 Cor 12 says this:

But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.  (1 Cor 12:31)

Now, this is an interesting thought.  Paul declares that the Holy Spirit divides spiritual gifts to each one according to His own will… yet here Paul tells us – nay, commands us to ‘Covet EARNESTLY the best gifts…

Why would Paul – no, rather: why would GOD THROUGH Paul command us to covet earnestly the best gifts of the Spirit, if the Holy Spirit is the one who decides which gift(s) is/are given to whom?

Would God tell us to desire something that He does not intend to give us?  Would God entice us to lust, or temptation toward something we ought not to have?

Really, this isn’t a strong enough point just yet, so I will quote a verse or two more.  Following our love chapter, the first verse in 1 Corinthians 14 says this:

1 Cor 14:1
Follow after charity [love], and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.

Here is a second verse where Paul commands us to ‘desire spiritual gifts’ and particularly the gift of prophesy (some translations render this: ‘especially the gift of prophesy.‘)  Thus again Paul declares the second time that we should be desiring MORE spiritual gifts than those we have, and he reveals that the most important of the spiritual gifts (the one we should covet, and desire most) is the gift of prophesy.  Interesting illumination!

Paul also declares that ANYONE who has the gift of tongues should PRAY that he would ALSO receive the gift of interpretation of tongues (which is a different gift according to 1 Cor 12:10):

1 Cor 14:13
Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.

Yet if these three verses aren’t enough, Paul declares a fourth time within his teaching on spiritual gifts:

1 Cor 14:39
Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.

So in one verse within Paul’s teaching on spiritual gifts, Paul declares that the Holy Spirit divides to every man severally as He will (12:11).  And in three verses, Paul says that we should desire (and pray for) greater spiritual gifts (12:31; 14:1; 14:13; 14:39).

We know that the sovereign will of the Holy Spirit is involved in the distribution of one’s INITIAL gifting.  That is, when you receive the Holy Spirit, He will give to you AT LEAST ONE spiritual gift, and that (or those) gift(s) are those which He has specifically selected of His own will to you.

Yet this is only an entry level teaching on receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit, for Paul makes the declaration of the Spirit’s sovereignty but once, yet goes on to instruct us (not once, but) four times to seek MORE spiritual gifting!  It is not only lawful to desire spiritual gifts, we commanded to!

What gifts of the Spirit do YOU have?  Will you obey God’s command to desire more, to seek, and pray for greater gifts, and especially the gift of prophecy?  Study 1 Corinthians 12-14 carefully, and desire all that God has for you!

Be blessed!

Link to pt. 2

Lester Sumrall: 7 Prophecies of America (All of these are either fulfilled now, or fulfilled in part already (save perhaps #7))

Just recently I watched this video of Lester Sumrall prophesying the things that will happen in America in the latter days (video included at bottom).

Sumrall describes seven things which the Lord revealed to him.  Even viewing this 29 years after it was filmed, I had an hard time believing #6 could publicly take place in America – but just recently it has been found legal in Canada (a post about which will be found in its place).  With that I see all but the last one of these prophecies complete.  The video of the prophecies are included at the end, but I will lay out the seven with contemporary articles, posts and videos which show their fulfillment.  (I am not affiliated with the ministry of Lester Sumrall, and this is in no wise an ‘official’ post regarding any fulfillment of statements he made, but certain of my own observations, which I thought others might find interesting.  The video, itself, was made in the late 80s, but Sumrall’s missionary work in the Philippines (when these were revealed to him) was in the 1950s.)

Lester Sumrall tells of 7 things God showed him he would see in America as the end of days approaches:

1) America will turn from its historic faith

This one has been happening for years, and was already pretty much complete the time the video of Sumrall’s prophecy was recorded in 1987.  As I think it is easily established that this has already occurred, I will reference only one (fairly major) happening from America’s history which shows this.

In 1960 – during a height of ‘Red scare’ in America, communist sympathizer Madalene Murray O’hare attempted to defect to the USSR.

O’hare was deemed to have no valuable work skills to contribute to the USSR, and immigration sent her back to the United States, telling her to work for the communist revolution here – she did exactly that.

Upon her return when she went to enroll her son William Murray into the public school system.  Upon entering the school in session (they had missed the beginning enrollment due to her attempted defection to the USSR) found that the morning routine consisted of saying the pledge of allegiance to the American flag, the reading of scripture and a time of prayer.

Miss Murray O’hare was offended that the children in the American Public school system were being taught American Patriotism.  Subsequently she filed a law-suit with the supreme court to have prayer and bible reading removed from public schools as they represented, in her view, one of the pillars of American Patriotism.  In direct result of her lawsuit, in 1963 the supreme court ruled prayer and reading of scripture in Public Schools unconstitutional. (I wonder if the American Population would have been a little more vocal if they realized she was a communist…)


In the short clip below, her son William Murray – who since became a Christian minister – briefly explains (there are more complete video testimonies (if you are interested just YouTube search ‘William Murray testimony’), I use this one because of its brevity).

