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He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire

January 17, 2009
By Stephen W. Pyle, Pastor of Elkins Church of God of Prophecy

John the Baptist, while preaching at the Jordan River declared, "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" (Matthew 3:11).

"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. For John truly baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence" (Acts 1:4-5).

First John 5:7 tells us, "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father (God), the Word (the Son) and the Holy Ghost (Spirit): and these three are one." In John chapter 4, Jesus explained to the Samaritan woman that "God is a Spirit, and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and truth."

James Charles Stuart was born on June 19, 1566, and died on March 17, 1625. He became King James VI of Scotland in 1585; and upon the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603, ascended to the throne as King James I of England; thus uniting both countries. While presiding at the Court of Hampton in 1604, he authorized the well-known English version of the Bible. The translations were completed in 1611.

Between 1607 and 1620, this same King James was the reigning monarch while early American colonization transpired in Jamestown, Va., and Plymouth, Mass.

For much of that time, the English speaking world was somewhat terrified of ghosts. So captivated, the King James Version translators perhaps misused the term "ghost," instead of the word "spirit." The word "ghost" has several meanings from the original texts. In Hebrew, the translation means "nephesh," "soul" or "animal breath." In some old testament references, "gave up the Ghost" or "gava" translates as "to gasp out" or "expire." In the New Testament in Matthew 27:50 and John 19:30, Jesus "yielded or gave up the Ghost." The Greek word here is "spirit" or "pneuma" (from Young's Analytical Concordance to the Bible).

To be politically correct, most theologians now refer to the third person of the Godhead as the Holy Spirit.

In 19th century Great Britain, author Charles Dickens was "ghost" or "spiritly" influenced to write the classic "A Christmas Carol." In this best-loved literary masterpiece, Jacob Marley's ghost (or spirit) haunts Ebenezer Scrooge and warns the greedy miser that three other spirits will visit him. The story still endears us with great moral value. In reality, what we need is a "visitation" from God's Holy Ghost. His Spirit will "quicken our mortal bodies" (Romans 8:11).

"The Lord is that Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (2 Corinthians 3:17).

"And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters" (Genesis 1:2).

Jesus tells Nicodemus in John 3:7, "Marvel not, that I say unto you, ye must be born again." The new birth is by Spirit" (John 3:6, 8). "Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his" (Romans 8:9).

Jesus chose 12 disciples who followed and believed in him, but were scattered during his time of trial and crucifixion. Zechariah 13:7 is a prophecy, "Smite the shepherd and the sheep shall be scattered." (See also Matthew 26:31, Mark 14:27 and John 16:32.) Isaiah 53:6 and 1 Peter 2:25 confirms that "All we like sheep, have gone astray."

Christ informed Peter that the disciple would deny his Lord, three times. As the rooster crowed, Luke 22:61 writes that Jesus "turned and looked upon" the denying disciple. Peter went out "and wept bitterly" (Luke 22:62). Before this event, in Luke 22:32, Jesus tells Peter "when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren."

John 20:22-23 states that when Christ appeared unto his disciples after his resurrection, he breathed on them and said "Receive ye the Holy Spirit." Doubting Thomas was commended for his faith, by sight, after placing his finger into the nail print hands and wounded side of the savior. "Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou has seen me, thou has believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed" (John 20:29).

We were now to be totally justified by faith to receive the indwelling of the Spirit of Christ. Romans 5:1 and 10:9-10: "And Jesus said unto them, can the children of the bride chamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom (Christ) is with them? But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them and then they shall fast."

Matthew 9:15: "Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more" (That is, "in his temporal, bodily form." 2 Corinthians 5:16.)

Hebrews 9:16-17 informs us that "For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator (Jesus Christ)." For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. (Referring to Jesus on Earth as the son of man, before his death, resurrection and ascension.)

Christ told us in John 14:16-18, "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you."

"Howbeit when he, the spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come" (John 16:13). In verse 7 of this chapter, the Lord mentioned: "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you."

After a person repents, is forgiven, justified, regenerated and born again (or saved) by the blood of Jesus Christ, he or she should be baptized in water (Acts 2:38).

They should then seek the Lord to be sanctified. See Psalms 51:5; John 17:17-19; Hebrews 2:11, 13:11-13; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 and 7, 5:23; 1 Corinthians 1:2; Jude 1; Romans 2:29, 6:6; Colossians 3:9-10; Ephesians 4:22; 2 Corinthians 4:7, 7:1; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; and James 1:21.

"And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands and blessed (or sanctified) them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen" (Luke 24:50-53, see also Acts 13:52).

In Luke 24:49, the preceding verse, Jesus told them to tarry for the Holy Ghost in Jerusalem. "And behold, I send the promise (Holy Ghost baptism, with the evidence of speaking in tongues) of my Father upon you, but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high."

"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" (Acts 1:8).

(The opinions of this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Inter-Mountain, the Randolph County Ministerial Association or the author's church affiliation.)



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