Is "speaking in tongues" the BIBLE evidence of the baptism with the Holy Ghost? Is the "baptism" for us today? What is the Bible teaching about "TARRY MEETINGS?" Here is the PLAIN TRUTH about this burning question, plainly stated. Read every word.
In the year 1906, a new movement sprang up, known as the "Pentecostal movement," which has swept this country and like a prairie fire. Thousands have followed it. It has caused thousands to wonder. Other thousands have been greatly troubled by it, while still other thousands denounce it as "wild-fire fanaticism." What is the TRUTH? Is this movement of God? Is it true, as they claim, that the "latter rain" of the Holy Spirit is now falling?
The Most Important Business of This Life
The most important business of this life is the receiving of the true baptism with the Holy Spirit. But how few, today, understand what that baptism really is! Your eternal salvation depends upon it! Let us come very humbly, prayerfully, to a study of this all-important subject. This, we know, is one of the most heated questions of the day. It is one fraught with prejudices on both sides. Let us remember that the Holy Spirit is, first of all, the Spirit of LOVE of PATIENCE of TOLERANCE. So let us, if possible, come to this study, each admitting that he may have been wrong, and very humbly, prayerfully, seeking instruction from GOD out of His Word. And let us see this study thru, to the end. Salvation means, simply, the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the very LIFE of God. Jesus said "that which is born of the flesh IS FLESH." "Ye must be BORN AGAIN" born of God's Spirit! "But ye 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. . . But IF the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead DWELL IN YOU, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall ALSO quicken your mortal bodies BY His SPIRIT THAT DWELLETH IN YOU." (Rom. 8:9-11). Unless, then, we have received the Holy Spirit, God's Spirit, God's LIFE, to dwell within us, we are LOST utterly without hope of eternal life! Surely, then, the receiving of the Holy Spirit is the most important business of this life!
Is PENTECOST Repeated in This Day?
Let us, then, look prayerfully and without prejudice into God's Word. Is the EXPERIENCE of the day of Pentecost for you and me today? The modern "Pentecostal" or "Tongues" movement is founded on the assumption that it is and that the method of receiving this experience or "blessing" is the modern "tarry meeting." On this assumption many would stake their lives! So let us EXAMINE the original experience of that day, as described in the Bible, and SEE whether it is being repeated today. Perhaps a real surprise awaits us. Let us not ASSUME let us PROVE ALL THINGS as God's Word instructs. The only record of that tremendous EXPERIENCE is recorded in Acts 8:1-13. Let us carefully examine every incident that occurred that day. 1. "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place." Are our "Pentecostal" friends of today in harmony and "one accord?" No, they are split up into many fragments and segments, over disputes among themselves. 2. "And SUDDENLY there came a SOUND from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind." Notice that on THAT day there was a SOUND. Not a sound made by the people, but this sound came FROM HEAVEN. It sounded like a violent wind storm. Have you ever seen THIS part of the experience repeated today? Then notice, too, that this sound the Spirit which came FROM HEAVEN the Spirit which caused them to speak with tongues came SUDDENLY. But today we see these dear friends start to "work it up" GRADUALLY. Sometimes they twist, and jerk, and chatter and mutter, repeating certain phrases over and over, until they work themselves into it. But on THAT day, the Spirit that filled these disciples came FROM HEAVEN, and SUDDENLY. 3. "And it (the SOUND) filled all the house where they were sitting." Do sounds coming, not from people's throats, but from heaven, fill THE WHOLE HOUSE where people are assembled today? 4. "And there appeared unto them CLOVEN TONGUES like as of fire, and it SAT UPON EACH OF THEM." Divided, flaming tongues APPEARED they SAW them. They came and sat upon each of the disciples! Has any man living witnessed such an experience in this day? 5. "And they were ALL filled with the Holy Ghost." Surely no one has ever heard of a modern "pentecost" meeting where ALL (there were 120 on THAT day) were filled, all at once, at the same time, SUDDENLY, when the Spirit came with a great SOUND from heaven! 6. "And began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." Ah! Here, at last, some will be sure to say, is an experience repeated today! But wait! On this original day of Pentecost, ALL began SUDDENLY to speak in these OTHER tongues. Now what kind of tongue speaking was this? Was it UNKNOWN tongues? Was it the kind that needed an interpreter? Was it like we see demonstrated today? Let us examine and see! Verse 5 tells us there were dwelling in Jerusalem at that time devout Jews out of every nation on earth. Word of this momentous experience went like wild-fire all over the city. A multitude of these Jews came rushing to the place. They were amazed. They marveled. Because that, 7. "EVERY MAN HEARD THEM SPEAK IN HIS OWN LANGUAGE!" These Jews, from all nations, UNDERSTOOD what was said! Some were Parthians. Some Medes. Elamites, dwellers in Mesopotamia, Rome, Arabia, etc. and they said, "And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?" Now notice carefully. Every man heard THEM (the 120 Acts 1:15) speak in HIS own language! 120 disciples all speaking in tongues OTHER tongues the tongues of EVERY NATION under heaven. And EVERY MAN who came rushing in heard THEM the 120 speak in HIS OWN LANGUAGE! The Parthian heard THEM, the 120, speak the Parthian language. But the Mede heard the SAME 120 disciples speak the language of the Medes. Those from Greece hear the entire 120 the THEM speaking Greek. THEY UNDERSTOOD what was said!