This information is interesting, and applies to the statement made – surely it is obvious to most that politically America has turned from Christianity, its ‘historic faith.’

2) America will endorse pagan religions:

Not only has Christianity been largely rooted out of America politically, but this separation is almost unanimously exclusive to CHRISTIANITY.

Ironically (particularly under the context of the above) Islam is being increasingly introduced to American public schools.

But even long before this – traced back also into the 1960s, various Eastern Religions, and Philosophies have crept into Western society, and been in increasingly wide spread acceptance.

I had recently said something about Yoga, which is now a common ‘secularized’ practice in the West – the secularization of Yoga is, however, terribly offensive to Yogis of India for Yoga is (literally) the perfected form of Hindu worship (

3) American will openly accept satanism

Above are just a couple of articles I’ve seen recently regarding this particular prophecy.  In response to this second article, and the perspectives laid out by the satanic temple regarding ‘community activism.’

Cults have exoteric and esoteric doctrines – this is one of the things which distinguishes a cult.  ‘Exoteric teaching’ means that they teach different things to outsiders than they do to higher level initiates in the cult.  As a member is initiated, and then is brought into deeper levels of commitment to the cult organization, they are given more information and exposed to more thorough teaching (ESOTERIC).

Atheism is the general exoteric teaching satanism.  Satan WORSHIP is, indeed, practiced among the higher ranks but admitting so to the media, and general public would be counter-productive to their drive for societal acceptance, now wouldn’t it?  Why is atheism the exoteric teaching of satanism?  Because to a satanist bringing multitudes to hell is the primal goal; true satanists know that humanity is saved by faith in Jesus because the ‘religion’ of satanism is based upon Christianity (no other religion), and despises God.  High level initiates in the cult of satanism do worship the devil – they are not really atheists.  (Incidentally if you are talking to someone who claims to be a satanist who actually seems to be convinced that the temple of satan doesn’t actually worship the devil, then they are either really good liars, or not actual initiates.)

4) There will be a spirit of rebellion – there will be anarchy among the youth; rebellion on the campuses, not only university campuses, but high school, middle school. The spirit of rebellion would be in the whole of the social structure – particularly in the home. ‘And the streets of our nation – full of rebellion. It can become a revolution…’

This one, and the next one I probably don’t need supporting articles for as they have become so astoundingly prevalent in our culture.

I will just name a few touch-button points on this one: war on cops, mass riots in the streets… (why are there high school girls protesting that they should have to wear bras… rebellion to social norm, and moral etiquette?)

5) America will have a tremendous change in its morals.

This has obviously been occurring, and is almost synonymous with the other elements of the prophecy and issues which he has spoken of, but he specifically speaks of sexual lewdness, and homosexuality in particular.  I probably don’t need any articles to back up the fact that America has completely altered its morals with regard to sexuality in general, and specifically homosexuality.  (For the question of whether homosexuality is really contrary to Christianity, see post ‘Can Christians be Gay?‘)

6) Beastiality will come similar to the acceptance of homosexuality.

This one I had a hard time believing; it has not become so wide-scale yet, but Canada has recently called ‘certain types’ of sexual activity with animals legal:

7) These are the days of the greatest outpouring of the Spirit of God that the world has ever known.


The ‘Mad Faith’ of Abraham

The ‘Mad Faith’ of Abraham

Are we called to faith?  To what degree?  There was a man of God in the bible named Abraham; Abraham is called the father of all who believe (Romans 4:11).

God tested Abraham to see if he would be loyal to the point of offering his son to die (Genesis 22).

Our faith must be in the Truth. Abraham knew God in actuality, God communed and spoke with the man, he was a prophet. A ‘mad faith’ would be believing in something or someone who is unknown to you: ‘blind faith.’ Believe it or not, the bible does not endorse the concept of ‘blind faith.’

Biblical faith is to be based upon a living relationship with God. One CAN know God – this is the wonderful Truth of the Gospel. Biblical faith is more like relational Trust than any concept of ‘blind faith’. In a relationship mutual trust is developed between two people. The difficulty with humanity in this area is that sin exists, therefore the trust in any human relationship is based upon the integrity of each individual involved in said relationship.

Biblical Faith in God is not merely believing in His existence, but understanding that He is worthy of our complete full, and honest relational Trust (Heb 11:6). In fact, as the only entity we can relate to who exists entirely without sin – He is the ONLY person that we can give our full relational Trust to. That is bible faith. Trust in the only morally, and judicially flawless being that exists. In reality, if such a being exists, it is somewhat absurd for us NOT to trust Him for humanity is so unstable that you and I cannot even intrinsically trust ourselves (!!) (Jesus had to prove this point to Peter, who did not believe it, himself (Matt 26:33-35)).

