The Baptism in the Holy Ghost (Booklet)
by John G. Lake
Reprinted from “The Comforter” of September 1910
Published by The Apostolic Faith Mission Tabernacle’s Printing Works
Johannesburg, South Africa
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear. (1 Peter 3:15)
- The Rev. S. J. Du Toit, minister of the Dutch Reformed Church, challenged the brethren of the Apostolic Faith Mission to meet him and publicly defend, in open debate, the teaching believed and disseminated by them.
- The Rev. S. J. Du Toit is considered one of the ablest and most skillful debaters in Africa.
- It was at the Dutch Church, Somerset East, Cape Colony, during 1910, that the Reverend gentleman, according to a Graaff-Reinet paper, “Met his Waterloo” at the hands of two Apostolic Faith Brethren from Johannesburg. To God be the praise.
...We give our readers the more important features of that address of Brother Lake on the baptism in the Holy Ghost (the Holy Spirit).
Progressive Revelation of God
This is a subject so profound and so comprehensive that to intelligently understand it, we must view it from the scope of continuous and progressive revelation. Like water baptism of the Christian believer, the operations of the Holy Ghost must be apprehended in its successive stages of revelation; otherwise, we shall be unable to distinguish between the operation of the Spirit in the Old Testament and the baptism of the Holy Ghost in the New Testament.
A successive dispensation of God never destroys a preceding one. On the contrary, it conserves its spirit but broadens its scope.
This is obviously seen by comparing the Patriarchal, Mosaic, and Christian dispensations.
In the Patriarchal dispensation, we see God appearing to man at long intervals. Abraham furnishes the best example. God appeared to him at intervening periods of time, twenty and forty years apart. The Patriarchal age may therefore be designated the dispensation of God’s revelation to man.
There is a perceptible advance under the Mosaic dispensation to a deeper, clearer, and more pronounced manifestation of God. He was ever present in the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire. Afterwards, His visible presence abode in the Shekinah glory overshadowing the mercy seat. This was God with man, not to man, as in the Patriarchal dispensation; but rather, God leading, guiding, directing, forgiving, sanctifying, abiding with man.
Coming to the Christian dispensation, we obtain a clearer and more palpable revelation of God than in the preceding Mosaic dispensation.
Revelation teaches its climax in this, the Christian dispensation. God in man! For the baptism of the Holy Ghost is the actual incoming of that Third Person of the glorious Trinity to live in man. This, then, brings us to where we can see the purpose of God in revealing Himself to man by progressive stages of revelation.
As the Christian dispensation supersedes and eclipses all other dispensations, so the real Christian is to excel all who have preceded him. He is the culminating point of God’s effort for mankind. Man is not only to be forgiven, but also is to be cleansed through the blood of Jesus from the nature of sin, from the evil principle that causes him to transgress. This cleansing from “inbred sin” (termed also the “carnal mind,” the “old man,” the “man of sin”) is the actual and experiential taking out of our breast the desire for sin. All correspondence with sin is severed, and the old self-life is laid in glad and willing surrender on the altar of Christ.
God Wants a Clean Temple
This inner heart cleansing that John and the disciples of Jesus demanded before they would baptize a man is the necessary preparation for the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Our holy God must have a holy dwelling place. O wondrous salvation! Wondrous atonement! Wondrous Christ! Man—born in sin and shaped in iniquity (see Psalm 51:5)—forgiven, cleansed, purified by the blood of Jesus, and made a habitation, a dwelling place of God through the Spirit.
The redemption that Jesus Christ wrought out on Calvary restores to man all the privileges and prerogatives forfeited by the fall.
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.(Galatians 3:13–14)
This reveals to us God’s purpose in our salvation. We must be prepared by the blood of Jesus Christ to become the habitation of God, “In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:22). Again in 1 Corinthians 6:19, Paul asked in astonishment: “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you?”
A Marvelous Fact
The personal coming of the Holy Ghost into human consciousness is a marvelous fact of God’s manifestation in history! His coming was just as definite and conspicuous as the advent of Christ. Was the Christ’s coming proclaimed by angel voices and chanted by “a multitude of the heavenly host praising God” (Luke 2:13)? Equally, was the Holy Spirit’s advent attested by His “bodily shape like a dove” (Luke 3:22), and by the “sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind,” and by the appearance unto them of “cloven tongues like as of fire” (Acts 2:2, 3).
Heavenly dove, tempest roar, and tongues of fire crowning the hundred and twenty were as convincing as the guiding star and midnight shouts of angel hosts.
The Promise Given and Realized
In John 16:7, the promise of the Holy Ghost is explicitly given by Jesus:
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
“If I depart, I will send him unto you.” That promise was realized on the day of Pentecost after the disciples had tarried, according to the command of Jesus, “with one accord in prayer and supplication” (Acts 1:14).