A Different Kind of Tongues!
Dear friends, have you ever witnessed an experience like this? Have you ever heard THIS kind of "tongue speaking"? Can you even find a description, in all the Bible, where this same kind of experience is described? True, they spoke with other tongues when the Holy Spirit first came upon the Gentiles at the house of Cornelius (Acts 10). And in telling the Apostles of it, Peter said "the Holy Ghost fell on them as on us at the beginning," and "God gave them the like gift as He did unto us." (Acts 11:15, 17). And that same GIFT is for you and me today! Praise God for that! But it is not recorded, nor did Peter say, that the Holy Ghost at that time came SUDDENLY from Heaven, like the SOUND of a wind-storm, appearing as divided tongues of fire, or that men of different languages each understood all of them in HIS own language. Aside from being filled with the Spirit and speaking in tongues, the nature of which is not here described, there is no similarity between these two experiences. It is true, too, that in one other recorded case, and one ONLY, men spoke with tongues upon being filled with the Holy Spirit. That was when Paul had baptized the Corinthian believers and laid his hands on them (Acts 19:6). But there is nothing to indicate a similar EXPERIENCE as upon the original day of Pentecost. So what must we conclude? The Pentecostal EXPERIENCE is not being repeated today! But if not. WHY not? Is it not for us today? No, it surely is not? Oh, the blessed TRUTH of God's Word, and how much more wonderful than men's fables, when once we come to UNDERSTAND it! We have no word of condemnation for those (oneness) Pentecostal people, as they call themselves, because they are unable to repeat the same EXPERIENCE as described for the day of Pentecost in 31 A.D. That experience will NEVER be repeated again! It never occurred before, and it never will again! It was an EXPERIENCE unique in all history! It was the welcoming manifestation of the advent of the Holy Ghost the "other Comforter" to this earth FROM HEAVEN.
An Experience Unique in History
After this epochal day, Paul could say "Christ liveth IN me." But altho David was a man after God's own heart, he could never say that! David said "thou art WITH me." During His ministry, Jesus said "He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (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.") The Holy Ghost "was not yet given." How could men receive the GIFT before the GIFT had been GIVEN? The SPIRIT could not come until Jesus had been glorified. Speaking of the coming of the Holy Ghost. Jesus told His disciples, on the eve of His crucifixion. "If I go not away the Comforter WILL NOT COME unto you; but, if I depart, I will send him unto you. And WHEN he is come," etc. (John 16:7, 8. Proceeding text from John 7:38, 39). The Holy Ghost had not yet been given, He had not yet come from heaven. Unless Jesus went to heaven, and was glorified, He could not come! Again, that same memorable night, Jesus said: "He dwelleth WITH you, and shall be IN you." (John 14:17). He was WITH them, in the person of Jesus, but He was, after the day of Pentecost, to be IN them, in the person of the Holy Ghost! And so, today, as the Scriptures say, "Christ IN us, who hope of glory." What happened upon the day of Pentecost was the fulfillment of Joel's prophecy (Joel 2:28-29) the advent of the OTHER Comforter, the Holy Ghost to earth FROM HEAVEN, as Peter clearly and plainly explained on that very day (Acts 2:16-21). O, what a blessed truth! Why pervert it? Jesus died for you and for me because we have sinned by transgressing God's law. He paid the price of death FOR us in our stead and the God RAISED Him from the dead, and He ascended to the right hand of the Father in heaven, where today He intercedes for you and me as our High Priest and, praise His Holy name! He sent us the OTHER Comforter, the Holy Ghost. And it was upon that day of Pentecost, A.D. 31, ten days after Jesus had ascended to heaven to be glorified, that the Holy Ghost, the "other Comforter", God the SPIRIT, came from heaven! And His advent from heaven was accompanied with might manifestations! He came with a SOUND as of a mighty rushing wind! He came with the APPEARANCE of divided tongues of fire! And on that occasion, He filled all the 120 disciples, and spoke thru them in such manner that every man from every nation on earth HEARD in his own language! The miracle on that occasion was in the HEARING, as well as the speaking! Let us realize the truth, and not try, in our human fleshly power, to COPY and imitate that one tremendous welcoming manifestation! For truly we shall only produce a counterfeit!
"Praying Down Pentecost."
Today we frequently hear those who do not understand speak of "praying down Pentecost." They exclaim, "It took Peter and the apostles ten days to pray down Pentecost," and they urge us to "tarry," and to "seek", and to beg, and to agonize, and to plead with God to send down ANOTHER Pentecost to send His Holy Spirit from heaven again! But the Holy Ghost CAME FROM HEAVEN to earth on the day of Pentecost, 31 A.D. and let us understand this HE HAS BEEN HERE EVER SINCE! All we have to do now is to OPEN UP OUR HEARTS, and to let the blessed Holy Spirit in! He is HERE! Today you need not plead and beg and agonize for God to give you this greatest of all Gifts. God needs no begging! The Holy Ghost is HERE and God tells us in His Word He is more WILLING to give us this Gift than we are to give bread to our hungry children! (Luke 11:13). Today He is HERE knocking on the door of your heart (Rev. 3:20), and the way is OPEN the door is to R E P E N T (Rev. 3:19), and He will come in, and abide with you forever!
The Great Mistake!
