Revised Edition - 2017
Back in the 1980s, I was given a tract that questioned the evidence regarding the number of disciples who actually received the baptism of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. I never did pursue that question with a study. Being a Pentecostal, before I received the message of God which calls the elect back to His Original Word, I had heard and read many opinions of Christians in the Pentecostal movement. This same subject seems to be of great interest among many believers of the Endtime Message of William Branham.
The actual number of disciples baptized on the Day of Pentecost with the sign of speaking in tongues is not as important as the purpose of God giving the gift of the Holy Spirit. So what is the purpose of God giving the disciples the baptism of the Holy Spirit? And what is the true evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit baptism?
To better understand this doctrine we need to rightly divide the Word of Truth. Let us begin in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles written by Luke, a physician (cf. Col.4:14). It was written to his friend Theophilus and is a sequel to his Gospel account of the events that surround the life of Jesus Christ and His ministry.
Christ and His Apostles
If we accept Luke to have written an orderly account to Theophilus of the events that transpired concerning the Gospel that was brought to the saints at that time (Lk.1:3-4), then his account of the beginning of the Church of Jesus Christ until the ministry of Paul must likewise be recorded in the same manner. Our observation is therefore called to his recollection of the events which took place prior to Christ’s ascension as he began his account on the beginning of the acts of the Holy Spirit in the Apostles whilst establishing the Church. Notice Luke clearly stated that the Lord Jesus was with His Apostles and He was “seen of them forty days” for He assembled together with them. Jesus must have shown Himself also to His other disciples during those days but certainly not as exclusively as He did with His eleven Apostles.
The commandment was given to the Apostles that they should not depart from the City of Jerusalem until they had received the promise of the Father — “ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost”. This commandment was certainly not issued to the other disciples of Christ. Nevertheless, if the other disciples did tarry for the Holy Spirit it must be that the Apostles had given them the information. But there is no such record.
After the Lord had ascended into Heaven, the Apostles went back to Jerusalem to an upper room where they were staying. Obviously, the place where they were staying could not be the home of the eleven Apostles with their families all together. They did not live there, they only stayed there. (These eleven were Galileans, and lived in Galilee.) Tradition has it that the upper room was the room where the Last Supper of the Lord was held and it is believe to be a monastery outside of the Old Jerusalem City about 1.4 kilometres southwest of the Temple Area. Of course, nobody can really verify that fact.
Now, the next verse states:
This particular verse has been taken at face value by many Christians to imply that about 120 believers were gathered together with the womenfolk in the upper room to “wait for the promise of the Father” for about 10 days. The average upper room of a Jewish house was unlikely to hold that many people unless they were packed like sardines in a tin. (Note: Because Mark 14:15 and Luke 22:12 described a “large room” where the Last Supper was held, some Christians believe the “upper room” was really “large” as large is.)
In the Scripture, when a number of persons is mentioned, the number reflects only men; women and children are not included. (See Matt.14:21; 15:38.) If women and children were numbered in the gathering together, it would probably be more than double the number of 120.
We must realize that Luke was giving a historical account. He was recording only events that were of significance and events in between were summarized. Read Acts 1:12-15. In verses 12 to 14, we are given an account of the Apostles returning to Jerusalem (from Mount Olivet) to the upper room. However, the beginning phrase of verse 15: “And in those days…” shows that the event next described did not immediately follow the event of verse 14. It only tells us that some time during that period of the Apostles returning to the City of Jerusalem (and not specifically the upper room) to “wait for the promise of the Father” (which they received on the Day of Pentecost), that the selection of a disciple of Christ to replace Judas Iscariot took place.
The Apostles did gather together with the other disciples and the women. However, to imply that all of them were together in an upper room at the same time is an exaggeration. The Apostles gathered in other places for prayer and supplication is clear from what is recorded in verse 15. And in this particular period, the large group of believers, both men and women, could have only gathered in an open courtyard, perhaps beneath the upper chamber of that apartment or that of some other apartments.
The Election of An Apostle
As the assembly of disciples (and women and children) gathered, Peter stood up “in the midst of the disciples” and addressed the congregation, particularly the men — “men and brethren”. Remember that the Word of the Lord comes to the Church (feminine) through the Ministry of Christ (masculine). Read 1 Cor.14:34-36. Peter brought up several prophecies of King David and expounded them (Psa.41:9; 69:25; 109:8). He then proceeded to bring about the fulfillment of Psalm 109:8: “...let another take his office”. Peter was always quick to jump ahead of any situation. The number 12 had always been Israel’s number of good governance. There were more than a hundred disciples of Christ but Peter offered his criteria for the one who would be most suitable to take the place of the dead bishopric, Judas Iscariot. Peter, together with the other Apostles (certainly the other disciples were not involved as they were not Apostles), narrowed down to two candidates — Barsabas and Matthias. Either one could be “an apostle” numbered with the eleven. That was the dilemma. So, sincere prayer was offered to the Lord before the Apostles cast their votes. (It is unlikely that all the other disciples had cast any vote in the matter.) Matthias was chosen and he was numbered with the eleven Apostles.
The Holy Spirit had Luke to record the working of men in
“doing what they think is best”
for the Ministry and the Church of God. Most Bible students believe that
Matthias was “chosen” of God
Matthias being “numbered with the eleven Apostles” is a fact, for he was chosen by the Apostles to be numbered with them. What and how else could it not be? However, he was certainly not “chosen” by God. The gifts and callings of God are not something set upon men through the means of the casting of lots. If God was in such a man-made approach to appoint Matthias and not Barsabas, how many votes did Matthias receive from the 11 Apostles? Did Matthias get to be “numbered with the eleven Apostles” by having one vote over Barsabas or did he get all the votes?
We read in many places in the Bible that when God appoints a man to a
ministry, He personally calls and deals with that man. The 5-fold ministry
is Christ’s Ascension Gifts to the Church for “the
The Outpouring of the Holy Spirit
Ten days later, after the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ and perhaps a week after the election of Matthias, “they were all with one accord in one place” when the Holy Spirit came into “the house where they were sitting”. Licks of fire rested upon each one of them and “they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance”.
Who were “they” whom Luke referred to in his writing? Luke, who prided himself in having perfect understanding, and being orderly in his account of the events in the life of Christ and His ministry to Theophilus (Lk.1:3), could only have referred to the Apostles. Reading the account from the beginning of the Book of Acts, “they” could not have referred to the entire assembly of the 120 plus the women.
