MBS066 THE MINISTRIES OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
By Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum
Not by works done in righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.Titus 3:5
The ministries of the Holy Spirit will be studied in five major areas: first, in relationship to Scripture; secondly, the ministries of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament; thirdly, in relationship to the natural world; fourthly, in relationship to believers; and fifth, the ministries of the Holy Spirit in the future.
I. THE MINISTRIES OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN RELATIONSHIP TO SCRIPTURE
There are three ministries of the Holy Spirit in relationship to Scripture: revelation, inspiration, and illumination.
A. The Ministry of Revelation
Revelation means, “receiving and unveiling the truth.” Revelation is the unveiling of something that has not been revealed heretofore. The source of divine revelation that of unveiling unrevealed truth is the Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament, this is taught by 2 Samuel 23:2–3; Ezekiel 2:2; 8:3; 11:1, 24; and Micah 3:8. In the New Testament, this is taught by John 16:12–15; 1 Corinthians 2:9–10; and 2 Peter 1:21. Revelation concerns the receiving of truth from God.
B. The Ministry of Inspiration
The second ministry in relationship to Scripture is the work of inspiration. Inspiration concerns the recording of truth. When men recorded what was revealed to them, they were able to record it totally free of error by virtue of this ministry of the Holy Spirit. While revelation simply means that the truth has been revealed to a person directly from God, inspiration involves the actual recording of that truth which has been revealed.
Not everything that was revealed was necessarily recorded. For example, in Revelation 10 the Apostle John received a revelation of something which the seven thunders uttered. But when he tried to write it down, he was immediately told, “Do not write it.” That is an example of revelation, something was revealed to John without inspiration, and John was not allowed to record it.
But that which was revealed by the Holy Spirit and then recorded was accomplished by virtue of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the source of inspiration. In the Old Testament, this is taught by Isaiah 59:21; in the New Testament, by Matthew 22:43–44; Mark 12:36–37; Acts 1:16; 4:25–26; 28:25–28; and 2 Timothy 3:16.
C. The Ministry of Illumination
The third ministry of the Holy Spirit in relationship to Scripture is the work of illumination. Illumination means, “to understand the truth.” While the ministries of revelation and inspiration are works of the Holy Spirit, which are limited to the prophets only, the work of illumination is something He does with all believers. According to 1 John 2:20, all believers have an anointing from the Holy One at the time of their salvation, which makes the Holy Spirit’s work of illumination possible.
Illumination has to do with the understanding of the truth. When the Holy Spirit did the work of revelation, He revealed a truth to a prophet. When the Holy Spirit did the work of inspiration, He caused that prophet to write, free of error, that truth which was revealed. Then comes the work of illumination, by which the Holy Spirit helps believers to understand that which the prophets wrote.
The indwelling Holy Spirit gives believers the ability to understand the Scriptures in two ways: by illuminating the believer’s mind during personal Bible study, and by means of giving the gift of teaching to certain believers who, in turn, help other believers to understand the Word. When a believer understands spiritual truth, he understands it because of the Spirit’s ministry of illumination. In the Old Testament, this is taught by Nehemiah 9:20; in the New Testament, by 1 Corinthians 2:14–16; and Ephesians 1:15–18.
II. THE MINISTRIES OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
The second area of our study is the Holy Spirit’s works in the Old Testament. This can be divided in three categories.
A. The Ministry of the Holy Spirit in Relationship to Creation
The first category concerns His work in Creation. Not only were the Father and the Son involved in Creation, but so was the Holy Spirit. For example, in Genesis 1:2, the Holy Spirit hovered or brooded over the deep to bring order out of chaos. In Job 26:13, the Holy Spirit gave the adornment to the universe at the time of its Creation. In Job 33:4, the Holy Spirit is credited with the creation of life in man. In Psalm 33:6, the Spirit, the breath of his mouth, is responsible for the creation of the material universe. In Psalm 104:29–30, the Holy Spirit is responsible for the creation and preservation of life. In Isaiah 40:12–14, the Holy Spirit brought design in Creation. One of the major works of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament was His work in Creation.
B. The Ministry of the Holy Spirit in Relationship to the World
The second category is the work of the Holy Spirit in relationship to the world. There is one passage that speaks of this, and that is Genesis 6.
In Genesis 3:15, where we have the first prophecy of the Messiah, it is predicted that He would come from the seed of the woman and that He would have continuous conflict with the serpent. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. There was going to be enmity between Satan and human womanhood, and the enmity would continue between Satan and that which the “seed of the woman” would produce: the Messianic Person.
We see this enmity already at work in the first two verses of Genesis 6, where, in order to try and corrupt the seed of the woman, Satan had some of his fallen angels or demons, take on human form and intermarry with human women. This was in order to try and undo the prophecy of Genesis 3:15. Satan’s enmity is well displayed against womanhood in this chapter. The result of the union between women and fallen angels was a grotesque race, which would eventually bring on the Flood.
In Genesis 6:3, the ultimate cause of the Flood is found: And Jehovah said, My Spirit shall not strive with man for ever, for that he also is flesh: yet shall his days be a hundred and twenty years.
Thus, in His relationship to the world, we are told that the Holy Spirit did a work of striving. His work of striving was against sin. If the Spirit ceased to strive, it meant destruction would follow. For a hundred and twenty years, He continued to strive against this particular sin of intermarriage, but eventually, He stopped striving with men and, at the end of that hundred and twenty years, the Flood came and destroyed all but one family.
After the Flood, the Spirit continued to do the work of striving as man began to multiply, and this work of striving was augmented by His work of restraining evil. The demons who had intermarried with human women were restrained in Tartarus (2 Pet. 2:4). Demonic interaction with humans is apparently restrained from this point forward because we do not see this particular sin of intermarriage happening again even though man’s sin once again began to be thoroughly manifested. So, in relationship to the world in general, the Holy Spirit was striving with men and restraining evil.
C. The Ministries of the Holy Spirit in Relationship to Man
The third category is the work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament concerning His ministries in relationship to man.
1. A Key Distinction
There is a key distinction between the Holy Spirit’s work in the New Testament as over against His work in the Old Testament, which is brought out in John 7:37–39: Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, from within him shall flow rivers of living water. But this spoke he of the Spirit, which they that believed on him were to receive: for the Spirit was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified.
This passage promised that someday the Holy Spirit would be in all believers. But He pointed out that the Spirit had not yet been given. This does not mean the Spirit had not been active because He was active throughout the pages of the Old Testament and in the Gospels. But in some way, the Holy Spirit was not doing something which He would do in the New Testament believer after the Messiah’s Ascension.
The meaning of John 7:37–39 is explained by John 14:16–17: And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth: whom the world cannot receive; for it beholds him not, neither knows him: ye know him; for he abides with you, and shall be in you.
According to this passage, the Holy Spirit was at that point with the believer. Later, He would be in the believer. While the Holy Spirit was already with the disciples to whom Yeshua (Jesus) was speaking, in the future, the Holy Spirit would be in them. That is the key distinction.
As of Acts 2, the Holy Spirit indwells all believers. He did not indwell all believers prior to Acts 2, though He did indwell some (Num. 11:17, 25; 27:18). There was selected indwelling in that the Holy Spirit did indwell some believers in the Old Testament, but not all. 2 Kings 2:9–12 clearly teaches that His ministry of indwelling in the Old Testament was not universal among believers.
Furthermore, those who did have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit did not necessarily have this indwelling permanently. For example, in 1 Samuel 16:14, the Holy Spirit departed from Saul. In Psalm 51:11, King David prayed: take not your Holy Spirit from me. The Holy Spirit did indwell David, but the Holy Spirit could also leave David. David’s prayer was therefore a valid Old Testament prayer, but it is not a valid New Testament prayer.
The difference between the Old and New Testaments is twofold. First, in the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit indwelt some believers; in the New Testament, as of Acts 2, He indwells all believers. A second difference is that in the Old Testament, those who did have the indwelling Spirit did not necessarily have Him permanently. In the New Testament, as of Acts 2, the Holy Spirit indwells the believer forever. More will be said on this point in Section IV.
2. The Specific Ministries
There were three specific ministries of the Holy Spirit among men in the Old Testament.
The first ministry was that of indwelling. The Holy Spirit was in some people. The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament did not indwell all believers but He did indwell some believers. For example, He indwelt Joshua (Num. 27:18); Daniel (Dan. 6:3); and the Old Testament prophets (1 Pet. 1:10–11).
The second ministry in the Old Testament was that the Holy Spirit came upon some people. For example, He came upon Othniel (Judg. 3:9–10); Gideon (Judg. 6:34); Jephthah (Judg. 11:29); Samson (Judg. 13:24–25; 14:6, 19; 15:14); Saul (1 Sam. 10:9–10); and David (1 Sam. 16:13).
The third ministry was that of filling. The differences between filling and indwelling will be studied later in this manuscript, in Section IV. Examples of the Holy Spirit’s ministry of filling people are Exodus 28:3; 31:3; and 35:30–31.
In summarizing the work of the Holy Spirit among men in the Old Testament, five ramifications should be pointed out.
First, the work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament was connected with special service. Those who were called to a special service were the ones who received the special works of the Holy Spirit.
Secondly, the work of the Holy Spirit was a provision for divine enablement. In order to enable someone to accomplish a special task, the Holy Spirit did a special work.
Thirdly, the work of the Holy Spirit often meant a provision of divine wisdom. This was especially true in the case of Daniel, who received unique wisdom from God through the work of the Holy Spirit.
Fourthly, the work of the Holy Spirit was that of providing special skills. The two men who were in charge of overseeing the work on the Tabernacle received this ministry of the Holy Spirit (Ex. 31:1–5). They were given special skills so the work they did on the Tabernacle was a very fine piece of workmanship.
And fifth, the work of the Holy Spirit sometimes meant provision of physical strength. People were strengthened to accomplish great things when they were empowered by the Holy Spirit. One example is Samson (Judg. 13:25; 14:6, 19; 15:14).
III. THE MINISTRIES OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE NATURAL WORLD
The third major area of the ministries of the Holy Spirit is His work in the natural world. This is His work among unbelievers. The main ministry of the Holy Spirit among unbelievers is the work of conviction. The Spirit’s work of conviction means, “to place the truth of the case in such clear light so that it is acknowledged as truth even if it is not accepted.” In reference to the gospel, conviction means to place the gospel in such a clear light that the unbeliever understands what the content of the gospel is and acknowledges the gospel as true regardless of whether or not he accepts it personally.