So what was Abraham’s ‘mad faith’? Abraham knew God – he knew God not as a religious form, or amorphous entity, but as a person. (As Jesus would later declare: ‘Ye worship ye know not what; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.‘ (John 4:22)) God has made a way for all men to know Him as a person, in just the same way – which is the amazing story of Abraham’s ‘mad faith’ – God supplied the perfect sacrifice in Jesus Christ.

Abraham knew that God alone is without sin, that God alone could be fully, and intrinsically trusted – that even if he could not Trust himself, God was the stable one in the relationship who could ever be Trusted.  A Sure Rock, and Pillar of Truth.

God then tested Abraham’s Trust in Him – He told Abraham to sacrifice his own son. Wow! Now you and I would, by such a commandment, assume that God is evil, would we not? We would receive an accusation against the only Just, and fully Trust-able being in existence, wouldn’t we?! Ah! But Abraham knew that God was altogether perfect morally – he knew that God was not evil. He knew that God was no murderer, he knew that God was no liar – though He appeared to be both of these things when He commanded Abraham thus.

Abraham’s RELATIONAL Trust in God (specifically, in this case God’s goodness) was the major element being tested. This is interesting because the first SIN in human history – the first rejection of God’s will – was based on an accusation of God’s goodness:

Gen 3:4-5
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

‘For God doth know…’ The serpent is here accusing God to mankind; his statement directly implies that God is intentionally holding back some good from man.  Will we receive such an accusation?  Therein is no faith!  Though it believes in God, it believes bad of God, but within True, biblically defined faith is contained the belief that God is a REWARDER (see post God is a Rewarder).

Abraham knew that God was not evil – had he believed an accusation against God, He would not be in faith!  (How often do we expect things from God, and yet believe an accusation against His goodwill for us?) He would not receive even the accusation of his own intellect, or emotions (which surely would be loudly declaring to him, that this was full wickedness) against God!  He would not believe the allegations of the circumstance, itself, when those circumstances seemed to indict God!  WOULD THAT WE HAD SUCH FAITH!

Abraham offered his son – so confident was he of the goodness of God that he ignored every counter thought and emotion which stood contrary to the Word of God.  As the Apostle Paul declared we must do:

2 Cor 10:5
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Don’t you think that Abraham must have been in the throes of spiritual warfare?!  Satan, always running contrary to the will of God must have been shouting in Abraham’s ear: ‘You have mis-heard God!  If God has told you to kill your son, then God is but a murderer!  You are a murderer!  If you are hearing God right, then He is a god who ought not to be obeyed!’  I have no doubt that such struggles were waging war in the man’s mind, I’ve no doubt that the devil was doing his uttmost to deter him but yet… yet there is nothing spoken of on that wise in scripture.

Abraham heard the Word of the Lord, and he obeyed it.  Simple as that.

We must be prepared to cast down every imagination, and every vain thing which exalts itself against the Word of the Lord.  I am speaking to myself, here, as much as to anyone.  Would that I simply locked on to what God said, and entertained no other voice, allowed no other thought in my mind – entertained no accusation against God.

That’s what it is, ladies and gentlemen.  All doubt is, at its core, accusation against God.  Can we trust God with our lives?  With the lives of our children?  Abraham had to face that question dead on – God wasn’t messing around, He gave him a very hard test.  Is God really good?  Is He really the rewarder of them that seek Him?  Then why…?  Then how come…?  You see, these questions are but doubt (for more on doubt, see ‘Why Faith?‘.)

You, doubtless know the story: before Isaac was slain, God stopped Abraham; and God, Himself, provided the Perfect sacrifice. In addition to all this, Abraham had earned fellowship with God in an amazing way. God, Himself would offer HIS only begotten Son as a sacrifice for all mankind – only God’s sacrifice was not stopped at the last minute. God had to watch His Son tortured to death for real. His Son went to hell. This was the prophecy, and the instruction that Abraham received in the experience.

Was it ‘mad faith’? No, because Abraham knew God ACTUALLY as a Person. There are many today who ‘know God’ as a religious form, or exercise. Even Christians, who far too often settle for less than a living relationship, simply follow a form in ‘blind faith.’

But again: ‘Ye worship YE KNOW NOT WHAT; we know what we worship...‘ Thus our relationship must be based upon what – or rather WHO – we know. This is why faith is so important – it is about actually KNOWING GOD – which is the greatest need of all mankind.

God is good, and He is reaching out to you today; call on His name, friend.  He is a real person, He will prove Himself to you, and has real help and love for you!