The place mentioned in Acts 2:1 could not have been the same place (the courtyard) where the choosing of an apostle to replace Judas Iscariot took place. The Scripture states that “they were all with one accord in one place” and this “one place” is not mentioned as being the “upper room” where they abode. During that period of time, after the election of Matthias, all the Apostles were waiting for the promise of the Heavenly Father. However, they did not tarry in a long drawn out prayer as some theologians seem to suggest. They certainly did not just stay in a room 24 hours a day praying but continued about their daily chores. The Lord did not tell them to stay in a room till the promise come, rather He told them not to depart from Jerusalem but to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the promise.
Obviously, the Apostles were often in prayer as they gathered together. They might meet together in an upper room with the other disciples and the women. At times they might be together all by themselves in some other dwelling places, being they were always prayerfully waiting for the promise of the Father.
The event that took place could be in a house just outside the Temple ground or at a covered area within the Temple ground itself. It certainly could not have been in a place far from the Temple. (The upper room where the event was traditionally believed to have taken place is about 1.4 kilometers away from the Temple area.) Read what the following verses state:
This record tells us that when the Holy Spirit came in as a “rushing mighty wind” and anointed the Apostles, who began to speak with other tongues. And “when this sound occurred”, multitudes of Jewish immigrants of different tongues drew close. In other words, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit could not have taken place in an upper room or a house far away from the Temple vicinity. It had to be a place where multitudes of Jewish men (note that the Scripture states “devout men”) gathered themselves together in close proximity to where the Apostles themselves gathered; the Temple vicinity.
The Feast of Pentecost is one of the three important feasts whereby all the adult males must gather before the Lord. “Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty” (Deut.16:16). Being devout men themselves, the Apostles would not have gathered in some secluded house or place during that important Feast of Weeks (Pentecost). They knew the Scripture and they would certainly seek to fulfill It, as their Master did. Beginning from the previous evening (the Jews reckon a day from sunset to sunset), devout Jewish men would have come to present themselves before the Lord at the Temple. They would sit in groups in some dwelling places in the vicinity of the Temple, the evening before, most probably to study and meditate on the Law and the Prophets. In the morning, they would then proceed to the Temple to fulfill the festive law. It would not be unusual to see immigrant Jews of the same nation group to themselves. Those from Parthia would group together since they have things in common from whence they came. That goes for the others as well, each to their own — “the Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene, Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs”.
Now notice what is written.
Why would some of the spectators make remark that the Apostles were drunk with new wine? It must be that wine and unleavened bread were available. In defense, Peter stood up to speak. The eleven also stood up. This shows that the rest of the 120 disciples were not in this particular event, if they were, they would all have stood up with Peter to identify with him. (Read Jhn.18:5; 18:18; 2 Tim.4:16-17.)
The Pentecostals and the Charismatics teach that unless a believer speaks with “tongue” he does not have the Holy Spirit. They believe that all the 120 disciples plus the many women, mentioned in the 1st chapter of Acts, were together with the 12 Apostles and that each and every one of them spoke with tongues. This is forcing Scripture to suit their doctrine of the importance of “glossolalia”. Read what the Word says in Acts 2:7-8.
All the Apostles were Galileans, mostly fishermen and largely unlearned. The angels called them “men of Galilee” (Acts 1:11). Those devout men from Judaea (Acts 2:9) could tell the difference between a Galilean and a Judean. Were the rest of the 120 disciples plus the women from the region of Galilee, where Christ spent about 30 years of His life? The answer is an obvious NO. Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany were not Galileans nor was Joseph of Arimathea. Therefore Acts 2:7 has no reference to them and does not include them.
When our Lord Jesus instructed the Apostles about the promise of the Father, He mentioned nothing about speaking with tongues. Instead he said this:
However, when the Spirit of God was come, the Apostles spoke with other tongues. Is this God’s “evidence”, that the Apostles had the Holy Spirit and that all born again Bible Believers must likewise have the same “sign” of speaking with other tongues? To teach such a doctrine is stretching the Bible. Tongue speaking was never taught by the Apostles as being the evidence of the Holy Spirit baptism.
The Scripture states clearly that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit had taken place on the Day of Pentecost when the Spirit of the Lord came upon the Apostles. This should be sufficient to conclude that the rest of the disciples and women (wherever they were) had also received the same baptism. Whether or not they spoke with other tongues is not the issue.
What then is the evidence of the Holy Spirit baptism? Is the Scripture clear
on the issue? The answer is
We will see what it is by studying the various Scripture passages related to
this topic. First let us examine why the Almighty God caused the Apostles to
speak with other tongues as He gave them utterance. Remember, the Day of
Pentecost is an important Feast of Yahweh. There were thousands of devout
Jewish men gathered in and around the vicinity of the Temple on that day.
The Apostles had absolutely no idea what was to take place. In order to draw
the attention of those Jewish men, for them to hear the Gospel, God had to
create a “sign”.
From the Scripture we know that the Jews seek after
as oppose to the Gentiles who seek after
(cf. Matt.12:38; Jhn.2:18; 1 Cor.1:22). It seems
that until they see a sign,
they would not believe the Word.
This is one reason why God chose to use “sign” when it came to the children
of Israel. Secondly, it had been prophesied by the prophet Isaiah that the
Lord would use “stammering lips and
Christians who believe that the evidence of one having the baptism of the Holy Spirit is “speaking with other tongues” have Scripture verses to only imply, not support, such a teaching. The languages (tongues) that the 12 Apostles spoke were not unknown languages (tongues) but known languages (tongues). Acts 2:7 tells us that the Apostles were Galileans and as such their common vocabulary were Hebrew and Aramaic. However, when the Holy Spirit came upon them they were speaking more than a dozen known languages of other nations. Jews who had returned from those nations to live in Judea heard the Apostles proclaim the wonderful works of God in their own native tongues (Acts 2:8-11). This truly fulfilled the words of the prophet Isaiah (chapter 28).
When Peter stood up to explain what was taking place, he recalled the prophecies of Joel the prophet to the thousands of Jewish people who were gathered around him and the other Apostles. (Remember that the historical accounts are condensed. I believe that the preaching of Peter lasted long (Acts 2:40). The crowd swelled to thousands, and the preaching could have taken place right in the Temple ground, an area of about 144,000 sq. meters.) He expounded:
Notice that the prophecies of Joel extended beyond the event that actually took place on the Day of Pentecost. How much of “this” which took place on that Day of Pentecost was “that” which Joel spoke of? Why did Peter mention about “wonders in heaven”, “signs in the earth”, “blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke”, “sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood” when none of that took place on that Day of Pentecost? Also, were there any young men who saw visions and were there any old men who dreamt dreams?