The single, best passage describing the work of conviction is John 16:7–11: 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 go, I will send him unto you. And he, when he is come, will convict the world in respect of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to the Father, and ye behold me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world has been judged.
According to this passage, the Holy Spirit’s work of conviction will be in three areas: sin, righteousness, and judgment. By the way, each area is explained, it is possible to determine exactly of what kind of sin, of what kind of righteousness, and of what kind of judgment the Holy Spirit will be convicting the world.
First, the Holy Spirit will convict the unbelieving world in respect of sin. What specific sin? The sin of unbelief: because they believe not on me. Man is condemned before God, not because he is a sinner, but because he is in a state of sin. He was born into the state of sin, a state of unbelief. Being in a state of sin, he has refused to believe in the Savior.
Secondly, the Holy Spirit will convict in respect to righteousness. What righteousness? The righteousness of the Messiah as was proved by His Ascension to the Father. The Ascension and reception of Yeshua into Heaven vindicated His righteousness. If He were not righteous, He would not have been able to ascend into Heaven. Because of the sin of unbelief, the sinner fails to receive the imputed righteousness of the Messiah.
Thirdly, the Holy Spirit will convict the world in respect to judgment. Which judgment? In this case, it is the final judgment: because the prince of this world has been judged. If the prince of this world has been judged to everlasting flames, so will his subjects. Failure to receive the imputed righteousness of the Messiah will, in turn, result in this final judgment: the Great White Throne Judgment.
The Holy Spirit’s work of conviction, then, follows these logical steps. He will convict them of the sin of unbelief. Because of their unbelief, they fail to receive the imputed righteousness of the Messiah. Because they fail to receive the imputed righteousness of the Messiah, they will share in Satan’s final judgment in the Lake of Fire.
IV. THE MINISTRIES OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE LIFE OF THE BELIEVER
Most of this study will be spent in this fourth major area: the ministries of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. This is an area where there is a great deal of revelation and, in order to understand all this material better, it will be studied in two major categories. The first major category is “The Ministries of the Holy Spirit in Relationship to Salvation.” The second major category is “The Ministries of the Holy Spirit in Relationship to Spiritual Growth.”
A. The Ministries of the Holy Spirit in Relationship to Salvation
In relationship to salvation, the Holy Spirit has five ministries.
1. The Ministry of Regeneration
The first ministry is the work of regeneration. The word “regeneration” is found twice in the New Testament. Matthew 19:28 speaks of the regeneration of the material universe, the heavens and the earth, which will occur with the Messianic Kingdom. The second passage is Titus 3:5, which speaks of regeneration in relationship to people.
a. The Meaning of Regeneration
The basic meaning of regeneration is the concept of a new birth, a re-production, a renewal, a re-creation. The best definition of regeneration is “the impartation of eternal life.” It means, “to be born of God.” It is the act of God, which imparts eternal life. That is what is meant by the “new birth.” The new birth is simply a figure of speech that means the same thing as regeneration. With a new birth, one is born of God and has eternal life imparted to him.
b. The Means of Regeneration
The means of regeneration is the Holy Spirit. This is shown by the most famous passage on the new birth, John 3:5–6: Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except one be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
The same truth is taught by Titus 3:5, which uses the term “regeneration” and credits the work to the Holy Spirit: not by works done in righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.
It is the Holy Spirit who is the means of regeneration. Faith itself is not the means of regeneration, but faith is the human requirement, which enables the Holy Spirit to do the work of regeneration. When one believes and accepts Yeshua as his Messiah and exercises faith, that faith allows the Holy Spirit to do the work of regeneration. In reality, faith and regeneration occur simultaneously because the instant one believes, one is regenerated.
The Word of God is not the means of regeneration either, but it provides the content of faith. It tells what one must believe in order to be regenerated by the Holy Spirit.
c. The Basis of Regeneration
The basis of regeneration is faith. Faith is not the means, but it is the human requirement that allows the Holy Spirit to do the work of regeneration. This is taught in John 1:12–13: But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
This is also taught by John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on him should not perish, but have eternal life.
d. The Figures of Speech for Regeneration
The Bible uses two figures of speech regarding regeneration. The figures are: “born again” or “new birth” (Jn. 3:3–7) and “spiritual resurrection” (Rom. 6:1–6; Eph. 2:5–6).
e. The Ramifications of Regeneration
Regeneration is a work of the Holy Spirit by which eternal life is received. This ministry has two ramifications.
First, it is non-experiential. Experience might accompany regeneration, but regeneration itself is non-experiential. It is not something that can be felt. It is a work, which the Holy Spirit does. The moment people are saved, they react in different ways: there are those who react very emotionally; others react totally unemotionally; and there are all behaviors in between. But regeneration itself is not experiential.
Secondly, regeneration is instantaneous; it is not a process. The moment one believes, he is once-and-for-all born again or regenerated, and will remain regenerated from that point onward. The Greek Aorist Tense is used in John 1:13; 3:3, 5, 7, which emphasizes an instantaneous type of work. The Greek perfect tense is used in 1 John 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1, 5, 18. The perfect tense in Greek emphasizes an action that was completed in the past but continues unchanged into the present. The point of the Greek perfect tense is that one is born again, regenerated completely in the past, and his regeneration continues to the present day. Regeneration is instantaneous, not a process.
f. The Results of Regeneration
“What are the results of regeneration?” Once a person is regenerated, there are four results.
(1) Eternal Life
First, the believer has eternal life (Jn. 3:16). The moment one believes, he has been regenerated and, because one has been regenerated, he now has eternal life.
(2) A New Creation
The second result is a new creation. One is looked upon as having been newly created or created anew (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15; Eph. 2:10; 4:24).
(3) Eternal Security
The third result is eternal security (Phil. 1:6). The work of regeneration cannot be undone. Once a person is born into this world, he cannot return into his mother’s womb and become a fetus again. The work of physical birth cannot be undone once it has occurred.
The same is true of spiritual rebirth. The work of regeneration cannot be undone. Once a person has been born again into God’s family, he can never go back again into any kind of “spiritual womb.” Furthermore, the regenerated person already has eternal life. If this life could be lost, it was not eternal to begin with, but only temporary life.
(4) New Life and New Nature
The fourth result is a new life and a new nature. The Book of 1 John describes what this new life and new nature are all about. 1 John 2:29 describes a life that practices righteousness. 1 John 3:9 describes a new nature that does not sin. 1 John 4:7; and 5:1 set forth a life that expresses itself in love. 1 John 5:4 shows a life that overcomes the world by faith. 1 John 5:18 describes the believer in his new nature; he does not sin and keeps himself in the truth.
2. The Ministry of Indwelling
The second major ministry of the Holy Spirit in relationship to salvation is the ministry of indwelling. Whereas regeneration puts the Messiah into the life of the believer, indwelling puts the Holy Spirit into the life of the believer.
a. Scriptures About the Ministry of Indwelling
The fact that the Holy Spirit indwells believers is taught by a number of Scriptures.
In John 7:37–39, the indwelling was still future; the Holy Spirit had not yet begun His work of indwelling all believers because the Son was not yet glorified. The glorification of the Son occurred when He ascended into Heaven. Ten days later, the Holy Spirit came and began His work of indwelling all believers.
In John 14:16–17, Yeshua promised to send another Comforter, the Holy Spirit, who would indwell the believer for ever, not temporarily, not until they committed their next sin, not until they fell out of fellowship, but for ever.
In Acts 11:17, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is a gift from God, and God does not revoke His gifts.
In Romans 5:5, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is a product of the love of God.
In Romans 8:11, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit guarantees future resurrection if the believer dies in his body.
In 1 Corinthians 6:19–20, the Holy Spirit’s indwelling of the believer makes the body [of the believer] a temple of the Holy Spirit.
In Galatians 4:6, the Holy Spirit is in the believer’s heart, praying for him.
In 1 John 3:24 and 4:13, the Holy Spirit abides in the believer.
The consistent teaching is that, as a result of the death, burial, Resurrection, Ascension and glorification of the Messiah, the Holy Spirit now indwells all believers. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit indwelt only some believers. Now He indwells all believers.
b. The Means of Indwelling
The means of indwelling is faith. According to Galatians 3:2, when faith is exercised, at the moment one believes, the Holy Spirit indwells him.
“But where does obedience fit?” The relationship of obedience to indwelling is spelled out in Acts 5:32, which concerns the obedience of an unbeliever. An unbeliever must obey something to receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and that is the obedience of faith. The obedience that the unbeliever must have in Acts 5:32 to receive the indwelling Spirit is the obedience of faith, and faith is not a work (Acts 6:7; Rom. 1:5; 16:26). The only command one must obey to receive the Holy Spirit is the command to believe on the Lord Jesus. That is the obedience of faith by which one receives the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The means of indwelling is faith.
c. The Universality of Indwelling
This indwelling is universal among all believers. Whereas in the Old Testament only some believers were indwelt, as of Acts 2, all believers are indwelt. This is evident in several ways.
(1) The Proof of the Unsaved State
Romans 8:9 states: But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if any man has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
First, the New Testament teaches that the absence of the indwelling Holy Spirit is proof of an unsaved state. A person who does not have the indwelling Spirit is not a believer to begin with: he is none of his.
Another verse that teaches the very same thing is Jude 19: These are they who make separations, sensual, having not the Spirit.
In verse 19, these refer to unbelievers who are mockers in verse 18. Jude said they do not have the Holy Spirit indwelling them.
(2) The Spirit Indwells Carnal Believers
The second evidence of the universal indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the fact that even sinning believers still have the indwelling Holy Spirit. The best example of this is the Corinthian church, by far the worst church in the biblical record. There were all kinds of carnality in the Corinthian church; such as divisions, party factions, immorality, believers taking other believers into court, getting drunk at the Lord’s Supper, and misusing the spiritual gifts.
Yet, in spite of the fact that the Corinthian believers were guilty of all these carnal sins, Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 6:19–20: Or know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have from God? and ye are not your own; for ye were bought with a price: glorify God therefore in your body.
Paul states that in spite of their terrible spiritual state, because they were true believers, they had the Holy Spirit indwelling them. This indwelling is the basis for living a spiritual life, and that is what he encouraged the Corinthians to do. Thus, even sinning, carnal believers have the Spirit. That is the second evidence that the Holy Spirit is universal among all believers.
