A report released in 2005 by an organization called the Bible Literacy Project suggested that young Americans know very little about the Bible. That probably did not come as much of a shock. And while the report has importance, but then first things first, another fair number of Americans do not see why teenagers need to know anything at all about the Bible. And some of these same people may profess to be Christians.
A conclusion or two, based upon the scriptures and out of the arguments identified in the scriptures using the things covered in the last two posts, is that on both occasions when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the people, the baptism of the Holy Spirit had been preceded by a specific single identifiable sign. That sign was that the servants of God spoke in languages the speakers had never been taught. The same miracle was displayed when the outpouring occurred in both cases.
The sign of the first outpouring (as mentioned in Joel two and evidenced in Acts two) occurred when the twelve apostles began speaking and the members of the crowd concluded, “We hear them speaking in our own languages, the wonderful works of God.” The sign was not when the twelve were filled with the Holy Spirit, although that also was an outpouring of the Spirit. It had not been witnessed by the multitudes; they only heard the sound associated with the event. But, the sound was not a miracle. More important, it is clear that the events that happened to twelve particular chosen men that day did not happen to all the men or women on that day or on any other. And (let me be very clear here, just as the scriptures are very clear about these things) there is only scriptural evidence of the apostles being enveloped with the power of the Holy Spirit on that day, and that is whether I like it or not.
It is also obvious that the members of the home audience at Caesarea had not been imbued with the power of the Holy Spirit but just for the second open display; and there is no evidence any of them received an endowment of the Holy Spirit like the twelve. In fact, once again, no one received what the twelve had received, ever (except for the apostle Paul). And the text stands absolutely against such notions.
Therefore, as Peter noted, as I identified in the last post, the sign presented at the home of the centurion, through speaking in unknown languages, was in fact identical to the sign presented on Pentecost some years earlier, when the Holy Spirit began to work his duties then. That is exactly what Peter said. Both signs were therefore identifying the same seminal event – the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as he commenced to fulfill his part in the plan of salvation – the confirmation of the Word, the opening of the Kingdom. There is no way to get around these conclusions if you examine the text carefully.
Therefore, servants of God, speaking in languages previously unknown to them, became the accompanying sign that the Kingdom of Heaven had been presented first before the Israelites who on Pentecost then believed in Christ. The same sign was also later demonstrated when the Kingdom of Heaven had been presented before the first non-Israelite audience that also came to believe in Christ.
The Holy Spirit heralded the coming of the Kingdom of God, signified through present believers speaking in unknown languages, as the symbol that God’s Spirit was being poured out on all flesh, first in Jerusalem and (secondly and lastly) in Caesarea. With these being the only two listed occurrences of the immersion of the Holy Spirit recorded in God’s Word.
That is what is identified as the pouring out or immersion of the Holy Spirit, which was in the giving of the blessings of God through the Kingdom of Heaven being granted to all nations. Speaking in tongues identified it as God’s work and the ushering in of the Kingdom of God. The dispensation of the Holy Spirit in power to and through the apostles was not the outpouring on all flesh.
Anyone see or understand it differently? Scriptures please…