Baptism in the Holy Spirit Explored

At the birth of the Early Church a miraculous phenomenon repeatedly took place, in which ordinary men and women were baptised in the Holy Spirit and spoke in languages they never learned.

This occurred on the Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem to 120 people who spoke a wide range of recognised languages in a glorious experience of receiving the Holy Spirit.

It occurred in Samaria when Peter and John laid hands on the converts who had already been baptised so the Holy Spirit would be given to them.

It also occurred privately for the Apostle Paul when he received his sight.

It occurred at the home of a Roman Centurion named Cornelius where a large group of gentiles were baptised in the Holy Spirit and spoke languages they never learned.

It occurred in Ephesus when the Apostle Paul laid his hands on a group of new believers.

Modern Christian thought is divided about this phenomenon.

Some churches teach that the baptism in the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues is an historic experience which died out after the days of the original Apostles.

Other churches teach that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a present day element of the Christian life and is available to all believers throughout the church age.

I believe the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a present day experience for all believers.

Allow me to explore several New Testament statements about Baptism in the Holy Spirit to show how I see those texts supporting what I believe.

John the Baptist Prophesied the Spirit

The first mention of any significant experience of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament traces to the last prophet of the Old Testament era, John the Baptist, who came as a forerunner to prepare the people to receive Jesus as the Christ.

It is to John that we owe the phrase “Baptism in the Holy Spirit”.

“I indeed baptized you with water: but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Mark 1:8

Note that John prophesies an experience of the Holy Spirit different to anything identified in the Bible to that time.  And the promise of this “baptism” is to “you”.  It is made to the people in general, not to a specific leader, a king, or a priestly class.

I understand John to be prophesying an experience of the Holy Spirit to all who accept Jesus Christ as saviour.

Jesus Prophesies the Spirit

After His resurrection Jesus prophesied that the Holy Spirit would be poured out.  In doing so He confirmed the prophecy of John the Baptist.

“And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry in the city of Jerusalem, until you be endued with power from on high.” Luke 24:49

“And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, said he, you have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence.” Acts 1:4,5

Just ten days later the baptism in the Holy Spirit, which is the promise of the Father, occurred for the first time.

Pentecost Outpouring

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost is a significant landmark in the history of the church.  It is the birth of the church.

120 believers praying in an upper room heard a sound of rushing wind and saw tongues of fire on each head. They then spontaneously spoke in languages they did not know.

From Dr Luke’s record in Acts 2 we find a number of significant elements.

“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:4

People from many lands were in Jerusalem at that time and they reported “we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God”, Acts 2:11.

Those 120 believers who received the Holy Spirit spontaneously spoke out sounds they could not intelligently control, since they did not know what they were saying.  Yet their words were descriptions of the “wonderful works of God”.  They glorified God in languages they did not know.

Prophecy of Joel

Some in Jerusalem accused the disciples of being drunk.  But Peter stood and declared that what was taking place fulfilled a prophecy by Joel.

“But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it will come to pass in the last days, says God, I will pour out of my Spirit on all flesh: and your sons and your daughters will prophesy, and your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they will prophesy” Acts 2:16-18

Peter Explains the Promise of the Spirit

After pointing to Joel’s prophecy Peter continued with his explanation about the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, including explaining that it is Jesus who gave the Spirit and that the Holy Spirit is the Father’s “promise”.

“This Jesus has God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has shed forth this, which you now see and hear.” Acts 2:32,33

“Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:38,39

Cornelius Outpouring

The next most significant outpouring of the Holy Spirit in historic terms is that of the gentiles at the home of Cornelius. This outpouring is specifically linked by Peter to the Pentecost events.

Peter was called to preach to these gentiles, as a first in church history.  Before he even finished his message or fully explained the intricacies of the gospel the Holy Spirit fell on the whole group.

“While Peter yet spoke these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Spirit as well as we?” Acts 10:44-47

Peter Called to Account

Following this amazing event of Peter preaching to gentiles and them being baptised in the Holy Spirit, Peter was interrogated by the Jews in Jerusalem.

Dr Luke records Peter’s explanation.

“And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did to us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then has God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.” Acts 11:5-18

Interpreting the Accounts

Some churches teach that these events were rare and for that time only.  Do these texts support such belief?  I do not find it so.

So let me tackle a couple of key questions about the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.  Firstly, was this promise from the Father to give the Holy Spirit made only to the early church believers, or to all Christians?

It is clearly made to all believers throughout the church age.