(3) The Gift of Indwelling
The third proof that the Holy Spirit is universal among all believers is that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is a gift. Gifts are not based upon merit (Jn. 7:37–39; Acts 11:17; Rom. 5:5; 1 Cor. 2:12).
Without a doubt, the indwelling work of the Spirit is universal among believers; He indwells all believers.
d. The Permanence of Indwelling
The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is permanent. This is taught by John 14:16: And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may be with you for ever.
If the Holy Spirit could be taken away from the believer, then the Holy Spirit was not indwelling him for ever. For ever means just that; otherwise, it would be only “temporary.” Indwelling is not only universal among all believers, it is permanent.
e. The Results of Indwelling
There are two results of indwelling. First, the Spirit’s indwelling is an earnest of many more blessings to come. The fact that the Holy Spirit indwells a person at the moment he believes is merely an earnest or a down payment of more blessings to come (2 Cor. 1:21–22; 5:5; Eph. 1:14).
The second result of indwelling is that the believer becomes a temple of God. Believers are a temple of God in three senses. First, in the sense of being part of the universal Church, which the Holy Spirit indwells (Eph. 2:21–22). Secondly, in the sense of being part of a local church which the Holy Spirit indwells. In 1 Cor. 3:16–17, Paul, speaking to the whole Corinthian church, says: Know ye [plural] not that ye are a temple of God. Thirdly, the Holy Spirit indwells every individual believer, making the individual believer a temple of God. In 1 Cor. 6:19–20, Paul, speaking to individuals, says: Know ye [singular] not that your [singular] body is a temple.
3. The Ministry of Spirit Baptism
A third ministry of the Holy Spirit in relationship to salvation is the ministry of baptism. It is over this particular ministry that there is much confusion, debate, and error today. The Bible itself is quite clear on this issue, but because people frequently interpret Scripture by their own experiences rather than by what the text states, there has been a great deal of error.
a. Several Reasons for the Confusion Over Spirit Baptism
(1) The Unique Ministry for the Church in this Age
The first reason is that many do not understand the distinctiveness of the Church in this age. Spirit baptism is misunderstood because people do not realize that it is a unique ministry of the Holy Spirit for this age only and for the Church only. It is not a ministry which the Spirit ever performed in the Old Testament. He did regenerate all believers and did indwell some believers, but He never baptized anyone in the Old Testament. A failure to realize that Spirit baptism is a unique ministry for this age has resulted in faulty conclusions.
(2) The Over-Emphasis on Water Baptism
A second reason for the confusion today concerning Spirit baptism is an over-emphasis on water baptism. Because of this over-emphasis, passages which speak of Spirit baptism; such as Romans 6:1–4, have been misapplied to water baptism. The over-emphasis on water baptism has lead to an improper understanding of Spirit baptism.
(3) The Association of the Gift of Tongues with Spirit Baptism
A third reason for the confusion is that Spirit baptism has been associated with the gift of speaking in tongues. As will be shown later, there is a distinction made between speaking in tongues and being baptized by the Holy Spirit. Confusion has resulted because the two works of the Holy Spirit have been inappropriately associated together by those who teach that when one is baptized by the Holy Spirit, he speaks in tongues, and if one does not speak in tongues, he has not been baptized by the Holy Spirit.
(4) The Difference in English Translations
A fourth reason for the confusion is that the same Greek word has been translated into English in more than one way in some translations. For example, in Acts 1:5, the King James Version reads: baptized with the Holy Ghost, but 1 Corinthians 12:13 reads: For by one Spirit are we all baptized.
One would assume, by reading this English translation, that there is a difference between being baptized with the Holy Spirit and being baptized by the Holy Spirit. Based upon the English translation, some groups have made a distinction and teach that while all believers are baptized by the Spirit, only some, those who speak in tongues, are baptized with the Spirit or vice-versa. The trouble with this theology is that, in the Greek text, “with” and “by” are always the same word; therefore, no such distinction is valid. But because of the different English translations of the same Greek word, people have misunderstood what the baptism of the Spirit is.
(5) The Relationship Between Spirit Baptism and Spirit-Filling
The fifth reason for this confusion is that people often do not understand the relationship between the Spirit’s work of baptism as compared to His work of filling. There is a difference between being filled with the Spirit and being baptized with the Spirit. Spirit baptism is a work of the Spirit in relationship to salvation. Spirit filling is a work of the Spirit in relation to spiritual growth. Later in this manuscript, the ministry of Spirit-filling will be studied in depth. Because people have confused Spirit baptism with Spirit-filling, this, too, has led to error.
b. Scriptures About the Ministry of Spirit Baptism
Spirit baptism is mentioned only in the New Testament because it was not present in the Old Testament. In the four Gospels, it is always mentioned as something still future (Mat. 3:11; Mk. 1:8; Lk. 3:16; Jn. 1:33). In the Gospels, Spirit baptism is mentioned only by John the Baptist who predicted that when the Messiah came, He would baptize by the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist distinguished his work, baptism by water, from the Messiah’s work, baptism by the Holy Spirit. But there is no record of Spirit baptism occurring in the Gospels.
In Acts 1:5, Spirit baptism was mentioned again, but it was still future. In the Gospels, Spirit baptism was predicted by John the Baptist; in Acts 1:5, it was predicted by Yeshua. As of Acts 1, it had not yet occurred.
In Acts 11:16, Spirit baptism is mentioned again. Acts 11:16 is a quotation of Acts 1:5, which, if taken with verse 15, states that Spirit baptism began in Acts 2. It was still future as of Acts 1, but began in Acts 2. Although Acts 2 did not mention Spirit baptism, Acts 11:16 states that to be the time when Spirit baptism began.
In Romans 6:3–5, Spirit baptism identifies the believer with the death and Resurrection of the Messiah.
According to 1 Corinthians 12:13, all believers are baptized by the Holy Spirit into one Body, all, not some.
Galatians 3:27 states that believers have been baptized into Christ.
Ephesians 4:4–6 speaks of one baptism, meaning the baptism of the Spirit because it is connected with other things in the verse which are clearly in the spiritual realm and not physical, so it cannot be speaking of water baptism.
In Colossians 2:12, Spirit baptism again connects believers with the burial and Resurrection of the Messiah.
It is from these passages where Spirit baptism is mentioned that the teachings and doctrines of Spirit baptism must be derived. Caution must be used not to confuse this ministry with other ministries of the Spirit. In studying these particular passages, it should be noted that regardless of how many different English constructions there may be, the Greek construction is always the same. Baptism is always by the Holy Spirit. Believers are baptized by the Holy Spirit. Believers are baptized into the Body of the Messiah. The word by emphasizes the instrumentality: believers are baptized by the instrumentality of the Holy Spirit. The word in emphasizes sphere: believers are always baptized into the sphere of the Body of the Messiah. There can be no distinction made between being baptized by the Spirit and being baptized with the Spirit. The Greek construction is always the same without exception. In every case, it is being baptized by the Spirit into the Body of the Messiah.
c. The Agent of Spirit Baptism
“Who is the agent of Spirit baptism?” There is a primary agent and an indirect agent. The primary agent is the Holy Spirit. That is the point of 1 Corinthians 12:13: by one Spirit were we all baptized into one body. The primary agent of Spirit baptism is the Holy Spirit Himself, for a believer is baptized by the Holy Spirit. The indirect agent is the Messiah, for He sends the Spirit to do the work of Spirit baptism (Mat. 3:11; Mk. 1:8; Lk. 3:16; Jn. 1:33). The Messiah is the ultimate and indirect agent, and the Holy Spirit is the intermediate and primary agent in the act of Spirit baptism.
d. The Beginning of Spirit Baptism
Another important truth concerning Spirit baptism is that it is a unique ministry for the Dispensation of Grace in relationship to the Church. It is a distinctive, unique ministry in that it is something that the Spirit never did in the Old Testament nor in the Gospels, but only when the Church was born in Acts 2. This becomes clear by comparing four passages of Scripture.
The first passage is Colossians 1:18, which teaches that the Church is the Body of the Messiah: And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
The second passage is 1 Corinthians 12:13, which teaches that entrance into this Body is by means of Spirit baptism: For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and were all made to drink of one Spirit.
The Church is the Body of the Messiah, and entering into this Body is only by Spirit baptism.
The third passage is Acts 1:5, which teaches that Spirit baptism, was still future: for John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days hence.
The fourth passage, which quotes Acts 1:5 and teaches that Spirit baptism began at Pentecost in Acts 2, is Acts 11:15–17: And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, even as on us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit. If then God gave unto them the like gift as he did also unto us, when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I, that I could withstand God?
The Church is the Body of the Messiah. Entrance into this Body is only possible by means of Spirit baptism. As of Acts 1, Spirit baptism was still future. According to Acts 11, Spirit baptism began at Pentecost in Acts 2. Obviously, that is also when the Church began. So this is a very unique ministry for this age. It is a ministry, which the Spirit performs only in relationship to the Church. Once the Church is complete and raptured, He will no longer be performing the work of Spirit baptism. He did not baptize anyone in the Old Testament or in the Gospels; He is baptizing in the Church Age. Once the Church is removed, there will be no more ministry of Spirit baptism in the Tribulation or in the Millennial Kingdom. Spirit baptism began only in Acts 2.
e. The Universality of Spirit Baptism
Another truth concerning Spirit baptism is that it is universal among all believers. Not merely some are baptized by the Spirit, but as of Acts 2 every believer is baptized by the Holy Spirit. This truth is spelled out in 1 Corinthians 12:13: For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and were all made to drink of one Spirit.
The clear teaching of this passage is that every believer, without exception, is baptized by the Spirit. This verse is in the same chapter, which discusses the gifts of the Spirit. The thing to note is that, while Paul states in verse 13 that every believer is baptized by the Holy Spirit, in verses 29–31 he also points out that all do not speak in tongues. That is why Spirit baptism and speaking in tongues must not be seen as a cause-and-effect relationship. Not all speak in tongues, but all are baptized by the Holy Spirit. It will not do to try to distinguish between being baptized by the Holy Spirit and being baptized with the Holy Spirit because in the Greek text, the original language in which the New Testament was written, there is no difference and the construction is always the same.
