did Jesus say concerning the baptism of the Holy Spirit?
His ascension, Jesus instructed the disciples to wait for the baptism of the
Holy Spirit: “And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to
depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, ‘which,’ He
said, ‘you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you
shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now’ ” (Acts
1:4–5). The Holy Spirit duly came down on the day of Pentecost and filled the
disciples (Acts 2:1–4).
Who gives the Holy Spirit?
revealed to John the Baptist that Jesus was the one who would baptize people
with the Holy Spirit. John testified, saying, “I did not know Him, but He who
sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit
descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit’ ”
(Jn 1:33). These words were fulfilled after Jesus’ ascension, and Peter stood
up to witness to an astonished crowd, saying, “Therefore being exalted to the
right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy
Spirit, He [i.e. Jesus] poured out this which you now see and hear” (Acts
Which biblical prophecy was fulfilled at Pentecost?
Peter’s sermon, which is recorded in Acts 2, we learn that the events at
Pentecost fulfilled an age-old prophecy of Joel: “ ‘And
it shall come to pass in the last days, says
God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your
daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall
dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My
Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy’ ”
(Acts 2:17–18; cf. Joel 2:28–29).
How did people react to the event at Pentecost?
Holy Spirit came down at Pentecost, the disciples spoke in tongues. It
was witnessed by a crowd of Jews who gave a mixed reaction: “So they were all
amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘Whatever could this mean?’ Others
mocking said, ‘They are full of new wine’ ” (Acts 2:12–13). Peter stood
up to refute the latter allegation, saying, “For these are not drunk, as
you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day” (Acts 2:15). He then
proceeded to explain the truth of the matter and to preach the gospel of Jesus
continue to see mixed reactions to the speaking of tongues, ranging from fear
to bemusement, highlighting people’s inability to comprehend this spiritual
phenomenon. Jesus indicated as much when He told the disciples, “And I will
pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with
you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because
it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and
will be in you” (Jn 14:16–17). We will do well, then, to
learn from those devout Jews at Pentecost who opened their hearts to the gospel
and were able to receive salvation and the promise of the Holy Spirit for
themselves (Acts 2:38–42).
Is the baptism of the Holy Spirit meant only
for the Jews?
Pentecost, Peter addressed his sermon to a crowd of Jews (Acts 2:14). However,
from his concluding words, we understand that his message is relevant to everyone—to
people of all races and cultures: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized
in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins;
and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the
promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as
the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:38–39). Here, the “gift of
the Holy Spirit” refers to the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It is a promise for
every person whom God calls through the complete and perfect gospel (Eph 1:13).
Peter’s words were fulfilled not long afterwards, for the Gentile Cornelius and
his household were blessed with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as soon as
they heard the gospel (Acts 10:44–48). Peter later testified, saying, “And as I
began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the
beginning. Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John
indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit’ ”
Are the events at Pentecost still relevant to
says, “I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can
be added to it, and nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear
before Him” (Eccl 3:14); “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,
and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or
shadow of turning” (Jas 1:17). The baptism of the Holy Spirit is God’s promise
to people near and far, and of all generations. Since the time of
Pentecost, people throughout the world have been receiving the Holy Spirit.
However, we need to be aware that the Holy Spirit—the Spirit of truth—only
abides where the truth is found (Jn 14:17). In other words, He will be poured
out solely in the church that preaches the complete gospel of salvation.
Did anyone receive the Holy Spirit before
Holy Spirit did not descend until the day of Pentecost. Before then, the Holy
Spirit inspired God’s workers or came upon them for a time, as in the case of
the judges, kings, prophets and other specially chosen people (e.g. Num 27:18; Judg
3:10; 6:34; 11:29; 14:6; 1 Sam 10:10; 16:13; Lk 1:41,
67; 2:25). However, these occurrences did not constitute the baptism of the
Holy Spirit, for it was not until Pentecost that He came to “abide with
[believers] forever” (Jn 14:16).
His ministry, Jesus spoke of the promised Holy Spirit, saying, “Nevertheless I
tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go
away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you”
(Jn 16:7). Also, the Gospel of John records, “...For the Holy Spirit was not
yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified” (Jn 7:39).
after He resurrected, Jesus revealed the imminent coming of the Holy Spirit
once again: “...He breathed on [the disciples], and said to them, ‘Receive the
Holy Spirit’ ” (Jn 20:22). Then, before He ascended to heaven, He
instructed the disciples to wait in Jerusalem, saying, “For John truly baptized
with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from
now” (Acts 1:5). Jesus’ words were finally fulfilled on the day of Pentecost.
