The Baptism of the Holy Spirit (Part 1)

BrankaVV [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, from Wikimedia Commons

John the Batist (the Baptizer) preached that Israel should repent because the kingdom of heaven was close (Matthew 3:2, Mark 1:4, and Luke 3:3) and God was coming (Matthew 3:3, Mark 1:2-3, Luke 3:4, John 1:23).

John bapitzed people, immersing them in water, but he taught that after him there would come one who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Matthew 3:11-12, Mark 1:7-8, Luke 3:16-17, John 1:26-27, 33).

Clearly, John identified Jesus as the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirt (John 1:29-34)

When John the Baptizer spoke of the baptism with the Holy Spirit, he did so incontrast to the baptism with fire. He equated the baptism with the Holy Spirit to the Lord sotring wheat in the garner, and the bapism with fire to the Lord setting chaff on fire (Matthew 3:12, Luke 3:17).

Thus, the baptism with the Holy Spirit constitutes salvation, and the baptism with fire constitutes destruction (eternal punishment).

Now, if to be baptized in water was to be immersed in water; and if to be baptized in fire was to be set on fire; what did it meant to be baptized with the Holy Spirit? Often in the Old Testament, the Spirit of God came upon God’s children to direct them and enable them to complete tasks for the Lord (see my previous post); moreover, Christ was anointed with the Spirit (see my previous other previous post), and the Spirit was said to be poured as oil on God’s servants, even on the Messiah (Proverbs 1:23, Isaiah 44:3, Isaiah 61:1, Ezekiel 39:29, Joel 2:28-29).

The baptism with the Holy Spirit, of which John the Baptizer spoke, was the same pouring of the Spirit on God’s chosen servants, the anointing of them with the Spirit. Just as a person was immersed with water, and just as those who did not repent would be set on fire, baptizing someone with the Holy Spirit meant that the Spirit of God would come on that person.

According to the Lord Jesus Christ, God will give the Holy Spirit to anyone who prays to Him for the Spirit (Luke 11:13); and according to the Gospel of John, the Holy Spirit would be given to them who believed in Jesus after the Lord was glorified (John 7:37-39).

Moreover, according to John 14:16-18, the Spirit of God was already dwelling with the disciples, but He had yet to come into the disciples. Then, in John 15:26, the Lord reminds the disciples that he would send them the Spirit who proceeds from the Father. In John 16:12-15, the Lord reminds the disciples once again that the Spirit would come, and he adds that He would give them revelation.

Finally, in John 20:22, the Lord breathed on the disciples and commanded that they should receive the Holy Spirit. That the Lord breathes on them seems to deliberately teach that the Lord is divine, for when God brethed into the nostrils of the first man, this man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7).

Nevertheless, the Lord’s breathing on the disciples seems to be a symbolic act only, and not the actual giving of the Holy Spirit: for after this, and immediately before his ascension, the Lord Jesus Christ told the disciples that they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit in a few days (Acts 1:5, 8).

Therefore, the baptism with the Holy Spirit first occurs on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). The wind that filled the house was actually the Holy Spirit, for the Holy Spirit often manifested Himself as wind in the Old Testament (see my previous post). Moreover, Peter and the other Apostles also equated this even with the pouring of the Holy Spirit prophesied by the Prophet Joel (Acts 2:16-18).

What then is the baptism with the Holy Spirit? The Baptism with the Holy Spirit is the pouring of the Holy Spirit on a human being who believes in Christ so the believer will have eternal life and power to serve God. The New Testament baptism with the Holy Spirit first occurred on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2.

Questions for Reflection

  • Based on what you read in this devotional, from whom does the Holy Spirit proceed, and who sends the Holy Spirit?
  • When did the Holy Spirit first indwell the Lord’s disciples?
  • Looking back through the verses in today’s devotional, what abilities did the Holy Spirit give to those on whom He was poured?
  • Why is it significant that the Lord Jesus Christ is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit? What does this tell us about Jesus?
  • How is the baptism with the Holy Spirit related with salvation, or eternal life?
  • Do you believe you have been baptized with the Holy Spirit? Why or why not? (This question will be explored further in my next post on the topic).

Sample Prayer

Father, God, how great and wonderful you are! How amazing and wonderful is your work on Earth! Through your Spirit, Lord, through your Spirit who proceeds from you, you led and empowered the Messiah, and you led and empowered the Apostles.

Jesus is the one who sent the Spirit to Earth on that day of Pentecost, for Jesus is Lord: He is one with you. I humbly put my faith in those things I read on your word and I praise you for all your works!

Lord, I long for your Holy Spirit! Satisfy me with His presence in me. Amen.

The Book of Revelation

Have you ever wondered what the book of Revelation is all about? How do its words apply to our life, and what do they mean? I am writing a series of devotionals based on the book of Revelation, and I would like to invite you to read what I have published so far. Just click on the links below to check it out.


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©2018, Marcelo E. Carcach. All rights reserved.

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