Furthermore, Ephesians 4:5 clearly teaches that there is only one type of Spirit baptism. Just as there is only one God, there is only one [Spirit] baptism, not two or more. Nor will it do to try to distinguish between different types of tongues, such as the gift of tongues given only to some believers, while it may be given to all believers as a prayer or language. The Bible simply does not teach such a distinction.
f. When Spirit Baptism Occurs
As to when one is baptized by the Spirit, that person is baptized by the Spirit at the moment when he believes. At the point of salvation, the believer is baptized by the Spirit. The New Testament clearly emphasizes that every believer, at the moment he believes, becomes part of the Body of the Messiah (Eph. 2:11–22). 1 Corinthians 12:13 states that every believer became a part of the Body of the Messiah because he was baptized by the Holy Spirit.
If every believer were not baptized by the Spirit at salvation, it would mean that some believers today are in the Body of the Messiah and some believers are outside the Body of the Messiah. Yet that is exactly what the New Testament says is not true. Every believer today, without exception, is part of the Body of the Messiah. The only way to get into this Body is by means of Spirit baptism. Since every believer is part of the Body of the Messiah from the moment he believes, then Spirit baptism obviously occurs at the moment one believes. Spirit baptism occurs at salvation.
g. The Frequency of Spirit Baptism
“How often does Spirit baptism occur?” On one hand, it occurs only once but, on the other hand, it is repeated. It occurs only once in the life of a believer because, at the moment a person believes, he is baptized into the Body of the Messiah by the Spirit. Each believer is baptized only once, however, every time another person is saved, Spirit baptism is “repeated.” Each person is baptized only once, but Spirit baptism is repeated every time someone else is saved.
h. The Results of Spirit Baptism
There are three results of Spirit baptism. First, Spirit baptism unites all believers by making them members of the Body of the Messiah. Never is it stated that any particular spiritual gift is the result of Spirit baptism. Rather, the result of Spirit baptism is that it unites believers into one Body; it makes all believers members of the Body of the Messiah (1 Cor. 12:13).
The second result is that it unites believers with the Messiah in co-crucifixion, co-burial, and co-resurrection in respect to the sin-nature (Rom. 6:3–4; Gal. 3:27; Col. 2:12).
The third result is four new relationships: first, there is a new identification, because believers are co-crucified, co-buried, and co-resurrected with the Messiah. Secondly, there is a new position, because believers are in the Body of the Messiah. Thirdly, there is a new union with God and with fellow-believers; because the Messiah is, the head and believers are the body. And fourthly, there is a new association in that believers are no longer “in Adam,” but in Christ.
i. The Delay of Spirit Baptism in the Book of Acts
Some of the things stated above raise a problem in light of the Book of Acts. There are places where it appears that Spirit baptism is delayed in the Book of Acts. This seems to contradict the doctrine of the Epistles that states that every believer is baptized by the Spirit at the moment he believes. Therefore, it is necessary to study the problem of the delay of Spirit baptism in the Book of Acts. This delay concerns not only Spirit baptism, but also indwelling. While regeneration had occurred, the indwelling and baptism were delayed in four cases: Acts chapters 2, 8, 10, and 19.
To clearly understand why there was a delay, it is necessary to understand what the issue was in each case. The issue was authentication. Something needed to be authenticated to someone. If this is understood, things will begin to fall into place. As we look into these four passages in the Book of Acts where the coming of the Spirit was delayed, six questions will be asked. First, “Who received it?” Secondly, “Who were they?” Thirdly, “What were the circumstances?” Fourthly, “What were the means?” Fifth, “What was the purpose?” And sixth, “What were the results?” All six questions will be applied to each of these four sections where the coming of the Spirit was delayed.
(1) Acts 2
The first question is: “Who received it?” The answer is: the Twelve Apostles. It was not all hundred and twenty on that occasion who received the Spirit, but just the twelve, because the nearest antecedent of the words they and all in Acts 2:1 is the twelve (Acts 1:26). Furthermore, Acts 2:7 describes them as being only the Galileans, and Acts 2:14 mentions only Peter and the other eleven. Who received it in Acts 2? The answer is the Twelve Apostles.
The second question is: “Who were they?” The answer is: they were apostles (Acts 1:26), with Peter, being the outstanding apostle (Acts 2:14) and the one who preached the sermon in Acts 2. In Matthew 16:17–19, Peter was given the keys of the kingdom, and he had the authority to “open the door.”
The third question is: “What were the circumstances?” According to Acts 1:4, they were waiting and praying for the promise of the Father. The experience of Acts 2:1–4 was the answer to that prayer (Acts 2:33).
The fourth question is: “What was the means?” The answer is: the Holy Spirit came directly. There was an initial filling of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4); they were baptized by the Holy Spirit (Acts 11:15–17); into the Body of the Messiah (1 Cor. 12:13); and given a spiritual gift. The gift in this case was the gift of the speaking in tongues. The Holy Spirit came upon them directly, not by any intermediate way.
The fifth question is: “What was the purpose?” The purpose was authentication. To the apostles, it authenticated that the promise of the Father had now been fulfilled. The coming of the Holy Spirit with the gift of tongues authenticated their calling and message; they were the apostles they claimed to be. To the Jewish audience, it authenticated the message that the apostles were preaching.
The sixth question is: “What were the results?” The results were threefold. First, the Jews from the Diaspora were able to hear the gospel in their own language (Acts 2:8–11). Secondly, they fell under the conviction of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:37). Thirdly, three thousand of them were converted (Acts 2:41).
In Acts 2, the Holy Spirit was not actually “delayed” because, only at that point, did the Holy Spirit begin His ministry of Spirit baptism. The events authenticated the apostles’ message to the Jewish people. At that point, the Jews for the first time entered into the Body of the Messiah. Peter, who had the keys, opened the door to the Jews in Acts 2, and from then on the door stayed open to the Jews.
(2) Acts 8
The first question is: “Who received it?” The answer is: believers in Samaria (Acts 8:14).
The second question is: “Who were they?” The answer is: they were Samaritans (Acts 8:14–17). The Samaritans were antagonistic to Jews and to Judaism. Samaritans set up a rival religious system to Judaism. They had a rival Mosaic Law that deleted any and all references to Jerusalem. They also had a rival temple on Mount Gerizim to compete with the Temple in Jerusalem. The nature of Samaritanism was to set up a rival system to that of the Jews.
The third question is: “What were the circumstances?” The circumstances were that Philip, one of the deacons of Acts 6, was sent to Samaria to preach. As he preached, many Samaritans came to a saving knowledge of Jesus the Messiah. This raised questions on the part of the Jewish believers in Jerusalem who had this antagonism in mind. “Is it possible for Samaritans to be saved? Was it really possible for Samaritans to come to a saving knowledge of Yeshua as the Messiah?” The Jerusalem church sent Peter and John to investigate and authenticate the reports that Samaritans had been saved. Furthermore, while these Samaritans had become real believers and had experienced the ministry of regeneration, they had not experienced either indwelling or baptism.
The fourth question is: “What was the means of the Samaritans’ receiving the Holy Spirit?” While the Samaritans believed and were therefore regenerated by the Holy Spirit, for some reason, the Holy Spirit did not immediately indwell them, nor did He immediately baptize them into the Body of Messiah. The means by which they finally received the Spirit was by the laying on of hands by Peter and John (Acts 8:17). In other words, there was the necessity of Peter’s presence.
It was Peter who had the keys of the kingdom, so Peter was responsible for opening the doors of the Church to each of the three groups of people in the New Testament: Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles. In Acts 2, Peter had opened the door of the Church to the Jews; from then on, it stayed open for the Jewish people. From then on, every time a Jew was saved, he was immediately baptized by the Spirit into the Body of the Messiah.
Here, in Acts 8, Peter laid hands upon the Samaritan believers, and they received the Holy Spirit. The means by which the Samaritans received the Holy Spirit was the laying on of hands by Peter. At that point, the Samaritans entered into the Body of the Messiah. Peter had opened the door for the Samaritans; from then on, the door stayed open for the Samaritans. From then on, every time a Samaritan believed he was immediately baptized by the Spirit into the Body of the Messiah.
The fifth question is: “What was the purpose?” The purpose was authentication. For the apostles and Jewish believers in Jerusalem, it authenticated that Samaritans were savable. For the Samaritan believers, it authenticated the authority of the Jewish apostles who came to them from Jerusalem, their former rival city.
The sixth question is: “What were the results?” The results were twofold. First, the Samaritans received the Holy Spirit and were baptized into the Body of the Messiah (Acts 8:17). There is no mention that they spoke in tongues, though this may have been true. Secondly, they did not set up a rival Samaritan church to compete with the church of Jerusalem, which would have been their tendency. They did not do so because they received the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands by Peter, the Jewish apostle who came to them from Jerusalem.
(3) Acts 10
The first question is: “Who received it?” The answer is: Cornelius and his entire household (Acts 10:24, 44).
The second question is: “Who were they?” They were Gentiles (Acts 10:1). In New Testament times, there were three groups of people: Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles. So far, the Church was opened by Peter only for the Jews and Samaritans, but not as yet for the Gentiles.
The third question is: “What were the circumstances?” The circumstances were the preaching of the gospel to these Gentiles by Peter (Acts 10:44, 46). Peter’s presence was necessary because Peter had the keys of the kingdom. In Acts 9, Paul was saved to become “the Apostle to the Gentiles” (v. 15). Although Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles, he did not have the keys to the Kingdom; so Peter was the one who first preached the gospel to the Gentiles to open the door to the Gentiles. Then, in Acts 13, Paul began to fulfill his commission of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles. Concerning the circumstances in Acts 10, it was Peter who preached to these Gentiles.
The fourth question is: “What was the means?” The Holy Spirit came to them directly, as He had done with the Jews. With the Samaritans, the baptism had been by means of the laying on of hands by Peter. There was no need to have the laying on of hands with the Gentiles because there was no danger of their setting up a rival church to Jerusalem as was the case with the Samaritans. So, to the Gentiles the Spirit came directly.
The fifth question is: “What was the purpose?” The purpose was authentication. For the Gentile believers, this experience authenticated the message of Peter. For the Jewish believers, it authenticated that Gentiles were savable. The Jews who observed this experience (Acts 10:45–46) were amazed that these Gentile believers received the Holy Spirit along with the gift of tongues, and it authenticated to them that the Gentiles were truly saved. In Acts 11:1–2, 15–18, Peter used this experience as evidence to defend his actions of going to the home of a Gentile. In Acts 15:7–14, this experience of Gentile salvation and Spirit baptism was used as evidence in the Jerusalem Council to show that Gentiles really were savable.