What happened was only a foretaste of a greater blessing for Israel when the Messiah does come for them. Peter was telling the people that the Spirit of God that had just been poured out; given to mankind to bring about redemption for His people. Notice that the prophecies of Joel mentioned nothing about “tongues”. Instead Joel spoke that when the Spirit is poured out “your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams”. Prophesying was prophesying in known tongues rather than mere speaking with unknown tongues on that Day of Pentecost. Nevertheless it would have been more appropriate if Luke had supplemented the following words of Isaiah seeing that 3000 of those Jews believed the Gospel.
Again, let me reiterate that “speaking with other tongues” is not the evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit. What took place on the Day of Pentecost happened to a people that were completely Jewish. They needed signs and they got a sign. Truly Paul said the truth that “tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not:” (1 Cor.14:22a). Also, notice that there is no mention that the 3000 Jewish converts spoke with tongues, only that they gladly received the Word, repented and were water baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of their sins. After that they continued in the Apostles' doctrine, in fellowship, in breaking of bread and in prayers, and had things common. Read Acts 2:38-47.
Now examine what happened when Cornelius and his household heard the Gospel.
How were Peter and the Jewish believers, who accompanied him to minister to Cornelius and his household, convinced that the Gentiles had also received the gift of the Holy Spirit? Is it because “they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God”? This was however not the evidence to show that the Gentiles had the baptism of the Spirit. Rather it was a sign to show to the Jewish Apostles and the Jewish believers that upon the Gentiles also was the same Holy Spirit of Life given. The Jews considered the Gentiles as dogs and would not have thought that the Gospel of their God and Saviour could be given to them. Our Lord even had to give a vision to Peter to prepare him for what he was to encounter involving the Spirit pouring out His grace on Cornelius and his household. Moreover, God chose to use the same sign so that it could and would be under-stood by Peter and the rest of the Jewish believers (cf. Acts 11:15-17). Without this “sign” the Jewish believers would have had difficulty accepting the fact that “the Gentiles had also received the Word of God” (Acts 11:1).
What were the “tongues” (languages) spoken by all the members of Cornelius’ household when the Holy Spirit gave them utterance? Obviously they had to be languages that were unknown to their understanding but known to the Jews who were standing around; such as Hebrew and Aramaic. If the “tongues” were completely unknown languages, how could Peter and the Jews know that they were magnifying God? Truly, Christians should consider well the words of the apostle Paul in 1 Cor.14:2-11.
Just to state here: the so-called “upper room experience” as taught by many Pentecostals and Charismatics is not supported by Scripture. To believe that 120 men plus an uncounted number of women were all in an “upper room” speaking with tongues on the Day of Pentecost is stretching the Scripture. All the Scripture tells us is that the APOSTLES were told that “they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father”. Whether the rest of the disciples and women spoke with tongues is of no consequence. The fact is that after the Holy Spirit was poured out, the promise of the Holy Spirit baptism is given to all that believe the Word. This is Peter’s words:
All the rest of the disciples and women definitely received the Holy Spirit. Undoubtedly, all of them (including the Apostles themselves) went into the water and were baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ; Cornelius and his household did so after they believed the Word and received the Holy Spirit.
Believing The Word
How does one know he has received the Holy Spirit baptism, that he is born again and is a part of the Body of Christ? Different organized churches will give slightly different answers. Certain followers of the message of William Branham will give answers based on statements from his sermons. For examples:
Okay, let’s search the Scripture. (Remember 2 Tim.2:15? It states: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing [straight cut/dissect/expound] the word of truth.” Are you ashamed of doing that?) According to the Bible, there are 3 classes of people — Jews, Gentiles and Samaritans. “Glossolalia” Christians believe the Samaritans had also received the Holy Spirit in a similar manner to the Jews and the Gentiles by speaking with other tongues, not by believing and receiving the Word of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and being water baptized. However, these are the words of Luke:
According to the words of William Branham, the Samaritans must have received the Holy Spirit because they believed and received the Word preached by Philip and they were also baptized. The question is: did they really believe, and truly receive the Word? Did the Samaritan believers have the Holy Spirit? If so, why did the Apostles in Jerusalem need to send Peter and John to pray for them, to receive the Holy Spirit?
It is very erroneous
for the Branhamites to simply pull a phrase or statement out of the sermons
of William Branham, or other similar phrases or statements, to build a
doctrine about the baptism of
What sign was there that the Samaritans received the Holy Spirit? What did Simon Magnus see? Was it the “sign” of the believers speaking with other tongues? Most Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians believe it was. Perhaps, it was and more.
Simon wanted to buy “this power”. Did Peter and John pray for Simon when they came to pray and lay hands on the believers in Samaria (cf. Acts 8:15 — “prayed for them”)? If they did so, did Simon receive the Holy Spirit baptism and speak with tongues? If that were the case, then surely the gift of “speaking with tongues” did him no good. Why would a convert seek to buy “power” just to give another person the gift of “speaking with other tongues”? Or was there something else that excited Simon besides the gift of “speaking with other tongues”? I believe there were, for example, prophecies, discernment, great joy, exuberance and dancing in the spirit too.
The desire of Simon (a converted sorcerer) did not reflect the spirit of one who was born again and had the Holy Spirit. Luke recorded that Simon “received the Word of God” and “was baptized”. Would not that make Simon a “believer”? But his heart had not changed. Being a magician, the “sign” he witnessed was to him a “magic”, a “craft” that intrigued him greatly, and he wanted to purchase it. He wanted “this power” (Grk: exousia − privilege, ability) to enhance his position as a man who could do what the Apostles did. But Peter saw that his heart was full of bitterness, still a captive to sin, rebuked him and called him to repent. Whether Simon repented is not known, though he asked for prayer.
Receiving the Word
What is meant by “receiving the Word”, a phrase commonly used by the Branhamites?
Let’s look closely what Luke recorded in Acts 2:37-38.
“Men [and] brethren, what shall we do?” It was a simple question. A simple answer was given: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” There is no mention about “speaking with other tongues” or “prophesying”. Just a simple commandment is all that Peter gave. He mentioned nothing about a sign or any sensation that was to accompany the gift of the Holy Spirit.
A true believer will obey the commandment. Then, if God wants to He could do Acts 2:4. He could give the believer utterance to speak with other tongues, or to prophesy, or to see vision, or the power to heal the sick, or whatever He sees fit to give (cf. 1 Cor.12). Sometimes the believer might just be filled with ecstatic joy or just shouting and dancing in the spirit.
