THE BAPTISM OF THE [Holy] SPIRIT
very grave, and deeply symptomatic of the day we are entering, that one of the
best prophetic magazines in
* The incident given is that of two American women in
Everything turns on what exactly is meant by the Baptism of
the Spirit; and here the judgment of the
The experience of the
* A cognate expression - to be ‘filled with the Spirit’ - is no less linked with miracle: those thus ‘filled’ at once spoke with tongues and prophesied (Acts 2: 4), and edify one another with inspired ([see Greek …]) songs (Eph. 5: 19). Pentecost is named both a baptism (Acts 1: 5) and a filling (Acts 2: 4).
Now, in face of this narrative, the prevalent views at once
collapse. (1) A single passage is enough to disprove the contention that this
baptism is “Jewish”,
and not designed for the Church. “God hath set
some IN THE CHURCH, first apostles,
secondly prophets, thirdly teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings,
helps, governments, divers kinds of tongues” (1
Cor. 12: 28). (2) One passage is enough to prove
that regeneration and the baptism are totally distinct. Believers having arisen in
One further claim (4) to its present possession remains. More than 200,000 Christians, throughout the world, now speak in ‘tongues’. Apart altogether from the special tests given by the Spirit of God, to be applied at every appearance of the supernatural whenever and wherever it occurs (1 John 4: 1-3; 1 Cor. 12: 3), and to which - so far as we know - no proofs of correct answers have ever been given in the modern supernatural* - one fact is fatal to all claims to any possession of the miraculous gifts since the Apostles. The ‘miraculous gifts’ are nine (1 Cor. 12: 8-10): if the gifts have been restored, the nine must be here, including ‘prophecy’ - the correct foretelling of facts or events that could not have been foreknown by men or demons; and also ‘workings of miracles’ - open acts physically impossible except to Divine power. Both prophecy and miracles are totally absent front the modern movements claiming the gifts: in other words, the ‘gifts’ are not restored.** It cannot be stated too often or too strongly that both ‘healings’ and ‘speaking in tongues’ are commonplaces in Spiritualistic séances throughout the world, and, taken by themselves, are no proof whatever of a Divine work.
* It ought to be obvious that one of the first acts of the Holy Spirit, if and when restoring His gifts, would be to point to His own tests, and to fulfil them. Not a single proved case has been produced; and it is astounding, that, with scores of thousands of [regenerate] believers speaking in ‘tongues’, no claim is even made, much less established, that these tests have been applied, much less applied successfully, so as to establish Divine miracle. In view of the fact that the tests will get better known and therefore more challenging, and also that we are up against subtle and unscrupulous forces in the unseen, we need be very careful that the proofs of any alleged successful application are clear beyond all possible doubt.
** Predictions are frequently made successfully in Spiritualism, but solely of coming events which, by wider knowledge or by correct inference, could be known to demons. Absolute foreknowledge belongs to God alone (Isa. 41: 23).
It is plain therefore that we are confronting a vast counterfeit of the gifts of the Holy Ghost, in a day when a subtle supernaturalism is capturing multitudes, and when Satanic miracles on a great scale (Matt. 24: 24) are shortly due. We need to keep wide awake to the fact that the Apostasy - the coming worldwide abandonment of the Christian Faith - is to be the direct work of consulted spirits. [Regenerate] Christians will “give heed to seducing spirits speaking lies hypocritically” (1 Tim. 4: 1): ‘seductive’ spirits - that is, spirits who study the person they approach, so as to know how best to deceive him; and while to those outside the Christian Faith they naturally pose as the dead, equally naturally the way in which the Scriptural believer is most likely to be caught is by the demon representing himself as the Holy Spirit. No more outstanding Spiritualist has appeared in this century than Sir A. Conan Doyle: yet here is his admission of seducing, personating spirits. “We have, unhappily, to deal with absolute cold-blooded lying on the part of wicked or mischievous intelligences. There is nothing more puzzling than the fact that one may get a long connected description with every detail given, and that it may prove to be entirely a ‘concoction’. Of a kin with these false influences are all the Miltons who cannot scan, the Shelleys who cannot rhyme, and Shakespeares who cannot think, and all the other impersonations which make our cause ridiculous.” Their consciences, the Apostle says (1 Tim. 4: 2), are “cauterized as with a hot iron” - seared, branded, dead.