The sixth question is: “What were the results?” The results were twofold. First, it opened the door of the Church for the Gentiles in preparation for Paul’s ministry. Peter had to be the one to open the door; from then on, the door stayed open for Gentiles. From then on, every time a Gentile is saved, he is baptized into the Body of the Messiah. The second result is that Gentile Christianity was recognized as valid (Acts 10:45–46; 11:18).
(4) Acts 19
The first question is: “Who received it?” The answer is: Diaspora Jews who were disciples of John the Baptist (Acts 19:1–3) and who were living in Ephesus.
The second question is: “Who were they?” They were disciples of John the Baptist who had not yet heard that the Messiah had already come and that His name was Yeshua. These were Jews who had become disciples of John the Baptist, were baptized by John in the early part of John’s ministry, and then left the country to go back to Ephesus. After they left Israel, Jesus was identified by John as the Messiah. But these disciples had never heard about Yeshua, so they had not personally believed upon Him. They were members of a distinct Jewish group within the Jewish world. On one hand, they no longer belonged to Pharisaic Judaism, but on the other, they were not Jewish believers in Yeshua, just disciples of John the Baptist. They were at the same stage as Apollos before Aquilla and Priscilla explained to him that Yeshua was the Messiah of whom John spoke (Acts 18:24–28).
The third question is: “What were the circumstances?” The circumstances were that when Paul met these Jewish men, he recognized them as being believers of some sort, but they seemed to have had a limited content of faith. They were believers to some degree, but had not exercised actual faith in the Messiahship of Jesus. Paul’s question shows that he expected them to have received the Spirit when they believed. Paul asked: Did ye receive the Holy Spirit when ye believed? The King James Version translated this phrase as since you believed, but this is incorrect; it should be when, and this is the way all other translations have translated it. Paul expected them to have received the Holy Spirit when they believed on the Messiah. The trouble is that, while they believed John’s message that the Messiah was coming, they had not as yet believed on Yeshua. Because they had not yet believed on Him, they had not as yet received the ministry of Spirit baptism.
The fourth question is: “What were the means?” The answer is: there were two. First, they had to be baptized in water again, because believer’s baptism is different from John’s baptism. This action showed that they really did believe that Yeshua was the Messiah of whom John prophesied. And secondly, there had to be the laying on of hands by the Apostle Paul. This is significant in that, unlike the other apostles, Paul had not previously been a disciple of John. So these were the two means: believer’s baptism in contrast to John’s baptism, and the laying on of hands by the Apostle Paul rather than an apostle like Peter, who previously had been a disciple of John the Baptist.
The fifth question is: “What was the purpose?” The purpose was authentication. There was a real danger of their setting up a rival John the Baptist church. This experience by these disciples of John the Baptist authenticated that it was now believer’s baptism that was the proper identification and no longer the baptism of John. From now on, the proper formula of baptism was in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It authenticated the fact that only faith in Yeshua was necessary, not faith in both John and Jesus, for they received the Spirit by laying on of hands by Paul who was never baptized by John. It authenticated Paul’s message.
The sixth question is: “What were the results?” The results were that the disciples of John became believers in Yeshua the Messiah, and no rival church was set up.
(5) The Transitional Nature Book of Acts
The four chapters in the Book of Acts, where there seemed to be a delay in the coming of the Holy Spirit, were studied along with the reasons for each delay. The Book of Acts is a transitional book; it marks a transition between the Dispensation of Law and the Dispensation of Grace and, with it, a dispensational change in the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Book of Acts also emphasizes the apostolic authority of Peter and Paul.
A corollary thing, which happened, is that the gift of tongues was given in at least three of these cases: Acts 2, 10, 19, possibly also in Acts 8, although it is not specifically mentioned. It was also noted that the delay in the coming of the gift of tongues occurred only with select groups of people and this gift was not given in a general way. Rather, the gift of tongues in the Book of Acts was given as an “opener” to each distinct group: Jews, Gentiles, Samaritans, and disciples of John the Baptist.
There is no record in Acts where the giving of the gift of tongues was repeated with other members of the same group. For example, in Acts 2, the gift of tongues was for the Jews, and there is no record of Jews receiving the gift of tongues later. Secondly, the Samaritans in Acts 8 possibly received it, and there is no record of other Samaritans receiving it later. In Acts 10, it is the Gentiles who received the gift of tongues, but there is no record of other Gentiles receiving it later. In Acts 19, the disciples of John the Baptist received the gift of tongues, and there is no record of other disciples of John receiving it again later.
The biblical norm is that everyone is baptized by the Spirit at the moment he believes. The delays in the Book of Acts were because each group had to be initiated individually. Once a group was introduced into the Body, the door stayed opened for that group. From then on, the norm is in force for all other people of each group, and so it is to this day. In fact, in Acts 19, Paul already expected people to have received the Spirit when they believed. The one key purpose of the gift of tongues in the Book of Acts was authentication.
(6) The Danger of Deriving Doctrine from Historical Accounts
Another very important point to make is that doctrine must not be developed from historical accounts but from clear, positive, directive statements made in Scripture. The danger of deriving theology from historical accounts is the misconception that, because something happened a certain way at a certain point in time, it must always happen the same way.
So because in some cases when a person was baptized by the Spirit he spoke in tongues in the Book of Acts, some have been teaching that only those who speak in tongues have been baptized by the Spirit. They teach that the only way to know whether one has been baptized by the Spirit is to speak in tongues. That is deriving doctrine from a historical account.
But 1 Corinthians 12 gives the positive, directive, doctrinal statement. Paul clearly states that all do not speak in tongues, but all are baptized by the Spirit. This is a crucial thing to understand: one should not derive doctrine from historical accounts. Historical accounts can be used to illustrate doctrine, but they should not be used to formulate doctrine. Doctrine must be derived from clear, positive statements in the Scriptures.
The fallacy of deriving doctrine from historical accounts can be illustrated with the following. The Book of Exodus contains the account of how Moses led the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt. When they came to the Red Sea, it divided for the Jews, and they crossed on dry land to the other side. That is the historical account.
Would it be correct to teach the doctrine that every time Jews come to the Red Sea it will always divide for them? Will that always happen? No, for it was only a one-time event. Jews have come to the Red Sea many times since then, but it never divided again. That was simply a historical event, and doctrine cannot be derived from it. But it can be used to illustrate doctrine. For example, it is a biblical doctrine that God is the keeper of Israel, and He will save and deliver Israel. The crossing of the Red Sea is an illustration of that doctrine and shows one of the ways God has kept and saved Israel. It is another biblical doctrine that God is omnipotent; He is all-powerful; He can do great things. The dividing of the Red Sea is an illustration of the doctrine of the omnipotence of God. The point is that doctrine must be derived from clear statements of Scripture. Historical accounts can only be used to illustrate doctrine. It is exceedingly dangerous to derive doctrine from historical events.
The same is true with the historical events in the Book of Acts. Because people have tried to derive doctrine from it, they often teach things contradicting the clear statements of Scripture; such as, the faulty conclusion that only some believers are baptized by the Spirit or that Spirit baptism always results in the speaking of tongues. If doctrinal sections of Scripture are studied, these sections contradict those very conclusions. For instance, 1 Corinthians 12:13 states that every believer, without exception, has been baptized by the Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:28–30 also states that all do not speak in tongues. Obviously, then, teaching which is derived from the historical accounts in the Book of Acts—that Spirit baptism always results in the speaking in tongues and that only some believers have been baptized by the Spirit—is wrong.
Again, the Book of Acts is a historical book, which must be used to illustrate doctrine and not to formulate doctrine. For even during the history of the Book of Acts, the Holy Spirit did not come in any consistent way. In Acts 2, He came directly. In Acts 8, He came by the laying on of hands by Peter. In Acts 10, He came directly before they were baptized by water. In Acts 19, He came only after water baptism and by the laying on of hands by Paul.
As an illustration of doctrine take for example, Matthew 16:19 is the doctrine that Peter was given the keys of the kingdom and was responsible for opening the doors of the Church to the three groups of humanity of that day: Jews, Gentiles, and Samaritans. The Book of Acts is the illustration of that doctrinal teaching: in Acts 2, Peter opened the door for the Jews; in Acts 8, for the Samaritans; in Acts 10, for the Gentiles. That is why Peter always had to be present when all three groups were initiated into the Body of the Messiah. These three incidences illustrate the doctrinal teaching of Matthew 16:19.
j. Summary of Spirit Baptism
To summarize the teachings of the Epistles concerning the doctrine of the baptism of the Holy Spirit: every person, without exception, is baptized by the Spirit at the moment he believes. The result of Spirit baptism is not some particular gift, but rather, membership in the Body of the Messiah, the Church. Since all believers are members of the Body of the Messiah, all believers therefore have been baptized by the Holy Spirit. This is the norm throughout the Church Age.
4. The Ministry of Sealing
The fourth ministry of the Holy Spirit in relationship to salvation is the ministry of sealing. Every believer is sealed by the Holy Spirit.
a. Scriptures About the Ministry of Spirit-Sealing
There are three passages that teach about the sealing ministry of the Spirit. The first passage is 2 Corinthians 1:22: who also sealed us, and gave us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
In this passage, the Holy Spirit Himself is the seal. This seal is the earnest, the down payment, for and of the believer’s final salvation, which is still future.
The second passage is Ephesians 1:13–14: in whom ye also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation,—in whom, having also believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is an earnest of our inheritance, unto the redemption of God’s own possession, unto the praise of his glory.
In this passage, the Holy Spirit is the agent as well as the seal. Believers are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise at the time of salvation, for it states that having … believed, [the believer was] sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise. At the time of salvation, one is sealed. The basis of sealing is faith.
The third passage is Ephesians 4:30: And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, in whom ye were sealed unto the day of redemption.
In this passage, the Holy Spirit is the agent of sealing. He is the guarantor of final redemption. Because believers have been sealed by the Spirit, they are not to grieve the Holy Spirit.
b. The Ramifications of the Ministry of Spirit-Sealing
These three passages point out five ramifications of the sealing ministry of the Holy Spirit.