The Believer’s Identification with Christ in His Death and Resurrection
Between the day the Holy Ghost was promised and the event of His coming at Pentecost, there was the great day of our Lord’s crucifixion. It behooved Christ to suffer in order to make the gift of the Holy Ghost possible to man. There is also a day of crucifixion to the Christian. He must be crucified with Christ: the “old man” must be nailed to the cross, for in no other way can we be delivered from sin. Dying to sin is a real act, a genuine experience.
“Buried with him by baptism into death” (Romans 6:4) and “being made conformable unto His death” (Philippians 3:10), we become partakers of the resurrection life of Jesus. The new life of power and victory in God becomes ours, and we are elevated through Christ into His own resurrection life, in actual spiritual experience.
Just as necessary as the crucifixion or the resurrection is the ascension. Jesus ascended into heaven. He sits at the right hand of the Father. According to the promise, He sends down the Holy Ghost, who is also called the Spirit of Jesus, the Spirit of Christ, and the Holy Spirit in the Bible. The Holy Ghost entering into us, taking possession of our personality, living in us, moving us, controlling us, and lifting us into heavenly experiences in Christ Jesus is the baptism in the Holy Ghost, through which we become participators in the ascended life of Christ in glory.
A Personal Reception of a Personal Holy Ghost
The outpouring of the Holy Ghost is not only dispensational, but His reception into the heart is to be the personal, conscious experience of every Christian who has sought the enduement of power from on high. The first Pentecostal experience is given in the second chapter of Acts:
There came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind…. There appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire…. They were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:2–4)
Speaking in tongues is the voice of God. It is God speaking through us.
Note: At this point the Holy Ghost spoke through Brother Lake in an unknown tongue. (See 1 Corinthians 14:2.) The congregation was asked to engage in silent prayer for the interpretation of the words spoken in tongues. (See 1 Corinthians 14:13.) Immediately, God answered. The interpretation was as follows:
Interpretation of a Message in Tongues
Christ is at once the spotless descent of God into man, and the sinless ascent of man into God, and the Holy Ghost is the agent by whom it is accomplished.
Bless God! He is the Christ, the Son of God. His atonement is a real atonement. His blood cleanses from all sin. Man again becomes the dwelling place of God.
What about Manifestations?
Let us now consider some of the wonderful manifestations of God to His people in the New Testament, under the baptism of the Holy Ghost. We will take up the tenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles.
Cornelius, a Gentile centurion living in Caesarea, has a vision. An angel appears to him. The angel speaks to him a comforting message from God. This heavenly messenger also gives him the address of Peter the apostle, who was down at Joppa preaching Jesus, healing the sick, and restoring dead Dorcas to the widows who lamented her. Cornelius is commanded to send for Peter: “He shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do” (Acts 10:6).
Two trusted servants and a devout soldier are immediately dispatched to Joppa for Peter. On the following day, as these messengers drew nigh unto the city, Peter was praying and, in a trance, saw a vision. Through this vision God taught him a very necessary and effective lesson on the brotherhood of man and removed from his heart certain inherent and racial prejudices that Peter, as a Jew, had to the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles.
Think of it, the great Peter in a trance! If I were to fall on the floor in a trance at the present moment, I have no doubt that nine-tenths of this audience would affirm that it was a case of hypnotism—that my opponent, Brother Du Toit, had hypnotized me.
While Peter thought on the vision, he received a message through the Spirit, saying: “Behold, three men seek thee. Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them” (Acts 10:19–20).
The Sign of Tongues
Peter accompanied the three men to Caesarea. He preached the gospel to the gathering at the house of Cornelius. The whole company was baptized in the Holy Ghost, “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 Ghost” (verse 45). How did they know they were baptized in the Holy Ghost? “For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God” (verse 46). This glorious Holy Ghost service ended in a water baptism of those who had already been baptized in the Holy Ghost.
Paul Speaks to Us
In the twenty-second chapter of Acts, we read Paul’s account of his conversion from Judaism to become a disciple of Jesus Christ. A party of horsemen (Saul and certain officers of the law) is on the way to Damascus. Saul holds a commission to arrest all who call on the name of Jesus. Suddenly, there shone from heaven round about them a light greater than the light of the sun. “And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me” (Acts 22:9).
In the twenty-sixth chapter of Acts, Paul says further:
When we were all fallen to the earth [think of it—the whole party fallen to the earth], I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? (Acts 26:14)
Who is the speaker? “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest” (Acts 26: 15).
Trances, Visions, Revelations
In order to understand the full force of this incident, as well as to learn the source of Paul’s wonderful ministry and of his profound insight into spiritual things, we must find out where he obtained his knowledge of the gospel. Was it communicated to him by the other apostles who had been with Jesus during His earthly ministry? No. It was revealed to him in trances and in visions. He received the knowledge of it directly from the ascended and glorified Christ Himself.