One warning, so far as we know never given, is imperative. Twice the Holy Ghost fell, once on Jews (Acts 2: 2), once on Gentiles (Acts 8: 17): all other transmissions of the miraculous gifts came, and came solely, by the laid-on hands of an Apostle. “Through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given” (Acts 8: 18). A tremendous danger therefore lurks in the ‘laying on of hands’. For psychic reasons unknown to us, the physical touch facilitates spirit transmission: therefore, if the one deputed to lay on hands, whether a [regenerate] believer or an unbeliever, is or has been - consciously or unconsciously - a medium, it becomes at once possible for a demon to be transmitted; and, in a company of believers ignorant and off their guard, that [evil and deceiving] spirit will immediately be acclaimed as the Holy Ghost. As one experienced in exorcism put it to the writer:- “Never let a demoniac touch you.” On the same principle, when the second out-pouring of the Holy Ghost does come, “these two olive branches” - the Two Witnesses, doubtless with apostolic rank for the laying on of hands – “empty the golden oil OUT OF THEMSELVES” (Zech. 4: 12).*
* One essential for apostleship was to have seen the Lord (1 Cor. 9: 1) and if the Two Witnesses are Enoch and Elijah, rapt into the heavenlies, there can be little doubt that they have both seen Him and will be personally commissioned by Him.
A second warning is of equal urgency. The type that foreshadows Pentecost is extraordinarily instructive. At the moment of the completion of the Temple, when all was ready for the habitation of God, the Shekinah Glory descended and rested on the Mercy Seat (2 Chron. 7: 1); a miraculous entrance of the Godhead, which to all appearances was meant to be permanent, and which remained for several centuries, until idolatry in the Temple compelled its withdrawal (Ezek. 8: 10). Exactly so, the moment the Church, the Spiritual Temple, opened in the upper room, the Holy Ghost descended with miraculous flames on the heads of men and women who immediately spoke in tongues and prophesied; and for one or two centuries these ‘gifts’, the proofs of the [Holy] Spirit’s miraculous presence, continued until, with gross corruption within the Church, they disappeared. The critical point here is that, as the Shekinah Glory was a corporate gift to the People of God as such, never a gift to mere individuals, and was lost through corporate corruption, nothing but the people of God, as a whole, on its knees, could have recalled it; even an Anna and a Simeon were powerless to bring the Shekinah Glory back.* Exactly so, the baptism of the Spirit, “the baptism with the Holy Ghost and with fire”, while it might conceivably be restored to an entire Church throughout the world on its knees, it can never be restored to isolated individuals; and so certain is it that there will be no such kneeling Church - as there was no kneeling Israel for the return of the Shekinah Glory - that the Second Outpour will occur, as Scripture reveals, only after there is no recognized Church on earth.
* Robert Govett told the writer that, together with a prayer group, for twenty years he prayed for the miraculous gifts, with no result; and that George Muller told him that he had done the same thing, equally fruitlessly. It is a daring soul to-day who imagines that God has given to him what He refused to two of the greatest saints of the nineteenth century.
So, finally, the episcopal ‘laying on
of hands’, since it produces no miracle, is not the baptism of the
Spirit*; and since it confers no gifts % the hands laid on cannot be the hands of
apostles** and there can be no ‘apostolic succession’
except a succession of apostles. To
suppose that wicked men, by virtue of their office, can confer the Holy Ghost
verges on blasphemy; and how wicked such ‘apostolic
successors’ can be one example from history will prove. Canon
Malcolm MacColl writes:- “Renegade
Christians, professed Jews, and born Mussulmans came
to occupy the sees of Moorish Spain; libertines, who took part in the orgies of
Arab courtesans, even during the solemnities of church festivals; unbelievers
who publicly denied a future life: - wretches who, not satisfied with selling
their own souls, sold their flocks into the bargain. This state of things lasted for centuries, and
the priesthood of
* There has been no proof, so far as we know, of any transmission of a spirit, good or bad, by the laying on of episcopal hands throughout the centuries.
** The laying on of the Apostle’s hands evoked ‘the manifestation of the Spirit” (1 Cor. 12: 7) in visible and audible miracle. “Down to the end of the third century these miraculous gifts of the infant church were continued, although gradually diminishing” [because of disobedience presumably, (Acts 5: 32)] (Olshausen).
Pentecostalists frequently stress Mark 16: 17, 18. But probably none will put it to the decisive test, as did Paul (Acts 28: 5). A ‘holiness’ preacher, named Albert Teester, attempted it some years ago. He brought a rattlesnake into the meeting. “Twice, as the preacher challenged God to come to his aid, the snake sank its fangs into the preacher’s upraised arm. Screaming with pain, he rushed from the church and rolled on the ground. Teester’s arm swelled to the point of bursting and his tongue became so swollen that it nearly choked him.” This is no fulfilment of Pentecostal power. “Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and nothing shall in any wise hurt you” (Luke 10: 19).