Do you know the great so many earnest people have been deceived into making? They are pleading with God to GIVE them something that He is pleading with them to RECEIVE! This is their mistake: THEY ARE TRYING TO COPY THE PENTECOST EXPERIENCE, AND TO DEMONSTRATE THE PENTECOST MANIFESTATIONS, INSTEAD OF FOLLOWING THE TEACHING GIVEN THAT DAY! The EXPERIENCE of that day was unique in all earth's history. The manifestations of that day were the welcoming manifestations of the advent of the "Other Comforter" to this earth from heaven. But the inspired TEACHING of Peter on that day is the teaching for this whole church age. And Peter said, "REPENT and BE BAPTISED." and then "ye SHALL receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Jesus said, "except ye REPENT ye shall all likewise PERISH!" REPENT and BELIEVE, are the two conditions and the ONLY conditions, to receiving the great blessing of the baptism with the Holy Ghost! And so Paul went "testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, REPENTANCE toward God, and FAITH toward our Lord Jesus Christ." And all who repented, and received Christ in faith, being baptized, DID receive the gift of the Spirit! And so will we, today! The trouble today is that so many are begging, agonizing, pleading, like so many rebellious children begging and teasing a parent to let them have their own way and give them some gift they desire! God has told us plainly He will GIVE us the GIFT if, and when, we SURRENDER, and BELIEVE! Why does God withhold the blessing to so many earnest seekers? Because they keep begging without SURRENDERING. We must yield all the way! None can receive the precious Spirit of God without coming to that place of self-abasement, self-mortification, full and unconditional SURRENDER, entire willingness to give up ALL for Christ to come ALL the way out of the world and its ways, customs, beliefs to be willing to keep ALL of God's Commandments to have the faith that will let the Holy Spirit in! God gives His Holy Spirit ONLY to THEM THAT OBEY HIM!" (Acts 5:32). No, we need not pray down another Pentecost! But we do need to SURRENDER, and that is where we fall down. We are holding out on God! We still want our own way! This is not to say that no prayer at all is necessary, in order to receive the gift of God's Holy Spirit. On the contrary, MUCH PRAYER is usually necessary. But it must be the RIGH KIND of prayer not the persistent, nagging pleading of a self-willed child to have his own way, but the earnest prayer of a broken and contrite and repentant heart, that confesses its own utter depravity, its own helplessness, its own deceit and wickedness, and, like David, pleads with God to "create in me a CLEAN heart, O God; and renew a RIGHT Spirit within me," (Ps. 51:10), confessing that our heart is not clean, nor our spirit right. It may take a great deal of prayerof earnest supplication and prayer to bring one to the place where he CAN surrender fully to God to have revealed to him the things he must surrender, which, perhaps, he himself does not fully realize to be made thoroughly WILLING to give up ALL for the blessed gift of life eternal thru the Holy Spirit of God.
The Devil's COUNTERFEIT
Much has been written thousands of sermons preached on the NEED of the baptism with the Holy Ghost. Much about "tongues," and "manifestations," and the "signs following." BUT LITTLE IS EVER SAID ABOUT THE MANNER OR METHOD of receiving this gift! That is because people have had their eyes on the EXPERIENCE, and not the TEACHING of the day of Pentecost! The method, unfortunately, has been taken for granted by thousands a modern method that has not been questioned, or checked or proved according to the BIBLE teaching. It is not a self-evident fact that if we seek it a wrong way, we shall receive a wrong thing? Beyond doubt this modern "Pentecostal" movement has brought a vital TRUTH once more to light the truth of the need of the baptism with the Holy Ghost. But do you suppose the Devil would be content to deceive men on all other questions, and then neglect to deceive the many thousands of seekers after the baptism with the Holy Ghost into a clever, a false, spurious MANNER and METHOD of receiving this most precious gift of all and therefore into actually receiving a COUNTERFEIT instead of the genuine? God's Word WARNS you and me that Satan is going about, today, as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, KNOWING HE HAS BUT A SHORT TIME. The church is asleep (Mat. 25:5) but Satan the adversary is on the job! Jesus warned us of false doctrines that would appear in these last days, and that would DECEIVE many. Oh, but Satan could never deceive ME, you say! Why, are YOU not seeking after the deeper SPIRITUAL experiences? Perhaps spoken in "tongues"? You think YOU could not be deceived it is only those who are not "spiritual" that are deceived. Can't we see that Satan is a SPIRITUAL being? (Eph. 2:2). He does not come as a red demon with horns and tail, but as "AN ANGEL OF LIGHT." He appears as an ANGEL a SPIRIT, and as bringing LIGHT. These deceived THINK they have received marvelous new LIGHT. They THINK they have advanced and been elevated to a HIGHER SPIRITUAL PLANE. And Satan has many MINISTERS. And they do not all come preaching modernism, or cold spiritless doctrines they, too, come as SPIRITUAL ministers, and "are transformed as the ministers of RIGHTEOUSNESS." (II Cor. 11:14, 15). It is these progressing into the deeper SPIRITUAL experiences who Satan will tempt and try the most, and WHO ARE MOST SUSCEPTIBLE to his deceptions! That is, unless constantly ON GUARD, and unless we refuse to follow any but the TRUE SCRIPTURAL TEST. You cannot trust your EXPERIENCES, because Satan, a spirit being, can give counterfeit spiritual experience, and by them deceive any human soul that ever lived! "Beloved, BELIEVE NOT every spirit, but TRY the spirits, whether they be of GOD: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." (I John 4:1). What is TRUTH! Jesus said. "THY WORD is Truth!" The BIBLE! So when He, the Spirit of Truth is come, and He guides us into the TRUTH, He merely guides us into a RIGHT understanding of the BIBLE! The BIBLE, and the Bible ALONE, is the test. "And when they shall say unto you, SEEK unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep and mutter; should not the people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? TO THE LAW AND TO THE TESTIMONY: if they speak not according to THIS Word, it is because there is no light in them." (Isa. 8:19-20). The "law and the Testimony" is the Old and the New Testaments the BIBLE. TRY the Spirits! By what standard? The BIBLE! Satan today is misleading, fooling and cleverly deceiving thousands by giving "impressions," or dreams or "visions," until people say "the Lord told me" this or that, and call their impressions "leadings of the Spirit." Remember, Satan is a spirit who can lead, as well as God. We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against WICKED SPIRITS in high places, and consequently God warns us that we need on the WHOLE ARMOUR of GOD that we may withstand the WILES OF THE DEVIL. (Eph. 6:10-18). And that armour includes the shield of FAITH, and the sword of THE WORD OF GOD. EVERY spirit is not the HOLY Spirit. There are false, seducing, unclean spirits.
