Friday, May 04, 2007

Testimony on tongues -- the baptism of the Holy Ghost

The testimony of the Scriptures concerning the baptism of the Holy Ghost -- it is a specific term used of the events on the day of Pentecost and associated with the conversion of the household of Cornelius.

1. Prophecy of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost
A. The prophecy is made by John the Baptist and noted four times in the Gospels (Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16: John 1:33); then by Jesus in Acts 1:4.
B. The prophecy does not specifically mention speaking in tongues or any other manifestation.

2. Fulfillment of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost
A. The fulfillment of this prophecy is found in Acts 2 on the day of Pentecost.
B. Tongues and several other manifestations accompany the fulfillment (vs. 1-4).
C. The tongues/languages were understood by each one present in their own native tongue (vs. 6-8).
D. Peter exhorted the hearers to repent and be baptized and they would receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (v. 38).
E. Though they repented, believed and were baptized, there is no record that the 3000 spoke in tongues.
F. The bringing in of the Gentiles is also associated with the Pentecost event and the "Baptism of the Holy Ghost" terminology - Acts 11:15, 16.
G. This event was accompanied with speaking in tongues.
H. This is certainly a sign of God's approval of Peter taking the Gospel to the Gentiles.

I. Other Gentiles are regularly brought into the fold - Acts chapters 13-28, but only on one other occasion with the manifestation of tongues.

John the Baptist prophesied of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. Jesus, right before His ascension, promised that it would be "not many days hence." The day of Pentecost saw the fulfillment and it was accompanied by speaking in tongues. The preponderance of evidence in the book of Acts shows that events described as the filling and receiving of the Holy Spirit were not usually accompanied by this manifestation. But some people have inferred that because tongues was associated with the Baptism of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost, all subsequent initial events regarding receiving the Holy Ghost must also be accompanied with a manifestation of tongues. The evidence does not support that. The event on the day of Pentecost was so singular that only the bringing in of the Gentiles is held in similar regard - "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?"

Note: I Cor. 12:13 mentions "by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body..." There is considerable debate and disagreement over whether this is the same as the above baptism of the Holy Ghost or something different. Suffice it to say, for the purpose of this study, whether it is the same or different there nevertheless is no demanded speaking in tongues that must accompany it.

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