Universal Gift of the Spirit

John the Baptist spoke of the baptism in the Holy Spirit being for “you”, which denotes all his hearers.

“I indeed baptized you with water: but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Mark 1:8

The Prophet Joel had already given the promise of the Father, of the Holy Spirit poured out on all flesh, including the sons and daughters, servants and handmaids.

“But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it will come to pass in the last days, says God, I will pour out of my Spirit on all flesh: and your sons and your daughters will prophesy, and your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they will prophesy” Acts 2:16-18

The Apostle Peter, at the birth of the church, declared that what the people saw happen to the 120 was for all believers.

“Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:38,39

At the home of Cornelius Peter saw Baptism in the Holy Spirit and faith in Jesus Christ as intrinsically linked.

“And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did to us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then has God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.” Acts 11:5-18

Repentance and Baptisms

From the Apostle Peter’s perspective salvation through Christ involved repentance, water baptism and being baptised in the Holy Spirit, not necessarily in that order.

Peter had no hesitation promising the same experience of the Holy Spirit to his entire audience on the Day of Pentecost.  And he saw the Baptism in the Holy Spirit at the home of Cornelius as proof of salvation, so he gladly baptised the believers in water.

The Apostle Paul also saw Baptism in the Spirit going along with the salvation experience.  When Paul met believers at Ephesus, he asked if they had received the Holy Spirit since they believed.  Paul clearly expected new believers to have a sovereign experience of the Holy Spirit that could be proven to have taken place.

“He said to them, Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed? And they said to him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Spirit.” Acts 19:2

“Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying to the people, that they should believe on him which should 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 had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spoke with tongues, and prophesied.” Acts 19:4-6

Two Baptisms

While we see two baptisms in the practical examples, we also have a plural reference to baptisms in the letter to the Hebrews.

“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.” Hebrews 6:1,2

The writer did not say “the doctrine of baptism”, but of “baptisms.  This is consistent with the New Testament examples where believers were both baptised in water and baptised in the Holy Spirit.

Peter clearly understood two baptisms at Pentecost and at the home of Cornelius.  Paul clearly understood the same two baptisms when he spoke to the believers at Ephesus.  Paul himself experienced two baptisms, by receiving the Holy Spirit and then being water baptised, Acts 9:17,18.

The early church gospel message called for faith and repentance and was followed by two baptisms, one in water by immersion and the other in the Holy Spirit.  If the Holy Spirit did not fall on the new believers, then others would lay hands on them to receive the Spirit.

Died Out With the Apostles

We have seen that the early church saw the Holy Spirit outpouring as a universal experience for all believers.  It not only happened at Pentecost and the home of Cornelius, but was expected to happen in all believers.

But some churches teach that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the attendant miracles died out with the Apostles.  Is there reason to believe that from the teaching of the Bible?

The Prophet Joel, who gave the “promise of the Father” centuries before Christ, clearly shows that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was not just to get the church kick-started, or as a special blessing on the early church.  It was to be part of what Joel called the “last days”.

“But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it will come to pass in the last days, says God, I will pour out of my Spirit on all flesh: and your sons and your daughters will prophesy, and your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they will prophesy” Acts 2:16-18

What comes after the “last days”?  All that can possibly come after the Last Days is the End!  Yet Joel prophesied that “in the last days” God will pour out His Spirit on all flesh.  The “last days” is a descriptor of the entire church age.  You and I are still in the last days.  If we are not in the last days, then the end must have already come.

And it is in these days that God is pouring out His Spirit on all flesh.

An Unfair God

Before I realised that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is as real and available today as it was in New Testament times, I thought of God as incredibly cruel to today’s believers.

Back in those days my church taught me that the Holy Spirit, gifts of the Spirit and miracles were not available today.  As I saw it back then, based on what I was taught, God gave amazing grace to the early church leaders, but is denying us that same grace.  Rather than giving the same salvation and blessing to all God must have created different salvation experiences for different times.

And this made life particularly unfair to us today.  Peter, Paul and James, seeing the miracles, speaking in tongues, using the gifts of the Spirit, healing the sick and raising the dead, were pretty excited about their salvation.  In the glory of all that good stuff they lived at a spiritual level that I saw as unattainable today.

And in their euphoria and wonderful blessing those men wrote the prescription for Christian living.  They invoked such instructions as, “pray without ceasing”, “rejoice evermore”, “in everything give thanks”, “cast your cares on him”, “resist the devil”, and so on.

I complained to God that He had no right to expect me to live to Paul’s standards if He would not give me the same power and blessing He gave to Paul.  And I think that is a very reasonable complaint.