Now, the 3000 souls who obeyed and followed the instructions of Peter were added to the church (cf. Acts 2:41). They had gladly received the Word and followed through in obedience to the Apostle’s words but did they speak with other tongues? (Read 1 Cor.12:30.) Obviously, they did not. Nonetheless, they did receive the Holy Spirit for Luke recorded that “they continued steadfastly in the Apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” This is what receiving the Word of God means. “Speaking with other tongues” or “prophesying” does not constitute that one is baptized with the Holy Spirit. Demon-possessed men can also speak and prophesy in other languages.
To gain eternal life all true worshippers must be Holy Spirit baptized. The pouring out of the Spirit of God upon all flesh on the Day of Pentecost is not to be equated to the baptism of the Holy Spirit. With the phenomenon of speaking with other tongues, God was able to get the attention of the Jews. As the Gospel went forth, signs and wonders were manifested. In the early 20th Century, the Christians saw a similar outpouring where speaking with tongues was again manifested. Other signs and wonders then followed with the preaching of the Gospel. The Holy Spirit of God is poured out, like rain, upon all flesh — the just and the unjust as God wills, “for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt.5:45). And “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance (are irrevocable)” (Rom.11:29). Anyone can receive an anointing. But an anointing is not a baptism. Therefore a person does not necessary have the baptism of the Holy Spirit and/or is born again just because he has one or all of the following manifestations:
Balaam was called to prophesy. He was anointed. However, he was not steadfast in walking with the Truth but brought forth his own doctrine that fornicated against God’s Word (Num.22-24; Rev.2:14). There was Caiaphas, the high priest, who accurately prophesied concerning the death of Jesus Christ (Jhn.11:49-51). Yet he had a hand in crucifying Him who was the Word of God manifest. He had no revelation of the Truth. He had not received the Word. Listen to what Jesus said:
Whenever I read those words I often wonder how many men and women working
actively in some Christian ministries, ever examine themselves closely
concerning their relationship with the Word.
In the United States of America there are certain cultic groups that go to the extreme to prove that they have the Holy Spirit. To prove their faithfulness in the Gospel of Christ and that they are holy, they would pick up venomous snakes. If a believer is bitten and lives, he is said to have the Holy Spirit and the power of God. However, if he dies, the congregation is taught to believe that the person has not been living holy or that he has not repented of his secret sins. The passage of Mark 16:15-18 is often used and applied to their faith.
For the Pentecostals and Charismatics, they would take a part of Mark 16:17
− “they shall speak
with new tongues” −
and leave out the others, as added support to their doctrine for the
If this passage is simply taken to mean that all who believe they all will speak in tongues, heal the sick, cast out devils, take up venomous snakes and drink poison without harm, then the need to ask in faith is not required, and Matthew 21:21-22 would be a contradiction.
There is no spiritual gift, be it a sign or a power, which can be the evidence of one having the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We understand that the Lord God used a sign to speak to His people Israel (for they were a people who looked for signs). He chose “tongues” so as to fulfill the prophecy that He had the prophet Isaiah utter some 750 years earlier — “For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people” (Isa.28:11). This happened on the Day of Pentecost when He poured out His Spirit upon the Apostles. Thousands gathered around the Apostles to hear the exposition of the Word by Peter and three thousands souls were saved. Not very long after that, Peter was led by the Spirit to a Gentile home. Being obedient to the vision, he preached the Gospel to the household of Cornelius. God again used “tongues” as a sign to Peter that the Holy Spirit was also poured out upon the Gentiles. None of the Apostles could deny that fact for the sign was the same as when they received it. Lastly, God dealt with the Samaritans. Again Peter witnessed with his eyes that, indeed, the Holy Spirit was also given to these people. The sign was indisputable.
Just as he drew from the prophecy of Joel on the Day of Pentecost, Peter himself witnessed that the Holy Spirit was truly poured out upon all fresh — the Jews, the Gentiles and the Samaritans. He had seen the sign. He had received the confirmation.
The case of the believers in Ephesus (Acts 19:1-7) is unique. This is a case in point that unless a believer is baptized into Christ he cannot receive the Holy Spirit. However, if he does have the Holy Spirit, then he should be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ just as Cornelius and his household. There are no two ways about it. The twelve believers in Ephesus were disciples of Apollos, who was a disciple of John the Baptist. They were all baptized according to John’s baptism of repentance and were told to believe in the One who was to come after John, that is, Christ Jesus. The Gospel of John the Baptist was “to give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins” (Lk.1:77). It was about 25 years since they were baptized and had kept their faith. Nevertheless, they had not received the Holy Spirit because they were not baptized into Christ. Only in Christ is the Holy Spirit given. They had believed unto salvation but they were not born again of the Spirit of Christ. Because they were foreknown of God, God sent Paul to them to address the need that they should go through another baptism, this time a baptism in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of their sins. When they received the Word, they obeyed and were re-baptized. And after Paul laid hands on them, they received the Holy Spirit and “spake with tongues, and prophesied”.
Regardless of the association with any true servant of the Lord Jesus Christ a believer chooses to make, he needs to realize that he must come God’s way in order to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Before the Church began on the Day of Pentecost, the ministry of John the Baptist had produced a group of disciples. After his death, his more active disciples continued his ministry by keeping his message alive and they made more disciples. Such a man was Apollos (Acts 18:24-28). While Christ was preaching the Gospel, the disciples of John were keeping and following John’s teachings. There were the disciples of John and there were the disciples of Christ, and they had some small differences. (Read Matt.9:14; Lk.11:1; Jhn.4:1-2.) In the end, after the Holy Spirit was poured out and the Church began, the disciples of John, including Apollos, had to come God’s way. They were instructed in the Truth so that they might understand the Plan and Purposes of God more accurately. Amen. God cares for His own.
Similarly, in this Laodicean Church Age, God had sent a prophet-messenger, William Branham. Like John the Baptist, he pointed to the One who is The Way, The Truth and The Life, and he proclaimed that all true disciples should come into that marriage feast with the Christ. Therefore, if you are a disciple of William Branham (or a disciple of any true servant of Christ), you need to realize that you must come God’s way by coming back to His Apostolic Word before you can be prepared and made ready as a part of the Bride-Wife of our Lord Jesus Christ.
What Then Is The [Initial] Evidence of The Holy Spirit baptism?
How does one know that he is born again, that he has the Holy Spirit?