First, the Holy Spirit is both the agent and the seal. He is the agent, that is, the One who does the sealing. He is also the seal itself.
Secondly, the Holy Spirit is the substance of the seal itself, and God is the outside Person who does the sealing. The point is that God the Father is the main cause of sealing, and the Holy Spirit is the intermediate cause of sealing.
Thirdly, sealing is universal among all believers. The only condition for being sealed by the Spirit is believing. Since every believer obviously has believed in Yeshua the Messiah, every believer has been sealed by the Holy Spirit. Sealing is the basis for not grieving the Holy Spirit, which is something only believers can do.
Fourthly, the time of sealing is at the point of salvation (Eph. 1:13). Literally, the Greek reads, “In whom having believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.” The cause of sealing is merely hearing and believing. From the moment one believes, he is sealed by the Holy Spirit.
And fifth, the significance of being sealed by the Holy Spirit is eternal security. By Spirit baptism, a believer is placed into the Body of the Messiah. By Spirit-sealing, a believer is locked or sealed into the Body so that he can never fall out. The key idea of sealing is eternal security.
c. The Old Testament Concept of the Seal
There is even more involved in the concept of the seal if the Old Testament background is considered.
First, the concept of the seal in the Old Testament was a mark of authority (1 Kg. 21:7–9; Esth. 3:9–12; 8:7–10). Because believers have been sealed, they have authority from God against the world and against Satan.
Secondly, the seal in the Old Testament was a mark of a finished transaction (Jer. 32:10–15). For the believer, salvation is a finished work. Having believed, all the benefits of salvation have been applied to the believer, so the seal of the Holy Spirit is the mark of a finished transaction.
Thirdly, the seal was a mark of security (Dan. 6:17). This is the main point of the Spirit’s sealing ministry in the New Testament: it is a mark of the believer’s eternal security.
d. The Significance of the Ministry of Spirit-Sealing
The significance of the sealing ministry of the Holy Spirit to believers is fivefold.
First, it signifies the certainty that a believer is possessed by God. God now owns the believer, and the seal is the mark of God’s ownership or possession of the believer.
Secondly, it signifies the certainty of the promise of salvation. Only God can break this seal, and He promised not to break it; therefore, the believer’s salvation is secured.
Thirdly, it signifies the certainty of His purpose to keep the believer until the Day of Redemption. The future redemption is the redemption of the believer’s body in the resurrection. The seal guarantees that, should the believer die, he will be resurrected in the day of redemption.
Fourthly, it signifies that the believer has the authority of the Messiah with the right to exercise it. The believer has authority over his sin-nature, Satan, and the world.
And fifth, the seal signifies that the transaction for the believer’s salvation is finished, although the full enjoyment of it is to come later.
5. The Ministry of Anointing
The fifth and final ministry of the Holy Spirit in relationship to salvation is the Spirit’s ministry of anointing. There are three passages, which speak of the anointing ministry of the Holy Spirit.
a. Scriptures About the Ministry of Spirit-Anointing
The first passage is 2 Corinthians 1:21–22: Now he that established us with you in Christ, and anointed us, is God; who also sealed us, and gave us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
In this passage, not only has the Spirit sealed the believer, the Spirit has also anointed the believer. The agent of anointing is God; the means is the Holy Spirit. Like sealing, it is connected with the believer’s being in Christ. The believer is anointed by God by means of the Holy Spirit.
The second passage is 1 John 2:20: And ye have an anointing from the Holy One, and ye know all things.
In this passage, the agent of anointing is the Holy One. The result is: ye know all things. In this context, the all things refers to all things in relationship to salvation.
The third passage is 1 John 2:27: And as for you, the anointing which ye received of him abides in you, and ye need not that any one teach you; but as his anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is no lie, and even as it taught you, ye abide in him.
In this passage, anointing is from the One that abides in the believer; that is, the Lord. The result is that the believer has no need for anyone to teach him. In this context, it is speaking about the truth of the gospel. No one needs to teach the believer the truth of the gospel. The believer has already accepted the truth of the gospel and has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Now, with the anointing which the believer has received by the Holy Spirit, it has been confirmed it forever. The anointing teaches the believer the truth concerning all things.
This passage is sometimes used to claim that the believer does not need human teachers, because the Holy Spirit is the believer’s only teacher. But such claims contradict other passages of Scripture. One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, for example, is the gift of teaching; God has given the Church gifted teachers so that the saints can learn. In the context of this passage, what the believer does not need to be taught is the truth of the gospel. These truths have already been confirmed because of the believer’s faith.
b. The Ramifications of the Ministry of Spirit-Anointing
From these three passages, three ramifications can be learned about the anointing ministry of the Spirit. First, God does the anointing. Secondly, it is not repeated; a believer is anointed once-and-for-all at the moment he believes. Thirdly, having been anointed, Spirit-anointing continually abides.
c. The Significance of the Ministry of Spirit-Anointing
The significance of anointing is threefold. First, it is the basis for the firm conviction of the truth of the gospel. Secondly, it is the basis for learning more spiritual truth. Thirdly, it is the basis for service.
Throughout the Scriptures, people were often anointed for a specific ministry. Often, people have a special service to perform for the Lord, and what that special service is will depend on the spiritual gifts He has given to that believer.
These are the five ministries of the Holy Spirit in relationship to salvation. First, regeneration, by which a person is born again and the Messiah enters into his life. Secondly, indwelling, by which the Spirit makes His residence in the believer. Thirdly, baptism, by which a believer is placed into the Body of the Messiah. Fourthly, sealing, by which a believer is locked into the Body so as never to fall out. And fifth, anointing, by which the believer has the truth of the gospel confirmed and is now open to learning more spiritual truth. These are five things that happen at the moment one believes; they are instantaneous, all happening at the same time.
B. The Ministries of the Holy Spirit in Relationship to Spiritual Growth
The second major category of the ministries of the Holy Spirit is in relationship to spiritual growth. There are seven ministries of the Holy Spirit in relationship to spiritual growth.
1. The Ministry of Spirit-Filling
The first and by far the most important of the ministries of the Holy Spirit in relationship to spiritual growth is the ministry of Spirit-filling; to be filled with the Spirit.
a. The Greek Words
Three different Greek words are used, and all translated by the English word “to fill” or “to be filled.”
The first form is a verb that is used eight times. This word is used only by Luke, both in his Gospel and in the Book of Acts. In Luke, the word is used of John the Baptist (Lk. 1:15); of Elisabeth (Lk. 1:41); and of Zacharias (Lk. 1:67). In the Book of Acts, it is used of the twelve disciples in the upper room (Acts 2:4); of Peter (Acts 4:8); of the apostles (Acts 4:31); and of Paul (Acts 9:17; 13:9).
The second Greek form is an adjective which is used four times, also only by Luke in the Gospel of Luke and in the Book of Acts. In Luke 4:1, it speaks of the Messiah’s being filled. In the Book of Acts, it is used of the seven deacons who are filled (Acts 6:3); of Stephen (Acts 7:55); and of Barnabas (Acts 11:24).
The third Greek form is also a verb, and it is used twice. The first time is by Luke, in Acts 13:52, where it is used of the disciples. It is used the second time by Paul in Ephesians 5:18, where the command is given to be filled with the Spirit.
These are all the passage where the filling of the Spirit is found. In every case except one, it is used by Luke, either in his Gospel or in the Book of Acts. The only exception is Ephesians 5:18, where Paul used the term. Luke was a close associate of Paul and traveled extensively with him. It is from these passages in Luke, Acts, and Ephesians that the biblical teaching about the ministry of filling with the Spirit can be derived.
b. The Meaning of Spirit-Filling
To be filled means, “to be controlled.” For example, Ephesians 5:18 states: And be not drunken with wine, wherein is riot, but be filled with the Spirit.
To be filled with wine means, “to be controlled by wine.” To be filled with the Spirit means, “to be controlled by the Spirit.” It means that the Spirit has possession of that area in the life of a believer, which He has filled. The ministry of Spirit-filling is accomplished when the believer yields to the indwelling Holy Spirit. The Spirit indwells a believer at the moment he believes, for that is His ministry in relationship to salvation. But when a believer submits any part of his life to the control of the indwelling Spirit, then he is filled with the Spirit in that area of his life, and that area of his life is now controlled by the Spirit.
c. The Nature of Spirit-Filling
There are three things to note about the nature of Spirit-filling, all based on Ephesians 5:18.
(1) Spirit-Filling is Commanded
First, it is commanded. A believer is never commanded to be regenerated, indwelt, baptized, sealed, or anointed by the Holy Spirit. These things happen automatically at the moment one believes. But he is commanded: be filled with the Spirit.
(2) Spirit-Filling is Repeated
The second thing about the nature of Spirit-filling is that it is a ministry, which can be repeated. All the ministries of the Holy Spirit in relationship to salvation are not repeatable; they are once-and-for-all actions which occur at the moment one believes. But the ministries in relationship to spiritual growth are repeatable as is the case of being filled with the Spirit. The tense used in Ephesians 5:18 is the present tense, which means, “to keep on being filled” with the Spirit. The Greek present tense emphasizes continuous and repeated action.
Because Spirit-filling is repeated, it does not necessarily mean the believer has lost his previous filling, although at times it may mean that. It can also mean that a new area of one’s life has been placed under the control of the Spirit. For example, the apostles were filled with the Spirit at least three different times (Acts 2:4; 4:8; 4:31). Stephen was filled at least twice (Acts 6:3–6; 7:55). Paul was filled at least two different times (Acts 9:17; 13:52). Barnabas was filled in Acts 11:24. In none of these cases was the previous filling lost. In every case, a new area needed to be under the Spirit’s control, so in each of those areas, they were filled with the Spirit.
(3) Spirit-Filling is Passive
The third thing concerning the nature of Spirit-filling is based on the passive voice in Ephesians 5:18, which means someone else is doing the filling. All the believer does is submit himself so that the filling can take place; the Holy Spirit does the actual filling.
d. The Conditions for Spirit-Filling
There are four conditions, which a believer must meet in order to be filled with the Spirit.
(1) A Dedicated Life
The first condition to being Spirit-filled is a dedicated life (Rom. 12:1–2). Since the Spirit-filled life is a life that is controlled by the Spirit, obviously, the believer’s life must be dedicated to God for His use. Unless the believer has dedicated his body as a living sacrifice, he is not truly filled with the Spirit; the believer is in control, not the Spirit.