So, has God shown partiality?  Has God created one level of Christian experience for the early church and denied it to you?  Should you be expected to live by the standards set by men who enjoyed graces that are now denied you?

However, because the Holy Spirit is as available to believers today as in the early church, all of that thought of unfairness is resolved.  I can live like James, Peter and Paul, because I have access to the same Holy Spirit that empowered and sustained them.

A Second Experience

Another case against the present day baptism in the Holy Spirit is the argument that all Christians receive the Holy Spirit at their new birth, which is then claimed to be one and the same as the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

It is true that all believers receive the Holy Spirit at their conversion.  And it is equally true that a subsequent experience of the Holy Spirit is also available to them, apart from their conversion.

The 120 disciples who received the Holy Spirit were already New Testament believers.  They believed that Jesus is the Christ and that God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9) and so they were saved.  Jesus had already breathed on the disciples and said “Receive the Holy Spirit”

“And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit” John 20:22

So the day of Pentecost was a second Holy Spirit experience.  This time they were Baptised in the Holy Spirit.  They were immersed in the Spirit.  Rather than receiving the Spirit in an unseen internal experience, as all believers experience, this was a publicly verifiable and visible experience of the Spirit.

Paul and the Second Experience

Paul both experienced and expected others to experience a baptism in the Holy Spirit separate to receiving the Holy Spirit at conversion.

It is to Paul that we owe our understanding that every believer has the Holy Spirit, from Paul’s letter to the Christians in Rome.

“But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Romans 8:9

Yet Paul came to faith on the road to Damascus, three days before he received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands of Ananias.  Paul called Christ “Lord” on that first day, Acts 9:5,6.  Ananias called him “Brother Saul” when they met, Acts 9:17.  Ananias also advised him that he was yet to be “filled with the Holy Spirit”, Acts 9:17.

It was Paul who expected the believers at Ephesus to have “received the Holy Spirit” since they “believed”, Acts 19:2.  He later reminded the church at Ephesus that they had an experience of the Holy Spirit after they believed.

“In whom you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after you believed, you were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise” Ephesians 1:13

Peter and the Second Experience

Peter and John also displayed the reality of a second experience of the Holy Spirit for all believers when they travelled to Samaria.  Receiving the Spirit was not something they left up to God, but saw as the birthright of all new sons and daughters of God.

“Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then they laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.” Acts 8:14-17

Baptism in the Spirit Experience

Some churches teach that receiving the Holy Spirit is a secret, internal experience, unlike the New Testament examples.  It is true that all believers receive the Holy Spirit at salvation, internally and unseen.  But this is not the Baptism in the Holy Spirit which is promised by God the Father to all believers.

So what does the Baptism in the Holy Spirit look like?

The New Testament reveals that Baptism in the Spirit is always publicly attestable.  It is never secret.  It can be verified by the recipient and any witnesses to the event as well.

On the Day of Pentecost there was no doubt about this experience.  All the people heard the disciples speaking in tongues.

At Samaria there was no doubt about this experience.  Firstly it was obvious to Peter and John that the Holy Spirit had not yet fallen on them, because the obvious evidence was not there.  Secondly, after Peter and John prayed for the people, the evidence was so compelling that Simon the former sorcerer wanted to buy the ability to give the Spirit to people, Acts 8:18,19.

At the home of Cornelius there was no doubt about the Holy Spirit being given, because the witnesses heard them speak in tongues.

When Paul met the converts at Ephesus he fully expected them to be able to attest that they had received the Holy Spirit.  After Paul laid his hands on them there was no doubt they had received the Spirit because they spoke in tongues.

Paul speaks on several occasions about being “sealed” with the Holy Spirit, as if something quite discernible has taken place, 2Corinthians 1:22, Ephesians 1:13,14, Ephesians 4:30.

A Miracle of Hearing

Another idea I have heard promoted is that the speaking in tongues was a miracle of “hearing” by the audience.  Rather than the disciples speaking in a new language, they were being understood in the language of their hearers.

This suggestion contradicts the passage from Joel which Peter directly connects with the occasion.  Joel said the people would speak, not that the hearers would hear.

“But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it will come to pass in the last days, says God, I will pour out of my Spirit on all flesh: and your sons and your daughters will prophesy, and your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they will prophesy” Acts 2:16-18

The miracle of the outpouring is in the “speaking”, not in the “hearing” of an unconverted audience.  The Spirit is poured on God’s servants, not on the heathen who happen to be watching.