This is the evidence: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Rom 8:16). What other evidence does one require when one has the witness of the Holy Spirit? The witness of the Holy Spirit is the initial evidence per se. If one does not have this witness, then there is no evidence of having the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
To illustrate, here are two scenarios:
i) A young child is kidnapped and taken away from his mother. After a separation of many years and searching, they are brought together. How will the child, who is all grown up, feel when he comes face to face with his mother? How will he know that the woman is his mother? He needs to listen to her voice, watch and feel the love, joy and life of the spirit of the woman. He will feel a kinship spirit from her voice and blood link. It is her spirit that binds with his, and he will know.
ii) A man undergoes general anesthesia for a major surgery. After the anesthesia takes its full effect, the man is “dead” to all physical senses. How does he know that he is “all right” and alive when the anesthesia wears off after the surgery? Simple, he is able to feel all his senses and is aware of his surroundings.
Likewise, being born of the Spirit and the Word, the Spirit of God binds His children to Him and they are aware of His Voice, His Presence, His Life and Love in them; being aware that they are blessed with every spiritual blessing and are seated with Christ in Heavenly places (Eph.1:3; 2:6).
I remember the day I gave my life to the Lord. I was 12 years old (in 1960). There was a Baptist Church holding evangelical meetings. I attended. It was on the second meeting, that the Spirit of God tugged at my heart throughout the preaching of the Word. When the altar call was made, I could not help but go forward in repentance. At the altar I gave my heart to the Lord Jesus and received Him as my Saviour. To this day, I remember the experience. I had a witness in my spirit that confirmed I was a child of God. Love flooded my soul. My life was changed. I was not what I used to be.
However, due to general negative remarks made by a school teacher about teenagers when I entered Secondary (High) School, I began to backslide. I stayed away from church for about two years. During those years, I never denied the Lord. Then came a day, the Lord used a sinner to get me back to church. I was led to worship and fellowship in an Assembly of God church. It was there I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I spoke in tongues. I prophesied. However, I was baptized in the triune title of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Did I truly receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit even though I was not baptized correctly accordingly to Acts 2:38? YES. I had the witness of God’s Spirit that I am His child, from when I first gave my heart to Him. Like Cornelius who received the baptism of the Holy Spirit before he was water baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I too, had the same blessing before I was rebaptized according to Acts 2:38, a few years later. The twelve believers in Ephesus knew only the teaching and baptism of John the Baptist, likewise I knew only the teachings of the Baptist and the A.o.G. denominations. When the Truth came to those Ephesian believers, they were rebaptized; I was rebaptized — in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ when the Truth was revealed to me in 1971.
Consider and weigh out carefully these two words — “power” and “witnesses”. The Greek word for “power” is “dunamis”, meaning force or miraculous power. The Greek word for “witnesses” is “martus”. It literally means a witness, or by analogy (figuratively), a martyr. It is thus clear that when the Holy Spirit comes upon a believer, he is given power and he is to be a witness — a witness of what he knows, what he receives, from God. He will have the strength and intensity to stand up for the Truth he received. He will bear witness to the Truth. He will be true to the facts. He will be a martyr for the Truth he possesses. He will die for the Truth.
So, what is this power?
The miraculous power is not for the believer to speak in tongues, prophesy or perform signs and wonders. It is essentially a power to quicken and miraculously transform a believer to become a son of God. Amen. The Scripture says:
The divine power of God coming upon a believer was precisely what Jesus Christ was referring to when He said: “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” (Jhn.7:38). And the Apostle John recorded: “But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified” (Jhn.7:39). See? It is the LIFE of the Spirit of God coming into the believer and within his heart will flow streams of living water. Remember that the Word of Life is seated in the heart of a son of God. “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you” (Ezek.36:26a cf. Rom.10:8). It is the same Spirit of the Word of LIFE that was present with the disciples when Jesus was with them. Christ the Word of Life was dwelling with them but He came to dwell in them on the Day of Pentecost after His glorification (cf. Jhn.14:15-17). The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ and He is the power of God unto salvation. One cannot be born again without the baptism of the Spirit, and without the new birth one is not a child of God.
Apostle Paul wrote:
Therefore how can any preacher make this sweeping statement that is often heard: “To be born again is to have salvation, eternal life, whereas to be Holy Spirit baptized is to receive power for service.” (Acts 1:8 and Luke 24:49 are often quoted to show that when the Holy Spirit comes upon a believer, the believer is endued with power for service.) To teach that being born again is not the same as the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a fallacy. It is often uttered that believing in Jesus Christ is being born again, that it is the same as being baptized in the Holy Spirit. This is also a fallacy. To believe in Jesus Christ is to believe for salvation, but until the power of God comes to circumcise the heart there will be no rebirth; there is simply no life. It is like a woman who has conceived a child. Until a birth takes place and air (life) is taken in by the child, there will be no life. See? A conception is not a life. A stillborn child it is not a life; the child must breathe the life.
Secondly, as a believer who is born again by the power of the Spirit of God, he is to be a witness, a martyr, for the One who is THE WORD Himself, the One who gave His Life for him. And so, how important is the Word? Read these spoken words of our Lord:
How can a man tell apart wolves from real sheep when they come among sheep, looking like sheep, smelling like sheep, and their every action are that of sheep? What is to “know them by their fruits”? What are these fruits? The following two passages of Scripture will provide the answer.
From the passages, it is obvious that the “fruits” are not some works that are manifested. Rather, being that men are as “trees” the “fruits” are the words uttered, the treasures brought forth, out of the abundance of the heart. Whatever the faith, whatever the treasure, kept in the heart, it will come forth out of the mouth. As long as the false prophets, who are wolves in sheep’s clothing, open not their mouths, they will not expose themselves as false prophets. But once they open their mouths to speak, they expose themselves and “the game is over”. Wolves growl and howl. They are not like sheep who bleat. Thus, the flock of sheep will know who the wolves are. No good treasure, no true confession, will come forth out of the hearts of wolves because they are as corrupt trees and thus their “fruits” are evil. Truly, we are either justified or condemned by the words we utter and every one will have to give an account of the words they utter.
Let me highlight again this erroneous statement that is so often made: “Being born again of the Spirit and the Word is not the same as being baptized with the Holy Spirit, for to be born again is to have salvation, eternal life, whereas to be Holy Spirit baptized is to receive power for service.” If this statement were true, then the whole household of Cornelius, family members and all servants, men and women of all ages, were called into services for the Lord Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit baptism, while they were hearing the Word of God preached. Is this true? Moreover were all those in Samaria (Acts 8) and those twelve disciples of Apollos in Ephesus (Acts 19:1-7) who received the baptism of the Holy Spirit also called for the service of the Lord? Or were they instead, all actually baptized into one body by the selfsame Spirit of God? “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Cor.12:13). To drink of the Spirit of God is eternal life.
