It was not without significance that God made the disciples wait until the day of Pentecost to receive the full new birth experience. Pentecost literally means fifty. The number fifty is used in scripture to symbolically represent liberty as in the year of Jubilee. Every fiftieth year, slaves were liberated, debts canceled, and liberty was proclaimed throughout the land. Paul wrote, “where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17).
Moreover, it was at Pentecost that Israel first received the Law of God at Mount Sinai fifty days after departing from Egypt at Passover. Also the disciples received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to write His laws in their hearts fifty days after Passover (Christ's Death). Hence, the Law was given physically on the Old Covenant Day of Pentecost as a type of what was to come when the Law would be given spiritually on the New Covenant Day of Pentecost. Great and marvelous is the wisdom of the Lord who masterminded so great a salvation for His people. “But this shall be the covenant that I will make . . . says the Lord, I WILL PUT MY LAW IN THEIR INWARD PARTS, AND WRITE IT IN THEIR HEARTS . . .” (Jeremiah 31:33)
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I WILL PUT MY SPIRIT WITHIN YOU, and cause you to walk in my statutes. . .” Ezekiel 36:26-27. The Jews has always referred to the Day of Pentecost as “The Feast of the Giving of the Law,” or “The Birthday of Judaism.” Likewise, the Day of Pentecost speaks to the New Testament Believers as the first day of the proclamation of “The Law of Liberty” (See James 1:25) and the Birthday of the New Testament Church. Pentecost was also known as “The Feast of Harvest” (See Exodus 23:16; 34:22) i.e. “wheat harvest.” Spiritually speaking, Pentecost denotes a time of celebration and great joy for the great harvest of the souls of mankind which would be born into the New Testament Church.
THE HOLY SPIRIT WITH TONGUES
The Prophet Isaiah spoke of the promise of the Holy Spirit when he prophesied in Isaiah 28:9-12: “Whom will he teach knowledge? And whom will he make to understand the message? Those just weaned from the milk? Those just drawn from the breasts? For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line. Here a little, there a little. For WITH STAMMERING LIPS AND ANOTHER TONGUE HE WILL SPEAK TO THIS PEOPLE, to whom he said, THIS IS THE REST WITH WHICH YOU MAY CAUSE THE WEARY TO REST, AND THIS IS THE REFRESHING; yet they would not hear. (Isaiah 28:9-12)”
It is interesting to find a marvelous correlation of scripture when we compare this prophecy with Jesus' words in Matthew 11:28-29. Jesus is the one who causes “THE WEARY TO REST” through the supernatural experience of speaking in stammering lips and another tongue. “Come unto me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you REST. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.” (Matthew 11:28-29)
The rest and refreshing of God speaking to His people with stammering lips and an unknown tongue is consistent with Jesus' description of the birth of the Spirit in John 3:5-8:
“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God . . . Do not marvel that I said to you, you must be born again. The WIND blows where it wishes, and YOU HEAR THE SOUND OF IT, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. SO IS EVERYONE WHO IS BORN OF THE SPIRIT.” (John 3:5-8)
The original Greek word translated as “wind” is Pneuma. The word pneuma literally means “Spirit,” “wind,” or “breath.” In every other place where the word pneuma is used throughout the Greek New Testament, it is translated into English as the word “Spirit,” except in this one instance. Hence, the more literal and consistent Greek rendering of this passage in the Emphatic Greek Diaglott renders John 3:8 as follows: “The Spirit breathes (pneuma) where it will, and YOU HEAR ITS VOICE . . . THUS IT IS WITH EVERYONE WHO HAS BEEN BORN OF THE SPIRIT.” (John 3:8, Emphatic Greek Diaglott)
The J. P. Green Interlinear Bible (which is consistent with most other literal word for word Interlinears) also renders John 3:8 as follows: “The Spirit breathes where He desires, and YOU HEAR HIS VOICE but you do not know from where He comes, and where He goes - SO IS EVERYONE WHO HAS RECEIVED BIRTH FROM THE SPIRIT.” (John 3:8, J. P. Green Interlinear Bible)
What is Jesus talking about when he said that “The Spirit breathes . . . and you hear its voice?” Surely, he is not talking about a believer making a verbal confession of faith. This cannot be said to be the Spirit's Voice. There is something else that Jesus is talking about in which everyone must receive, to receive the birth of the Spirit. The only supernatural phenomenon found in the Bible in which God's Spirit blows or breathes upon His people and you hear the Spirit's sound or voice is speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gave them the utterance.