Romans 12:1 encourages believers to present your bodies a living sacrifice as an act of an initial dedication. The word present is in the Aorist Tense, which emphasizes that there must be a one-time presentation of the body. Romans 12:2 teaches that a believer should then live a continuously separated life, allowing himself to be continuously transformed [Greek present tense], and not conformed to the world. This act of dedication of Romans 12:1 is something one does after he becomes a believer. If one has personally received Jesus as his Savior and Messiah but has not at any point in his life personally made this once-and-for-all presentation of his body as a living sacrifice for God’s use, then he is not at this point filled with the Spirit, for his body is not under the Spirit’s control. The believer needs to make that initial act of dedication (v. 1), and from then on allow God to work in the his life in a continuous way (v. 2).
(2) An Undefeated Life
The second condition to being filled with the Spirit is an undefeated life. Ephesians 4:30 states: And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, in whom ye were sealed unto the day of redemption.
Grieving the Holy Spirit is a sin, which only believers can commit. When a believer commits a sin in his body, he sins against the indwelling Spirit who has sealed him to the day of redemption, and so the Spirit is grieved. If the believer is grieving the Spirit, he is not being filled by the Spirit. Living a defeated life means grieving the Spirit. Living an undefeated life is the means by which a believer does not grieve the Spirit. This becomes a condition of being filled by the Spirit.
(3) A Dependent Life
The third condition to being filled by the Spirit is a dependent life. Galatians 5:16 states: But I say, Walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
In this passage, the Spirit is most likely the newborn human spirit rather than the Holy Spirit, and it emphasizes that the believer should be living a life dependent upon his new nature. It is the new nature, which is under the Spirit’s control. The believer should live the dependent life.
(4) An Obedient Life
The fourth condition to being filled with the Spirit is that of obedience. Obviously, if the believer is disobeying the commandments of the Law of the Messiah, he is not being filled with the Spirit. Yeshua said: If ye love me ye will keep my commandments. The believer shows his love for God by obedience. If the believer lives a life of obedience to the commandments of the Law of the Messiah, he is also living a Spirit-filled life.
e. The Results of Spirit-Filling
There are ten results of the Spirit-filled life. The first result is becoming more like the Messiah (Gal. 5:22–23). If the believer allows himself to be under the Spirit’s control and be filled with the Spirit, he will become more and more conformed to the image of the Son.
The second result is worship and praise. This is mentioned in Ephesians 5:19–20, which follows the command to be filled with the Spirit in verse 18. The same point is made in Philippians 3:3.
The third result is submissiveness. This is found in Ephesians 5:21, in the same context as Ephesians 5:18, where the believer is told to be filled with the Spirit. An attitude of submissiveness to one another and to authority—home, church or government—is a result of being filled with the Spirit.
The fourth result is service (Jn. 7:37–39; 2 Cor. 3:6). A Spirit-filled believer will be living a life of service to the Lord. This, too, is a natural outworking of being filled with the Spirit, for, if the believer is under the Spirit’s control, he is going to want to serve God.
The fifth result is liberation (Rom. 8:2). In living the Spirit-filled life, the believer is freed from the law of sin and death, and lives in newness of life instead.
The sixth result is spiritual strength (Eph. 3:16). Living a Spirit-filled life results in the strengthening of the believer’s spiritual vitality.
The seventh result is divine empowerment and enablement (Acts 1:8; Rom. 15:13, 19; 1 Thes. 1:5). The believer will be empowered by the Spirit if he is filled with the Spirit.
The eighth result is witnessing (Acts 4:8–12; 11:23–24). Spirit-filling will spur the believer to witness of his faith. Not all believers will become great evangelists. But by simply living the Spirit-filled life and allowing the Spirit to control him, the believer will naturally begin witnessing to others concerning the claims of Jesus the Messiah.
The ninth result is fellowship with God and other saints (Phil. 2:1–4). When a believer is not filled with the Spirit, he does not enjoy fellowship with other saints. When he is filled with the Spirit, he seeks out this fellowship; he thirsts after it. This desire for fellowship is a result of being filled with the Spirit.
The tenth result is progressive sanctification. The believer is more and more sanctified or set apart as a special vessel for God, becoming more and more like the Messiah and holy in this life.
f. Summary of Spirit-Filling
There is an initial filling that takes place at the moment one believes; the Spirit takes control of that part of the believer that concerns his faith and salvation. As the believer grows in the spiritual life, God shows him other areas of his life, which need to be filled or controlled by the Spirit. Every time a believer submits a new area of his life to the Spirit’s control, he is filled again. That is why a believer can be filled many times in his spiritual growth, and he should be.
2. The Ministry of Teaching
The second ministry of the Holy Spirit in relationship to spiritual growth is teaching believers spiritual truth.
a. The Main Passage—John 16:12–15
I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all the truth: for he shall not speak from himself; but what things soever he shall hear, these shall he speak: and he shall declare unto you the things that are to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall take of mine, and shall declare it unto you. All things whatsoever the Father has are mine: therefore said I, that he takes of mine, and shall declare it unto you.
This passage teaches the fact that the Holy Spirit has a ministry of teaching the believer as part of his spiritual growth. The content of what He teaches the believer involves two things: first, biblical truth in general; and secondly, prophecy in particular. The more the believer understands biblical truth in general, the more he understands prophecy in particular. The result of the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life is that the Messiah is glorified. The more the believer learns about spiritual truth, the more he acts upon what he learns, the more his life is consistent with what he learns, and Yeshua the Messiah is glorified that much more.
b. The Methods
There are three methods that the Holy Spirit uses to teach the believer. The first method is the Spirit’s ministry of illumination (1 Cor. 2:9–16). It is the Holy Spirit who illuminates the believer’s mind to help him understand spiritual truth.
The second method of the Spirit is using men who have the gift of teaching (1 Cor. 12:29; Eph. 4:11). One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is the gift of teaching. He gives this gift to certain people and they are responsible for communicating the teachings of the Word of God to other believers.
The third method is based on the anointing ministry of the Holy Spirit, which was discussed earlier (1 Jn. 2:27). The teaching which the believer receives through illumination and through men with the gift of teaching is confirmed by the Holy Spirit. This confirmation is not by some feeling, but by the written Word of God in that what is being taught is in conformity with the written Scriptures.
3. The Ministry of Leading or Guiding
The third ministry of the Holy Spirit in relationship to spiritual growth is that of leading or guiding. Two passages speak of this leading and guiding ministry.
The first passage, where the Spirit’s leading is the evidence of “sonship,” is Romans 8:14: For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
All believers are led by the Spirit of God because all believers are sons of God. The more a believer matures in his sonship, the more the leading and guiding of the Spirit will be evidenced in the believer’s life.
The second passage is Galatians 5:18: But if ye are led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
Being led [guided] by the Spirit means, a believer is no longer under the Mosaic Law. The believer does not turn to the Law of Moses for guidance, but to the Holy Spirit. The Spirit leads the believer in conformity with the written Word of God.
There are a number of examples in the Book of Acts, which illustrate this leading, or guiding of saints by the Holy Spirit. Some examples are: Philip (Acts 8:29); Peter (Acts 10:19–20; 11:12); Barnabas and Saul (Acts 13:2, 4); Paul (Acts 16:6–7; 20:22–23); and the elders of Ephesus (Acts 20:28).
4. The Ministry of Assurance
The fourth ministry of the Holy Spirit in relationship to spiritual growth is the ministry of assurance. By the ministry of assurance, the believer knows that he really is saved and is a child of God. Three passages speak of this ministry.
The first passage is Romans 8:16: The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit, that we are children of God.
According to this verse, the means of assurance is that the Holy Spirit testifies with the believer’s newborn, human spirit, his regenerated spirit, that he is indeed a child of God.
The second passage is 1 John 3:24: And he that keeps his commandments abides in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit which he gave us.
According to this verse, the believer knows that God now abides in him because of the Spirit given to him. By means of the indwelling Holy Spirit which one receives at the moment he believes, the Holy Spirit testifies that it is God indeed who is indwelling the believer.
The third passage is 1 John 4:13: hereby we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.
In this verse, the believer knows God abides in him, and that he abides in God, because God has given His Spirit to the believer.
5. The Ministry of Praying and Interceding
The fifth ministry of the Holy Spirit in relationship to spiritual growth is that of praying and interceding. Three main passages speak of this ministry.
The first is Romans 8:26–27: And in like manner the Spirit also helps our infirmity: for we know not how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered; and he that searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because he makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
According to this passage, the Holy Spirit is praying for the believer. The reason the Holy Spirit needs to pray for the believer is because of the believer’s weakness in his prayer life. Being finite, the believer does not always know what his real needs are. The believer prays about what he thinks he needs, but he does not always know exactly what his true needs are, but the Holy Spirit always does. Because of the believer’s weakness in his prayer life, especially as it relates to knowing what to pray for, the Holy Spirit prays for the believer.
The method the Holy Spirit uses is found in the word “helps.” The Greek word literally means that “the Holy Spirit puts His hands to the work in cooperation with the believer.” The Holy Spirit is actually lending the believer “a hand” in his prayer life.
Furthermore, the Holy Spirit prays with groanings which cannot be uttered. This verse is sometimes misused to teach that these groanings are speaking in tongues. But the verse clearly states that these groanings cannot be uttered [period!]. It does not say, “With groanings which cannot be uttered unless one speaks in tongues,” but, with groanings which cannot be uttered [period!]. This is not a ministry of the Spirit only for those who speak in tongues; it is a ministry for all believers. Paul, in the context of Romans 8:26–27 is speaking of things, which are true of all believers.
The second passage is Ephesians 6:18: with all prayer and supplication praying at all seasons in the Spirit, and watching thereunto in all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.
This verse speaks about praying in the Holy Spirit for two things: first, for the perseverance of the saints; and secondly, for supplication for all the saints.
The third passage is Jude 20: But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.
This verse talks about praying in the Holy Spirit with steadfastness, building up believers in the faith.
6. The Ministry of the Witness of the Spirit
The sixth ministry of the Holy Spirit in relationship to spiritual growth is the witness of the Spirit. A number of passages describe the witness of the Spirit and what He is witnessing about.