The New Testament record shows that the people “spoke with new tongues”.  They had utterance.  It had nothing to do with the hearers, but all to do with the speaking.

“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:4

And at the home of Cornelius there were only the Jews and the local Gentiles present.  The diverse crowd with different language backgrounds was not there.  Yet Peter said what happened there was the same as what happened on the Day of Pentecost.  They spoke out in languages they and even their hearers did not understand.

Tongues to Preach to the Crowd

Another belief is that the miracle of tongues on the Day of Pentecost was to preach to the crowd.  This suggests that the languages spoken by the disciples were chosen specifically for that audience.  And it suggests that the experience is not so important today.

However Paul, teaching specifically about speaking in tongues as one of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, in 1Corinthians 12-14, refers to speaking in the tongues of men and angels.

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” 1Corinthians 13:1

The Holy Spirit empowers us to speak all manner of languages, including all the languages spoken on earth and the variety of languages spoken by angels.  So the fact that men recognised their own language among the 120 voices speaking is not a matter of preaching in those languages, but simply overhearing people speaking supernaturally in the “tongues of men”.

In the home of Cornelius there was no need for those filled with the Spirit to preach to Peter and the other Christians that came with him.  Yet Peter said what happened there was the same as what happened on the Day of Pentecost.

On the Day of Pentecost those speaking in an unknown tongue were unknowingly speaking “the wonderful works of God”, Acts 2:11.  Cornelius and his friends spoke in tongues and unknowingly magnified God, Acts 10:46.

Rather than tongues being a miracle of preaching it is the Holy Spirit glorifying God through the believer.  All believers can have that experience, even today.  It is not a tool for birthing the church, but a promise by God to His children, for their blessing.

Just Like Us

Peter described the filling with the Spirit of Cornelius and his friends as being just like what happened on the Day of Pentecost.  Yet there were several differences.

“And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did to us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?” Acts 11:5-17

Cornelius did not have any experience of the sound of a wind or the sight of fire on their heads, as occurred at Pentecost.  So those manifestations are not an integral part of receiving the Holy Spirit.

What was similar includes that they spoke with tongues and glorified God.  They did this by the influence of the Holy Spirit, not by human cause.  They did this as a consequence of their desire to know God.

Holy Spirit for Today

Not only does the New Testament text attest to an on-going second experience of the Holy Spirit available to all believers throughout the church age, but church history attests to the same thing.

The Holy Spirit is for today.  Theologies that come to a different conclusion do not stack up with scripture.

Yet, the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is not essential for salvation.  It is an element of our eternal inheritance, but rejecting the inheritance does not void sonship.

Visions and Dreams

Christians tend to think of supernatural phenomenon as being part of the Old Testament experience but not a significant part of life in the New Testament Church Age. However we have Old Testament prophecy, New Testament accounts and Historical evidence to show that Visions and Dreams are a vital part of the Christian faith and experience.

Old Testament Prophecy of New Testament Visions and Dreams

On the Day of Pentecost the Apostle Peter quoted the Old Testament prophet Joel to explain the New Testament outpouring of the Holy Spirit. That quote, from Joel 2:28-32, specifically refers to the place of visions and dreams as practical expressions of the Holy Spirit’s presence in people’s lives.

Since the New Testament age was to be charged with the presence and anointing of the Holy Spirit, there was going to be abundant evidence of visions and dreams as a result. Peter’s quotation from Joel makes clear reference to these phenomena.

“But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams” Acts 2:16,17.

Joel’s prophecy is consistent with what God had previously said about speaking to His people through visions and dreams.

“And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.” Numbers 12:6

The prophetic capacity brought into the church by the Holy Spirit (“your sons and daughters will prophesy” Acts 2:17) should automatically include visions and dreams, as Joel and Peter declared.

The Early Church Experienced Visions

The New Testament gives us historical record of many visions experienced by the apostles and others at that time. Joel’s prophecy was evidently fulfilled, not only with the visions and dreams which we have recorded, but with many others. We see that the early Christians were not hesitant to accept and respond to prophetic insight given to them in visions and dreams.

God spoke to Ananias in a vision and told him to go and pray for Saul of Tarsus, after Saul’s conversion – Acts 9:10.  God told Ananias that Saul had already had a vision of him visiting and praying for him – Acts 9:12.

Cornelius had a vision that led him to call for Peter – Acts 10:3, and Peter had a vision preparing him to minister to Cornelius – Acts 10:11.