“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:1-4 - NKJV)
On the day of Pentecost, the early believers in Jesus heard the sound of “a rushing mighty wind” (Acts 2:2) which was obviously a supernatural sign that the Spirit of God was anthropomorphically breathing His Spirit presence into His followers. Then the next verse says (Acts 2:3), “and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with others tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:4).” Here we find that the Spirit of God “breathes” or “blows” His Divine Presence down on believers and the Spirit’s voice was heard when the believers began to speak words (other languages/tongues) “as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
Jesus stated in Mark 16:17 that one of the signs that shall follow them, that truly believe upon Christ as the scripture has said would be that “THEY SHALL SPEAK WITH NEW TONGUES.” “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name, they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues…” (Mark 16:17 - NASB)
In Acts chapter ten, we read of an unsaved Roman Centurion by the name of Cornelius. He was a devout man who feared God according to the Law of Moses. While in prayer he saw an angel in a vision who said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God. Now send for Simon whose surname is Peter . . . HE WILL TELL YOU WHAT YOU MUST DO.” (Acts 10:4-6)
Peter later testified to his Jewish brethren that the angel further said to Cornelius that the apostle Peter “SHALL TELL YOU WORDS, WHEREBY YOU AND ALL YOUR HOUSE SHALL BE SAVED.” (Acts 11:14)
Cornelius and those who were with him obeyed the angels instructions and sent for Peter who preached salvation through believing in the name of Jesus Christ.
Acts 10:43-47 give us the following account of the conversion of Cornelius, his household, and his cohorts: “To Him all the prophets witness that through His name, whosoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins. While Peter was still speaking these words, THE HOLY SPIRIT FELL UPON ALL THOSE WHO HEARD THE WORD. And those of the circumcision (the Jews) who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT HAD BEEN POURED OUT ON THE GENTILES ALSO. FOR THEY HEARD THEM SPEAK WITH TONGUES and magnify God. Then Peter answered, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized WHO HAVE RECEIVED THE HOLY SPIRIT just as we have.” (Acts 10:43-47)
In the above conversion account, we must note that there is nothing to justify a belief in a new birth of the Spirit prior to being filled with the Spirit. The question must be asked, how did the believing Jews which came with Peter know that the Gentiles had received the gift of the Holy Spirit? The scriptural answer is consistent with Jesus' statement, “The Spirit breathes where it will and you hear its voice . . . thus it is with everyone who has been born of the Spirit.” The believing Jews were convinced that the Gentiles had received the Holy Spirit when they “heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.” Believing Christians of today should also expect the same initial sign as positive proof that someone has received the Holy Spirit. Those who purport that a verbal confession alone automatically causes one to receive the Holy Spirit must ask why the Bible is silent upon such a belief. The scripture says that a believer is to “Repent and be baptized . . . and he shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).” When we compare Acts 2:38 with Acts 8:12-16, we find that the believing Samaritans were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus but did not receive the Holy Spirit until Peter and John came down from Jerusalem.
“Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 8:15-17 - KJV)
It does not say the moment one believes, he automatically receives the Holy Spirit. The scriptures plainly declare that all who would lawfully enter God's Kingdom must “Repent and be baptized” and they “shall receive the Holy Spirit.” This is consistent with Jesus' own words found in Luke 11:5-13. “And He said to them, which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him; Friend, lend me three loaves . . . I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, YET BECAUSE OF HIS PERSISTENCE he will rise and give him as many as he needs. So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you . . . how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those WHO ASK HIM!” (Luke 11:5-13)
The context in the above passage indicates that a confession of Jesus Christ as Lord or repentance does not automatically impart the Holy Spirit. Jesus instructed his followers to have faith and persistence in asking God their Father for the gift of the Holy Spirit which implies that receiving the gift of the Spirit does not automatically come in a prayer of repentance.
The apostle Paul teaching confirms that receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit is not automatically imparted upon faith and repentance because our faith in Jesus Christ is demonstrated when we believe and are baptized into his name (Mark 16:16 – “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved”).
“Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples, he said to them, ‘DID YOU RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT SINCE YOU BELIEVED? So they said to him, ‘We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.’ And he said to them, ‘Into what then were you baptized?’ So they said, ‘Into John's baptism.’ Then Paul said, ‘John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.’ When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.’” (Acts 7 19:1-6)
These Ephesian Disciples had believed upon Christ to such an extent that they disciplined their lives according to the knowledge that they had of Christ from John the Baptist. To be called “disciples,” they must have repented of their sins prior to getting baptized into John's baptism. Paul addresses two major areas where these Ephesian disciples were lacking in. Paul addressed water baptism “in the name of Jesus Christ and receiving the Holy Spirit baptism.” We must understand that the book of Acts is the only New Testament book which gives us an actual historical account of people actually getting saved word for word verbatim under the apostolic preaching. Just as in the four gospels, each account in the book of Acts does not always explain every detail of each historical event. Therefore, we must carefully examine each conversion account in the book of Acts and compare them together to find out what we must do to receive full New Testament salvation. The following passage of scripture does not directly state that the Samaritans spoke in tongues. However, the context demands it. “Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them THAT THEY MIGHT RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostle's hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money. . .” (Acts 8:14-18)
Notice that the people of Samaria had received the word of God, and were baptized in water, yet were tarrying in prayer for the Holy Spirit. The context of Acts 8:14-18 proves that there was definitive evidence proving that the Samaritans had received the Holy Spirit just as there was definitive evidence in other conversion accounts throughout the book of Acts. Philip the Evangelist could have easily said, "repeat the following words of a confession of faith" and told the Samaritans that they had received the Holy Spirit. However, there is no wording in scripture to give rise to the belief that one has received the Holy Spirit without the initial sign of speaking in tongues. Simon the sorcerer would not have desired the power to repeat a prayer if verbal confession alone brought the power to receive the Holy Spirit.
“The Spirit breathes where He desires, and YOU HEAR HIS VOICE but you do not know from where He comes, and where He goes - SO IS EVERYONE WHO HAS RECEIVED BIRTH FROM THE SPIRIT.” (John 3:8, J. P. Green Interlinear Bible)
Everyone who is truly “born of the Spirit” will have the Spirit of God breath or blow His divine presence upon them and we will “hear his voice” (the Spirit’s Voice) when we speak in tongues “as the Spirit” give us the “utterance” just as the first New Testament believers did on the Day of Pentecost which was the official birth of the New Testament Church (Luke 24:47-49; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:1-4).
FULL GOSPEL SALVATION
We are not suggesting that we are not saved by grace through faith. Faith and grace are vital to salvation, but to teach belief alone as “whole salvation” is not scripturally founded. James said in his epistle, “You believe that there is one God. That's fine! Even the demons believe that and tremble with fear (James 2:19-ISV).”