How does the Bible describe the baptism of the
uses a variety of terms to describe the same phenomenon:
“Behold, I send the Promise of My [i.e.
Jesus’] Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued
with power from on high” (Lk
24:49; cf. Gal 3:14).
you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon
you…” (Acts 1:8; cf. 19:6).
shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”
• “And as
I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell
upon them, as upon us at the beginning” (Acts 11:15).
“...They sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for
them that they might receive the Holy
Spirit” (Acts 8:14–15).
• “ ‘For
John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the
Holy Spirit not many days from now’ ”
(Acts 1:5; cf. 11:16).
“...Having believed, you were sealed with
the Holy Spirit of promise” (Eph 1:13).
saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,
whom He poured out on us abundantly
through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Tit 3:5–6).
Some Christians argue that we do not need to
pray for the Holy Spirit as He has remained with the church ever since
Pentecost? Are they right?
are not. From the accounts in the Book of Acts, we see that, following the
downpour of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2), Peter and John went to
Samaria to lay hands on the believers so that they could receive the Holy
Spirit (Acts 8:14–17). Later on, Paul did the same for the believers in Ephesus
(Acts 19:6). These examples prove that the believers in the early church prayed
for the Holy Spirit after Pentecost. It is not the case that the disciples in
Jerusalem somehow received the Holy Spirit in a representative manner on behalf
of all believers thereafter, as some Christians believe. Today, if we
wish to receive the Holy Spirit, we need to ask of God who gives graciously (Lk
Ephesians 1:13 says, “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of
truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed
with the Holy Spirit of promise.” Does this verse mean that we receive the Holy
Spirit as soon as we believe in Jesus?
words constitute a general statement about the nature of the Christian journey:
we receive the gospel, believe in Jesus Christ, and are sealed with the
Holy Spirit—three steps. His statement does not indicate that we receive the
Holy Spirit the moment we believe.
accounts of people receiving the Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts show that the
timing varied between individuals: some received the Holy Spirit when they
heard the gospel, some before water baptism, and others, after water baptism.
For example, Cornelius and his household received the Holy Spirit and spoke in
tongues while they were listening to the gospel (Acts 10:44–45). In the case of
the Samaritan believers, they did not receive the Holy Spirit even after water
baptism; it was not until Peter and John were sent to them by the apostles in
Jerusalem, to lay hands on them, that they did so (Acts 8:14–17). Saul (Paul)
was chosen by the Lord on his way to Damascus, but did not receive the Holy
Spirit until Ananias laid hands on him (Acts 9:17). Also, the disciples in
Ephesus did not receive the Holy Spirit until Paul re-baptized them in the name
of Jesus and laid hands on them (Acts 19:5–6). It is significant that, in this
particular case, Paul had earlier asked the believers, “Did you receive the
Holy Spirit when you believed?” (Acts 19:2). The answer was clear: “We have not
so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”
examples illustrate the fact that a person does not receive the Holy Spirit
automatically when he accepts the Lord as his Saviour—or
even during, or immediately after, water baptism. The timing rests with God.
What does the Book of Acts have to say concerning the baptism of the Holy
of Acts records the work of the Holy Spirit during the time of the apostles and
details the establishment and growth of the early church. It describes how God
poured out His Holy Spirit on the early Christians and provides the church
today with the guidelines for discerning whether a person has received the Holy
Spirit or not.
points concerning the baptism of the Holy Spirit include the following:
According to Peter’s testimony, it is both a visible and audible experience:
“Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the
Father the promise of the Holy Spirit,
He poured out this which you now see and
hear” (Acts 2:33).
primary sign is the speaking of spiritual tongues (Acts 2:4). On the day of
Pentecost, 120 disciples received the Holy Spirit and spoke loudly in tongues,
drawing the attention of a crowd (Acts 2:6). Later, Cornelius and his household
also received the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues, praising God (Acts
10:45–46). In Ephesus, Paul was able to discern that twelve disciples had
received the Holy Spirit, for they spoke in tongues and prophesied (Acts
spiritual tongues utter mysteries to God (1 Cor 14:2) and cannot be understood
unless He opens a person’s ears to interpret them (1 Cor 14:5, 13). In Acts 2,
we find such an example:
And when this sound occurred, the multitude came
together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own
language. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look,
are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our
own language in which we were born?”
enabled these people to hear the disciples “speaking in [their] own tongues the
wonderful works of God” (Acts 2:11).