What About "TARRY Meetings?"
The METHOD of this modern "pentecostal" movement for seeking the Holy Spirit is the modern "tarry meeting." Are "tarry meetings" Scriptural? Is this the BIBLE method? It must be remembered that there are many different types of "pentecostal" people. And so their ways differ somewhat. But with perhaps the majority of these people, the method is as follows: The "seeker," as he is called, must attend a "tarry meeting" along with other "seekers" and with them, where possible, who already "have their baptism" as it is expressed. The seekers are told to say such phrases as "Glory! Glory! Glory!" over and over. Constantly they are urged to "say it a little faster." Variations of this phrase are "Hallelujah!" or "Praise you Jesus!" Constantly the "seeker" is told to keep it up, faster and faster; not to become discouraged. Sometimes they are told to lift the arms above their heads, and hold them there. When they become so tired they are unable to hold them longer in the air, others will come and support their arms. Time after time the seeker will come to one of these "tarry meetings" repeating the above formula, hours at a time. In other forms of the "tarry meeting" a group of seekers assemble together, with, where possible some who already have "received their baptism." Children must be left at home. Only "seekers" are permitted. ALL pray aloud at once, begging God to give them the "blessing." For hours, often lasting until 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning, they continue to beg, plead, and agonize. Occasionally, perhaps after many of these "tarry meetings" one or more of a company will begin to "speak in tongues," and are then acknowledged by all as having received "their baptism." Nothing but "speaking in tongues" will be accepted as the evidence of "the baptism."
Does the Bible command the "Tarry Meeting?"
Is this modern "tarry meeting" the true scriptural WAY, or merely plain heathenism? Those who defend the "tarry meeting" with, perhaps, a great deal of heat, will quote the Scripture to the effect that Jesus COMMANDED us to "TARRY UNTIL ye be endued with power from on high." This command of Jesus to "tarry" is found in Luke 24:49. Pentecostal people invariable read this text thus: "Tarry UNTIL ye be endued with power." Then they construe the word "tarry" to mean the kind of meeting described above. But that is not what this text says at all! RIGHTLY quoted, Jesus' command to His disciples was: "tarry ye IN THE CITY OF JERUSALEM until ye be endued with power FROM on high." Jesus told them to tarry, not in a certain MANNER, but in a definite PLACE in the CITY OF JERUSALEM. Why do our Pentecostal friends always omit the words "YE," expressing TO WHOM this command was addressed, and the words "IN THE CITY OF JERUSALEM," telling WHERE they were to "tarry?" And why did Jesus ask them to remain in the city of Jerusalem? Because the "other Comforter" had not yet come FROM HEAVEN from "on high." And Jesus knew that WHEN He came, He would come first to the city of Jerusalem. And so Jesus was merely instructing His disciples to wait, or remain, in Jerusalem until the day of Pentecost, when, it had been ordained, the Holy Ghost was to come from heaven "from on high" to earth. Now "tarry" is an English word, translated 323 years ago. It is an Old English word, formerly in popular usage, now seldom used. Today many mistake its meaning. What does it mean? It does not mean pray. It does not mean supplicate. It does not mean beg, or agonize, or repeat words over and over. It does not mean a prayer meeting. The dictionary says "tarry" means "to put off going or coming: linger. To remain in the same place; abide; stay. To await: to delay. N., sojourn, stay." The literal Greek, word for word, from the Interlinear Greek text is: "but REMAIN YE IN THE CITY OF JERUSALEM, till ye be clothed with power from on high." How can we conceive the idea of these modern "tarry meetings" from the scriptural command "REMAIN YE IN THE CITY OF JERUSALEM"? But, protests the "tarry meeting defenders, it says in Acts 1:13, 14, that the disciples "went into an upper room," and "these all continued with on accord in prayer and supplication." The assumption is that the disciples met at a certain house for this purpose that they were there holding a "tarry meeting that they begged and pleaded with God until He finally sent them the "blessing" from on high and that we should do the same thing. Often the statement is made that "it took the disciples ten days to pray down Pentecost!"