Paul’s well-known ‘Macedonian Call’ came through a vision which he saw in the night – Acts 16:9. Paul later saw the Lord in a vision, comforting him – Acts 18:9. Paul had earlier had a vision in a trance in the temple in Jerusalem – Acts 22:17,18. Paul then saw the Lord speaking to him about going to Rome – Acts 23:11.

Along with those visions were times of supernatural prophetic perception and also angelic visitations. Paul perceived that his sea voyage would end in disaster – Acts 27:10, and an angel reassured him of their safety Acts 27:23,24.

Visions in Church History

Following the New Testament record we have many accounts of people who were given visions, dreams, prophetic insights, angelic visitations and the like.

It is recorded that Alexander the Great saw a vision of a Jewish High Priest affirming his victory on God’s behalf, and so he did not attack or destroy Jerusalem when he reached that part of the world. Constantine claimed that he had seen a vision of a cross and was told to conquer in that sign.

The Quakers trace themselves back to George Fox who claimed to have seen visions and who prescribed such experiences for his followers. The Armenian ancestors of Demos Shakarian, founder of the Full Gospel Business Men International (FGBMFI) were warned to leave Armenia and go to America, by someone in the village with a prophetic gift.

Multitudes of others have seen angels, had visions, dreamed dreams and  sensed things that proved to be powerful in guiding, protecting or blessing them.

Dreams and Visions Today

It seems from my observation that the experience of dreams and visions is not evenly distributed among Christians. This is consistent with 1Corinthians 12:11, which says that the Holy Spirit distributes the Gifts or Manifestations of the Holy Spirit as He pleases.

“But that one and the selfsame Spirit works all these, dividing to every man severally as he will.” 1Corinthians 12:11

I have been with people who have seen angels in the meetings. I have interviewed people who have described elaborate visions and dreams which they have received. I have personally seen glimpses of things which have proven to be relevant and valid insights into situations I was working with.

However, the visions and dreams are not badges of spirituality. They are encouragements and promptings from the Holy Spirit. We must be faithful in our response to them. It is perfectly possible to neglect, ignore or reject the input, even that which has come by seemingly supernatural means.

Paul declared to King Agrippa that Paul had not been disobedient to the vision which he saw from heaven. And way back in the Old Testament the people were warned to believe the prophetic input, in order to get the benefit from it.

“Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision” Acts26:19

” .. Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and you inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall you be established; believe his prophets, so shall you prosper.” 2Chronicles 20:20

Mature sons of God will be readily led by the Spirit of God (Romans 8:14) and will properly discern what God is saying, even by visions, dreams, angelic visits and prophetic insights. God just may decide to give a vision, send an angel or show His power to YOU, and it would be perfectly legitimate.

The Spirit Came

History accounts many instances when God’s Holy Spirit fell on people and changed their world forever. From the Day of Pentecost and Cornelius’ house in New Testament times to the Cane Ridge Revival, the home of Jonathan Edwards, the life of Wesley, the ministry of Sister Etter, the Welsh Revival, Azusa Street, George Mueller’s orphanage, and a multitude of other times and places, the Holy Spirit has fallen with amazing impact.

Since the days of the Pentecostal outpourings, over this past century, through the Charismatic Renewal Movement of the 1960’s and 70’s and the more recent visitations, people in churches, homes and meeting rooms have experienced times of awesome visitation by the Living God.

The poem I have just penned is my limited attempt to encapsulate those experiences and touch a chord with those who resonate with this wonderful grace. If this is not your experience then I encourage you to press in for the chance to be part of such a time and place as the manifested presence of God.

The Spirit Came

They stumbled and they fell, undone like drunken men!
Laughing to their knees to weep gratitude again.
Lost in adoration and found before His throne
These worshippers of Most High God found heaven as their own.

Enthralled by deepest senses of things too grand to share
They swooned and laughed and chortled, hands stretched to the air.
Singing inspiration in word and tongue and cry,
Heaven’s sweetness drugged them as happy hours slipped by.

The tempest passed, and crumpled lives hung on the ebbing breeze.
No mortal joy compared with that which brought them to their knees.
Stillness held command where silent tears did spill
And foreign words from trembling lips tumbled headlong still.

Exhausted and enthralled each held their heaving chest;
They had met with Daddy God and tasted of His best.
Transfixed in transformation they dared not stir this place
For each felt wonder undescribed now showing on their face.

And in the coming days, they’ll thrill to still recall
The sweeping of the Spirit and how it hit them all.
They’ll shed a tear of gratitude and feel a bond with men
Who joined them at God’s footstool
there, and long to go again.

Thank You, Lord for the privilege of being there.