The first passage is Romans 8:16, which teaches that the believer’s consciousness of his salvation in Jesus the Messiah is the result of the activity of the Holy Spirit. The reason the believer is assured of his salvation is because of the witness of the Spirit. The Spirit makes the believer conscious that he is a believer.
The second passage is 1 Corinthians 2:9–16, where the Spirit witnesses that the believer has the mind of Christ. Because the believer has the mind of Christ, he can understand that which the mind of Christ has produced: Scripture.
Thirdly, according to 1 Corinthians 12:3, the witness of the Spirit affirms the lordship of Yeshua the Messiah in that no man can say He is Lord, but in the Holy Spirit.
The fourth passage is 2 Corinthians 1:22, where the witness of the Spirit testifies that the believer has the seal of final redemption. Just as the believer’s immaterial part has been saved, even so, the material part of the believer will some day be saved as well. Either the believer will be changed at the Rapture or he will be resurrected at the Rapture.
The fifth passage is 2 Corinthians 3:1–8, which deals with being called into the ministry. The reason some people feel they are called into the ministry is because of this witness of the Holy Spirit.
Sixth, Galatians 4:6 states that it is the Spirit within the believer that gives him the consciousness of his relationship to God. The believer knows he has either a good or bad relationship with God by means of this witness of the Spirit.
The seventh passage is Ephesians 1:17–21, which teaches that the Holy Spirit illuminates the believer in the understanding of God’s program. The reason the believer can understand God’s program, understand why God does things sometimes one way and sometimes another way, is because of the witness of the Spirit.
The eighth passage is Ephesians 3:16–19, which deals with knowing the love of Christ. Because of this internal witness of the Spirit, the believer knows he has the love of the Messiah.
The ninth passage is 1 John 2:20–27, where the Holy Spirit witnesses to the believer concerning the truth of the teachings he has received. The reason the believer can be comfortable with a truth he has just received is because of the inner witness of the Holy Spirit.
The tenth passage is 1 John 3:24, which talks about the witness of the Spirit to the believer that God is abiding in him.
The eleventh passage is 1 John 5:7–12, which teaches that the Holy Spirit witnesses to the believer that he has eternal life in the Son.
It should be pointed out that this witness of the Spirit is not confirmed by feelings. Feelings can be very deceptive. A believer can feel very good about things, which are very, very wrong. Fortunately, the Bible also explains just how this witness of the Spirit is confirmed. The witness of the Spirit and the conviction of its truth come through the Word of God. Ephesians 6:17 teaches that the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. The witness is confirmed because it conforms to the teachings of the written Word of God. Revelation 2–3 is a good example. All seven letters written to the churches contain the statement: what the Spirit says to the churches, a reference to what had just been written.
The witness of the Spirit does not come by means of feelings, but by means of the Word of God. The Spirit indwells the believer and illuminates his mind to understand the Scriptures. Illumination of the believer’s mind is the means that the Spirit uses to witness to the believer concerning the truth or falseness of what has been heard.
7. The Ministry of the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit
The seventh ministry of the Holy Spirit in relationship to spiritual growth is the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. There are two passages, which speak to the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. First is 2 Corinthians 13:14, which reads: the communion of the Holy Spirit. The second is Philippians 2:1, which reads: fellowship of the [Holy] Spirit. The Greek word used is koinonia, which means “fellowship” or “communion.” It is this particular ministry of the Holy Spirit, which makes fellowship among believers possible.
There are two aspects to the fellowship of the Spirit: a vertical aspect and a horizontal aspect. The vertical aspect is the believer’s fellowship with God the Father through the Holy Spirit. The horizontal aspect is the believer’s fellowship with other believers through the Holy Spirit. The fellowship of and in the Holy Spirit has two directions.
Concerning the vertical relationship, in order to have true fellowship with God, a personal walk with God is required. This is where the ministries of fellowship and filling of the Holy Spirit come together.
Concerning the horizontal relationship, the fellowship with other believers necessitates three things. First, it necessitates the meeting of the church. For true koinonia, true fellowship of the Holy Spirit, to take place the church must come together. This is why the Bible encourages believers to gather together into a local church, under the authority of elders and deacons. Secondly, it necessitates the meeting to be structured in such a way that encourages communication. It must not be so loosely formed that there is anarchy, and it must not be so tightly bound that the Spirit cannot be free to work through other saints in the congregation. True fellowship requires a freedom of the Holy Spirit, necessitating a structure which is both controlled by the elders and yet informal. There must be a balance. It is in this kind of structure that true fellowship on the horizontal plane can take place.
V. THE MINISTRIES OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE FUTURE
In this area of the ministries of the Holy Spirit, three things will be discussed: the Great Tribulation, the national regeneration of Israel, and the Millennium.
A. The Great Tribulation
In the Great Tribulation, the Holy Spirit will be working in three main ministries.
1. The Ministry of Regeneration
First, He will still be doing the work of regeneration. Revelation 7:1–17 points out that many will be saved during the Tribulation. Salvation is a work of the Holy Spirit. Salvation results from regeneration. The fact that people will be saved during the Tribulation, among both Jews and Gentiles, shows that the Holy Spirit will be regenerating people in the Great Tribulation.
2. The Ministry of Sealing
Secondly, the Holy Spirit will also be sealing people in the Tribulation (Rev. 7:3–4; 9:4). Sealing is always a guarantee of safety. Believers are now being sealed with the Spirit as a guarantee of spiritual safety. In the Tribulation, those who have the seal of the Holy Spirit will not only be guaranteed eternal spiritual security, but also physical security from the judgments and persecutions of the Tribulation. As a result of this sealing ministry of the Holy Spirit, they will survive the Tribulation.
3. The Ministry of Prophecy
A third ministry which the Holy Spirit will perform during the Tribulation is prophecy. Once again, people will be given direct revelation from God. One example is the two witnesses in Revelation 11:3–6 who will prophesy in Jerusalem. These two witnesses are the two olive-trees in Zechariah 4:11–14 and are connected with the Holy Spirit as the oil.
While these are the three key ministries the Holy Spirit will be performing in the Great Tribulation, there is one key ministry He will not perform: Spirit baptism. As emphasized earlier in this manuscript, Spirit baptism is a work reserved for the Church only. While people will be regenerated, filled, sealed, and anointed with the Holy Spirit, no one in the Tribulation will be baptized by the Spirit, because that is a work for the Church Age only, from Acts 2 until the Rapture of the Church.
B. The National Regeneration of Israel
A second major future work of the Holy Spirit will be Israel’s national regeneration. The national regeneration of Israel is consistently connected with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This is seen in a number of passages in the Old Testament.
1. Isaiah 32:9–20
The first passage can be divided into three segments. First, verses 9–14 describe the period of the Great Tribulation. The second segment, in verse 15, describes the outpouring of the Holy Spirit: until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness become a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be esteemed as a forest.
In this verse, Isaiah speaks of an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon Israel following the Great Tribulation (vv. 9–14). In the third segment (vv. 16–20), he describes the Messianic Kingdom, which follows the national regeneration of Israel.
2. Isaiah 44:1–5
In the second passage, verses 1–2 emphasize that Israel is the chosen people of God. In verses 3–5, he describes the outpouring of the Spirit upon the whole nation of Israel: For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and streams upon the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your seed, and my blessing upon your offspring: and they shall spring up among the grass, as willows by the watercourses. One shall say, I am Jehovah’s; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto Jehovah, and surname himself by the name of Israel.
3. Ezekiel 39:25–29
In the third passage, verses 25–28 describe a world-wide regathering of the Jewish people for the Messianic Kingdom. The basis for Israel’s world-wide regathering is given in verse 29: neither will I hide my face any more from them; for I have poured out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, says the Lord Jehovah.
This verse speaks of an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the whole nation of Israel. This outpouring will result in Israel’s regeneration, which, in turn, will be the basis for Israel’s final restoration and regathering.
4. Joel 2:28–29
In the fourth passage, Joel is speaking about the last days of the Great Tribulation, when the Holy Spirit will be poured out upon the whole nation of Israel. And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit.
Peter quoted this passage in Acts 2:16–21 only as an application to their experience, for there was a pouring out of the Spirit in a limited way, but only upon the Twelve Apostles or on the one hundred twenty at the most, not on the whole nation of Israel. The fulfillment of Joel 2:28–29 did not occur in Acts 2 nor is it occurring at the present time. It will occur only when the whole nation of Israel will be saved.
5. Zechariah 4:1–14
The fifth passage also pictures Israel as a saved nation. The universal outpouring of the Holy Spirit will be on the nation of Israel only, and it is connected with the Holy Spirit in verse 6: Then he answered and spoke unto me, saying, This is the word of Jehovah unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, said Jehovah of hosts.
6. Zechariah 12:10, 13:1
The sixth passage is Zechariah 12:10, 13:1. Verse 10 reads: And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication; and they shall look unto me whom they have pierced; and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born.
In this passage, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit results in Israel’s national regeneration, which, in turn, leads to the Second Coming of Jesus the Messiah.
In this second major work and ministry of the Holy Spirit in the future, the Holy Spirit will work in such a way that the whole nation of Israel will be saved by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. This will, in turn, bring about the Second Coming of the Messiah.
C. The Millennium
The third future ministry of the Holy Spirit will be His work in the Millennium. Three main ministries should be mentioned.
1. The Ministry of Regeneration
First will be the ministry of regeneration. There will be people born in the Kingdom, and these will continue to inherit the sin-nature. That sin-nature will need to be regenerated through faith in the substitutionary death, burial, and Resurrection of the Messiah. The Holy Spirit will be regenerating people in the Millennial Kingdom according to Jeremiah 31:31–34.
2. The Ministry of Indwelling
Secondly will be the ministry of indwelling. He will indwell believers (Jer. 31:33; Ezek. 36:27; 37:14).
3. The Fullness of the Spirit Rests Upon the Messiah
Thirdly, the Holy Spirit will be upon the Messiah in the Kingdom. By means of the Holy Spirit, the Messiah will exercise His authority and rule with the attributes described in Isaiah 11:2–3: and the Spirit of Jehovah shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah; and his delight shall be in the fear of Jehovah; and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither decide after the hearing of his ears.
IF YOU ENJOYED THIS BIBLE STUDY, DR. FRUCHTENBAUM RECOMMENDS:
MBS068 The Sins Against the Holy Spirit
MBS071 The Gifts of the Holy Spirit