The MEANING of "Pentecost"
One difficulty is that few know the meaning of the types of Leviticus 23. There we find instruction regarding the seven annual feast days, occurring at the five different times during the year. The first was the Passover, on the 14th of Abib, the first month of the scared year. On this day a lamb was always slain. And so the crucifixion occurred on this very day. It was upon the 14th of Abib, 31 A.D. that Christ, the Lamb of God, our Passover, was slain for us! The second of these set feasts was the feast of Firstfruits, known as the day of Pentecost, 50 days later. This always had typified the Firstfruits of the New Testament Church. And accordingly, when the "other Comforter" came from heaven from "on high" to bring forth the FIRSTFRUITS of the New Testament Church, this tremendous event, to occur but once in all eternity, was ordained to take place ON THE VERY DAY OF PENTECOST, 31 A.D! Jesus well knew the Holy Ghost would come from heaven on that very day. He knew it would be just ten days from His departure TO Heaven. So Jesus told His disciples they should be "baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence." (Acts 1:5). In the first chapter of Acts we find the same instruction of Jesus as recorded in Luke 24:49, this time in words more plainly to be understood: "And. . .commanded them that THEY SHOULD NOT DEPART FROM JERUSALEM but WAIT, for the promise of the Father," (Acts 1:4). So the disciples did not "pray down Pentecost." "Pentecost," is a DAY, not a filling with the Spirit. And since it was ordained that the Holy Ghost was to come from heaven TO JERUSALEM, and on that very day, do you suppose that, if the disciples had prayed and begged just a little harder, they could have "prayed Him down" a day or two sooner? Certainly not! Not even an hour sooner! "But," argues the tarry meeting advocate, "didn't the disciples all meet in an upper room, and continue there in prayer and supplication?" Most assuredly, but WHY? Notice the Scriptures! "And when they were come in, they went up into and upper room WHERE ABODE both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication," (Acts 1:13-14), as they naturally would have done, at so solemn a time. Is there even a hint, in this text, that they were BEGGING or PLEADING with God to give them the promised Comforter? Rather, we know they were merely WAITING there, as Jesus had commanded, in complete FAITH that God would keep His promise! Is there so much as a HINT in this passage that they were saying words over and over, like the modern "Glory, glory, glory?" Now notice, WHEN the day of Pentecost was fully come, (and let us remember Pentecost was a DAY, not an experience,) did they have to plead and agonize? No, but rather when this DAY had arrived, "SUDDENLY there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind," and instantly "they were all filled with the Holy Ghost." Once the "other Comforter" had come from heaven, there was no waiting they were all filled AT ONCE!
Experiences AFTER Pentecost
Now that the Holy Ghost had COME to earth now that He was here did those who honestly repented, and believed, have to beg and plead and agonize, and "tarry" before they could receive the full baptism with the Holy Ghost? There are just four other experiences recorded, subsequent to the day of Pentecost 31 A.D., of receiving the baptism with the Spirit. Let us examine each. Let us see if there were any TARRY MEETINGS. The next experience recorded is found in the 8th chapter of Acts. Philip had gone to Samaria. When they BELIEVED Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized. (Verse 12). Peter and John came to Samaria from Jerusalem, (v.14) and prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost, (v.15). Then they laid their hands on them AND THEY RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST, (v. 17). There is no evidence of any "tarry meeting" No tongue-speaking mentioned. The people believed, were baptized, the apostles prayed for them, laid their hands on them, and they received the Spirit. In the 10th chapter of Acts we find the experience at the Gentile house of Cornelius. Peter was preaching to them. They already had repented, and merely wanted to be shown the way of God. Was there a "tarry meeting" here? No, while "Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word." (Acts 10:44). Praise God! The Holy Ghost had come from heaven on the day of Pentecost, 31 A.D Cornelius and his house did not have to "pray down another Pentecost." They did not have to beg or plead or agonize. They had surrendered fully and unconditionally. When Peter came to reveal to them the Truth, and the Way, they did not begin to argue, or try to refute God's Word. They accepted it without a word. And, so, their hearts being ready and subdued, "while Peter yet spake," they received the baptism with the Holy Ghost! And so can YOU, just as quickly and suddenly, IF, and WHEN, you are as surrendered as they were. There was surely not "tarry meeting" here. No repeating words over and over. Just real repentance, and faith, the only TWO CONDITIONS. Our next experience is found in Acts 19:1-7. Paul came to Ephesus. He found a dozen disciples there. Paul asked them if they had received the Holy Ghost? The literal translation is not "since ye believed," but "Did ye receive the Holy Ghost WHEN ye believed?" Paul well knew God had promised we should receive the Spirit WHEN we have yielded to the conditions. They knew nothing of the Holy Spirit. What was wrong? Paul immediately determined to find out. Did he ask them how long they had "tarried?" Did he tell them the difficulty was that they had not "tarried" or agonized enough? No, Paul began at the very LAST condition, water baptism, to find out what was wrong. And there he found it! They had been baptized only with John's baptism. That was baptism into the FIRST condition, repentance. They had not been baptized INTO CHRIST for the remission of sins. And so Paul at once told them how to be baptized. When they heard this, they did not argue or rebel. They humbly did as directed, and were baptized. And WHEN they were baptized, and WHEN Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them. WHEN the CONDITIONS of God's Word were fulfilled, they received God's Spirit! And in this case, they spoke with tongues, and prophesied. There was no tarry meeting here. No agonizing, or meaningless repeating of words. Just yielding to God, and conforming to GOD'S conditions. One other experience is mentioned that of Paul. Read it in Acts 9:1-22. Again there is no hint of anything like a modern "tarry meeting." Just complete surrender, self-abasement, a willing submissive conforming to the CONDITIONS. No mention of speaking in tongues at this time, altho later Paul told the Corinthians he spoke in more languages than any of them. And so there is not one example in Holy Scripture of a modern "tarry meeting!" Let us have a BIBLE REASON for all that we do!
