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 (Living Waters 1986 Spring)
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit
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In today's Christianity there are different explanations of the baptism of the Holy Spirit which induce tremendous confusion to those truth seekers of God, even causing them fear of pursuing the fullness of the Holy Spirit.  Because of this, they cannot receive the precious Holy Spirit.  Therefore, this article is presented in order to disclose the truth entirely according to the Bible concerning the necessity and benefits of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and its evidence of experience, the avenue for seeking the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and the discernment between the Holy Spirit and the evil spirit.  We pray the Lord will lead all those who hunger and thirst after God to obey the instructions in the scriptures, to be filled with the Holy Spirit.


The Holy Spirit of God (Jn 4:24) is the reality of God Himself.  Although God is absolutely holy, lofty and inhabits in eternity, He promises to pour down His Holy Spirit upon lowly and sinful men who humbly seek after Him (Is 44:3; Joel 2:28-31).  The Lord Jesus indicated clearly, descriptions, that He will send the Comforter - the Spirit of Truth to dwell in them and abide with them forever (Jn 14:16,17).  Before His ascension, He commanded His disciples not to depart from Jerusalem but wait for the promise of the Father, the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4,5).

The baptism of the Holy Spirit in the Bible is also called being born again of the spirit (Jn 3:5-8), the fullness of the Holy Spirit, filling with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4), down-pouring of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:17,18,33), the descending of the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:6), the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38, 8:20, 10:45, 11:17 (this gift in Greek is the word "Dorea"), and the renewal of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5,6).

Receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit is an indispensable qualification of eternal life.  The following scriptures can prove this truth:

1.       Unless one is born of the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God (Jn 3:5).

2.       Only by receiving the Holy Spirit can one truly belong to Christ (Rom 8:9).

3.       He who has the Holy Spirit is assured God dwells in him (I Jn 3:24) and he is truly God's child (Rom 8:16).

4.       Receiving the Holy Spirit obtains the guarantee of the inheritance of the HeavenlyKingdom (2 Cor 1:21,22; Eph 1: 13,14).

5.       Being filled with the Holy Spirit, one may understand the profound mystery of the truth (Jn 14:26, 16:12,13; 1 Cor 2: 10,1 1).

6.       Being filled with the Holy Spirit, one will gain spiritual wisdom (Is 11:2, 1 Cor 12:8).

7.       Being filled with the Holy Spirit, one will possess spiritual power (Acts 1: 8) and boldness (Acts 4:3 1).

8.       Being filled with the Holy Spirit, one may obtain the gift of preaching (Mt 10:19,20; Acts 2:37), or other spiritual gifts (I Cor 12:4-11).

9.       Being filled with the Holy Spirit, one is able to put to death the lust of the flesh (Rom 8:13; Gal 5:16-18, 24) and become totally renewed (Titus 3:5) to live a holy life (2 Thess 2:13).

10.   Those who are filled with the Holy Spirit, will manifest the life of God and His divine character (Eze 37:10,14) whereby they will be able to bear all kinds of spiritual fruit (Is 32:15; Gal 5:22,23).

11.   Being filled with the Holy Spirit, one will experience the spiritual fulfillment and joy (Jn 7:37-39; Rom 14:17).

12.   When one is filled with the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit will intercede for him (Rom 8:26,27) so. that he can commune with the Lord intimately in the Spirit (I Cor 14:2) and become one with the Lord Spirit (2 Cor 3:18) whereby he receives edification (I Cor 14:4).


The Spirit of God is intangible and invisible.  Yet, one may experience Him as we do the wind or electricity.  In the Old Testament times, when the Spirit of God descended upon Mt.  Sinai, there were thundering, lightning, and a thick cloud upon the mountain, and smoke, and a very loud trumpet blast, and the whole mountain quaked greatly (Ex 19:16-20).  In a like manner, when the Holy Spirit descends upon man, there will naturally be audible and visible signs (Acts 2:33).