Does everyone speak in tongues when they receive the Holy Spirit?
speaking of tongues is the primary evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit. From
the Book of Acts, we see that, after the first downpour of the Holy Spirit on
the disciples at Pentecost, subsequent believers also spoke in tongues when
they received the Holy Spirit. Hence, when Peter witnessed Cornelius and his
household receiving the Holy Spirit, he immediately related it to the
disciples’ own experiences, saying, “Can anyone forbid water, that
these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just
as we have?” (Acts 10:47; cf.
Christians claim that the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22–23) is sufficient evidence
that a person has received the Holy Spirit. This assertion is true in part, as
the bearing of the fruit of the Spirit pre-supposes that a person has received
the Holy Spirit. However, we must be careful not to assume that all virtuous behaviour
constitutes the fruit of the Spirit. If we return
to the example of Cornelius, we know that, prior to believing in
Jesus Christ, he was already “a devout man and one who feared God with all his
household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always”
(Acts 10:2). In short, he possessed many virtues, but these did not constitute
the fruit of the Spirit: at the time, he had not yet received the Holy Spirit
(or even water baptism). His bearing of spiritual fruit would only come after
he received the Holy Spirit and began walking in the Spirit (Gal 5:16, 25).
What are the effects of receiving the Holy Spirit?
the downpour of the Holy Spirit, the disciples exhibited various shortcomings:
slowness to believe in the Scriptures (Lk 24:25), lack of faith and hardness of
heart (Mk 16:13–14), fearfulness (Jn 20:19, 26), selfish ambition
(Mk 9:34; 10:37), and an inability to grasp the Lord’s teachings (Jn
16:12). Peter also denied the Lord three times (Mt 26:69–75). But all that
would change, for Jesus promised: “But you shall receive power when the Holy
Spirit has come upon you...” (Acts 1:8). Indeed, starting from the day of
Pentecost, they were transformed by the Spirit. The outcomes were spiritual
renewal, enlightenment and empowerment for God’s ministry (Zech
What happens when we receive the Holy Spirit?
receive the Holy Spirit, we will manifest the primary evidence, which is
the speaking of tongues. It is also possible that we might experience other
signs, such as the movement of the body, the singing of spiritual songs, joy,
describes the baptism of the Holy Spirit as our being “sealed with the Holy
Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance...” (Eph
1:13–14). In Paul’s words, our body becomes the “temple of
the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor 6:19). He will fill our spiritual void, satisfy our
soul and lead us to eternal life. This is because Jesus promises, “But whoever
drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that
I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into
everlasting life” (Jn 4:14).
Spirit will also transform and renew us (Tit 3:5). God says, “I will give you a
new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out
of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you
and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do
them” (Ezek 36:26–27). In other words, the Spirit will empower us to overcome
our weaknesses and to keep God’s commandments. The result is that we will grow
in the likeness of the Lord: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a
mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from
glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor 3:18).
greatest transformation will occur when Jesus comes again, for the Holy
Spirit will change us into spiritual beings:
our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior,
the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be
conformed to His glorious body…” (Phil 3:20–21).
“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all
be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.
For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we
shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and
this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Cor 15:51–53).
we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds
to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1
What is the purpose of the spiritual tongues?
tongues serve two functions, which are praying and preaching:
The primary function of tongues
is self-edification through prayer: “He who speaks in a tongue edifies
himself…” (1 Cor 14:4). In this case, they are directed at God and cannot be
understood: “For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God,
for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries” (1 Cor
14:2). Paul tells the church, “Do not forbid to speak with tongues” (1 Cor
14:39) and expresses a wish that everyone had this ability (1 Cor 14:5). This
type of tongue is given to all those who receive the Holy Spirit and is the
primary sign of baptism in the Spirit.
The tongues for preaching are
a special gift which the Bible calls “different kinds of tongues” (1 Cor
12:10). It is only given to some believers, as the Holy Spirit wills (1 Cor
12:11), for the edification of the church (1 Cor 12:7). For this reason, the
tongues require interpretation (1 Cor 14:5). Paul advises, “But if there is no
interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to
himself and to God” (1 Cor 14:28). In other words, when there is no one to
interpret their meaning, the speaker should refrain from using the
tongues to address the congregation and should reserve them for prayer instead.
1 Corinthians 12:8–10, tongues are listed at the end of the spiritual gifts.
Does it not indicate that they are the least important?
all, we need to understand that, in relation to spiritual tongues, there are
two types of gifts. One type is the charismatic
gift mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:10, which is given by the Holy Spirit for
preaching and edifying the church (1 Cor 12:7). The second type is termed dorea
in the original
Greek, whereby the gift is the Holy Spirit Himself
(e.g. Acts 2:38). The
spiritual tongue that is dorea
is for prayer and personal edification. It is the primary evidence of baptism
in the Spirit.
we should not mistakenly believe that the Bible in some way ranks God’s
spiritual gifts in order of importance. Elder James reminds us, “Every good
gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of
lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (Jas 1:17). Both
the gifts of dorea
and charisma are graciously bestowed
by God, and we should esteem them both.
What do the terms “guide”, “move”, “inspire”, “baptize”
and “fill” mean in
relation to the work of the Holy Spirit?
uses a variety of terms to illustrate the different ways in which the Holy
Spirit works in a believer:
Jesus told His disciples
that the Holy Spirit would “guide [them] into all truth” (Jn 16:13). The
original Greek word for “guide”, hodegeo,
means “to lead the
Peter says, “For prophecy never
came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the
Holy Spirit” (2 Pet 1:21). The Greek word
means “to bear” or “to
Paul says, “All Scripture is
given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for
correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16). The Greek
Before His ascension, Jesus promised the
“For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy
Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:5). The Greek word is baptizo, meaning
“to dip in”, and carries the “sense of immersing”.
The Book of Acts describes
believers who were “filled” (Gr., pletho)
by the Holy Spirit. This
happened to the disciples on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:4), to Paul (Acts
9:17), and to the workers of God who were empowered and comforted (Acts 4:8,
31; 7:55; 13:9, 52). These examples reveal that God has the
authority to give of His Spirit generously and without measure. Hence, apostle
Paul encourages us to pursue the infilling of the Holy Spirit (Eph 5:18).
Bible talks about the power of both water baptism and the baptism of the Holy
Spirit to bring about spiritual rebirth. Do they do this in different ways?
explains how water baptism and the baptism of the Holy Spirit lead to spiritual
baptism. Paul says that water
baptism signifies the death and burial of our old sinful self and our
resurrection to a newness of life (Rom 6:3–11; Col 2:11–12). Hence, after water
baptism, we become a new creation in Christ (2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15). However,
this is but the first step in a lifelong process; thereafter, we need the Holy
Spirit to renew us continuously.
of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told
the disciples, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon
you...” (Acts 1:8). When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were
transformed into powerful vessels of God, in fulfilment
of Isaiah’s prophecy: “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young
men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their
strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be
weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isa 40:30–31).
refers to the Holy Spirit as “living
water” (Jn 4:10) and as “a fountain of water springing up into everlasting
life” (Jn 4:14) that can satisfy and sustain us. Through Him, we can be
“strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man” (Eph 3:16) to
live an abundant and victorious life.
water baptism and the baptism of the Holy Spirit are essential for spiritual
rebirth and salvation. This is why Jesus says, “Most assuredly, I say to you,
unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God”
Some churches discourage their members
from praying for the Holy Spirit in case they receive evil spirits. Others claim
that speaking in tongues is a sign of demon-possession. Are they right?
are not. Sadly, many churches object to the speaking of tongues
and praying for the Holy Spirit due to their misunderstanding of the Bible and
a lack of spiritual experience. Hence, their criticism of Christians who practise
otherwise and, worse, their
accusations of demon-possession. However, in doing these things, they are in
danger of opposing God and blaspheming the Holy Spirit (Mk 3:28–30).
believers not to pray for the Holy Spirit is wrong for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it is contrary to the teaching of Jesus who encourages us to ask the
heavenly Father for the Holy Spirit (Lk 11:13). Secondly, it goes against the
practice of the workers in the apostolic church who actively supported the
believers in praying for the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14–15; 9:17; 19:6).
Thirdly, it is contrary to the promise of God, as revealed by the Old Testament
prophets: “Ask the Lord for rain in the time of the latter rain. The Lord will
make flashing clouds; He will give them showers of rain, grass in the field for
everyone” (Zech 10:1). The fact is, we are now in the
time of the latter rain, and we can ask God to send us “showers of rain”—His
Holy Spirit—to relieve the spiritual drought within our hearts.
there any possibility that we might receive an evil spirit when praying for the
John says, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether
they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1
Jn 4:1). In other words, we need to be aware that the devil can take the
opportunity to work—even among the believers of God. We learn, for example,
that Satan entered Judas after he had the notion to betray Jesus (Jn 13:27) and
that he filled the heart of Ananias to make him lie to the Holy Spirit (Acts
to guard against the devil’s work is firstly, to pray for the Holy Spirit in
the church that preaches the gospel according to the Bible. This is because the
Bible says that God will give His Spirit to those who obey Him and keep His
commandments (Jn 14:21; Acts 5:32)—but we can only obey Him properly when we
have received the truth.
we need to make sure that we have pure motives, a clear conscience, and that we
ask God with faith, humility and patience. Elder James encourages us, saying:
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for
he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let
not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a
double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
important that we believe in the promise of Jesus, who assures us, saying,
“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to
your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to
those who ask Him!” (Lk 11:13).
when we pray, we should do so in the name of Jesus as it is the Lord’s promise
that He will answer our prayers when we do (Jn 14:14). Finally, we can say
“Hallelujah” which is a word of praise and power (Rev 19:1–6).
can we discern whether a spirit is from God?
advice of elder John is to “test the spirits, whether they are of God” (1 Jn
4:1). We do this by referring to the Bible for guidance and by using the
spiritual gift of discernment (1 Cor 12:10).
says, “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes
or figs from thistles?” (Mt 7:16). Here, the
“fruits” refer to a person’s attitude, words and deeds. It follows that someone
who has received an evil spirit will bear bad fruit, while someone who has
received the Holy Spirit will bear good fruit.
Bible says, “And every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come
in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you
have heard was coming, and is now already in the world” (1 Jn 4:3); “Who is a
liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies
the Father and the Son” (1 Jn 2:22). These words remind us to be aware that any
person who denies the Lord, His resurrection, ascension to heaven, and second
coming cannot claim to have the Holy Spirit.
John says, “They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and
the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who
is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the
spirit of error” (1 Jn 4:5–6). In other words, those who have received the
“spirit of error”—the evil spirit—will manifest an unwillingness to listen to
the workers of God or to submit to the truth of the Bible. Instead, they will
follow and preach a message that belongs to the world, because the source of
their spirit is the devil, who is the god of this world (2 Cor 4:4).
Bible says, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will
depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of
demons” (1 Tim 4:1). In the end time, the devil will make use of deceptive
philosophies that are based on human tradition—the so-called “depths of Satan”
(Rev 2:24)—to capture people’s minds and lead them away from the truth (Col
2:8). Today, within Christianity, we are witnessing the fulfilment
of this prophecy: false teachers have emerged with destructive heresies (2 Pet
2:1), perverted the gospel (Gal 1:6–7), distorted the Bible (2 Pet 3:16), and
strayed from the doctrine of Christ (2 Jn 9).
Demon-possessed people are likely to hurt themselves and others. Examples from
the Bible include the demoniac from Gadara who cut himself with stones (Mk 5:2,
5), and an evil spirit which caused a man in Ephesus to attack those around him
spirits stir up ill-will and dissensions. The Book of Revelation records a
prophecy of evil spirits agitating the world to war in the end time: “For they
are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth
and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God
Almighty” (Rev 16:14).
spirits entice people to submit to the lusts of the flesh (2 Pet 2:18).
Revelation records this lamentation: “And he cried mightily with a loud voice,
saying, ‘Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place
of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and
hated bird! For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her
fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and
the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her
luxury’ ” (Rev 18:2–3).
can masquerade as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14). However, his work
will be evident, especially to those who have the gift of discernment.
The Book of Acts gives an account of a slave girl who followed Paul, shouting,
“These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of
salvation” (Acts 16:17). Realizing it was the work of the devil behind
the seemingly innocuous message, Paul cast out the evil spirit in the name of
Jesus (Acts 16:18).
Believers who receive the Holy Spirit will speak in tongues and may sometimes
shed tears of emotion, laugh, sing and move about. However, their actions will
be orderly and controlled, for God is a God of order, not of confusion (1 Cor
14:33). In contrast, people who receive evil spirits often fall down, shout,
lose consciousness, and may even harm themselves or others (e.g. Mt 17:15; Mk
5:5; Lk 9:39).
© 2012 True Jesus Church.