What IS The "Baptism with the Holy Ghost?"
Just what IS this "baptism?" Here again so many seem to misunderstand. What is Truth? GOD'S Word is Truth. Let us seek our definition in the Bible! There is only ONE TEXT in all the Bible that actually defines this "baptism." It is in I Cor. 12:13: "For by one Spirit are we all BAPTISED into one body," the BODY OF CHRIST, the true Church of God. Let us understand this. What is the meaning of the word "baptize?" It is a Greek word, untranslated, in our English Bibles. Had the translators rendered it into the English language, it would have read "IMMERSE." For the Greek word "baptize" means "to immerse." "to plunge into." The person baptized is PLUNGED INTO the thing he is baptized in. When baptized in water, the candidate is plunged into, or immersed, in water. Consequently the baptism with, or by, the Holy Spirit is not our immersion INTO the Holy Spirit, for the Scriptures tell us, it is the entrance of the Spirit INTO US. And in Romans 8:9, Paul tells us plainly that unless the Spirit of God dwells IN us, we are none of Christs! We become Christ's, then, when the Holy Spirit comes INTO us! And when we are Christs, we are then into the BODY OF CHRIST, the Church. Therefore, it is the receiving of the holy Spirit which plunges us, immerses or places us into the Church. And this immersion into the Church BY the Holy Spirit the Scriptures call "the baptism with, or by, the Holy Spirit." The term "baptism OF the Holy Spirit" as Pentecostal people say it, is not to be found in the Bible. It is the baptism with, or by, the Holy Spirit, INTO the Church. And so "BY one Spirit are we all baptized into one body." Thus, the RECEIVING of the Holy Spirit is the BAPTISM with the Spirit! May seem to believe that we are first saved, which means we first receive the Spirit, and then AFTERWARD, as an entirely separate and later miraculous act of God, we receive the "baptism" with the Spirit! This is a notion that has been carelessly taken for granted and ASSUMED, without having been PROVED BY THE SCRIPTURES. The EXPERIENCES of some have led many into this erroneous assumption. But experience is a poor guide, especially when contrary to God's Word, because we misunderstand it. Those who say they absolutely KNOW they had this experience AFTER being "converted" either do not understand what it is to be really "converted" and were merely deceived and NOT converted at all prior to their true experience, or else this experience, impressive that it may have been, was merely an additional anointing the receiving of a GREATER FULNESS of the Spirit or else they have misunderstood the experience they claim was "their baptism" and received only the counterfeit.
"Receiving" the Spirit, and the "Baptism" one and the Same.
Let us carefully study this in the Word of God! Before the day of Pentecost, A.D. 31, Jesus said to his disciples, "ye shall be baptized with the holy Ghost not many days hence." Therefore ye know that what the disciples received the day of Pentecost was the BAPTISM with the Holy Ghost. Now let us notice the terms used to describe this baptism. In Acts 2:4, we read "And they were all FILLED with the Holy Ghost." And so being FILLED with the Holy Ghost is the BAPTISM with the Holy Ghost. The thousands who came running into that room, pricked in their heart, asked what THEY should do to receive this same baptism with the Holy Ghost. Peter did not say "tarry," or "agonize," but he said "REPENT, and BE BAPTISED," and "ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:41). And so the RECEIVING of the GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST is the baptism with the Holy Ghost. And three thousand received it that day! And there is no mention of their speaking in "tongues," and certainly there was no "tarrying." After Peter returned to Jerusalem from the house of Cornelius, he was taken to task by the other apostles for associating with Gentiles. In explaining how God had led him, and telling what the Gentiles received, Peter said, "Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Foreasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us," etc. (Acts 11:16, 17). Peter plainly says that what the Gentiles then received was the baptism with the Holy Ghost. And this baptism is also called, in verse 17, "the like GIFT." And so "the gift of the Holy Ghost" is the baptism with the Holy Ghost. In verse 15 Peter said "the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning." So the Holy Ghost "FALLING of them" was the baptism with the Holy Ghost. In the 10th chapter, verse 44, where this actual experience is described, we learn that "the Holy Ghost FELL ON THEM," and in verse 45 we find that "on the Gentiles also was POURED OUT THE GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST" And in verse 47 they "RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST." So the RECEIVING of the Holy Ghost is the baptism with the Holy Ghost. All these terms are used synonymously and interchangeably by the Holy Spirit to describe the same experience. So what must we conclude? That which is born of the flesh IS FLESH. (John 3:6). When fleshly, sinning, mortal man REPENTS and is BAPTISED as a symbol of his FAITH in Christ, he RECEIVES THE HOLY SPIRIT not as a result of "tarrying," but thru FAITH (Gal. 3:14; John 7:39, 39). And this RECEIVING of the GIFT of the Holy Spirit is the baptism with the Spirit. He is then a CHILD OF GOD. He has been typically BORN AGAIN tho the real re-birth must come at the time or the resurrection. He is born from above born of the Spirt. And thus he is baptized BY the Spirit into the body of Christ! This baptism is not the end, but only the BEGINNING of his Christian experience! He is merely a new-born BABE in Christ! He must now GROW in grace and knowledge. He must live a life of OVERCOMING. And he that endureth UNTO THE END shall be saved!