But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.(Galatians 1:11–12)
In Acts 22:12, Paul tells of Ananias coming to see him. How did Ananias know Paul was there? The mystery is explained in Acts 9:
And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananais. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth.(Acts 9:10–11)
And now the Lord tells Ananias what Paul had seen:
And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.(Acts 9:12)
In the next verse, Ananias talks with the Lord. Do you know anything of such revelations, of such communion or talks with God? If not, get the baptism of the Holy Spirit like the early Christians had, and their knowledge and experiences in God shall be yours. Men say to us, “Where do you get your insight into the Word of God?” We answer, “Where Paul and Peter obtained it, that is, from God through the Holy Ghost.”
Ananias went as the Lord directed him and found Paul. Ananias laid hands on him, and he received his sight. He was baptized in water and also in the Holy Ghost and spoke in tongues “more than ye all” (1 Corinthians 14:18).
Now, look again at Acts 22:14. Ananias is speaking to Paul:
And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.(Acts 22:14)
I want you to notice the phrases “see that Just One” and “hear the voice of his mouth.”
When did Paul see that Just One? When did he hear the voice of His mouth? The first mention—following Ananias’s prophetic words in Acts 22:14—of Paul’s seeing and hearing the Just One was when he was in a trance after he had returned to Jerusalem:
And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem [three years after Ananias had prophesied], even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance; and saw him [Jesus] saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me.(Acts 22:17–18)
Now, what is a trance? In a trance, the Spirit predominates over the mind and body, and for the time being, the control of the individual is in the Spirit. Our ignorance of spiritual manifestation is such that even ministers of religion have been known to say that such experiences and conditions are of the devil.
Now, let us see when Paul first heard and saw the Just One—when he received his commission to preach—and his condition and attitude at the time. (See Acts 26:12, 16–18.) Paul received his preaching commission while lying on the ground in the dusty roadway near Damascus in a trance, having been ushered into that state by the power and glory of the heavenly light shining around him. Now, if we were to see someone lying on the road talking to an invisible “somebody,” no doubt in our ignorance we would send for an ambulance or the police. But this is where Paul received his commission and appointment as preacher and apostle to the Gentiles.
Note: Receiving revelation from the Lord does not require being in a trance state, as Paul clearly said: “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:11–12).
Manifestations of the Spirit
From this we are able to perceive and understand in a measure the operations of God upon those who come under the power of the Holy Ghost. And now, beloved, is the Holy Ghost in the church today? Verily, yes. But you say, “We don’t see Him work in this way in our church!” Why? Because you say, “All these things were for apostolic days.” Can you find anywhere in the Scriptures that the gifts of the Holy Ghost were withdrawn from the church of Christ? There is no biblical authority for such an assertion, but rather we read, “The gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Romans 11:29).
I have preached in four different countries, and, with one exception, no Christian minister has been able to name me the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit. These gifts are enumerated in 1 Corinthians 12:8–11. I was very pleased to hear Brother Du Toit read them at the commencement of this service. It shows that people are beginning to read and to think along these lines. The gifts of the Holy Ghost are:
- Gifts of healing
- Working of miracles
- Discerning of spirits
- Diverse kinds of tongues (various languages not by natural acquirement but by the Spirit)
- Interpretation of tongues
I thank God for these precious gifts of the Spirit, and especially for the gifts of healing. May we all learn to know Christ, not alone as our Savior, but as our Sanctifier and Healer, too!
God Restores His People
Beloved, we have seen that the Holy Ghost came at Pentecost and that those gifts were there also. However, through lack of faith, many times we do not see them exercised now.
The Apostolic Faith Mission stands for the obtaining of the Holy Ghost through the personal baptism in Him and the enduement of “power from on high” (Luke 24:49), as commanded by Christ, and for which the disciples were commanded to “tarry” before they went forth to preach the gospel. For, “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you” (Acts 1:8).
Baptism in the Holy Ghost
Speaking in tongues is the external evidence that the Holy Ghost has taken possession of the body of the believer and, therefore, of the tongue. It is the voice of God speaking through the sanctified lips of the believer.
In Acts 2:4, the hundred and twenty disciples spoke in tongues. In Acts 10:44–48, when the Holy Ghost fell on the Gentiles, Peter commanded that they should also be baptized in water.
Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? (Acts 10:47)
How did they know they were baptized in the Holy Ghost?
For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. (verse 46)
Speaking in tongues was therefore the evidence of the baptism in the Holy Ghost, by which also Peter claimed the right to baptize them in water, because he knew that only those who were saved could receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. In Acts 19:1–7, Paul found at Ephesus twelve men who had been baptized unto John’s baptism. He rebaptized them into Christian baptism and the name of Jesus Christ. When Paul laid hands on them, the Holy Ghost came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.
Tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not.(1 Corinthians 14:22)