As recorded in the Acts 2:1-13, when the Holy Spirit came upon the 120 disciples on the day of Pentecost, they heard a sound coming from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled the house where they were sitting.  They saw visions of tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance (in Greek, glossolalia, see Note).  The tongues they spoke were not languages of any nation in the world.  Acts 2:5-11 tells us there were devout Jews from 15 different places of the world who came and dwelt in Jerusalem.  They were attracted by the loud noise of the prayers and assembled outside the house.  God opened the ears of the devout among them to understand the mystery of the spoken tongues.  But to others, God did not open their ears, and they were dumbfounded and mocking, thought that the disciples were filled with new wine (Acts 2:13).  Even if the tongues they spoke were worldly languages, then it would be impossible for anyone who stood outside to understand the loud noise of 120 people speaking 15 languages at the same time.  Further, if they were speaking worldly languages, why did some of the people outside mocked at them saying they were drunk?  Why did those devout Jews understand?

Anyone who speaks in spiritual tongues speaks to God, not to man, for no one understands but he utters mysteries in the Spirit (I Cor 14:2).  Unless God gives the gift of the interpretation of tongues, it is impossible to understand (I Cor 14:28).  Usually, we call this kind of spiritual tongues, praying tongues or self-edifying tongues (I Cor 14:2,4).

Unfortunately, many Christian today are confused in the truth of speaking in tongues.  Following are the corrections for some misconceptions:

The First Misconception - At the moment a person believes in the Lord, he receives the Holy Spirit.

Correction - After three years of believing and following the Lord Jesus, none of the apostles received the Holy Spirit until they prayed earnestly on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4).  When Paul met some believers in Ephesus, he asked them, "Have you received the Holy Spirit when you believed?" This statement proves to us that believing and receiving the Holy Spirit are two different matters and does not necessarily happen at the same time.  After Paul baptized those believers in Ephesus, he laid hands upon them and then they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:1-7).

The Second Misconception - When a person is baptized he receives the Holy Spirit .

Correction - Though the believers in Samaria had been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, none received the Holy Spirit until Peter and John laid their hands on them in prayer (Acts 8:14-17).

The Third Misconception - When a person has good virtue or experiences any transformation in his life, it is the result of being filled with the Holy Spirit.

Correction - Cornelius was a very devout man of God.  He loved God and his fellowman, but he did not receive the Holy Spirit until the time when Peter preached in his house when the Holy Spirit then descended upon him (Acts 10:44-48).

The Fourth Misconception - Speaking in tongues is one of the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit, hence not everyone receives it.

Correction - This misconception is due to lack of understanding of the true meaning of I Corinthians, chapters 12 and 14.  The tongues in I Cor 12:10, 28,30 refers to the tongues of edifying the church.  The purpose and function of this tongue is different from the praying tongues.

1.        The praying tongues spoken by the Holy Spirit:

 a.      It is speaking to God.  No one understanding (I Cor 14:2,28)

 b.      It is for edifying oneself (I Cor 14:4).

 c.      It is the evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit and the baptism of the Holy Spirit that every Christian must experience in order to enter the Heavenly Kingdom (Acts 1:4,5,14,15; 2:1-4; Rom 8:9; Eph 13:14).

2.        Preaching tongues or tongues edifying the church spoken by the Holy Spirit:

 a.      It is speaking to others or the entire church.  It must be interpreted by those who receive the gift of interpreting the tongues, otherwise it is profitless (I Cor 12:10,30; 14:27,28).

 b.      It is for edifying others or the entire church (I Cor 14:26).

 c.      It is one of the nine special gifts of the Holy Spirit (this gift in Greek is the word of charismata), not everyone will receive it (I Cor 12:10,30; 14:26-28).

The tongues spoken by the Holy Spirit is quite different from the worldly languages.  Speaking any worldly language depends greatly upon the movement of the mouth, for example, Chinese, English, Spanish, French, German, etc., but speaking in spiritual tongues has a great deal to do with the movement of the tongues.  That is why Acts 2:3 records, when the disciples received the Holy Spirit there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them.  The sound of praying tongues would be likened to the sound of many waters and mighty thunder (Rev 14:2; 19:6).


Besides the exceptional case of receiving the Holy Spirit in the house of Cornelius, in general, one must pray in order to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Lk 11:13).  Following are the important attitudes and conditions to pray for the fullness of the Holy Spirit:

1.       Pray in truth and spirit (Jn 4:21-23; Mt 6:5-8, 16-18).

2.       Pray with humbleness (Ps 10: 17; Jas 4:6).

3.       Pray with utter repentance (Prov 1:23; Ps 51:17; Is 59:15; Lk 18:9-14).

4.       Pray with a pure heart (Mt 5:8; Jas 4:8).

5.       Pray wholeheartedly (Jer 29:13,14; Mt 6:6).

6.       Pray with a strong faith (Heb 11:6; Mt 21:22).

7.       Pouring out one's heart in prayer (I Sam 1: 15; Ps 62:8).

8.       Pray with importunity (Lk 11:8, 22:44; Jas 5:17).

9.       Pray with a longing heart (Mt 5:6; Jn 7:37-39).

10.   Pray consistently (Acts 1:4; Lk 18:1-8).


            "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world "(1 Jn 4: 1)

There are four kinds of spirits in the world: God's Spirit, angel's spirit, devil's spirit, and the spirit of man.  Except the spirit of man which dwells within him, only God's Spirit or the Devil's Spirit can dwell in a human.  The work of the Devil is very cunning and delicate.  He can disguise himself as an angel of light and a servant of righteousness.  He has the form of the apostle of Christ but is without spiritual substance.  His teachings are partially according to the Bible but do not have the perfect truth (2 Cor II: 13-15).

The following may serve as a general guideline to discern the Holy Spirit and the evil spirit:

A.     Holy Spirit

1.        The Spirit of God manifests the divine character: love,

2.        Believes that the Lord Jesus came to the world in flesh (I Jn 4:2).

3.        Obeys all the teachings of the apostles in the Bible (I Jn 4:6)

4.        Is the spirit of truth, will preach the truth perfectly accordance with the Bible? (Jn 16:13)

5.        When the Holy Spirit descends upon men, besides speaking in tongues, he may have the following experiences:

 a.      Feels like the wind is blowing (Eze 37:9,10,14; Jn 3:5-9; Acts 2:1,2).

 b.      Feels like a rain pouring down (Is 32:15; 44:3).

 c.      Feels like fire coming from above (Is 4:3,4; Mt 3:1 1; Acts 2:3).

 d.      Filled with joy in the heart (Jn 7:37-39; Rom 14:17).

 e.      Feels holy and illumined in the heart (11 Thess 2:13).

 f.       Is awake consciously (Acts 2:13,14).

 g.      Feels the spiritual power (Acts 1:8).

B.     Evil Spirit

1.        The evil spirit manifests the nature of the Devil: brutality, partiality, wickedness, lying, filthiness, pride and rage (Jn 8:44; Gal 5:19-21).

2.        Does not believe that the Lord Jesus came to the world in flesh.

3.        Does not obey completely the teachings of the apostles.

4.        Is the spirit of falsehood, adding or subtracting the truth of the scriptures (I Tim 4:1-3; Gal 1:6-8; 1 Jn 4:6).

5.        When the evil spirit comes upon a person, he may have the following experiences:

 a.      Being slain, falls to the ground (I Sam 28:20; Mk 9:18).

 b.      Foams in the mouth (Mk 9:18).

 c.      Loses consciousness (I Sam 28:20).

 d.      Makes strange movements and even hurts himself (Mk 5:2-5).

 e.      Feels oppressed and painful, body turns cold, face becomes pale, and sound of tongues spoken by the evil spirit is chirping and muttering (Is 8:19).

May the Lord guide us to the truth of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, help us understand the necessity and importance of being filled with the Holy Spirit, and guide us to the TrueChurch where the Holy Spirit dwells and where we may receive the precious baptism of the Spirit.

NOTE:       Glossolalia means "tongue speaking" in Greek, Glossa means "tongue" which has three different applications in the New Testament Bible:

1.       Physical organ - tongue (Jas 3:5,6,8,9)

2.       The languages in the world (Rev 5:9, 7:9)

3.       Mysterious Spiritual tongue or unknown tongue (I Cor 14:2) which the "tongue" in Acts 2:4 applies.