Do ALL Speak with TONGUES?
Is "speaking in tongues" THE Bible evidence of the "baptism with the Holy Ghost?" Must ALL speak with tongues at the time they receive the Spirit, are "born again," and brought into the true Church? The apostles did not teach it! The EXPERIENCES recorded in the New Testament, subsequent to Pentecost, do not teach it. Of the five experiences recorded the three thousand on the day of Pentecost after the 120 had received the Spirit with such a grand display; the Samaritans; the Ephesian; the house of Cornelius; and Paul's experience of these five, it is recorded that there was tongue-speaking in but two of them. Shall we ASSUME there were tongues in the other three experiences? Let us be careful about ADDING to God's Word what is not there!
ADMONITIONS OF JOHN WESLEY
"Beware the daughter of pride, Enthusiasm! Give no place to a heated imagination. Do not hastily ascribe things to God. Do not easily suppose dreams, voices, impressions, visions, or revelations to be from God. They may be from Him. They may be from nature. They may be from the devil. LOVE is the highest gift of God! humble, gentle, patient love. All visions, dreams, or manifestations whatever, are little things compared to LOVE. If you look for anything but more love, you are looking wide of the mark, you are getting out of the royal way!"
There is NO STATEMENT IN SCRIPTURE that you must speak with tongues to prove you have received the Holy Spirit. NO SCRIPTURE says "By their TONGUES ye shall know them." But the Scripture does say, "by their FRUITS ye shall know them! (Mat. 7:20) the lives we live are the BIBLE EVIDENCE of whether or not we have received the Spirit! Jesus said, "By this shall all men KNOW that ye are my disciples, if ye have LOVE one to another." (John 13:35). But are not the "tongues" at least AN evidence of the baptism with the Spirit? Most of us have assumed so. But anyone who has really known the private lives of as many as twelve people who profess to have received their "baptism" and spoken in tongues, will testify that at least some of them do NOT show the EVIDENCE of the fruits in their lives. When they claim the "evidence of tongues," but do not have true BIBLE evidence of love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, faith in their lives, then we must conclude that, regardless of "tongues," they have the strongest kind of BIBLE EVIDENCE that they do not have the "baptism." In such a case are "tongues" even AN evidence? Is "tongues' any evidence at all? "Though I speak with the tongues of ANGELS and have not LOVE, I am become as sounding brass." (I Cor. 13:1). There are fallen angels, demons, and without a question many today are speaking in the "tongues" of these demons. Would you say the counterfeit tongues of demons are any evidence at all of the true baptism with the Holy Spirit? If tongues were the evidence, or even one of the evidences, tongues would be a sign to other believers but Paul says "tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not." (I Cor. 14:22).
Is there any GENUINE Tongues?
There is so much of the COUNTERFEIT variety of tongues and demonstrations (falsely called manifestations,) that many honest people conclude "tongues" is not for the church today. THIS IS A MISTAKE! They DID speak with "tongues" at the house of Cornelius, and at Ephesus, AFTER the day of Pentecost. While correcting the Corinthian church Paul said "I would that ye ALL spake with tongues." (I Cor. 14:5), and "forbid not to speak with tongues," in the church. (v. 39). The very fact of the counterfeit is the strongest proof THERE IS A GENUINE! And we believe that if more people would surrender ALL THE WAY to God, without ANY reservation, and TRUST Him more fully, and PRAY more earnestly, there would be a great deal more of the GENUINE tongues the true work of the Holy Spirit! And a lot less of the counterfeit! We should banish all prejudice against the true manifestation of tongues. But we should get the "tongues" into the proper SCRIPTURAL plane of importance. In the same 14th chapter of I Corinthians, above quoted, Paul said he would rather speak just FIVE WORDS' with his understanding, that he might teach others also, than TEN THOUSAND WORDS in an unknown tongue. To those Corinthians, becoming fanatical on "tongues," he said "brethren, BE NOT CHILDREN in understanding." (v. 19, 20). The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of a SOUND MIND (II Tim. 1:7). Some "tongues" people, not rightly evaluating the importance of "tongues," seem to feel that the one who has his "tongues" and is doing nothing in the Lord's work, is greater, spiritually, than another who has not, yet is thoroughly yielded to God, and has been used of God in the ministry to bring many souls to Christ. But God's Word says "Greater is he that prophesieth (preacheth) than he that speaketh with tongues." (I Cor. 14:5). We should NOT seek tongues. Pentecostal people loudly protest they do not do this, but in practice and in fact, they do, and they should not deny it.