Consider this passage of Scripture regarding the events in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost:
Notice what Apostle Peter said concerning the gift of the Holy Spirit: “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call”. Are the “many as the Lord our God shall call” called to receive the promise of a gift to do services for Him? Or are they called to receive the promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit that their souls might be quickened to eternal life because they believe and receive the Word? Bear in mind that Peter exhorted his hearers about the fact of salvation. Were not 3000 souls baptized and added to the Church? Were they not added to the Church because they were saved? If they were saved, were they not baptized into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit?
In its misuse, Acts 1:8 and Luke 24:49 have been stretched to extremes to accommodate that a Holy Spirit baptized believer is different from a born again believer; because only the former has received power to do service for God, to overcome sins, to perform miracles, and etc.
Identification: Word, Spirit, Life
Paul’s words speak clearly of God’s mercy towards saving us (the saints). This was done by the power of the Holy Spirit as He renewed us through a washing process. This washing was done with “the washing of the water by the word” (i.e. through the hearing of the Word preached, faith is given, Rom.10:17; Gal.3:2) resulting in us having a renewal within our spirit, thus giving us a rebirth. We were born again of the Word (cf. 1 Pet.1:23). And this Word abides and remains in us forever (cf. 1 Pet.1:24-25; 1 Jhn.3:9); we are assured of eternal life because we have the witness of the Spirit (cf. Acts 15:8).
The Holy Spirit comes to identify the Word that is received by the true worshippers. He powers that Seed Word so that the true worshippers would bear witness of the Truth. And as long as the Spirit and the Word are in one accord in the hearts of the true worshippers, they will grow and come into perfection as complete mature men and women of God.
What has LIFE?
These three verses of Scripture presented by John concerning what Jesus said, speak volumes. There are three elements that are in accord: the Spirit, the Word and the Life (cf. 1 Jhn.5:8 — Spirit, water and blood). Our Lord and Saviour carried the revelation of God and the words He uttered are spirit and life. The WORD (LOGOS) is the revealing of THE CHRIST. And like all the Apostles, John the beloved knew, perhaps more so, the importance of the utterances of His Master. In his Gospel, John revealed that God and His Word are ONE. He recorded where Jesus once said “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (Jhn.4:24). The Spirit of God will identify with His Own Word (Truth). Therefore, the witness of the Spirit comes − always − with His Word, never without it. He stands with His Own Word — always. He comes to teach the true worshippers and guides them into all things that are Christ’s, and will show them the things to come.
It is important for the true believers to realize that the LIFE of the Spirit is with His WORD. And all who have the LIFE of the Spirit will naturally and spiritually feed on His WORD. It is the SAP in them that not only gives them the Life but also causes them to grow spiritually, bearing the good fruits of the Word.
Bro. Branham himself made clear the need of feeding on the Word. He said:
The Holy Spirit brings the Word to the hearer. When the Word is received by faith, It quickens the soul, regenerating and renewing the spirit. The old heart melts away when the Word creates a new birth and baptizes the person into the Body of Christ. Being omnipotent and omniscient, God knows the end from the beginning and therefore foreknows and foreordains only those that will receive the Word. They are the elected ones. They are predestinated by God’s foreknowledge to be conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. Thus, only true seeds will receive the Word Seed to be quickened and born again. The Word then abides in the believers whose souls draw the sap of the Word, the life of the Spirit, and feeds on It to manifest the fruit of the Life of God.
The Pharisaical spirit is always around where true believers are found. It will come head on against the Present (Day) Truth. It came against John the Baptist and Jesus the Christ when the Gospel of Grace was being preached during their days. It was also in the days of the Apostles. As it was in the past, so is it in the present. The Pharisaical spirit is always about “the prophets” and their words. In the synagogue, on every Sabbath (and every festive) day, the words of the prophet Moses or one of the other prophets would be read and heard. However, the veil of darkness covered the hearts of all the hearers. They could not receive the light because of the traditions they held. There was a specific message to every age when God dealt with His people. Though the message may differ one from the other, the essence of the messages are that GOD IS LIGHT AND IN HIM IS NO DARKNESS.
There is no darkness (tradition) in Yahweh. He is Light; He is Truth; He is Life. Indeed, any carnal hypothesis about the Word of God is darkness, falsehood and death. The words of the prophet(s) may be read and quoted. However, if they are done piously because of a tradition that is passed down by some religious elders, then all that the believers have are the letters of the Word. And “the letter killeth” (cf. 2 Cor.3:6). To worship the prophets of God and their words bring only death. Without a revelation of the prophetic words the believers have only a tradition. Such tradition has but a self-righteous spirit in its proclamation: “We have Abraham. We have Moses the prophet. And we have their words and we have read them all.” Be that as it may, a cover of darkness remains upon the hearts of all who refuse to turn to the One Who is THE WORD.
The apostle Paul states “the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life” (cf. 2 Cor.3:6). He said he would not hesitate to declare to the saints the whole counsel of God (cf. Acts 20:27). He declared that it is THE WORD that is the Face and the Glory of Yahweh. It is the Face of Christ that we behold and we “are changed into the same image from glory to glory” by the Spirit of the Word. This is the prerogative and the mandate of the Apostolic Ministry which God had set in the Church by whom the Spirit of God seeks to bring Truth and Life to the true worshippers. All secrets and shameful ways would be exposed. Christ would not allow any deception or distortion in the handling of His Word.
This is what Paul said:
So be it. Such strong words of Paul show that there were certain men, in his days, who were crafty and who went about distorting the Word of God in their secret and shameful ways. As it was in the past, so it is today. Are today’s Endtime Message ministers really walking right in the ways of Paul’s revelation? Do they really have the Holy Spirit baptism? I ask these questions because I have often heard:
Such confession is a lie. In “saying what the tapes say” and not “saying what the Bible says” many different views and doctrines have been propagated. A preacher stands at the pulpit and reads a list of quotes taken from the different sermon tapes of Bro. Branham and gives his interpretation and says, “See. Bro. Braham very clearly taught that a believer has two souls.” Another preacher goes to the pulpit with a stack of THE SPOKEN WORD books. He says, “I will show you where Bro. Branham said that he will fulfill his Tent Vision” and he takes statements out of the different sermon books to prove his so-called revelation of a Return Ministry of William Branham. He concludes his preaching and proclaims, “See. Bro. Branham will have to resurrect and go round the world preaching the Gospel once again in a tent. Amen. I’m saying exactly what the tapes say and anyone who does not believe in a return ministry of the prophet is a make-believer of his message.” Still another preacher says, “Let’s say what the tapes say about Marriage and Divorce” and he quotes various statements related to the subject, especially on the ‘second covenant’, and says, “See. Bro. Branham taught that a believing man can have more than one living wife.” Needless to say, there are many other “say what the tapes say” preachers and all of them have their own ideas of what the tapes say.
So, is it really true that by “saying just what the tapes say” all believers will be in one accord, have same common doctrines, and there will be no confusion? Far from it, the answer is clear for all honest and sincere truth seekers to see for themselves. If the BIBLE is not the TOOL for God’s servants, then what is? Those who use tools other than the BIBLE are cultic leaders who are just “religious parrots”. They are all in Babylon, contributing to building a tower that God hates. Such preachers, if indeed are servants of the Lord, are rebels.
Some believers have retorted against me, saying, “Look, the organized churches use the Bible and still they have different views of doctrines.”
True, the denomination leaders claim the BIBLE as THE ABSOLUTE. They claim that they are saying what the Bible says. However, are they really using the Bible? Or are they using their CREEDS and DOGMAS? They may stand to preach and teach with the Bible in their hands but their minds are on the TRADITIONS OF THEIR SYSTEMS. Each are to their own cultic religious group — Anglican, Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Assemblies of God, etc., and to their own doctrines. They claim the Bible but they interpret their ELDERS (i.e. the traditions of the Elders handed down in the religious systems). Certainly, to use THE BIBLE to try and correct false doctrines among these people in their systems would be futile. Will they accept the correction? Of course they will not. They will use their own creeds (and traditions of the Elders) to support their faith. It is the same with many preachers in the Endtime Message Churches. They claim the Bible but quote their prophet William Branham, even word for word. And to use THE BIBLE to try and correct their false interpretations of the prophet would be just as futile, perhaps more so. They will take the tapes and books of Branham to support and argue their interpretations to the hilt. Just like the denominational cults — the preachers of the “Two Souls” doctrine hold to their own, those of the “Return Ministry of Branham” to their own, etc., and all of them using the prophet’s words.
Paul admonished his co-labourer Timothy to be diligent, to present himself approved unto God (cf. 2 Tim.2:15). As a workman the WORD and the WORK of God are all important and he should not be ashamed to rightly divide the Word of Truth. That’s right; a servant of God should never be ashamed to rightly divide the Word of Truth. He may make mistakes, unintentionally of course, for to err is human. (Was there ever a workman who NEVER MADE MISTAKES in working with his tools?) Nevertheless, learning from his mistakes and with repentance to His Teacher, the Holy Spirit, he hones his skills in dividing the Word of Truth as the Spirit leads and guides him. So, as preachers, the tool of our trade for bringing out the revelation of Truth is THE HOLY SCRIPTURE. We may make a mistake and may not realize it until later; but by God’s grace we should be quick to learn and to correct it using the SAME TOOL.
The tapes/books of Bro. Branham are not THE TOOL. They are not TOOLS though some claim they are. Each sermon of Branham is a product, result, effect, that Branham brought forth BY THE TOOL OF GOD (that is, THE HOLY BIBLE). After hearing a sermon, we see the “product”. (Figuratively, let us say that it is a “cupboard”. The “cupboard” as a whole is truthful as a “cupboard” should be. There maybe some rough edges, or maybe a door too tight, but such minor things (mistakes) are not the problem.) Each sermon of Branham was preached correctly in its own context. A true believer should be able to recognize mistakes when they search the Sacred Scriptures to see if the “product” is true to the pattern of the Word (cf. Acts 17:11). The Spirit of God in HIS OWN TOOL (THE SACRED SCRIPTURE) will correct the mistakes and adjust the “product” to the original pattern of the Word. He will use HIS OWN TOOL to correct errors. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim.3:16-17). “For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding” (Prov.3:12-13).
The Spirit upon Paul and Branham is the same Spirit upon any TRUE SERVANT of God. Therefore Bro. Branham made no mistake in saying that the Spirit of God will pile word upon word on the saints who desire it. The Spirit of God is doing just that through the 5-Fold Ministry (cf. Eph.4).
Believing the Message
Many claimed to have the Holy Spirit just because they believe the Message of William Branham but that is not the evidence. Consider Simon the sorcerer — was he saved?
Judging from what was recorded by Luke, was Simon genuine in his
request? Consider first his covetous attitude whether he had the Holy Spirit
baptism. What about Demas who forsook Paul and followed the present world
(2 Tim.4:10)? Was not he walking with Paul’s message? What about Hymeneus
and Alexander, who for a time were members of the true church, yet it is
clear that they had but a bare profession of the faith, seeing afterward
they made shipwreck of it (1 Tim.1:19, 20).
The Scripture lays down the roadmap for a true worshipper’s journey in the Faith. The beginning of the Church had the standard of the Faith established by the Apostles, and it should be our paradigm.
Notice that all who
gladly received the Word of Truth were water baptized. There
was no contention over the fact of taking the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ
by identifying with Him in death,
Next, consider the
importance of fellowship.
It is in fellowship that the
breaking of bread
(the Word of Life) and
the partaking of the Bread and Cup of the Lord, is realized and appreciated.
“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some
is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day
approaching” (Heb.10:24-25). And as the saints come together,
prayers are offered up to the Lord. Prayers are our lifeline to the
Almighty God, our Father. It is a spiritual relationship in the Faith that
sustains our walk with Him, individually and collectively as an assembly of
believers. “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you”
(Jam.4:8a). Besides prayer is the exercise of the presence of God. “Be
careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with
thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God,
which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through
Christ Jesus” (Phi.4:
The Revelation of The Word
Not all teachings need a revelation. I have often heard this utterance: “What you said from the Scripture is correct. But we need to pray for the revelation of it.” How silly. If one can testify it is correct and true, does one still need to pray for a revelation? When the Bible says that God is love, does one need to pray for a revelation of it? When the apostle Peter proclaimed the truth to the question put forth by those who heard his exposition: “Repent and be baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins…” did those devout Jewish men say: “You are right, Peter. But we require a revelation about this water baptism issue before we take the plunge”? Certainly, they did not. They did not seek a revelation about water baptism. It is a clear and direct commandment. They needed first to obey for obedience is important, right after they received the Word of the Christ. By and by, they came to understand the significance of water baptism as they walk in the Truth of the Gospel of Life.
In the Scripture, there is only one great and important revelation that you and I definitely must have, and it is to this question of Jesus — “WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I THE SON OF MAN AM?” This is a question. It is not a command or a statement of Truth. When the revelation to this question is given to us and we receive it into our hearts, we will confess Him. Being born again by the Spirit of Christ, we will associate with the Word of Life and live It. We will ground ourselves to the Truth. We will secure ourselves in It. More importantly we are to be one with the Word; otherwise we will be as nominal Christians, lost to the plan and purposes of God. Like the Pharisees, the denominational Christians are now wondering what lies ahead towards the Coming of the Saviour. They cannot see what is going on right now in the Plan of God. On the other hand, the Branhamites are just about preaching the messages of the prophet and stressing the people to “stay with the message” and “study the message” instead of moving on with the Lord in the Present Truth under the Present Ministry of the Ascension Gifts (cf. Eph.4).
When the Branhamites confess that they are “staying with the message” and “studying the message”, they are contradicting the Word. They should be “staying with the Word” and “studying the Word” instead. It is written in the Sacred Scripture:
See? The message of God is that He is
and in Him is no darkness, no
adumbration, no tradition. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. The Word,
rightly divided, will reveal Him. We are
When I warn believers about certain cancerous babblers and their teachings, I get criticism from some. Why? Did Jesus not warn His disciples about the leaven of the Pharisees? Did not Paul do the same? Did he not warn his followers of devious wolves who come in among them in sheep’s clothing? Saints, we speak the truth in love. We do not condemn. We commit righteous judgment according to the Word of Life. As watchmen on the wall overseeing the flock of God, it is our duty to cry wolf when we see one. Any sheep who fails to heed the warning has his own blood on his own hands.
The Real Life
The Holy Spirit baptism is effective only on the true seeds because they are
the only ones that can believe and receive the real Word of truth which is
rightly divided. The baptism is a gift that puts the genuine life on the
true believers and takes them to fruition to be one with the Father and our
Lord Jesus Christ. The Spirit does it by watering the Word that is greatly
treasured in the heart of the
Signs and wonders are done to draw people’s attention to the Almighty God as He fulfilled His promises. God does not put emphasis on signs and wonders as He does with His Word. The faith of His people is not based upon signs and wonders but upon His Word; not something that is physically seen but something that is spiritually revealed (cf. 1 Cor.2:1-16; 2 Cor.4:18). Bro. Branham’s emphasis had always been on the Word:
That’s right. Down in the soul is where the Word resides: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psa.119:11). “The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide” (Psa.37:31).
God used tongues as a sign to draw the people. He used other gifts too. But He is not into appeasing our physical senses. Signs, wonders, prophecies and other gifts and manifestations are pieces and puzzles of God’s work to point the elect to the ONE who is PERFECT; the ONE who is THE WORD. When the Perfect Man comes to His Church which is perfected by His Word, then all temporal gifts will be done away (cf. 1 Cor.13:10).
Satan can and will impersonate every gift of God in order to mislead people and throw them off the Word. He, though an angel of light, will bring forth death; he will not bring the true revelation of the Word to God’s children and cause them to live the life of the Spirit of the Word, from Truth to Truth. He will not bring the glory of the Word. In the first place, he is an Adversary of God, and therefore he will not even bring the soul to the life of the Word. He is a Deceiver and a Fornicator of the Word of Truth. He is a Destroyer.
Feeding on the Word − God is Love
Real life will feed on the real food. “For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together” (Matt.24:28). The branches will draw the sap from the vine and produce fruits. “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (Jhn.15:5). True saints will always partake of the Bread and the Cup of the New Covenant of our Lord Jesus Christ. How can the saints confess anyone but Jesus the Christ. Whoever confesses a servant of Christ above his Master is antichrist and a liar and has not the true faith. Whoever is ashamed to confess his faith in Christ according to the Written Word is not worthy of Christ. Whoever confesses his faith in Christ but according to the traditions of men is not worthy of the Gospel of Christ. Read Rom.10:9-11; Matt.10:32; Rev.3:5; 19:10.
Now, before someone can be born again, he first has to die. The “old man”, that old nature, must be surrendered to Christ and die — crucified with Him. Once he is born again, he is free even though he is a prisoner of Christ.
As I have mentioned,
“agape” is the first
thing I experienced when I gave my heart to the Lord. As the song goes:
“Heaven came down and glory filled my soul”; an experience that was
unmistakably from the Lord. That is what a true child of God will
experience when he receives the life of the Spirit of God. A spiritual bond
takes place between the child of God and His Father the Saviour. A person
In wrapping up the study, let us review the Scriptural approach of how the Holy Spirit works in taking the Word of Truth to His elect, and what He will manifest in a believer who has received the baptism of the Spirit.
7. As the believer bears witness of the Truth with the guidance
of the Holy Spirit, he will recognize the move of God — “Howbeit
when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:
All true believers are always growing in the grace of God. None can say that he is already perfect. Yet we see many believers claiming the evidence of the baptism of the Holy Ghost (by reason of having received the message of Branham) being left far behind in the Word for this hour. The Word of God for this hour is brighter than the message for Bro. Branham’s hour, since the Day Star had risen, and the seven evening stars have faded away. So, are the people in the Endtime Message Movement in the Truth or are they falling away from the FAITH? Many do not even bear the fruits of the Spirit. Few, especially the preachers, are even speaking the truth; be it concerning the Word or concerning their stand and motive. Many lack sincerity and integrity. Real love and Truth are not found in most of them. The reason being that most only received the dead letters of the message, having no baptism of the Holy Spirit. Christ is simply not in them. What they have is the cultic spirit of an “ism”. Until they tear away the spirit of Branhamism from themselves they will not receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. That is the truth.
The message of Malachi has been preached for the last 50 years and more, during which time the threshing floor of Christ has been purged to gather in only the wheat (cf. Luk.3:16-17). Out of the “wheat” we have the “wise virgins” and the “foolish virgins” but only the wise ones are making it into the Marriage (Wedding) Feast and the foolish ones are being left out in the darkness. So, where do you stand and which one are you?
“Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth” (2 Pet.1:12). Amen. Let us hold fast the Present Truth that is already revealed to us, and let us also not harden our hearts if God should reveal to us today a new thing. Let us not just hear it, but to receive it and also to walk and live in It.