True belief will lead one to “believe upon Christ as the scripture has said” (“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” – John 7:38 NKJV) in order to receive “rivers of living water.” Genuine faith in Christ will cause a soul to obey the whole gospel message of repentance and remission of sins in Acts 2:38 (“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins”-Acts 2:38 / “repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name”- Luke 24:47). Therefore, true biblical faith leads to true repentance, true water baptism, and true Spirit baptism. Nowhere does the Bible give credence to the notion that belief or confession alone is whole salvation. While belief and confession are vital elements that lead to whole salvation. “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead you will be saved. For with the heart, one believes UNTO righteousness, and with the mouth CONFESSION IS MADE UNTO SALVATION.” (Romans 10:9-10)
Roman 10:10 does not say that confession is salvation; it says that “confession is made unto salvation.”
There is no disharmony between scriptures that speak of the necessity of belief, grace, and confession and the scriptures that speak of the necessity of being born of the water and Spirit in John 3:3-5. Hebrews chapter six verses one and two states that the Church of Jesus Christ is built upon the foundational doctrine of BAPTISMS, i.e. water and Spirit. Note that along with faith toward God, belief in the resurrection and eternal judgment, Hebrews chapter six does not state the doctrine of baptism (singular), it says, “the doctrine of BAPTISMS (plural)” which means that there is more than one type of baptism. The New Testament only speaks of two baptisms, one of water and one of the Spirit. Hence, both are necessary for all true believers to receive.
THE HOLY SPIRIT IS FOR US TODAY
“For the promise is unto you and to your children, and to all that afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (Acts 2:39-KJV)
Many people think that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit with the initial evidence of speaking in tongues is not for us today. Other people also think that speaking in tongues only exists as one of the nine spiritual gifts listed in 1 Corinthians chapters twelve through fourteen. Therefore they contend that speaking in tongues is not for every believer. This contention is proved erroneous by 1 Corinthians 14:27. “If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.” (1 Corinthians 14:27)
First, we must acknowledge that the apostle Paul was contextually addressing the spiritual gift of tongues along with the other eight gifts of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians chapters twelve through fourteen which are received subsequent to receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit with tongues. Hence, the spiritual gift of tongues which is received after one receives the gift of the Holy Spirit could only be in operation “by two, or at the most by three, and that by course (one at a time)” in one particular church meeting. Therefore, according to 1 Corinthians 14:27, if four persons spoke by the gift of tongues in one meeting someone would be out or order. Moreover, according to this scripture, if many spoke by the spiritual gift of tongues simultaneously in a given meeting of Spirit Filled Believers, this scripture would also be violated. We know that “God is not the author of confusion,” and scripture certainly does not contradict itself. Yet we read in Acts chapters 2, 8, 10, and 19 that many persons spoke in tongues simultaneously during the same meetings (much more than two or three by course). Hence, it is clear that the Bible speaks of two different manifestations of tongues: one as the prayer languages given to all believers for their personal edification and one as a distinct spiritual gift to be interpreted for the edification of a local assembly. It is this gift of tongues which the apostle states, “…ought to be interpreted.”
“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these work by that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will.”(1 Corinthians 12:7-11)
Just as not all Christians have the operation of the spiritual gift of tongues and yet all Christians can speak in tongues - so likewise the same is true for many of the other gifts of the Spirit. All Christians must have at least a certain degree of faith (for example: faith for salvation), but clearly, not all Christians have the gift of faith. All Christians have at least some wisdom, but clearly, not all Christians have the gift of the word of wisdom. All Christians have a certain degree of knowledge, but clearly, not all have the gift of the word of knowledge.
Second, the apostle Paul makes it candidly clear that he was primarily addressing the nine gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians chapters twelve through fourteen, not the Baptism of the Holy Spirit which is clearly promised to all believers. “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren . . .” (1 Corinthians 12:1) “. . . desire spiritual gifts, brethren . . .” (1 Corinthians 14:1)
Since the scriptures teach that the operation of the gifts of the Spirit only occur subsequent to receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit with the initial sign of tongues, we know that the scriptures address speaking with tongues as an operational gift of the Spirit for some believers, whilst the scriptures also speak of speaking with tongues for all believers. If there are not two different types of speaking in tongues addressed in scripture, then why does inspired scripture state that one