One of Satan's Clever Pitfalls
The reason for this caution is found in the Scripture "He that speaketh in an unknown tongue EDIFIETH HIMSELF." (I Cor. 14:4). It is seeking for SELF for SELF blessings for SELF-thrills and is CONTRARY to fulfilling the law of God which is love AWAY from self and toward God and neighbor! And therefore it may easily degenerate into a most deceptive FORM of SIN. One of the "fruits" of this "tongues" movement is that many seek nothing but "blessings," as they express it which in plain language means FEELINGS and THRILLS that they themselves ENJOY as a PLEASURE. Jesus said, "That which is born of the flesh IS flesh." (John 3:6). We must be BORN AGAIN born of the SPIRIT, to inherit eternal life. Now the flesh has its FEELINGS, its EMOTIONS, its five SENSES. It is but natural that Satan's counterfeits are of the FLESH even his counterfeits of spiritual things. So Satan the Devil gives to people FEELINGS, and EMOTIONS, and THRILLS and induces many zealous seekers after the Holy Spirit to accept these pleasing sensations as "blessings" and "manifestations" of the Holy Spirit! The saddest fruit of this whole "tongues" movement is that thru it Satan has beguiled many into continually lusting for SENSUAL FEELINGS, and for THRILLS of the FLESH, deceiving them into believing they are receiving "blessings" from God! Oh, WHY will so many honest souls be misled, and fall into this satanic snare? God's Word warns us to TRY the spirits, WHETHER they be of God! For many false SPIRITS are gone out into the world! This is not to say there is no EXPERIENCE, or nothing felt, when God pours forth His blessed Holy Spirit. There is a definite EXPERIENCE to real genuine conversion. But what a tragedy to see so many deceived into receiving the FALSE experience the FALSE "blessing," because they have failed to heed God's warning to TRY the spirits because they fail to have on the WHOLE ARMOR of God, including the shield of FAITH, and sword of the spirit, which is THE WORD OF GOD! God's way is the way of CRUCIFYING the flesh, the sensual of DENYING the SELF of LOVE toward God and toward fellow man. Satan's counterfeit is SELF-SEEKING, lusting for fleshly thrills, and feelings, and "blessings" that bring pleasure thru the five senses. And the greater pity is that the very ones most deceived are the ones who RESENT having the Scriptures opened to them to CORRECT them, to REPROVE, and to set them right! If you, dear reader, feel resentment of these words, it is the surest BIBLE EVIDENCE that you are under the deceptive power of Satan the Devil, and you should flee the influence he has over you, and drop to your knees at once, and ask God to renew a RIGHT spirit within you. So many in this modern "tongues" movement do not seem to understand the real PURPOSE of receiving the Holy Spirit. They look upon spiritual gifts as ornaments to decorate and embellish the PERSON. But the gifts of the Spirit are the TOOLS placed in our hands to DO THE LORD'S WORK. After Jesus had received the FULLNESS of the Holy Spirit, He said; "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me BECAUSE he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted; to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind." etc. (Luke 4:18). The object and purpose of the Holy Spirit is not to give FEELINGS and THRILLS that are of the senses of the FLESH, and therefore SENSUAL not to please the SELF but to enable one to CRUCIFY the SELF to endow with power to overcome sin, which is transgressing of God's Commandments (I John 3:4) to CLEANSE us of all unrighteousness to impart to us GOD'S righteousness, so our light may shine and others may see Christ in us to UNDERSTAND the Word of God, so we may know how to live by its every word to give us the FAITH of Jesus, making possible His righteousness to give us POWER to be kind, patient, gentle, and of SERVICE, to others to preach the Gospel to heal the sick.
Let us Receive This POWER
Jesus did not say "ye shall fall helpless UNDER the power." He did not say the Holy Spirit would ROB us of power, render us powerless. He said "YE SHALL RECEIVE POWER!" Oh, let us seek that POWER! The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of POWER, and of LOVE, and of a SOUND MIND (II Tim. 1:7). The Spirit of UNDERSTANDING (John 16:13; I Cor. 2:10); the Spirit of power to perform MIRACLES (Acts 6:8; 5:12-16); of power to WITNESS for Christ (Acts 4:33). And that kind of power comes from just two things, SURRENDER, and FAITH, along with much earnest PRAYER. Perhaps the greatest difficulty lies in confusing a partial filling with the Spirit, and the FULLNESS of the Spirit. God gave not the Spirit by MEASURE unto Jesus (John 3:34), but certainly we receive the Spirit by measure, and some of us, perhaps, a very small measure. When we have RECEIVED the Spirit, we have been BAPTISED by the Spirit, into the Body of Christ. But the fleshly nature remains, and the flesh lusts against the Spirit. So we have not received the FULLNESS of the Spirit. In New Testament experiences, a far greater FULLNESS of the Spirit was received, because they yielded more fully, and trusted God more implicitly. Today we receive a partial filling. Later we may receive a greater fullness, and we mistake this for "the baptism." Peter received a REfilling (Acts 4:29-31). So must we, God never gives us more of His Spirit than we need for TODAY. We must yield and die DAILY (Luke 9:23; I Cor. 15:31). Receiving the "baptism" IS ONLY THE BEGINNING! Let us YIELD to God, and His WORD. Let us seek more of His LOVE, more of His FAITH, a better UNDERSTANDING, more FOR SERVICE. And let us leave manifestations and feelings to Him!
A FINAL WORD OF CAUTION.
This article deals with a heated and controversial question. We have tried to deal with it boldly, setting forth the PLAIN TRUTH according to the BIBLE. Some may disagree and become offended. We ask that you read Psalm 119:165. Then PRAY, surrendering all the way to God. Then go over this article again, studying carefully WITH YOUR BIBLE. First read II Tim. 3:16. Hold upon GOD'S WORD rather than experiences. Then, if still convinced this article is in error, obey Gal. 6:1; write the editor exactly where this article is in error, ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES.